Saturday, March 31, 2018

Upstate New York vs. Florida Beaches

As a result of recently visiting both Upstate New York and Jacksonville Beach in Florida, I've thought about which place I prefer.  Both are places that I vacationed at in my childhood fairly often, so I truthfully like both of them - just for different reasons.  I also might tend to prefer one of the two places based on my mood.  Back in February, I was all about Upstate New York, whereas now, having recently visited Florida, I like the Florida beaches more.  Also, interestingly enough, yesterday, I learned that apparently, introverted people tend to like the woods more, whereas extroverted people tend to like the beach more.

As stated, my preference depends on my mood.  There are times that I really fall in love with the desolate woods, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and rustic old houses.  I have a love for the supernatural, and I've thought that many old houses in the middle of the woods would make good haunted houses.  Similarly, the game The 11th Hour somehow reminds me of my grandmother's house in Upstate New York.  The spooky nature of The 11th Hour piques my interest in the deep, lonely woods and abandoned old houses.  Sometimes, I love the idea of being alone in the abandoned woods - living in a rickety old house.

On the other hand, I also really like the Florida beaches - interestingly enough for the exact opposite reason.  Compared to the dark, lonely woods of Upstate New York, the Jacksonville area seemed so much brighter and livelier - especially given its open, bright, blue, and sunny sky.  Also, in contrast to many dilapidated and/or abandoned buildings and fallen trees deep in the woods, many of the buildings in Jacksonville looked really upscale - or at the very least, the area just seemed like it was more decorated, luxurious, and well-maintained - especially given all the palm trees.  Also, despite being primarily an introvert, I liked Jacksonville because it was just so populated - compared to feeling practically abandoned in the hamlets and villages of Upstate New York.  It's weird that, as an introvert, I would like the feeling of being in a populated place like Jacksonville, but I think that being populated makes it somehow feel more happy and secure, whereas being alone in the woods could make one feel lonely and vulnerable.  Also, one plus to being in a highly-populated area is that one tends to blend in with the crowd, whereas in lesser-populated areas, one is more likely to get noticed - potentially triggering one's anxiety.

As stated, I like both Upstate New York and Jacksonville Beach for opposite reasons, and I might prefer one over the other given my mood at the time.  However, since I recently came back from Florida, I currently love Jacksonville.  Although Upstate New York is nice, for reasons stated above, Jacksonville just feels so much happier, and I somehow feel rich there, which is a bit strange - seeing as how the cost of living seems to be overall more expensive in Upstate New York than in Jacksonville - meaning that, in some measures, Jacksonville might be an overall better place to live.  One can feel "rich" in a city that actually costs less than one that has a dilapidated look.

Finally, yesterday, I found two articles of interest that actually support how I've felt about Upstate New York and Jacksonville: "A simple choice between two gorgeous photos reveals your personality" by Ana Swanson on August 6, 2015, on The Washington Post and "Beach or mountains? Study shows link between geography and personality" by Jordi Lippe-McGraw on August 14, 2015, on  Apparently, introverted people do prefer to be in the woods, while extroverted people like flat, open areas like beaches.  Both of those correlate with how I've felt about the woods and the beach - including the idea (suggested in The Washington Post article) that extroverts tend to be happier than introverts (which might explain why Jacksonville felt "happier" to me).

These two articles were perhaps the main reason why I wrote earlier about being introverted or extroverted in this blog.  As I said earlier, I'm mainly an introvert, but I do have extroverted moments - but only when I feel like it.  That might explain why I like both Upstate New York and Jacksonville Beach - depending on how I feel.

Am I an Introvert or Extrovert?

For the most part, I am an introvert.  However, for some time, I have thought that I do have occasional times when I feel like an extrovert.

Most of the time, I usually prefer staying at home and working on personal projects like writing stories and drawing - and also think about many philosophical things.  I get so caught up in my hobbies - but also procrastinate and tend to lose track of the time, so minutes become hours, hours become days, days become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years.  Something that I plan to do "within the next day or two" often ends up being several weeks, months, or even years later.

I also hate talking on the phone - even with friends and family, so I could say, "Yeah, I'll call you back later" - but then lose track of the time and/or procrastinate - and never do get around to calling anyone back.  They're usually the ones that end up calling me.  It's a combination of both losing track of the time - and also just hating talking on the phone in general.

