Archive for January, 2014

Emetozilla, the beast of vomit is upon us and there is no escape!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

It’s a difficult time for a person of emetophobic sensibilities today.

You can’t understand what it’s like to be an emetophobe. It’s grueling. I’ve been emetophobic most of my life. Only in recent years has it occupied less of my psyche, but it might be because I’m in harsh denial and my hermetic lifestyle has prevented myself from witnessing too many incidents of vomiting (or being exposed, myself). The last time I vomited (not owing to alcohol) was like 2001 or 2002. I had been drinking, but very lightly, and just beer. The nausea that I felt later that night had nothing to do with the beer. Believe me, I know my body, and I know alcohol poisoning when I get it. This was not the booze. I vomited in the toilet and felt like shit the next day, causing me to cancel some lunch plans with friends. I had the day off but spent it all lying in bed.

Emetophobia is wicked. Especially when you’re young. It distorts a “common” occurrence into a heinous, fearsome, even slightly supernatural, event that assumes otherworldly significance to the extent that you even have twisted dreams about it, and when recalling old vomit-involved events, causes you to imbue them with a extra-dimensional Alice In Wonderland darkness and fatalism.

I remember in 1st or 2nd grade, a girl vomited all over the schoolyard. The monitor lady walked her back to the nurse’s office but puddles of vomit were everywhere and it stunk deathly. Now really, who knows. Maybe it was only a couple small puddles and it just smelled normal nasty like all vomit, but to my young mind, it was monstrous and evil and menacing.

My reaction to vomiting (in others) has been, throughout most of my life, to run like hell. Literally. I will run, dash away from all vomit events. It’s like vomit is a monster, a Herculean killer than I must escape. When people vomit it’s like I’m living my own little slasher movie. Run! Hide in the closet! I have a friend who is fond of retelling the story of a time I was driving him home one night after we had to leave miniature golf early because his stomach was upset. On the way home he kept moaning, and suddenly, as we neared a small side street, he said he had to vomit in that agonizing here-it-comes manner. I made the wildest, deadly right turn, skidded to a stop at the curb, and ran across the street to be as far as possible from the scene of the puke. It’s really bad.

Emetophoia distorts your sense of reason.

Vomit is your monster, your demon, and yet it is so common that you live your life wondering if it will pop out of every closed door you cross. That’s the best analogy I can come up with. It’s a monster. I used to comfort myself that as long as I was reasonably careful about what I ate, and cleaned my hands and practiced other sanitary common sense, I would be safe from the beast of vomitus. My worst inconsolable and illogical nightmare was that someone who was vomiting would chase me. Chase me, vomit at me. It’s the most irrational fear in the world. But by avoiding touching my mouth and my eyes and my nose, and cooking my food well, by cleaning my hands, I could be relatively assured I would avoid vomit bugs.

Until this mother-effin norovirus. Norovirus is my nightmare come alive. Norovirus is the stuff of dread for all emetophobes. It is an unstoppable monster battering down your door with nothing but its slimy tendrils, usurping your supposed safety and destroying your sanity. Meet the virus bastard (courtesy of the electron microscope):

Norovirus

This is my spiritual nemesis, this is the beast that lays waste to my sanity. It is my emetozilla. Run!

Norovirus is not especially lethal. It is not Ebola. You’ll most likely survive a bout with this critter, but for a few days, you will wish it was Ebola. You will be splattering acidic, bile-laced liquified rot out both your oral and anal orifices. Stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, the triad of misery. You will feel like utter shit. I’ve been ill at times during my life in which I suspect I might have had norovirus, but I do not know for sure.

What sucks is that the norovirus is a hardy, persistent, relentless bastard of a virus. It’s level of contagiousness is renowned among pathologists.

I shakily read a couple of investigative reports about norovirus. It is a monster. It is relentless and nearly impossible to foresee and just as difficult to ward off. You’d have to live in a bubble to escape all risk. Its infectiousness is amazing.

Aftereffects of norovirus on a cruise ship.

Even this doctor is in
awe of norovirus.

