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Christmas is coming up soon. I won't be celebrating it and haven't for a few years. Even while I had faith I found the commercialisation of the holiday unwelcome and without faith that's about all that's left. Nearly nine years ago John Scalzi wrote an entry on his blog detailing why he doesn't want gifts and since finding it I've basically accepted the truth of it for my life. Granted, I don't have the financial wherewithal that he does, but practically everything I want, I buy. Christmas means nothing to me besides enforced time away from work, and people dealing with pressure to spend money they probably don't have.

With the earthquakes starting up again (at least temporarily) I have been reminded of how little care about such compared to others. I probably took close to a minute to actually get out of my seat when the first big one hit yesterday morning. First thing I did after it stopped was send a message to a friend on the other side of the planet figuring it would be good to prevent the first thing she saw about such being just "earthquake" or the like. I then sent a text message to my parents and sister to let them know I was okay. After a short while spent looking at GeoNet etc. I was back to what I had been doing, and reading what others were posting. While doing so my mind went back to the start of the more local quakes in 2010, where I'd been sent a text minutes later by a nearby friend and ended up spending most of the day with her to keep her company.

I was once able to look at the people I knew at church and respect the differences in opinion I had compared to the accepted beliefs there. This has changed in some areas, noticeably with the attitude to one individual starting to wear dresses (and probably makeup etc. I didn't pay attention while both of us were present.) and comments I've heard second hand (I won't say who from specifically) about the attire of young people as well as recent drumpf issues. I can't accept the attitude towards anyone that isn't heterosexual, cis-gendered, etc. as being just a matter of opinion. And I have refused to be a part of the board gaming that was apparently going to start up soonish, because I was informed it would be a Mens group thing. While I'd not likely have taken part in the Mens breakfasts etc. that have also been run over the past few years (because I'm very disinclined to eat in a group setting like that) the gender segregation bothered me about those as well. Not as early as it should have though.

I posted a couple of years back that I didn't want to be called uncle, something that happens a lot at church due simply to me spending time with the young children. I'm no blood kin of any child, and won't be, which makes being called uncle annoying. The fact that the children I'm with most often when referred to as uncle are those of my second ex just makes things worse.

Don't call me Uncle

2014-Apr-01, Tuesday 11:49 pm
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It has never sat well with me when my friends, let alone others that I'm not that close to, refer to me as Uncle Gareth when talking to their children. I'm probably still not going to be able to explain why all that clearly, but I think I'm closer now than I would have been a few years ago.
For a start there's the obvious fact I'm not the child's Uncle and therefore it's a lie. Sure, you can argue it's something of an honorary title, but it's still not something that I want to be called.
Secondly, isn't it going to cause some level of confusion in the child's mind if you call me uncle when there is no blood tie between us, not even through a spouse? That dilutes the meaning of the word.
Thirdly, and this is probably the most important to me, I'm never going to be an uncle (technically the chance exists but it seems there's a better chance of me being a father). Even if it doesn't register immediately there's usually a span of time where I consider that fact and am sad about how my sister won't get to be a mother. I'm never going to get to visit her and spend time with children that I do have that relationship with.

I was out every night last week, gaming through the week, going to a party on Saturday and a club meeting on Sunday afternoon, not getting back home until after I'd been to the Warehouse to deal with a small problem. This week could be even busier with a party on Friday that I might be out even later with and games most of Saturday thanks to TableTop. As yet my Sunday will have nothing besides church though.

Musings on Marriage

2013-Mar-05, Tuesday 11:45 pm
avron: (pink)
Well, now, time to antagonise some people it seems.

For quite a while now the subject of marriage has been in the news and whether or not the definition of marriage should be expanded. The religious right and conservatives in general are saying that Marriage must be between a man and a woman, anything else isn't marriage. The left and liberals etc. are saying that marriage is a human right and everyone should be free to marry whomever they want to marry.

My opinion, to get it out of the way, is that I can't decide one way or the other. And the specifics of why will be dealt with at the end of this rambling.

Christians take the viewpoint that marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman in a ceremony sanctioned and consecrated by God. All well and good, but modern Christians also happen to ignore (or are ignorant of) the other marriage definitions from the Old Testament involving things they now consider abhorent, like forcing a rape victim to marry her rapist as long as he pays dowry to her father. (I'm not sure of dowry part of that and am not going to go looking for specifics.)
The part that I'm more interested here, because I don't think I have ever seen it brought up, by either side, is the God sanctioned part. At no point have I seen anyone bring up the issue that if marriage is between a man and a woman because that is what God defined then those that don't have faith in Him shouldn't be getting married. I can't see those that object to the change bringing it up, it would almost certainly erode almost (if not all) support from the non-religious that they have for keeping the definition as it currently is.I can't be the only one to have this thought though, why is it that I've never seen those wanting to change the definition of marriage bring it up as a way to get the non-religious traditionalists to consider how narrow the Church might make the definition?
And how many of those arguing against redefinition of marriage have considered the Old Testament attitude towards it?


