jackofallgeeks: (Bashful)
So just to make sure I have all my bases covered, LJ post!

So as some of you may be aware, I started seeing a girl a little while ago, Meghan Donahoe. I'd met her about four years ago when I was taking dance lessons at Gene's school, Christendom College. We got along well from the start, but between my Master's program sending me to California and her own ordeal with school (she transferred a few times and ended up at Steubenville in Ohio, with Josh), we never got a chance to develop our relationship. Since I graduated a year ago and moved back into the area, we finally got and took that chance.

That's not the announcement, though. The announcement is that over the weekend I asked Meghan to marry me and she said "yes." So, we're engaged. I'm a simple man and never really had any elaborate plans for proposing -- no fancy restaurant or candle-lit courtyards or banners or anything. I didn't even really plan a "when." The only thing I knew I wanted was to proposed at her parents' house, preferably at the little gazebo they have by the pond by their house. And on Friday, with a light rain and a gentle breeze, that's what I did. It was a lot more never-wracking than I'd expected, considering I knew she was going to say yes.

We don't have a date yet, though we're thinking probably sometime next Summer (she's graduating from college in the Spring), and we're looking to get married out at her home parish in Front Royal, Virginia. But I wanted to write and let you all know what's what. I'm kind of excited.

Now, most of the preamble there shouldn't be news to anyone here, but if this is the first time you're hearing about the actual proposal and engagement that means (1) you don't have Facebook and/or we aren't friends there, and (2) I don't have your email address. I'd love to rectify either or both of those -- you can leave details in the comments, as I'll be keeping them screened.
jackofallgeeks: (Goofy)
A) People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.

B) Tag eight people to do this quiz and those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by. Continue this game by sending it to other people.


1. What are your reasons for having a LJ?
Communication. By which I mean dialog. It's terribly unsatisfying for me to just push out information; I like to have a little back-and-forth in the Comments.

2. What do you do before bedtime?
Brush my teeth. Usually read.

3. What will your dream wedding be like?
I don't really dream about my wedding; it will be, and whatever it is will be great. I specifically don't want a 'perfect' wedding, where everything follows so great plan line by line -- not just because I know it'll never happen, but because life and everything in it is made more interested by the little imperfections. All THAT being said, I'd like a pretty traditional wedding, performed in a Catholic Church and probably as part of a mass.

4. What is the city of your dreams and why?
Nope, don't really have one. I was born and bred a suburbanite, and I'm rather fond of the environ. I don't really care about most cities one way or the other: if you've seen one, you've seen them all.

5. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I imagine I'm an extrovert. I love people, and time without interpersonal action tends to drive me a little crazy. Being with and around people recharges my batteries.

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
Each, alone, is a curse.

7. Do you trust easily?
Yes. Trust is my default mode.

8. If you could buy yourself any ONE thing what would it be?
A single-family home; I love my townhouse, but I expect to buy-up some day, any ways.

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
Yeah, something a few days ago get me feeling really dysphoric, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Such is my life: whatever my current state, I have always been and will always be in that state, and no other. At least, until the next state replaces it.

10. What is your best quality?
I want to say my dedication, but I'm not sure how to rope that off. When I make a commitment -- to my job, my friends, my ideals -- I stick to it.

11. Is being tagged fun?
Tagged as in memes? Yeah, sure; bonus points if you name me individually, because I like the ego boost.

12. How do you see yourself?
Intellectual, empathetic, affectionate, and laid-back.

13. Who are currently the most important people to you?
-laughs- Not sure how to answer that. I'm going to say my family: they've known me the longest and they've always been there for me. I adore my sisters and my brothers are my best of friends.

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
She's an amazing woman. Funny and smart and creative. I agree with Daisy: she's made of win.

15. Would you rather be single and rich or married but poor?
Married but poor. Things are things, and you can and will make do with whatever you have. But I can't stand to be lonely.

16. How many children do you want to have, if any?
As many as we're granted. I come from a noble history of large families, and the more children I have the happier I'll be.

