Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PS. heading to NYC tomorrow.

Play nice while I'm gone...

More about Sarah

Just heard that SP responded that she would support crossing the border of Pakistan "if that's what it takes to protect the country" (more or less Obama's position, that McCain opposes). Shooting from the hip, I suspect...

it occurs to me that if you're SP, the only viable strategy would be to say:
you're right, i don't have the same *type* of experience that some others have. but [cite here inexperienced ppl who did great things -- alexander the great, kennedy, the boy with his finger in the dike, whatever...]. i bring you the same thing as those great people had: character.
every president, and every VP, faces specific crises he couldn't have predicted. what's far more important than experience in those sitautions is the character, the backbone, the moral compass you bring. a vote for me is a vote for integrity, for strength, and for someone who sees the world as you do. and i will take the same moral principles that have served me thru my life into the white house to fulfill the duties of VP...

And on a lighter note:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive

Jay Aitch made the reasonable request that we not excoriate Sarah Palin on the basis of one bombed interview question. So I submit a few examples below:

Sarah on the Bush Doctrine, a term she appeared to be unfamiliar with at the time:

On whether she's ready to be president if necessary:
Paraphrased, her answer is that "you have to be committed, and not blink." Flog me, folks, I know plenty of really idiotic people who are committed to their ideas; how does that in any way address the issue of whether you're the right person for the job? How about saying that this is a serious responsibility, and I thought long and hard about it, and concluded I can do the job well...?

A non-answer WRT national security:

On war with Russia "perhaps so":

And it's not so much the *position* -- the question of who to include in NATO is a complex one -- the problem is that her approach of total conviction, of "don't blink" make her say "Absolutely, Ukraine, yes Georgia" -- she appears not to have thought thru the ramifications of that policy. When Gibson asks her "Wouldn't that mean we might have to go to war with Russia?" she doesn't answer like a person who's even considered the answer and come to a reasoned conclusion -- she blinks once, then charges ahead like a pit bull (with lipstick), and forcefully reiterates NATO's policy of mutual support as if Gibson doesn't understand it, when it was actually the basis of his question. She seems to have achieved most of her success thru her appearance of conviction, rather than on substance.

Rhetoric vs Truth issues, per CNN and others:

On the earmarks issue, I don't fault her as much for taking federal money -- one can make the case that that's doing her job, representing her city or state. I do have a problem with pretending to have said "Thanks, but no thanks" when you actually took the money.
But my basic issue is this: If SP had done dozens and dozens of interviews where she demonstrated her knowledge and preparation, I'd be more inclined to cut her slack if she messed up once. But on the big issues that require careful thought, her percentage is terrible. The more I listen to her, the more I think there's no *there* there. It feels like her popularity is based on people liking the *person* she seems to be: strong successful woman, cool hockey mom, dedicated and directed, easy on the eyes, conservative religious family-values person. None of which qualify her in the slightest to be vice-president, or (God forbid) president.

Let's face it, the presidential election is mostly a popularity contest with the majority of voters. None of us is immune to the "feelings" thing: I don't like Hillary, not because of her policies, it's just visceral. But who we elect is going to inherit extremely challenging economic & foreign policy issues, not to mention likely have a big influence on shaping the supreme court. At some point it seems like we should also check into whether a person could actually do the job we're electing them for.

One more:

(Okay, that last one wasn't fair, but I have to say SP reminds me a lot of Miss Carolina...)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sorry about that

Okay, that last post may have been the most boring and pointless ever.
Unless you count most of my other ones.

But my point is you may also be bored with the video below, unless you care about the country or something...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

if you must give bad news...

...this seems like a good way to do it. The following is from a letter I got from Frontier Airlines regarding making our frequent flyer miles worth less. I thot they did a great job on it, actually...

