jackofallgeeks: (Nevermore)
So, I'm twenty-four years old. I've earned both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree. I've been living on my own more-or-less for the last 6 years. I own my own car, manage my own finances, and I'm in the middle of buying a house. I don't consider myself "an adult" yet (a discussion for another time), but I also certainly don't consider myself a child.

I was at my parents' house this weekend. At some point before I got there, my parents had had a disagreement of sorts, and at some time after I arrived they had an honest fight. Now, this doesn't really surprise me, in one sense. In fact, it's perfectly reasonable that any two people will at times have misunderstandings and arguments, that feelings can be hurt and tempers can raise. I've seen it first-, second-, and third-hand for years.

When I heard mom and dad fighting, though... I didn't know how to deal with it. I felt like a scared little boy. I went up to the guest room, closed the door, and tried to read but I simply couldn't concentrate. I wanted nothing more than to curl up and cry.

It passed, mom and dad came to an understanding and before dinner everything was back to normal. I was struck by how deeply it had affected me, though. Even then it felt like how I imagine a small mid-west town feels after a tornado strikes, and house later I still wasn't quite back to my equilibrium. The very foundations of my world had been shaken. And like I said, I'm not some child; I'm a grown man who understands that his parents are real people. And even at that I was cut to the quick.

I think, maybe, I've never really experienced my parents fighting. If they fought when I was younger (which I'm sure they must have, to some extent), they either kept it to themselves, behind closed doors, or I simply succeeded in completely forgetting the incidents. Judging by how I was affected by it at my age and with my experience, it's no wonder that little children can be so traumatized by what, to their parents, is "only a little fight."
jackofallgeeks: (Weird)
Names have always fascinated me. I can't really express how, I'm just really curious about what people call each other, what people call themselves, and why. For example, I call myself Andrew; not just when I introduce myself, but in my inner monologue and whenever I think about myself -- I'm Andrew. Some people, particularly family, call me Andy; it's what I was called as a kid, and part of my thinks that my shift to Andrew was a means for me to move away from "childish things." Not that I dislike the name Andy; sometimes it irritates me when certain people call me by it, but only because I think of it as a rather familiar name, reserved for family and particularly intimate friends. I loath the name Drew. I don't really know why. I'm decidedly not Drew, and I've actually taken offense at being called by Drew, like a knee-jerk reaction.

Because of all the above, I'm always interested in what people call themselves. Here I digress about given names. )

Anyways, I've gone off on a tangent. I meant to talk about Surnames, which now have less and once had more meaning than given names. "Portner" allegedly comes from a German word for a gate guard, or something. It was a profession, like weaver, smith, potter. And here I go off about surnames. )

But here I get to my point. See, I'm a traditional sort of guy, and traditionally when a guy and girl gets married, she would take his surname. Now, this all comes from a long line of patriarchal societies, where the wife would literally join her husband's family, and there were dowry and lines of succession and heirs to determine and all that. If it's your thing, you're free to rage about the injustice of it all. For me, I've always been kind of jealous of girls for having the opportunity to change their names and, in a real way, redefine themselves. As a man in our society, traditionally speaking of course, that's not an option for me. I will ever and always be Andrew Portner, for better or for worse. Not that I'm particularly looking to ditch my name -- I love the family it connects me to and, if nothing else, I have the utmost admiration for my father. I'm just saying, girls can change their names and boys can't. Traditionally.

Now, not everyone it traditional. I'd say 'particularly these days,' but I imagine there were non-traditional people in times gone by; I don't think society can survive without them, really. But these days, not only could I go through the paperwork and get my name legally changed, but a good handful of couples (I don't think they're a majority yet, or necessarily a significant portion, but I don't know numbers, either) are toying with their surnames when they get married. I've never been a fan of hyphenating surnames -- it's just not aesthetically pleasing to me -- but apparently some people have taken to mashing their surnames together Smith and Johnson become 'Smithson' or whatever), or forming their name wholecloth (presumably to signify something particularly important to the both of them). And it only stands to reason that their are men out there taking their wives' surnames.