17. What's better, to give or to receive?
Giving. Recieving, while nice, tends to embarrass me.

18. What is your dream career?
I don't know. Right now, I'm a consultant. A certain part of me wants to stay there, but another part of me really likes the idea of becoming a lawyer some day and wrestling with tech law (as it seems most lawyers, judges, and lawmakers don't understand technology). Another part of me thinks being a teach would be nice -- not teaching anything technical, rather I think I'd like to teach philosophy (but I think I'm hardly qualified for that). Finally, part of me wants to be a writer, but that part of me is content to wait until finances are no longer as-pressing of a need.

19. What would you do if you became pregnant unexpectedly?
By definition, if I became pregnant it would be unexpected. I'd probably be subjected to a lot of tests, end up with a C-section, and sell the movie rights. (Damn it, someone beat me to it!)

20. What were your parents going to name you if you'd been born the opposite sex?
I'm pretty sure I would have been an Elizabeth. My older sister Jenny got her name mostly because my dad was really fond of it. Elizabeth is my mom's mom's name, and it's what my little sister ended up with, so I imagine that if I'd been a girl first that's what I would have gotten.

Now, I tag:
Anybody who wants to do this. (Cop-out, I know, but you'll learn to love me again.)
jackofallgeeks: (Chivalrous)
Man am I exhausted. Last week was... just tiring, really. I had long stretches of practically nothing to do at work, followed by short bursts of not-quite-frantic activity, then more boredom. That takes a lot out of a guy.

This weekend's been a whole lot of good stuff; I always, always under-estimate how awesome it feels for me to get out and socialize.

Last night I went to my buddy Chris's place for "Ice Cream and Movie" night. It was me, Chris, his roomies Betsy and Jayna, and our friend Joia. (Chris mentioned that we had a full house and I didn't get it until this morning). We started the night playing Super Smash Brother Brawl (playing Stock is A LOT different from playing Time), then played some WarioWare (which is AWESOME), and then watched Hellboy, which actually wasn't nearly as bad as I expected (I actually kinda liked it).

Tonight was a Surpise Going Away Brithday Party for a mutual friend Colin, also over at Chris's place. LOTS more people this time, plus drinkies and foodstuffs. I really like that crowd (though, in all honestly, I'd have to admit to being a little uncomfortable at times in certain situations), and I met some really neat people tonight (notably a girl named Ainlsey, whose name alone is awesome).

Both tonight and last night I was told that I'm funny, great to be around, and have a "genuine laugh." So it's a nice ego boost for me. But it occurred to me on my way home how much it really means to me when people compliment my laugh. I remember being picked on in elementary and middle school because of my laugh, and while I'm sure it's matured over the years, it's nice when people not only tolerate my laugher, but honestly like it. I'd say, "just the little things, I guess," except the point is it isn't just a little thing for me. My laughter is very much a defining aspect of me.

Tomorrow promises to be good, too. I'm going to try and introduce myself to the choirgirl at church, and if I can figure out some kind of a list I want to get to the grocery store and maybe the liquor store, too; I was reminded tonight how much I love amaretto, and I'm almost out of scotch. Then in the evening I'm going to the starting session of a Role-playing game with me, Anastasiya, Ben, Daniel, and Kirt. I'm really psyched because I love the system we're planning on using.

It should be a great weekend all around.
jackofallgeeks: (pl4y with 3vil)
I like MMOs.

I've played World of Warcraft, The Matrix Online, Guild Wars, Dungeon Runner, City of Heroes, City of Villains, and EVE Online.

Some are better than others. WoW has arguably the strongest base, but CoH/V gives you great control over customizing your character. GuildWars is subscriptionless and generally good; Dungeon Runner is subscriptionless and mediocre-at-best. EVE Online is a very cool idea, but comes of as dull and confusing. In fact, the only reason I've played EVE at all is because I got a free trial of it. After two days, I still don't know what I'm supposed to do or how to improve my character, so the odds of me *paying* for the game are slim.

The point is, though, offering a free trial is probably the best thing an MMO can do right now. "The first taste is free," and if your game can deliver then they'll come back for more. That's part of the trouble I'm having right now, or rather, that's the problem I wish I was having.