Dear valued Summit member,
We don’t say it enough, but thank you again, for your encouragement and confidence in Frontier Airlines during these trying times. We humbly acknowledge that without the commitment and support of you, our most loyal customers, we would not be here today.
As you are aware, the historically high and unpredictable cost of fuel has created unprecedented challenges for the industry, resulting in several carriers ceasing operation altogether. We are determined to meet these challenges and are evaluating every aspect of our operation to reduce costs and drive towards profitability. As a result, we have had to make some tough decisions. We prefer not to make these choices, but we are committed to doing everything it takes to survive and successfully weather these hard times; for the sake of our employees and customers alike.
While we must implement the following changes to our EarlyReturns mileage program, we will continue to waive all change fees and redemption fees for Summit members. Please read below for general program changes...

Monday, September 22, 2008


My truck has been smelling worse and worse inside this week. Started wondering if someone had spilled milk in it or something.

Also, the other day I left the restaurant with most of a 36-oz steak in a take-home box.

As it turns out, the two issues were related.

The End.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This is how I would pick up women...

(thx to Anya)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Retirement-age white lady, talking to my cousin’s son who is just turning 18:

WL: Are you going to get registered to vote? You should get involved.
COUSIN’S SON: Well, I think so.
WL: You *really* need to vote this election. It’s important!

BRYAN: Really? Who should he vote for?
WL [incredulously]: Well, NOT Obama!
BRYAN [raises eyebrows and smiles condescendingly]
WL [about-faces and leaves]

And, an excellent wine review...


Sitting in Starbucks talking to my insurance agent. He asks what it's like to be dating again at 43, and I tell him it has its moments -- I'm at a unique time of life when I can basically date women of any age, if I wanted to.

A few minutes later he nudges me and nods at something over my shoulder; I turn around to see a fit-looking blonde woman in black spandex ordering coffee.

INSURANCE GUY (winking): Hey, now there's a candidate for you.
BRYAN: Hmm. You know who that is?
IG: No, who?
BRYAN: That would be my ex-wife.
IG: ...

NOTE about appropriate dating age: The "creepiness rule" states that you should not date younger than half your age + 7 years. That puts my lower limit at 28.5; I've broken that a couple of times, but am not making a habit of it. I also know a few couples who don't fit into this rule, and I say if they're happy everyone else should STFU and be happy with them...

Monday, September 15, 2008

some stuff

1) Above is some pretty stuff I saw while hiking this weekend near Mt. Ranier.
2) Also, someone I know who was very young just died, so it's sad and also reminds me that it's excellent to be alive.
3) Given #2 above, this scarcely merits mention, but:
Parent night this week at the community college where Sam has just enrolled.
As I'm leaving I realize my laptop's system clock had somehow become retarded by about 35 minutes, so I was going to miss the first 1/2 hr of the 90-minute presentation.
Then I was talking to David on my cell (hands-free, of course) and missed my exit. If you miss that exit, you have to drive approximately to Canada before you can backtrack. Which I did, in rush-hour traffic. At this point, I have missed 55 minutes.
I make it all the way back to where I need to be, whereupon I miss a *different* turn, because there used to be two entrances to the college, and now there's only one. And I am back *exactly* where I was when I had just missed the first exit 25 minutes ago.
I said many bad words, but none of them teleported me to the Bellevue Community College parking lot.
At the prospect of missing 80 minutes of a 90-minute deal, I went to Wendy's instead and ate a spicy chicken sandwich. It was kind of overcooked, but it still made me feel better.
If I had a Garmin or a TomTom, that computer-lady-voice would have told me Turn right in 50 feet... or whatever, but I don't have one yet. I blame society.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Long narcissistic ramble about I, I, I, me, me, me…

Disclaimer: the following are some things that I believe about male-female relationships. Truth may lie elsewhere in female-female or male-male relationships, and also I might be wrong. If you disagree, feel free to say so.

So anyway, I was a huge pussy when I was married, and it wasn’t Hannah’s fault.
I didn't know how to own what i felt, say what i meant, and not be ashamed of what i wanted. i never understood til later that for women, it tends to be mostly about attraction, not about who’s the most accommodating or buys the most flowers -- almost no women are attracted to wussie guys.

