Suppose you live on an island. On this island live 49 women, 49 men, and you. Suppose each inhabitant of the island is in an exclusive romantic relationship except you. There is absolutely no one left for you to date. Everyone you meet is already taken. Suppose then that you find out that most of the inhabitants have changed partners over the years. They are never single for long but jump from one exclusive relationship to the next in a very short time – too short for news to reach you before it is too late. You then realize it is not your ineptitude at finding suitable partners that has kept you single your whole life, but the uncanny ability of other singles to find each other before they find you. Suppose also that you then discover that the way they are able to do this is by cheating. Even while committed to one partner, they are on the lookout, sending out feelers to see who might be available soon. They get put on unofficial waiting lists for if they should ever find themselves free. Some start actually dating their next partner before breaking up with the previous one.
What do you do? You know that you would be a better partner than most and you know you would never cheat on anyone, yet nobody seeks you out and you have nobody left to seek out. Should you be single forever? None of these people are officially married. Some of them have only been together a short time. Some of them may be close to breaking free any day; you have no way of knowing. Under these circumstances is it really wrong to do what literally everyone else does by requesting people to leave those they are already dating in order to date you?
This is similar to the situation I find myself in. I can count the number of single women I’ve met on one hand. One I was literally on my way to ask out only to learn from my best friend that he had asked her out the day before. He already had a girlfriend, but unknown to me had broken up with her four days prior. Another was swept up in similar fashion at the last minute by someone she knew at school. Several women told me they didn’t know if they had a boyfriend or not – meaning things were rocky at the time. I thought it best to make sure things were really over rather than try to destroy what was in those cases a de facto marriage while they were still trying to work things out. Several guys have told me they met their wives while they still had boyfriends to compete with. In thirty-six years I’ve been on only one date (and I’m not sure it even counts) in part because I respect monogamy. No one else does.
Nobody ever just dates around to get to know multiple people before making a decision. They do not ask each other on dates one-at-a-time. They ask to be a regular boyfriend or girlfriend. Those extremely rare times that someone remains unattached, they are told they are “playing the field,” “using people,” and “afraid of commitment.”
I like people. I especially like girl people. They are interesting objects of study when they aren’t getting after me for petty things. I’d like to meet more people to get to know them, but they are already taken and have no time left over for me. I never get the chance to even learn about anyone to find out if we should date. I never get the chance to find out if we have any common interests or aspirations. I have nothing to base attraction on except looks. What should I do?
Here’s a better question: What are you doing Saturday, beautiful?
It was in fifth grade that I first thought I wanted to be an author. We were assigned to write a short story for class. I wrote a disorganized account of a detective hiking through the jungle to watch some natives involved in a mysterious religious ritual. I never finished, but I think it was supposed to have eventually been found out to be part of a cyborg plot to invade Earth.
In sixth grade I met my friend Ryan at the bus stop. We acted out scenes from Star Trek mostly. Soon, I was at his house six days a week coming up with and playing out ideas for a television series we called Dan And Ryan’s Adventures. The characters were based loosely on us. Unlike other children who wanted to be Ghostbusters or Ninja Turtles, I always wanted to be me – except with superpowers. I knew that before we could ever worry about acting, directing, props, sets, or camera angles, I first needed to write the scripts, but writing was much more tedious than playing. Instead, I made longer and longer lists of our ideas without writing any of them out. As I grew older and learned more speculative science, the ideas became ever more sophisticated and we strived to be groundbreaking.
By the time I had graduated high school, Ryan had moved away and I had fallen in love with the written word. There is just something magically satisfying about capturing in mere words the action and images of a scene. I enjoyed repeatedly going over my rough drafts and refining them into perfection. I gave up on the television series idea and decided to write a series of novels. I had settled on calling it The Way Out Series. It had a triple meaning. It dealt with events “way out” in deep space where there was often only one “way out” from danger and my characters were “way out” of their minds. I was unaware at the time that there had already been a Way Out science fiction series in the sixties. I made my first real effort to write in 2000. The first episode was to have been called Inside Metha. It would cover how the two main characters, Dan and Ryan, first met.
Unfortunately, I could not finish. Between work and school I did not have much time. I was mentally exhausted and could not focus. I kept having writers’ block and I did not trust that I could think my characters out of situations that I put them in. I needed to put them in danger, but also have them survive in a way that didn’t seem too unrealistic. I kept trying to plan everything out ahead and outline in too much detail, becoming frustrated when things didn’t work out. As the years passed I continued having new story ideas until I had hundreds. How was I ever to finish writing the entire series in a natural lifetime? I kept changing my mind which episode I should start the series with and what should be backstory. I had numerous ideas for Dan that took place before and after his adventures with Ryan, making Ryan less important, and the character Dan was becoming less and less like me anyways. Eventually Dan became Nate.
