Monday, September 24, 2018

What it's like to live with obsessive compulsive disorder.

I have obsessive compulsive disorder, but much like autism, there's a spectrum on how it manifests. For me, I become obsessed/compulsive with cleaning, with fictional characters, with inventory, with random thoughts that never seem to end but just cycle and cycle and cycle for hours (and even days) on end. I can close my garage door, turn a corner, and then have to circle back just to make sure it's closed. I can check a door two, three, or four times to make sure it is locked. I can wash my hands over and over. It's a strange thing.

In my day to day life, if someone leaves a mess in my house, I am compelled to clean it up no matter how exhausted I am. If I start to draw something, I can become obsessed with it. I lose so many hours concentrating on one thing that I forget what time it is and a whole day flies by and I work myself to exhaustion. I can become obsessed with fictional characters and write and write and write until I reach a point that I hate all of it and just need to step away for a long time in order to feel right with the world again. But it's difficult to reach that stepping away point. My brain tumbles over and over on thoughts for seemingly no reason...details that plague me until the wee hours of the morning.

If something stands in the way of my obsession I can become irritable or even angry. It's difficult for me to let things go. For example, if I went on vacation, and the thought that I might have left the stove on somehow enters my brain...and I didn't know anyone that could go and check for me that it was turned off to reassure me...it would ruin my whole vacation. That one thought...that one thing...would destroy any fun that I could possibly have. My mind would turn on that one detail to the point of...obsession. Insane obsession.

Having OCD means that I am the butt of jokes. People snicker around me that they can just leave something messy, because they know I will eventually have to clean it up. I am compelled to do that. People will take advantage of me at work because they'll automatically assign the management of a huge database to me because they know no one else will do as good a job because I will obsess over each item. They don't care that it's stressful. The easier jobs will go to someone who doesn't have O.C.D., who has shown that they are "normal" and in other words...don't really care and won't do a good job because (again) they don't care.

Living with obsessive compulsive disorder means that people who do genuinely care will tiptoe as if walking on eggshells around you. They know if they mistakenly put something out of place that it will bother you. That you will have to correct it, and your compulsion to correct them makes them irritable because no one likes being corrected. But you can't help it.

Like most mental disorders, there are good things about having obsessive compulsive disorder. I'm very organized. I can find records that go back decades because I know exactly where they are. I manage money well (almost to a fault). I could tell a person exactly how much something cost or how much they were spending on a certain thing because I keep track of it on spreadsheets. Over time I've tried to break my obsession with perfection. I had a dent in my wall that I filled in with spackel but didn't paint for over a year. I did that on purpose. Every day I looked at it as a challenge not to cover it up. It was a challenge to myself: I dare you to leave this glaring mistake on the wall for all the world to see. Leave it there and don't fix it. Let its imperfection be a contribution to your home.

Chaos bugs me. Before I started writing this blog I was out in the yard raking up all of the leaves that blew on the grass from the neighbor's ugly towering poplar trees. Now there are a few more on the lawn, and I can't stand them. So even though I'm tired and just want to read a book, I'm going to go outside and pick all of them up. Every single one, and then throw them in the garbage.

Some people say living with obsessive compulsive disorder is a good thing. It's not. I wish my brain was normal, and I wish it didn't obsess on things. But it does, and that's just the truth of it.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Hog lagoons are the most disgusting business practice I have ever seen.

News agencies all over the place are reporting on hog lagoons being drained by hurricane Florence. Despite having the name "lagoon" attached to it, which conjures up images of tropical paradise (at least in my mind), these things are anything but that. Hog lagoons (if you don't know) are huge open sewers...they are pits the size of four football fields...and I guess there are thousands of them in North Carolina. Huge pig farms channel the waste product of thousands if not millions of hogs through pipes in the floors of these enormous warehouses and into these cesspools which must stink like nothing on earth.

NPR reported that the waste from these "lagoons" is now contaminating everything because its gotten into the river and groundwater. This stuff is so toxic, it kills all the fish in rivers and streams every time they overflow. Imagine returning to a home where your very insulation and drywall was soaked in pig urine and feces. It defies belief that this is happening because of something that's obviously legal. But regulation on huge "job creators" like these pig farms requiring them to install sewage processing plants is probably "bad for business." I can just imagine the super rich pig farmer who owns it all looking at his empty "lagoon" and smiling, "Well ain't that just special! It dun git cleaned up all by itself, and now I dun 'ave to worry 'bout it." Meanwhile being completely oblivious to the thousands of people who may be literally forced to wade through the aftermath of their bad judgement and cost-effective decision-making.

