Locut0s's Journal - Archives
Please note I've been clinically depressed for a very long time and while not suicidal I've been just about that low recently so my vision is no doubt clouded. Also note what follows is mostly a weak rant.
I'm tired of living in a culture that values willful ignorance over intelligent discourse. I'm tired of "knowing things" being a weight I have to carry around with me. I'm tired of having to be almost apologetic for voicing a learned opinion on topics. At best you get the "boy that guy is smart" look with a heavy dose of "yeah and arrogant too". And you know what, I'll take being a little arrogant, I probably am. But fuck me if wanting a little art in my entertainment is to be looked down upon. I'm tired of the passive aggressive hostility, the knowing looks, the, "you aren't better than me" attitude one inevitably encounters if one raises their hand to say anything not in the "book of approved opinions". I'm tired of the "pull yourself up by your boot straps kid" mentality that seems to increasingly permeate every facet of our culture. If you aren't a success by your mid to late 20s, if you don't look like your typical high school jock, crew cut hair, "casual stylish dress", car in the driveway, house or apartment owned, girl friend or wife secured, with a comfortable salary and a retirement portfolio, there's just something a little odd about you. Certainly some wiggle room is allowed here, but those who stray too far outside the dotted lines are at best "quirky", those who haven't achieved any of these preset goals (who's are they again?), well, you're just a failure. What types of problems exist in this world? Well you have your scheduling conflicts, your missed sales, girl friends who dropped you, friends who no longer call. Depression? Issues of a more existential nature? Yes I think I've read about that before, have you tried some hot tea? Are you sure you aren't just a homosexual? You know, not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm tired of a world view that stops somewhere just short of ten feet from your nose. Forget the stereotype of not being able to place yourself on an Atlas, geographic ignorance is something we can fix. How about not even comprehending the human condition, and I don't mean in some philosophical sense, I mean in a very basic down to earth sense. Instead of asking people to pin down where they are on a map, a la pin the tail on the donkey. We should ask people to "pin down" what they consider to be "normal". What they consider to be "acceptable". Give them little cardboard cutouts, the homeless man, the thief, the wall street exec, the office man, the alcoholic, the woman in the mental ward, the schizophrenic, the unemployed man collecting welfare, the guy who just talks to himself a little too much, the woman who 'just can't seem to get it together', the 30 year old guy living at home with his parents. Okay Bob, now which of these fit in the 'acceptable' circle?
I'm tired of that circle having just 2 or 3 people in it.
I've posted this on here before but the cliff notes on my own life are
But suffice it to say emotional problems have played a central role in shaping my life and personality. And played a central role in preventing me from sculpting out the life I know is hiding away there, if I only had the tools to get at it.
Anyway I don't want this thread to be about me. I do have something of a rudimentary plan in place to get out of the darkness.
What I want is to hear how emotional problems have shaped the lives of others on here, or the lives of those you care about. Don't get me wrong this isn't some form of tragedy porn, I'm not looking to wallow in the misery of others and I hope others don't as well. I know simply, that reading the stories of others who have faced similar adversity is actually therapeutic in some ways. No one wishes to feel alone in this world, least of all those who may have the most reason to feel alone. Perhaps we can all reach out and and lend something of a virtual helping hand.
What's your story? In brief or in detail.
"So where do your politics fall. Right or left?"
"Oh I hate labels. I refuse to be labelled a Democrat or a Republican, Left or Right. IMO they all have their own agendas and anyone who signs on to a whole package just isn't thinking for themselves"
OKAYYYyy sounds good on the surface, but I already have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"Ok so what are your values and beliefs?"
..... INSERT LONG OR SHORT DIATRIBE HERE....
Okay. So... Nice to hear you aren't ANTI gay. Nice to hear you aren't ANTI drug. Nice to hear you aren't ANTI discrimination. BUT, you want to eliminate all taxes, destroy the entire social welfare system, destroy the healthcare system (either the single payer system we have here in Canada, or the sad state of affairs you guys in the states have but that still offers SOME care), you want to be able to take your money and go live up on Mt Olympus with absolutely NO oversight, repercussions, or moral civic duties.
I'm sorry but you are the very WORST of the right wing. Don't fucking start with this Libertarian shit!!! And you know what? To get your Utopian "Libertarian" ideal you are MORE THAN FUCKING WILLING to vote for the guy who is ALSO foaming at the mouth against the gays, the drugs, the immigrants, and you'll just conveniently look the other way on those topics.
Watching the CNN special on bullying I was reminded of my own less than happy childhood at school. While I didn't quite suffer some of the hell that some kids go through today I didn't have a happy childhood either, was near suicidal at times, and I often wonder if this has played a significant roll in my life long problems with depression and anxiety. Anyway I was curious watching this what other experiences people here might have had. Either as parrents of bullied kids or former kids who were bullied!
