As I approach my 40th birth I can't help but reflect on the folly of my having attempted to be a responsible human being. All around me I see the irresponsible inheriting the Earth, delighting in its rewards, and it makes me feel rather foolish and rather sad, for all I've missed out on.
There are two primary areas where my attempt to be responsible has seemed grossly the wrong thing: having children and home ownership.
I have always strongly believed that being a parent is the most important thing one can do, and one should not do it until they are mentally and financially prepared. No parent is ever perfect, nor perfectly prepared, but the child suffers for the flaws of their parents, so it seems only reasonable that one would minimize their negative impact on their children, while maximizing their positive impact. And it seems only reasonable that one would wait until they were in a relationship likely to last forever before kids were even considered. But all around me people flout these rules, with no ill effects that anyone seems to openly acknowledge. The harm done to the children is discounted, ignored as though that harm was unavoidable, as though all children can expect to be harmed in one way or another, so what's the big deal?
I have some relatives and friends who've had multiple kids with different fathers, having chosen to form unstable relationships, having chosen to forgo effective contraception, having chosen to engage in no serious employment, and having chosen to continue using drugs and alcohol. And while no doubt everyone might casually acknowledge some poor choices, all choose to focus instead on the joy of the existence of these children, and the "marvelous" job the mothers are doing despite the situations they've created, and the choices they continue to make. And I mean no discredit against the positive things the mothers do, and I certainly mean nothing against the innocent children brought into the situation, I just can't help but feel selfishly frustrated by the inequity of it all. That I, who would be a wonderful father, who has made many, many right decisions for a child's benefit, am denied that joy, that satisfaction, that comfort, that opportunity, etc. while others who have taken the role so much less seriously get all those wonderful things. It feels so cruelly unfair. Obviously there's no one to blame, other than perhaps myself, or perhaps the universe. It is I who has chosen to obey a rule I accept as in a child's best interest, and it's the universe which has created the other rules by which we are all bound.
Far less emotionally significant, but certainly frustrating nonetheless, I can't help but remark that I who have tried to be responsible by not buying a house I couldn't afford with a loan I might not have been able to pay back, am deeply annoyed and feel hard done by that others who made reckless home ownership decisions based on bogus beliefs in the housing market and interest rates are receiving sympathy and financial assistance. Why not help those who did the right and good thing, who did not place our nation and economy at risk selfishly? I understand the need to prop up those who have gotten themselves into trouble, lest our economy collapse even further, but how tired I am of irresponsibility being effectively rewarded, and with the resources and sweat of those who did no wrong.
Ah well, that's my useless, self-indulgent gripe of the week.
Complete Guide to Installing, Configuring CyanogenMod 7 Stable Release (Android 2.3, Gingerbread) on the Nook Color
If you are new to Nook Color operating system and install options, I strongly recommend reading this guide to picking your Nook Color operating system and installer. And if you're just starting to explore what Android is and are a little hesitant, you can always try Android for free on your computer with a virtual machine.
Within 30 minutes your Nook Color can be running the latest stable, available version of Google's Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS (technically the CyanogenMod 7 Stable manifestation of it), and thanks to its use of the SD card, all safely achieved without altering your existing Nook Color's setup or violating the warranty. Included in all the new features, performance benefits, and elevation of your own personal coolness, you get Bluetooth support. The Nook Color can do VOIP (e.g., Skype), GPS navigation, sending music to wireless headets or stereos, and much more!
My goal in this document is to help less technical people through the slightly more technical and slightly more we-assume-you-know what-you're-doing verygreen's CyanogenMod 7 (CM 7) to SD install instructions, covering things left out, additional problems you might encounter, and configuration you might want to do post install. If you have any basic questions or run into trouble, please check out this Nook Color Modding FAQ which might save us both some time.
Be aware, I experienced lingering and frustrating stability and file system corruption issues with several installs to several SD cards. Other people are not having this experience, but if you do be aware that your SD cards may be too "fast". Your choice is then to try and find other workable SD cards or do an eMMC (internal memory) install, such as you'll find in my guide to phiremod install on the Nook Color.
Step 1: Installing CM7 Stable to your SD card
The first step is to follow verygreen's instructions on how to take the SD card image he made, combined with the latest updated CM7 install, combined with the Google apps pack (gapps) to get a bootable system.
Before you begin, though, let me give you some tips.
- Windows users will need Win32DiskImager to flash the requisite .img file to your SD card. It's free, download Win32DiskImager now.
- Mac / Linux / FreeBSD users will use "dd" to flash the requisite .img file to your SD card. The command you will execute looks like:
# dd if=generic-sdcard-v1.1.img of=/dev/sdcard
If needed, replace /dev/sdcard with the real path of your mounted SD card and specify the real path of the data image (after unpacking the gz version you downloaded).
