Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

More on Games

7 May 2021

I have mentioned games several times in these posts

I wrote recently of “How to Play Like a Child.

And along with that, an article on “Suppressive Games.”

I don’t know if I’ve made it clear before that this is a subject in Scientology, and as such has some special terminology when referred to that way.

“Game Theory” is also a subject in the social sciences, used in economics and political science in particular, that uses a special mathematics to model how people interact in complex situations. I am not referring to this modeling system here.

“Game” can be used to describe almost any interaction where some goal is involved, and there is some question whether or not the goal can be achieved, because both freedoms and barriers exist in obtaining that goal.

The classic example of a game is a sports game. In sports, the primary barriers to success are provided by the opposing player or team. However, you can play a game alone where all the barriers are either internal or environmental. And more complex games can have multiple players or teams with differing goals and strategies.

Life is a Game

The most basic observation about games is that every living being plays them. One could almost say that the basic purpose of life is to play.

From a more esoteric or spiritual point of view, some explanation like this becomes necessary, as otherwise, one is likely to wonder why we are here and why all this “stuff” we are surrounded with was brought into existence. The only real answer seems to be: To have a game.

Once this fundamental is established, the next question becomes: What are the factors that determine choice of games and skill in play? These are the factors of life. It is not important here to enumerate all of them, but only to observe that people seem to have considerations about which games they can play, which games they want to play, and which games they would rather avoid. And that these considerations don’t always seem to make that much sense.

While it would be obvious why one would shy away from a game that one is physically unable to play or sees as too dangerous, why don’t I like card games? I have no particular rational explanation for my peculiar likes and dislikes regarding games.

Beyond that, some beings, often judged by others to be a little mad, seem to be involved in games that absorb all their attention yet result in no useful outcome. Such as the troubled person who screams arguments at the sky, seeming to be reenacting some dialog or drama that only they are privy to.

An observation and its ramifications

What has been observed about people is that “any game is better than none.” Thus, if one falls out of a game or is pushed out, one will find another one to play. If one’s ability or confidence or courage deteriorate over time – or suddenly – one will simply find or invent some other game where one feels reasonably competent as a player.

Because of these dynamics and this observation, we can find games that seem more or less rational or sane.

One common example looks at what happens in many office situations. In this case, we have been exposed to a TV show which explores this is many ways, some fanciful and humorous, and some more serious.

Ideally, a business or production group would work together, similar to a sports team, to do better than or even defeat other groups or teams. Thus one musical group might attempt to become more popular than some other musical group,. One business might attempt to become more profitable than some other business, or provide a higher quality product for the same price. These are considered “healthy” or “sane” games.

But what if some or all of the group members feel inadequate or defeated in their ability to play? Will they necessarily give up and leave? Sometimes. But they are just as likely to invent less sane games to play within the group. And if the group operates too permissively or with lax ethical standards, such games can become the norm and seen as just a part of life. Like hell they are!

What do the less sane games look like? Gossiping about each other. Trying to tear down the boss instead of supporting them. Goofing off or going slow at work. Striking for higher wages when production levels would not make that affordable. Finding fault with fellow workers out of envy or jealousy or to hide one’s own sloth. Finding reasons why one is not as good at working as others, such as being part of an “oppressed minority” or having a “mental illness.” The bottom line is: Less sane games tend to tear down or weaken fellow team mates. Such games are suicidal for the group, as they threaten its ability to survive. Thus a group that has gone crazy in this way can only “survive” if it is supported on a charity basis, out of proportion to what it is actually producing.

Look at psychiatry for example.

In relationships

I don’t know about you, but I see a relationship between a man and a woman (or other combinations of friends) as a small production group or team who should be working together to create something special that is pro-survival for all concerned.

Besides the most obvious job of working together to raise their children, the married couples I know (including my own parents) worked together to varying degrees, either at a business or similar enterprise where they both actively participated, or by dividing up tasks in order to get more done.