That didn't take as much rambling as I expected. Maybe I didn't have as much to say as expected.
As to why I can't decide... I do think marriage should be between a man and a woman. I'm aware enough of my thoughts to realise that I have been conditioned to think that way by society and, to a lesser extent, my faith. I also think that it should be a God sanctioned thing. This is my thinking, my opinion.
That would however mean my parents shouldn't have married (and I shouldn't exist), I struggle to accept that as a reasonable outcome: to a large extent I like me and want to exist. My parents aren't perfect by any means but I've seen no reason to think they have a marriage that shouldn't count as one.
So either I accept the "Christian" stance that people shouldn't be able to marry if they aren't a man/woman pairing, and I have to extrapolate to them also having faith in the God I serve. Or I accept that anyone marries.
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It's been a very long time since I actually wanted anything tangible from anyone at Christmas time (or my birthday for that matter) and to avoid re-hashing what has been written by another better than I would manage, What I Want for Christmas: Not a Damn Thing. (Language may offend.)

In addition to that issue there's the fact I predominantly see this time as a celebration of the birth of Christ, the way it's become a commercial celebration of the Want, Want, Want part of society offends me. Granted, I'm not a child or parent and so don't have to deal with the issues in that area but I'm not inclined to buy things for people now, simply because it is now.

If you see something that you know (or even think) I'd like and want to buy it for me, do so, but don't wait to give it to me. I won't wait to give gifts to others on the rare occasions I come out of my selfish shell and buy things for other people. It makes no sense to me to buy something for someone and then wait months, or even just weeks/days, to give it to them. I've had enough reminders in recent times of the shortness of life. And even if not for the fragility of life, what's to stop the person you buy something for finding another copy of it and buying it themself? (I am aware of one exception in my recent (past 2 years) purchases and that's due to the intended recipient being too young as of yet.)

Musings on mood shift

2012-Nov-04, Sunday 11:09 pm
avron: (Survive)
It is at times amazing to me how easily my mood can shift.
Last night was good for me, more so than people looking at me would have thought I expect. Silly games (including Twister and WereWolf), friendly company, and alcohol enough that the reserve I keep up dropped somewhat. I stayed until nearly 3am because I was enjoying myself and would likely have slept on a couch if not for wanting to sleep in my own bed before going to Church this morning.
Today, I only woke up as Church was beginning (after sleeping through my alarm), spent the service at the back of the hall like I normally do if I'm not helping with the children's ministry, and spoke with few people after the service. I then headed to the Street Party that was organised by RCC and upon failing to find anyone I feel I know well enough to hang around for any length of time I headed back home, already losing the relative high. I got back to my flat and caught up on the things online I'd missed seeing before church. After a while I decided to head along to the supposed meetup for NaNo that was happening nearby, with my laptop so I could write without the distractions that exist here. No-one else showed up though, probably largely due to the conflicting meetup in the central library. On the upside though it allowed me a chance to write, distraction free for a while and I managed to get a reasonable amount done in the time I was there, until the wind was chilling me too much.
Since coming home I've played games, and generally avoided the things that I "should" be doing. I don't have work tomorrow and so I'll likely still be up well past midnight, I won't wake until 10 or later. Then I'll spend most of my day doing nothing constructive until I head to another writing meetup before gaming in the evening. At which it's almost certain my mood will jump again due to the presence of gamers and hopefully a baby.

Musings on relationships

2012-Aug-11, Saturday 08:49 pm
avron: (door)

In some respects taking any heed of what I write here could be akin to listening to the advice of a colour-blind individual about how to decorate. While they could easily know enough to get by there's going to be details that they just can't see.

In the past few years I've seen many friends get married, and there's now 6 weeks until I will have attended yet another friend's marriage. Unfortunately, I've also seen a few relationships that seemed solid fall apart.