- I strongly recommend against using class 10 rated SD cards! Testing over several days proved that my system would not run reliably (tons of "force close" errors and the file system reverting to read-only) on a class 10 rated card, the Patriot LX series. Whereas the system works flawlessly on my PNY class 4 card, which cost less than half as much and actually operates just as fast, according to SD Tools it writes at 12 MB/s and reads at 84 MB/s read, which exceeds class 10.
- If you insist on using a class 10 card, the verygreen install script will probably hang when it goes to create the disk structure. A workaround for this is to first burn the image to a working (and dirt cheap, $7-10) class 4 PNY or Sandisk (or other) microSD card (of equivalent or, to be safe, smaller size) and then when you've got the install completed clone the microSD card by using Win32DiskImager to create a .img file of the working class 4 SD card and then write that image to your class 10 SD card. It's a hassle, you'll be waiting 15 minutes to read, 15 minutes to write, but it works! And you've now got a backup to boot. Assuming your class 10 was larger than your class 4 SD card you can then expand the virtual SD partition using any non-destructive partitioning product (the partition is fat32) so that you get all your space used. If you've got Windows 7, use its Disk Mangement feature to safely expand the partition, if you've got another Windows version you may need to use EASUS's Partition Master Professional Edition ($19) or Acronis' DiskDirector ($49).
- The CM7 build you want is "update-cm-7.0.0-encore-signed.zip", so make sure you get that one! (Obviously if you're reading this document in the distant future, make your best choice!)
- You might want to initially avoid the Dalingrin OC kernel/ROM upgrade instructions for now, I'll cover that separately below.
- If you get hung up trying to install the Google apps pack because it seems like the recovery console isn't installing it, you may be going into the wrong recover mode or no mode at all! Turn off the device and then turn it back on holding both power and N for 6 seconds, one to two seconds after the "Touch the Future of Reading" comes on the screen. You'll see the Linux penguin at the top and a bunch of console messages, one of which will indicate it's looking for "gapps". If you don't see that you're not in the right recovery screen!
Those tips being given:
Go to and follow carefully verygreen's CyanogenMod 7 (CM 7) to SD install instructions!
The entire process will only take you about 15 - 20 minutes. If you were using a class 10 card you can do the class 4 to class 10 clone at this point, or at the very end when you've got everything set up, it's your choice.
Step 2: Turn on Bluetooth (optional)
If you're ready to turn on Bluetooth, there's a trick. If you don't do this, Bluetooth will just refuse to turn on / be enabled.
- Turn off wifi (Settings > Wireless & Networks > Wi-Fi)
- Turn on Bluetooth (Settings > Wireless & Networks > Bluetooth)
- Turn on wifi
It seems a bit odd, but that's what you have to do. From then on out it'll work fine.
Bluetooth Keyboard Instructions
Pair as you normally pair a Bluetooth keyboard, that all works just as you'd expect. But, if you don't do this next step you'll likely want to throw your keyboard and Nook Color out the window within the first 30 minutes of typing. When you type on your Bluetooth keyboard the virtual keyboard will very likely appear, or re-appear if you've hidden it. I am not sure why this is. You close the keyboard, you type, maybe it stays closed for a moment or two, but invariably it opens up again. And, because it's open not only do you have much of your screen real estate wasted by a keyboard you're not using, your physical keyboard presses will often linger long enough to pop up the Gingerbread character selector. In other words, type "e" on the keyboard and about 5% of the time it will think you held "e" down in order to bring up the list of international "e" variations, which you then need to close. And, as if that's not annoying enough, the predictive text completion that will go on with the virtual keyboard open will lead to sometimes sluggish responses to your keypresses, and even missing text. The solution? Buy and install the Null Keyboard ($2)! It's money well spent. You install it, enable it in settings, and then when you are going to use your BT keyboard you hold your finger down on an input box for a few seconds, it asks you to choose your input method, you choose Null Keyboard, and voila! You can now type on your BT keyboard with joy. And when you put away the keyboard don't forget you'll need to switch the input back to your Android (or Gingerbread) keyboard next time you need to type with the virtual one.
Step 3: Adding Important Apps
CM7 is great, but you'll need some other free apps to really get the best experience out of it. The list had gotten rather long so I have now put it on its own page. I strongly recommend you go now and install all of the free Must Have Apps for your Nook Color.
Obviously you can add more apps beyond those, but you walking that list you will cover the basics and be in good shape to proceed.
Step 4: Overclocking!
If you want to at this point you can try some overclocking. It appears to be pretty stable, pretty safe, and potentially makes your Nook Color 40% faster than when you bought it! It can arguably run as fast as the Samsung Galaxy Tab!
This process is pretty simple, it involves replacing the uImage file on the SD partition of your microSD card with an alternative that has been "hacked" for performance (and/or features). The one everyone is using now for CM7 is Dalingrin's.
