Saturday, December 30, 2006

6 a.m. Iraqi time

Saddam Hussein has been executed. The symbolic gesture is done.

He was apparently scheduled for another trial on January 8 for the killing of tens of thousands of Kurds in the '80s. Guess that won't be happening -- he was probably looking forward to it, considering the ... um ... circumstances.

Here's a fascinating story in the NY Times on the resting places of other notorious 20th-century dictators.

While the LA Times is the first to analyze how his death will affect the current situation in Iraq. (*Hint: The headline reads, "Impact of Hussein's death likely to be limited: The execution only underscores lingering divisions in Iraq.")

Hussein's death didn't nearly bring the same kind of satisfaction for me than when his sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed over three years ago. I was originally introduced to this progenic pair in -- of all places -- a Maxim article (no longer available online) way before the American-led invasion. It was a highly in-depth profile on the two sociopaths with extensive interviews weaved into a literary style. I remember being quite impressed at the time.

Anyway, I don't know what the point of this post is, but yes. Political nepotism. Everywhere. Baaaaaad!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Message from my babymaker

MArt takes a picture on his hometown beach
Nova Scotia (24/12/06)

Unsolicited Advice, Pt. 2

Relationships are terribly paradoxical. Unlike other activities such as riding a bicycle or practicing tennis, being in more relationships seems to lessen proficiency. It's like starting a fresh instrument every couple of weeks: Though you may possess skills that will come in handy, you are ultimately playing something entirely new every single time. Having played 10 (or 2 or 22) instruments will not make you an expert at one. For the past week or so, I've been holding a handful of informal seminars for women lately. (Alright, a bunch of my sister's 14-year-old friends, my own girlfriends, and my mother's employees.) These lectures center around my three-tiered system of evaluating romantic prospects. The concept developed as a way to give advice in shorthand by replacing entire ideas with the numbers 1, 2, and 3:

LEVEL 3
Obvious disinterest exhibited by both parties. Minimum confusion. Predictable behaviour, low. Applicable to strangers and acquaintances.

LEVEL 2
Slight interest exhibited by one or both parties (though, usually only one). Observed behaviours are more predictable, generally because one party exerts greater effort to be noticed. Maximum confusion. Failure inevitable. Applicable to both the courtship stage and coupled equivalent.

LEVEL 1
High interest exhibited by both parties. Minimum confusion. Predictable behaviour, very high. Applicable to friends and couples.

(Before I begin to explain this wild musing of mine, I just want to explain that I will be using gender definers simply for clarity's sake. Switch and substitute as you see fit.)

MArt and I observed that women tend to want to believe they have choice, while men tend to think they can convince women to choose them. Both signify the need for power. Furthermore, I had also noticed that all my girlfriends wish they were in relationships, but have yet to be successful. Using the earlier observation as a jump-off point, I realized the secret to landing a man is to -- surprise! -- stop excusing his crap.

What sort of crap am I talking about? Please, gather 'round:

Behaviour #1: He's taking every opportunity to touch and talk to you. Ooh la la! And what do you do when he drags you onto his lap? You sit on it, of course, giddy from all the attention.

Explained: Basically, without doing much at all, he's gauged your interest and publicized it to discourage competitors. Hooray! With a few strategic maneuvers -- contacting you spontaneously, sweet talking you without making immediate plans, being just friendly enough to avoid your asshole detector -- your mind has been monopolized. (Hopefully, for a long time.) Congratulations! He just caught himself a reliable source of willing booty.

Behaviour #2: He seems to be having fun when you're together. You like him, he appears to like you. Someone makes a move (fake left, shoot right) and frees the arrangement from the platonic. Choo choo! All aboard the sexy train! Then suddenly, he stops calling. Oh shit, what did you do wrong?

Explained: Nothing. It's not like you surprised him with your dick up his ass. (Props for trying though.) What's there to apologize? If he refuses to discuss whatever you did to offend him (or made his interest flounder), he just wasn't into you enough to give you another chance and felt he could do better. Next.

Behaviour #3: *Fill in your own personal adventure*

Explained: If he thinks you're long-term material, you'll know from the get-go. He'll adapt to your behaviour whether or not it's considered typical for you. So you try something new and rape him on the first date. He may think you're easy, but he's too enamoured to care (or judge). So you keep your legs closed and make him wait. He's grateful you're still sticking around. The futility of guessing games is understood: Information is divulged voluntarily and dialogue is encouraged.

When women think they know what men want and act accordingly, they discredit the opposite sex as equally complex individuals. (Fuck, I'm starting to sound like a bad self-help guru.) How MArt puts it is if women want real choice -- i.e., the power to accept or reject *cough* an adoring mass of admirers -- they have to set higher standards all round. Don't pile every man giving you dirty winks into the same category (don't flatter yourself, they don't all feel the same way). Go and have a life beyond finding a mate. Cultivate a passion for a hobby. If you stop responding to every pass and advance men make your way, the womanizers will move on, exposing the serious ones. You'll find yourself in a position of dominance without even trying. What's that old adage? That the one thing women hate more than being checked out is not being checked out? No wonder some women are messed up -- nothing could possibly satiate such fragile egos. I mean, think about it: In the end, with all these unresolved insecurities, would you want to be attached to you?

Unsolicited Advice, Pt. 1

The hardest thing about being back home for the holidays is discovering just how few people have changed since high school. The grapevine still sways with murmurs of the incest group (still cheating on each other with each other, still stuck in this shitty town). Sexy Spinster recently bumped into the lot of them at a mid-level restaurant chain. They invited her over to their table to discuss their unfortunate exploits. Oh yeah, punching a chick in the face after she gives you a blowjob? Hi-lar-ious.

