Monday, February 25, 2013

Lessons in Love: Staying out too late

Okay so last night I came across a pretty big first. I went out while my girlfriend stayed in at my place for the night. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal to those of you who have done this several times before but to me it's all new ground. Well let's just say that things didn't go quite right.

I was going out to get my game on with a D&D group that I had just joined. It was the initial meeting so that we could build characters and all that. My sweetie already knew this was happening a few days ahead of time and was cool with sitting at home for the night. As such she knew that I was going to be out late and I told her it would be around midnight when I got back.

And then I didn't return until after 2am......

......and I didn't call or let her know that I was going to be later than planned.

Yes I know what you are thinking, "Dammit Danny." and you would be right.

When I got back in my girlfriend was still up (although she says she had gone to sleep and woke back up) at my computer. As expected she was not happy. To be exact she was worried and pissed. And she was justified.

I went out and told her I'd be back at a certain time and then not only did I not come back when I said I would I didn't even let her know that I was coming later.

So all day I've been thinking about why I did this to her and it's pretty simple.

I'm not accustomed to having someone in my life that I need to be accountable for my whereabouts with.

This isn't like my younger days when I was living with my parents. The reason they made it a point that they knew of my comings and goings is because as their kid they were responsible for my comings and goings and what I did during them. But now as an adult I and I alone am responsible for my comings and goings which means that motivation is no longer there.

So for years I operated on the fact that there was no one that really cared that much about when I came and went.

Well that is not the case anymore.

For the first time I now have someone that will worry about me and will be upset (and angry) with me when I go off the radar. And she will be worried/upset/angry not because she is responsible for me, but simply because she loves me. (To be sure I know my parents love me but let's be honest when you're a kid its the responsibility, in the form of "If you don't let me know your whereabouts I will punish you.", that you pay attention to.)

That's something I'll have to work on.

Take it easy folks.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Satire?

So I came across this post about how to slap a former flame. Well slap a former flame in his fucking face to be precise.

With the way this post starts I can understand why a woman would want to slap such a guy. I mean damn look at what he's done.
You’ve met a person you sort of like, he’s great at making you feel pretty, and you really like having sex with him. His phallus may not be that big but who cares? You’ll rally through and tell him otherwise, loving every thrust. You’ll be blissful and hopeful for a while about your ‘friendship’ with this man, and then start to realize that he never comes to anything you invite him to and has a knack for only texting you at 3 a.m. after he’s long been blacked out. What do you do when he finally sends you over the edge? What do you do when he picks some bar slut he’s known for three minutes over you, you who took care of him when he was puking all over your house? What do you do when even his friends say that you should end things? What do you do?
Okay this guy is a real piece of work. He only contacts her when he wants sex, he messes around with other women, and pukes all over her place. Ideally a woman in this situation would just stop answering the phone, move on with her life, and look for a guy that appreciates her.

But of course that would be too easy. No this woman is furious and living a prosperous life would be too easy. She has to make a public spectacle. Let's be clear she doesn't want to move on until she gets her revenge.

Well one doesn't strike out for revenge without proper planning right?

Between stacking the pool of witnesses with friends, striking quickly to prevent retaliation, and bulking up on nerve to follow through with the slap by not apologizing or backing out of it it seems like she has it all set.

Well not quite.

Simply put piece is has a lot of anger in it. Maybe she was done wrong by a guy and came up with these steps after thinking on it for. Maybe she was done wrong by a guy and came up with these steps as she plotted her revenge. Maybe one of her girlfriends was done wrong by a guy and this was how she helped her get him back. Who knows.

But one thing I can't help but notice is that in all this anger there are careful reminders that are pretty much in place to prevent retaliation. She recommends having witnesses (friends if possible) and leaving immediately after the hit and speech. This sounds like a plan meant to give a woman a chance to physically assault a guy but then cover her own ass if he strikes back.

Anyway I've looked through the comments and the retroactive "But it's satire!" remarks have already come out in force.

Satire, sarcasm, snark or whatever I think this shows a bit of a problem. For all the talk of "violence is wrong, regardless of the gender" there is still apparently some room for making light of it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Report your abusive wife and get told to "Go home."? That's cold

(The following youtube video is of a man sharing his story of being abused by his partner, a woman. Tread accordingly.)



I saw this over on reddit a few days ago and it hurt a bit.

It hurts to realize that if for some reason my girlfriend were abusing me I could be told to go home when I go to the police for help.

But that is the reality that a lot of men face. The reality that being a man means you can't be abused by a woman and that you don't deserve help.

That's a reality that really needs to change.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Step away from the digital pen!

Okay when it comes to the world of female models we know that it's become fairly common place for photos of models and actresses to be altered with editing programmings. It seems the entire body is fair game.

