Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Z...?


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What begins with Z?
I do.
I am a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz
As you can plainly see.
-Dr. Seuss's A-B-C

I couldn't think of a good word for "z." So let's just throw darts and see what we hit...

Zabernism - Misuse of military authority; bullying. Okay, yeah, those things suck. I could be afraid of that.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Young People


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People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
-The Who, "My Generation"

I know I'm getting old. At least I feel like I am. I mean, I'm still in relatively good health and I haven't even hit middle age yet, but it just feels like I'm falling behind the times.

Young People terrify me. I know every generation says the one coming after them is useless, but come on - it's never been this bad, has it? Kids are growing up SO differently then they were even twenty years ago. They have access to so much technology and information than we could never dream of, and they take it for granted. I'm pretty comfortable with it because I've grown up with and adapted to it, but kids born in the last ten years or so won't even REMEMBER a time before smart phones and wireless internet, before GPS and social networking and access to Wikipedia and Google.  They will have a COMPLETELY different view of the world and how it works, and it frightens me to imagine what that view will be.
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Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of X-Rays


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Diagnostic X-rays (primarily from CT scans due to the large dose used) increase the risk of developmental problems and cancer in those exposed. X rays are classified as a carcinogen by both the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer and the U.S. government. It is estimated that 0.4% of current cancers in the United States are due to computed tomography (CT scans) performed in the past and that this may increase to as high as 1.5-2% with 2007 rates of CT usage.

Experimental and epidemiological data currently do not support the proposition that there is a threshold dose of radiation below which there is no increased risk of cancer. However, this is under increasing doubt. It is estimated that the additional radiation will increase a person's cumulative risk of getting cancer by age 75 by 0.6–1.8%.
-From Wikipedia

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Water


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Aquaphobia is a persistent and abnormal fear of water. [...] People suffer aquaphobia in many ways and may experience it even though they realize the water in an ocean, a river, or even a bathtub poses no imminent threat. They may avoid such activities as boating and swimming, or they may avoid swimming in the deep ocean despite having mastered basic swimming skills. This anxiety commonly extends to getting wet or splashed with water when it is unexpected, or being pushed or thrown into a body of water.
-From Wikipedia

Okay, I know I've bemoaned water and nautical-based phobias a few times this month.  Promise this will be the last one.
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Vessels


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"Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby... and only one came back. One. Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six... out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait... wait to die... wait to live... wait for an absolution... that would never come."
-From Titanic

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I am not a fan of tidal waves.  I imagine that few people are.  (Except maybe people who own property just above the high water line, maybe?  I dunno). But my fear of nautical-related phenomenon is not tied directly to abnormal swells in water levels. I fucking hate boats, too.
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Unsolved Mysteries


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"This program is about unsolved mysteries. Whenever possible, the actual family members and police officials have participated in recreating the events. What you are about to see is not a news broadcast."

I have a love-hate relationship with the old television program Unsolved Mysteries, hosted by the incomparable Robert Stack. On the one hand, I LOVED this show as a kid. Like most kids, I was totally into UFOs, ghosts, weird mysteries and unsolved crimes. I loved stuff like Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not and ghost stories.  On the either hand, the show scared the shit out of me and gave me nightmares.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Tidal Waves


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Cymophobia is an abnormal fear of waves, sea swells and other wave-like motions. [...] Tsunamis, big waves, traumatic childhood experiences in the beach, waves hitting cliffs or rocky regions, tidal waves, floods, wave pools and river waves can easily trigger cymophobia. The fear of waves can be treated. It may require hypnosis, psychotherapy or even acupuncture. Cymophobia forces patients to live far away from the oceans, rivers and lakes. The symptoms of cymophobia are vertigo, dizziness, headaches, feelings of nausea.

I can recognize my worst phobias by how they affect my subconscious mind.  If I dream about something in a negative way, I know it must truly be a real fear.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Star Wars 7


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...because it may suck.