In the meantime, I developed other interests, such as art, travel, and politics. I kept various blogs. I somehow wrote The Nutcase Across The Street (politics/current affairs) in six weeks in 2010, later publishing it in 2011. It was only in 2012 that I made a breakthrough with my science fiction. I don’t fully understand what happened myself, but part of it was that I gave up trying to run my life and trusted God to lead me wherever, including what to write. I started writing The Spider, The Witch, And The Spaceship (science fiction). I now had the ability to write but not enough time. Fortunately, God also arranged for me to get fired mysteriously without cause in 2013. At last I had the time. I published in 2014.
I immediately began to think of what to do with all my extra ideas to make them marketable. I had received much feedback over the years that my stories were too complex and too weird to ever be accepted by anybody. This is why I originally decided to focus on Nate’s early life (then called Nathaniel). Nate’s childhood stories were simpler. I aimed to create a style emulating both Calvin And Hobbes and Star Trek, both highly popular among adults. I thought I had a winning combination. Instead, I received much feedback that no adult would ever want to read about children that talked and acted like children, yet no child would ever understand the science references (both real and fictional) I included. If my series had taken off, I would have kept going with it. Because it did not, I reevaluated what it was I really wanted to do for myself and decided that while I enjoyed writing in that style, it was not where my heart was. I had also tried becoming an artist and selling my drawings of alien creatures. While I received many compliments, I also ran into many obstacles in promotion and securing venues. If my art had taken off, I would have continued with it. Because it did not, I reevaluated what it was I really wanted to do for myself and decided that even though I enjoyed drawing, it was not where my heart was.
Around the same time, I came up with an overall plot arc to Nate’s life that tied all the hundreds of stories together. I thought it would be nice if I could actually publish all of my ideas while I was still alive. Finally I hit upon the idea of a trilogy of books, each containing 212 microchapters. Each microchapter would be a quick summary of one story from Nate’s life. I called it The Champion Trilogy. I was doubtful that anybody else would want to read such a thing, but the more I thought about it the more I knew I had to finish it before I could do anything else. This is what I really wanted to do.
In Champion Of The Galaxy, Nate finds that evil is everywhere he visits and starts to think of himself as a hero. He protects the innocent while battling criminal masterminds, alien monsters, space storms, military robots, and dimensional paradoxes, but for most of his life he is incredibly lonely. Finally, he meets Derek and they become best friends. In Champion Of The Universe, the challenges Nate and Derek face become ever bigger and more complicated. They learn to rely on each other more and more. In Champion Of Heaven, Nate slowly rises in power to control the mathematical underpinnings of reality itself in order to banish evil completely, but just as victory seems within his grasp, everything unravels. He loses his throne, his friends, his powers, and begins to lose his mind. After many years of grasping for every last sliver of hope, he collapses from emotional exhaustion. It is then that a mysterious entity rescues him and says, “You don’t have to be champion of the universe anymore. I am champion of the universe.”
After 636 stories, who knows? I very well might keep Nate going.
I finally found a roundabout way to get videos from my phone into my PC and onto the blog. Enjoy!
First off, I believe that sexual harassment of women is a very serious, very widespread, and very real problem. It often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. I find most of the stories perfectly believable. I have heard the way the guys talk about women when they aren’t around. I continually receive advice to impose myself on them, pestering and pressuring them in order to have my needs met. There are a lot of creeps out there. I don’t deny that there are those taking advantage of the MeToo movement for political purposes, but the message would not resonate with so many if there were not more than a little truth to it.
Thing is, the phenomenon cannot be fully understood without also understanding the larger context that people in general are jerks to each other. Most people are selfish and rude much of the time. I’ve been sexually harassed by women. I’ve been sexually harassed by men (gay and straight). I’ve been sexually harassed by both coworkers and management. I’ve been groped, fondled, slapped, belittled, asked very personal questions, and told many things I never wanted to know. I know what it’s like. I’ve also been harassed in ways that I took as only annoying, but others told me was actually sexual in nature. I’ve been bullied. I’ve been falsely accused of bullying. I’ve also been falsely accused of sexual harassment – more than once – and this is an equally serious, equally widespread, and equally real problem. Women protest that they are rarely believed when they report bad behavior, but in my experience they are believed far too much. The truth is that some women use the threat of false accusations just as some men use the threat of poor job evaluation scores or poor grades. In some places, women already have a lot of power. Taking their word for it without evidence not only harms men and thwarts truth and justice, but in the long run it harms women as well.