Removing cellulite.

Altering one's cup size.

Tightening the abs.

Adding a few pounds.

Erasing wrinkles.

Lightening the skin a few shades.

Flattening the stomach.

Hold up. What was that? Adding a few pounds?

Yes apparently the world of modeling and editing photos is coming full circle as now it seems that some women are having their images altered to make them look LARGER and FULLER than they really are.

No people.

Simply no.

For the last who knows how many years the standards of what is attractive have been shifting around more than Mystique and Bon Clay tripping on acid.

One moment thin is in and the next plump is the trump.

As I've said before the problem with the standards of beauty thing isn't a matter who which characteristics are supposed to be the norm. The problem is the very idea that certain characteristics should be held above others as the norm in the first place.

It's bad enough that photos were being edited to take away natural parts of these women. Now they are having extra added to their natural parts?

I get the feeling that this is one of two things:

1. This may be a misguided attempt by the fashion/modelling industries at trying to show that they are not all about having the thinnest most tone models as representations of what a woman is supposed to look like.

2. This may be an attempt at taking advantage at the increasing spot light that larger women have been gaining in the last several years.

In the first case it's a noble goal but wouldn't that be better served by just showing unaltered photos of women that have different body shapes?

In the second case it's just marketing. Cater to what the norm is for as long as it's profitable and then shift when the tides change. Fairweather photography I guess?

Point being women come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and there is no reason (short of trying to make oneself feel better by acting like they some trait they have is some special it factor that makes them more beautiful than others, and that's just mean) to hold one particular shape/size as the norm that others should strive to be.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of Union giving nod to helping the State of the Men of the Union?

So I've been reading the State of the Union Address (transcript here) given by President Obama and I have to say that things do look good for men.

Now mind you he doesn't seem to actually reference men directly that need help (because apparently to so actually hurts women). But that's fine. Men are speaking up and starting to move and shake and if the folks in power would rather continue sliding help to us under the table out of fear of looking like woman haters then so be it I guess.

Anyway. There are two places where men are really hurting. Jobs and education. It seems like Obama has plans that would address both issues.
When it comes to jobs here are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. 
So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. We can get that done.
...
America’s energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire, a country with deteriorating roads and bridges or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, self- healing power grids.
Once those hubs and labs are up and running someone will need to work them and infrastructure isn't going to repair (well probably replace in some cases) itself. A large chunk of the job market loses were suffered by men and this would be a good way for them to get back in the game.

And how will men get these jobs? Through education.

As we know in most measurements of education by gender boys or lagging behind. Usually though the focus is on comparing 20 something men to 20 something women and just saying that the 20 something men are lazy and want to play video game all day.

That line of reasoning ignores the fact that education doesn't start at senior year of high school. No it starts at a much much earlier age. The differences in education can be found as early as elementary school. This is where change needs to be made and it looks like Obama aims to do something about that.
Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on, by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children -- like Georgia or Oklahoma -- studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.
Let’s give our kids that chance.
I'm really hopeful that plans to invest in education really go deeper than "girls were told they suck at math and need a boost".

So as I say while not a direct nod to men it is a indirect nod via bringing up areas where guys really need some help.

Let us hope that progress is made in these areas.

A mission that I could get behind

Today the folks at The Boys Initiative announced the appointment of three of its members, doctors David L. Bell, Arthur Elster, and Arik Marcell, as founding members of the steering committee to guide the upcoming project Health Guidelines for Adolescent and Young Adult Males.

The site lists out five main purposes of the project:

  • 1) identify promising clinical interventions, and appropriate clinical settings, for adolescent male health
  • 2) create clinical prevention guidelinesfor [sic] adolescent males
  • 3) distribute and foster application of those guidelines in clinical practice
  • 4) foster relevant public and continuing medical education programs
  • 5) promote public policies that will advance adoption of the guidelines in clinical practice.

It looks like they will be working to see exactly where young males are having trouble in life with hopes of working with agencies and organizations towards ways to address these problem spots. What problem spots exactly?

How about an in depth look at how sexual education (as well as parenting education) for young males is lacking and very limited at best to down right detrimental at worst?

Maybe going into the state of physical health, fitness, and nutrition as it relates to young males?

Perhaps opening up some real dialogue on the topic of violence and trauma and how it relates to young males (in more ways than "men hurt women and girls").

And of course there is what may be the biggest elephant in the room. Mental health. You need only look at the end of the line to see that mental health is a big issue for males, not just the young ones at that. The vast majority of suicides are committed by males after all.

The project is scheduled to take place over the course of the next two years (broken up into four phase, as described on the site linked above) and function as a source of information on these topics so that they can be used in the larger overall conversation.