This one is pretty simple. No matter, when something is hyped enough for long enough, it's inevitably going to be a letdown.  Just like the new Star Wars films that came out in the early 2000s, just like the Undertaker at Wrestlemania this year.  When you build up something so big in your head, hold it aloft on such a high pedestal, OF COURSE it's going to come crashing down at some point.  We remember celebrities like Kurt Cobain, Bruce Lee and James Dean fondly because they never grew old enough to become bloated caricatures of themselves (looking at you, Mel Gibson).  Sometimes its better if our heroes are left in the past where they shine in the favourable light of memory, instead of dragging it out and rebooting it every few years.  Unfortunately, that seems utterly impossible in this day and age.

On many levels, Star Wars 7 cannot be as impressive and great as the original(s).  Star Wars ushered in a new era of moviemaking - it changed the way movies were presented and ushered fantasy and sci-fi into mainstream popular culture.  A new film can't have the same impact unless is redefines cinema again, which would require the studio to make a very different film than most people are expecting (which I would kinda be okay with - I would love to see Star Wars re-imagined as a film noir sci-fi thriller).

I think JJ Abrams will do a good job with it.  And despite their bad rep, Disney knows how to handle huge beloved franchises with care, so I can't think of anyone better to be backing him.  I'm certainly looking forward to seeing Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in bad 70s haircuts again, even if they get killed in the first act (and in fact, that may be the best case scenario).  But despite all of this, and all of my efforts to keep my expectations low, there may still be some huge disappointment come Christmas 2015 when Episode 7 hits movie screens.

"Great shot kid, that was one in a million."

Indeed it was, Han.  Indeed it was.
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Rogue Asteroids


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And this is the best that you - that the-the government, the *U.S. government* can come up with? I mean, you-you're NASA for cryin' out loud, you put a man on the moon, you're geniuses! You-you're the guys that think this shit up! I'm sure you got a team of men sitting around somewhere right now just thinking shit up and somebody backing them up! You're telling me you don't have a backup plan, that these eight boy scouts right here, that is the world's hope, that's what you're telling me?
- Armageddon

There are many ways the world could end.  Nuclear winter, alien invasion, super-volcanoes, the sun going supernova, everyone plugging in hair dryers at the same time.  And it will happen some day - maybe not for billions of years, long after the human race has died out, or maybe it will happen tomorrow out of the blue.

None of the outcomes scares me as much as a rock the size of Texas slamming into the planet at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour.
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Questions


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"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement."
-Ronald Reagan

Q: Do you want chicken or fish for dinner?

A: I like chicken, but we had chicken last night.  We should each more fish, but all we have is the frozen battered kind.

Q: Do you want to go to a movie?

A: I like going to movies.  But we three videos at home we've been meaning to watch that are free.  We haven't gone to a movie in ages.

Q: Which shirt do you like better?

A: The red one is fun, kinda fun and funky.  The blue one brings out your eyes.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Phone Calls


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Telephobia is reluctance or fear of making or taking phone calls, literally, "fear of telephone". Telephone phobia is also considered to be a type of social phobia or social anxiety problem. It is often compared to glossophobia, in that both require engaging with an audience to a certain extent, followed by the fear of being criticized, judged or made a fool of.
-From Wikipedia

I loathe when the telephone rings and I don't recognize the number.  My breath catches, the hair on the back of neck stands up, my fists clench and I break out in a cold sweat.  An overwhelming sense of dread settles over my entire being.  It's not that I'm afraid there's bad news coming, that someone's dead or in the hospital. I can trace my fear of phone calls precisely to a very specific period of my life.

I worked at Kinko's for 7 years.
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why I (used to be) Afraid of Obscurity


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"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."
- John Wooden

"I would absolutely characterize myself as ambitious."
-Kim Kardashian

When I was younger I was obsessed that my life was supposed to mean something.  I wanted to do something important, and to be remembered. For a long time I thought that I would achieve infamy through writing a book.  When I was a kid I dreamed of being a famous baseball player, even though I sucked at sports. I flirted with being an actor or a rock star (not a musician, mind you, a rock star - thank God they didn't have American Idol back then). I was terrified of living and dying in obscurity.

