It lives and wants to date you

After listening to a very awkward dating exchange on the radio, I became aware of a few terms I’d not heard before. Some of you are probably familiar with this, but to my 33-year married ears, this was a fascinating exploration of metaphors for dating relationships.

Here’s one metaphor I’ve heard a lot, and I think most people are familiar with. Ghosting — the practice of ending a personal relationship by ceasing all communication without explanation.  Unless it involves breaking into your house and boiling your pet rabbit, then it is “Glenn Close-ting.” (Sorry for the bad pun, but seriously, look up “Fatal Attraction”)

A similar practice is called Caspering which, like the term implies, is a friendly means of ghosting wherein you let them down before ceasing communications. Sort of like saying “I already found Jesus” to roaming packs of door to door evangelicals, but without the addition of “… and I’m eating and drinking pieces of him every week from my refrigerator.” (e.g., wine and crackers — Christians will get that one, if you don’t mind the blasphemy)

Breadcrumbing (giving some little bits of affirmation without follow-through). The sort of exchange like:

You: Let’s go see that new rom-com Friday night at 8.

Them: Did you have a good day?

You: Uh, how about the new Avengers flick instead?

Them: What colors are your drapes, and is the color natural?

You: See you around, NOT.

Them: Seriously, let’s get together.

Back in the day, we just called this sort of communication an “out of body” experience, attributable to being a clueless prick. Except in some cases, it is by design, and closely resembles gaslighting – psychologically manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity (an experience I have every election day).

Something like breadcrumbing is called benching wherein the person keeps you at arms length, but keeps communicating with you, just not with any specifics or real interest to get together.

Another variant of this approach is more interactive, but perhaps more insidious. The concept of cushioning that is flirting just to keep someone interested—just in case a current relationship doesn’t work out.

Submarining (ghosting someone before messaging weeks later as if nothing has happened). This is also being called, Zombie-ing as in, coming back from the dead. (Guess Rasputin-ing isn’t as catchy.) Just when you thought a relationship with someone is dead. BAM! There they are asking for a cupful of heartstrings instead of brains.

In this world of multitasking, we often lead busy lives. But unless someone is having heart surgery or had to fly to Katmandu for a last-minute business trip, disappearing and reappearing without notice (particularly if they’ve done this more than once) might be an indicator your admirer is a closet psychopath.

Here’s an off the wall one, shaveducking (worrying you’re only attracted to someone because of their beard). I have my doubts about this one, it almost seems like someone trying to make up a metaphor. Is this really a thing? I can see endless possibilities here, like nose ducking (being attracted because of someone’s nose ring).

Another term that could be applied to any relationship is sidebarring (rudely checking your phone and messaging friends during a date).

Sunday Night Fever – Apparently, in large numbers, herds of lonely men reach out to women on Sunday evening using dating apps. Keep your pepper spray handy girls.

Speaking of creepy, apparently when a potential date surfaces, you can free climb into their social media history, and see how many drunken party pictures you can find from years ago so that you can judge people based on past behavior. Be careful though, if you like something or otherwise leave a trace of your sleuthing you might print (as in footprint) and alert your future prince/princess charming that you’re a troll looking for information on them. Awkward!

By now everyone should know about sexting, but if you don’t, google for Anthony Weiner (excuse me while I giggle). That should be all (or too much) anyone needs to know about sending pictures of your junk to prospective mates. Anyway … if you want to do this, but don’t want to immediately pop a dick pick into someone’s inbox (sorry, had to giggle again), you could sext the waters wherein you send messages like “what are you doing?”, “where are you?”, “what does your room look like?”, etc. Sort of like a late night dirty phone call where instead of asking “what color is your underwear?” you instead ask, “what color are the sheer curtains hanging in your window?”

In this modern area of communal rides, I guess it is no surprise that people are using Uber and Lyft apps to offer to share the cost of a trip to one’s house. Sharing is now the digital way of saying “wanna go back to my place?” without asking directly. Without a doubt nicer than sticking a dick pic into someone’s inbox (sorry, my inner 8th grader made me say it).

The whole of idea of communicating intent without vocalizing it is also popularized in swiping left or swiping right someone. For the uninitiated, “swiping left” is saying “no, I would not like to meet this person in real-life” whereas “swiping right” means “sure, let’s meet.”

I suppose most of this dating behavior has been around since our hairy ancestors were hovering between deciding to kiss or cave in each other’s heads with rocks. That said, the way in which people are using technology to put each other off or send subliminal digital romantic feelings is an aspect of dating that I’m glad I missed. Nothing beats eye contact, holding hands and that electric thrill of a first kiss (be happy, I spared you a battery joke). Besides, when the battery inevitably dies (got-ya), you better be able to communicate without a snapchat filter.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/28/six-new-dating-terms-youve-never-heard-of

Fatal attraction – Bunny Boiling Scene – YouTube

Ghosting, Benching And Zombieing – A Modern Dater's Guide | HuffPost

Benching vs. Breadcrumbing: Dating Terms Explained | InStyle.com

Brotherhood

Ah, Christine. Hair the color of a field of strawberries, and skin white as cream. My ears always delighted in her lilting English accent, honeyed by, I presumed, growing up in Yorkshire. Her bright blue eyes would sweep the room, quickly taking in the surroundings. Never missing a detail, nor overlooking a need, she would sweep by. Her passage marked by the scent of rose soap, forever fetching a morsel for my visit.

I blinked.

The dull, styled hair lay formed around her face. Concerns and cares a distant memory. Her skin, once transcendent, is now waxy and cold. Eyes forever shut did not see the tears in the mourners’ eyes.