Widespread harassment by men has made women crazy. They are so used to inappropriate behavior that they start to see it when it isn’t even there. Some become so sensitive that it is impossible to compliment them, flirt with them, or ask them on a date without them thinking that more is coming whether they reciprocate or not. It is impossible to even strike up a friendly conversation without them thinking you are hitting on them. You’d think they’d find it flattering to have some attention for a change, but instead they find it very unnerving. I’ve heard the way women talk about other guys when they aren’t there. I also once knew a lady who hid out in back of her bookstore because a customer had left and then came back later wearing nicer clothes. He did nothing more than ask for her number, but this was considered creepy enough for her to flee. Last I heard, she is still single.
It is this oversensitivity that creates hostile environments where men are afraid to speak their affections. Those men that are careful to take things very slow and respectfully watch for subtle signals find opportunities slip by over and over. Introducing the idea of romance always involves abruptly (and rudely) changing the subject. I’m thirty-five now and I’ve been on exactly one date – and I only managed to get it because for once I deliberately pushed things instead of waiting on the natural progression. I still wonder whether we might have had a second date if I had tried harder, but it goes against my nature too much. I would rather have a partner that sticks with me out of affection than manipulation.
When the bad men make women crazy, and the crazy women drive away the bad men and good men both, it leaves many women single for a very long time. I hear them complain when they can’t find a boyfriend and I have even heard (from women) that they like to be pursued. For some, the chase is part of the fun. Some even advise others to play hard-to-get. Women who are too easy are derided as sluts. Even in the twenty-first century, many women think it improper for them to initiate romance. They never ask the guy out; they simply wait for him to ask. Then there are those women who in a moment of nervousness might send out signals of disinterest and regret it later, hoping for a second chance and thinking that any guy who really liked them would try again. No can mean no, but it can also mean not now. The end effect is that millions of men and women live alone, unable to connect with each other. With so many of both sexes so deprived, some become tempted to use unethical means to get what they want, bringing us right back to the beginning.
In conclusion, our dating system is fundamentally broken. There is no love in it. The bad behavior of a few has ruined it for everyone else.
I learned a new word recently: bombogenesis, the process by which a storm rapidly intensifies. Rhode Island (which is not an island) was recently hit by one of these storms, which brought a lot of snow and even more wind. When I went out to pick up the newspaper (which some fool had actually taken the effort to deliver), I found I could not face north at all without cold, wet, pointy bits of ice continually slamming into my eyes at speeds in excess of forty miles per hour. The next day, there were some pretty intense drifts. Snow depth ranged from practically zero inches up to six feet. The area around the house was clear, but the wind curled around it and dumped a lot of snow on our southern-facing porch.
I haven’t been travelling much lately because I am taking care of my grandfather now that my grandmother has died. I am continuing to write my science fiction book and my philosophy book, but have not taken any time to draw. I am also still conflicted with which direction to take some of my other fiction ideas. In the meantime, I have decided to go ahead and publish more of my musings and observations on the blog in spite of having no true adventures to pair them with. I had wanted this blog to be about travel, but my thoughts are part of my life too. My life is in a slow season. I am also having some baffling computer problems I have to keep working around, so this delays blogging still further.
Southern Rhode Island must be the cemetery capitol of the world. I see a tiny one outside a Rite-Aid, another tucked behind a Burger King, one at the edge of a field, a big one just down the road from where I’m staying, and then I read a story in the local paper about all the cemeteries in the next town, including the one where my grandfather’s parents are buried. We went to go see them and some people my grandfather went to school with. It was an uneventful trip.
The newspaper article on cemeteries was more interesting. It mentioned a mass grave where a scorned traveler had his revenge by burning down a house with dozens inside. It mentioned two women who were rumored to be vampires, possibly because they had frozen solid during the winter and had not decayed come springtime when the ground had thawed enough to bury them. It also mentioned a single, unmarked grave outside a cemetery that took some sleuthing to find out who was there.
New England seems to have a lot of “layers” to it. New developments are built, new neighbors move in, roads are changed, trees grow up, and spots that used to be locally famous become inaccessible and are forgotten. My grandfather speaks of a “split” stone that one can walk through. It is still in the woods somewhere, but surrounded by homes. I’ve also read about a nearby boulder that pivoted atop another to make deep booming sounds heard long distances. Many families used to dump trash such as bottles or old frying pans on their own property. These spots hold a wealth of archaeological data. They have since been covered over and the original families are long gone, but my grandfather still remembers where some of them were.
Life has a way of taking funny twists. I still have no money for my New England road trip, but I am moving to Rhode Island where I will be within driving distance of many places I want to visit. My grandparents have aged to the point that they need a little assistance, so I am moving in with them (my dream house). I won’t be able to take long trips, but I should still be able to get out once in a while. I will post as I am able. Due to my work load and some inexplicable internet problems, I will also be taking a hiatus from FloraAndFaunaOfTheUniverse and ChampionOfTheGalaxy.
