What Bothers Me About Soap Operas

Monday, July 1, 2013

Trifecta: Week Eighty-Four

CRUDE

1: existing in a natural state and unaltered by cooking or processing

2 archaic : unripe, immature

3: marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity 

4: rough or inexpert in plan or execution 

5: lacking a covering, glossing, or concealing element : obvious 

6: tabulated without being broken down into classes 

There’s nothing more unsettling than watching your mother, father, sister, grandmother and grandfather clustered around the television, all watching the same soap opera. I don’t know what disturbs me the most: one, that of all things possible, this is what brought the family together, two, regret that they choose to spend their leisure time (and sometimes their un-leisure time as well) so utterly unproductively on a regular basis, or third, that we as a people fall pray to the networks’ crude play on emotions so easily every time. The same formula of heartbreak, tears and gossip, and it works like a charm. Every. Single. Ti-

Oops, gotta go – he’s about to catch her cheating on him!

Science, Fifty Shades of Grey and Morality

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

June 24, 2013

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/daily-prompt-morality-play/]

morals  plural of mor·al (Noun)

Noun
  1. A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
  2. A person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.
Synonyms
morality – moral – ethics – mores – morale

Growing up, my source of moral values was my family, but that’s a no-brainer, given that obeying and making them proud is ingrained in our minds as our duty from a very young age. As I grew up and met those outside my home, others with conflicting or perhaps different worldviews, I reevaluated the parameters of my personal definition of morality, and I continue to do so even today.

As a student of science, if there’s one thing I have learned, it is to absorb information unbiased, consider all the possible alternatives, and then settle for the most rational one; as the information available keeps increasing, to keep adjusting the parameters of my belief  system.

That’s the attitude I approach morality with. The very definition of moral (definition 2) implies that morality is individual-specific. I base my sense of morality mostly on common sense; if it’s hurting someone, it must be wrong on some level, and conversely, if no one is hurt by it, it couldn’t possibly by entirely evil.

I believe the reason there are so many scuffles taking place over moral outrage is because people tend to be heavily biased. I’m no exception either; the best example I can come up with is the Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey series. Hearing about the plotlines, I developed an immediate dislike to both the series. I said insulting things about the books left and right and felt no regret doing it. I thought people who read the book were fools. Then someone made a comment in passing about a literary preference of mine, and I immediately snapped at them, telling them “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” then immediately felt ashamed of myself.

I took it upon myself to read both the series with as open a mind as I could muster, and, although my opinion of the series remained almost the same, I did find certain things to appreciate along the way. I learnt things I hadn’t known previously, and some of my stances softened.My worldview broadened a bit and I had to concede that if I were someone else, in different surroundings, perhaps my outlook would be different.

That lesson is what I take with me when I consider morality. No matter what my opinion, if I take the trouble to listen without bias, I will undoubtedly take home something important at the end of the day. And as far as tolerance goes, I go by the adage: Your yard ends where mine begins. It’s the perfect ideal to judge by, whether it be a question life, liberty, morality, or even actual yards.

Community

3 Words:20130622: day 173 &

Daily Prompt: Island of Misfit Posts

June 23, 2013

We all have something we’d like to write about, but that doesn’t really “fit” our blog. Write it anyway.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MISFIT.

[http://threewordsaday.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/20130622-day-173/]

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/daily-prompt-misfit/]

The community bench is

Just another place to park this

Heavy encumbrance

That is my body,

But this is one place where I

Blend in. I don’t have to

Bring anything original

To the metaphorical table

Or pretend I like the taste of

What’s being served.

No one will ask me

Uncomfortable questions

Like

Am I happy

or How am I.

We just smile at each other

So we know we’re not alone.

Third Time’s the Charm!

Trifextra: Week Seventy-Three:

“This weekend we’re asking for 33 of your own words inspired by the idiom, third time’s the charm.  This familiar phrase may have an indeterminate origin, but its meaning is clear.  Whether or not you include the phrase itself is up to you.  Just make sure to use exactly 33 words.  And, as usual, have fun with it!”

[http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/06/trifextra-week-seventy-three.html]

 

“Sure? As your attorney, I…”

“I’m sure.”

“Both your divorce settlements have cost you. A third…”

“Hey.” Shrug. “Love’s always worth a shot. And you know what they say: third time’s the charm!”

Long Days and Lullabies

This week’s Trifecta Challenge:

CLUB

1a : a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon b : a stick or bat used to hit a ball in any of various games c : something resembling a club 2a : a playing card marked with a stylized figure of a black clover b : plural but sing or plural in constr : the suit comprising cards marked with clubs 3a : an association of persons for some common object usually jointly supported and meeting periodically; also : a group identified by some common characteristic <nations in the nuclear club>  

[See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/06/trifecta-week-eighty-two.html#comment-form]

Ray was exhausted. His top-level corporate job had paid for his lifestyle, but left him with very little time to spend with his son, Jason. He sighed. He’d have to make a better effort. Starting tomorrow. Today, all I want is a glass of…

“Oh, you’re home,” El called. She kicked her heels off and sank into the sofa.” Rick called today- he wanted to remind you about some concert thing planned for Saturday. Macklemore.”