I hate talking on the phone, but I also tend to shy away from other forms of conversation.  I hate having to commit to a conversation - and like being able to do things that I want on my timetable, so it could also be a bit of laziness, too.  But yeah, although I hate talking on the phone worst of all, I also shy away from chatting on Facebook and even hanging out in person.  After a few minutes of talking on the phone or chatting on Facebook - or after a few hours of hanging out, I usually feel the strong urge to want to go back to my own, secluded life.  It's nothing personal against anyone that I talk to or hang out with, though.

Within the last few years, I found an article called "Don't Call Us, We’ll Call … Well, No, Actually We Won’t..." by Sophia Dembling on February 22, 2010, on Psychology Today.  I have a lot in common with what was described in that article, and its title sums up how I am.  I pretty much never call anyone voluntarily - they're always the ones to call me.  I also really hate how loud phones can be.  Also, when I first found the article, I was shocked to see that the article listed Tetris and FreeCell as games for introverts to play because both of those are my favorite computer games!  I guess many introverts think alike.

The strange thing, though, is that despite being largely an introvert, I do feel rather extroverted at times.  There are sometimes when I absolutely love socializing with people, but those times aren't particularly common, and they can't be forced on me.  Basically, although I can be extroverted at times, it has to be when I'm ready for it - and when I want to be extroverted.

Roseanne Conner Got Conned

Lately, the first episode of the Roseanne revival aired, and there's been a lot of talk about that - including that the character, Roseanne Conner, was a Trump supporter.  The odd thing is that even in real life, Roseanne Barr appears to be at least somewhat supportive of Donald Trump.

Even before the debut of the Roseanne revival, I was aware from Wikipedia that Roseanne supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election.  It seems that she supported him over Hillary Clinton because Trump talked about jobs leaving the country - and had other rhetoric appealing to white, working class voters, while Clinton didn't.

It certainly is understandable that many white, working class voters would be drawn to Trump - especially given how modern-day Democrats don't seem to do enough for them - and support trade deals like NAFTA and TPP.  However, as poor as today's Democrats are, working class voters should stop and think about what party is really more likely to do more for them.  Sure, Trump had a lot of populist, pro-working class rhetoric, but that's all it was: rhetoric.

Trump still ran as a Republican, and Republican ideology tends to support things that are non-beneficial for unions, the working class, etc.  As bad as the Democratic Party is today, it is still a better choice because its ideology supports giving more direct support for unions, the working class, poor, minorities, etc.  As Lyndon B. Johnson said, "The worst Democrat is better than the best Republican."

Even if Trump genuinely believed in supporting unions and the working class as progressives do (and to his credit, he did recently impose tariffs on steel), Republican Party influence would either prevent Trump from doing so - or they would influence him to enact more conservative policies.

Whatever the case, with some exceptions (e.g. pulling out of the TPP and imposing steel tariffs), Trump has proven himself to be a con artist.  He has largely governed as a conventional Republican - supporting many Republican ideas and passing a tax bill where most of the benefits went to corporations and the richest Americans.  Steve Bannon, once Trump's right-hand man, wanted a tax bill for only the middle class, but instead, Trump passed a standard GOP tax bill that favored the wealthy.  For the most part, Trump is just another Republican.

Trump doesn't care about the working class.  Sure, he's talked about bad trade deals, but I doubt that it's out of any sincere concern for the workers.  Trump just views America as a bad business model - perceiving it as being "ripped off," and that's all Trump cares about.  He cares about dominance - being superior in business - and being able to tout that to the rest of the world.  Trump likes to brag about everything, so it's not surprising.

Trump also likes being able to make money, so he cares only about supposedly being "ripped off" just because he wants to make more money himself.  From what I've observed, Trump just talks about being successful - and running a successful company - and enriching himself - not whether or not he treated his workers well or whatnot.

As stated, Trump only talks about America being "ripped off" just so he can supposedly do better business for himself.  Even though he might not have a particular concern for the working class, if he can use pro-working class rhetoric to get elected to enact policies to enrich himself, then why not?

Trump is no champion of the working class.  He has just used rhetoric appealing to the working class to get elected - and then enacts only a few policies that happen to benefit the working class - only to avoid being, or appearing to be, ripped off - and to make America a better business model so that he can enrich himself - not out of some genuine concern for the working class.  Aside from a few pro-working class policies, most of Trump's policies prove just that.  Aside from a few issues, Trump is just another Republican.

