Tag Archives: Adult

Are we just getting too old?

It’s always a question people seem to ask as they get older… am I losing track of the culture? Do I no longer understand those young folks? Holly and I had that question with a couple of videos recently from the React Channel.

We didn’t really know much of the slang… we didn’t know the songs… man, are we just out of touch? Has it finally happened? I mean for one thing, the Internet does a good job of keeping us all connected to the culture. Especially the slang. Although the Internet has made it even easier to cut out the radio completely… so where would I run into music I’m not interested in?

The other thing that I wonder about… when I was younger, would I have known these things? And I feel like maybe the answer is no. The music isn’t my genre, and I think I’m more into movie quotes than slang… So maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s just a couple of videos like this in a week’s time.

Maybe they were going with more obscure things to see what happened on the video?…

Yeah, probably not that.

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Lessons from Crazy-Ex-Girlfriend

Episodes 4 and 5 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend have a bunch of tidbits of wisdom, points for reflection, and lessons to be learned.

  • Bonkerballs isn’t actually in the DSM-5 yet, no matter how much we may all agree that it should be a legitimate diagnosis.
  • Tinder is exclusively for hookups (to be fair, a number of shows have informed me of this). Meeting someone through it can lead to a hookup, or to having your kidney harvested.
  • The power of a twirley skirt should not be underestimated.
  • Pay attention to commercials, maybe they will provide you with good advice… Or, you know… not.
  • If you decide to start making healthy choices, perhaps starting that with staying up all night is not the correct way to go about that. Also, there is something beautifully resonating in the statement, “I got this treadmill desk, and then realized I can’t do work on it, and I hate walking.”  Sure, maybe we haven’t all made a $2,000 mistake like that but… I am sure many of us have made a lesser cost mistake of a similar type.
  • You may not ever actually feel like an adult. And trying to be an adult often ends up in strange conversations. At least, for some of us….
  • Being intelligent doesn’t mean you know anything about life.
  • There is always something powerful about someone you admire saying that they think you’re cool.
  • It’s just as hard to ignore when someone you care about says something negative about you.
  • Talking (and especially singing) about a Father’s love for their daughter can be very challenging.
  • Good deeds, done for bragging rights, may merit some deeper investigation – are you really doing something good?
  • You can say a lot without saying a thing.
  • Knowing the things that are broken about ourselves, and honestly acknowledging them can help to make a small step in the direction of repairing it.

Though the tone of the show doesn’t change much at all in these episodes, slowly there are more and more insightful things shinning through.  Perhaps it’s because the writers, and actors, are all getting a feel for the characters and so are able to really explore with them, or maybe it’s a planned arc with Rebecca’s changing mental state….

 

How to Build A Fictional Education System

Few things say as much to me about a culture as its education system. What a society values, it teaches to its young, and that means its values are at the core of any system designed to teach and enculturate children.

Education is a big issue right now. People are drowning in student debt, but many of them are unable to get jobs in the fields that they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire qualifications in.  We’re wrestling with questions about what education is for, what constitutes a good one, and how much it should cost.  Eventually, questions like that will (or should) filter into our speculative fiction.

There are lots of middle grade and YA books where schools function as a setting element.  Harry Potter, Vampire Academy, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid come to mind. In those stories, if education is relevant at all, it’s a catalyst for adventure or an obstacle that the characters have to deal with while trying to get what they want.  So the education systems are familiar: residential English school, American-style public school. They’re a backdrop, or a motif, not a problem in themselves.

Adult lit doesn’t spend much time on education at all, unless we’re dealing with some kind of magical initiation and training. In those cases, again, the method and problems associated with the educational system are usually not discussed beyond the protagonist whining or complaining about the hardass mentor. I’m betting we’ll see a shift in the next 10 to 15 years because more and more people are returning to school later in life, and we have increasing numbers of college grads who can’t get the jobs they want.

Check out The Foxes of Synn by Rose B. Fischer

I’m also betting on this because, in the past five years, I’ve had two long-term, large-scale spec fic projects up-end themselves and decide that they were suddenly going to start making a HUGE DEAL about how the education systems in their societies are broken, holding people back, and need to change.  Well, I’m not a political writer, and I’m not a psychic, but I do pay attention to social movements, and I listen to what is important to people.  I didn’t plan to write about education, but I figure if both of my story worlds have decided that education needs to be written about, I’m gonna go with it.