When a couple or family begin to work against each other, either for internal reasons, or as a response to some external influence, their ability to survive as a couple or family decreases and may eventually end in divorce if not worse. The road to ruin often includes apparently unresolvable conflicts, finding fault with each other, suspicions of cheating or other bad activities, addiction, etc. It can include various forms of mental and physical abuse. It can get pretty bad.

The dating game seems to be one in which the two parties are expected to be in conflict. Though this may be the way it’s “supposed to be,” I have never really played this game and it seems strange if not kooky to me. Just because I don’t know a woman well doesn’t mean I want to approach her as if we are doing battle. Thus, I tell them I am looking for people to “do things with.” But most don’t seem to be able to fathom this. It’s is almost as if they are saying, “then, you don’t want to date?” What?

The above discussion, then, was promulgated by my observation of how people seemed to be interacting in this activity or game called “dating.”

I was not prepared for the degree of antagonism and anxiety I have experienced relating to this subject. And my considered opinion is that many if not most of these people require some sort of rehabilitation of their ability to play together before they would really be able to have a healthy relationship again. Two people “in love” means they are working together towards a common goal, doesn’t it? And more broadly, doesn’t mankind need this sort of attitude if we are to survive as a species?

Larry Visits…Placerville

2 May 2021

I always called it “PLAY cer ville” but the bus driver called it “Plaa cer ville.”

It took quite a long time for me to get up there via light rail (to Folsom) and bus.

After climbing a significant incline, the view changed from high-end suburbs to forest.

One of the stops was Red Hawk Casino. It is owned and operated by a group of indigenous Americans. I got a good view of snow-covered mountains in the distance, but did not get any photos of it until later.

Our stop at Red Hawk Casino.

After a very circuitous journey, the bus finally arrived at “downtown” Placerville.

It’s just a short walk from here on a special path into the downtown tourist area. Along the way were great beds of flowers…

The path into town has a lovely little brook running alongside it. At a quiet rest area next to the stream, a somewhat eccentric-looking man was doing some exercises with his shirt off. (I didn’t photograph him.)

Downtown was quaint, a bit quirky, full of elderly folks, but had too much traffic.

Clothing store window and reflection.
Art store window.

By the time I got to the far end of Main Street, I was getting really hungry. I bought a bagel at this coffee shop…

… and ate it at the bench in this photo.

I walked back under this lovely rose bush.

And arrived at a quaint restaurant to meet my host for the afternoon.

Sweetie Pies

After a light lunch (nice Cobb Salad) and a long talk, my host drove me back to Red Hawk Casino to get a panoramic view of the area. We were able to just drive into the parking structure and climb up the steps at the far end…

… we weren’t really supposed to be up there. There was some technical equipment on the top landing…

Look at the snow-capped peaks in the distance! I was so thrilled to see the mountains!

She helped me get a closer shot, as she thought her camera might have better resolution than mine.

Sierra Nevada on the horizon.

My spiritual challenge for the day

The trip home was uneventful until the light rail reached Rancho Cordova.

A pair of rather young but quite fully-formed women boarded and sat in the back of my car. I was facing them. One was very attentive to those around her. The other seemed more self-absorbed, or fiddling with her phone.

The first woman noticed that the bike rider across from her was reading a graphic novel, and asked him in a loud voice what it was. He showed her, but did not really respond to her expressed interest. Then another bike rider got on. These were both young guys in fairly good shape. She started up a conversation with him, but it didn’t seem to go anywhere.

As we got closer to Sac, she finally noticed that I was observing her and her companion. She waved at me and asked me if I was a “spy!” I nodded in an exaggerated way (I don’t mind playing with people on the train). Her companion then walked over to me, sat in the seat right in front of me, asked me my name, then introduced herself as “Lay” and asked me, “Should I have your phone number?” I replied: Probably not, that I would be more trouble than I was worth. Then they both got up and left the train at 29th Street.

Had I met a call girl? If so, this would be the first time in my 66 years that one had approached me, and so brazenly! A true brush with temptation!