- Download the 2.6.29 Dalingrin OC kernel (or earlier version, DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE LATEST) for CM7 on SD card. You do not want to download the latest, it requires a test build of CM 7 that isn't stable. Do not pick the wrong kernel! Follow the link in Dalingrin's kernel announcement thread for the “Froyo and CM7 kernel”. Then choose the most recent dated folder, then pick the kernel called “update-CM7-dalingrin-OC-sd-MMDDYY.zip” (where the MMDDYY is replaced with the date of the recent version). MAKE SURE YOU PICK THE ONE WITH "CM7" AND "SD" IN THE NAME!
- On your Nook Color go into the installed "Terminal Emulator" app, type "su" to make you the superuser. You should see the prompt change to "#" instead of "$". If this doesn't change, close out and try again. I've seen Terminal Emulator seem to have issues getting super user permission at first. Once it has accepted your "su" and the prompt changes, type in "rm -rf /data/dalvik-cache/*". As soon as this is done, shutdown your Nook Color (hold the power button down, then choose power off) and put the microSD card in your computer.
- Rename the existing file in your mounted SD card "uImage" as "uImage.original".
- Open the kernel file you downloaded and copy the "uImage" file inside it to the SD card, so it sits next to the original uImage file.
- Safely eject the SD card from your computer, pop it in your Nook Color and power on!
Your Nook Color will now be running the latest kernel!
To turn on the overclocking, go to Settings > CyanogenMod Settings > Performance > CPU Settings > Max CPU Frequency.
If something goes wrong and your device won't boot or in some other way seems seriously screwed up, just shut down, pop out the microSD card, put it back into your computer and delete the "uImage" file, and rename the "uImage.original" to "uImage". Dealing with any problems is beyond the scope of this article, your best bet for support would be the people in this thread. And don't forget, we're doing all this on the microSD, you can always pop-out the microSD and your original Nook Color is still there.
Step 5: Backup
You really should back up at this point. Shut down and make an image of your SD card if possible. Things can easily get screwed up, corrupted, etc. with an alpha-stage release like this, so it's best to be able to easily get back to where you were. I've seen a lot of things get corrupted and had to reinstall more than a few things. Better safe than sorry. Also, use Titanium Backup to backup your app data!
Step 6: Keeping Up to Date
Once you've got your system up and running you'll inevitably want to update it as new bug fixes and features are released. This process is a lot less painful than it used to be, thanks to the clever way these installs are distributed and also thanks to the great apps available for backup and restore.
I do not recommend people update to the 2.6.32 kernel yet, since it requires the test/dev version of CM 7 and isn't ready for prime time yet. If you do you'll also need to update u-boot file.
The details of how you do this are too big to insert here, but can be found in this separate guide to keeping your Nook Color up to date.
Post Script - Addendum
If you see a lot of "force close" events happening randomly or you find that files you were working on suddenly become unusable, your problem is most likely with your SD cards. You can try to find other SD cards that will work, or you can try an eMMC (internal memory) install such as the one I describe in my guide to phiremod install on the Nook Color.
I've been running CM7 for a week now, and tried quite a few kernels along the way. I am mostly thrilled. My setup has been stable ever since I ditched the class 10 rated cards. Everything I need works, including most notably Bluetooth! Admittedly the range is terrible, but good enough for my purposes, and I'm sure range will improve soon. Wifi is stable, since the device never sleeps. And battery life is good, though because the device never sleeps it isn't nearly as good as a stock Nook Color. The video is works at very respectable frame rate since the RC4 update. And I've had no trouble with overclocking.
CM7 Versus Froyo
CM7 feels much faster than Froyo, the responsiveness of the interfaces, the boot time, maybe it's all in my head, but hopefully not. One major issue gone is the crippling slowness of Market downloads/etc. I experienced with Froyo on a class 4 SD card were totally gone on CM7 with the same class 4 SD card.
Don't Forget to Use Your Internal Memory!
You can access the contents of your Nook Color's original, internal memory within your CM7 OS by browsing to /mnt/emmc with an appropriate file manager (see above). In this way you can still use most (5+ GB) of your internal storage for things like music and video files (not apps, since the system doesn't know to use that location). So don't forget that space is available if you need it.
Responding to Force Close Messages
Unfortunately at this stage you can expect some instability in the OS, and this seems to manifest itself primarily as "force close" messages when an app fails. My experience suggests the best thing to do when you get any such message is to reboot. On my system a force close can correspond with the file system having become or about to become read only. I assume the OS tries to protect itself by becoming read only and once the system starts going, baby, it's gone! So, the best policy seems to be to immediately reboot, and if you have any more problems on reboot do the "rm -rf /data/dalvik-cache/*" and reboot again.