Not that flowers are bad, but they’re a garnish, not a main dish. Women *say* they want a nice, sensitive guy. They probably even *think* they do. But deep down, most really just mean a guy who treats them with respect and isn’t an asshole. Past that, most women want a *man*, not a boy. They may *complain* about our maleness: we’re insensitive, self-centered, independent, stubborn, aggressive, physical, unrefined, overly and overtly sexual, not overly communicative, socially oblivious, verbally unsophisticated, emotionally obtuse, etc (basically, we’re not women), but if they do succeed in civilizing (ie, feminizing) us they usually find they no longer get butterflies when they look at us.

Not that metrosexual traits aren’t attractive to women. There’s nothing wrong with knowing how to garden, cook, wipe your feet, clean your fingernails, etc – but if it’s an either-or choice between a weak guy who knows his bath soaps and a confident cro-magnon, 99% of women will pick the caveman.

Some women want a man they can dominate, but most don’t. Most want a guy who is interesting, who challenges them mentally, who will stand up for them – and *to* them when appropriate: one woman said to me last week after an exchange in which she was bossy and I made fun of her for it: “You crack me up... I like a man who can put me in my place and be funny and sweet at the same time.” And yeah, that exchange could be more about Manipulation 101 (ie, telling guys things they like to hear) but the fact remains that most women want a guy who knows what he wants, where he’s going, and isn’t ashamed or embarrassed about it.

I can tell you from personal experience (over the last 3 yrs) that women respond about 1000 times more positively to a guy who teases them or challenges them – who says what he believes without being worried about her approval/agreement – than to a guy who is 100% accommodating and self-censors in an attempt to win her approval.

Here’s the thing: good-looking women get attention from men all the time. And most men try to win a woman's attention/affection by being trying to please her, by being accomodating, by complimenting her, by never contradicting, by being "nice". Women don’t have time to wade thru all that to try to find which ones are authentic and have actual character, and which ones just want to get in their pants. So they gravitate to guys who demonstrate their strength/confidence/authenticity by not trying to please all the time.

a) confidence is alpha behaviour (more about that in a minute); and
b) A guy who doesn’t appear to need her attention is a challenge for a woman; a good-looking woman especially will be tweaked by a guy who appears indifferent to her charms, and almost can’t help trying to get him to act like all the others who are falling at her feet.

And besides which, neediness is not attractive. When someone constantly acts like you're going to kick them, pretty soon you almost *want* to. Women don’t want a man who is cowed or intimidated or hurt by them; they hate a puppy dog. In other words “Nice guys finish last.” (Most likely alone, in the shower.)

The self-confidence thing is also true in reverse, of course – men like confident women – it’s just not *as* true. Some men actually want a doormat, someone who seems weaker. Or at least, someone who seems cute/adorable. But most of us want a woman with some attitude: someone who can think for herself and call us on it when we’re full of s***. Security tends to be an attractive trait no matter who you are…

And for women, I think it’s at least partly biological – before the modern era, women needed a guy who was chingón enough – alpha enough – to protect them and their babies from sabretooth tigers or giant hedgehogs or whatever. (Note: and by “whatever”, we partly mean “other aggressive males”.) That residual instinct is so strong that many women will sacrifice the “nice” part in order to get the “strong” part. Which is why lots of women are with guys who are assholes, while nice guys look on, confused. And why certain guys -- celebrities, guys in uniform, doctors, guys in a band, CEOs, rich guys -- get lots of girls: those are all trappings of leadership, authority, power, alpha status.

I’m not saying that men are supposed to be in charge of everything, or tell women what to do with their lives. I’m saying that men need to have their s*** together: they need to be confident, reliable, directed, decisive, able to take care of themselves. At the same time, they need to be self-secure, which means flexible, even-tempered, and able to take criticism.