Ray started. He’d forgotten entirely. He and Rick had spent their entire adolescent lives idolizing him. When they’d heard that this tour was to be his last, Rick had persuaded him to buy front-row tickets.

When he looked up, she’d fallen asleep. Poor thing. Covering her with a blanket, he headed for the kitchen to pour himself a drink.

Just as he reached, he heard noises from Jason’s bedroom. “Hey pal,” he said, finding him awake. “Couldn’t sleep?”

“I had a scary dream…I want Mommy to sing a song,” he said, eyes wide.

“Well, Mommy’s asleep, so how about I sing you a lullaby tonight?”

“M’kay,” mumbled Jason, happily. “Now, what am I going to sing for you today?” he wondered aloud. Is it too late now to call Rick? The concert is on Saturday.

“Mommy sings me songs from when she was a kid,” Jason murmured.

I remember my first concert, thought Ray with a smile.  We used to sing along to “Thrift Shop” all the time back then.

Almost without realizing it, he found himself humming it. “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…” He grinned; lowering his voice, trying to disguise it as a lullaby, he continued, “Walk into the club, like what up I got a big – ” Oops

“-cork,” he completed, flustered, darting a glance at his son. Had he noticed? But Jason lay still, already asleep. Ray felt his throat constrict. “I promise I’ll be home more often,” he whispered fiercely to his sleeping son.

—————————-

So this is the short version. Initially, I got carried away and wrote around 750 words before I got a friendly reminder (thank heavens for those!) that it was way over the word limit. Still, I have a soft corner for the original, so I decided to add it below, just in case anyone’s interested in reading it.

Turning the key to let himself in, Ray made straight for the living room and put his briefcase down near his favorite recliner. He was exhausted. His top-level corporate job had paid for his house, his cars, and (he suspected) had also had a small role in his getting his wife. Unfortunately it left him with very little time to spend either on his hobbies or with his son, Jason. At three years old, Jason was reaching that age when parental presence (or its absence) sets the tone for their lifelong parent-child relationship. He sighed. He’d have to make a better effort. Starting tomorrow. Today, all I want is a glass of…

“Oh, you’re home,” El called by way of welcome, standing in the doorway, laptop bag in hand. Her job in the media kept her, if possible, even busier than his kept him. Elizabeth kicked her heels off and sank into the sofa, flexing the soles of her feet and moaning with relief.

“Long day?” he asked.

“You bet,” she said, closing her eyes. “Right now all I want is some sleep.” She settled in deeper into the sofa. “Oh, by the way, your childhood friend Rick called – he wanted to remind you about some concert thing you had planned for Saturday. Macklemore’s Grand Finale apparently.”

Ray started. He’d forgotten entirely. He and Rick had spent their entire adolescent lives idolizing him. When they’d heard that this tour was to be his last, Rick had persuaded him to finally give in to impulse. Together, they’d bought front-row tickets for the concert. Right now all I want is some sleep, he thought, echoing El.

“…but I need to watch the LVBN ’26 Awards thing,” El was saying. “It’s supposed to be on tonight. I need to,” she yawned,”make sure…,” another yawn, “that….” yawning again, she drifted off to sleep.

He smiled. Poor thing. Getting a blanket from their linen closet, he covered her, dimmed the lights, and headed for the kitchen to pour himself a drink before calling Rick back.

Just as he was tilting the decanter, he heard the sound of something expensive (grimace) falling. Eyebrows furrowed, he put down his glass and stepped out into the hallway. He’d updated his security system just a month or two ago; it was a pretty expensive one too.Just to be on the safe side however, he grabbed a steel ladle from the kitchen before heading down the hallway.

Peeking into the living room, he saw Jason standing there, teddy bear dragging, blinking sleepily, and inwardly sighed with relief. “Hey pal,” he said, squatting down to his son’s level. “Couldn’t sleep?” He sheepishly tucked the ladle behind a wooden table nearby.

“I had a scary dream,” he pouted, looking up. “I want Mommy to sing a song,” he said, looking worried, eyes wide.

“C’mere,” said Ray, standing up and lifting his three-year-old into his arms. “Mommy’s asleep, so how about I sing you a lullaby tonight?”

“M’kay,” mumbled Jason, already burrowed happily into his father’s shoulder.

Laying him on the bed, Ray tucked Jason into his solar-system-themed comforter. The absence of Pluto still irritated him all these years later.

“Now, what am I going to sing for you today?” he wondered aloud. Is it too late now to call Rick? The concert is on Saturday. Two days away.

“Mommy sings me songs from when she was a kid,” Jason murmured, snuggling into his pillow.

I remember my first concert, thought Ray with a smile. I had to practically sign my freedom away to go see Macklemore, me and Rick both. We used to sing along to “Thrift Shop” all the time back then.

Almost without realizing it, he found himself humming it. “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…”

He grinned, realizing how much he’d missed Macklemore. Lowering his voice, trying to disguise it as a lullaby, he smiled at Jason and continued, “Walk into the club, like what up I got a big – ” and stopped himself just in time. Macklemore isn’t for lullabies, what’s wrong with me?