One particular force close message I got frequently was from Google apps ("gapps") and Google framework. I suspect the issue related to network issues, perhaps it trying to run when the wifi wasn't yet reconnected after a wake. I was able to eliminate this by disabling the automatic sync, go to Settings > Accounts & sync > Auto-sync and set it to unchecked. This means my email won't automatically come in, but I can manually retrieve it by choosing "Refresh" from the Gmail menu. Personally, my phone alerts me on every email, so it's not vital for my tablet to do it as well. Warning, do not uncheck the "Background data" checkbox on the same page, Market and a few other more vital things will refuse to work if you do that.
Another cause of force closes seems to be corrupted installs / configuration / filesystem. If an app in particular isn't working try the following, first one, then if you're still having the problem go to the next one, and so on:
- Clear dalvik-cache and reboot (rm -rf /data/dalvik-cache/*). Then reboot.
- Use ClockwordMod's permission fix option. Then reboot.
- Backup your data related to the app (using Titanium Backup) then uninstall and reinstall the app using Market. And only if the app is working try to restore the data (only) from the backup you made.
This approach has resolved several different force close problems I had.
(FYI, ClockworkMod still crashes and reboots the NC when I try to back up a ROM, and refuses utterly to enter CWM recovery on a reboot.)
As I mentioned above, further testing has suggested that most of my were the result of my using a class 10 card. Since I cloned my SD card from class 10 to class 4 I've seen almost no instability, and what problems remain are likely down to problems with individual applications and their compatibility. I'd encourage people to just use class 4 or 6... And as I mentioned, my PNY class 4 cards all perform as well as my class 10 card, but with greater stability!
Dalingrin is frequently releasing new kernels, and it's tempting to jump to the latest, but always check the change log first (in the beginning of his thread) to see if it resolves any problems you have. Sometimes you may wish to hold off and see how others embrace it. Ultimately it's a matter of the bugs you can live with versus the ones you can't.
I'm thrilled with my new mobile set up, which was only possible with the Bluetooth ability of CM7! I used to do the same with my OQO Model 02, but sadly that device was a little before its time...
(The iGo Stowaway keyboard is the single great gadget I've ever had! I got it for $30 at a Tuesday Morning discount store, and four or five years later it's still the best mobile keyboard I've seen, and they are so loved you can't get an old stock one online for less than $175!)
The faithful like to argue that the universe could not have created itself out of nothing in the moment of the Big Bang, that the idea is absolutely nonsensical. I agree. But what seems so curiously hypocritical to me is that those faithful are promoting exactly the same sort of nonsense, that either God somehow created Himself out of nothingness or that He somehow always existed. Both those something-in-spite-of-nothing beliefs make no more sense than the prevailing scientific theories about how matter and energy might have come to be in the Big Bang. Forced to choose between multiple ridiculous ideas, I'll choose to believe the most direct and least complicated one.
Buying a new computer should be a joyous event, whipping all the geeky portions of the brain into delighted merriment. But those geeky neurons can sometimes barely crack a smile, knowing what's in store for them, days upon days of mental effort wasted on a dreaded migration of applications and data accumulated over many years. But, my friends, there is a new and wonderful way to migrate your PC! In less than a day you can shelve your old PC, having moved everything flawlessly to your new PC! The secret? The virtual machine!
Instead of the old methods of manually copying your data and reinstalling your old applications or using automated tools of varying (but always failing) quality to assist, this new approach converts your old system into a virtual machine that will run inside your new machine exactly as it had. All your data and all your applications will work just as they had because the old computer's entire hard disk, operating system, applications, and data were moved. And because everything is by default encapsulated within this virtual machine, you won't clutter up your beautiful new machine with old software meant for a now antiquated operating system, nor will you be forced to buy upgrades to that old software to get it to work in your new operating system. It is as flawless a migration solution as you can expect in the Windows world.
As beautiful as this solution is, there are a few issues of which you need to be made aware. Since your old hard drive is being copied to your new computer you will be giving up that space on the new computer, but only an amount equivalent to the used portion on the old computer's disks. This usually isn't a serious problem since your technology evolves rapidly and your new computer probably has vastly more space than you'll actually use any time soon. Since your old computer is being run inside a virtual machine you may see a change in performance, relative to what you experienced being on the old physical machine. Advances in computing power and disk speed may actually make the experience better, but with two computers, one physical and one virtual, competing for one set of physical resources (memory, disk, and CPU) performance can be a real problem if you're not sensible about what you're trying to do.
In this series of articles I'll discuss how to do a migration with a virtual machine running under the free VMware Player and its more sophisticated but costly VMware Workstation. While there are a few commercial products which do sell themselves as easy solutions to this very problem of migrating your old PC into your new PC via virtualization, the many reviews of those products have not impressed me; I have used VMware for many years now and been perpetually impressed by the quality of their products and by the large support community available should things go wrong.
