Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes Vol. 13

It’s the Online Dating Edition of 7 Quick Takes! Some background; I started an online-dating account at Catholic about a month or so ago, and I’ve come to the following conclusions:

1.       First, let me say that Catholic Match has this thing were there’s both a paid account (which let’s actually communicate with the other users) and an unpaid account (which doesn’t). I guess I can understand the thinking behind this (it's exactly the same policy behind porn sites: lure them in with pretty girls and then GRAB ‘EM!). What I can’t understand is why THERE’S NO WAY TO TELL IF A GIVEN PERSON HAS A PAID ACCOUNT OR NOT! Meaning that it’s entirely possible to find what appears to be a great girl and not only not be able to get in touch with her, but to have no way of knowing whether you even can get in touch with her! I hate, hate, HATE that policy!  

2.       A lot of people need to put more thought into their ‘about me’ profiles. I swear, at least three-quarters of them start with some variation of “I love my family and I’m passionate about my faith!” Yeah, I kind of assumed that you’re into your faith, seeing as how you’re on a Catholic dating site and you checked off the “I accept all Church teachings” option. And I’m glad you love your family, but as far as relationships go, that’s…frankly not the first question I would ask. ‘What are you passionate about? How would you describe your personality? What do you want out of life?’ Those would be the questions to deal with upfront, not confirming that, yes, you came to a Catholic dating site because you are indeed Catholic.

3.       And while we’re on the subject, I realize fifty words (usually the above “I’m Catholic and I love my family” line) ending with “message me if you want to know more!” sounds all humble and enticing and stuff, but from my perspective it’s just annoying. The idea of these ‘about me’ things is to give a broad overview so that people can see whether or not you have similar personalities or interests. If I have no idea what you’re into, or what you might like to talk about, I’m probably not going to message you with basic questions like that. There’s enough drama and frustrations in the dating world without having to spend a week of e-mailing/chatting back and forth only to discover that we have nothing in common, which you could have let me know right away by filling out your bloody profile a bit more! Seriously, how hard is it to say “I’m into horses, literature, and my hobby is making pipe-bombs”?  (incidentally, if your hobby is pipe-bombs, that’s an automatic 'message that person!’ for me). Not only does it help me to judge whether I want to get in touch with you, but having a unique, interesting hobby (i.e. pipe-bombs) makes you all the more attractive. Don’t be shy! Fill out everything you can!

4.       Girls, don’t let your profile pic sell you short. I’ve seen tons and tons of dark, fuzzy, red-eyed, and just-plain-bad profile photos. The thing is, about half the time if I do click on their profile, I find a half-a-dozen other, much better pictures. Why wouldn’t you use one of the ones that actually make you look pretty, instead of the one that makes you look like it was taken when you had been up for forty-eight hours straight and/or had been recently possessed?
Two more things: one, make sure that at lest one photo on your profile actually shows your undistorted face (framed in shadows or a hundred feet from the camera doesn't count). I'm not going to be asking that bridge you're posing on for a date; I want to see what you look like. Two, for goodness sakes, smile! Do you really think you’ll attract a guy to check out your profile by glaring sullenly into the camera? “Wow, she looks like she hasn’t laughed since the Clinton administration: be still my heart!” 

5.       On a related note, some advice for guys interested in trying this sort of thing: don’t necessarily judge how attractive the girl is just by her profile pic. Sometimes it gives you a good idea of her appearance, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve had the following happen a number of times when I go to view a profile: *search page* “okay, she’s not bad looking…” *click* “AI CHIHUAHUA!”

6.       If you think it might be less frustrating than normal dating (as I foolishly did), you’re in for a very rude awakening. Here are some typical interactions:

Me: “Hey, I like your profile; I’m into that sort of thing too! Want to talk sometime?”
Her: *No response*

Me: “Wow, you’re really pretty and funny! Let me know if you want to chat or email!”
Her: *No response*

Me: “Judging from your profile, you’re exactly what I’ve been hoping to find! I think you’re fascinating, gorgeous, and funny and I’d love to try to get to know you better.”
Her: *No response*

Her: *No response*

7.       Despite the above, it’s actually easier to keep a hopeful attitude in this sort of thing. As you peruse, you get to thinking “wow, there are a lot of beautiful women out there who share at least some of my interests!” It’s an encouraging thought.

Friday, July 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes Vol. 12

Still hosted by Conversion Diary

1.     So, one of my favorite blogs is Monster Hunter Nation, run by a sci-fi/horror author/gun-nut named Larry Correia. See, it’s great because it features nerdy sci-fi/horror/fantasy, Conservative politics, guns, and writing tips. If you threw in Catholic Theology and musical theater it’d be my one-stop internet shop. Anyway, the other day he posted a great article on writing professionally, which basically compressed everything I’ve been trying to get through my head over the past week into one handy 4000+ word article. Highly recommended!

