Thoughts on the Myers-Briggs test

So I was reading a blog that talked about the Myers-Brigg’s test. You know, the personality exam that results in you being assigned one of two letters, in four different categories.

Ultimately, you end up with a 4-letter code that tells you who your friends are supposed to be, how you react to stimuli, your zodiac sign, what other – more successful/famous- people are like you, etc.

The blogger mentioned she her code and commented that it was a rare subtype – only 4% of the population. And I thought “Wait, wasn’t my code rare?” and then I thought “Is 4% even rare? How many types are there?”

stalin

“Other people in your type” …Should I be concerned about this?

 

2 possibilities in separate 4 categories. I did the math.

Then a friend did the math correctly, and if each category has an equal chance of being picked, you’re part of a group that composes 6.25% of the population.

So…. you can kind of say ANY group is “rare”. I mean, it’s less than 7% of the population!

Makes you feel good, being a special little flower.

special

Caution: Wanting to feel special is how we get Mary Sues

Further research (clicking the top link of a google search) revealed that it’s not equal distributions. The most common is ISFJ (13.8%), also known as the “conformist losers”, and the least common is INFJ (1.5%), also known as “cliquish snobs.”

On a side note, I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone who said they’re “extroverted”. Maybe it’s just the people I know. Each hiding in their cave.

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The internet is a dick, and not the way you think

It’s come to my attention recently that the internet is really passive aggressive.

No, I don’t mean the people: I mean the internet itself. The technology.

I signed up for a twitter account to participate in a contest. Weeks later, after I hadn’t used it, Twitter emailed me with the message, “Do you know how to tweet?” I couldn’t help but imagine a the implied, sarcistic, “You dumb townie.”

LinkedIn calls itself “the world’s largest professional network.” So when I googled someone on my phone, I got back truncated results from their profile: “John Doe is… the world’s largest… engineer”

I have a facebook now, originally created a few months back to promote my collection of short stories and to prove to people that yes, I do know how to have a “media platform.” I’ve not friended people because there are a lot of people from my past that don’t need to know I’m still alive. Anyway, I scrolled through my feed and after only about 7 posts (each about a line, half about cats the others about trump and one about a cat that looks like trump), the feed ended. I had run out of updates.

Facebook put at the bottom “You’ll have more stories in News Feed if you add more friends.”

“Don’t worry your poor livejournal. I’ll be fine. No it’s fine. It’s fine.”

Duck you, facebook. And your autocorrect that changed my message that was supposed to be “I’ll come along” to “I’ll come alone”.

It’s like Skynet became self-aware and took on the persona of an ex.

“You know, your brother posts every day,” it says. “You’re too busy to instragram your poor world wide web?”

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Getting my sheets together

I’m in the process of putting together materials for agents and editors and well-wishers and not-so-well-wishers.

I read, re-read, do some illicit substances, then re-read again my first 10, 20, and 30 pages.

How do you bribe in an email? And is it too forward to send their loved ones' fingers with the query?

How do you bribe in an email? And is it too forward to send their loved ones’ fingers with the query?

Then I think, “Maybe my YA comedy adventure would work better as a gothic romance. Is there time to retool?”

Then I hit send.

Then I remember that I left the “To:” space blank just to stop myself from accidently sending without the necessary/requested attachments.

Then I repeat all of the above steps before ACTUALLY sending.

Fingers crossed, everyone

Words I hate

On the subject of things I’m supposed to know, and have even been told repeatedly, I hate any words with “ae” in them.

God help me if someone expects me to read aloud anything about daemons or faeries. You couldn’t just call them demons or fairies? I know how to pronounce those words.

"Let's go see *mumbling*-flux! You know, the, u,m,  Charlie Theon movie."

“Let’s go see *mumbling*-flux! You know, the, u,m, Charlie Theon movie.”

I’m pretty sure I know how to pronounce these words. But in my head, right before I say them, I second-guess myself. Then, as I approach the word in the sentence like a car without brakes approaching a stoplight, I panic. The part of the word with “ae” turns into a jumble of vowel sounds nowhere NEAR the noise intended by the writer.

Aerospace engineer becomes “arglespace engineer.”

Algae becomes “Alg-ay-ee-eye-oh-you-and-sometimes-why”

Archaeologist becomes “Indiana Jones – people”

Look at that up there! You're so confused they're melting together!

Look at that up there! You’re so confused the letters melted!

English, ostensibly my native language, is pretty weird. But most of the time I can look at a word and go, “I don’t know what that means, but can probably guess at how to say it.”

By the way, if your name is Michael, I’ll say it the right way, but I want you to know that I kind of secretly harbor resentment toward you.

Sequels Pt. 1

You know what’s the worst? Sequels and trilogies. I’m so sick of them. I remember a time when you could pick up a book at the library, read it, and finish it. As in, the story was over when you ran out of pages. Now EVERYTHING is a series. And you don’t even get a resolution worth diddly.

