Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Dreaded Phone Call, Killing the Suspense

I think everyone has been through it before. You shut yourself off from the world so that the show you’ve been waiting for won’t be spoiled. It’s that special episode, the one that’s meant to blow your mind, and you know 5 minutes after it’s over every news broadcast and website will be talking about it, so you seclude yourself to watch the episode without it being spoiled. And then someone calls and spoils it.

I came home full of anticipating for the season finale of Lost, the ABC blockbuster show that has kept me guessing for 3 straight seasons now. I came home with multiple questions to be answered: was Locke alive, can Charlie survive the flooding of underwater hatch, will the others be killed by the trap set up by Sayeed, and most importantly, will Jack get the survivors of flight 815 off the island?

So I shut myself off from the world, turn on the DVR, and start watching the episode. And it’s amazing! Tons of action, right from the get goes. Charlie getting his butt whooped by two girls as he tries to stop the others from jamming the signal, Jack playing Moses as he leads the survivors to the radio tower, and Sayeed’s contingent blowing up 7 others and then getting captured. Add in great Jack flashbacks, and I was loving it.

And then the phone rings. Immediate panic, as I realize it’s a friend who watches the show. I know if I pick up he’ll tell me something I don’t want to hear, but I always pick up the phone. After some internal debate, I finally decide, this is one time I’m going to have to not pick up, and send it to the answering machine.

My gut says that he’ll hear the machine and hang up, but no dice, the friend starts talking. I turn up the volume on the TV, trying to mute him out. I can barely hear him now, mainly just mumbling. Until he talks louder, to say “can you believe?” and then scream “the flashback was actually a flash into the future….incredible!” And just like that, all the secrets were blown.

Of course what followed is my shoe thrown at the answering machine, and knocking it off the wall. I should have thought of it two minutes earlier, then the episode wouldn’t have been blown. I did watch the end of the episode, but it just wasn’t the same. Tomorrow I’ll call the friend and give him some crap for spoiling the episode for me, but for now I guess I’ll just have to look forward to next season.

And meanwhile, I think it’s time to look for an answering machine where I can’t hear the messages as their left. Well worth the investment, don’t you think?


Posted by Scottage at 12:34 AM / | |  

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Higher Your Expectations, The Worse the Outcome

An interesting topic came up in last night’s post, and in another earlier post: that when you raise your expectations about a certain event, truly count on any event to be something special, it never goes as planned. In fact, the higher your expectations, the lower the expectations.

I always thought this was a part of Murphy’s Law, that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. That of course is a ridiculous notion, many things could go worse than they do. But there really is a principle here which applies to the situation: that pushing your will over God’s will never works out.

Now, I don’t consider myself a holy roller or anything, in fact I’m not very religious at all. But I have learned through my program that when I do God’s will, things go as they should, and I can live with the outcome. Sometimes I might wish things turned out differently, but there are no accidents in God’s world, and I find the results are acceptable.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard to know God’s will, but normally I can figure out what God wants me to do with any given situation. At the very least, it’s normally fairly easy to figure out what isn’t God’s will. And if I listen to the people around me, the people who are living a fairly spiritual life, God’s will normally becomes pretty clear to me.

When our hopes are high, and we have major expectations for a given situation, we really mean that we taking back our will. We are putting our goals for a situation above God’s intended result of a situation, and that never works out. Let’s face it, that is a game we will never win; events will always end the way they are meant to end, and we can not change that outcome, however hard we try.

This latest incident was a perfect example of ignoring God’s will and choosing my own will. When my earlier attempts at a date failed, I should have realized the message that was being sent, but I wanted my own will, my own outcome, to be fulfilled. It is no surprise, then, that when the date finally did occur, the outcome was not as I would have liked.

The crazy thing is that perhaps I was meant to keep trying and eventually have the failed date, in order to learn a somewhat painful lesson. Perhaps that was God’s will too. And I can live with that, because accepting God’s will is an important step towards happiness.

Tomorrow will be another opportunity to follow that will. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from this situation, and to move forward.


Posted by Scottage at 12:56 AM / | |  

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bad First Date: Putting My Worst Foot Forward

Over the past few months I’ve come to believe that any time you really look forward to something, raising your expectations and hopes on the event, it’s doomed to failure. Case and point: my date Saturday night!

Now first off, truth be told, I have little chance with this woman. We are close already, but she has decided that she is interested in another man. Still, I like her; she has so much going for her and yet doesn’t realize half of how wonderful she is. So I figured if I had the chance to show her a few of my better attributes, she might give me a real chance.

I figured my best shot would be cooking, since I’m a good cook, to say the least. But when I would invite her over at dinner time in the past, something would always come up, and we wouldn’t be able to get together. Already I had bought food to cook 3 times, without every having cooked a morsel for her. But finally, the opportunity came up, and I got the chance to cook for her Saturday.

I had a great meal planned out. I was cooking Chinese, a pineapple lemon chicken, and Szechwan vegetables, all over a bed of saffron rice. It’s probably the best meal I cook, and I knew it would come out well.

First we had some confusion on the time, which sort of messed up the timing of the meal. So now I’m hurrying a bit, trying to get this really tasty meal together before she implodes from hunger. Let me tell you, one thing you don’t want to do is hurry your cooking when you’re making Chinese food.

I started with the pineapple lemon chicken, in two parts, and then combined them and put them and set them simmering. So far so good. Now for the vegetables; I put the oil in the wok, and put in the mustard seed to pop. Once the seed stopped exploding I took the lid off the wok, and was going to add vegetables.

I was simultaneously preparing the rice, and it took a couple minutes to add the vegetables. When I turned back towards the wok, it was burning, just a bit, but some definite flames. I turned on the fan and opened the door, to let the smoke out before the alarm went off. Too late, the insidious beeping started. And then, the fan seemed to accelerate the flames, making them pop up.

Now I’m trying to keep my cool and put the fire out before I make my date panic. Well, I’m just not that smooth. I bring the wok over to the sink just as she walks in to ask if everything is alright. I put the wok under the water, and the flames leap up to the ceiling, blackening my wall and making me see spots which still aren’t going away. Meanwhile, thick smoke is billowing out of the kitchen, and she needs to leave the apartment.

I wasn’t far behind; as soon as I got the flames out, I had to leave, as it was impossible to breath in the apartment. Eventually we had to go back in to try to find my cat, as we were worried about her in the smoke, but this was a bad idea for my date, as she breathed in the smoke and wound up coughing all that night and the next day. In fact, she was so affected by the smoke she could hardly taste the food.

Well, so much for putting my best foot forward. Instead of seeing me as the great master chef who she would want to feed her on a regular basis, she sees me as the person who tried to kill her with my smoking wok. Survey says…XXX!

So anyway, I wouldn’t say it’s my worst date, but certainly not my best date at all. How about you? Ever really blown a date you really wanted to go well? Ever left the exact opposite lasting impression on someone you really cared about than you wanted to? How about sharing your stories here, and we perhaps we can work together to figure out how to put a better foot forward next time.


Posted by Scottage at 1:56 AM / | |