So, when I realized this was happening in my work, I took a step back and started asking myself some hard questions. What is the purpose of education? David’s tackled that here in a Feminist Friday Post and here in an analysis of education in Naruto. What does the ideal education system look like? Who should have access to education, and who should pay for it? Is education really the social equalizer? The more questions I asked, the more I didn’t have good answers – and I still don’t, but that’s okay with me because I never want to preach to my audience.  I want to pose questions and let my readers make up their own minds.

I decided to get more purposeful about the education systems in my universes, though, and to that end, I came up with a list of “ideal education system criteria.”

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Thoughts on Seconds

Seconds CoverSo, yesterday I started and finished reading Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley. First off I highly recommend it if you have not read it because it is so good. I love Katie as a character and think that they use a very creative premise to essentially show what it means to grow up.

The basic idea is basically that Katie discovers a way to have a do-over on moments in her life. She keeps getting second chances on what happened, but as she moves further back through her life things begin to get a little strange. One of the big ideas presented in this is trying to make your life perfect, but what does that really mean or even look like? Also, if you could create a perfect life would you even recognize who you are in that new world if the moments that define who you are had not happened? (Spoilers for Seconds after the jump.)

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Weekend Coffee Share – New Car Smell Edition

weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d lament the fact that we were having coffee in my new car. I’m totally going to spill.

For many, I suppose a new car would be a cause for joy. I’m sure we’ll get there, too. But for most, I’m sure that they spent time looking, thinking, saving money, planning, and mentally preparing.

We did all that in under 24 hours this week.

We took my car into the shop for its 90,000 mile service this week. Apparently a good thing, because they found oh so much wrong with it. With the different service amounts added up, and the question to me to proceed… I said let me call you back.

The first consult was over to Kelley Blue Book, where I found that their higher end estimates on what I could get for my car were really close to the number I was just given over the phone. Certainly within $100.

So Holly and I talked. We talked to family. We called a friend who works at the dealership for advice (it’s a small town).

Because putting the value of the car into it for service just felt like a bad idea. But putting off service, when driving around the Geek Baby, seemed like a worse idea. Going without a car when one of us is taking care of the Geek Baby and one of us is at work just didn’t seem like a good long term plan. If we lived somewhere with really good public transportation then considering going without a car wouldn’t be such a burden.

We knew we couldn’t afford a down payment (yay unpaid parental leave… grumble grumble John Oliver grumble) but family was supportive there. We had made a plan, a budget, for this year, so that we could take leave. And unexpected costs keep showing up – and this one takes the cake (hopefully…)

We weren’t sure if we could make loan payments then either – we’re still paying on a car loan for Holly’s car, which we saved and planned to buy for maybe a year or more. The same sort of planning we wanted to do to buy me a newer car, say in a couple years… We also each have sizable student loans, to go with our shiny Masters degrees. Oh, and did I mention the Geek Baby?

So lately we had been thinking of options. Toying with the alternatives for when we’re both back at work. For child care for the Geek Baby. Could we each figure out a week day off, to get more time with her? Reduce our work weeks? Work weekends? One of us stay home completely? Could we?…

All of a sudden we needed to solidify our plans. We were running our finances. Making budgets. Making decisions. All in one night. We decided a number that, with both of us working full time, we could probably afford.

So the next day, with me at work, Holly went in and picked a car and told them the payments we could afford. The math went backwards from there to figure out a down payment to get the payment amount. Oh, and the trade-in on my old car? $1. Yep. It needs a lot of work…

And so, in under 24 hours, I got a new car – sight unseen.

These sorts of decisions are suddenly very different with a baby at home. There are risks I might have been willing to take without her. And even more so, all the costs this year – combined with all the lost income – made this just the worst time for this to happen. It also made us solidify our future plans.

Sorry. The weird thing is that it’s odd to be so thrown off about getting something nice, something new. But neither of us have had a new car before. I didn’t even have a car until I was 23 years old. This is all very new to us, and it’s also kind of this final feeling – I’m an adult. With all the loans and costs and budgeting that goes with it.

Perhaps I’m just lamenting first world problems… I certainly know that I am very lucky to have a really supportive family. But I think much more for us what it meant was a paradigm shift, or paradigm solidification. What we’d had before was a future full of possibilities and options, and we had thoughts as to what that was going to look like. And all of a sudden, it feels like most of the options are off the table.

But anyway, that’s our week. How’re you?

What the heck is this post? It’s a weekend coffee share post! This is a weekly meetup hosted by Diana, over at Part Time Monster. We’re trying this out over here at Comparative Geeks – tell us what you think!