Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sex = Fun 2?

I love Facebook.  Being on Facebook is like being a politician.  If you collect enough Friends, you don't have to pay attention to any of them.

I came across a thread about teens having sex.  One participant was dismayed teenagers were having babies.  Oh, you silly teens.  Having sex is for grown-ups!  Don't you know that?

Someone posted: "It's not just for making babies.  Sex is fun, too!"

Ah, we're back to that, are we?  I thought I took care of this in 2009.  Let's try it another way.  Sit down.  I'll tell you a story:

Imagine you meet and marry the greatest person in the world.  Your spouse is perfect: brilliant, funny, caring, gorgeous, sexy.  You have a family, and when you both decide there's enough kids in your life, your spouse sits down with you.

"You're awhat?" you say.

"I don't enjoy sex.  Not even a little.  I never have.  It's just the way I was born.  I only had sex to please you so we could have a family.  I can't do it anymore.  I love you.  I love our family.  I'll do anything else, but no more sex of any kind."

Shouldn't be a problem, right?  After all, you have the family you want.  There are other kinds of fun you can have with your spouse: bar-hopping, fine dining, movies, camping, etc.  Worse comes to worst, you can masturbate, or hire a prostitute, or have an affair.

(Amusing side note.  Only 10% of men who had affairs report that their mistresses were prettier than their wives.  Take away: if you're going to sleep around, you have to lower your standards.)
There's a reason we don't see their faces.

If sex is just for entertainment and procreation, it shouldn't matter.  If you'd be fine giving up going to sports or movies or concerts with your perfect spouse, you'd be fine giving up having a sex life.

However, if sex is also about self-esteem, about your identity, about intimacy and bonding with another person, you'd be fine shutting up about sex being about fun and babies.

Please don't make me have to write another post about this in five years.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trainer to English Dictionary

I've been seeing a personal trainer for many years.

My adventure in exercise started in the late 90s.  I'd been working for software companies for several years.  Not being even slightly interested in sports or exercise and working in front of computers (and enjoying a sedentary lifestyle), I atrophied at an alarming rate.  I've always had back pain , but it wasn't until I turned my head one day and threw out my back that I realized I needed help.

"I'm fine.  I always walk like this."
Then I changed my mind.  I wasn't thrilled with the idea of going to the gym.  The kids who worked out were the same ones who picked on me in high school, and old resentments die hard.  After I threw my back out two more times and spent weeks walking like Quasimodo, I agreed to a session with a trainer.  We'll call him "Daniel"* to protect my ego.

Training started from the most embarrassing possible place.  Standing in a corner of the gym's free weight room, surrounded by men and women trying out for roles in a Schwarzenegger biopic, Daniel gave me a beach ball.
Even she made me look bad.
"Hold this at arm's length and twist from side to side," he said.

"That's it?" I said, affronted. "Twist?"

After twenty twists, I was lying on the floor, covered in sweat, panting, seized up in agony.  My triceps had cramped so badly, Daniel had to help me into a stretch to make the pain stop.

I kept seeing Daniel, and working on building my strength.  It's taken me years to become the giant, gorgeous mass of muscle I am today.  And...  Hm...

Oh, right, there was a point to all this.  After many years and thousands of dollars spent on training, I've learned a few things that will help you, should you choose to visit a trainer.  The most important lesson I can impart is this: trainers don't speak English.

Well, it's a special version of English that uses words differently than we normal humans (or "flabby, girly men") do.  Here's a quick chart to help you translate:

Trainer says
Trainer means
Five more.
How many more push-ups can I make you do?
Three more.
I bet I can make you have a heart attack!
One more.
You're still breathing.
I'll call 911
How are you feeling?
Do you have a will?
Try it more like this.
I think I heard a bone snap.
Good work today.
I thought you were going to die.
You need to work out at home.
You get bigger every week.
Looking good!
Wow, you're fat.
See you next week.
I look forward to hurting you.
Any sentence with nouns.
You're too fat.
Any sentence with verbs.
This is going to hurt.

Hope that helps.  See you at the gym!  I'll be the guy in the corner with the beach ball, looking sexy.

*His real name.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Dr. Who Spec Script (Part 1)

I was always a Dr. Who geek.  As a kid, I would watch Tom Baker (and the "other" Doctors) regularly defeat horrible monsters with great enjoyment.
  • When the show was cancelled, I was dismayed.  
  • When they tried to make an American version, I was dismayed.  
  • When they made the new version, I was dismayed.
A year ago, I tried watching the new version of Dr. Who again, and I liked it.  I watched all the way to the Peter Capaldi season (which isn't on Netflix yet).