Quick Guide to Virtualizing Your Old Computer
For those who want the synopsis and do not need a detailed walk through or notes on getting the most from your set up I'll describe the process very briefly. In the next article I'll discuss recommendations for moving certain content outside of your old machine before building the virtual machine, optimizations you can ultimately make to ensure the virtual machine is as speedy as it can be, creating the most seamless experience with VMware's Unity feature and sharing options, and more.
Step 1: Backup Your Computer
Do not proceed if you aren't going to back up your computer. Seriously. Backups are a pain and will take hours to run, but you are about to do something very, very serious. While you probably won't have any problems, you'd be a fool not to obviate a potential disaster. I strongly recommend Acronis True Image Home. I have used them for years and it's fantastically good software for a really good price ($49); this is not a sponsored recommendation, this is my opinion.
Step 2: Build Your Virtual Machine Image
VMware has a free product called VMware Converter which lets you build a VMware compatible image you will move to your new computer and run with their WMware Player or VMware Workstation products.
VMware Converter will run build the VM image while letting you continue to use Windows but I strongly recommend you leave it running overnight and not use the computer during this time. Since you will of course need a great deal of disk space for this image, and since there will be a lot of disk access, it's far better to use an external drive. By using an external drive you reduce disk contention during the creation of the VM image and you make it dead simple to move the VM image to the new computer. I've had good luck with the Western Digital My Book drives. If you've got a new PC which supports USB 3.0 I'd strongly recommend you buy a drive which supports 3.0 (it will also support your old computer's 2.0 interface); you'll appreciate the hours you will ultimately save with this much faster drive.
When you're ready, download VMware Converter. Run it, and follow its instructions.
Step 3: Install VMware on the New PC
You will need to install the free VMware Player or the paid VMware Workstation on your new PC. Download one of those and install it. VMware Player is sufficient for almost everyone but developers or software testers.
Step 4: Copy your Virtual Machine Disk to the New PC
From the location where you created the virtual machine disk with the VMware Converter, hopefully an external drive, copy the relevant folder to your new PC. VMware uses a folder to house all the related files of a virtual machine and it is this folder, not just any single file in it, that you'll need to copy. Choose any location you like on the new machine, but for sanity's sake you may wish to use the default location VMware uses (My Virtual Machines in the My Documents folder of the home directory of the user who created the virtual machines). I recommend copying instead of moving so that you can recopy in case anything goes wrong when you first try to get the new image working.
Step 5: Boot Your Virtual Old PC
Start VMware Player or VMware Workstation on your new PC and run the virtual machine image you built of your old PC. You may encounter a few hiccups during your initial use of this virtual machine, so be prepared for some possible frustration and head scratching.
The first thing that might happen is you might be asked whether you moved or copied the virtual machine image. While either is a safe option, you may wish to choose "moved" if this is the final resting place of the virtual machine; if you choose copy it recreates some unique identifiers in the image, including things like network card MAC address.
If you have trouble booting up your virtualized system one of the first things to try is booting it into safe mode (by hitting F8 as soon as Windows starts to boot) and go into the driver section of the Computer Management Console and remove any unusable legacy drivers which don't apply to your current system, in particular the video drivers; other drives to look at for removal are disk controller drivers for physical disk controllers you had in your old system, as well as sound card drivers for a device which was only physically in the old computer. Try removing these drivers one at a time and rebooting. And only remove drivers which truly don't apply to the new virtual system, your virtual machine will have video, disk controller, sound card, and other drivers which are virtualized, so leave those untouched; I am only recommending removing those drivers which are still in the system but which the system cannot use and may be causing trouble. If you make things worse, don't worry, that's why I recommended copying the files from your external drive. All you need to do is shut down the VMware software and recopy the files to go back to where you were and start again. Another option worth pursuing if your computer can't even boot into safe mode is to use the phenomenal and free Autoruns program to edit the drivers, services, and start up programs of a running or offline computer. You would need to mount the virtual disk from the dead computer and then run Autoruns as Admininstrator and choose the File > Analyze Offline System... menu item.
If you still have problems booting your system after removing drivers you should seek help in the support forums at VMware; they are very helpful and should solve any remaining problems.
And voila, your old PC has now been successfully placed inside your new computer, ready to use any time you want with all your old software and data! You can now manually migrate only the data and applications you want from the virtual old PC to the new one, and you can do it at whatever pace you like, because it's all there.
Don't forget to wipe your old computer's hard drive before donating or storing it; if your computer has a special boot mode which allows it to re-image itself, make sure you safely wipe the partition where your data lived before re-imaging it!
I started to write a very short list of two or three semi-humorous, semi-curious things I look to avoid in women and it somehow morphed into a longer, stranger list which would surely suggest many a neurosis to a trained psychoanalyst. Ah well... If one such therapist is reading, enjoy, and tell me what I've got and what pill will cure me. Obviously there are no hard and fast rules in love, I'm sure I'd forgive a girl nearly every item on this list if I loved her so and so.
