Singled Out

March 14, 2009

Singled Out – Bella DePaulo

This book so far has been nothing but a spewing-forth of unreliable evidence, over-exaggerated to the extent of not just inducing boredom but annoyance. Generally it’s clear that single people seem to have less rights than married people, no tax breaks, etc, but to fill a whole chapter with the ripping apart of a book in a careless and neither witty nor constructive way isn’t good reading.

I can see this book being for bitter, cynical singles who want to affirm their hatred of couples without actually delving in and looking at life and how they want to live theirs. The author comes across as bitter and angry, not ‘elegant’ or ‘witty’ as E. Kay Trimberger of The New Single Woman claims. In fact, I think it says a lot that the back cover has a snippet from The New Single Woman and not something more prestigious. Why not even have a quote from something a little less sexist like Single People (if such a thing even exists?). The book does have a quote from The Christian Science Magazine which makes one wonder how stretched they were to find quotes.

The book claims to debunk all the myths about marriage and being single and yet I haven’t seen one myth about single or married people be debunked. I’ve seen them be refuted, argued against, bitterly slammed, but certainly no kind of constructive debunking has occured. The first chapter is given to a detailed analysis of a study done called “The case of marriage: why married people are happier, healthier and better of financially” by Waite and Gallagher. They claim that married people live longer, are happier and, obviously, are better off financially than single people. The author’s opinion of the report can be summed up in one sentence: “The report was done using bad analysis and didn’t take into account the fact that Widowers and divorcees were also married at one point”. This for the most part is true. The report is based on bad statistics which completely ignore the fact that widowers and divercees were once married. Yet a whole chapter is taken up with what appears to be a vile vengeance against anything that might support people who are married. The very next chapter, after slating the report because it used bad statistics, comes up with some equally vague and mind-blowingly bad statistics on single people, percentages thereof being happy, sad, etc. All the while completely missing the point that the greater percentage is married/coupled and that there will be a percentage of singles who want to be married because they do feel alone.

The book should be given the catch-line “You’re single, you’re going to be miserable, these are the reasons why, deal with it.” And as you can probably see, it makes me quite angry reading it.

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It’s your seat. No, I insist.

October 9, 2008

Today I have mostly been noticing how people will not sit down in a seat on the tube. Someone will get off at a stop and about 7 or 8 people will eye up the seat but no one will sit down in it. I attribute this to all these people being English or having lived in England far too long. It’s a kind of politeness that isn’t really people being polite, it’s people just not wanting to feel guilty for having taken a seat. It’s the exact opposite of what I’ve described before when people will position themselves really close to seats so they can get them.

You can see these people from a mile off, the ones who huddle around the doors peaking in for a clue as to which would be the most profitable way to run. I can only imagine they’re bankers or go getters, not very bright but with the kind of enthusiasm and determination needed in our cut throat world to get ahead. These are not the people who get guilty for taking a seat that someone else might be better off with. When these guilty ridden people somehow manage to occupy the space besides the seats you get this guilty standoff until either another seat becomes available, at which point both seats will usually become occupied, or, a go getter jumps in and steals the seat leaving all the sheepish commuters a bit annoyed at their lack of haste.


Writing Rules from PickTheBrain

October 1, 2008

I find it very hard to write every day, I have so many things I want to do and I always end up doing something which, at the end of the day, is probably a waste of time. I do spend a lot more time now than I used to reading and learning about various things, but I haven’t learnt French, which I have been meaning to for a good three years now and I’m not the accomplished writer or artist that I wish I was.

It begs the question, why am I not. I read a hell of a lot of Personal Development blogs, or used to, and I get spurts of enthusiasm and fervor towards writing, art, production, and all those things I’d love to be a master at. Yet, I always lose the flow.

At present I’m reading Godel, Bach, Escher, An Eternal Golden Braid, which is very interesting and I’ve already learnt a lot more about music composition than I have in most of my life. I should write about it, even if there is no one but me who would appriciate my interest. I don’t though and opening up my blog reader just now I came across another blog from PickTheBrain, a brilliant blog about Personal Development, on writing. Now, I present this blog and I’m going to try and take it’s words on and keep to what I say.

The post titled 12 and a half Writing Rules is just some points about writing, and I’m going to go over them and maybe write a bit about them.

1: If you write every day, you get better at writing every day.
I shall have to write something on here every day, a minimum of 1,000 words, and seeing as how NaNoWriMo is coming up that will help with that. I really feel like getting an eeepc will help with this, and I want an eeepc.

2:If it’s boring to you, it’s boring to your reader.
Generally anything I write about is somethign I find interesting, if I find myself writing something that I think is boring I will just write about how I find it boring, which in itself, for me, is quite interesting.

3: Get a writing routine and stick to it.
This is really hard for me as I generally like to relax when I get home and I have time now and then during the day when I can write out a few hundred words on this or that. It would be ideal to use the time I spend commuting (not very far) to write, which is what the eeepc would be used for. However, I spend this time at the moment reading and I don’t want to give up that time as I’m a very slow reader and having an hour or two a day to read is really essential for me.

I have been planning to have a weekly planner for food, so many it’s time I had a plan for my evenings. This type of scenario always reminds me of the Red Dwarf Episode where one of the characters (Rimmer) has to revise for his exams. He spends a long time creating a revision timetable, but because it takes him so long it doesn’t fit his timescale, so he creates a smaller one for the smaller timescale and ends up not having enough time to revise.

4:Poetry does NOT have to rhyme. Poetry does not NOT have to rhyme.
I think what this means is that you do not have to conform, a story can be short or long, you can write about a graveyard or just one gravestone, but just write. If things don’t quite fit you can always come back to them at a later date and revise them.

5:Resist stereotypes, in real life and in your writing.
It’s this stage where it doesn’t really apply to me at the moment because I write so little, but is now becoming more advise for the future.

6:Writers read. Writers read a lot. Writers read all the time.
With Stephen King suggesting writers should read 6 hours a day, I’m a little put off, I can’t read six hours a day, I just don’t have the concentration or time to. I do, however, read a lot, in comparison to how much I used to read just four years ago (which is none). But I do also read a lot of blogs, which are very relevant to the stuff I would like to be writing about, so I can keep up to date in the fields I find interesting and would like to write about.

7: Make lists of your favorite words and books and places and things.
This is something I should probably do anyway. Quite recently I’ve become very fond of writing lists and just scratchign out random stuff about where I am and what I’m doing. I try and keep a notebook with me at all times so I can scrawl down something if I htink of it. This would also boost my vocab, which, no doubt, if you have read any of the other articles, is sparce, at best.

8:There doesn.t always have to be a moral to the story.
Something I probably have a problem with, reading too much into everything, as I do, I feel that every story should have undertones, and thought put into it, but, as the point says, sometimes, a story is just a story. (I also need to work on my grammar).

9:Always bring your notebook. Always bring a spare pen.
See previous.
I am however, looking for a certain type of notebook that doens’t get sold here in the UK, I will make a post about it at some point because I would very much like to find a reseller here in the UK.

10:Go for walks. Dance. Pull weeds. Do the dishes. Write about it.
I do all (apart from the weeds and walks) but I don’t write about it, which is what I hope to achieve here and on my other journal. Famous last words my internal dialog says.

11:Don.t settle on just one style. Try something new!
This I will take on board and do during my further writing.

12:Learn to tell both sides of the story
Same as 11.

1/2:Stop looking at this poster. Write something!
Well, I’ve been writing, so I guess I pass here.

Well, I hope that was as enjoyable for you to read as it was for me to write, now, I better get back to work so I can write for leasure and not work.