Rant

Notes of fatherhood #1

I wrote previously that there are things that people always tell you about children that are just straight out lies. These lies are not only about certain feelings or things that happen but more closely related to certain actions limited to your kid. I know this sounds like it makes no sense what so ever, but bare with me and all shall be clear.

When your kid is born it can only communicate through one things. That thing being crying. So it cries when it is tired, when it is hungry, bored and whatever else you can think of. This unfortunately means that you will lack quite some sleep at the beginning. The lack of sleep leads to you doing and saying things you don’t mean simply because of the stress and annoyance that a lack of sleep is accompanied with. In the army this is for example a very efficient torture method (or maybe not only in the army). But I digress, the tiredness that leads to the eruptions of emotions is something that is quite normal but annoying, and because both parties are on edge controlling these outbursts can be difficult. However, one thing I never could understand was why people would assume that a relationship that has hit hard times, might be better with a child in the picture. If anything the opposite is true. A relationship that has hit the rocks will never be better when a child is involved, it will be worse! But that is another matter all together.

When children cry they do so in a very interesting frequency that lets your teeth chipper, your nostrils shake with horror and your head ring in a tone you have never ever heard before, and most likely never want to hear again. Oh and those that say they sleep through it (Yes YOU! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) are lying! There is no way in hell you can sleep through that incessant crying, but wake up when there is some music playing in the background. You not going to see the kid means not that you are asleep but that you are too tired to get up and push the responsibility on the other person.

Actually if the person sleeps through it then run a test. While asleep take some music with some shrilling noises and play it next to that persons ear, we will see if they wake up then. But back to the matter at hand. The crying can stop on its own after a while or continue on for years (yes I mean years). Naturally the first thing people say when you ask them how their nights are, they always smugly reply that their child is sleeping perfectly every night. At that moment (although I know I want to smack them in the face) test that matter. Come once unannounced to their house at a time when the child is supposedly asleep. It is then that suddenly you will hear the excuses: Normally he is asleep already. I don’t know what’s gotten into him, he always sleeps right away…

So why lie?! Well that’s the real question, and I don’t have a real answer except that people always want to be considered good parents. It doesn’t matter if they lie or not they want to appear as really good parents. The one thing people tend to forget is that we all learn how to be parents while doing it. And most of us have multiple jobs (mother/father next to the normal job) which means we can’t spend that much time learning how to do everything. So need to get a book on the matter go ahead, if that works for you but don’t forget that every child is different and no manual can tell you everything. One other interesting fact is that everyone can be a parent, there is nothing that you need to pass, no degree no nothing. But if you want to adopt then you need to pass a multitude of tests and channels and you are never guaranteed any result at the end. Unless you are Madonna…

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The problems with the best of lists

I have been looking at new lists as of late, to try and find something new to read. I looked through the great google for support but the lists that come up were always the same kind of lists. One factor in it was that I wanted something good and not the same old drivel that people put out. The other factor is what is considered good or the best, is always limited and this is where the same things always pop up. The worst in all of these is comic books. I love comic books and consider them to be an essential part of modern literature. However, there is so much garbage out there that it is hard to find really good ones. And when you take the time to actually go through the sites and review and so on you find the same names over and over again. It is always watchmen is the greatest single work of art in existence and bla bla bla. I am getting tired of everyone being such a frank miller fan or an alan moore junkie. Sure they were great at their day but its not like no new comics are coming out. More importantly there are so many other things out there that are great that the whole fetish with the older gen, is frankly getting a little old and mundane.

This is why there should be a site setup with some recommendation database basics. Where users could just put their favorite comicbooks or graphic novels and a list with what other users liked would be given or similar categories. I wait impatiently for such a site to come, interestingly things like that already exist for the world of manga. Which is a great way to discover new manga, if you are into manga that is.

So if there are people like me out there that are looking for good tpbs and cant find them here is my short list of things to read (and its not marvel or DC! because let’s face it they really are a one trick pony. A good trick, but still only one). So let us begin with Image which shows the most promise there are several really good books out. Chew, morning glories, witch doctor, luther strode, todd the ugliest kid, whispers, end of time…, grim leaper, saga, whispers and thats all i can think of at the moment. Dark horse is another great publishing house and from them I would really recommend colder, the secret, rex mundi and the goon. Now here is to hoping a recommendation site will actually find its way into existence.