And if a guy fails to step up to that role, it makes many women feel uneasy, like there’s a power vacuum, and they will feel the need to step into that role themselves. Since a lot of guys do their competing at work (or are just laid-back by nature), they just want peace and quiet when they get home – they want a rest from being aggressive and competitive and in charge, so they end up letting/making their women determine the weather in the home, and may appear to their women as unmotivated, uncaring, or weak.

So anyway, yeah. I was sensitive, insecure. I was a wimp. I was weak. And I don’t blame Hannah for that.

And over the last few years I have changed radically. I hardly recognize myself sometimes. I now permit myself to be who I am – ie, male – without apology or embarrassment. It’s amazing how great it is to no longer suppress things for fear of not being what women think they want men to be, to break free from the vaginization that I underwent in my liberal college-going years. (Women said they wanted Alan Alda, but guess who they dated? Hint: not guys like Alan.)

I’m not saying I now fart freely in mixed company, or leer, or spit on the rug. I’m just saying that I embrace the stuff that makes me male -- the good with the bad -- and am happy to be who i am. So I listen respectfully to women when they talk and respect their right to be who they want to be, but i always walk on the outside, open doors, carry the heavy s***, investigate noises downstairs, and usually end up paying for dinner. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to approve -- I wasn’t doing it for you anyway, I was doing it because that’s how I do it.

i don't insist on making all the plans just because i have an outie and someone else has an innie, but neither will i stand in the mall holding a woman’s purse like i was neutered and have no life. i'm not embarrassed or feel bad in any way that I sometimes choose time for hockey or backpacking or parkour over time with a girlfriend, or that i occasionally get drunk with the guys and sing rude songs and flirt with the waitress, or that i'm not always thinking about [insert girlfriend name here]. if a woman asks me were there strippers at the bachelor party, or have i ever thought of her sister naked, the answer will be yes.

i'll ask women (or gay men) for fashion advice, but in the end i wear what i want, do my hair like i decide, and i don't ask permission to buy a gun or a motorcycle. i am competitive, sometimes unnecessarily aggressive in sports or traffic, and i pee outside when i feel like it. I love to eat meat, I don't get too agitated about harp seals, and i have been known to say the s-word in mixed company. i wear boots and drive a big shit-kicker pickup truck, but my bumper sticker says Obama2008 -- i guess a person could make whatever they want of that.

I'm still kind to animals and old people, and I like almost everyone I meet, but I found that when i grew a pair and learned to be up-front and stand my ground about what i want and what i won't accept, that i didn't lose all my friends -- both men and women respond more positively to alpha behavior, which I spent most of my life suppressing (or not even having). And yeah, I know this is a huge no-brainer for most guys, but it took me a long time to figure out...

Being with Camila – with a lot of exposure to Latino culture – was definitely a part of me letting go of a lot of wussie behaviour and becoming more alpha. I'd like to think I took from that the good parts of being a man -- responsibility, hard work, self-respect, unapologetic masculinity, manners with women -- without assimilating all the machista BS that makes so many Latinas here prefer to date white guys...

Some of the above has to do with attraction as it pertains to newish relationships. In a committed, loving, long-term relationship, a man can afford to be much more vulnerable. However: I believe the basic alpha-ness that created attraction in the first place still needs to be there in some measure so your S.O. continues to get all misty and butterfly-y – and passionate – when she looks at you.
Also: women whose fathers were sensitive, loving, nice guys tend not to view those traits as weak; they are more likely to appreciate a guy who isn't overtly alpha, but has those qualities. Men who are less aggressive and more accomodating by nature will probably be happiest with the women who fall in this category - and who knows, maybe those relationships would represent the more healthy and less biology-driven ideal...

Having typed all of the above, I can hear my mom’s voice in my head “Look, isn’t it sweet how Bryan thinks of himself now…” And yes, one could make the point that guys who are *really* alpha don’t think about it or talk about it – and they certainly don’t write long boring blog posts about how gosh-darn alpha they’re feeling today. But one of the benefits of being how I am now is that I don’t give a s***. Other people’s opinions no longer run my life, so feel free to think what you want. I enjoy blogging, especially about myself – doesn’t mean I can’t still kick your ass…

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Anya pointed me to this recording that was leaked of McCain's call to Palin to ask her to be his running mate...