This book is such a beat-down I couldn't even try

Such a beat-down I didn’t even try sequels “Medium Women” or “Venti Women”

Here’s a scenario I frequently: I’m reading a book and really enjoying it. But a sense of dread is building: I’m three quarters done. And I don’t think I’m close to the end. There’s no way the author could create a satisfying conclusion in the last quarter. I only just met the love interest, like, three chapters ago. Now I’m fifty pages from the end. Forty. Oh, shit, I’m holding the last pages in my fingers and my thumb is practically touching my index finger. There’s nothing leftandIwantaresolutionand

Coming soon: the thrilling filler book in the trilogy!

Damn it! Come ON. All you had to do was shoot the badguy in the face and everyone could have had a happy ending. Except for the badguy.

Look, I liked your characters enough to read ONE book. The law of diminishing returns says that the longer you draw this out, the more the author becomes the antagonist.

This comes down to audience expectations and what publishers want.

Sellingout.jpg

Nice cash grab, Tolkein. Way to sell out.

Audiences right now expect for there to be a Harry Potter and the Next Class Year. Hunger Games established in YA dystopian novels the could-have-been-one-book-but-ok-let’s-deal-with-the-whole-systemic-problem trilogy model, I think.

Don’t get me wrong. There were already series out there. I grew up on wanting the next Animorph book or Nancy Drew or whatever. But no one read The Hardy Boys and the Secret of the Old Mill, got the end, and thought “I can’t wait to find out if Tom Hardy and his brother Tanya Harding survive in the next book!”

If Tolstroy wrote today, there'd be War and Peace 2: Dawn of Rising Unrest and War and P3ace

If Tolstroy wrote today, there’d be War and Peace 2: Dawn of Rising Unrest and War and P3ace

So I’m forced to ask at the end of a lengthy post: what happened to concision, people? Must I skim through a middle book that amounts to little more than “Screw Flanders” repeated over and over?

All that said, I’d love to have the royalties from a trilogy. Do as I say, not as I do, people.

Social awkwardness – good for everyone

I don’t really understand people who don’t have some tiny piece of social awkwardness. Some little piece of them that constantly worries that they’re inconveniencing someone else by merely existing.

These people are often assholes. I present the following case study: The soda fountain/convenience bartop.

Pictured: Coke products and anxiety

Pictured: Coke products and anxiety

A normal person moves to the soda fountain, fizzes up, and moves on, aware that there might be – no, definitely IS – a person waiting to use the machine. Even if the place is deserted, they will fill their beverage and move on, just in case.

But then there’s the person that fills. and stares into the cup to watch the bubbles recede, then top it off again.

“Ok,” I say to myself, as the person standing to one side, waiting patiently. “It was especially foamy. If they don’t give it a second, they’ll walk away with only half a glass of Fresca.”

This person waits, tops off. Then F&%*ING takes a sip! Right there at the soda fountain! And then gets another refill. With me clearly nearby, probably dying of thirst. I could have just stepped out of the Mojave, weak from dehydration! This person doesn’t know.

Some people are more prone to this complete lack of humanity than others. Their lack of soda fountain etiquette befuddles me. Is it a lack of situational awareness? Problems with peripheral vision or even total blindness is no excuse. You just assume you’re getting in someone else’s way if you’re normal.

The third person just wants a napkin, for crying out loud

The third person just wants a napkin, for crying out loud

It’s the same mentality of the indivual that stands in line for 10 mintes with the menu in full view, gets to the front of the line, and stares at the selections as though they’ve only just presented themselves.

“Hm, maybe I’ll try the, um… hm… Does the number three have pickles on it?”

Yes, Brenda, it says so right there! On the menu the rest of us have read cover to cover while we waited.

The best kind of people in the world are not the well-adjusted. The best kind or teeming with agoraphobia and awkwardness so crippling that society continues. The worst kind is Brenda.

Things adults are supposed to know, but I don’t

Everyone has blind spots in their education. One of my favorite things to ask someone is “What’s the thing you’re embarrassed to admit you learned way too late?”

I read quite a bit, and always have. So there were many words I knew on paper, but never heard aloud.

For example, I’d seen lots of books talk about hors d’oeuvres. But I’d only ever been to parties with finger foods or appetizers or even “Or Derves.” I figured someday, when I was and adult, I’d go to a fancy party that had as I assumed it was pronounced “whores doo-vers.”

"Care for an a-pair-of-teef?" "No thanks, I'll just have some tap-ahs"

“Care for an a-pair-of-teef?”
“No thanks, I’ll just have some tap-ahs”

Other things were pretty similar. I thought Armageddon was pronounced “ar-MAG-uh-don”, which is actually the most bad-ass of the dinosaurs. A coworker still ardently pronounces it “epi-tome” and ,without any sense of irony, will not bend in her pronunciation of “com-promise.”

I believed the Allies fought a coalition of Not-sees and Naz-eyes in World War II. It just never occured to me that I only heard about the Not-sees verbally and only read about Naz-eyes. Like they were an offshoot organization from Lord of the Ring’s Naz-ghuls.

Robo-hitler was the worst of the Naz-eyes

Robo-hitler was the worst of the Naz-eyes

Fortunately, all these misconceptions were corrected last week, so I’m caught up.