I let my eyes wander to her arms before catching myself. No, I don’t want to see the needle marks.

Why Christine?

The fruit has fallen from the vine. The cream has soured.

I turned away. My best friend in all this world sat to next to his sister. Stoney silent, he stared blankly.

My heart aches, a dull echo of the faded trumpets.

Welcome to the brotherhood of motherless sons.

To Backup Or Not To Backup — not really a question

With my twenty-plus years of experience in IT (information technology), it is not surprising that I exploit technology to help my writing. I have used many software programs, setups and configurations to help myself gain control and traction with my writing projects. That said, any venture into technology can result in an all-consuming task of trying to convince HAL (or Bill Gates) not to pull the plug on all my digital treasures. On that score, I thought it might be interesting to discuss some of the software I use daily for writing. For this first article, I am going to focus on doing backups. That might seem to be an odd jumping off point, but without some assurance that what you write is recoverable, loading a system with your precious literary masterpieces may be nothing more than sticking all your digital eggs in one basket, and hoping the gods of fate don’t decide to sit on it.

Now, if you are doing writing on a computer, keeping track of your files and backing them up is a high priority. One can create files ad-nauseum in your “Document” folder and hope and pray that the digital demons don’t squat and defecate on your hard drive. Not a good plan. At the very least you need to copy your files somewhere else—presumably (physically) outside of your computer. Why?

We all would like to believe that our beloved (or at least tolerated) computer system will run forever, but they don’t. The classic bathtub curve of failure (or reliability), states that systems fail either right out of the box or shortly thereafter. After that, system tend to run as they should (if used properly). At least until after some amount of time (usually a few days beyond the expiration date of the extended service plan or warranty) the device will start misbehaving, gyrate wildly, make strange noises, and then become totally useless (like the average American teenager). The gist of this is, enjoy the brief moment computing technology works because at some point it won’t.

Consider this, my rule of thumb based on my experience is that most electronics fail after about 10,000 hours of use. That is roughly 5 years. Many people, and IT companies, will say that is way too conservative. Perhaps, but I’m a unreformed Irish cynic who expects the worst and hopes for the best. If I’m wrong, your system continues to run. If the other people are wrong, you lose your data. So there ;-P

So, if your electronics are that old, you’re on borrowed time. You have even less time if you live with children, have pets, or the unfortunate tendency to spill coffee on your system. Then there is the occasional electronic surge (such as static electricity) which can fry sensitive electronics. Lastly, computers are not monolithic, they are a hodge-podge of interconnected hardware, not usually from the same source (unless you own Apple products) and since not all equipment lasts the same, all it takes is for one part to fail to take down your system.

In short, there are many ways your formerly reliable PC can expire. In the time I’ve owned, built, configured and managed systems, hard drives have crashed, video cards went bad, memory crapped out, power supplies fizzled. I even had a motherboard crack and melt. Like a toddler on vacation, computers will usually soil themselves without warning, and usually at the worst possible time.

If you want to get detailed on this subject, particularly in regards to hard drives, consider the following:
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/01/putting-hard-drive-reliability-to-the-test-shows-not-all-disks-are-equal/

Regardless of which device you are entrusting your information to, consider using an alternative location to store it. Removable storage comes to mind (external hard drives, USB flash/thumb drives), and more recently, so does exporting your information to the “cloud.” Both approaches have their pros and cons, but they will, at least, give you a chance to get your information back if your computer goes belly up. Beyond having a backup location, however, remains the need and discipline to backup information on a regular basis. I find it best to look for tools that support automated functions for things that I tend to forget. Still looking for one that exercises for me, but oh well.

There are many ways to do file backups, and Windows (at least Windows 10) does this well. That said, I will admit that I tend to be leery of using Windows provided tools, as it is sometimes like trying to swat flies with a sledgehammer. However, if you’re looking for a readily available (and free) means of doing a file backup, consider giving Windows “File History Backup” a try. The process is not (as one might suspect) entirely intuitive, but rarely is anything in the world of IT, where programmers design software and users must deal with their Red Bull inspired design whims.

However, rather than me repeating what has already been said about using “File History Backup”, see the following articles on the subject:
http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/windows/how-back-up-windows-10-3635397/
http://lifehacker.com/how-to-back-up-your-computer-automatically-with-windows-1762867473

One of the nice aspects of using Windows built in backup is that it is automatic, so once you set it, you can forget it. Just remember that as you add new folders to your system, you should consider adding the location to the list of the ones “File History” backs up.

Having to restore an entire system, or file system resource is beyond the scope of one blog post, and certainly beyond the scope of what I’m attempting to do here, which is to inform and enlighten, not necessarily to educate and indoctrinate. There are many other blogs and out there that discuss such issues in greater detail (and depth) than I do.

https://www.howtogeek.com/237230/how-to-enable-system-restore-and-repair-system-problems-on-windows-10/

For day to day use, however, one can easily see the inevitable question – what if I simply need to restore a previous version of a file. What do I do? If the document was backed up using “File History” then right clicking on the file, and selecting “properties” will give you the option to select a tab called “Previous versions.” Doing so will list all the different versions of the file that were backed up. Pick the one you want and restore.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the whole issue of backing up information, if you could follow any of this, my hope is that you should have some ability to backup information.

Other considerations (more advanced concepts)

Some experts even recommend a “rule of 3” when it comes to backups (3 copies, 2 different formats, and 1 different location). This gets very involved, but if you’re interested consider looking at the following:
http://lifehacker.com/5961216/why-you-should-have-more-than-one-backup

Well, I hope this helps. If you have any suggestions for other topics you’d like me to cover be sure to drop a note in the comments section. Thanks for reading.