I still have many lessons to learn about making friends with women and how those relationships tend to work. I have talked with several now, all different types.

One pattern is emerging: They don’t like to show you all the cards they are holding. Is life really like a game of poker? I hope not! I never learned how to play that game!

Thoughts on senior dating

10 March 2021

As my readers may or may not be aware, starting mid-January I have been using several dating sites in an attempt to find some women who would be willing to share some of their time with me.

This is basically the first time in my life that I have attempted anything like this. I am finding it very instructional.

About 1/3 of the U.S. population are single adults. There might be about 1/4 of these caused by divorce and 1/8 of these caused by death of spouse. There are also increasing numbers adopting single living as a way of life.

What I see on the dating sites are mostly a mix of divorced and widowed women. There are a few older women who never married, and when I run across them, I sometimes ask them for their story. My own story may be pieced together from other posts on this blog.

What this means is that a significant number of women I am meeting on line have men in their lives that they used to be married to. They might even be sharing their kids with the guy, to give the kids a chance to spend some time with both their biological parents. I walk into these lives with a combination of no experience with marriage plus my Scientology training, and whether I “fall in love” with her or not, my first impulse is often to see if I can solve or patch up the divorce.

My Scientology training includes what LRH calls the Third Party Law. There is a link to this on my “Shorts” page.

This law states that for a conflict to persist, a third party must be present and actually promoting it.

I get to know some of these women, and find evidence for the existence of third parties in their lives who might have contributed to the breakup of their marriage.

In a situation like that, what’s the ethical thing to do? “Take advantage” of the situation and try to step in as their new boyfriend? Or step back and see if I can help them sort things out and patch the marriage back together?

Either way, with my training I realize that a lot of these broken marriages are being caused by poor decisions fed by bad data on the subject of human relations. Scientology is all about human relations. Most people would benefit from studying it.

The bigger picture

Many commentators and observers, including Hubbard, believe that human culture is under attack in order to weaken it prior to a political takeover. These attacks would certainly include attacks on the traditional family structure.

There is considerable difference of opinion about exactly which social movements or trends are part of this attack:

  1. Feminism/birth control/abortions. Most liberals think that giving women a place in society more on a par with men is a good thing. This has, however, led to breakdowns in traditional child raising structures and moral questions concerning promiscuity and unwanted pregnancies.
  2. Gender issues. “Gender” has come to be defined as one’s attitude about one’s sexual identity. “Sex” now means biological forms and structures. In the absence of any concept of Spirit, I think allowing kids to choose a different gender from their sex is confusing and dangerous for everyone involved. There could be spiritual realities behind such a choice, but if this is not known and explored, it leads the kids to think that they are just the effect of their genes.
  3. Demasculinization of men. There are studies that point to various factors that are decreasing male testosterone levels. This has to do mostly with various man-made substances introduced into our environment. Some think this was done on purpose as part of this cultural attack. It seems to be resulting in more gender confusion and lower sperm counts among men. There are also increasing complaints of erectile dysfunction.
  4. Legal frameworks that tend to “reward” single mothers. These laws have led to an interesting “male rights” movement. They involve various biases or favoritism regarding who gets custody, who owes child support, and how welfare payments are handled.
  5. Psychoactive and other medications. There are many medications which create emotional side effects like irritability, depression, or even violence. These effects could definitely harm a marriage, and are pernicious because they are often assigned to other causes.
  6. Attacks on religion. Religions have been the traditional custodians of family values. If this and other benefits of religious communities are overlooked by the secularists, then their push against churches could lead to extensive cultural decay.

Brave new world

Some believe that a techno-space dystopia is inevitable on Earth. This could come to pass.

But it has been noted by researchers like Hubbard that we on Earth are particularly averse to corporate slavery. That is why we are here on Earth and no longer driving space ships around the galaxy. We didn’t agree with the worlds we were kicked out of; why should we be any different now?

In fact, the population seems nearly evenly split. A huge number seem fine with corporate slavery and the “safety” that results, and the rest despise it to varying degrees.