So, I'm curious what you all think of this. At least in theory -- like I said, I don't think any of this is a particularly common practice yet. So, are people who mash their names together just being silly? Are couples who make up a new surname (or take someone else's entirely) being presumptuous? Is a man who takes his wife's name particularly weak, or she particularly hard-lined feminist? Should we all just stick to the traditional way of taking the man's name, because it makes sense? How much do you really hate hyphenated surnames?

I was going to put up a poll to make it easy on you all, but I couldn't find a tractable way to phrase the question(s). So, please tell me what you're thinking in a comment. Especially if you've made it through all my rambling, as I don't expect many will.
jackofallgeeks: (Dance)
So, I complain a lot. And I worry a lot. It's part of my nature, not that I'm a negative person, but that I work through things best when I can talk through them -- verbally or digitally. So here I'm going to list a few reasons why I have it good:

  • I live in Monterey California. We've got to have the best weather in the entire country here! It doesn't often go below, say, 40 or above 70, we get a nice little rainy season in the winter, we have gorgeous blue skies and we're right next to the Pacific ocean. Really, it's a beautiful place.

  • I'm getting paid to earn my Master's Degree. I'm making about as much as I would expect to make in any standard entry-level IT job, and instead of working I'm getting an education that will easily double my earning potential. Never mind that I'm studying a subject I find both stimulating and challenging, or that for the first time ever I'm excited about my career prospects.

  • My lifestyle is such that I can hang out with friends, buy myself treats, and get my friends gifts without breaking the bank. I can generally enjoy myself without worrying about not being able to pay my bills. A bad month for me financially is one when I have to pay out of savings a little bit because I bought myself a few too many treats, and it hasn't ever meant more than just a week or two of tighter living.

  • I make friends easily, and have friends scattered throughout the country. I'm never particularly far from a friendly face.

  • I have an incredible family. Intelligent, caring, close-knit. I'm on good terms with my parents, and my siblings, my cousins. I consider a significant number of my relatives as true friends.

  • I've been told that people around here -- students and professors -- think I'm a natural match for my first pick of post-graduation employment, a lab out in Maryland.
  • Also...

    Jul. 31st, 2006 12:32 pm
    jackofallgeeks: (Embarrassed)
    A few days ago I was looking around on MySpace and wandered over to my brother's page. He has me listed under Heros, with the parenthetical, "who's a lot more awesome than he probably thinks."

    It made me smile.
    jackofallgeeks: (chixor)
    This just in: Person has a name. And her name is Tahlia. And she's not actually-blond. And she *does* watch Farscape. But she can't follow Boolean Algebra (at least, not when Josh and I talk about it, which is understandable). And she's met Gene (he was quiet, also understandable). And she called me 'Andy' (Josh was who first referenced me, so it's understandable); this has left me a little embarrassed. And they were throwing snowballs at each other. And she kicking him in the shin for me.

    Ah, young love.
    jackofallgeeks: (Default)
    Tonight was really very cool. It was Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family, which is novel for me in a lot of ways. My dad's side of the family, for the most part, is West Coast; they've diffused elsewhere in recent years, but for the most part, West Coast. My mom's side of the family is East Coast. Almost my entire life has been spent on the East Coast, with my mom's side of the family, and so I'm very familiar with them. My mom's side is a slightly younger family than my dad's side, too; where me and my sister are the oldest grandkids on my mom's side by several years, we're middling on my dad's side. Lots of my California Cousins are my age, if not a few years older than me.

    I love my mom's side of the family. I really like my dad's side of the family, but I've never spent a lot of time with them; I don't really know them much at all. But I've always wanted to. Thinking about it, it's an odd sort of thing, this affection for people I hardly know. -laughs- But that's another story.