Things don't look too good.
I know this isn't the first time this has been asked here. And if this is something that will get me banned then I'm sorry the mods are free to delete and or lock this post however my intentions are not bad, I'm just curious about the demographics here. I've asked this same question of other forums that are more tech oriented with a demographic that is more skewed toward young males (those in their mid 20s and 30s mostly in the tech community). Well actually REALLY skewed toward males, only about 5-10 women on the whole forum. Usually I get a breakdown something like this:
50% claim to watch porn on the net semi daily to just about daily. These were men
30% claimed to watch semi weekly, men again
There were usually not enough women who replied to get any good idea of what king of breakdown there was. I swear these are real numbers.
So the question is what kind of numbers do you think we would expect on these forums? Women are MUCH better represented here and the age distribution is also much more even, with a mix of young, middle and old. So posing the same question to you:
How often do you watch pornography? By pornography I am NOT counting Playboy or swim suit models but what one usually considers pornography nowadays on the net, also not including anything obscene or extreme either though (anything involving animals etc).
Are you a MAN or a WOMAN?
Have you EVER watched porn?
If yes roughly how often?
Semi Daily or daily.
Once a month or so.
Once a year or so.
Maybe once in my life or so.
Again too the mods I would like if this could not be locked but I understand if it is
Too answer this question myself I answer MALE, and daily or semi daily just about. Though I have to add a note to this. I really don't like mainstream porno and just about everything I watch is of the armature "home video" type of porno. That and sites like "I feel myself" etc.. these types of things I find FAR FAR more of a turn on that most of the main stream stuff. None of this will make any difference of course to those who hate porn but I thought I should clarify.
Drug and alcohol addiction. I posted some time back about my life falling apart. Been a shut in for years, living with my parents. Been in and out of university countless times. Depression and social anxiety are my two biggest ghosts. Been haunting me for a decade at least..
The last 3 days here in Nanning we have been guests of a friend of my fathers ( though not staying with him ). He is a writer of some limited fame here in China and has also turned a number of his short stories and novels into TV mini series. At any rate he has been treating us out to dinner and showing us around Nanning the past few days. Like many friends you will make in China he is extremely gracious and insists on showing us all around the city despite being very busy with work. Though he has more money than the average Chinese. Today he took us to a particularly nice lunch. Situated in a sort of artists compound that a friend of his owns. This consists of a number of small out buildings where artists can rent rooms to work out of the way of the noise of the city. It's a very pleasant place! The buildings are embedded in a small tropical jungle like environment with paths and small ponds winging all about the place. We ate in a small pavilion outside. The friend of my fathers had ordered a huge number of dishes. This is something you may have experienced if you have ever been treated to dinner in China by a friend. They like to order a banquets worth of food for 2 or 3 people and bottle after bottle of beer. Usual more than you can finish. You can see here some shots I took today. I have labeled the one with food:
(1) Bowl of corn on the cob, sweat potatoes and whole peanuts all roated
(2) A whole chicken cooked Hinan style in oil, garlic, ginger. Fresh from the field!
(3) Cucumber cooked in oil, with garlic and vinegar
(4) A very good Tofu dish cooked with the consistency of corn
(5) Chinese style omelet cooked with vegetables
(6) A traditional finely sliced potato dish cooked in oil an herbs
(7) Bitter Mellon
(8) Fresh fish from the lake near by (Not shown)
(9) + (10) Two more fresh vegeatabl dishes (Not shown)
This plus about 4 large beers and traditional rice wine. All these dishes were cooked on a wood fire stove we were told.
So my final post from China. I'll start with some simple travel tips (some of these I pulled from the other posts):
Here are my previous 2 posts:
-China has a very well developed tourism industry aimed mostly at internal tourism. Unfortunately a lot of "tourist" destinations are little more than excuses for peddlers to set up their stalls to hawk the usual knockoff wear you see in all the other street markets. As usual do your research and plan out the sites you want to visit carefully. If possible don't follow a tour group. The local tour groups are almost exclusively in Chinese and are often dull dull dull! Instead of elucidating a regions history and cultural heritage they are as likely to point out all the rock formations along the way that are shaped like various animals. That and they will take you to every trinket market along the way. Unless you can find a good foreign tour group I would avoid them like the plague as well, but that's just me. That and they will take you to the absolute worst restaurants! I like to blend into the culture I'm visiting and experience it from the inside, you won't be able to do that with any tour group.