Tabula Rasa is out. It's a new MMO, big whup, but instead of being another Fantasy game (as it seems most MMOs are), they're taking a Sci-Fi track. That's nothing new, The Matrix Online and EVE Online are both Sci-Fi, but not being "another fantasy game" is at least a step in the right direction. In my opinion, Matrix was half-cocked and EVE is not-even but still, two points for effort. Tabula Rasa is even supposed to play less like a standard 3rd-person MMO and more like a 1st-person shooter -- hitting your target is still based on stats and die-rolls, but the look and feel (I'm told) is FPS. That's a good mark, too.

The trouble is, I can't seem to find a free trial to the game. Which is a HUGE obstacle to even giving the game a shot. To buy the software is $50 right now, and then to get a month's subscription is $15 additional. I'm unwilling to pay $65 on a game sight-unseen when there are other quasi-similar games that I already have a feel for. If it was, say, $20+$15, or maybe even $25+$15, then I might be willing to give it a shot, but $65 is just outrageous, *especially* when I have no idea what the game is actually *like*. If I'd paid $65 to get EVE Online I'd be pissed.

So, I'm stuck. I'd like to give Tabula Rasa a shot, I think it looks like good stuff, but I thought the same of EVE before I played it. I'm not saying that Tabula Rasa and any other MMO that tried to break onto the scene without a free trial is going to fail, per se, but I am saying it's unlikely that I'll be playing.

That being said, I'm going to hop onto CoH/V.

Edit: Apparently the $50 buy-in includes a month of playtime. That's still $35+$15, which at least brings it down to an almost-reasonable level. I still have my reservations.
jackofallgeeks: (Seriously Though)
I haven't posted much at all lately. Not that I haven't had anything to post about, quite the opposite. I just haven't taken the time to sit and write anything.

It's been so busy. I'm back home, in Maryland. It's great to be back; the trees make me happy, which probably sounds like a really strange thing to say. It's true, though. I've seen friends and family, though not as much as I'd like. Maybe once I get settled in and start getting paid again I'll be able to plan that sort of thing.

I started work last Monday. A week or orientation and paperwork, and now a week of meetings and presentations. Next week I start my first 'assignment,' 90 days or so in the lab getting a feel for what's going on back there. After that I'm told I'll be moving more into my 'real' job, which is applying what happens in the lab to real-world projects that we get called in on. I'm looking forward to it all. I like where I'm at.

I'm buying a house. And by "buying a house," I still mean looking at properties and nailing down financial paperwork. But everything's moving well. There's a townhouse in Annapolis I like, but on Wednesday I'm going out to look at places in Laurel and Glen Burnie, which are more-local and would cut my commuting time down significantly. (Plus put me just down the street from my cousins Christina, Lisa, and Molly.) Whenever I think about it I get lightheaded, but I'm really excited about getting my own place.

Trevor and Rose got married this weekend; I was one of the groomsmen. It was actually really awesome, lots of fun, and I was really happy for them. I'm glad they 'made it' (despite their on-again/off-again history), and I hope they have a long, happy life together.

I should write a whole post on the wedding, and I'd like to (it was great), but lest I simply not say anything at all... I caught the garter. It's even funnier than that, though. There were, oh, 6 to 12 single ladies who fought for the bouquet (some more than others). There were around 24 or so single guys. Trevor threw the garter and, as one, the other 23 guys pushed me forward. -smirk-

I guess that pretty much covers all the news points. I feel... hazy, in a way. I feel like I missed the last two years of life, what with my cousins going off to college, and my little cousins all in high school and getting boyfriends and stuff. And now I'm here and I'm getting my own place, and I'm living life. It's still all rather unreal. But I'm liking it. I'm happy.
jackofallgeeks: (pl4y with 3vil)
So, as my time here in Monterey swiftly draws to a close, I prepare to make my final purchace at The Game Habitat, the local game/hobby store where I've been spending the bulk of my weekends, playing MtG, chatting with the owner about any number of things, and buying a handful (or six) of boardgames and RPG books. The Game Habitat (which the owner wanted to name 'It's All Fun and Games' but his wife nixed it due to the intentionally implied 'until someone loses and eye') is one of the best local game shops I've ever had the joy to patronize (that's not the right word, is it...?), due in no small part to the great people I've met there, and I'm really going to miss it.