If any both of you read the title of this post, you know I'm going.  I decided to write an episode.  The script below comprises the first quarter of it.  I've outlined the rest, but haven't finished.

My question to you: What do you think?  Should I finish it?  Will the BBC answer my emails?

               EXT. SPACE

               A giant SPACE BATTLESHIP with GLOWING ENGINES tears through
               space.  It rushes towards a small, blue world, bent on
               horrible destruction.  Dark, terrifying music plays.

               The engines flicker and with a sad BEEE-WOOP, go dark.  The
               battleship slows and the nose goes down as it loses attitude

               After a beat, the engines light up again with an ominous hum. 
               It rights itself and rushes forward towards the planet again.

               BEEE-WOOP.  The engines fail another time.  

               The TARDIS appears.  It's spinning in circles around the
               battleship's engines.  The engines re-ignite but are struck
               by a beam from the TARDIS and go out again.  The battleship
               and the TARDIS are stuck in a stalemate: technology vs.

               INT. BRIDGE

               CAPTAIN MALANTHE, a sleek, angry woman sits in the center
               chair surrounded by lights and screens.  The bridge rocks
               around her, equipment sparks, but she ignores it all to stare
               furiously at her VIEWSCREEN, where THE DOCTOR stares back at
               her, leaning against the center console.  CLARA stands in the
               background, clutching a railing.

               Melanthe presses a button on the arm of her chair.

                         Re-ingite the primary engines.

                                   MECHANICAL VOICE
                         Main engines online.

               The lights on the bridge brighten.

                             (to Clara)
                         Press the button again.

               Clara jumps forward and presses a single button.  The
               battleship bridge shakes and sparks fly from consoles again. 
               The muffled BEEE-WOOP can be heard as the engines shut down.

                         You can't win, Doctor!  That planet
                         will die, sooner or later.

                         It's going to be later.  Much, much
                         later.  Without your light drives,
                         it will take you about...  Hm.  

               Does math on his fingers.

                                   DOCTOR (CONT'D)
                         Carry the two... Fifty years to
                         reach Thalossa 3.  You'll be old
                         and grey by then.

                         So will you.

               The Doctor glances at his reflection on the console and
               subconsciously fixes his hair.

                         Some of us wear it well.  Who would
                         hire you to eradicate the
                         Thalossans?  They don't harm
                         anyone.  They're sympaths.  It
                         literally hurts them more than it
                         hurts you.

                         I don't ask why.  It's just my job.

                         Get a new job.  I hear accounting
                         is nice.

                         You can't stop me.

                         I am stopping you.  Didn't...
                         Didn't you just see that?  With
                         your engines going "beeeeeeoop" and
                         all?  You want me to do it again? 
                         Clara!  Button.

               Click.  Beeeeeoop.

                         Oh, you can slow me down, but
                         sooner or later that ugly,
                         crumbling, wreck of yours is going
                         to fail and I will win.

               INT. TARDIS

               The Doctor and Clara are watching Melanthe on a holographic
               screen near the central console.  He sputters with anger.

                         Did you just call...?  The TARDIS
                         is not a..!  How dare..!  It's not
                         crumbling!  Clara!

                         Push the button again?

                         No, pull the lever!

               She looks over the console for a beat.

                         Which one?

                         The BIG one.  The Big Red Lever.

               Clara pulls the lever.  A deep hum builds up.

                                   DOCTOR (CONT'D)
                         I was going to let you go.  I was
                         going to let you start over.  I
                         even signed you up for an
                         accounting class.  But nobody
                         insults the TARDIS.  Now you pay
                         the price.

               The hum reaches its crescendo.

                                                                CUT TO:

               EXT. SPACE

               The TARDIS unleashes a piercing beam of energy at the
               battleship.  Lightning rips across the surface of the ship
               and explosions blossom on the engines.

               INT. BRIDGE

               Melanthe is still smiling.

                         Thank you doctor.

               She reaches down and picks up a metal ball the size of a shot
               put with a small, paper note taped to it.  The Doctor puts on
               his glasses and leans forward.

                         What's that?

                         A gift from an old enemy of yours.

                         Who?  The Daleks?




                         The Master?  The Silence?  The
                         Centaurans?  Animus?  Slitheen? 
                         Sil?  Megron?  The Faceless Ooze? 
                         Nomatron Seven?

               Melanthe continues to shake her head.