Unfortunately, this means I can no longer write for LovesTampaBay. Below are all the places I wrote about in 2017:
Parks And Museums
Food And Drink
People And Businesses
I also wrote a load of stories for LovesTampaBay in 2016. Check them out.
Written By Others
I'm not the only one writing for LovesTampaBay. Here are all the posts from 2017 written by others:
My Last Pictures From Florida:
This is the backyard after the hurricane:
Someone cut a bottlebrush tree, letting me see its pink wood:
This is the same tree three days later:
Here are some animals:
Sometimes I feel like there is nowhere left on Earth to discover. The days of Columbus and Magellan are over. Satellites photograph every square meter. The ocean floor might not be fully mapped, but from what is already known it is not likely to have much that is exceptionally interesting. It is also too hostile an environment for me to really enjoy myself there. This is when I remind myself that:
It also bothers me that so many areas are restricted – whether by government or by private entities. I figure everyone is entitled keep me from their backyard, but when hundreds of acres of wilderness are marked with no-trespassing signs, there is a severe problem. What purpose do I have on this Earth if not to explore? How can I explore when so much land was stolen away from me before I was even born?
Some areas are closed for ecological reasons, but they are only closed to humans – not other animals. This is discrimination! Some areas are open to the public but only for a fee. You have to pay to camp, dock, or even park your car! More and more humans are dumped into smaller and smaller spaces together but sometimes I just need to get away from people to relax and recharge. State parks are great places, but they often have rules against firearms, hunting, collecting, campfires, walking off trail, and alcohol. I wish I didn’t have to deal with people and their rules. Columbus and Magellan just went where they pleased. This is when I remind myself that:
There is a new way to support people at Patreon.com. By signing up and agreeing to a small monthly charge, your money will help struggling artists, musicians, and writers pay their bills, buy art supplies, allow them to continue enriching the world, encouraging, inspiring, and entertaining us, and will allow them to in turn support others to also know the joy of giving. You can peruse the website for artists that fit your tastes or promote ideals you agree with. It’s not a hand-out because these people are working hard on their material. There are generally also some perks for those who join. Think of it as paying dues to a fan club.
Let me tell you about my blog, WayOutLife.com. I plan on taking a road trip and reporting my findings on the blog, along with photographs of what I see. Since life itself is an adventure, I will also post things I learn about life and love, products and people I discover, musings on physics and philosophy, and observations on ethics and spirituality. At times I may touch upon controversial subjects. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I like to make people really think and question their assumptions. I also post poetry.
I am doing this for several reasons. I want to show God’s greatness both as creator of the world and in the things he does on a continual basis in my life and in the lives of others. I want to foster in others an appreciation of natural places and return a sense of awe and adventure to life. I want to foster in others an appreciation of other people. Humans are amazing creatures able to produce art and humor and there will be much of both on the blog. Instead of passing judgment, I want to increase understanding of people and their activities. I also seek to be encouraging – not by commanding people to be hopeful when all seems lost or by simply presenting vague and hollow assurances – but by describing concrete examples of good in the world. I also seek to raise awareness and understanding of the world.
Above all, I strive to entertain. I do this not only on WayOutLife.com, but by writing novels of science fiction and fantasy. I am currently writing a trilogy about the salvation and redemption of a time-traveling explorer and hero who in the end learns to face his own limitations. It will probably take at least until the end of 2020 to finish. After that, I plan on writing about other characters who overcome other personality flaws and hopeless situations. I want to give people hope. I also manage a fictional biology blog at FloraAndFaunaOfTheUniverse.com and a blog highlighting local charities and businesses at LovesTampaBay.com.
Unfortunately, filling my gas tank and my belly can be expensive, State Parks often charge nominal fees, and the state of Florida requires that I have car insurance. This is why I need support. If I can convince just 250 people to give me just 5 dollars per month, I expect that I will be able to live comfortably. This is not a handout because I will be producing material for the blog for the enjoyment and betterment of all. I am also enriching the world by writing a novel and making drawings.
I have even thought of being a missionary of sorts – and missionaries are usually paid. I have never been skilled at bringing up spiritual subjects and I realize that those that need to hear them the most will only see them as distractions from what is really bothering them in the moment. I have also never been skilled at initiating contact with strangers and I realize that most people are very suspicious of those who are. I believe that God is perfectly capable of providing me people to talk with, but there are no assurances in life. I could be dead tomorrow – as could you. By supporting me, you are taking a risk along with me. I want to help people avoid some of the pain I went through in finding God, but how? The blog is a good start. I expect to move beyond it, but for now it is a good start.
Basically, if you like what I write on the blog – if it helps you or you think it will help others – support me on my Patreon page. I welcome you as part of the team. If you don’t find use in my posts, don’t support me. It means that God is calling you to spend your resources elsewhere.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.