But that's not the point of this post. The point is I'm getting ready to buy a boatload of games, mostly RPGs, and as many of you on this list (1) play RPGs and (2) live in the area I'm moving to, I thought it'd be an idea to let you in on what I'm getting. Any opinions you have are unlikely to change *what* I get, but I'd really like to play (most of these) with you guys.

I already have most of the new World of Darkness, as as I've always liked the *idea* behind WoD, I'd love to play this new, more-integrated incarnation. In particular, I just picked up Changeling: the Lost and so far it seems to be everything I wish the Dreaming had been. I think, maybe, with a different storyline and slightly more organization and cooperation, it might be nice to try a game of it with some (or most) of the players I originally met at Loki's attempted Dreaming game. I know I'd like to see my character re-rolled in the new setting, and I *know* I'd like to see how our characters might've interacted if the game didn't... collapse onto itself.

Along similar lines, I've really liked the looks of Scion, and the second book (and thereby second arc of the story) comes out in another week or so. I think there's a lot of potential in that game, and who *doesn't* want to play the son of a God?

I just picked up the core rules for Savage Worlds -- a $10 core that supports some half-dozen or so separate, fully-functioning games. Of those, I intend to get Deadlands (supernatural horror in a twisted Wild West during the Civil War era), Rippers (supernatural horror in Victorian/Industrial setting, where people become monsters to hunt monsters), a game set in the middle of the Vietnam War (with a healthy dose of supernatural horror and a basic assumption that everyone will die withing a session or three), and Necessary Evil (a game where all the superheroes have been killed in a great betrayal and it's left to the super villains to protect planet earth from invading aliens -- LOTS of potential if thew villains are well-crafted, believable villains and not just the "you can't destroy the earth, *I* want to!" kind). I, uhm, tend towards supernatural horror, I think...

I'm also getting the Legend of the Five Rings game; I don't actually expect to *play* it, except with maybe my brothers, but there you go.

There may be a handful of others -- I already have the newest rules for Shadowrun and Ars Magica, both of which I'd love to play, never mind possibly treading into RIFTS...

Seriously, people, I *want* to RP. Honest-to-god table-top RP. I don't even mind (so much) if I have to be the one running the games -- I plan on having a house so I can certainly host games. I've time and again been denied playing in games, and I'd like that to change in the next couple years.

Heh heh, I'm starting to sound desperate, huh? Heh. Yeah. I'ma go now.
jackofallgeeks: (Contemplative)
So, I was at Mass this morning, and during his homily the priest made a reference to a poem by William Blake, "The Little Black Boy." In particular, he noted that in the poem the black boy's mother says, "And we are put on earth a little space/That we may learn to bear the beams of love," and he went on to explain that the meaning of life, as he believes and as Blake puts it, is to experience love.

I think that through his homily he had the right idea, but when he stated his conclusion he missed the mark; I think he misinterpreted "bear the beams of love." I'm no English major, I've never seen the poem before, and I certainly never spoke to Blake himself, but I don't think the sense is meant to be "experience the rays of love" but rather, "to uphold the structure of love." It says a couple things about me, I guess. First, that I think life is meant to be active, not passive; we aren't meant to just experience things, but to be a part of them, to do things. If we're all just sitting back experiencing love, who's the one providing it? But it also speaks to the fact that I think love is hard, that it takes effort to love and, in fact, that it takes effort to be loved.

Analyze me through that as you wish, but I think it holds.
jackofallgeeks: (Contemplative)
Click to view my Personality Profile page

This probably doesn't surprise anyone, though I actually would have expected my spacial intelligence to be up higher... Ah well.