I will summarize some of the horrible things I learned in these articles:

-Rotavirus was once the most common cause of gastroenteritis but norovirus has begun to “rise in the ranks” and now causes 20% of all puke disorders.

-Unlike rotavirus, norovirus can be spread by air. Most viral infections require thousands of viruses to “get things going.” Norovirus only requires 10 to 100 viral particles, which is truly phenomenal when accounting for the microscopic size of the pathogens.

-Someone, somewhere, puked on the floor in a concert hall lobby. This already raises my hackles. The thought of someone puking on the plush carpet of a luxurious theater just makes me break into a cold sweat. However, to make matters worse, it was determined that 300 people who walked through the same lobby afterward became ill with norovirus in the following days. They didn’t even have to kiss the vomiter.

-A CDC viral expert cited an incident in which a restaurant worker with norovirus vomited in a sink. He later cleaned the mess up but the sink was still used for food preparation, and as a result, thousands of people were sickened. (Why in the world did this happen to begin with??? UGH)

-Another CDC disease dweeb calls norovirus the “perfect pathogen.”

-Norovirus is “sticky.” It can remain on surfaces that have been cleaned, such as spoons, fresh laundry, or dishes that have been through a dishwasher.

-Infected members of a tour group threw up on a plane flight. In the ensuing six days, many passengers and flight crew became ill with that evil virus.

-Public vomiting (the one I flee) has been linked to many outbreaks since the viral, contagious droplets are “spewed” into the air.

-Health investigators studied a hotel after an outbreak of norovirus and found that the virus still lived on light fixtures (sometimes six feet off the ground) and fireplace mantles.

My little nightmare about vomit following me, chasing me, and infecting me with vomit-making seeds doesn’t seem so farfetched anymore.

The beast is here.

Female sensibilities’ attack on internet freedom.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Female journalists Amy Wallace and Amanda Hess spent a few minutes chatting with attentively lispy CNN interviewer, Brian Stelter, lamenting the horrors they, and all female internet journalists, face from the disembodied internet commenting “menace” in reactions to their legitimate contributions to mass media discourse.

Self-important Amanda Hess cited an incident in which an anonymous reader created a Twitter account with the express purpose of informing her that she should be raped and have her head cut off. Not sure in which order this was to happen, but Hess relayed this incident with all the smug, see-I-told-you-so victimized wryness she could dryly muster. Of course, Hess and Wallace are correct. The internet is a horrible place that oozes diseased trickles of societal pus and it’s not fun to be the focus of such faceless wrath. And yes, it happens to women. But guess what, ladies? It happens to men also. The disembodied internet malice that is inflicted upon so many who choose to express themselves publicly is not confined to women (though their hysterics would have you believe this). It’s a rough world and if you choose to partake of it because you are strong and liberated, you should be prepared to bear the brunt of the human shit that will surely reign down on you when someone disagrees with your point of view. The internet is unkind. Who would think otherwise unless a fool?

Internet trolls, emboldened by anonymity, fester on the most conspicuous traits of their targets. In the case of women it goes without saying that this is naturally their body and their modesty. Don’t take it personally. This is called life. Men and women alike are both taken to task for their ideas in the most egregious ad hominem manners all the time when it comes to public, anonymous feedback. This is what makes the public so wonderful! These women cry that their ideas are not taken seriously, that the fixation is aimed at their bodies and sexuality. Don’t flatter yourself…when the voiceless lash out, they are not armed with logic or reasoned argument. It’s time to play with the big boys. Quit this victim crap.

If you want to talk about real victims, how about Alan Berg, a man who paid the price of his life because of an anonymous listener to his radio show. In the days before the internet. Anonymous threats are as old as a free public press.

What bothers me most, however, is something Hess quips at the 5:00 mark:

Part of the reason I wrote this story was not to just talk about my own experience, which many, many women have done in the past few years, but what I was really trying to do was advance the discussion beyond talking, and sort of pressure legal experts, law enforcement officers, and technology companies, to start understanding their role in the problem.