- Pointy "witch" shoes. The ones that were popular a few years ago. Freaks me out. I do not want to date a witch!!! I don't not want to date a woman with voluntarily deformed feet. I don't like sharp angles. I mean, if you are an ice climber and these are for ice climbing, awesome, otherwise, NOOOO!
- Makeup. I never like it, but if you insist on wearing it, please don't use it to look unnatural.
- Red nail polish. I'm not really a fan of nail polish in general, but if you're going to do it, have fun, pick unconventional colors. The classic red is so done... Glow in the dark nail polish is a winner, black is a bit goth but I won't mind, grey might be cool, even orange or blue. No nail art, though!
- No long nails!!! I don't mind if a girl's nails are an 1/4" of an inch or something, the better she can play guitar with, but if your nails are long enough that you can't do some things, or they break, then ick! I have no idea why long nails would be fun or sexy for anyone. It's a whole lot of scratchy, scratchy, pokey, pokey, uselessness.
- High heeled shoes. Not a fan. I like tall women, sure, but I'd rather you just be your real height. We can pause sometimes on stairs and pretend if you want to imagine you are taller. I like Chuck Taylor Converse shoes on my women. Or other funky, fun shoes. I never want to hear a girl say to me, "Oh, I can't walk that far, because my shoes..." We are ambulatory people! Wear shoes you can walk, run, dance, play in! I don't like those odoriferous Petri dishes they call Uggz.
- Beer taste on the lips/breath. Ugh. Wine taste is slightly preferable, but still not my favorite. My favorite? Jolly Ranchers. I wish all women were always sucking on Jolly Ranchers, but from a variety pack, ideally reflecting their mood towards me. When they smelled of watermelon I'd know it was on...
- Lacy underwear or underwear with flowers. What makes that stuff sexy? I have no idea, they turn me off. Grandmothers wear that sort of stuff. Oddly, though, I find fishnet stockings sexy (though I've never encountered any in real life). I hope I'll be surprised with fishnets some day.
- Dainty watches. I hate that women are encouraged to wear tiny, dainty, functionless watches. Poor dears, they deserve the same rights to wear watches with tons of features like the men's. I once had a crush on a girl in a college physics class because she had a watch with a chronograph! A year later I was in a math class with her and I discovered that my crush was all built on a lie! The chronograph dials on the watch were just printed on the watch dial. The story of my life.
- Women who live within the limits of an inherited, "Women should do...". Some people just seem to think the world should be a certain way, and I'm no fan of that. I think the world should be the way you want it, screw society and its expectations; hard to do, but fight the good fight...
- Women who "know" they are very attractive. Nothing is uglier than arrogance. Confidence, being comfortable with yourself, feeling secure, those are grand things. Arrogance is quite another. Too many people on both side of the gender fence get their ego a bit stroked as a youth and spend the rest of their lives making people around them miserable.
- Women who use their feminine wiles to get men to do things for them (pay bills, buy dinners, move furniture, etc.). Using people sucks. You're one step up below an escort, at least escorts can be respected for their relative honesty and straightforwardness in their social exchanges. I haven't run into many of this sort, though. I did make a friend who soon after revealed to me she was sleeping with a guy because he would fill up her gas tank, and she was sleeping with another guy (at the same time) because he would take her grocery shopping, and another who... Oh dear, she was physically a beautiful girl, but not so much inside. Our friendship was short lived.
- Cowboy boots. I'm sure cowboy boots are probably perfectly suited for cowboys. But there is no excuse for any non-cowboys to be wearing them. A woman or man in cowboy boots in a city makes as little sense as them wearing ski boots.
- Smoking. Ugh. You have taken from me every ounce of interest I might have had in you and crushed it like you do your cigarette butts. You smell like an ashtray, you taste like an ashtray, and you reek of addictive behavior. Not for me.
- "Nude" Pantyhose. Ugh. I used to think I hated pantyhose generally, but now I realize it's just the "nude" or sheer kind I dislike, mostly because I don't like something pretending to be skin color, that's just creepy like a snake shedding its skin. And then at the crotch area the stitching on sheer pantyhose is right there, with flaps, and extra material, and I don't know... it's just weirdly complicated and unattractive.
Things I love with women:
- Winter wear! Hats, coats, sweaters, mittens/gloves! How I love layers! Women look pretty in them, and when the time comes for their removal it just makes things so much more fun! And put a woman in the snow, and wow! I like it when pretty white flakes of snow land on their noses. I would have been a very randy Eskimo.
- Women who like driving. There's something sexy about a woman who takes pride in her driving.
- Sweetness, tenderness, vulnerability. 'nough said.