Having said all that, as much as I hate to say it, Roseanne Connor got conned.  I'm surprised that Roseanne even today still seems somewhat supportive of Trump - given all his conventional Republican policies.  Roseanne seemed to be a liberal in the past - as well as pretty intelligent, so why she would support Trump is surprising.  Yes, Trump had appealing rhetoric, but he was part of a party that would likely influence him to be more conservative.  Trump also has a proven track record of lying and deceiving people, so why would Roseanne be stupid enough to support someone like that?  I just don't get it.  I thought that Roseanne was smarter than that - especially after Trump has proven to be no better than most Republicans.

Yes, I get it - Clinton wasn't exactly a champion of the working class, but Clinton and the Democratic Party are still much better for the working class than Trump, who has nothing but rhetoric.  The Democratic Party, as bad as it is now, is still a better choice for the working class than someone that uses appealing rhetoric - but has no genuine concern for the working class - and aligns with a party that doesn't, either.

Also, yesterday, I watched the video "Pro-Trump 'Roseanne' Reboot Crushes In The Ratings" - uploaded by Secular Talk on YouTube, and I pretty much agree with everything that Kyle Kulinski said.  I'm glad that I wasn't the only one that felt that way about Roseanne's strange support for Trump.

Pretzel Fight at The Avenues in Jacksonville, Florida

I personally witnessed my very first mall fight on the evening of March 28, 2018.  This was historic for me because I had never personally seen anything like it by pure chance.  I've watched things like that in Itipar videos, which I saved largely because seeing such things in public was odd, and I had rarely or never seen anything like them myself.  Since a few days ago, that changed, as I witnessed my very first Itipar video-style fight personally.  It was amazing.  Best of all, I even recorded the fight with my SpyTec camera glasses, which I was planning to use only for mallgeeking!

The fight is available on my YouTube channel - and is actually a reupload since the original version had audio and video sync issues.

Anyway, I had gone to Jacksonville a few days ago because I hadn't been there since April 2011, and I wanted to see the beach again - as well as take some videos of writing foreign languages in the sand, my Russian car flags and my TeleVideo TS-803 in the car, and my HP 15-ay039wm laptop pretending to be a DOS computer in the car.  Although I took some videos when I went to Jacksonville in 2010, my videos were of less-than-ideal quality, and since I now had my Sony HDR-CX240 camcorder, I wanted to record some higher-quality videos - as well as take pictures of things that I hadn't done on my previous trips.

One thing that I hadn't done in Jacksonville in 2010 and 2011 was visit a mall.  I decided to do that this time, and since I had no particular interest in open-air malls, I narrowed my choices down to The Avenues and Regency Square Mall.  I settled on The Avenues since it looked very fancy and upscale - just like North Point Mall in Alpharetta, Georgia.  Although I wanted to see Regency Square Mall, too, I chose to see only one mall in the interest of time, and I was more attracted to the flashy, modern two-story mall compared to the more dated, one-story Regency Square Mall (although it seemed cool in its own way).  Also, while there were a number of YouTube videos about Regency Square Mall, there didn't seem to be many about The Avenues - making it good "mallgeeking" territory.

Anyway, after spending a few hours at the beach, I finally got to The Avenues in the evening.  I didn't have time for a lengthy, in-depth tour of The Avenues, but I walked through part of Belk - and recorded the stores in the downstairs and upstairs of the mall corridor.

I was close to finishing recording upstairs when I heard some fighting downstairs.  A number of people had gathered around the railings to watch.  A lady in a light blue shirt was yelling at someone else, and I never did figure out what exactly started the whole thing, but it sounded like it had something to do with a pretzel.

The yelling was interesting enough, and I started to leave, but then, I heard something get knocked over, and I looked back down, and it seemed that a trash can had been knocked over.  Shortly after, things got real when another lady in a white shirt started shouting and thrashing around, and everyone around her tried to restrain her.

That wasn't the end of it, though - not by a long shot.  The icing on the cake was when another lady in a white shirt actually went into the nearby Auntie Anne's, snatched a pan of grease, went around the store, and splashed the grease on some random people!

The pretzel fight was really a big event in the mall.  A whole bunch of people had gathered around the upstairs railings - watching the downstairs fight as if it were some kind of zoo attraction (no offense intended).  I eventually left and sat down in a seat near the Belk, and a lady came up and asked me what was going on, and I told her.  Even fairly far away from Auntie Anne's, people seemed aware of the fight.  I later went back once or twice and not surprisingly saw security and police officers.