So today I am thankful. I am thankful that (when it rains) it is actually drops from the sky falling on my house and not pig shit. I am thankful that I can walk outside, and my clothes are not stained with pig feces from a pig farm spraying its excrement as fertilizer over ground (and becoming air-borne in the process). I am thankful that I am not dealing with miles of pig feces.

This is hands-down the most disgusting business practice I have ever seen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Did Warner Brothers give the name Arthur Fleck to the Joker in order to make fun of Ben Affleck?

This Sunday, io9 posted an article showing Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker (he's been cast to play the character in a solo film). I haven't really been following all the casting news in the wake of the steaming pile of garbage that was Suicide Squad, but it seems telling that Jared Leto no longer wanted to reprise the role. What took me by surprise was that Warner Brothers gave the Joker a real name. I've read tons of the Batman comic books, and I don't remember ever seeing a name given to the Joker. I mean...sure...there's been names given to this character in lots of movie and television adaptations. Why they felt it necessary to do this is beyond me. The Joker is just fine without a real name. He is (after all) not really definable even with an ordinary sounding name. So what is the name they gave him this time around? It's Arthur Fleck. Or, you could abbreviate it A.Fleck, or "Affleck." When I saw that, I was embarrassed for Warner Brothers. Seriously, guys?

It is no stranger to anyone that has been following Ben Affleck's tenure as the Batman that he's not very happy with the role anymore. When Henry Cavill hung up the cape as Superman (announced last week) so did Ben Affleck. Honestly, all of the Justice League characters minus Wonder Woman have been handled poorly by Warner Brothers, so this is no surprise to me. But just a few days later, to mock Ben Affleck by naming the Joker after him seems like grade school revenge. As in, "Ha ha, Ben Affleck...you're such a Joker..." It's juvenile and makes me wonder why they are even greenlighting something as bad as all of this sounds.

Warner Brothers should just make only Wonder Woman movies from this point out and forget about any crossovers. Maybe someday a good director like Christopher Nolan will come along and reboot their universe, because as it stands now, it's gotten really disappointing. Of course, I haven't seen any clarification coming out from Warner Brothers about this name, so maybe it's coincidence? If it is, then it's a bad coincidence and they should rename the character out of principle.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Is there an inverse relationship with the quantity of dialogue a villain has and how otherworldly that villain is supposed to be?

Undead wights under the supervision of a White Walker using chains that they got from somewhere to pull the
dead dragon, Viserion, out of the frozen lake. 
I had this random thought on Friday night as I was trying to get to sleep: where did the White Walkers get the chains that they used to raise Viserion's lifeless corpse up from the frozen lake so that the Night King could resurrect the dragon into an ice dragon? If you don't know what I'm talking about, you probably haven't watched season 7 of Game of Thrones. Anyway, I don't know why it bothered me on Friday night. I wasn't watching Game of Thrones, but this kind of thing does vex me just a wee bit because I have a lot of faith in the Game of Thrones franchise and the detail probably has a source somewhere.

So here's what I come up with. The White Walkers probably got them from a ship at Hardhome, which they sacked sometime in season five. But it still doesn't answer how they knew to bring them along, so maybe they went back and got them or they just decided to bring them along.

Is it ridiculous to think that the White Walkers communicate with each other the same way humans do? "Hey, I think we should bring these chains along. You never know when they will come in useful." Or the Night King turns to one of the White Walkers and states, "I told you that these chains would come in useful," and then the White Walker shrugs and says, "Yup. I guess that's why you are the king." But having those kinds of conversations would get in the way of being big, bad, and scary if people could hear them.

For example, would Darth Maul have been so scary in the Phantom Menace if he had a lot of dialogue and banter with people? Probably not. But for what it's worth, the emperor in the Return of the Jedi had a ton of dialogue and his on screen scariness didn't diminish one bit. But then again, he looked just like a really old man (not otherworldly).

So it makes me wonder...are there certain kinds of villains that we just shouldn't hear speak because it ruins a suspension of disbelief? And what qualifies as that kind of villain? Maybe there's an inverse relationship with how otherworldly the villain is supposed to be to how much dialogue they should actually have in the script. As one goes up, the other goes down and vice versa.

What do the rest of you think?