But I think it is safe to say that the corporate bosses will not leave us alone about this. They are too profit-motivated to let an entire planet of 7 billion people do as it pleases. So it looks like we have a fight on our hands.

May your relationships stay strong and your love powerful! We’re going to need it.

Endless Yearning

3 March 2021

Endless my yearning
To be with you in Ch’ang-an.


Faraway, where chirping crickets
thread autumn songs
around the well’s gold rail,
coldly I sit, cramped
on a bamboo mat
crusted with blue frost.

Dim is the light from my only lamp,
darkly ablaze my longing for you.
Lifting the curtain, I stare

hard at the moon.
Helplessly, I sigh and sigh, longing
to smell the flower-scent of a woman
who dwells far from me
as the remotest cloud at sky’s end.

Above, the night climbs
into boundless black.
Below, the river tosses up
billows of darkest green.

Must heaven be so high?
Earth so vast?

Between them, my unfed soul
flies over a road that even in my dreams
is blocked at every mountain pass.

This endless yearning
Breaks my heart!

Li Bai, about 750 A.D. as translated by Stanton Hager in 2018

Seven Daffodils

2 March 2021

Seven golden daffodils, shining in the sun
They light our way to evening, when the day is done
And I can give you music, and a crust of bread
A pillow of piney boughs to rest your head

Limeliters

I Visit My Hometown

26 February 2021

In recent weeks I have made a couple of visits to the Bay Area. They involved multiple facets of experience. Though I live with them all jumbled together (as we all do) I will try here to separate them out a bit.

The trip

Not too long ago, I discovered a commuter bus that makes a few trips each weekday all the way from Sacramento (Amtrak station) to the Pleasant Hill BART station. Connecting to BART then gives me access to a huge region (commonly known as the Bay Area).

Senior fare on the bus is only $2.50. I have taken the early morning bus both times. On the first I was the only passenger out of Sacramento and on the second I was one of two. It picks up a few more at subsequent stops. Coming back around 2:45 in the afternoon, there are usually six or eight. Most of them get off at Fairfield or Vacaville.

At the Pleasant Hill BART station.

The trip takes about 2 hours. It is pleasant, usually. I use the time to read the latest book by Dena Merriam. I have promised her to write a review when I am finished!

A new friend

I have met a woman who lives in Pittsburg. She wanted to meet me in person but can’t drive. So I decided to see how practical it would be to visit her. The entire travel time round trip from my house to her house is about 6 hours. So this is a bit rough for a single-day meeting, but more workable if I can stay overnight.

Parking lot at the Bay Point station where she lives.

My past

I have a lot of emotional attachment to my home town. It is the only place where I have made friendships with girls or women that ever amounted to anything. I feel more “at home” there. Go figure!

Last Friday I visited the place of my birth, 2120 Spaulding. I was surprised to find it under renovation!

A lot of buildings in this area of Berkeley are being preserved, while others have been knocked down and replaced with new construction, often apartments. I found an impression on a sidewalk in the area dated 1922. So many buildings in this area are about 100 years old now.

Fresher in my mind is the time I spent as a boy in the Berkeley Hills. These hills are a prominent visual feature of this area. When I first saw them on the BART before it went underground to go through Berkeley, I cried.

I returned to Berkeley in 1976 and lived there for about 5 years. The BART was running then, and I used it a lot. On this visit, I retraced my steps along the streets I knew so well back then, and thought a bit of the people I used to know.

Skylight in the North Berkeley BART.

I used to shop at the Co-op supermarket. It has now been transformed into a little urban Target…

Next door was the Co-op Credit Union. Now it is a Mexican restaurant where I enjoyed an early lunch of tacos and horchata. I had to eat them outside, but the weather was very nice.

I used to live in an apartment building at 1951 Chestnut. It, too, has been renovated.

I was on the third floor, this side, and had a very nice view of the city. Across the street was a “quadruplex” (four apartments in one building). A memorable event in my early adult Berkeley life was when a new woman moved into the upper right apartment and walked through her new abode clothesless, apparently unaware that she could be seen from my building!