End of a dream

As many have probably heard by now, Terry Pratchett, the master of discworld and one of the most loved and best known authors around the world, has passed away. He was fighting with Alzheimer for a while now and it has finally after a struggle won. Alzheimer, however did not mean that Terry Pratchett stopped writing, not by a long shot. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007 Terry Pratchett wrote making money, unseen academicals, I shall wear midnight, snuff, raising steam and the shepherd’s crown all in the discworld series. Next to those he also wrote: Nation, Dodger and with Stephan baxter: the long earth, the long war and the long mars.

The reason I list all these books (and its not even all of them), is to show one simple yet prominent characteristic of Terry Pratchett. The incredible stamina and perseverance he had. The incredible strength that made him such an incredibly witty, funny, dramatic, and simply amazing writer. Think about it, how many people do you know who can write so many books consistently, while struggling with Alzheimer. Naturally the disease progressed slowly, but still to be able to write at such a pace with such vigor, is simply perplexing to me. I know enough people that struggle to write one book in a year or two, and here is the great terry Pratchett putting every single one of us to shame. His quality never really diminished, certain books you enjoyed more than others but the quality of his work was always there and although I didn’t really like Nation, I loved Dodger.

I grew up reading his books and they taught me everything about a world very different from our own, where the world is flat and carried by four elephants on top of a giant turtle, across space. A world unlike anything I have ever read previously and yet so familiar I could almost taste it.  It is this familiar feeling that I so associate with the discworld. This feeling of knowing its a strange world and yet everything in it is as though it was just in my back garden. That is the charm and wisdom of Terry Pratchett. To me he was the greatest fantasy writer and now the world is poorer for his loss. I am poorer, and more than that I will always treasure the memories and the legacy he has left. It somehow feels slightly unreal because there was always a new book coming out, always a discworld fix to fill my need and now that he is no more there is a hole that will for quite some time remain empty…

Living without

Something strange has happened to me as of late. The strangeness is not so much a happening as it is a realization of something. This realization occurred to me after I lost something and what better format to tell you about this than right here. I have never noticed it before because living without something is very hard to do when you have never lived without it. Let me give you an example: prior to losing your sense of smell for example you never notice what an important part of your life it plays, this is true not only for certain senses that we lose but for many specific things that happen to us. We are creatures of habit and our nature tells us that we will always live they way we do, it is when we lose something that suddenly our world is thrown into disarray and we are somewhat at a loss for a remedy.

For me it was a relative small change, I lost my voice. After I lost it though I noticed how much I actually use it in communicating with other people and how difficult it must be for people who have lost their voice to adapt to the new situation. People that are born without a sense have had to content with that situation their whole life, that is not to say it is easier but in a way they don’t know what their missing. If you lost a sense irrelevant of what that sense is, you know what your missing and you have to content yourself with either having to live without forever or for a short period of time.

What I find even more interesting in this whole endeavor is that people don’t care. I mean we as a civilized and progressive society are continuously looking for ways to improve our way of life but for some reason we just don’t seem to actually care too much about the things that are happening around us, be it people who are down on their luck or other such things. We will give little notice to them or when we do we will simply give some money to some organization, but more importantly is that they do not interrupt us and do not become involved in our lives. We want the problem solved in a way that means we don’t want to be bothered by it and the best thing would be to just push it under the rug. However, after some time the lumps will prevent you from walking straight and as usually with these temporary solutions, you need to adjust somewhat to accommodate a more permanent solution that will benefit everyone involved. For the general public this means whisking the problem away for the ones who have the problem it means learn to live with it as quickly as you can. How cruel and how ignorant that may seem. Me my voice will come back unfortunately for many of us that will not happen and maybe the most important thing is use your senses wisely, you never know when it will disappear on you. Worse then losing something is having something and never use it…

The truth that lies

I want to write something about a subject that people always lie about. I am almost sure you wouldn’t guess the subject I am about to write about, simply because it so close to everyone’s heart that they never think they actually lie about it. So what is this subject in one word children. The whole process from labor to child birth to raising children is so full of lies that it is incredible how we become normal individuals at all. I know this might seem a little controversial but let’s break this down and I am sure you will see at least some points you will recognize.

1) Labor

The lies in labor are always the same. These involve famous quotes like “it will all be worth it in the end”, “there is hardly any pain involved” etc etc. I think people forget the pain that is involved or you would never have another child in the first place. But next to the pain there are so many other things that make it strange. For example why are pregnant women not telling one another the truth about the problems the annoyance and all the other things? They are largely ignored or they find too imbarancing to talk about. Next to that there are other discussion points involving the surgery and the labor itself but I will not go there now.