                         Now you're just making them up.

               Melanthe takes the note off the ball and reads it.

                         When The Doctor arrives, insult his
                         TARDIS.  When he gets mad enough to
                         expose the TARDIS's power core,


               Melanthe blows gently on the sphere.  It flashes brightly,
               transforming into a BALL OF LIGHT which whizzes forward
               through the screen.

               EXT. SPACE

               The ball of light shoots out of the front of the battleship
               and flies straight for the TARDIS.

               INT. TARDIS

               The Doctor jumps to work the controls.

                         Hang on!

               Clara braces for impact.

               EXT. SPACE

               The TARDIS neatly avoids the ball of light.

               INT. TARDIS

               Crisis averted, the Doctor turns from the console and smiles
               at the image of Melanthe.

                         Crumbling?  Ha!  Wreck?  Ha!


                         Not now, Clara.  I'm gloating.


               He turns just in time to see the ball of light, now expanded
               to giant size, engulf the TARDIS main console.

               Sparks fly.  The lights go out.  The glowing ball of energy
               casts an eerie glow over everything.  The Doctor reaches out
               to it but, it's solid.

                         That's not good.


                         It's a force field keeping me from
                         the controls.  I can't vent the
                         core pressure.  I can't even see
                         where we are.  Clara, be a dear and
                         open the door.

               Clara runs over to the door and opens it.  Wind blows in at
               her.  She gasps.  Outside, the PLANET looms large. 

               They're falling towards it.  The TARDIS is starting to heat
               up in the atmosphere.

               The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver on the force field.

                         What do we do?

                             (pointing at a hallway)
                         Go up there and open the third
                         closet from the left.

               Clara rushes off.  The Doctor keeps working while talking to
               her.  The hum of the TARDIS grows increasingly louder as if
               it's going to explode.

                                   DOCTOR (CONT'D)
                         You'll find a small metal chest at
                         the bottom.

               Clara drags out a small trunk for possessions like a soldier
               in WWII might have had.   

                                   DOCTOR (CONT'D)
                         Open it!  There's two metal
                         cannisters at the bottom marked
                         EVAC 1 and 2.

               She rummages through a pile of old socks before finding the
               cannisters.  They have high tech, weather-beaten look to
               them.  She runs back.  

               The Doctor gives up on the screwdriver and punches the force
               field with frustration.  The hum is dangerously loud.

                         I've got them!  What do I do?

               The Doctor takes one and twists it open.  A fish pops out,
               with tiny fins and eyestalks.

               Clara jumps back in surprise, dropping the second cannister,
               as the fish flops to the floor.  It swells, monstrously,
               until it's twice as big as Clara.

                                   CLARA (CONT'D)
                             (backing away as the fish
                              faces her)
                         Doctor!  What-

               With a giant gulp, it swallows her whole.  The Doctor isn't
               paying attention, he's on all fours chasing the other
               cannister as it rolls away over the deck.

               The fish pivots its eyestalks at the door and sees the blue
               world below.  It hops on its fins and tumbles, happily out
               into space.  The cannister rolls after it as the TARDIS is
               rocked by explosions.

               The Doctor watches from the console.

                         Good luck, Clara.

               There's another explosion.  Lights around the console flash
               and a sad noise plays.  The Doctor smiles makes a hushing

                                   DOCTOR (CONT'D)
                         Hush.  I'm not leaving you.  I'd
                         never leave you. The Doctor is
                         nothing without his TARDIS.

               EXT. SPACE

               The TARDIS, spinning out of control, is close enough to the
               planet that its features are clear.  It's covered with giant,
               blue oceans and dotted with a few, green islands.  The TARDIS
               flies out into space as the giant fish floats by.  It "swims"
               as best it can towards the planet, a look of intense
               eagerness on its face.

               After a beat, the TARDIS explodes spectacularly into tiny

               OPENING CREDITS

               EXT. BEACH - DAY

               Clara's POV.  

               Darkness.  The sound of waves crashing on the beach.  The
               darkness clears to a fuzzy view of the sky.  A fireball is
               fading out.  The fuzziness clears.  Waves lap against the
               shore.  The giant fish, sitting in the sand, smiles, turns
               clumsily, and flops into the water. 

               The sound of footsteps.  Clara turns to see a man squatting
               before her.

               It's The Doctor.  

                         Are you all right, Clara?

               But it's not the Doctor.  It changes and now the man is an
               alien with a bluish cast to his skin and a fin on his domed
               head.  He wears primitive,  dark brown clothes and has a net
               in his belt.  He squats down near her.