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has a trailer now just in time for Halloween

The new trailer for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is now out, and as expected, this Netflix series is based upon Sabrina Spellman, a teenager turned 16 who now must decide whether to sign the Devil's book and become a Bride of Satan. It comes out in late October (the timing is perfect for Halloween). It's also in the same universe as Riverdale, which airs (in America) on the CW, but I guess everywhere else is branded as a "Netflix Original." As a note, I think this is odd, but whatever.... And yeah, I'm in the boat that hopes Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina do crossovers. These characters need to interact.

I'm also going to take the time to make a point about witchcraft, not that I'm an expert or anything. But exposure to people that call themselves "witches" because I have friends that practice polyamory (more than one love) over here in Utah (I am not one), I've been exposed to my fair share of tarot-reading, astrology-spewing, and crystal purifying women. I have been educated on "witch" versus "wiccan" and that many people get it wrong. So to your delight, I'm going to pass on what is said to me...to you.

Witches are fictional characters imbued with magic powers that are often associated with demonic or otherwise forbidden powers. They are found in the myths, legends, and fiction of countless cultures across the globe.

Wiccans are real life practitioners of religion created in the middle of the 20th century. Inspired by European paganism, this religion is definitely Western, and its found especially in Britain and in North America. They perform rituals and even sometimes claim to be able to cast spells, but their powers are no more a proven fact than that of any Christian faith healer (which is to mean zero or zip).

Witches and Wiccans are NOT the same thing, and a show depicting witches is not an attack against or a representation of Wiccans. Yes, Wiccans like to call themselves "witches," but that claim does not retroactively make every story ever written about witches to be about Wiccans. Witches as a concept are independent from Wicca.

And honestly, I have no idea why they do call themselves witches other than to elicit a kind of "edgy" (read as unique) factor similar to putting on black and eyeliner and going to a goth club. It's even better if you can get people to sympathize with your persecution while you clamor for universal acceptance for all.

So there you have it...consider yourself educated :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Civility is just a form of gaslighting that we need desperately if we expect society to thrive.


There are days when I wish that I lived in a world where people just told it like it is. But living under a president that (arguably) does just that (an example would be some of his personal observations about Rosie O’Donnell) and seeing the reaction in people from Trump speaking like that, makes me understand the need to keep all the garbage hidden from the world under a nice-looking sheet. The problem (I think) is that telling it “like it is” has a chain reaction with other people. If, for example, you say on Tinder, “No Blacks,” then this kind of racism (even though the profile person is letting people know that they are a racist and that’s how they truly feel) emboldens others who feel that way too, and then they start saying it.

Additionally, as much as people like to believe that they think for themselves, there’s plenty of evidence that points out exactly the opposite. For example, we all know that good reviews (even fake ones) tend to generate sales and positive buzz. When someone says “this tastes good,” and you’ve never tried it, you have a greater percentage chance of agreeing with that person especially if you view them in a positive light. People are not machines. We form biases based on our relations with others and the people we spend time with. Because of this fact, we need civility if we are going to have a functioning society. In other words, as much as I don’t like it, I think we need a clean pristine sheet of lies to hide all the garbage under. One might say, “Please ignore the smell, just focus on the sheet. Look how pretty and nice it is.” And so it goes.

I recently got into an argument about just this thing on (of all things)…Facebook (social media may be the vehicle that destroys civilization folks!). Try to hide your surprise, and of course I couldn’t keep my opinions to myself. My Facebook friend, Ben, posted a meme that purported the following:
“Women do not have to: Be thin, Cook for you, Have long hair, Be feminine, Be graceful, Have sex with you, Shave, Diet, Be fashionable, Wear pink, or Take any B.S.” Posted on the meme were a bunch of cartoon fists that had their nails painted. It was also on a pink background.
Artistic choices aside, my friend Ben posted this because he wants to tell women out there (he’s single and looking) that he’s a nice guy and that these are his values. Only, I know Ben, and I don't think that these are his values. Here’s just one point I want to make: Ben likes thin women and won’t date or have a romance with fat (obese) women. He derives a self-esteem boost from associating with thin young women (so do a lot of guys to be honest). So he’s got an inherent bias already that would affect his judgment were he a hiring manager. And I’ll just stop there because in just that one sentence, he does not ascribe to the behaviors that he posts in his online meme.

As it stands, this meme is already a public service message, a “Do as I say and not as I do” message for sure…but one that’s there for “the greater good” whether or not you even care. There’s a word for this: hypocrisy. But I don’t think Ben is to blame for the many hypocrisies of the modern world. Society on a deep level (beneath its shallow veneer) doesn’t ascribe to the above message in the meme (at least not in the United States). To put it another way, it’s the white sheet over a hot mess of garbage. But we need this kind of civility…the quiet “nods” that this is the appropriate thing to say…even if our behaviors dictate otherwise. To do anything else, is to invite anger, violence, or possibly even war. These are the things that make a society collapse under its own weight. Nobody wants that. And who knows? Maybe if a positive message is repeated to people at a young enough age, they will not grow up to be assholes and actually believe it! That's how you change the world for the better, folks. So there is hope.

