The Secret Project Revealed

So after much unexpected mystery and muddling, the inquiring minds figured out what the Secret Project is. The truth is that I'm relieved that the mystery is over.

It is a science fiction novel.

It's been underway for quite a while. I'm almost done with a second draft that weighs in at over 560 manuscript pages. Much of working on it has been hands-on learning how to write a novel. And the learning curve has not been adequately climbed, I'm sure.

Why? I've been into creative writing and story telling since I was a toddler. I've got several stories banging around in my cranium that I would like to get out. Not all of them are science fiction.

If you want to know more, I'm happy to talk about it. But as a rule, writing anything is a solitary effort and is done mainly without doing much talking. But talking shop is something any one in this position enjoys and could use to get some sound-boarding on ideas, plot points, characters, etc. In Hollywood, they are called story meetings. Just be warned that any talk about the novel is going to feed right back in to the novel itself, whether it's feedback, or letting me refine the tagline or the story pitch, character development, etc.

The High Def Moment

It's been a long time coming for me to join the HD world but it has finally happened. To some, maybe even many, this is no big whoop. The truth is it is a big deal to me. Such a big deal that it's hard for me to get my head around the fact that the long wait is over and I can go on with the rest of my life. It's been years of saving, meticulously following the latest HDTV news and reviews, the price drops and so on.

Yes, it was quite materialistic of me to desire a big screen HDTV. Some people argue that materialism is insatiable and that as soon as you acquire one thing, you don't enjoy it as much as you thought and you go on to your next craving. If that sounds like an addiction, it's because that's what the anti-materialists believe. Maybe that's what happens to them. The more stuff they own, the more it owns them. I pity them, because that's like being allergic to the air you need to breathe - you will always be miserable.

The more stuff I own (that I want), the more free I am.

But I know that every time I walk in the room and see the TV, I will smile inside. The same is true for several other objects I own (clothes, Legos, hardwood floors). They all create mental sighs of contentment. Materialism, at least to me, is a means to an end - mental comfort. Not having the material things I want leaves a constant ache, a point of mental discomfort. As I get older and am able to obtain more of what I want, I realize that there is a mental multiplier effect from material comfort.

The flip side of this is that there is a limit to the mental bang for the buck from buying stuff. You have to shoot for the big comfort boosters. There is a smaller and smaller pile of stuff that I don't have that I want. It's still quite a big pile though, it's just shrinking.

At a certain living standard point, one becomes kind of post-materialistic. We're essentially all at that point since material needs are pretty minimal. But that doesn't mean we're anti-materialist, it means that we can be choosy about what stuff excites our neurons. Like fine food, music, experiences or good company; it's not the quantity, but the quality.

And a HDTV is all about the quality.

The Sins of the Parents

A lot of people blame their parents for a lot of their problems and they are just being stupid and whiny. For every neurosis that someone thinks a parent instilled, I bet it's mostly genetics repeating across generations. Everything from height, body type, voice, face, sweat glands, you name it, is given over to the offspring. All it takes is to know yourself pretty well, then have children and watch how the same traits and behaviors all pop up in your kid without any prodding from you. It's cloning with a few wild cards thrown in and is kind of cool from an ego standpoint.

For better or worse, who your parents are can drive a lot of how the margins of your life turn out. Outside of their input in your rearing (where to live, reading books to you, values to instill, etc.) research is showing lately that height and looks contribute materially to one's success or lack of it in life. These are not the sins of the parents.

The sins of the parents are the conscious choices that their children have to bear for the rest of their lives. Getting poor prenatal care. Damaging one's sperm and eggs through drug use or stupid, avoidable exposure to toxic chemicals. Smoking during pregnancy. Reproducing with the scum of the earth who are abusive or irresponsible. Waiting far too late to have children and there by upping the chances of causing crippling disabilities. Expecting the schools to feed your kids three times a day so you don't have to.

The truth is that a good portion of parents are the same lazy, self-interested assholes you see every day. The enormity of this is hard to appreciate until you become a parent and see these morons in action. It's clear they didn't have a child thinking about how their own stupid decisions and habits will manifest as a host of medical problems, deformities or disorders years or decades later. They just wanted a thing, an ornament, a play doll or a pet or a status symbol to make their spouse or relatives happy.

So they commit their short-sighted sins, and damage, doom and hamper the next generation. Their kids, like all others, already will have the usual genetic roulette wheel to deal with, as well as the consequences of their own behavior. They don't need to bear their parents' stupidity as a cross for their entire lives.

The Trackball doesn't hold anything against people that they cannot control, but he is totally merciless in condemning them when they screw up what they can control. Lucky for many of them that it's almost impossible to tell how much of a congenital defect is due to their screw up versus random chance. It helps the child back off of feeling outright rage towards Dum and Dud and muddles it down to bitter disappointment.