I for one think that that larger conversation is long overdue.

Let's hope that this project plays a role in it happening.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cooking with Danny Stage 10

I've really gotten back into cooking it seems. Not sure why but I'm feeling it now so I'm going with it.

This time around I've got a simple soup recipe for you. Seriously, it's simple. Check it out.

Simple Soup

46oz. container of V8 (I recommend the one that's seasoned with Black Pepper but feel free to use whichever you want)

16oz. of frozen vegetables (I used a bag that's a mix of corn, peas, carrots, and string beans)

1lb. of spiral ham chopped into chunks and its ham bone (Leftovers from Thanksgiving)

Yeah I didn't put any seasoning in it because the V8 has pepper (and no doubt salt) and the ham certainly has salt in it. Put it all in the crock pot, refill the V8 container to 1/3 to 1/2 full (rinsing out the container) and adding it in, and let it run for 4 hours. This won't take long because basically all you're doing is heating up the V8 which will in turn thaw out and heat the veggies and heat up the meat.

Done.

Yeah I told you it was a simple recipe. But it sure came in handy a few weeks ago when it was like 32 degrees. And it freezes pretty well so you can make a batch, put some away in ziploc bags, and resurrect it when you need it.

For as much as I love my soup time grows short. You see the deep, freeze your bones type of winter doesn't last long where I live. So by my estimate I have enough time for one final pot of soup before I turn my crock pot to other things.

And it will be a wonderful soup indeed......

Enjoy!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Dark Side of Bravery

Okay the Super Bowl went down last week and with that game comes an onslaught of ads that seem to be getting more attention that the game itself these days One ad in particular that generated a lot of talk was an ad by the car manufacturer Audi. Let's take a look.



If you can't see it the ad is of a teen boy who borrows his parents' car to go to the prom on his own (after being reminded that going to the prom solo is a bad thing). After driving to the prom and parking in the principal's spot our young man goes inside and in front of everyone kisses the prom queen (or at least I think it's the prom queen as she has on a tiara).

By in front of everyone I mean everyone in attendance and the prom king, who promptly chases the young man off. The scene shifts to later on as the young man is driving home with a new black eye (presumably a present from the prom king). The screen fades to black with the phrase, "Bravery. It's what defines us."

This is certainly not a perfect ad. I've seen a few places talking about it but I noticed that a lot of the talk has been a seemingly obligatory nod to how hard he has it and then rushing right into how he violated her space. Yes by just rolling up on her and kissing her he did violate her space and that is a conversation that needs to happen. But I think think there might be another conversation that needs to happen ax well.

We need to speak to our young man (I'm gonna call him Brad from here on out, because I don't want to keep calling him "young man" and this is from the perspective of someone actually talking to him) about bravery and how it relates to the events of the commercial. I think there needs to be more said than a slight nod to understanding his situation which comes off as it was thrown in keep people from complaining about making the discussion all about girls/women. Here goes.

Okay Brad from the start of the ad we see that in the usual custom of high school social conduct, going to the prom alone carries a stigma that one is a loser and is to be ostracized (you even get some reassurance from your mom that it wasn't that bad, just to have it dashed by your little sister). Yeah I remember that. I had someone to go to the prom with in my own day but I do remember that pressure. No one wanted to be that person that went to the prom alone. And I also remember that pressure leaning more on boys than on girls.

Chances are having someone to go to the prom with is still held up as an indicator of being "a real man". It's proof that you have what it takes to get down with the ladies. It's a totally terrible burden that guys have to carry and I'd like to see it ended (as well as the burdens that girls carry).

More than likely this isn't some isolated event. You've probably been somewhat of a social outcast for a long time I bet? Since you're going to the prom you are likely a junior or senior in high school. Probably bullied and ostracized by girls and boys alike. And now you have to face going to a prom with that same bullies and teasers, and alone at that.

With all of this in mind Brad I wager you want to have some feather in your cap. Some triumph that would tell all the people that harassed and ignored you that you are a "real man". A symbol that would shine in front of the entire population of your high school and would live on past the end of your high school days. That's totally understandable.

Now one does not simply pull off moments like that without some a key ingredient. Something that allows us to overcome the odds of an ugly situation.

Bravery.

As I saw your dad let you borrow the Audi. I'm not sure if he let you get it specifically as a source of bravery to counter the fact you were running solo or not but it looks like that is how you saw took it.

When you got behind that wheel your aura changed. You got a look in your eye that said you are a different person. You are not the lonely loser that didn't have someone to go to the prom with. You probably thought you were on top of the world, or at least it looked like you thought you were on top of the world considering what you did next.