I’m ashamed to admit that I still struggle with analog clocks. I see people glance at them and tell me the time. To me, it’s a friggin’ math problem. “Uh, ok. Which hand is the bigger one? Ok. And now the little hand is pointed at three, which means fifteen minutes. Processing…. it’s eleventy-twelve o’clock. Ish. Definitely.”

You see a clock, I see the opening credits of Doctor Who.

You see a clock, I see the opening credits of Doctor Who.

I would have fewer problems if I only used sundials or just counted each second from the last time I saw a digital clock. When someone asks the time and my only resource is an analog clock, I have a tiny panic attack. I cover this by mocking them for not having perfect chronological awareness:

“You don’t know what time it is? With the clock right there, where both of us can see it and immediately discern its meaning? Like normal, clock-literate people? Why, the state of kids today that they don’t know what time — it’s noon. I just got it.”

Terrifying things

I was thinking about writing something in the horror genre. Not being a horror-writer, I first decided to catalog the things I see in movies that I find spooky.

Eight year old japanese girls with hair hanging in their faces.

This is a whole genre of movies. It originated in Japan (I assume), but quickly swam overseas like some sort of giant, firebreathing, train-smashing lizard.

Creepy, sure. But I bet she's just playing Candy Crush under there.

Creepy, sure. But I bet she’s just playing Candy Crush under there.

The creepy prepubescent demon child can be seen in The Ring, The Ring 2 (I assume), The Grudge, and on a strange technicality, most Zooey Deschanel movies.

Cots.

Like, the economy, there’s-no-cheaper-form-of-modern-bedding-without-sleeping-directly-on-a-porcupine  hospital kind. Observe:

It conforms to your back and everlasting soul.

It conforms to your back and everlasting soul.

I know you think I picked the most horrific hospital bed Google Image Search could find. But you’re wrong. Several of the top hits also had restraints.

There is no way to walk into a room with one of these beds and not say, “Some baaaaad juju happened in here. Probably experiments. And not the delicious kind where you insert your Cheetos inside the sandwich to see what happens.”

The class you forgot you were in.

I am not a student. I have not been a student in a LONG time. But the most terrifying nightmares I have, to this day, involve some class I forgot I’m enrolled in.

“How in the hell could I forget I enrolled in this class? And the final is today? And I have to take it while in a hospital cot?”

old

“The class is in quantum germanic literature? How did I sign up for that? I’m a kinesiology major!”

I will be a geriatric someday, and will STILL wake up befuddled and panicky. I’ll be sure that I’m late for class and I have a ton of catch-up to do.

Someday I’ll write a story that involves all of these things. It will be the most terrifying thing ever, ever.

In defense of a happy ending

I have never loved an unhappy ending. In my youth, stories had dragons and princesses and everyone at the end of the story was better off than they began. That’s not how life works, outside of books. But that was the point.

Nowadays, it seems the most popular books in genre fiction are either “grimdark” or gritty re-imaginings. The more the reader likes a character, the more likely the author is to behead said character, break their will, or kill their little sisters. Sometimes in that order.

"Sad clown" seems redundant

“Sad clown” seems redundant

 

I was prompted to think on this when I was directed to Chuck Wendig’s blueprint for a story.  Notably the final bullet point in the 13 steps (10-12 provided for some context):

10. WAIT, IS THAT A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

11. IT IS BUT IT’S A VELOCIRAPTOR WITH A FLASHLIGHT IN ITS MOUTH

12. WAIT AN IDEA

13. I HAVE BEATEN THE VELOCIRAPTOR AND NOW I HAVE A FLASHLIGHT AND MY PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED IN PART BUT NOT TOO NEATLY BECAUSE TIDY, PAT ENDINGS MAKE STORY JESUS ANGRY, SO ANGRY THAT STORY JESUS GIVES EVERYONE MOUTH HERPES

I’m not saying he’s wrong. What irks me is that he IS right.

"Funny story: the script called for me to say 'Yes.' I took it a different direction

“Funny story: the script called for me to say ‘Yes.’ I took it a different direction”

I hate that it’s considered poor storytelling to tie things with a bow. I loathe that there must be heartache or sorrow or death in one’s story lest it be considered frivolous or candy-coated.

It irks me that Lev Grossman is lauded for his Magician series, which I’ve described as “Narnia by way of Hogwarts, but with self-despising manic depressives.” I am dismayed that an otherwise great Batman film must end with him becoming reviled by Gotham for a really stupid reason. And every hero on AMC/HBO must be an antihero.

It’s exhausting to read a book that is lovely, thrilling, and filled with characters with whom I connect, but must be constantly wary of how the author is going to darken the last chapter to avoid the wrath of Story Jesus.

Step 13 illustrated

Step 13 illustrated

It’s the age of antiheroes. The Joss Whedon era, in which I can watch an entire movie just guessing which character is going to die. The old writer standby “Kill your darlings, recently re-popularized by Kipling/King/Rowling, has been taken to heart.

So here’s to the story wherein the badguy gets what’s coming to him, the girl gets the guy, and no one steps on the puppy.