Thankfully I grew up and I got my head out of my ass.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Nudity, Public


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Never Nude is the syndrome from which Tobias Fünke suffers which renders him unable to be naked instead wearing tight jean cutoffs under his clothes. It is not recognized by the DSM-IV. Annual conferences are held for those affected.
-Arrested Development Wiki

I briefly mentioned this in an earlier post, at the time thinking it was a joke, but I have since thought about it and I realized I went through a phase where this was absolutely the case.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Millipedes


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Millipedes (class Diplopoda) are myriapodous arthropods that have two pairs of legs on most body segments. Each double-legged segment is a result of two single segments fused together as one (the name "Diplopoda" comes from the Greek words διπλοῦς (diplous), "double" and ποδός (podos), "foot"). [...] The name "millipede" is a compound word formed from the Latin roots mille ("thousand") and pes ("foot"). Despite their name, no known millipede has 1,000 legs, although the rare species Illacme plenipes has up to 750.
-from Wikipedia.

Seriously? You need an explanation why I'm afraid?  Just LOOK AT THEM.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Lycanthropy


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A werewolf is a human being who, upon the complete rising of the full moon, becomes a fearsome and deadly near-wolf. Werewolves can be easily distinguished from regular wolves by their shorter snout, more human-like eyes, the tufted tail, and their mindless hunting of humans whilst in wolf form.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not afraid of The Wolfman or clinical lycanthropy where people actually believe they are animals or hyptertirichosis (abnormal and severe hair growth all over the body) or even Taylor Lautner (though he could probably kick my ass), I have a very particular and specific fear of the French Canadian version of the werewolf, the Loup-Garou.
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Kevin Siembieda


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"I wanted to create the ultimate gaming environment and a very specific, fun world. I wanted Rifts® to be my Star Wars®. A truly unique and original world setting that would wow the readers and take gamers places they had never imagined before."
-Kevin Siembieda, discussing where he got the idea for Rifts.  He is physically incapable of writing an IP name without putting a copyright symbol on it.  I imagine he actually speaks like that.

Kevin Siembieda is an American role-playing game designer, illustrator and writer who has been a fixture of the gaming scene for many, many years. He has headed up Palladium Books for over 30 years, publishing hundreds of RPG games, some of them wildly successful (like the aforementioned Rifts). He's always done things is own way, running his own business and keeping things very grassroots and DIY. He should be a hero to aspiring game designers everywhere. Except from all signs and evidence, he's a complete and utter hack.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of the Justice System


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"In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same."
-Albert Einstein

I liked Matlock. No, I'm not sixty years old, not even close. But what's not to like?  Senile old dude defending the innocent, catching wrong doers and everything always turned out alright in the end. Sadly the real-life modern world doesn't work like that. I'm utterly terrified of ever having to go to court because the justice system seems so completely broken.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why I'm Afraid the Ice and Fire Author is Going to Die Before Finishing the Series


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Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
-Robert Frost

Much like his protagonists, George R.R. Martin does not have a long life expectancy ahead of him.  Not that I have any special or particular knowledge of his health, he just doesn't really look like the healthiest dude if you know what I mean.  I've been waiting nearly twenty years to find out how the damn story ends (A Game of Thrones originally came out in 1996), so you can imagine I'm starting to get a little impatient.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of the Hulk (The Incredible one, not Hogan)


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Dr. David Banner, Physician/Scientist, searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation interacts with his unique body chemistry. And now, when David Banner grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs. The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter. [...] An accidental explosion took the life of a fellow scientist and supposedly David Banner as well. The reporter thinks the creature was responsible. [...] A murder which David Banner can never prove he or the creature didn't commit. So he must let the world go on thinking that he too is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him.