Across the street from my building was the Finnish Hall, and next to it was a house that included a rear separated apartment, not uncommon in these neighborhoods.

This is where my friend Lenora Warkentin (an accomplished flutist) lived. My second girlfriend also played the flute, as have several other girls or women who I have found attractive over the years!

The gardens of Berkeley are know for their exuberant messiness and colors. This is a perfect time of year to catch many flowers blooming. I also saw several hummingbirds.

Eucalyptus flowers.

On this trip I visited Orinda. As children, on our drives through the tunnel to visit the Piersons in Walnut Creek (now Lafayette) we passed by Orinda probably hundreds of times, but never stopped there.

It has a touristy feel to it, yet most people there this day seemed to be locals. The “theater” actually functions as a food court. It is very cute.

I stopped by a Peet’s Coffee to get a sweet snack, and found this display in their store.

“My parents had a Chemex!” I told the barista. He was surprised, and didn’t know the design was that old. It is in fact older than I am, having been invented in 1941.

COVID

The COVID scare hangs over our planet like a dark storm cloud. It seems so out of place in the sunny springtime of my hometown! The population of the planet were set up for this, and most have fallen for the mainstream story hook, line and sinker.

Here a young mom helps her little one play in the park, wearing a mask! This is so unnecessary it almost makes me sick.

Most people in the Bay Area wear masks everywhere. I even saw a young lady out running in a mask! There are signs everywhere stating that this is our civic duty. It reminds me of a notable episode of The Prisoner (TV show) where the hero was being pressured to conform to meaningless “community standards.” Those writers knew what this was all about! They had probably read 1984 (even if I haven’t)!

I have to keep my mask on while on public transportation, so that meant hours wearing the terrible thing while riding the bus and BART. Cruel and unusual punishment.

Expanding slowly into a “new” future

The BART trains are some of the most futuristic transit vehicles I have seen in any western city. Every door is bent to fit the contour of the car, an enormous engineering complication that the Sacramento light rail does not share.

BART has been running long trains every half hour. Sacramento has been running short trains every 15 minutes. I prefer the Sacramento approach. I have not been on BART during rush hour, but it used to be VERY crowded at those times of day.

I am not familiar with BART’s setup, but all these public transit systems are heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars, and so have the income to employ drivers, mechanics, etc., even though there are practically no riders. This is a very strange situation for me to watch, since it makes so little sense economically, yet I rely on these systems to get around.

Such systems are part of the “new normal” of corporate hegemony on Earth. They (including our governments, which after all are corporations, too, and operate on a similar pattern) invest in what they want to invest in to suit their corporate plans. The population is persuaded to follow along. Like lambs to the slaughter.

More and more land and housing is in corporate hands. My friend lives in relatively new “apartment homes” like those in the photo below. Such large developments are all over the Bay Area.

Spirit sighs

Dena Merriam’s latest book covers four different lifetimes of a woman seeking high spiritual awareness. I am only half way through it.

The first lifetime happens in Vedic India, 900 years BC. Dena is a member of a wild jungle clan that retreats to an urban area in the face of invaders. There she meets a Brahmin who she falls in love with but cannot marry due to his vows of celibacy.

Later she finds herself in China in the 700s, a woman friend of famous Tang poet Li Bai. Li seems to be the reincarnation of the Brahmin she knew 1600 years earlier. In this life she learns all about the Dao. The book then traces her earlier experiences in China.

These stories speak to me! They speak of great longing, great sadness, and great love for self, for another, for children and parents, for community, mankind and the natural world. I have shared bits of these stories with my best friend. She is touched by them, but also confused. Most of us had no idea that our experience could be so vast and varied! I consider this awareness key to solving our problems here on Earth. If the enemies of Spirit can keep this awareness from growing sufficiently here, they will win and have us as their slaves. Although many of us would rebel and move on, it seems clear that large numbers are fully prepared for this “new” form of slavery and are completely willing to embrace it.

