Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Cyclical Nature of Trucking (Problems)

One of the weirdest parts about living on a truck is how often the same problem pops up on different trucks. The truck we are currently inhabiting, we've been living on for 2 weeks (and a night). In that 2 weeks, we've had problems pop up that have needed to be fixed (which is sad, in that 2 weeks isn't a long time, but this truck had nearly half a million miles on it when we moved in).

Today we delivered (Ace did, and I slept apparently soundly.). Then we came by a truck stop to get an oil change done. And have them check out the a/c (it wasn't blowing cold in the front half). And find out what the check engine light on the truck meant. We have a truck with fresh oil, temporarily working a/c for the front, and a trip to a different shop for tomorrow to try to get the rest fixed (including a part that might be messing with the alignment). The check engine light had to do with the exhaust system, which is not something to be ignored.

If this had been the first issues, I'd be less wondering if the owner of the truck finds us annoying. However, we could not have done any of this damage in 2 weeks. I know he knows that, but...

Anyway. Every truck I've lived in has had some problem pop up with the exhaust system. Truck manufacturers have worked hard to make it so that trucks actually not only don't greatly pollute the air, but in fact, will clean it. This has to do with California and it's smog problem. But, I don't think all the bugs are worked out of their systems for cleaning the exhaust.

So, tomorrow will be spent at a Freightliner (a first on type of truck), hoping that we can get back on the road soon with a fixed truck.

I am not holding my breath on it being a quick fix (it hasn't been in the past, but maybe Freightliner is better at this stuff).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Hunger Games

I've watched the first Hunger Games movie, and I started reading the book while visiting a friend a few years ago, but I didn't get to finish reading the book then. I know, generally, what's going to happen.

But it's occurred to me that Suzanne Collins has done a wonderful job of presenting a limited point of view by telling us the story just from Katniss' view point. Katniss does not know what to make of Peeta Mellark. She isn't sure what all he's doing to gain an advantage in the games. She's convinced that he's only being nice/hanging out with her before the games start because he's following orders and trying to get sponsors to like him. She doesn't know what to make of his interview where he says he loves her. She doesn't trust him, understandably, or anything he says or does. Not that I truly think Peeta is lying for most of this, but that she doesn't feel like she can trust anyone, so she doesn't.

And it's so refreshing to not know the whole story. Because in real life, we only know our motives unless someone else actually tells us why they are doing what they are doing. Motives stay fuzzy, and we can't always be sure of why someone is doing something.

Of course, the true story is about a government that forces kids to kill each other for entertainment/punishment. It's about a girl who is willing to sacrifice her life (again) for her family. It's not a warm and fuzzy kind of story. Katniss is sympathetic, but only because the story is told from her point of view. It's oddly easier to feel bad for Rue, who didn't have an older sister volunteer as tribute for her, especially since she reminds Katniss of Prim. Rue, who is 12 and knows she's not likely to survive. Rue, who makes an alliance with Katniss in the arena. Rue, who's death helped start a revolution (Although, why it took until her death to anger enough people to even start to revolt, I will never understand. 73 years of teenagers dying was okay, but that 74th year was too much?).

I can understand why this book was made into a movie. The vivid scenes almost beg to be turned into a visual medium, and not just reliant upon people's imagination. Katniss shooting an arrow into the apple in a hog's mouth, Katniss' descriptions of the capital, the entrances of all the tributes in carriages to introduce them, again, to the audience within the book, the pageantry of the interviews and the clothing that goes with them, these are all scenes that are vividly painted, but seem to be asking to be made into artwork or a movie.

I am in awe of Suzanne Collins' writing. She does an amazing job. And she makes it easy to understand the horror of being pulled into these games, of competing, and of losing a loved one to the games. She takes a horrifying idea, and makes it an entertaining read. That is impressive. And a bit haunting.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I have taken the MBTI test more than once in my life. It usually has been varied on what letters it gives me based on how I'm thinking/feeling that day. Except the I for introverted. I have always been an I, which does not surprise me in the least. I've joked about becoming a hermit, because I am generally good with staying home most of the time. I don't really get cabin fever unless I can't actually go anywhere. The ability to leave keeps me content with not leaving, oddly enough.

This spring (I think), Ace and I took the test. He got ISTJ, but it was fairly inconclusive for the S verses N (It was within a standard deviation of being truly neutral on that.). I got INFJ, which made more and more sense I started researching what was said about INFJ.