I've been looking around the site and reading more on ESTP vs. ESTJ and I think I've concluded that I am fairly soundly a P. There are still aspects of my personality that call to the J (and, actually, to the T, as well). The deciding factor mostly boils down to: "Rules and laws are seen as guidelines for behavior, rather than mandates. However, the ESTP tends to have their own strong belief in what's right and what's wrong, and will doggedly stick to their principles. The Rules of the Establishment may hold little value to the ESTP, but their own integrity mandates that they will not under any circumstances do something which they feel to be wrong."

In fact, if you want to know who (I think) I am, read This. They have me pegged pretty soundly.
jackofallgeeks: (Contemplative)
Click to view my Personality Profile page

So, the interesting thing here is that a few years ago, when I was still in Junior or Senior year of college -- maybe as early as Sophomore year, I can't recall -- my family had the opportunity to "do the real thing." My dad's work was having a psyche guy come in to evaluate them all for some kind of work-place efficiency, "how can we all work together" thing, and families were invited by said psyche guy to participate. We all filled out paper surveys and turned them in, and then Mr. Psyche-guy gave us personal results and said a few things about how our family probably operates. In particular, my family is a whole bunch of P's. P's tend to want to leave their options open and are more likely to say what they *don't* want as opposed to what they *do* want, like when deciding on where to go out to for dinner. It has been established that I am more likely than not a P out of necessity rather than true preference -- I'd rather things were more ordered and decisive, but I'd rather have no plan at all than risk changing plans at the last minute (as is likely the case with all these P's).

My report came up just like this, with middling-to-strong preferences. I haven't read what this site says about ESTP, but the report I got then said that we were very much centered in there here-and-now, what's actually in front of us, concerned with hard facts and action. At the time I was hesitant to accept the result; it didn't really sound that much like me, to me. Except that (contrary to my occasional bashfulness), I am more extroverted than introverted, and I am more in tune with my senses than my intuition, and I do function more on reasoning than on emotions. Over the years I've had many opportunities to observe that I am more focused on the concrete Now than I am on the Future, and though I enjoy thinking about theories and possibilities even then it all comes back to how it relates to the way things ARE. And I am definitely more interested in action than in-action; nothing frustrates me quicker than being denied the ability to act.

The only thing I think I might still complain about is that P. I think that as far as preferences go I am naturally an ESTJ, and the P is just a result of 20+ years of frustrated preferences. When we're going out to dinner, Gene says he doesn't want Italian, Josh says he doesn't want Mexican, and I say we should go get steak.
jackofallgeeks: (Tears)
So this evening my friend Laurel got in a little fight with her boyfriend. She was irritated, so we chatted about it, and she said that she was upset and I guess was making a point of ignoring him, and he wasn't making a big deal of it. And she said that she didn't know if his not making a big deal of it was helping or making things worse; part of her wanted him to try making up for being dumb, and was irritated that he wasn't putting forth effort.

It reminded me at the time of Anastasiya, and how at one point (and maybe even up through present day) when she would get angry or upset, she'd run away, but part of her always wished and hoped that someone would chase after her. Because, I guess, if someone chased her when she ran, then she could trust that they wanted to be there, with her.

It didn't strike me until now that I'm like that, too. I don't run, but I hide. And I want very badly for someone to come and find me. I've realized that I spend a lot of my time at home sitting in my room, sometimes actively avoiding my house mates -- not because I don't like them, but because I'm really afraid of being rejected by them. I hide because I like them, and because I recognize that I'm of a different sort. I'm always of a different sort, wherever I go, and I don't like rejection. So, I hide; they can't reject me if they never see me.

And yet I sit here, trying to hide conspicuously, hoping that someone will find me and say, "Hey, there you are. Come hang out with us; we like you and want you around." I feel so twelve again, so scared and vulnerable. And in the end this is why people I used to know intimidate me, because they can reject me, and I've no defense to that. I think, reflecting on that, it's why I'm so open on this journal, because it's the same sort of thing: hiding in plain sight.

The thing is, I know it's ridiculous to run hoping someone chases you, to hide wishing to be found. It's what I told Anastasiya before. You can't expect people to play a game you haven't told them the rules to; you can't expect them to know that you want the opposite result from what your actions are aimed at.