    Tonight was great. Everyone was invited to come over at 1:00-ish, but Katie, my aunt, and her little girl Samy (age 11 these days!) came over early to help set up. Samy is one of the California cousins I know better than others, at least in part because (1) she plays with my little siblings when we visit, (2) I'm generally good with kids, and (3) kids don't intimidate me the way that peers do (true story). It was good to see her, and she's really mellowed and matured since she was younger (always a cute kid, she used to be such a brat sometimes). Later on my other cousins came; aunts and uncles in attendance included Mike, Paul, Chris, Jeannie, John. I got to sit and talk with Freddy (who's nearly exactly my age) for a long while about computers (my Major) and English (his major), which was really cool. I also talked with my cousin Kim (she just turned 24) about her nursing school stuff, which was nice. I talked a little bit with Dianna, and then some with Julie, and it was just really good. Like, I kinda know these people, but I don't, but I really care for them either way. I really wish I could spend more time with them; maybe I will in my next couple of years out here. And maybe we'll be able to keep in better touch; Freddy and I exchanged email addresses already.

    My uncle John enjoyed the vast array of wines we had and proceeded, more and more as the night went on, to make a spectacle of himself. At first, me and a few other uncles/cousins had a chat with him about government and taxes and politics when he was still mostly-sober. Then he started doing card tricks after he'd been drinking for a while. A bit later, too drunk to walk very well without help (and he'd recently hurt his knee in a surfing accident), he took me for a tour of my grandparents back yard, telling me stories about when they planted the different trees back there, and put in the brick walkway one weekend when his parents were gone, and re-seeded the backyard for my grandpa; he was thoroughly toasted, but it was still really cool. Then he went off the deep end and proceeded to tell us about memoirs he his in the wall and a man who tried to rob him once and went through secret passageway and hid under a car; I was in stitches the whole time, it was great.

    I love my family. I really, really do.
    jackofallgeeks: (Integrity)
    I just sent an email to my dad, just to say how much I admire and respect him. -smiles- And now I'm feeling really emotional. And I think I might cry. Which is exactly why I couldn't call him up and say it: because I would have never gotten it out.

    I have not know a many who was the equal of, let alone the better to, my father. Everything I am, fundamentally, is because of him. The things that are important to me -- honesty, integrity, family -- are important because they're important to him. His is the model I try to live up to, even when I'm not aware of it. I like to think that I've turned out to be a pretty decent person, and I hope I could do half as good a job with my own kids as he did with his.

    Sometimes I feel disappointed in myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm a wretched person, and I'm only getting worse the longer I'm left to my own devices. I'm just like everybody else, self-centered and inconsiderate and... Sometimes I feel really disappointed in myself for not really trying to go to the Academy, and I think my excuse of "I don't want to move anymore," is just that, and excuse, and a flimsy one. I imagine that, had I gone there, I would be more honorable and disciplined, and I'd have a set and clear career path, as opposed to drifting out here, pursuing a Master's program that often makes me feel in *way* over my head, and looking at a vague-at-best career path that doesn't clearly extend much beyond the next two years, at least in part because I'm not sure how much interest I have in it.

    I've only ever considered a careers as a means toward the end of supporting and providing for the family I've always wanted. And you all know how discouraging romance has been for me these last few years. And it's hard sometimes. And i know I'm only 22 (23 in about six months), and that is really young, and I'm not even sure I'd really *want* to be married before I was 24 (though I can't say really why I think that), but... Sometimes I just wish I had more-certain footing. It would be nice to at least know a girl that I could see a future with...

    I need some tea...
    jackofallgeeks: (Enamoured)
    Rachel, my cousin who just turned 21 today, just called to say 'thank you' for the Large Basket O'Chocolate(tm) that I sent her.
    -smiles- I love Rachel.
    jackofallgeeks: (chixor)
    For the last week or so, I have been playing Stay-At-Home Dad to my four youngest siblings. My dad recently got a promotion which involves working with the Australians, and mom decided to go with him for his introductory trip.

    So, as Gene and Josh have already gone off to school, Jenny has a family in Virginia, and Tim is living with Jenny this summer, I was the only one left to watch Greg (12), Beth (10), Becky (8), and Emily (4). All told, I rather enjoyed it.

    The first task at hand was cleaning. )
    Second was soccer practice. )
    Anyways. The third bit was cooking. )

    And that was my time being domestic and such. And I really kind of liked it. The kids weren't nearly as difficult as some might have had me believe they would be, and Greg even helped me out a lot (as I knew he would).

