A Man Of Extremes

In some ways, I’m very difficult to peg.

Every time I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® test, I find myself recognizing when a particular question is trying to ascertain whether I am Introverted or Extroverted. And every time, I try to go with the first situation that pops into my head, but I immediately think of some other situation for which the answer is completely opposite. And in neither case is my answer iffy… it’s like a holy-crap-yes-strongly-agree or it’s OMG-no-no-no-strongly-disagree… for the exact same question.

So when it’s all done, the thing puts me a little nudge to one side or the other on the I-to-E scale, as if I had given middle-ish answers to all those questions. Nope. I gave extreme answers, but very polarized.

The same is true of the Red vs. Blue, R vs. D, Right vs. Left. If you tried to find an average of my views, you’d probably conclude that I’m a centrist. The most recent example of this is the 2nd Amendment. I honestly believe I would fight in a shooting-back-and-forth battle to defend my 2nd Amendment right. I own guns; always have. But I would also argue at the top of my lungs until I’m blue in the face that our current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is completely screwed up, outdated, backward, misguided, and otherwise just freaking wrong.

Limit how many rounds may be in a handgun clip, or rifle magazine? Not an infringement, in my opinion.

Outlaw bump stocks? Not an infringement.

Require Universal Background Checks regardless of who sells what to whom? Not an infringement.

Raise the minimum age for purchasing certain classes of weapons? Not an infringement.

Outright ban on a well-defined (unlike last time) class of weapons? Not necessarily an infringement.

Waiting periods? Not an infringement.

Requirement to pass safety training? Not an infringement.

Requirement to pass skills test? Not an infringement.

Requirement to keep current liability insurance? Not an infringement. (And mind you, I hate insurance companies.)

Mental health screening? Not an infringement.

Confiscation of weapons when someone has made batshit-crazy remarks or credible threats? Not an infringement.

Yanking the tax-exempt status of the evil-dickweed NRA? Not an infringement. In fact, a damned good idea.

Putting firearm registration info into a computerized database, instead of those stupid index cards? Not an infringement, and also a damned good idea.


It’s Your Lucky Day, Sir

The freeway this morning was a little wet, but that has not typically caused a noticeable change in traffic speeds. Up near County Road J where I-35E Southbound is still only 2 lanes, it tends to be going around 79mph (posted: 70) at 6:15am M-F. Today, it was 72-ish, with more flickering of brake lights here and there than usual. I noticed it, but only barely. I mused as to why it might be, but only briefly.

I don’t set my cruise at 80 in that 70 zone because I think it is the best idea. I do so because I have learned that is the typical speed, both lanes (all 3 lanes a little further South), day after day.

I don’t have a MNPass thing on my windshield because I want to go 10-over. I have it because the other 2 (then 3, then 4) lanes as we approach Downtown St. Paul are fraught with unpredictability. And trucks. And Metro Mobility buses. And lots of regular old morons who follow too close, then JAM on the brakes when something happens in front of them, causing the moron behind them to have to jam the brakes on even harder… while I continue along at the speed the MNPass lane had been going all along.

So it turned out this morning that the reason the two lanes of I-35E were erratically going slower than usual was because there was a MN Hwy Patrol squad in the right lane.

When the MNPass lane finally appeared, I merged left into it. On a typical morning, I would see a few cars ahead of me merge into it and speed up to 80mph. On a typical morning, I would see a couple cars behind me merge into it and speed up to keep pace behind me. And we’d all continue at 80 until the posted speed drops by 10 approaching I-694, and all 3 (then 4) lanes go 70 at that point.

You know what you can’t do without getting involved in Road Rage incidents, and putting yourself in the midst of the most aggressive, conflict-laden, unsafe driving behavior? You can’t drive in the far left lane MORE SLOWLY than the lanes to the right, at any time, for any reason.

You know what else you can’t do? You can’t drive in the 2nd-to-left lane at 5-over, then merge across the double-white line to the MNPass lane just as the 2nd-to-left lane slows to 10-under.