You got to the prom and parked in the principal's spot in a display of you new found bravery. After going inside you went straight to the prom queen and planted a kiss on her that you were certain would grant you a long running wish of kissing her and cementing your place in high school as the big man on campus so to speak. Sounds simple right?

Not quite.

Okay I know that most of the advice you've been getting this week has been centered around you kissing the prom queen without consent. Yes that is important advice and you should heed it. But I don't want you thinking that if you not kissed her without asking the rest of your night would have been fine or something.

Let's go back in time a bit.

You took your parents' car to the prom as a source of bravery to do something that was certain to cause a stir (kissing the prom queen in front of everyone, bonus points for rising the ire of the prom king). Now I know this was an ad for a car but I have to say that obtaining bravery is not really as easy as borrowing a fancy car.

Unfortunately bravery is something that you can't so much get from somewhere else as you kinda have to generate it on your own. If you feel like going over that feel free to reply. But the main thing I wanted to get to wasn't the bravery or the source of the bravery but what you did afterwards.

Parking in the principal's space isn't that big of a deal (hopefully the most that would happen is that you would be told to move). The kiss on the other hand that's where I want to go for a bit.

As I said earlier I am familiar when the desire to perform a major action to show that you are a "real man". Let me get real with you here for a bit. This is one of the hardest lessons that any and every man has to learn. So hard in fact it is neither surprising nor inherently bad that you may not have learned it yet.

A man has to learn that he cannot get wrapped up in the measurements that other people try to hold him to in order to see if he is a real man or not. Notice that I didn't put that in quote marks this time. When I was using the quote marks earlier I was talking about those measurements from other people trying to dictate your manliness for you and to you.

If you get wrapped up trying to be a man by everyone else's standards you will end up living a rather miserable life. So take a moment to wonder why exactly did you rush up to the prom queen and give her that kiss she didn't get a say in. Did you do it because it was what you wanted for yourself or did you do it because you saw that it was what others wanted for you? Did you need that bravery for yourself or did you need it for the people that were watching?

Hopefully you kissed her because it was what you wanted for yourself.

Now speaking of what you wanted and her having no say bear in mind what you did. You walked up to this girl and just kissed her without prompt or asking. That's violation of her and her space if I ever saw one. It was wrong. There is a good chance that you like this girl and you really want some sort of interaction with her and that is perfectly understandable. On the other hand let's think about the method of interaction you chose.

You chose to walk up to her and grab her for a kiss. Yeah she might have smiled afterward but you initiated the action with no prompt or asking. I can understand how you would come to think that that is what you should do as a guy that is interested in a girl. However there are going to be some girls that want you to do that and some that don't and when you just kiss them like that you aren't giving them the chance to say which they kind of girl they are.

So to try to sum this up.

1. You really can't depend on external sources for bravery.

2. You should't feel bad or ashamed because you're a social outcast.

3. Make sure you are doing things because you want to do them, not because it's what others want you to do.

4. When you do those things and they involve other people make sure it consensual on all sides.

5. Don't make your moment of bravery about other people, make it about yourself.

Take it easy Brad.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cooking with Danny Stage 9

A while back I did a Strawberry Cheesecake Pie and it was a little runny. I figured the problem was I put in too much milk and it seems I was right. A few weekends ago we attended a house warming picnic and I chose to revise the recipe and test it in public. Here's what I did.

A few things. This version makes 2 pies. I used regular instead of sugar free pudding and thus took out the sugar I added last time. Unlike last time when I used a basic whisk I actually borrowed my girlfriend's hand mixer which made things A LOT easier.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie (Revised)

1 pound of fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces (at least quarters)

1-16oz container of fat free Cool Whip

1-11oz container of Whipped Cream Cheese (unlike standard cream cheese this stuff is lighter and more fluffy and easier to mix)

2 pk cheesecake flavored Instant Pudding

2 Graham Cracker crusts

1 cup of whole milk


Tip: Set the containers of Cool Whip and Cream Cheese on your counter with the lids off for about an hour or so. That way it softens up a bit and is easier to mix.

In a large mixing bowl combine the milk and pudding mix. Yes the consistency is going to be about that of gritty paste but you're going to be adding a lot more moisture.

I recommend mixing in the strawberries, Cool Whip, and Cream Cheese one at a time just to make sure they mix in smoothly. Really haven't worked out a recommended order though.

After you have it all combined split the mixture between the two crusts and cover (each graham cracker crust should have a little dome like cover, use that). Sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours (but overnight would be ideal) so that the pudding can set.

I was so pleased to see that one was almost eaten entirely (when we left there were still about 10 or so people at the party and there was only 1 piece left) and took the other back home, which was promptly taken out by my girlfriend. What can I say she likes my pie.

Definitely need to make this a few more times before I can get it proper but I'm working on it.