And so I sigh!

Reflections off a new building cast a pattern on a neighboring wall.

Pairing Up

17 February 2021

In recent weeks I have been devoting considerable amounts of my time to corresponding online (or by phone chat – same difference) with a variety of women (I hope they’re all women!) in the search for companionship in the face of an enforced loneliness.

On Silver Singles I have met a woman from South Sacramento who hopes to wrap up her regular work in a few more years and buy her own condo. She has actually met with me, but wore a mask the whole time!

I met a woman from Richmond who encouraged me to publish my own book.

I met a woman who thanked me for being honest about the fact that I am a Scientologist, which disqualified me from her list of possibilities.

I met a woman who didn’t want to meet outside because it’s too cold.

On eHarmony I met a Christian woman who finally figured out that I wasn’t a Christian.

I met a hairdresser and artist in Portland who enjoyed reading my blog but wants to stay put so will continue to look for a match closer to home.

And I met a lady who works in HR for UC-Berkeley who enjoys talking with me and really would like to meet, but (like myself) doesn’t drive and is in fact a bit reluctant to go out.

On Age Match I met a young black woman who was born in London but is currently staying with her family in Ghana. She enjoyed reading my blog and directed me to her blog, but we have a hard time staying connected because of the time difference.

I have met several young and middle-aged woman who seem to long for a lasting relationship to replace a previous one that ended poorly. A few of these have become very devoted to us meeting, and call me “honey” or “babe.” But several of them have asked me for money for various reasons, or requested assistance for financial transactions. And others act offended when I tell them that I continue to chat with other women.

I met a woman from Fresno who just likes to get with men for a little sexual fun and has no real need for marriage but is quite willing to speak quite frankly about her sexuality.

I met anther young woman who seems to be stuck in North Carolina caring for her grandmother, surrounded by men who only notice her for her youth and full figure, is financially challenged and just wants to find a way out of her current situation.

Beauty and the beast, a story of the magic in love.

Meeting strangers on the internet

This age of social media has nurtured a culture of online “con artists” who seek to make a living off the gullibility of others.

The basic con follows an age-old pattern: Pretend you are someone you aren’t. Convince the target (“mark” or “stooge”) that you need their help or are offering something of value, obtain money or goods from them, then disappear.

The internet has only made this easier and easier to do.

Thus, the first question most of us have when we meet a stranger online is: Are they who they say they are?

The Profile

All social media accounts include a profile, often including one or more profile pictures. This is where most of us start in our efforts to ascertain if this person is real.

A skimpy, shoddy, brush off or otherwise odd profile is the first sign of an attempt to deceive. The scammer can steal photos and life data from other accounts, or totally steal the account of a real person. The sloppiest profiles remain fairly obvious. An odd name, an age that doesn’t match the face, an obscure location, just a few posts, all made on the same day. A bunch of friends with African names. These are the “hallmarks” of a scammer.

The profiles that seemed more unique, individualistic, and expressive are signs of genuine people.

Language

The next give-away is poor English.

Some scammers seek to explain their poor language skills by claiming they are French, German or Spanish. While this is always a possibility, they are often posing as someone who you would expect to be well-educated, so this excuse can often seem dubious.

They may also ask you questions that make it obvious they did not bother to study your profile.

Projection

Criminals often project without realizing it.

Most criminals lie or act deceptively and are not trustworthy.

They will often claim to you that they have been lied to or mistreated, and that they are not sure they can trust you. They may seek to obtain useful information from you with the excuse that they are doing it to build trust.

They will express fear or suspiciousness at things you do that you consider normal, like the fact that you are not devoting all of your time to them, or in your attempts to verify who they really are.

They may be unwilling to share pictures of the room they live in, or tell you much about their personal lives.

They will probably try to impress you with alluring pictures rather than genuine facts.

They will not be able to refer you to more data about them elsewhere online.