If you’re going to use the MNPass lane, you need to get in it and stay in it, and go along to get along. Drive the same speed as the majority. Just try to not piss other people off… even while you’re wishing the majority was going 5-7mph slower than they typically do.

So the MN Hwy Patrol gentleman who pulled me over this morning asked me, “Do you know how fast you were going when you passed me?”

“No, I do not, but I could take a guess.”

“Go ahead and take a guess.”

I know they say you shouldn’t do this, but I gave him an honest shot, “Maybe 79.”

“That sounds about right.”

Then we had a nice chat about what my personal responsibilities are, and the conflict I’m trying to avoid, and society’s problem of aggression, and my contention that there isn’t nearly enough enforcement of the speed limit, “and quite frankly I’m glad you pulled me over, ‘cuz with your lights going, EVERYBODY is going slower, and that’s better for EVERYONE. I’ll take that hit. I’ll HAPPILY take that hit, sir.”

I swear, I practically begged for a ticket. He asked me “So what do you think should happen with you today, now that I’ve pulled you over?”

My response was, “Oh, I should get a ticket. Absolutely. I did all the things wrong, wasn’t paying attention, was just listening to the radio and following my habitual pattern, and didn’t look at the situation until I noticed I was passing you two lanes over.”

He went back to his squad with my license. Came back 2 minutes later and said, “Well it’s your lucky day, sir. My printer isn’t working, so I’m giving you a verbal warning for speeding.”

I thanked him, took my license back, shook his hand, and told him, “PLEASE be safe out there, you’re doing a great job. Thank God for you guys, seriously.”

And that, my friends, is how you trick a crooked cop into lying about his printer.


I’m in a Facebook group about using Audacity for Voiceover work. Someone in the group who has a self-proclaimed “prominent lisp” was using “DeEsser” and “DeClicker” plugins to reduce it. She posted some edited vs unedited examples.
I’m surprised the tech cleaned it up as much as it did. Were it me, I’d fix it at the source, rather than in post. Which is to say, if I were the person on the purchasing end of the transaction, hire someone who doesn’t have a lisp.
A lisp. Voiceover work. Huh. Well I guess the heart wants what it wants. Teens with thick glasses who want to be fighter pilots. Thick-fingered trolls (like myself) who want to be guitarists.
But – let’s assume I have a lisp, but for whatever unfathomable reason, I also yearn to do Voiceover work. I’d either get speech therapy, or my teeth fixed (I have no clue of the causes in the poster’s case). I’ve known a couple people (from my elementary school) who had a prominent lisp, and they fixed it. But I also had a niece with a lisp (as a toddler), and I suggested (because of experience with the previously-mentioned people) that it could be improved with speech therapy – and my bro-in-law angrily contended that there was nothing wrong. So I shrugged it off, and as an adult, she still has a lisp, which seems from my uneducated perspective to be unnecessary.
This all makes me wonder about accents, affectations, hearing, etcetera. I don’t know much Spanish. But when I do speak Spanish, I try to speak it with a Mexican accent (as I hear it). I try not to sound like a big dumb gringo (my appearance as such is more than sufficient). I’ve had Mexican immigrants (a bank teller, in one case), jump to the conclusion that my mother tongue was Español. What is it about me that I’m able to do that, while my co-worker a few cubicles away (born in Ukraine) speaks with such a thick, wet (literally) accent that he’s difficult for us to understand (or stay dry)? If I can spit “day-tah-base” just like him, why can’t he say “database” just like me?
And here’s my theory: Some people who have emigrated here, have somehow come to the conclusion that if they talk a LOT like us (native US English speakers – worse yet, Minnesotans), that we will feel mocked.
You know, how Hollywood so often uses a Southern accent for a dumb character, even though there’s no reason to conclude that regional diction has any correlation to intelligence. So when a Yankee such as myself takes on a Southern accent in order to “sound dumb,” we’re mocking. Ergo, although when I’m in the South I can talk like the locals in order to reduce their struggle to understand what I’m saying, I’m keenly aware of the possibility that I’m also hurting someone’s feelings – so I’m cautious about it.
A related theory: Though I’m sure, depending on the causes, some speech characteristics that one might want to fix, could be fixed, but might there be a subconscious resistance? If I was from Boston, but wanted to excel in VO work, or in broadcasting, and I started pronouncing Rs properly, would my family and friends think I think I’m bettah [sic] than them? (Insert your favorite clip from Goodwill Hunting here.) Might I struggle to overcome my own psychological resistance to changing my speech? Does a particular speech pathology, however undesirable for voiceover work, be so ingrained in a person’s identity that it’s more difficult to fix than it might otherwise be?
And I wonder what the overlap is between adults with a speech impediment AND who also do VO work.