-Taxis in China are usually very cheap compared to the west. Averaging something like 7RMB per kilometer. For those in the US that's about 1US dollar per 0.62 Miles. Good for getting from the airport to your hotel with your bags. For traveling inside major cities though the local buses are on the order of 1rmb per trip which us REALLY cheap.
-BROTP Bring your own toilet paper!! (Everywhere!)
-Get used to using squat toilets, it's not that bad once you get used to squatting and get over the smell
-Getting a HEP A and B vaccine is HIGHLY recommended! Trust me it will give you some peace of mind when eating out.
-Food will likely be one of the highlights of your trip. Expect to pay around 60RMB or so at a local restaurant for 4 or 5 dishes and 2 large beers (equal to 4 reg size beers). That's about $9 US for a good sized meal. Street food is also very good and cheap in most places. Expect to get the runs because as a westerner your GI tract is not used to the lower sanitary conditions here.
-One of the best ways to enjoy any city is to make a friend or two and have them take you out. The Chinese love to treat their friends to a night on the town. If you do this let them treat you! Though you should always offer to pay ultimately they will insist and usually you should give in to avoid insulting them.
-Hotels can be another bargain here. Avoid the large American chains as you will only pay too much. Also avoid the local large tourist joints. Try to find a hotel frequented by domestic businessmen. One suggestion I have is a chain called Ru Jia which is basically a copy of Best Western. Clean rooms, clean bathrooms, free internet, TV and the usual amenities. Expect to pay something on the order of 190RMB per night ($30US) for a double bed.
-Always be weary of frauds and scams. If something seems fishy it probably is. Also keep a close eye on your personal belongings at all times!!
-If you want to purchase some of the famous Chinese knockoffs (be it Rolex's, Prada bags or other trinkets) make sure to Haggle Haggle Haggle! Even the locals do. There is no such thing as a fixed price for these items. As soon as they see you are a foreigner they will jack up the price 3x or more. However don't haggle at malls, for street food or in restaurants!
-The country side offers some very beautiful scenery.
-Cities I recommend visiting. Shanghai (for sheer skyscraper goodness). Beijing and Xi'an for the BIG tourist sites. Dalian, Xiamen, Nanning for a clean almost Mediterranean like atmosphere.
So as you know I'm traveling in China at the moment, unfortunately with my parents but it's better than not most of the time. Anyway I posted a running cometary / list of thoughts a few days back here:
Just thought I'd add a few more. Oh and the primer is that I lived here for about 3 1/2 years when I was a toddler and I speak enough of the language to get around.
Please ask questions!
-Currently just got into Guilin after a torturous train trip. About 30 hours on the train with a 4 hours transfer stop in between. We had hard bunks on the train but they were not in their own rooms, 6 to a "cubicle". Fairly cramped but you get used to it after a while. Thankfully the trains were air conditioned as it's 30 deg C out with 100% humidity. Using the squat toilets on the train wasn't the most fun what with the overpowering smell of urine, dirty floors and what not. And of course like every other public washroom in Asia, no toilet paper or soap. If you come traveling anywhere in Asia plan on bringing your own soap and toilet paper with you (this isn't just in china). It was interesting to see the train personnel walking up and down the isles hawking merchandise like toys, bill counterfeit detectors and more. There was also an open food cart that went up and down the isles selling noodles, rice and more. At one point the people on the lower bunk light a cigarette filling the upper bunks with smoke. They were not supposed to smoke in the cabin but none of the employees stopped them (you will find in much of Asia that such rules and laws are followed far less strictly).
-Despite what I was saying in my first post above about the street food being largely safe to eat I am amazed at some of the stuff that locals buy. I can remember one lady selling assorted meats right out of a bucket on the side of the street (chicken feet, tripe, etc...) and I mean just a bucket. I haven't gotten really sick despite eating lots of street food and at all kinds of less than clean restaurants but I have developed a rather persistent case of diarrhea. Nothing too serious though. If I stayed here longer by GI tract would likely get used to it. But I would always stay away from the most dodgy looking stuff.
-If you travel outside the major tourist cities you will get stared at A LOT and talked about openly a lot. You will hear "Louwai" a lot. This is something that is hard to get used to. This largely stems from 2 things. (1) Traditionally the Chinese are an extremely unselfconscious people (I'm not saying this as a true negative) and hence things like staring are not necessarily considered rude out right. (2) Chinese people often have a very distorted view of westerners. We are more than something of a curiosity.
-Like I was saying above the Chinese are remarkably unselfconscious about many things. The primary thing you will notice would be bodily functions. Chewing, slurping, farting, spitting, going to the bathroom. All of these in the west are considered private matters and we try to hide them from public view. Much less so in China and you will see people spitting in the street, eating/slurping loudly, talking loudly, etc etc... This is FAR more the case with the previous generation than the up and coming younger generation who much more resemble the west in every way.