“-cork,” he completed, flustered, darting a glance at his son. Had he noticed? But Jason lay still, already asleep. Listening to the sound of his son’s steady breathing, Ray felt his throat constrict. “I promise I’ll be home more often,” he whispered fiercely to his sleeping son. “I love you.”

Pulling the door closed, Ray went through his phone’s contact list till he found the name Rick.

Praising the Sun

My first attempt at writing haibun. This week’s 2 Līgo Haībun prompts are:-

The sun      [or]     Childhood memory of summer camps

I picked the sun to write about.

Why does anyone like the sun? What is there to like about something that harshly oppresses the multitudes with waves of dehydrating, scorching light? Maybe it is poets’ fault for praising it so much – merely because it opens flowerbuds and serves as a figurative “next” to Winter’s unforgiving ice. Maybe it is Winter’s fault for cruelly leaving the destitute to freeze in nothing but their bones. Or maybe it is mine, for living in places so hot the novelty has worn off, as has my skin.

heat waves  accrue

parched men lying listless

the shivering pray

http://yepirategunn.weebly.com/2/post/2013/06/ligo-haibun-challenge-1406-2106.html

A Ray of Hope

  • I combined “Today’s Prompt” by Today’s Author:[The sun blazing through the tiny window near the roof completely changed his perspective.]
  • …and Trifecta’s Weekly Challenge: 

[LIGHT (noun)
 

1a : something that makes vision possible
  b : the sensation aroused by stimulation of the visual receptors
  c : electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength that travels in a vacuum with a speed of about 186,281 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second; specifically : such radiation that is visible to the human eye
2a : daylight
  b : dawn
3: a source of light: as
   a : a celestial body
   b : candle   

The sun blazing through the tiny window near the roof completely changed his perspective. He looked down at the cold stone floor, then back at the bands within the ray of light. A smile played on his lips as he followed the specks of dust dancing in the light streaming through the iron bars of the window. He slowly unbent his creaking knees and stood up, walking to the small bit of floor where the light pooled. Today, the rattling of chains was just background music; today the bonds that reminded him of a desperate existence were just a backstory; today the confines that held him were just temporary, not meant to last. He was the recipient of light, that beautiful, glorious light; the murky, sticky grip of chaos existed in a different world – here there was just the pure, sweet sunlight. I’ll be just fine, he broke into a smile, putting away the hand-cut stone knife beneath the tiles, back where it belonged. In the darkness.

http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/write-now-prompt-for-june-11-2013/

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/06/trifecta-week-eighty-one.html

Evidence

This was written for Trifecta’s Challenge:

FREAK (noun)

 

Nerves worn anorexically thin, he watched Your Honor be presented the damning letter.

If they spotted the freak….nail in the coffin. Bile rose, as the words stuck in his throat, Mea culpa.

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/

Why the Internet is Like Magic

Whether you’re in school, in college, working, or retired, I’m betting the debate has been brought to you in one form or the other: is the internet a boon or a bane? Is the internet distracting us from what’s important in life (typical points being family, friends, relationships, etc.) or is it helping us grow and learn more about the world and helping us stay more in touch with each other? Or, if both, then which effect affects us more? Even, is it worth staying in touch with several people across the world at the cost of the person who’s standing there right in front of you? In general I think, personally, that the internet is like magic. Just like Hagrid warns Harry about magic, and how not all wizards are good, I think that no item or invention is inherently good or evil – it depends on the use we choose to put them to. That said, I believe that people love blame-shifting; makes us feel better. “It’s not my fault – the mug just slipped….”, or “I would have been able to find it if I had a better organizer”, or even, “It’s not my fault – the test was just way too hard!” We’ve always loved blaming something  or someone else for our own lapses in focus or responsibility. As the saying goes, a poor workman always blames his tools. How is the internet any different? We had loners and unsociable people before the advent of the internet too, just as we had loafers and discourteous people who ignored people around them for something or someone else. It just so happens that, today, almost all our ways and means of enjoyment or killing time are linked in some way to the internet, so we’ve found a good blanket term to substitute for “laziness” and use as a scapegoat for our own lack of etiquette or priorities. A friend and I share a certain belief regarding the importance of various forms of communication, and the priority that you give people using each of them, that can be expressed like this: someone you’re texting/chatting online with <someone you’re talking on the phone with < someone you’re talking face-to-face with (which should be pretty self-evident, but doesn’t seem to be as important to people as they claim) I think everyone is aware of what their priorities are or should be, and yet chooses to disregard it. We all, as a people, see our guilt reflected in that of those who put the internet above their human connections and relationships, and, to ease our own consciences, blame their lapses on the internet. So anyway, I like to compare the internet to magic – it helps us  stay in touch and learn more and do just about everything with less effort. But, like magic, it can have both positive and negative effects. At the end of the day, it’s the bond we’ve shared with those around us which’ll make our lives worth living, which will make us want to get up in the morning. Nothing should ever get in the way of that – least of all a set of cables, a circuitboard and binary code. And now, I should get off the internet and go spend some time with family. See, Ma? Writing prompts are good for me.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/distractions/