INFJ is apparently a very low percentage of the population (2% total, 1% of males, and 2% of females) and is the type most often mistyped because we are somewhat chameleon like in how we test/are perceived. I think it's more because we likely to answer slightly differently based on mood.

And if I stick to more of an explanation based on psychology, I am totally an INFJ. If I start moving toward people's ideas of what an INFJ is, I start feeling like I've been mistyped. But the overall explanations seem more accurate than not, so I'm proclaiming it. I am an INFJ.

All of that is an explanation of the way I blog. INFJ understands feelings from outside themselves, so they understand how they feel when they talk them out (or write them out). This is why my posts probably seem to be a bit of a word salad, thought experience thing. They kind of are. It's my way of organizing my thoughts and feelings and understanding them without bothering Ace about them all. I don't know how he feels about me doing this, but I imagine he appreciates it.

I will admit to having spent some time obsessing over INFJ information. And feeling more and more like I understand some things about myself more than ever. I've felt less broken in general and realized why I feel like I don't really connect with people easily. I've started to understand why so many things seem so personal and risky to share to others, even when I know the risk is small and who cares what someone else thinks?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mr. Darcy and Ms. Bennet

I watched through The Lizzie Bennet Diaries this week. I blew through them videos for the main story in two days, and today (day 3) I watched all of the supporting videos. If you haven't seen them and liked Pride and Prejudice, I suggest you go watch them on YouTube. There are 100 episodes of the Diaries, with 10 Q&A videos, 2 epilogue videos, and 33 videos from Lydia Bennet's point of view. They change a few things from the books (Mr. Collins proposes a business partnership instead of marriage, Mary is the Bennet sister's cousin and Kitty is Lydia's cat, Mr. Bingley becomes Bing Lee and loses a sister), but the changes don't detract from the story. (The biggest change is what happens between Lydia and Wickham. Well, that and Caroline Lee being the one to give Darcy hope instead of his Aunt Catherine.)

And it got me thinking about Mr. Darcy (both the one in the book and the one in the show). He comes across, to Elizabeth, as very proud and stuck-up. Lizzie calls him a robot at one point. And he does have a very old fashioned way of speaking (in the videos, period appropriate for the book). But, as he eventually shows in the videos (once he starts actually being in them), he's more shy and awkward and not quite comfortable with being in the public eye (which is weird, because he's a CEO of a company, someone who would be in the public eye). He does seem to relax around Lizzie and start showing his softer side, even before he thinks he might have a shot with Lizzie after all.

And I realized that most introverts and shy people seem to wear suits of armor to people. Mostly because they don't know what is going on in our heads. We seem distant and unapproving and judgemental, when we are really just listening and thinking and caring. Because talking can often be hard, words can be hard sometimes. And people seem to think quiet people are judging, even when we are mentally checked out.

The problem with trying to pin much of any characteristics to Mr. Darcy, I will admit, comes from the fact that we learn things mostly from Elizabeth Bennet's point of view. And her view is limited, partly by her own pride and partly from her not being present for so much of the backstory of the Darcy family and their dealings with George Wickham. Which is not to say that the book Elizabeth is an unreliable narrator (nor the video Lizzie), but that we only learn things as she learns them. We don't know what Bingley (or Bing Lee, in general) thinks of Darcy. We don't know how much of his initial insults of Miss Bennet stem from being shy or introverted and being forced into conversations and dealings with all manner of people when he's not ready for it. He does seem, in the books, more comfortable in Bingley's house (even with Jane and Elizabeth there). Anyone who might have slowly warmed up to him the first time they read the book might warm up to him faster the second time around when seeing his attempts at showing Elizabeth his warming interest.

I will admit that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does end without anyone married or engaged, but Bing Lee and Jane are dating and seem to be moving towards that and Darcy and Lizzie are dating with potential for future marriage. Lydia is single and trying to figure out what to do with herself, after her disastrous relationship with George Wickham (and her videos show, even before the relationship, how much the Lydia in the videos is trying to hide her loneliness and fear of losing her sisters behind a party girl attitude, which was her armor).

I don't know what Jane Austen would think of her characters being portrayed like they are in the videos. I would hope that she would enjoy it, even with some interesting changes. I know that I did.