M.C.F.A.T. XXIX: Answers

Last week I posted the TWENTY-NINTH batch of the M.C.F.A.T., or Mysterious Cloaked Figure's Astonishing Test questions. Thanks to those who played along and answered:



Here are my answers:

1) Have you ever gotten around to watching a movie or television show that everyone raved about when you were younger, only to wonder what all the fuss was about?
I already went over it this weekend, but why was F/X such a big deal? I was also unimpressed when I finally saw Porky's a year or two ago, but I understand why kids in my elementary school would have been wowed by the nudity. I also didn't think The Omen was all that scary; I was actually bored at times, and wondered why it was considered a classic. I guess not everything is timeless, and it is not only important to see films or shows when they come out, but also where you the viewer are at that time in your life. Friends I liked in an aspirational manner, because these people living independent lives in the city could have been my near future when I was in college. In a similar manner, I now enjoy How I Met Your Mother, because it's a way for me to relive vicariously the life I never quite got to back when I was still in my 20s. One show represented a desired future, while another represents a past that could have been. If I was in elementary school when either show came out, or retired, I don't think I could have appreciated them on the same level. Conversely, another interesting aspect of this is nostalgia, in that a lot of things I enjoyed because I was just the right age, I will always look back on fondly. By today's standards, Knight Rider wasn't all that complex or sophisticated a show. But because it's something I watched when I was in elementary school, it will always hold a place of high regard. By today's standards, it probably wouldn't have lasted one season, let alone four. It makes me wonder then, if the remake was really that much worse. No, no it was. It started getting better, but it was too late.

2) Is it better to feel nothing so you feel no pain, or feel pain so that you might also feel joy?
Pain is important. Physical pain tells us when something is wrong. So does emotional pain, though it can make us irrational. More importantly is the value of contrast. We wouldn't know what it was like to feel fine if we didn't have the opposite to compare it to. Still, for every loss I've encountered in my life, from family to friends to pets to relationships, I find myself a little desensitized, find I recover more quickly because I've been through similar things before, and know to expect it. That can be a slippery slope where I get too numb and two comfortable, maybe avoid relationships so I don't have to go through the pain of a breakup. It's tough finding a balance in life sometimes, and it gets easier and easier as I get older to turn on the old emotional novocaine and just not care. I worry about that sometimes, because while I might feel no pain, I might be separating myself from my humanity in the process. As fast as life goes by, going through it as an automaton isn't living at all.

3) What habit or habits would you like to give up?
Ironically, 6 days after posing this question, I fell off the wagon and had a Venti Mocha Frappuccino after four months of training and discipline. I imagine it was the whipped cream that put me over the top back when I had two or three of those a week, and exercise alone isn't why I've dropped 30 pounds over the last year or two. I was never a coffee drinker before I discovered those things after college, and lately I've been getting a caffeine fix from the free coffee in my cafeteria. Now around 3:30 or 4:00 I feel myself fading, and I need a cup. I put in way too many sugars, like 6 or 7, because I don't actually like the taste, and to make matters worse I hit the snack machine for a packet of Peanut M&Ms. I lucked out for about two days when they were out of those. The weird thing is, I usually feel more tired at first, then get a burst of energy that lasts through my workout, then I'm ready to crash by the time I get home, then the caffeine seems to kick back in when I'm ready to go to sleep after midnight. I don't need that much sugar, I really don't need caffeine, and I really don't need to have all that so late in the day. When I first started working at my current company, by the Winter I got into having green tea in the afternoon, with 2 or 3 sugars, and no snack. That was a far better habit. I could probably list dozens more, but the last one that I'll mention here is my morning nap. I get up at 7:15, finish my breakfast by 7:35. then go back to bed until 8. I should probably just sleep a little later and stay up, or just not take a 20-25 minute nap that sometimes goes longer, and as it is makes me have to rush to get to work on time. The thing about habits is, by definition, they're things we do without thinking about after a while. Sometimes I need to switch from autopilot to manual, but it's tough.

4) Do you have a plan for your life and, if so, how is it working out so far?
My plan was to save as much money as possible, invested in many different ways, until I accumulated enough to bolster a poor salary, or even support me should I go unemployed for any extended period of time. My ultimate goal is to buy a house, with a large enough down payment that my mortgage and taxes would be something I could afford with my paycheck. I've been working nonstop since 1996 and still live at home. I'm a lot closer to my goal than I was 14 years ago, but a home is a bigger investment than just money; it requires time, which I don't seem to have because I'm always working or playing in bands on the side to earn more money. I've definitely curbed my frivolous purchases, such as DVDs, since the technology is becoming obsolete and I can just rent movies, plus I'm running out of room to fit all my stuff, which is another reason why a house is a good idea. I guess achieving goals requires risk and sacrifice, so until I take some chances and give some things up to free up some time, I'm not going to move forward with my plan. At least I've managed to remain steadily employed. I left my first job by choice for a better one, while I was laid off from the second one, but was fortunate enough to find a third immediately. My field will require me to adapt, and the sort of design work I do will eventually dry up or become scarce as more and more people focus on web design since it's so much cheaper and more immediate. I've run across older designers unwilling to adapt, who may be in for a rude awakening. I'm prepared to learn whatever software or skills I need to remain an asset to any company that will have me. And if it ever came down to asking people if they want fries with that, then so be it. One thing I learned after college was that benefits and a steady paycheck are more important than fame or dreams. In the real world, it's important to have things like insurance and a 401K plan, and to maintain a steady stream of income.

SPECIAL BONUS QUESTION(s): Who is Chip to Pidge? To Spike?
Kev Bayer, fellow ‘80s kid, nailed it. I was talking about two different Chips from the two most popular robot cartoons. Chip and Pidge were twin brothers on two different Voltron cartoons. Pidge piloted the Green Lion of the lion version, while Chip flew the helicopter as part of the Air Team in the vehicle version. Meanwhile, on The Transformers, wheelchair-bound Chip Chase was a computer-savvy ally to the Autobots and good friends with their main human ally, Spike Witwicky.



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