                         Are you all right, Clara?

               Her vision blurs again and all goes black.

                                                                CUT TO:

               INT. BRIDGE

               Melanthe smiles at the viewscreen.  The dust of the TARDIS is
               slowly pulled down to the planet.

                         Well, that was fun.

               She presses a button on her chair.

                                   MELANTHE (CONT'D)
                         Damage report.  How long until we
                         can be underway again?

                                   MECHANICAL VOICE
                         Five weeks.

                         Take your time.  There's no hurry

               She turns back to the viewscreen, which shows a pristine blue
               world, now undefended.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Relationship Wishes

I created a hypothetical question, I want you to think about.

The Setup
Imagine your spouse, or your partner, or whomever you've loved the most.  You've been married for a while.  Maybe you've just been in a relationship for a long time.  Don't imagine some perfect partner who looks into your eyes with fawning affection.  Imagine your real partner.  If you aren't with anyone right now, imagine you're with the partner you loved the most.

After years together, you truly appreciate your partner's flaws.  Maybe he's lazy.  Maybe she's always sad.  He's gotten old and fat.  She snores like a volcano.  You know what drives you crazy; pick that.

The Inciting Incident
You buy something at a store, or maybe a garage sale.  It's an antique lamp just like in the old Aladdin cartoons.  Maybe it's a piece of antique jewelry you got for almost nothing.  An old record, a gold box, a rare coin, it doesn't matter.

Point is, your partner finds it, you pay, and you take it home together. Your partner holds it up and blows off a little dust.

That's when the genie pops out.

The Genie
Yeah, it's a genie.  Just like in the cartoons.  It looks like smoke and has no legs.  It's blue (or red, or whatever you want to imagine); it speaks with a middle-eastern accent and makes jokes like Robin Williams.

The problem is, it has been waiting around for so long, its powers have weakened.  It only has one wish left, and it goes to your partner who blew off the dust.  Also, since you bought it together, your partner can only make a wish about you.  In short, your partner can make one of two wishes:
  1. Change you into the person your partner dreams of.
  2. Replace you with someone perfect for them.
Remember all those flaws your partner had?  You have flaws, too, and they bother your partner as much as his or hers bother you.  Think about that for a moment.

Your Flaws
What does your partner hate the most about you? Are you too obsessed with work?  Are you having trouble losing weight?  Are you short?  Old?  Slow?  Dumb?  Poor?  Too liberal?  Too conservative?  Do you drink too much?  Does your partner hate your friends?

What would your partner change about you?  More important (really the point of all this), do you consider that flaw a fundamental part of who you are?  Would you still be you if you'd had different parents or didn't care about the state of the country?

Your partner glances at you out of the corner of an eye, and you realize what the wish is going to be.  It makes you uncomfortable.

The Catch
At this point, the genie leans over and whispers into your ear.

"There's one more catch," it says.  "Since you share the wish, you get to choose which kind of wish it will be.  You choose if you get changed or if your partner gets someone else."

The Choice
It's down to two choices for you:

Choice #1
You let your partner change you into someone diferent.  Maybe it's something small, like being younger, or taller, or richer, or healthier.  Maybe it's something that would turn you into a different person: more devout, less political, more devoted to your relationship, less interested in your hobby.

You get to be with your love, but it's not exactly you anymore.

Choice #2
You leave, and watch your beloved, flawed partner fall in love with someone else.  Someone perfect in a way you can't ever be.  Your partner is happy.  You're alone.

But you're still you.

The Question
Well?  What do you pick?  Why?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I Hate BLANKing. I Love Having BLANKed.

Dorothy Parker is famous for...  Er.  Something about a table?  I dunno.  Has anyone really read anything she ever wrote?  Whoever she was, she once said:
I hate writing.  I love having written.
Which is a very true statement for many writers.  Writing is deeply painful.  Here's a picture of a writer, working on a novel:

And here he is again, after finishing:

I was thinking how Dorothy's phrase was useful for other things than writing. For example:
I hate working out.  I love having worked out.
Because working out feels like this:

And afterwards, you get an endorphin rush and big muscles and feel like this:

Or, how about:
I hate having children.  I loved having children.
Okay, doesn't make a lot of sense until you consider the two senses of the phrase "having children."

Dorothy's expression works for so many different situations I wonder if  ghosts say it to each other.
I hated living.  I love having lived.
Yeah, don't live like that.  Enjoy the moment.