My Goals

My goals are threefold: to look good for potential partners, to avoid ever having to live in a nursing home, and to be able to lift my own weight over my head.  Fortunately, these goals are compatiable, but only the last is truly quantifiable.

I am naturally heavy set. Unless I use an extreme diet, my choices are to be muscular, overweight, or both, which I politely refer to as stocky or hefty. In this journal, I will record my war over weight, both my weight and the weights I will try to lift. It is biologically difficult to lose fat and build muscle at the same time; the bio-chemical processes in the body resist it. Thus, I will try many programs, changing every month.

I hope you will follow along, and leave your own advice and questions in the commentary.

(no subject)

I should have known better than to go to a big party, with all the alcohol and loud music. I did manage to find one woman who was really to talk to someone who wasn't drinking and we were having a nice conversation about Kant, Hegel, and Marx until a more charming guy slipped in and slide lined me.

I spent the rest of the evening back flashing to when I was an undergraduate and women blew me off because I'm shy and don't like drinking. All those old memories and feelings are probably the biggest reason I put off going back to college; I just couldn't handle the idea of going back to having most women treat me like a piece of furniture because I like books more than beer.

Life on the Net

I post about lifting, I post about politics, I post about books... then I post about the male POV on a website and then I get lots of responses.

From Robert Scholes “The Roots of Science Fiction”

“When romance returns deliberately to confront reality it produces the various forms of didactic romance or fabulation that we usually call allegory, satire, fable, parable, and so on…traditionally, it has been a favorite vehicle for religious thinkers, precisely because religions have insisted that there is more to the world than meets the eye, that the common-sense view of reality – “Realism” is incomplete and therefore false. Science, of course, has been telling us much the same thing for several hundred years…thus it is not surprising that what we call ‘science’ fiction should employ the same narrative vehicle as the religious fictions of our past.”

Science fiction latches onto many of the same questions as religion, but no one novel that I am aware of tries to answer all of them. The existence of evil is the most common question addressed, but free will v. fate, equality v inequality, our relationship with nature, and our origins are all questions SF authors have struggled with. Books like “Dune,” “Foundation,” and “The Lord of the Rings” have directly shaped more minds than any book of philosophy. Philosophers may have indirectly shaped more minds, because more popular authors have read their books, but a literary game of connections gets too complicated for me.

Any suggestions?

In Aldiss and Wingrove’s article “On the Origin of the Species: Mary Shelly” promoting Shelly as the founder of science fiction, they wrote, “This book (referring to James Gunn’s collection of essays “Speculations on Speculation”) however, makes it clear that we can recognize SF fairly easily, although it is rarely found in a pure isolated state. Just like oxygen.”

This got me to thinking that literary conventions, tropes, archetypes, even styles, could call be considered elements of literature. The mixing and matching of these elements creates compounds that we call stories. Long and complicated strings of compounds become novels.

A literary SF novel could be called one part prose and two parts SF (Sf2P) just as water is referred to as H2O. Paranormal romance could R2H(orror). Just about any romance novel would be R2-something: R2S(uspence), R2C(omedy). I think Star Wars would AFSf while Star Trek would be Sf2F. Firefly would be Sf2W.

This simple coding could tell anyone at a glance just what they are getting into, and perhaps even lend a more scientific organization to literature as a whole. Maybe after all the different novels and movies have been coded, we could match them up with the “Rotten Tomatoes” website and see if particular balances get better or worse ratings.

So I’ve started a table. Any suggestions for filling in the blanks?

P=Poetical prose
Sf=science fiction

(no subject)

I gained two pounds this week, but since my bench press and squat numbers went in the right direction I'm hoping those were muscle weight.

I also read "Ike's Bluff" which surprised me. When Ike was a young officer he had to give up poker because he was wiping out his friends' savings. Turns out he played such a close and effective hand of diplomatic poker against the Russians that even most Americans don't realize how smart he really was.

I also sold an article "Race in Hollywood" to New Myths magazine. It focuses on James Baldwin's essay "Devil Finds Work" and my own knowledge of science fiction.

“7 Types of Ambiguity” by William Empson

I don’t think it’s ever taken me as long to finish reading such a short looking book, 256 pages of how to read, or how people can read, multiple meanings into poetry. For every interesting multiple reading, there is another example of reading too much into something minor. Another strength or weakness of the book, depending upon your taste in poetry, is his focus on pre-modern poets. Thus the poetic language is often another dialect of English all together, and Empson puts out several times how the other meanings of words have fallen by the way side over time so we don’t see the ambiguity, or get the pun, any more. His focus on poets like Shakespeare, Yeats, Blake, Milton, etc leave me wondering if he found his contemporary poets too unambiguous to be interesting.

Green is the New Sexy

Do the Aristotelian unities really matter when dealing with space opera?

I saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” last night, and while some of the characters took themselves a little too seriously, I had a lot of fun. The previews had not given me much hope, but word came back that it was better than it looked, so I gave it a chance; it was funny when it meant to be and exciting the rest of the time. Movie magic is still catching up with comic book imagination; no one in Hollywood has demonstrated the ability to beat comics at this most pure element of creativity: unbridled dreams. All Hollywood can do is cherry pick the best elements, distill them down to their most dramatic, and make money of distributing them to the rest of the world.

It was definitely an ensemble movie; Quill had the most face time and gave the inspirational speech, apparently because he’s the white guy because I’m not sure why else, but Gamora contributed more information and kicked plenty of ass of her own. She was the one who originally wanted to resist the bad buys, so it would have taken little tweaking to make her the main character. She reminded me a lot of my college girlfriend: good at martial arts, pretty, surrounded by male friends, and severe daddy issues.

Don’t get me wrong, the guys, the tree, and the raccoon did a good job, but the movie I want to see next is the Black Widow and Gamora vs. the Expendables. My bet is on the ladies.

(no subject)

I finally finished jury duty. It was actually fun, except for the repetition of evidence. Fortunately my fellow jurors were fun to hang out with and the judge, lawyers, and staff were all very polite with us and each other. It wasn't much like on TV with all the melodrama, except for the prosecutor's final summation being a little over the top for theft.

I also filled out my online application for a student VISA; it took three hours. The most annoying part was when the site kept logging me out when I took too long to find the info to put into the form.