That was a truly historic day for me.  Never had I ever seen a random, public fight among strangers on that scale.  It was truly epic, and it was so awesome to get to see something like that in person - as opposed to seeing YouTube videos of others' experiences.  I even recorded the fight with my camera glasses, which was exactly what they're good for - capturing spontaneous moments.  On a side note, interestingly enough, the pretzel fight was actually the second spontaneous moment that I captured while at the mall.  The first was only a few seconds after I had gotten out of the car to start filming in the mall - and a guy parked next to me started talking to me about my car - saying that he had a model like mine when he was younger, asking me how many miles it had, and so on.  In any case, I was thrilled to have gotten to see my first mall fight, public freakout, and/or Itipar-video style fight in person.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Retailgeeking and Mallgeeking

Although I've observed that there are many people interested in retail establishments - evidenced by blogs like Sky City: Retail HistoryDeadMalls.comLabelscarCarolina Circle City, and Malls of America, but I generally haven't seen any concise terminology to describe the interest in retail establishments.

People that love trains are known as railfans, and people that love studying roads are roadgeeks, but I've observed no equivalent term for those that love retail establishments.

Several years ago, a friend and I actually did invent terms to be used to describe such people.  In early 2013, we both came up with the term "mallgeek," and later, on December 22, 2013, I came up with the term "retailgeek."  "Mallgeek" and "retailgeek" are nouns to describe people interested in such retail establishments, while "mallgeeking" and "retailgeeking" describe the interest in retail establishments in general.

"Retailgeeking" is a general, umbrella term - referring to a general interest in retail establishments.  For example, one could be fascinated by Walmart, Pizza Hut, Wolf Camera, or any other retail establishment.

"Mallgeeking," on the other hand, is a subset of "retailgeeking" - used to refer to a specific interest in enclosed shopping malls.

One can be a retailgeek without being a mallgeek, or in other words, one can have a fascination with retail establishments in general without having a particular fascination with enclosed shopping malls.  On the other hand, while one technically can't be a mallgeek without being a retailgeek, one can have more of a fascination with enclosed shopping malls than with other types of retail establishments.  I personally tend to be more of a mallgeek, but I am also very much a retailgeek as well.

Monday, March 5, 2018

God Bless Mother Russia and the Russian Pledge of Allegiance

Since thinking of the idea this evening, I was unsure of how the last line of the chorus should be for a song about the Russian Federation (based on Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA").  "God Bless USSR" was easy enough, but I was unsure what to say for Russia or the Russian Federation.  However, I thought that the line "God Bless Mother Russia" would work.

Also, last year, I started working on a story on FanFiction.Net called "Chucky Meets Full House" - in which Chucky becomes a member of the Tanner family.  The subplot of the story involves D.J. Tanner becoming a Russian nationalist, and at one point in the story, she recites the Russian Pledge of Allegiance, which I based off the American Pledge of Allegiance.  Below is what I came up with last year.

I pledge allegiance to our flag of our Motherland, Russian Federation, and to our great army, which keeps us safe, strong, and proud - with honor - indivisible - and showing our great might to this world.

Hopefully, I will get around to finishing the Full House story and the Russian-themed song parody.

God Bless USSR (Song Parody in Development)

Around the Fourth of July of 2008, I jokingly replaced the stanza "God Bless the USA" with "God Bless the USSR."  Years later, I decided to make a full-length parody of Lee Greenwood's song "God Bless the USA."

Below are some stanzas that my friend and I came up with that precede the song's chorus.  Keep in mind that they could be changed before I finish the song since it is still in development.

"From the wastelands of Chernobyl"
"To the gulags of Stalin"
"Gorby broke our country,"
"But he can't take it away..."

Below is the chorus itself, which I've spent more time refining but is still subject to revision.

'Cause I'm proud that I was born Soviet
Where at least my vodka's free,
And I won't forget Comrade Lenin,
Who took my rights from me,
So I must help Putin
Save Ukraine from those Western pigs afar
'Cause I'll always love my Motherland
God Bless USSR!

I don't really like the "So I must help Putin" stanza much since it feels rather awkward, but again, the song is still in development.  Also, I've made the point of not using articles in the song to reflect the lack of articles in the Russian language (as well as to make the last line of the chorus have the same number of syllables as "God Bless the USA").

This evening, I've thought about making two parodies of "God Bless the USA."  One would be a song for the USSR since that's the version that I originally started making (and because "USSR" is close to "USA").  The other would be a song for the Russian Federation since I have much more of a fascination for it compared to the Soviet Union - partly since I think it has a nicer-looking flag.