- Multicolored socks/stockings. Japanese girls sometimes rock this look. But I don't know any. And I am a little afraid of the Japanese when it comes to the bedroom and their tentacle porn.
- Dancing. I'm a bit too self conscious to really enjoy dancing myself, but I like women who don't have that shyness and might move me past mine. I was once in a a gas station, in line, waiting to pay with my girlfriend of that time, and she started to dance subtly to whatever was on the radio they were playing. It was a truly beautiful moment; I loved her so very greatly in that instant.
- A yielding sexual aggressiveness. I don't want a woman to be all corpse-y, that's no good. But, neither do I want to be their bitch (nor they mine). I advocate for a position of relative, exchangeable equality, with each person taking that controlling interest at different times, a communism of sex. To each according to their sexual needs of the moment, from each according to their sexual ability of the moment, etc.
- Creativity. One of the most attractive things for me is creativity (however it is expressed, in their art, writing, or just the play of brilliant banter).
- Freethinkingnes-ish. In theory I like women who are freethinkers, but freethinking can also lead to freeacting which might include daily orgies and drug induced stupors and I'm not so keen on those. I'm looking for someone who's probably a bit like me, freethinking in mind, but more conservative (cowardly?) in action.
- Smilers. I love women whose smiles elevate me, and everyone else.
In case you missed it, there was a recent story about a TSA agent who snapped and assaulted a coworker after being humiliated for a year over the alleged size of his manhood. As part of routine training this agent passed through the new millimeter wave body scanner while his coworkers saw his genitals in sufficient detail on their monitor to form opinions.
The issue reminded me of the bizarre disparity between how physical and emotional assaults are viewed. I think too many have bought into the nonsense of the saying, "Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.
While I am entirely against any sort of physical aggression against another person, I think it's completely wrong to view physical actions as automatically more serious than emotional ones. And because the impact of emotional abuse is often so minimized by society, the people suffering it are often expected to simply tolerate or ignore it, which can lead to explosive physical responses. And I don't think we should blame the victim twice.
Quite frankly, if the story is true as it's reported, I think the humiliated man in this case showed great restraint in tolerating his coworkers jabs for a year. I don't condone this man's demanding an apology from his coworker under threat of a baton beating, nor the beating he gave when he didn't get it, but I understand it. And I think society and the courts should understand it. I think the courts should be able to say to the beaten man, in effect, "You brought this on yourself. We're not getting involved." As I understand it, there is a principle in the law where legal remedies are not available to resolve an illegal transaction; if person A buys illegal drugs from person B, and the drugs turn out to be powdered sugar, the law will not help person A recover his money. I believe a similar view should be taken of this situation. The victimizer is engaging in an illegal harassment of the victim, and thus he shouldn't be able to seek a legal remedy in the courts for the beating he ultimately receives as a direct result. The humiliated man should not have been arrested and should not be prosecuted. Or, perhaps an alternative that seems also fairer than the current one, the courts could prosecute both people, but they must view the emotionally abusive person as the more serious crime (based on the actual "damage" done).
Society and the courts need to recognize that things said are often far more destructive than things done, and that the damage often lasts far longer. We cannot as humans be reasonably expected to respond otherwise. I still cringingly remember awful and unfortunate things said to me when I was a kid, but a few fights with and bruises from school yard bullies? I remember them without any emotional pain at all.
Domestic abuse needs to be viewed in this light as well. Neither physical nor emotional abuse should be tolerated, and both should be considered abuse. The courts seem to feel even the most horrific verbal insult should just be ignored by the intended recipient while any physical contact in response (even literally a slap in the face) is criminal. (At least if what I've seen on TV in news and on Cops is to be believed.) This makes no sense. Acts should be deemed criminal based on the level of damage that act would cause to a reasonable person.
Today I was walking to a cafe and I passed by the outside dining area of a restaurant. I spotted a folded $20 bill lying under a bench about 10 feet away from where the patrons sit. I quickly got to one knee as though tying my shoe, scooped up the $20 and then beat a hasty continuation of my journey.
My normal response to the situation would have been to be more aggressively helpful. I may have announced the discovery to nearby patrons, to nearby wait staff, perhaps to the manager. I would have done everything conceivable to ensure the money was returned to its rightful owner. Such goodness is exhausting and often punishing. The world often misunderstands and reacts with an unkind suspicion and hostility to good in excess. So today I elected to do only what the world expected, and to profit from it.
In the course or the day some poorer mysterious stranger bought me two chai lattes, a veggie burger, and a Coke and all were improved by the way I came by the money.
In preface to what I'm about to say, let me disclose that my opinion on the topic of abortion is complicated. Essentially my position is a big I don't know.
While I do feel like the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the health care bill currently travelling through the senate is in part a sneaky Republican ploy to further their anti-abortion agenda (as well as genuine indignation/moral stand), the Democrats can't win passage of the bill without an amendment like Stupak-Pitts, and I don't think a fight over it is worth derailing health care reform.