Guitar Guy recently informed me of his presence again. Our once-a-year conversations generally revolve around, well, him. (Not that I'm all that eager to divulge anyway.) In this episode, I found out he had dropped out of university after one month and currently works at Staples. He had so much potential when we attended middle school together. Sociable, quick to laugh, a computer ace. Now, it looks as if he's heading to Bumsville. Don't get me wrong, he's still smart. Except, he wants to make it as a musician.

Need I say more?

Okay, so I'm being patronizing. Shame on me. But where are my loyalties supposed to lie? It's obvious these annual missives are there to remind me of his continued existence. Why? Probably because I found him remotely attractive years ago, so he wants to keep the fire burning in case he one day finds himself in dire need of some ... company.

I wasn't born yesterday. He's neither the first nor last man to do this to me. MArt's previous roommate, Dubliner Phil, blatantly hit on me the day of my flight home two weeks ago. The minute he found out he would be seeing me for the last time, he made a last ditch attempt to preserve potential poon. He grew a conscience, got sentimental, requested to meet with me in private. Sexual innuendos suddenly replaced his usual deluge of Asian jokes. And the hugs! Lord, he sure kept them coming. "What was that about?" I inquired MArt the following evening. He said he was also troubled by it; his "boyfriend alarm" had been ringing all night.

"He thought he could present a 'secret side' of him to you so you'd feel special and be open to hooking up in the future."

How could anyone fall for this sort of bullshit? I have no illusions that whatever it is I fell for in MArt had originally been mined by other women. Everyone exploits their quirks -- glorifying them only makes you a sucker. /con't/

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Reuters: Applied; Prospects: Zero%

I'm beginning to tire of people who insist on engaging in arguments with me, but do not ever find the time to read and become informed. Instead of expressing ignorance on certain topics or perhaps find the humility to ask questions, they will undoubtedly attack my resistence to "other views." Listen, I know I am stubborn, it's a quality that has taken me far. So I don't think I am required to always have the patience for -- dare I say -- inferior ideas. Okay, that was wrong of me to say. Let me rephrase. Disproven. If a lazy assumption has already been established to be false, why am I not allowed to say so?

No, I'd be lectured, that's just my "opinion."

Fuck, this is why we're still arguing the merits(?) of Creationism!

I think I'm in the mood for some misanthropy. These liberal arts majors are on the opposite end of the "apathy scale." Their failings stem from dipping their quills in far too many ink pots. Boring and trivializing (as well as ignorant and slow), they roll their eyes at details and numbers (having been raised on skepticism and not much else). Most also tend to be super sensitive to criticism. When I challenge their allegations, they think I am out to "get them" personally. (Not that their characters need much to be deflated.)

"Lily," MArt says. "It's not about winning."

What? So whenever a pop culture icon, leaning left or right, says something deemed remotely interesting to the public, I have to give whomever is regurgitating it back to me a congratulatory pat on the back? Is that it?

Oh really, you hate Bush? Me, too. Let's celebrate in commemoration of our own self-regard and drink until we run out of money for weed again.

These same people also like to think of themselves as being affiliated with communism on one level or another, adopting Marx's words as gospel. Not that it would have ever worked as a self-sustaining political structure, they'd sniff, but it was a noble cause. Both my father's parents were upper-middle ranking Chinese Communist officials. I can attest that my grandmother has never reminisced about those "good ol' days" with a sparkling enthusiasm (not the latter parts, anyway). President Putin, ex-KGB, had a hand in igniting the Second Chechen War and is bringing back the police state in Russia. Yes, quite endearing, these funny folks -- I'd really like to be associated with them. You know who else had a "noble cause?" Robespierre. And look how many heads rolled for him? (Alright, I'm being unfair, but this is a polemic.)

My boyfriend, again, swoops in and tries to clarify things for me. He says it is the ideology alone that people are attracted to. To which I reply, "How can people align themselves with particular ideologies, these doctrines of abstract 'truths,' when their real-life counterparts are so explicitly repulsive? There is no chance for discourse when the material exists in a hypothetical fog, pumped full of vague proclamations of 'brotherhood' that further confuse. It is possible to argue the merits of oppposing ideas, sure, but how do you argue within a singular framework? It is a cop-out and an illusion of broadening intellect!"

Furthermore, it makes me sad how casually "fascist" is thrown around, too. Anyone who flirts with pragmatism is given that repugnant tag nowadays. Well-meaning students have an endless supply of compassion for victims -- then again, everyone wants to be a victim. Girls from privileged backgrounds are suddenly part of the oppressed majority because they've discovered their gender's apparent limitations. (Thanks Dr. Money, because of you, I have to calmly listen to people who believe gender and biology are unrelated. Or to take it even farther: human behaviour is entirely socially conditioned. Right, because if it wasn't for society, I wouldn't have known the first thing to being a woman. Hell, upon seeing a man's penis, I might've stuck it in a sandwich before swinging it above my head like a helicopter rotor. Give me a break. Larry Summers was an asshole, but there were more valid reasons for his resignation than his musings about inherent gender differences.)

Anyway, even I'm guilty of stupid lefty recommendations. MArt has to start his sentences with "I feel" when he's angry as to not offend my fragile sensibilities. (He's such a good, obedient liberal.) Armchair psychologists, we call ourselves. When I threw that phone in Kenny's direction, Techbiana told me "violence was unacceptable" in the house. Yet, she -- and types like her (one who is moving in with MArt this month) -- laughingly slap men around and dislocate jaws, knowing that social norms dictate that there will be no retribution. ("You can't hit girls!")

Ugh, I don't know. Being a 20-year-old sucks. I love school, but I am so fucking done with it.