-The economic boom here is mind blowing. When we lived here 20+ years ago the country was just starting to open up and people still dressed in communist attire. Shops still sold a very small range of goods. Cars were just starting to spear in numbers. People rarely owned much in the way of property. Communications was a hit and miss affair as there were few land lines. Fast forward to now and every city of size has a skyscraper skyline. Buildings are going up at breakneck pace. China has a good highways system. Cars are everywhere. Everyone and their dog has a cell phone (even farmers). The pace of growth is so fast that they don't even clear away old buildings when they knock them down. They just clear away enough to build the new skyscraper leaving a shell of rubble next to it. How often have you seen large municipal works like highway systems, subways systems, major water works, damns etc being constructed? Seems to me every city we visit has something of this magnitude being worked on. Because of this virtual explosion there are literally 2 different China's. There's the China of the 20 something generation who you would be hard pressed to tell apart from westerners and then there is everyone else older than them. They saw their country go from rural third world sleepiness to modern bustling metropolis overnight and they still hang on to their rural upbringings which also explains the point above.
So, as some of you may know I'm traveling in China at the moment. I lived here for about 3 1/2 years when I was a toddler and I speak enough of the language to get around. Anyway just wanted to "blog" about some experiences. Might add to these if there is any interest.
Also please ask questions!
-Driving in china is nucking futs!!! 1/2 the cars straddle two lanes because you can never predict when the car in front or behind is going to cut in line and you will need to move. Cars share the road with thousands of electric scooters, small motorbikes and bicycles. These other vehicles don't follow any rules either and cars have to continuously negotiate their way around them at all times. Having said this drivers are far better at navigating said obstacles than most anywhere else. I've yet to feel in much danger being in a taxi despite all the chaos. Also drivers rarely lose their temper at any of this, they just navigate around it all.
-Food is for the most part cheap and good! Street vendors abound and can be found in any sized city. Often there will be many areas where block upon block is nothing but hawker's stalls. Aside from staying away from some of the obvious stuff (seafood sitting in hot glass cases) these vendors are safe to eat at and serve some awesome food for cheap. Even restaurants are cheap though. Example we had a meal today consisting of 3 dishes (vermicelli, jiaozi, stir fried rice) and two large beer (=4 reg beer) for about 10 bucks CDN (9 US).
-The price of other consumables depends very much on where you shop and whether you want a knockoff or the real deal. In large cities like Shanghai and Beijing you can spend more on hand bags and clothes than you would in Paris, and yes these would be the real thing. Go into the smaller local stores though and you can pick up clothing and other accessories for far far less. Good looking t-shirts for something like 3 or 4 bucks US. And you can get cheaper. Try to avoid buying anything at any of the big tourist traps, real rip off most of the time.
-In the big cities the Chinese like to spend on clothes and by and large there is more variation amongst the fashions than in the west.
-Seems on the net people either complain that there are no sexy women or there are tons. The truth lies in between but lies closer to the later. (1) you obviously have to be into Asian women! (2) almost ALL the women here like to dress sexy, high heel shoes and short skirts regardless of whether they really are sexy or not. This means that in the big cities there are "head turners" every 10 seconds. But of course it also means there are more average women wearing the same skirts and heels.
-This is MUCH more of a no holds bared capitalist country than the US or most anywhere else. That means buyer beware!! So long as you have your wits about you, you should be OK. There is a HUGE influx of poor rural people coming in from the country side looking to make a living. Most of these get factory jobs, work at restaurants, drive taxis etc etc... The vast majority are honest and hard working. However where there are tourists there is money and where there is money there are scammers. Always go with your gut feeling and take much of what you are being told with a grain of salt. Taxi drivers for example are well known for telling gullible people "Oh sorry that hotel is closed due to renovations etc etc then take you to some other establishment for which they get a fat commission". Or take you round 10 blocks to get you to somewhere 2 blocks away. Having said all this so long as your wits are about you and can brush off the rude encounters most of the people you meet are really very friendly and helpful.
-Don't come to China expecting western standards or those of Tokyo. China is a different country and though very modern in places like Beijing and Shanghai rural standards still apply all over the place, GET USED TO IT! Squat toilets, spitting on sidewalks, small children releaving themselves in the street, NOISE noise noise, staring at people etc etc... abound all over the place.
-The country side is really quite beautiful. Get outside any major city things start looking like rural country side very quickly. Small towns and farms are everywhere. The Karst geography can be stunning!
-The transportation network is very well developed and getting from point A to B be it 10 miles or 1000 miles is not difficult on average.
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