Of course, those of you who know me from this blog, also know that I couldn’t leave well enough alone. So I posted this in response to Ben’s meme:
“Ben, I think your heart is in the right place when posting a meme like this, but I think (ultimately) if you point some of that high-powered perception you possess at yourself, you will see that the messages of this meme are idealistic and ultimately, one big lie.”
He followed up with a comment asking me to explain my point. So I continued by saying, “Let’s finish the meme with some words I’ll borrow from a friend that expresses what I’m saying really well”:
“[You don’t] have to wear makeup, you don’t have to wear heels, you don’t have to smile all the time, you don’t have to have big tits, you don’t have to be a pleaser. BUT if you don’t, you probably won’t get what you want in life. You’ll have to make it happen all by yourself.

Without assistance from anyone else.

You’ll have to do it alone.
Average people believe they have the freedom to not conform, and they do this while holding the expectation that the difficulty level of their lives WILL NOT CHANGE. But in reality the difficulty does change. Your path gets harder and harder, approaching infinity. And you’ll find barriers all over the place because doors have closed on you that should have remained open.”
So how did the Facebook entities like my post? Not so much.

People started to attack me with their straw man arguments (and I expected as much). One woman laughed with an "LOL" and said, “Pick up a history book, dude” and another woman just reiterated what the meme said and added, “I think what this meme is trying to convey is that women are tired of the double standard.” None of their comments are useful, because all of their anger was directed at me for daring to lift up the sheet and point out the smoking pile of hot garbage underneath. Just to clarify, I'm a supporter of the messages in the meme. I just don't think they are true of Ben or many of the people we call neighbors on this wonderful blue marble of ours that we call Earth.

Eh…I relish these opportunities to tilt at windmills.

But if anything, I’m even more firmly convinced that society needs to be gaslighted...the people need their little white lies. They need to be told that "you are beautiful" and "everything is going to be okay" even if neither of these things are true. It's like the white lie told to children that goes, "You can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it." A thriving society needs people to believe that you don’t need to be thin to find happiness and joy. You don’t need to conform at all and your path through life will be just as easy as if you did. Yadda yadda, good day, and God bless.

Sure.

I’ll buy that for a dollar.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians is a refreshing retelling of the classic Cinderella story with a few messages to Americans for good measure.

This weekend I saw Crazy Rich Asians, and I'm so glad I did. The film was funny, glamorous, romantic, and was a pretty solid retelling of the classic tale Cinderella. For those of you who haven't seen it and may be on the fence, there is way more to this movie than just wanting to see wealth on a scale that rivals Donald Trump's bathroom. Just to point out one thing, I thought the film was really sweet and effervescent (if that's even a word that is typically used in movie reviews).

Yes, it is opulent. There's so much to see in Singapore, and it's all on display from the major world-famous hotels to the urban tree-like structures that were so unusual in their habitat as to be featured in the BBC's Planet Earth II. In areas, the wealth is so amazing that it kind of makes you delirious realizing that people actually live this way.  Maybe it's good for the soul, because it makes you realize just how normal any of the nice things you have are, and that you shouldn't be ashamed of them because anything you have is going to pale in comparison to what the upper crust .01% actually enjoy.

It also has some great information about Asian culture, and it explores ideas that I'd never thought of as an American citizen. It turns the tables on the old American saying, "Eat your dinner because there are starving children in Africa" by having Asians say that about American children. In one scene, the main woman is called a banana, which means "yellow" on the outside and "white" on the inside. I'd never heard this saying and I thought it was unique (it's bound to become part of my vocabulary, however derogatory it actually sounds). But on a deeper note, there's a great idea...a message to American audiences who have a kind of narcissism when it comes to our culture: it's the thought that people in Asia don't see American life (and by extensions American people) as admirable. Americans put happiness first instead of family and obligations, and this "selfishness" keeps us from seeing what is truly important.

If you like Cinderella, you should go and see Crazy Rich Asians. It's a visual stimulation for the eyes, a heart-warming story, and it's a rare thing to see SO MANY ASIANS in a blockbuster in America like this. Watch the trailer below if you haven't seen it on t.v.