The real need for intimacy

Real people, bless their souls, are quite often willing to share intimate details about their lives online if they trust you to respond with understanding and kindness.

I have learned some truly amazing things from the women I have met online. And so, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, even with the trouble caused by scammers.

Whether I ever meet these girls or not, I like to think that they consider the chance to share some of their life with another person as a valuable experience for them, and I try to make their conversations with me enjoyable and sweet, even educative if they seem open to that.

I mention Scientology to all of my online contacts, and a few of them seem genuinely interested.

On top of that, I have met a few people during this process that I knew earlier in my life and who I was very happy to reconnect with. Some of them say they remember me or that I meant something to them, even though they did not express that back then. And I often have a similar sentiment.

We all have past loves, now lost, and these connections often give us a chance to tell someone those stories. Those of us who are up to the challenge understand the value of this sharing and welcome it. It is only the scammers who may react with shock or jealousy, or the insistence that we put all that behind us.

A clear lesson I have learned is that we bring all our prior loved ones forward with us. We can see them merely as lost opportunities, or we can see them as part of a growing family of spiritual connections that is there to nurture us and keep us strong as we make our ways through life.

Every friendship, no matter how brief, has value. Intimacy with another is almost always worth seeking and is at the core of what we sometimes call “brotherly love.” Don’t shy from it!

A teenage couple cuddle on the train.

Damsels in Distress

8 February 2021

Excessive isolation due to government reactions to COVID led me recently to seek out new friends online.

On the suggestion of a real offline friend, I decided to look into online dating sites.

I have been actively online now for over ten years. My involvement in various legitimate websites has resulting in a small number of friendly connections online. But these were not local friends. In the hope that I could make more friends locally, I subscribed to a couple of dating sites. This is my initial report on that experience. I may expand on it later, or continue the story in future articles.

Friendship and criminality

A classic strategy of the socially unwell (learn more about them here) is to “make friends” with someone, and then use the natural need and desire of the target person for interaction to “mine” them for physical and emotional resources that the highly troubled person finds difficult or impossible to create themselves.

Thus, a website dedicated to starting new friendships would be a perfect target for criminal activity.

Criminals would pose as, say, women who – buffeted by the challenges of living – have come to a place where they are both emotionally and financially needy. Using, perhaps, alluring photographs of pretty young women, criminals would sucker men seeking friendship into sharing data that could be used to compromise them socially or professionally. Then they would be asked for money. And if they refused, they would be threatened with the release of the personal data they shared with the “woman” in their search for intimacy.

In one such scam on Facebook, I got a young African man to admit that he was posing falsely as a pretty American girl. He then sent me a picture of himself, and proceeded to ask for financial help! This, then, could be a case of a double-layered scam, where the scammer has a second backup identity. Or this scammer might simply have been inexperienced in his “art.”

But from this experience we can see that the real person behind the online identity might be totally different than what they appear to be.

Is honest online dating possible?

Say you were an honest businessperson hoping to earn a living by providing an online dating service. Could you design one that would discourage or eliminate a takeover from criminals seeking to take advantage of lonely people?

Criminals seek avenues of less resistance. If it is quick and easy to set up an account on a website, they will try that first to see how it works. If it is too time-consuming to set up an account, they may never even try to get on that site.

eHarmony

eHarmony is an old and rather successful dating service. It was designed by a psychologist to “match” people based on answers to a personality questionnaire. If you want to interact freely with others on the site (see their photos, send messages) you must pay a subscription fee for at least a month.

I have no particular opinion about the validity of matching people based on a personality test. But what this test does do is make it much more difficult and time-consuming to create an account. I believe the popularity of this service is mainly due to the fact that the long set of questions discourages most criminals from setting up accounts.

Though eHarmony started as an American company, it is currently owned and operated by a German firm.

I use a service, Silver Singles, based on this same principle. It is owned by another German company. This company operates several dating sites that all require answering many personality questions to start an account. This results in a site populated by almost all very real people.

Age Match

As I like younger people and am perfectly willing to associate or get romantic with younger women, I wanted to try a site that included a larger age range of participants.