Now this is the kernel, the root, of the thinking, the self-protective waffling that has begun to transform the internet into a bland morass of political correctness and intellectual and expressive timidity. Hess is appealing to segments of society which, if so inclined, can pool their resources and bring the clamp down on the wild voice of the internet. The internet, once an anarchical frontier of freedom and boldness, is in danger of slowly losing its testicles because of female sensitivities and sensibilities. All loss of freedoms in recent memory seems to have been at the hands of these damned female sensitivities. Women don’t want to face the same poisoned public attacks that men have known, so now the solution is to bring the “spotlight” on just how ugly the public can be, and now that women must face life on equal terms, we are being asked to bring the resources of our modern, civilized society to bear and thus dilute all symbols of freedom that remain in mankind’s arsenal, the internet being the latest victim of female sensibilities.

Amy Wallace alludes to the fact that she failed to mention the very important fact that many of these evil internet attackers are female, in an article she wrote in the New York Times on the subject. She conveniently left that out but pathetically acknowledged it in the interview. It’s no surprise she didn’t “go there.” To do so illuminates the fact that internet attacks are not singularly gender-based. It’s merely that the reporter’s female gender presents a very convenient (but largely irrelevant) target.

This is the problem when female sensibilities dictate the limits and discretion of public discourse. Women seek self-protection above crude freedoms. Yet, freedom’s manifestation in an open society must never be dictated by Emily Post’s reticent culture.

The death of the middle class is not death. It is an evolutionary burp (and say goodbye to today, cause it’s over already).

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Read this during my lunch hour today. Just 5 months after being served a long-term layoff notice from my old employer. Luckily, I ingrained myself into someone else’s awareness at the 3-month mark and was able to slide into another job before I received the final layoff disgrace that many of my co-workers had to go through.

Which was cool.

Entertainment is a very shaky industry. Technological upheaval is throwing everything out of whack.

All this cultural chaos was accelerated in 2008 during the Big Melt Down which we all blame on real estate, but which lately has given me pause.

After the economy “righted itself” in 2010 and good times had returned, I realized we still seem to be treading a lower, stagnant pond of economic water and progress seems unlikely, and retreat is now the rule.

Barack promises things are getting better. Like all good dutiful Tool/Presidents, he conjures up pathetic examples of the “things are getting better” meme even though they all suck to anyone who does ample research.

In 2008, all systemic hellfire broke loose, but ultimately, as a collective cultural unit, we were shielded harsh lessons. I’m convinced the depths of our disgrace were anticipated and that an oblique rainy day plan fell into place that was just strong enough to prop up economies of despair for long enough to buy Presidential votes for another cycle. And once this Presidential cycle runs its course, the generational rainy day plan of antiquity will fall into place again.

Ostensibly, our graves were built on the “bad planning” of stupid proles and Mexicans (Mexicans led the housing bubble amongst minorities). Yet, no one bothers to mention that money does not get dispersed unless the bankers and elites give a thumbs up.

No one was forcing Jew bankers to give money to poverty-level Jose with big dreams.

So in the real world, even though the idiots, the short-sighted, the financially retarded, want a house, they won’t get get it unless, 1) they straighten up their act and earn it, or 2) a complicit corrupt federal government allies with private lenders to create a grand short-term pool of money and extravagance which can never be sustained.

Seems we are living with 2).

Thing is, 2) was a symptom. A superficial designation of the disease and motive.

What happened is that in 2008, we were struck with a family crisis. We had to survive. As a national “family.”

“We” is American industry and business. Like a faltering family, we were subsisting on the grains of familiar kindness and generosity. We turned our back on the changing reality because family bonds trumped avarice. The world had changed but our national business culture did not keep pace.

Well.

2008 was the crisis that forced the family to part and choose.

And America chose. American industry needed to survive. It was presented with little choice. So it began to examine all the latent technologies that were beckoning for so long but which it had no reason en masse to explore without falling prey to the image of economic Godzilla. American industry needed a reason, and the Feds fed it to them, and Us. The Feds created a crisis by fueling an explosive bubble.