And speaking of nice bodies -- well, dead bodies actually -- there's some controversy about where the bodies in those Bodyworlds and Bodies shows come from. Most are from China (they have lots of extra people...), but there's question about whether some were from executed prisoners.
Maybe I'm obtuse, but what's the big deal -- how is it worse if they were a prisoner? Is it that someone might kill them for the money? Is it that they didn't give consent? Somebody educate me on this...

In other (old) news: When I was in DC I got to see my cousin -- pics below -- we ate and drank and talked and ceteras. It was really fun.

Here we are with roommates and friends/boyfriends. They were exceptionally informed and articulate, especially for being so young. On the right is us having grownup drinks together for the first time ever. One might be forgiven for thinking it's become my mission to corrupt my younger girl cousins by taking them drinking, but you'll have to just trust me that it wasn't so.

We also saw the movie As We Forgive, which was powerful and moving. I highly recommend it.

PS. My 8th grade English teacher* told us that "fun" was a noun, not an adjective, so therefore "very fun" didn't make any sense. To which I say: Baloney. Why is "fun" not an adjective? Just because it started out as a noun? It's natural that words can be more than one thing (eg, "set" -- it can be noun, adjective, or verb), and that words may shift part-of-speech as language continues to develop; nouns are being "verbified" all the time (eg, "access").
I'll tell you why "fun" isn't supposed to be an adjective: because grammarians are like orthodoxists everywhere: they *love* rules, and resist change. Instead of being content to describe how language is used, they all take a hubris pill and decide that once they identify a pattern it is a Language Rule, or possibly a Message From God about how things *must* be. So they say things like "Every sentence in the English language must have a Subject and a Predicate." Ballocks. A one-word sentence can convey meaning perfectly well. (That was meant to be clever, get it?)

*Mr. Berg. He's dead now. As far as I know his body is not on display...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wherein I rationalize my passive-aggressive, controlling behaviour

Si recently mentioned to me something from a TV show, about chronic lateness being a sign of a person with control issues, and that by forcing others to conform to their timetable, the tardy one is engaging in passive-aggressive behaviour, etc.

I've heard this before, and i don't buy it.

Oh sure, I imagine there are those for whom it's about control. But most of us who struggle to make it somewhere on time don't want to make other ppl wait – quite the opposite, we feel anxious and ashamed of being late, and sorry that others are inconvenienced.

It’s mostly about poor time management, overly optimistic time-estimating skills, or general lack of organization.

Now, without a doubt there *is* an element of selfishness, as well: getting somewhere early wastes my time – unless I've got work I can bring with me, I must sit and chafe, thinking about all the things I could be getting done.

But I'm not intentionally arriving *late*, I'm intending to arrive precisely on time so as not to waste my own time or anyone else's. Of course, in reality this means I occasionally (unintentionally) arrive late and waste *other* people’s time.

And the andtidote of course is to
a) learn to estimate more accurately how long things take, and/or
b) always try to arrive a little early.

But being unwilling to consistently waste my own time (ie, always arrive early) in order that no one else ever waste theirs may not be generous or considerate, but it’s not the same thing as having control issues or being passive-aggressive.

I basically think that making personal disorganization, poor estimation skills, poor time management, or even selfishness be about controlling *other* people is a stretch; to me that diagnosis feels like a case of compulsively-on-time people – who are annoyed no end by tardy people – being terribly happy to
a) over-pathologize tardiness, and
b) make it somehow be about *them*...

I also wonder if people who are always on time don't merely *wish* to believe it's because of their great concern for their fellow man -- I suspect they do it because that's what feels better to them (ie, they *want* to; they're doing it for themselves), not because they'd like to be late but they dont' because of their love for humanity and consideration for others' schedules.

Or maybe I'm wrong. What do you think? And are you an on-time person, or a late person?