    There were a few points I begrudge myself, though. None of the house got (and stayed) as clean as I would have liked, and I have new appreciation for that mad-dash cleaning mom does before people come over -- yeah, no one's perfect and everyone lives like this, but... I mean, I don't want the house to be a mess, and I don't want others to see the mess, because it's not my ideal. It's not how I'd have things if it could be helped, and I don't want to give the wrong impression. Also, none of the vacuuming or laundry got done. And I found myself oddly bored at times -- oddly because I probably could have used the bored time to take care of the aforementioned missed points, but... well, frankly, I didn't want to.

    So, yes. New appreciation of what it really takes to run a household.
    And, on that note, bed. Mom and I stayed up late tonight talking, as we are wont to do from time to time, and if any of what I need to get done in the next few days is going to get done, then I need sleep.
    jackofallgeeks: (Contemplative)
    So, yeah, things have happened in the past while. Things which I've wanted to make a note of, but I haven't yet. And now I'm just really exhausted, but I feel I'm running out of time in all things, and if I don't at least note these things, I'll never get them down at all.

    I'm sure these are in some order, but I couldn't say what. )


    Jan. 25th, 2002 12:45 am
    jackofallgeeks: (Goofy)
    I love talking with my dad. ^_^ I love the way I can just kid around with him. I would say "like one of the guys" but we all know how many guy friends I have. He's just a really cool guy, even given that he's not only an Old Person, but he's my father, y'know? It's just the coolest thing. I think I agree with my mom - he never grew up.

    ::Dances:: They're going to Order me the Last Unicorn VHS! They said they'd send it here and just deduct the cost from the amount they transfer to me for the housing payment! Score! I'm. So. Flipping. Happy!

    Spotted Austin online t'day - Leslie gave me his contact info and I tagged him on AIM. When he figured out it was me (Austin: "Who is this?" Me: "Some call me...Tim. But you can call me Andrew." Austin: "ANDREW!?") then he told me how he'd missed me - in a 30% straight way. Right. Well, I'll take what I can get. I must confess that I'd been thinking about the guy the other night - I mean, he really is kinda cool, and having someone hitting on you can't be ALL bad. ^_^*

    So we talked for a while, and he kept bringing up my flaw of heterosexuality (Me: "They're all either married or straight, ne?"), but it was all good. I'm sure we talked about something interesting, but being me, I can't remember what.

    (Singsong) I'm getting the Last Unicorn...
    Hee hee hee. Now all I need is that soundtrack. Someone remind me to e-mail Mel my address. The happies. ^_^ I owe half of it to The Didgital Shepherd (for mentioning it in the first place) and three fourths of it to Mel (just because she's so. Flipping. Awsome.), and so I thank you both proportionally. Thankie you muches!

    AND, Claire's gonna be here in...uhm...24 minus 7..that's, uhm...17? Seventeen hours from now? Yeah, I'm so much joystuffs. I leave now, before I explode.
    jackofallgeeks: (Goofy)
    Yes, yes it was. )
    jackofallgeeks: (Goofy)
    I love my parents.

    I mean, yeah, sure, I suspect everyone does, but I hear all these horror stories about not being able to talk to your parents, or worse not being able to trust them.

    I love being able to be honest with my parents. LOL I mean, sometimes I'm concerned with telling them the bare facts, but I shouldn't be. I told them about my weekend with Claire and, well, they kinda had funny responses. My mom was a little upset that I'd gotten off work, and my dad asked if she was cute! LOL

    I respect my parents, just generally, but even more so because they treat me as a real person, you know? I mean, somtimes "adults" kind of pass you over if you're 20+ years younger than them. But, as I've said before, my parents are cool.

    LOL My dad sent me an e-mail about a chance to win an xBox, and when I mentioned it, he said "I never sent you that (Mom's watching)". ^_^ Mom, of course, consider's dad to be her tenth child many times.

    I love my parents.


    jackofallgeeks: (Default)
    John Noble

    August 2012

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