2) Baby’s

Let’s talk about the biggest lie of all… When you have a child its a lot of hard work! No one tells you these things but its true. Children and baby’s most of all will put a strain on your relationship and/or life in a way that will be new to you. Things will undoubtedly change and some of it will be good don’t get me wrong but some of it will be bad. If you have a baby that’s a good sleeper that already will be a good thing because the additional strain of a chronic lack of sleep won’t put you in a position to say stupid things to one another and communicate by screaming. If you are alone things will be worse still. Next to that is the feeding which if you have a baby that eats well is great if he doesn’t then great more problems.

There is one other little truth which goes to the dads out there. The mother has a connection (in most cases) to their child which is instant. The dad does not, the connection with the father comes later and there is no problem in admitting that. There is also no reflex involved in taking care of your child which is something people tend to forget. In most cases you need to figure things out and you will make mistakes on the way, which is only normal. The annoying part is that people never tell you these things they usually just look at you funny if you are having problem or if things are not going as smoothly as they should. But let’s face it if everything was going smoothly for everyone why is there post labor depression? Why are there so many broken relationships and so on and so on. There are so many more points I could criticize here but I think the most important part is that we as a society should support one another and not just criticize and talk about how everything is so easy. Because there are many things that are not easy and there is no easy guidebook and unfortunately everyone can have children.

3) Lies we tell to children

When a child grows up he asks us questions and here starts a problem. There are a lot of things we decide are too complicated for children and so we tell little lies, or because we don’t really know the answer or because we think its too complicated to explain. So we tell what we consider are white lies. “Dad how does the TV work?”

“Well there is a guy stuck in the TV that tells us everything you see and when you turn it off the guy dies!”

Alright so that’s a joke (I hope) but still there are many lies we tell that we learn as a lie ourselves. Things like how many senses do we have. Answer is NOT FIVE!!!

We all know the normal five: Hear, See, Taste, Feel (touch), and smell.

If you think that’s it just think about how it is that we can keep our balance without falling, or how do we know where we are in space even when our eyes are close (this research actually led to a noble price in 2014 which you can read about here: http://www.nature.com/news/nobel-prize-for-decoding-brain-s-sense-of-place-1.16093?WT.mc_id=EMI_NATURE_1410_NATURENEWSBREAKINGSNOBELMED_PORTFOLIO).

Another few interesting ones are pain, temperature (difference between hot and cold) etc.

This is just one little example these lies are very different to the lies we tell to make someone feel better. For example “Ofcourse there is a Santa Clause”  and all the other things that we say to comfort our loved ones. Those are different lies which I won’t consider the same as the ones I explained previously. There are many other examples like this and if you want to know more examples there are many good books on the subjects which are great reads and usually quite funny, because many of the lies we tell we don’t even know are lies.

Oh and who came up with baby’s are bundles of joy?! They are definitely not a bundle of joy! But just to put a positive spin into all of this when your child laughs it is the most beautiful moment, and when he recognizes you and wants to kiss you or be in your arms these are all moments you should cherish because just when you get used to that they stop. And you wish they could be small again instead of Teenagers… But that’s a whole other bundle of trouble…