I don't want to be alone, but I fear the rejection that seeking company threatens.
jackofallgeeks: (Seriously Though)
There's really only one thing I like about April Fool's Day: finding all the absurd announcements on various websites.
jackofallgeeks: (Setsuna)
Tonight was definitely one of the best nights of my life. It was just great.

Friday nights are Draft nights at the Game Habitat (the game shop I'm always referring to). We usually get a mid- to large-sized draw of players, and it's a nice time, usually whittling down to The Usuals by the end of the night. Saturdays are Constructed tournaments, which usually draws significantly fewer players -- almost always just The Usuals, and the games run a bit timelier because we're all playing decks we've personally tuned to the event. I like these a little bit better, partly because I feel more comfortable with my weapon of choice, and partly because there's less riffraff (and, as noted, I'm kind of an elitist). It's just the regular guys; we all know each other and we all kick around for a few hours with our shared hobby.

Tonight after the tournament (Haven beat Rob in the finals; I was running an experimental B/W deck dubbed "Save the Pandas" by it's original creator), a group of us went around the corner to Denny's. We ate some food, drank some coffee, chatted a lot about MtG, The Game Habitat, Judging, problem players, everything. We also played a cool little card game called Gloom, which I very much want to get now; it's loads of fun. Haven, Brent, Chris and I played a couple rounds of it.

After all that I drove Haven, Brent, and Chris to their respective homes. We got to hear about when Brent got beat up by a swan, and the strange wordplay games Haven and his siblings (Lyric, Cheer, and Eden; their parents were hippies) play. Then Brent asked what the band was that I was playing -- ThouShaltNot, which I admitted was Goth music. And apparently both Brent and Haven like Goth music (in retrospect, I think the large-gage earrings Brent has should have tipped me off), and Brent asked if I'd heard of VNV Nation -- if you're keeping score at home, VNV Nation is one of my three favorite bands! So he asked if I know Apoptygma Berzerk and was surprised when I said I did -- no one knows Apoptygma Berzerk, and he thought he was showing off.

So we got into this whole thing about my 'other life' as a Goth, and I told them how Leslie says "deep down inside I have black little heart that bleeds mascara." We got into talking about Goth clubs, anime conventions, leather pants, and randomly making out with Mint.

At one point Haven said, "It makes sense now: it only sounds like giggling, it's really the laughter of the damned!" We all laughed a lot. I laughed myself to tears -- which was bad, as I was driving at the time. My sides *still* hurt, I laughed so much.

So the three of us have decided we seriously need to hang out more, outside of weekly MtG events and stuff. They both already have my email (JackOfAllGeeks) and apparently they both envy me for it -- "We didn't I think of that," Brent said.

A very awesome night.
jackofallgeeks: (Diastole)
So, I Posted about this 'Miracle Fruit thing back in February, but as it's cropped up again on my Friends Page and I think it's worth noting, I'm reposting.

The long and short is there's this fruit with a 'glycoprotein' that makes sour things taste sweet. It's apparently been used for centuries, it's heavily marketted in Japan, and has seen both low-cal desserts and relief for people with diabetes -- two things, I think, that Americans would be very interested in.

Unfortunately, the FDA has banned the Miracle Fruit, for apparently unknown reasons. It's not hard to imagine that pressures from Big Sugar and diabetes-pharmaceutical lobbyists might have had an influence on the decision. Some seem to think the FDA fears that miraculin (the glycoprotien I mentioned) might mask the flavors of Aspirin or other things that are toxic in high quantities (and kids might eat them! Think of the children!), but there seems to be a Lengthy Paper saying that won't happen (ie, miraculin won't mask said toxic thingums).