What’s It Like Having a Stalker?

The following is a blog-excerpt from a very interesting, amusing, and scarily forthright person I follow on Twitter.

I’m in a very happy, stable relationship, and yet I have 2-3 enormous crushes. There’s one guy who works at my gym, for example. I can hardly look at him without feeling my face go all hot. There’s another guy I know at a nearby university. At conferences, part of me wants to fall into his arms. It happens. The difference? I recognize those feelings and put them where they belong: my vibrator.

Source: What’s It Like Having a Stalker?

So I was reading my Twitter feed, and saw a thing that said she’d updated this blog post (which I’d not previously read anyway). So I went and read it. Insightful. Interesting. Intelligent. And often, LOL funny.

At the end, I saw social media links (like one often sees), but there was one I’d not noticed before. There was a square “W” icon that, when moused-over, it said “press this”. Curious, I clicked it. It took some text I’d had highlighted above, and turned it into a new WordPress Blog Post on MY blog. I thought, “Cool!” So I cancelled that, and instead highlighted the few sentences that I had found most amusing, and clicked the thing again.

Well I thought it would APPEAR like I was making a link to some other person’s blog, with a QUOTE of what I’d highlighted. And, well, it KIND of did that, but it made it look way too much like I had written it, but had used the other blog as source material. I had to go through another edit process to instead make the copied text into a blockquote. It all works kind of clumsily for something where I’m just trying to point anyone reading my blog to go see hers. Oh well. I fixed that, AND bored you along the way.

Wag The Dog Reboot

I’m batting about an idea for a screenplay. I’d like to do a reboot of Wag The Dog, sort of.

In this pre-apocalyptic story, there’s an international consortium/conspiracy of power brokers. Kabal… Illuminati… Knights Templar… something like that. These extremely influential yet extremely secretive men are concerned about the financial impact of several world problems, including

  • Climate Change
  • ISIS
  • Bashar al-Assad
  • Inability to diplomatically convince certain countries that pursuit of nuclear weapon capability is a bad idea, including
    • Iran
    • North Korea

If only we could kill a few birds with one stone.

The problem with convincing North Korea that Nuclear Weapons are bad is partly that not enough people are still alive who have seen the devastation. WWII was too long ago. Perhaps a current example would set their thinking straight.

The problem with selling fossil fuels (the main source of profit for these guys) is the global push-back against carbon emissions, which cause climate change, which is increasingly difficult to believably deny. But a little nuclear winter could correct that, perhaps.

And if the international community really cared about the Syrian people, Bashar al-Assad would simply never have gotten this far… so these profit-driven evil men could write off (aka sacrifice) the entire country and turn it into one big mirror. Which would further help stave off planetary warming, right?

But of course, the publically-known world leaders don’t want to be on the hook, blamed for reckless war-mongering. So what we need is a patsy. Some ego-maniacal reality-TV personality who is believably dumb enough to be, of all things, a Climate Change Denier. Better yet if he’s thin-skinned and hot-tempered. Someone who could be tricked into taking the blame for starting a nuclear confrontation.

Alas, I could never sell such a screenplay. Too difficult for the audience to suspend disbelief far enough to make it pay off at the box office.