The Republicans are not wholly unreasonable in their desire to keep public funds from funding something they find morally objectionable, though they would certainly scoff at the notion of giving the many democrats (and universal pacificists) a similar way out of having their tax dollars used to fund wars they find equally morally objectionable.
The Democrats are not wholly unreasonable in wanting to take a moral stand on this point, in not wanting access (particularly to those in need and most vulnerable) to a legal procedure (abortion) curtailed. They see it as a dangerous concession, to those now in need, and those in the future, this being perhaps the thin end of the wedge.
Perhaps I'm a realist, but I believe health care needs immediate reform, and that universal health care is a right, integral to our ability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. I believe we have no better chance than now to see universal health care put in place, and that sacrifices must be made to see that happen.
The bottom line is that the Stupak-Pitts ammendment would mean that an abortion would be an out of pocket expense. A little googling suggests an abortion costs $300 - 400 done < 3 months and $400 - 1200 < 5 months (above that prices go up quite a bit). I may be naive, and may not adequately appreciate the likelihood that people would once again resort to back alley abortions, but it doesn't seem like those prices are so high that people who wanted abortions would not pay out of their pocket to get them. I had assumed most abortions were currently out of pocket expenses. Regarding the abortion cost and someone's ability to pay, giving birth would incur a much greater expense (out of pocket) in the first month alone (food, baby supplies, etc.), so if you can work out the financing for the latter, surely you could work it out for the former. And regarding access, I wouldn't expect that this change would impact those concerned about young teens having access to abortions without parental knowledge, since I wouldn't have thought teens could get this done without parental involvement now via health insurance. (I can imagine this legislation and our tendency to take capitalism to its extremes might usher in a new age of multi-momth abortion financing plans. )
I do take the point that this legislation would prevent insurance companies from offering a separate option for abortion insurance coverage if that insurance company is taking federal dollars, and I do find that to be the strongest argument, yet it still comes back to the same thing, will this change significantly change people's access to abortions? I don't see that it would
Admittedly I am used to having a PPO and paying for lots of things that aren't covered (or in full) by my health care plan, and I am fortunate enough to have had the money to pay for those things. And I am neither pro-life nor pro-choice, so I may be missing important realties here.
I'm sitting at my local cafe and this normal-looking guy with a laptop bag comes up, asks if anyone is sitting at the table next to me. He sits down, sets up his computer, connects his iPhone up to it, and within 3 minutes he falls fast asleep. His phone slips from his hand and crashes to the ground. He rouses just enough to mutter something about how weird it is that he's suddenly so tired, to joke how somebody might have slipped something into his coffee. His speech, perfect just minutes ago, is now slightly slurred. He asks me what time it is, and says something about his computer clock being wrong, saying that it's 1959, and worrying maybe it's a virus. Over the next 30 minutes he falls asleep a dozen times, asks me for the time another four or five times (each time resetting his computer's time), and all the while his speech is getting progressively more slurred. I'm no doctor, but given that I'm in Venice, it seemed natural to assume his impairment was chemical, not a medical crisis. The most fascinating thing to me was to watch him wrestle with this "clock" issue. He would wake up from his 20 second micronap, re-remember he was trying to fix the clock, ask me what time it was, change the clock, then fumble with trying to install some app, and then eventually drift off again. And when he woke, he'd repeat the process again. I became curious, since he kept drawing me into his situation by asking me for the time, and making virus/etc. comments. At one point, after he complained that the clock now said it was 2005, I watch him move his mouse from the clock setting applet up to the Mac OSX menu bar where the time is shown, "Oct 25 20 05". Eureka! His drug addled brain was mistaking military time for a year! About this time I also see him sneaking some pills out of a prescription bottle and into his mouth. Perhaps it was a little evil of me, but I elected not to volunteer the solution to his clock problem. Perhaps I was acting as karma's agent, perhaps I was perpetuating comedy, perhaps I was trying to save him the embarassment of me pointing out such a basic thing, or perhaps I allow myself less generous moments.
On the plus side, just that morning I (arguably) saved a man's life. I was waiting to cross the street and a gentleman came up to wait as well, and something seemed a little odd about him, perhaps he just seemed a little too earnest to cross the street, and I briefly imagined having to grab him and pull him back from the path of an oncoming vehicle. Less than a minute later he took a few steps into stepped into the street without looking, just as a city bus was making great haste down the street, trying to beat the light. I yelled, "Watch out!" and he jumped back just in time. Perhaps he would have realized on his own at the last minute. Perhaps the bus driver would have seen him in time and swerved enough to avoid him. But I don't think I'm unhumble when I suggest there is at least a 20% chance I saved his life yesterday. So perhaps I was allowed an ungenerous moment last night as my reward.