2.     My mind has been full of controversial topics lately. I’ve been holding off publishing them because I want to make sure I get them right and decide how conciliatory vs. blunt I want to be.

3.     Combining the last two items, I really need to blog more. So, I’m declaring here that I will blog something – even if it’s just a video or meme – every day this coming week. So, keep an eye on my other two blogs!

4.     Does anyone know about Macbooks? Because mine keeps giving me trouble; it runs sluggishly a lot of the time, especially when I start programs up, but even at just odd times. It’s a fairly new machine, and I’m not over-taxing the memory at all (there’s over half of it left), nor can I find any background programs causing problems. So what gives?

5.     Had a very nice dinner earlier this week with a friend of mine. We tend to discuss theology a lot, since he’s a Protestant and I’m Catholic, and we got into it fairly good this time (though we spent so long on other topics we didn’t get too far) I don’t think I did a very good job of defending Marian devotion (I’m still something of an amateur on the subject), but I do think I managed to explain the big problem with Sola Scriptura well enough. In any case, a good time was had by all.

6.     So, I’m kind of excited because I found an AR-15 model for just under eight-hundred. Very no-frills (not even sights!) so I’m not so sure about it, but it is encouraging to know that it can be had for under a thousand. I figured twelve-hundred was the bare minimum price. That doesn’t mean I’ll get it; for one thing, I need to save up a lot more before I even consider making a big purchase, for another even then I’m leaning away from the gun to something a little more immediately practical. In any case, when I do get my AR, it’ll probably be a little higher end. Nothing too fancy (since I am a beginner), but at least one that includes iron sights and a dust-cover. I mean, we must behave like civilized people!

7.     In addition to Witness, I’ve also picked up The Last Lion again (the epic biography of Winston Churchill). Might have been a mistake, since I’m being sucked into the life of Churchill and leaving poor Mr. Chambers just as he was about to tell of his tragic upbringing. Of course, Churchill had it rough too. It’s really hard to find a historical figure without a tragic childhood, isn’t it? Oh, I suppose Roosevelt counts, since his big tragedies didn’t happen until his adult years.

Well, that one went kind of off topic, didn’t it?

Friday, July 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes Vol. 11

Still hosted by Conversion Diary

1.     I haven’t been blogging for a while. That’s partly intentional, partly just because I haven’t had the interest or energy for it lately. But, while visiting my sister in Maine she was very insistent that I take it up again, so here we are.

2.     Regardless, I’m putting a hold to Famous Catholics and other series, just because I’m a little tired of them and I want to flesh out the blog a little bit more.

3.     My current task in life is learning to accept drudgery. I don’t mean useless drudgery (but I have to accept that sometimes as well), but the small, persistent effort required to acquire new skills and knowledge. See, I’ve usually been the type of person who tries to snatch at things all at once in one great effort, and since that usually fails, I get discouraged fairly easily. I’ve known for a long time that this is a bad idea, but now I’m working on reforming my attitude into a healthier, steadier method of attack. It’s too soon to tell how successful I’m being, but I’ll keep you informed.

4.     Speaking of Maine, we were up there for my niece’s second birthday. She’s cute beyond words and extraordinarily independent. “No, I’ll do it!” was her typical response to offers of help, whether for opening coolers, walking uphill, playing on the swings, or pretty much anything that she put her mind to doing.

5.     It took me over a year to do it (mostly because I was reading in fits and starts), but I finally finished Luigi Giussani’s great theological trilogy: The Religious Sense, On the Origin of the Christian Claim, and Why the Church. It’s an incredibly dense, complete explanation of the Catholic faith which sets things out in a frank, sensible, and fairly easy-to-follow way. If I had to summarize his main point, it would be the importance of focusing on the essential questions involved in such matters and trying to understand and answer them rather than more superficial, secondary questions. An essential question would be, say, “what is unique about the Christian claim,” and a non-essential question would be “how does Genesis square with Darwin?” Of course, he says it a lot better than I do. Giussani has had a huge influence on my own philosophical and religious views, so he’s highly recommended.

6.     With Giussani finished, I’m now tackling Whittaker Chambers’s Witness about his experience in and break from the Communist Party. I started reading it while I was in college, abandoned it when I left, and have made one or two aborted attempts to resume in the meantime. Now I’m pretty well set on reading the whole monstrous thing (seriously; it’s huge). Chambers is an excellent writer, and his real-life account is as riveting and moving as any spy novel, and considerably more depressing. He makes no bones about his predictions for the future, and none of them are very cheerful.

7.     In weighing my next big purchase, I’m not sure whether it should be A). an ‘assault-rifle’ (Not sure whether I want an AR-15 or a Kalashnikov; the former has more American spirit, but the latter is insanely durable) B). a desktop computer so I can start learning 3D art and animation or C). a pickup truck to replace my aging Ford Focus and further my plans to live out of a camper for a while. In the meantime I’m enjoying the fact that I’m the kind of person for whom those are the options.