Opinions may differ

I have refrained from ranting about politics, because I sincerely believe that it is not my place to rant about it. There are enough political analysts, journalists, opinion writers etc, that I don’t think I need to add my view to this already very full domain. But lately something has been burning in me, it started as just a small little annoyance but now I need an outlet, and this is it.
I understand politics, hey I even like politics at times, (not the throwing chairs and punches at each other one, but rather the talking to one another) what I don’t like is stupidity and ignorance. Actually I can remove stupidity from there so that it’s just ignorance. Why don’t I like ignorance? Because that breeds hate, resentment and fear, it is without a doubt the worst thing you can have as a politician, but (and this is a big but) in politics being ignorant is just wrong. When you are in politics, you are a bit like a performer, you stand in front of people you tell them things and try and get them to believe in you. So where am I getting at?
What people say to one another matters, if a kid says his dad told him something or other it matters, if grown-ups are fighting about a line in the sand even though it’s arbitrary, it matters. Why? Well, because if you care about people in general, and I am not talking about adults for the moment, but about children who will believe anything you tell them, it is these children who I see as the sufferers of everything, and it is irrelevant what you believe, or even whose side you are on. Children should be protected, period! Still there are people out there who use this to their advantage, or leverage to do acts they believe to be for their greater good. Certain countries (like the us for example, or Russia or so many others) won’t be bullied and will just use a bomb to wipe everything out. Hell the only time the USA was ever attacked they used two atom bombs to make that point come across! All the other times that they bombed countries they weren’t even attacked.
I think it is important to point out, that I don’t have an opinion on the side of things. I am not against the US or for another country, I think that at the moment I prefer the USA running things for the simple fact, that they actually do something and don’t spend weeks and months and sometimes even years discussing a problem. I understand the necessity of certain things, just like I understand that somebody bombing me constantly will make me so angry that I will attack back without looking at the consequence. But it is this that makes it dangerous, even though I understand it and for the moment I don’t see a better solution, you can’t have negotiations while under fire, and you can’t have proper negotiations with terrorists. The biggest reason why you can’t is that terrorists lie, use civilians as pawns, and control the population first by means of terror, than through brainwashing them.
Maybe the most important thing in any situation, is not to hate, something that people do naturally, they chose a side and automatically hate the other side. This happens in football, soccer, in a similar fashion. In war or political stand-offs prior to tension and eventually escalations are all built from one simple founding rule. Hate.
Now I have been leading up to this point, but I guess I will have to endure the hate and continue. The conflict in Israel… First let me say that if you don’t live in Israel or Gaza than you should shut up. I am of the opinion that people who are not part of the conflict can only really understand the sides: by either living in a situation that is it, or through a similar background. You might think you know what it feels like, but you don’t. When someone loses his arms or legs do you say ohh… I know exactly how you feel, and then continue to give him advice on how to proceed? No you wouldn’t, so why does everyone give two bits about the situation in Israel? A plane full of civilians headed from Amsterdam was shut down by god knows who (Americans say it was Russian rebels) over the Ukraine. I don’t see demonstrations, fights or anything much happening to support either side there. Why is that? Why is the whole world silent each time we have a new horror in Africa? Why when in Africa a hundred or so girls are abducted, brain-washed and become slaves of the islam because of some nut, there is hardly any response?
What makes Israel so special? Or for that matter the Palestinians? Do you understand this? Am I missing something? What made a piece of land so big that you can spit the distance, so important that the whole world has an opinion on what should happen with it? How is that even possible? I am against genocide of any people, but every country has a right to protect itself from an enemy. The only problem in this case is how to take out a terrorist cell that runs a country. Interestingly the Palestinians on the other side of the country want exactly the same thing. So let’s wait and see what happens, but for now please refrain from having an opinion on something you do not fully understand. The biggest problem is thinking you understand when you actually don’t. Let me make this perfectly clear yet again, you can’t possibly understand it unless it has happened to you…
I think I should stop this rant now before I become too serious for my own good, or maybe there are things that the natural order of things tells us, we should be ignorant about. Maybe certain things should be left untouched. Or maybe we should blow everything up but ourselves. But then we have to live with ourselves and have you met us? We are not very nice, if leave us alone we will stab you in the back…

Its all over! FIFA world cup 2014

It is the end. After a great struggle, the fall of some and the rise of others, a victor has been declared and all others losers. I am talking about the FIFA world cup 2014, that was held in Brasil. The winner is Germany the team that showed the most stable and overall good game in this world cup. The second was Argentine although their contribution to this world cup is thin to say the least. With the exception of several awe inspiring moves by the world greatest player Messi, Argentine played mostly a boring game. Focusing on defense and leaving the attack on one and on occasion two players only.
Of note is the lack of enthusiasm by which Messi received the best player award. Who according to my personal opinion is not the one that should have been the first player. I rather think one of the german players like Schweinsteiger should have had the honors.
The game for third place between Holland and Brazil proved to be more interesting with a 3-0 win for the Dutch that proved to the world that Brazil really came all this way due to luck and bad refereeing, rather than actual skill. But maybe more imporatnt than anything is the memories we can share.
We saw Brazil crushed by germany and defeated by holland (7-1 and 3-0 respectively) we saw Argentina reach the world final after a long absence. We saw the world record for most goals by one player in the world cup broken by Klose (16 goals in 4 different world cups which is another record). Next to these pleasant results we also saw some less than pleasant things happen. Bad refereeing being one, a biter on the field being two and lastly as a positive note hardly any real fights between players. Although there were many serious injuries, the players kept for the most part a sportive behavior that did not damage the game. Something I hope will continue.
So to end on a high note we saw the rise of a great new player in James, we saw great sportsmanship among the players, even if not with the judges, and overall a great worldcup. See you in four years in Russia (where things not as corrupted as in Qatar… yeah right). Now what am I supposed to do with my time?!