This presented American industry a reason to shift paradigms. To re-tool. Out of the 2008 collapse was born the latest stage of automation, the newest Industrial Age, the Digital Age.

The Industrial Age replaced brawn. The Digital Age is replacing brain. American industry flourishes, the middle class succumbs.

Each subsequent deconstruction of man’s survival nature reduces the need for population. All exponential increase (to be predicted) in technology results in the exponential dissolution of man’s validity. Being of an exponential nature, this “little” burp promises to change life as we know it, all within our lifespans.

I’m 49. Not young but hardly ancient. Yet, I remember a time quite unlike what our children know.

Advancement accelerates because it builds on itself. Advancement has become unrecognizable in itself.

The middle class is gone.
The middle class represents a level of humanity that valued family and its concomitant values.

The middle class is simplicity.

The death of the middle class insinuates death of these values, and any simple stroll through a modern urban elitist gathering of overpaying lunch crowds can easily attest to the death of values and the death of simplicity.

The death of the middle class has coincided with the ascension of feminism and homosexual rights, two decidedly un-simple and un-traditional cultural 21st iconic movements. Middle class is not right wing, it is traditionalism of the evolutionary sort. The movement of “strong” women has upset this, or been an integral part of it.

People used to eat like animals to survive. Now they congregate in overpriced, loud, crowded, gastronomic closets where they can ooh and aah over shit as simple as…food. In Hollywood, you can order a simple BLT, but if you order from a gastronomic enterprise that charges the idiotic customers way too much money, you’ll get bacon dipped in maple syrup. Tradition is thrown on its head. Or you can order from the vegetarian or vegan menu. Nothing says anti-evolution like foodie movements.

Our new society takes the past and deranges it, pollutes it, with intensely delicate sensibilities.

The middle class had no delicate sensibilities.

Our time is over.

The youth are taking over and they will bury us, along with our laughable, archaic notions, and they will eat salad and maple-flavored (very lean) bacon. And they will not be middle-class. Heavens no!

A digital remembrance of memories past…heartaches engraved in cyber time.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

It can begin (and has begun) with the slightest utterance, this embedded trifling of a scant memory.

“I want coffee,” in response to the looming McDonald’s at the side of the road. I want coffee. It’s a long drive ahead. A windy, dreamy drive by the coast. We relish the thought, but not now.

This is how discounted memories are born, and this is how they live and die, and would have lived and died in ages past. But now, now…now, everything is cemented in this grand cyber memory and nothing escapes our past.

Everything we do is engrained in the sands of reality and the digital world is a grand cathartic vehicle of self-mortification for the sentimental.

Traces of everything, however insignificant, live on, are rekindled and remembered, even if perhaps they shouldn’t have been. This is a sign of our times. When you try to forget, the digital legacy of your heartbreak beats on across the chalkboard surface of our world. It is bad enough to ruminate about things as they are raked across the bloody blades of our memory, but quite another when the beast is revisited through traces of digital torture.

Of things that used to be and things that are no more. The exquisite heartbreak of the minutiae of moments past.

I want coffee, I said.

A McDonald’s was visible down the road, its towering arches calling from afar, heralding wayfarers to come with hungry mouth and bloated wallet.

Come!

The most infinitesimal instances, obscured by time and life, resurface and clamor in your mind, calling you back to that moment when you said you wanted coffee and she retored that she wanted fries and like delightful lovers, you realized you both shared a spontaneous bond which involved leaving the freeway even though you should be concentrating on driving and getting to your destination. But as lovers do, we became lost in the moment, discarded reason and deviated from the journey for several moments to buy coffee and fries in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday the 13th while flaunting the innate bad fortune of the day by making the most of it in such a flippant, joyous manner.

The cashier complimenting your car because it’s the same thing he drives (he drives stick, too!).

And the digital trail remains and now it is etched in the magnetic walls of eternity.

McReceipt

A scrap of paper, an aging receipt you found in your car’s center console after parking for the night and as you gathered your stuff. Memories rebound and inflate your soul with lead.