I never found myself in the common teenage romance; unsurprising when I was geeky and almost completely disinclined to talk, even to my friends. Once I left school I spent three years in a course where there was, at most, four women out of at least 50 students. If not for the fact I was attending the course because my cousin was I'd likely have spent close to half the first year not interacting with anyone in a significant manner. As such, while there were other women around (friends of friends mainly), I wouldn't have managed anything more than friendship with any of them, even had I wanted to. In the year and a half between finishing at Tech and moving to this side of the city I didn't really spend any time with anyone, apart from the need to go buy food I basically left the bedsit to get books to read. For a short while there I had developed a friendship of sorts with a young woman that also liked some of the same TV as I did, mistaking her attitude at one point for interest, only to be told she was a lesbian when I questioned her.
When I went flatting in 2003 I started socialising due to my sister, and to a lesser extent one of my other flatmates. Early on that was mainly R18, the young adult group from RBC, the first meeting of which I attended also happened to be an evening where I was for some reason believing that one of the women was talking to me for a reason other than an attempt to get to know the new guy. Later on I got involved in a Shadowrun game and started socialising with some of them and their friends away from the game. R18 quickly branched into actually going to RBC, which also led to evening services at SBC for a little over a year.
My last year at that flat saw the biggest change I expect I'll experience in the realm of relationships. I'd been out gaming, came home and found someone I didn't know in the lounge with my flatmates. After about 30 minutes she had come the conclusion I should be dating her flatmate. A couple of weeks went by before I met the flatmate in question and I was attracted from the beginning. With her in a long distance relationship and a single mother however I decided there wasn't any point in thinking about anything more than friendship. A few months later she'd ended that relationship, we'd spent a lot more time together (including me spending time with her daughter), and I was wondering if there might be something develop. It took until a night we were watching a movie together, sharing a blanket because her home was cold, and she made the move to hold my hand.
Obviously things didn't work out between us (for a variety of reasons), and I've no doubt that it's made me more reluctant to initiate anything with any of the few women I've known in the years since that I otherwise might have. (Not that I was ever going to be asking a lot of women out.)
Of those women I have found myself attracted to over the years I have yet to find any real common factors, besides a lack of prominent tattoos/piercings and her not using offensive language. There's been a redhead, a blonde and a couple of brunettes without even working to remember all the short term attractions; one of the woman is about half a head taller than me and another is about that much shorter; body shape has varied from skinny to overweight; age has been a couple of years older to a few years younger.

When considering the possibilities it's been easy for me to think of things that would cause issues though. I've never been keen on travel, most of the women I know are (or at least I perceive them to be). I expect few women would be keen on dating a guy that's so comfortable living at subsistence level. Communication is something I've never been good with, even compared to other guys it seems, so I don't think it's just stereotypical male reticence. The only time in my life I thought being a father might be wise (or even simply not unwise) was during the relationship mentioned earlier, now I'm sure that I'm much better off as the "weird uncle" sort of figure to the children of my friends.
There's a couple of good things in how I expect I'm perceived; the frequent identification of me as "a nice guy" and the fact I'm good with children. I doubt there's a lot else.

Yet again, this deviated from where I was thinking it was going to go. I could end up writing more of these posts. Especially if I keep getting short breaks at work because of machine stoppages.

Musings on Trust

2012-Aug-05, Sunday 09:49 pm
avron: (Survive)
Trust is something that typically takes a long time to develop, and yet it can be destroyed with a single action.
I am fortunate in that there is no-one in my life right now, personally/professionally/otherwise, that has damaged my trust in them. I hope the reverse is also true, and if not I'd like to know what I did. I do realise that some people that were in my life likely feel I damaged the trust they had in me and I'm sorry for that but I think I've learnt from those actions.

The reason I started thinking along these lines is a positive though. While I should have been sleeping last Sunday night I started thinking about how many women trust me with their children to some extent. (Fathers' too but that's less specific.)
It's been at least 6 years since I started helping with Children's Church (which I stopped being consistent with last year) and I continue to go help with the youngest children a couple of times a month. In any given week I'm actually more likely to be in one of the rooms minding children during the actual service than I am to be in the main hall listening to that service.
It's been about 3.5 years since I started helping with Mainly Music, and over that time I've barely missed any mornings. I was a little late to a few of them but I'm almost always present. There have been mornings that I've been asked to mind a child while the mother leaves the room for whatever reason. Granted, when I don't have a child of my own it makes some sense to ask me as others present would suddenly have double (or more) children to watch out for.
About a year ago I was asked to help with a slightly more private thing where it felt like I was babysitting the children (2 or 3 of them) but the parents were all in the same house. Without a doubt the most responsible I remember having to be with children up until that point.
At the end of last year, a couple (that I'd known about a year) had a child, that I've seen almost once a week since then. From his second or third week I've spent a reasonable portion of most Monday nights holding him, even feeding him a bowl of something last week after first trying the week before. I think I've spent more time with him than any other child I see a lot of.

That seems like a rambling mass of text with little cohesion. Possibly not all that surprising considering the initial thoughts are almost a week old and I wrote the first draft at work. I may end up writing on something else while I'm at work tomorrow, writing is a lot easier to do in the small breaks at the machines than book reading is. With few of the magazines we deal with now being of any interest to me it's unlikely I'll find anything else to read.

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