So, there you have it. The FDA is keeping us from some very interesting cuisine experiences, likely because they're being paid to by people who profit otherwise.
jackofallgeeks: (Crazy Monkey)
So, a while back I found Jonathan Coulton's song Code Monkey. ) This is currently serving as my own personal theme-song. Searching iTunes for more songs by ThouShaltNot (one of my current favorite bands), I found If I Only Were A Goth. ) Certainly not theme-song material, but I think it's amusing, especially considering the way some of my friends react to my association with the subculture.
jackofallgeeks: (Contemplative)
So a friend of mine just sent out an email to 500 of her closest friends (yours truly included) announcing that Congress is currently set to vote on a bill to ammend the Constitution with 52 words -- called "The Women's Equality Amendment," the fifty two words allegedly read thus: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. The email goes on to encourage us to not "let what happened in 1982 happen again (only 35 states ratified the amendment cause it to fail)!"

Now, if I just came out and said, "I think this is a bad idea," I'm quite certain I'd be stoned, or at the very least glared at and snubbed as a misogynist. But I don't think this is a bad move to make because I hate women; I think it's a bad move to make because I hate government.

Or, at the very least, I don't trust government. Generally speaking, I think that we are best served by a government which meddles with our lives as little as possible and still maintain order. That is, unless there's something broken, I don't think we need to make laws governing it -- or, rather, I think we should not make laws governing it. Particularly national laws, and most especially ammendments to the consitiution! If the state of California makes a law, it applies only to Californians and, if all goes well, reflects what it is Californians value. If I find that California and I don't value the same things, it's not that difficult to move elsewhere, generally speaking. But when the national government makes a law, that law ought to rightly reflect the values that all Americans share in common as it applies to us all and, short of becoming Canadian, there's no way to avoid it. Additionally, it's so much more difficult to establish what Americans value as a whole compared to what Californians value as a whole, since it's a lergher population you're trying to track.

But, you might say, who *doesn't* value women's equality? And actually, that's part of my point. Women already have laws protecting their right to vote, the most fundamental of rights in our system of government, not to mention different laws regulating hiring practices and discrimination in education, so on ad nausium. My complaint is not that this law is wrong, but that it is unnecessary. And as I belueve every law is one more finger the government has in our lives, ever unnecessary law is an offense to me. Nevermind that vague or obscure laws can be tripwires for the unwary -- and I don't trust the government to not try and trip us up, and I certainly don't trust those who move in government not to do so. These fifty two words seem very innocuous, but if they're unneeded, they are unwarrented, and ought not be entered into law.

Now, I'll admit that I am a man and do not see a problem regarding this issue; particularly, I'll admit that I don't pay attention to this issue because (1) I'm a man and (2) I do not see a problem regarding this issue. So it's very possible that I've missed some key injustice suffered on women that requires an Ammendment to fix. In the absense of such an injustice, though, I feel this Ammendment ought not pass.
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: (Saddened)
Every week, I got out to the game store, play one of my favorite games with a room full of people who's company I really enjoy, talk with the owner of the shop about role-playing and board games, that out until midnight or later. And then come home and feel exceedingly sad.

Sometimes being energized by other people can have it's downsides, too.
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.
  • Whee Taxes

    Mar. 20th, 2007 02:18 pm
    jackofallgeeks: (Winning)
    So, I just did the paperwork for my taxes. I'm 'blessed' with having to fill out two partial-resident tax forms for Sate taxes, and I feel like an old man, squinting at my calculator and tax forms under the rim of my glasses.

    It looks like I'm getting $330 back from the federal government, $148 from Virginia, and I owe $13.25 to California. That's a net gain of $464.75. Which is admittedly better than owing them money (when I was first doing the math for CA's taxes I messed up on som,e division and had down that my taxes were 2x what they really were, meaning I would have owed upwards of $700; that wouldn't have been happy). I can only feel partly happy for getting my money back, though, because that's what it is -- my money was withheld from me, and now after the fact the government is saying, "Whoops, here, this isn't ours." The number of times an extra $450 in my bank would have saved me a lot of grief... And on top of that, unlike a bank they aren't even going to give me any interest in return for using my money for the last year.

    The bastards.
    jackofallgeeks: (Default)
    Mr. Robot looks like it could be a cool game. Robot-adventure combined with Lolo-style puzzles combined with FF6-style battles.

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    jackofallgeeks: (Default)
    John Noble

    August 2012

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