You can scream or die.

And you wonder if you should hold on to this memento or leave it in the car. You bring it inside. You clasp the paper, the memory, valiantly.

You can forget this all. You can let it all smolder in your memory and die along with you, one day, soon, late, nobody the fuck knows, but sometimes you just wonder if sooner rather than later wouldn’t be all that bad.

A fleeting moment etched in the sands of eternity, virtue of the digital world.

The callous hordes can assume the memory and regale it for centuries to come long after my body, the fries, and my passenger, are unseen ligaments of dust skimming the Earth’s generational remnants.

I wanted coffee.

A kinder, gentler Socially Extinct ruminates upon Love.

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Amazingly, there is actually a rehearsed structure to this blog, sometimes. Frequently, there is no plan. Not this time. I formulated a long-term (2-part) agenda. I wrote my “love-bashing” post yesterday. This was Part 1 of my plan. The opening salvo of an orchestrated blog invasion!

As anticipated, the post was misconstrued as just that, a simplistic allegation of “love-bashing” when in fact, if one reads the post closely to its conclusion, one sees love is not the target. If anything, this post was an indictment of the cheapening and monetizing of love that I find so reprehensible as an embodiment of consumerist, civilized culture. I’m appalled that love, the most personal and indefinable of all emotions, is rendered a cheap marketing tool that sundry corporations mummify for a profit.

Alas, I was merely criticizing the manipulation of “love,” not cynically doubting its existence. I’m a romantic at heart. I’m sentimental, melancholy, emotional and impulsive – as much as I’d like to conceive of myself as a robotic intruder into human society, I have the softest heart and I believe in love inasmuch as people are capable of selflessly dissecting their spiritual existence with the express purpose of raising another to the loftiness of the heavens. There is absolutely no reason to it. This is what makes love so…uniquely fabulous and human. Love cannot be measured or quantified.

I don’t bash love, I bash what people do to it. In fact, the final paragraphs of my post were a hymnal praise of love:

Love is entirely dependent on your own personal and irreducible concept of anomie and external identification. How can that ever possibly be defined in constant, physical, predictable terms?

Love is you. It is only you, the essence of you. Hence, it is the most precious measurement in the world.

That was my opening act of this two-part ode to love, Social Extinction style.

If I sat on the edge of the green pasture I mentioned in that post, I might wonder if I felt love in the same way another man felt it. Within our own psyche, we can compare love we feel for different people and thus come as close as possible to standardizing and defining this enigma called love. We can thus state that the love you feel for your wife or girlfriend differs from the love you feel for your parents which differs from the love you feel for your children. Each path of love is strong and enervating, but they all are constructed of different bedrocks and motivations and expectations. It’s possible to say that all love is the same, but all love is consequently indifferent to the genesis of other loves.

Love can reinvent itself. This is a rare moment, but it can happen.

For example, you might be having dinner one cold evening on Central California’s coast at a steakhouse. You might be in the middle of a nice, quiet meal and while you are both working on your dinners, you happen to look up and watch her relishing her food earnestly. Her existence, one you’ve grown to take for granted (which is normal, we all do this, admit it), suddenly erupts in a flash of fresh passion and discovery. Your love just reinvented itself for you fell in love with this person again. All the history you two shared is archived and suddenly, you watch her eat happily and you behold her anew. You realize just how much this woman augments not just your life, but the very mortal, helpless existence that love provides solace from. You don’t say a word. You continue eating. You don’t even reach out to touch her. The warmth of the restaurant and the delicate clinking of silverware from other tables lilts in the air and for that moment, a happiness and satisfaction envelope your spirit, and as all joy must be accompanied by a polar sadness (we must confront this duality for mental health), you realize once again that man is the only animal that mourns in the absence of death. For you never want to lose her, and you never want her to lose you. Love is the most personal, elusive emotion, a treasure, that should never be besmirched by money-hungry vampires and parasites.

Hands

Love is you and her and can never be rung up at the cash register.