I have a very vivid memory of a dream I experienced when I was about 8 years old. In it, a mentally-handicapped boy came into my bedroom and started screaming at me, then tearing all of the toys out of my toy box and throwing them around the room. It all seemed so real that when I woke with a start to complete and full alertness, I was completely and 100% certain that someone had been in my room. I could not go back to sleep for hours. If you know me you'll understand that was incredibly unusual. I can sleep anywhere and at any time. I've fallen asleep in dentist chairs.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Game Masters


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“You are not entering this world in the usual manner, for you are setting forth to be a Dungeon Master. Certainly there are stout fighters, mighty magic-users, wily thieves, and courageous clerics who will make their mark in the magical lands of D&D adventure. You however, are above even the greatest of these, for as DM you are to become the Shaper of the Cosmos. It is you who will give form and content to the all the universe. You will breathe life into the stillness, giving meaning and purpose to all the actions which are to follow.” 
― Gary Gygax, Creator of Dungeons & Dragons

I wrote a pretty detailed account of my GM-phobia awhile back over at RuleoftheDice.com, but at the risk of repeating myself I'll give you the short version:
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Fatherhood


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Raising children is an incredibly hard and risky business in which no cumulative wisdom is gained: each generation repeats the mistakes the previous one made.
- Bill Cosby

I love being a dad. My son is 2 years old and wonderful. He's in that incredible stage when he's still baby-ish but learning and developing at an alarming rate that amazes me to no end. Every day he learns new words, discovers and notices new things, performs tasks he never did before. Watching him grow is more rewarding and enjoyable than I ever would have thought possible.

So of course I'm scared I'm going to fuck it up.
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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Eels


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Click here for the nutritional facts on cooked eel.  They're a pretty good source of protein, but very, very high in fat and cholesterol. And of course they're horrifying.

Eels are mythical, un-killable creatures from the black abyss. I know this as true and absolute fact, and for that I fear them. If ever they should develop intelligence and rise up against us, we are doomed to be their landlocked slaves. Or dinner.
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of the Dark


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"Rod cells, or rods, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that can function in less intense light than the other type of visual photoreceptor, cone cells. Rods are concentrated at the outer edges of the retina and are used in peripheral vision. On average, there are approximately 125 million rod cells in the human retina. More sensitive than cone cells, rod cells are almost entirely responsible for night vision."
-From Wikipedia

Things go bump in the night.  Shadows play tricks on your imagination. Some of the most fearsome hunters in the animal kingdom are nocturnal. All of those things are valid reasons to be afraid of the dark, but mine goes a little bit farther.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Cars


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The fear of driving can be severe enough to be considered a phobia. It is often great enough that people will avoid driving at all costs, and instead find someone to drive them or use public transportation, regardless of how inconvenient or expensive. There is no Latin term for this fear, though it is comparable to hodophobia, the fear of traveling. (from Wikipedia, and you have no idea how much I wish that read "hobo"-phobia, which should be a real thing.  I'll see you again on "H" day)

It's not that I'm afraid of cars themselves or driving or even of getting hit by a car... I actually was hit by one once while crossing a sidewalk. I rolled with it and bounced off the hood before hitting the pavement. I walked away with just a few scratches and some mud on my coat. Freaked the goddamn hell out of the driver though, and I do kinda hope it gave her nightmares.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Barbers


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Come into my Parlor said the spider to the fly
Come into my barber's shop said Todd unto Toby
For a roughness I do detect about the throat I fear
Me thinks it would look better when cut from ear to ear
-From "Sweeney Todd"

So... You walk into a place of business where a minimum wage employee and total stranger yanks your head back and wields sharp implements around your neck and throat while paying more intention to pointless jabber about the weather and the scores to last night's game than he's paying to the deadly weapons in his hands. You have no idea if this guy is an undercover spy, a homicidal lunatic or if he's even sober. Why do people willingly do this on a regular basis, and then pay twenty bucks for it? Have you seen Sweeney Todd?

This is probably why I only get my hair cut every two or three months, and thus look like a slightly meatier version of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Ants


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Myrmecophobia (from Greek: μύρμηξ, myrmex, "ant" and φόβος, phóbos, "fear") is the inexplicable fear of ants. It is a rather specific phobia. [...] This fear can manifest itself in several ways, such as a fear of ants contaminating a person's food supply, or fear of a home invasion by large numbers of ants. (From Wikipedia)

When I was about 10 years old I was playing in the yard of the house across the street from my grandmother's place. I was crawling under a fence when I noticed my hand was itching something fierce. Glancing down, I discovered I was leaning in an ant hill, and big-ass red ants were crawling up my arm and biting my tender childhood flesh.
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