Age Match was mentioned in reviews as one such site, so I tried it, buying a month’s subscription.

However, this site is very easy to get onto. There is no long questionnaire. You have the option of getting your photo “verified” by submitting a picture ID. But almost no one bothers with this step. I did, but in my time on the site, I only found one woman who did.

I found that virtually every “woman” on this site was basically a scammer to some degree. You can normally tell this in several ways:

  1. Their profile is short and “vanilla” or not at all uniquely personal.
  2. Their photo or photos are all of young attractive women showing off their bodies.
  3. Their initial questions normally ask for data provided in your profile. In other words, they didn’t bother to study your profile before deciding to “like” you.
  4. Their ideas about love and friendship seem trite or simplistic.
  5. They quite normally tell a story or previous betrayal and financial hardship. They act stupid when you mention the fact that such information makes them look less attractive. They ignore or reject suggestions that could help protect them from future transgressions.
  6. They speak (write) in poor or broken English, even if claiming to be well-educated.
  7. They ask for money.

After a couple weeks on this site, I have discontinued using it. My experience with it has been uniformly bad. I figure if anyone there is serious about me, they can visit me via my blog.

The future of human interaction in the internet age

The foundation of all useful human interaction is honesty. If the bum on the street actually makes $1,000 a week, but for some reason prefers to live as a bum on the street, then he is misrepresenting himself in his interactions with people to the detriment of all involved.

And if the misunderstood young woman on the internet turns out to be some dude just cruising for people he can take advantage of, the that pollutes the whole field of human interaction, and should be discouraged or eliminated.

We have always needed ways to tell if people are who they claim to be. On the internet that becomes more important, as the capacity to deceive is also much greater.

We need online methods that encourage, if not guarantee, honesty. And I suggest that they should correlate to how we do it with people in person. This might be accomplished using video chat technology. It should be some sort of system that verifies or communicates the reality of a person to others online. Though I am sure any such system could be gamed, I see very little interest in doing this on online social platforms. This makes me wonder if they weren’t designed from the beginning to be criminal platforms.

Recent events have indicated that criminality is in fact their preferred use, as it is very difficult now to find any mainstream information that is not misleading if not outright untrue.

Our challenge going forward, if we wish to advance our culture, is to reverse this trend towards the criminal misuse of our communication systems.

Lucy, 23 years old

Drips and Other Shapes

31 January 2021

When life begins to get boring or frustrating, I can find interest in odd places.

To wit, a dripping fountain. The flow was turned almost all the way off, but not quite. It was still going, drip, drip, drip, drip. I photographed several of the drips and then used slow motion videos on YouTube to try to piece together what phase of the drip each photo depicts.

In several photos, there were two bike riders going by in the background. But my study of the expected sequence of the drip does not match their progress down the street. I wasn’t paying attention to them at the time, so I’m not sure. It could be these aren’t in the correct order.

Per the videos I watched, the big drip of water hits the surface and creates a “corona.” The water then cavitates, or craters, before shooting a smaller drip (or more than one) back up, which then fall back of course. The process may repeat in an oscillating pattern, the “bouncing” drips getting smaller and smaller with each subsequent cycle of oscillation (called a “damped oscillation” in electronics).

Corona.
Cavity.
Droplet emerges from cavity.
Subsequent smaller droplets.
Central mound as part of oscillations.
Still surface between drips. Or???

Hair

I was fascinated by this young girl’s hair, but the interposing clear partitions made my images somewhat less than magical.

Other forms

Sorry guys, but I am really missing my honey! Shapes like this, of course, catch the eye of almost anyone, young or old. Mother, lover, playmate, athlete. The image of a young and healthy body will endure!

The City Comes Alive!

30 January 2021

It’s Saturday, the weather is OK, and that means Old Sacramento is happening! (<- link to Carousel video)

Classic cars…
Different rides.

Close-ups done on phone – not true zoom.

Minions are big this year.
Weee!