World Cup 2014 the ups and downs and F£$#ING FIFA

Everytime the world cup comes along, I’m reluctant to be happy because, I realize what is behind it. What is behind it you ask, well the good non-profit organization of FIFA that has over a billion dollars in the bank… If that isn’t the most contradictory thing in the world, than I don’t know what is. Despite all of this though I have been an avid viewer since 1994. This mostly because I actually enjoy the rivalry, the matches, the drama and all the things that go with it. 

This has been said before and John Oliver says it much better than I do:

I am happy to say though, that this year was, until a certain incident, the best world cup I have seen. The teams are fighting to win in all matches and there is none of this lets play for a tie game nonsense. It is a shame that after the biting incident it is now the only thing people are talking about and let me be clear about what I think. Biting someone once bad but ok. Get a punishment and that will the end of it. Twice is wrong on so many levels, but I am willing to give another chance. Three times you should be banned forever, because apparently you don’t understand what it is that you do… It is also strange that a person that has bitten people on three different occasions has not gotten a more severe repercussion. But anyway, that will also blow over and quite quickly people will start talking about all the mistakes made by referees, and as usual the first point, as always will be, why isn’t the video referee ever used?! If it is not a corrupted mess (and I hope it isn’t) there should be someone looking at the screen who will convey what he sees to the main referee through the headset. I understand that the main referee can’t see everything, no one expects him too, but that is exactly why there are multiple referees. Every other sport in the world is using cameras now, as an extra measure to be sure that rules are followed. Every sport except for soccer. Go figure…
One more point I would like to address is the foolish spray can thing. What the heck is that? Are we talking to five year olds here that have no basic comprehension of rules and regulations? Let me explain maybe a little better my problem. The people who play football or soccer are adults and as such they know what they are doing. What is happening now is that they are being treated as children. I want you to stand here on the line and don’t move. Do you understand? Good (referee walks away and quickly runs back) I said not to move! Don’t you listen. I guess I will have to do nothing about it and use a spray can to keep you there. How about punishing all of them? Why isn’t that an option?
Let us hope that we will only have a good cup and no more nonsense. Hey and if it becomes somewhat boring just remember Muller. He won’t be remembered as one of the top goal makers. A player that keeps on running irrelevant of the time of play. But rather as the person who fell when trying to run next to the ball at a free kick. It was one heck of a stumble.

 

A name for yourself – To the imagination of dolphins and fantasy

Some writers’ names have becomes adjectives: Kafkaesque, marxist, Orwellian, sadistic. If your name (or nickname, or blog name) were to become an adjective, what would it mean?

Well this is actually an easy one to write about because my nickname/pseudo-name has always been elvenc (it is even my email address!). This is an old story from circa 1996 when I was working at the Dolphin Reef and had a love for all things fantasy.

I love the ocean and dolphins were for me the personification of everything I loved about it. They are smart, friendly and are all around just great friends with you if you are willing. If you are not they will be very cruel to you.

Elven is actually a derivative of elf (like elvish languages etc). The c stands for sea. Put together you get the elven of the sea which are in fantasy at least seen as dolphins (although they can also transform into humans). 

A name for youself

 

Weekly writing challenge list

So the challenge this time is to create a list and the rules are pretty broad so I first thought I’d write about places I went to but I didn’t really like that list so instead here is a directions list on how to fall and maybe even more important stay in love.

1) Always but really always say what you think and feel.

2) Do not always act out what you think/feel (common sense will help you along the way).

3) Listen to what the other side thinks/feels.

4)  Do not expect things to just go easily, things never do so be ready to reach a common goal together.

5) Believe in one another.

6) Don’t let foolish or petty things get in the way.

7) Whenever things get rough take a break, being together all the time is not always the best solution YOU time is very important. 

8) Enjoy things together just as much as you enjoy things alone, you should always be happy to see each other, if you don’t then figure out why that is. 

9) Live life to the fullest, argue shout but let everything out. Don’t leave things unsaid.

10) Do not hurt one another on purpose, causing pain never solved anything. 

Well that’s my list I honestly don’t know if its a good list I guess only time will tell, the one thing I can say about this list is that love like anything worthwhile takes effort, so don’t give up on it and don’t wait idly for it to just pass you by. Work for it and it will arrive and stay if you are lucky. 

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