Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Transferring Negatives

Unfortunately it seems to be human nature to allow negativity to prevail in our thoughts. A concerted effort and focus is required to rise above into a realm of positivity - the law of entropy applied to the human psyche. I never watch the news because as a whole, it's a macrocosm of what I'm trying to avoid in my brain and I don't need any help being depressed - I do a good enough job of that left alone.

The last month has been especially tough with exhaustion from work and the memories and thoughts that are brought on by holidays. Last night I found myself looking back through my photo archives from this year. When I got to the end of the album it hit me - I have a really good life. I'm not a terrible father or failure at life.  While I don't want to have my head stuck in a delusional sand pile of self affirmation, I am the kind of person that needs a perspective check to counteract my "hyper honest" personality. That hyper honesty is in fact somewhat bullshit because I'm inadvertently losing sight of all the good. It's a lopsided look at reality and nothing will shake a machine apart faster than an improperly balanced motor tearing about at high speeds.

Unless you are a really fucked up person, your photo library is going to be filled with good memories. Next time you are feeling down, look back through the snapshots you've taken of the positive moments of your life. It's like taking a bath in positivity and gratefulness.
Happy New Year Bitches.

Just saw this link and it is a cool story of what I'm talking about. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Losing Control

I haven't posted anything in several days because I didn't have anything to say that wouldn't get me committed or come back to haunt me in some way. The fact that I can't be completely honest chafes me severly but common sense is sometimes better than honesty I suppose. All I can say is that I've once again discovered that despite my best efforts, I have control over virtually nothing. You grab onto what looks like a secure hold while climbing the mountain only to have it come loose and fall a good ways, jerking to a stop when the rope catches you. For a while I could tell that I was on the edge and I think it finally happened - something broke. Don't know which way to go nor do I really care anymore just placing one foot in front of the other till there isn't any more road.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas (and all that shit)

Being Christmas and all I feel obliged to write something. Although, I don't know why considering I'm not the guy to send out holiday texts or Facebook statuses. The truth is I'm kind of bored so maybe that's the reason. I ventured down to Florida to surprise my girlfriend even though she has to work this whole week so it was more of a loving gesture than anything. Last night I slept in a rest stop parking lot and downed a good bit of Fireball while trying to watch Elysium on my phone. As much as I love Matt Damon, the movie was terrible. Sidebar: a lot of people take out a shitty movie on the actors when the reality is that it's highly unlikely that it is their fault. There is so much that goes into making a film and while you may start with a decent script, it can turn into a pile of shit faster than a prom dress comes off. A director may give terrible direction to the actors, the chosen score may not set the proper mood, the editing process can severely change the story and no matter how good everything else is, if the special effects suck, then the film is sinking like toilet paper rowboat.

With the exception of showering (I like to keep clean and smell decent), it would be quite fun to travel around like a hobo from rest stop to rest stop photographing the country and having singular experiences - a Jack Kerouacian adventure without all the drugs. Spent a little time walking the beach today and a seashell inspired a thought: many things are meant to be enjoyed right in the setting they are in, not absconded with in an attempt to keep the moment with you. Seashells and rocks in particular look striking when you find them on the beach or in a stream but after you cart them home and they dry off, their beauty disappears and they become, in many cases, really quite ugly. Sure, you can put them in a tank of water at home but it requires a recreation of the setting with a certain amount of upkeep. While not an evil thing, we would probably all be served better to take snapshots (literal or mental) of the beauty we see and as the Beatles said "let it be". I'll let you zenstrapolate that into other areas of your life yourself.

While I was sitting on a bench listening to the waves break on the seawall, I noticed a family on the balcony of a condo taking family smiling with their arms around each other. At first I thought they were having a moment of thanks but realized they were just taking photos. Unfortunately behind many smiling faces in family photos there is a lot of pain and broken relationships. A family that truely loves each other and actually gets along is a rare thing. For those of you that have that this holiday season, I am genuinely happy for you. All the rest of us stragglers, have the opportunity to make our own family and be that care and support for someone else. There is nothing in my eyes more commendable, brave and touching than to see someone who has been hurt make the choice to rise above and be different instead of reacting by spreading more pain.

Merry *whatever you celebrate* my friends (and all that platitudinal shit)....

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Christmas Time in Suburbity

I detest what holidays have become in America - sanctioned greed, gluttony and familial obligation - but I can be briefly taken back into the magic through one of the old time songs by Bing Crosby etc. Though these "old songs" were new at one point, the ideas and time period they represent were, I believe, something special even at their inception. You can't capture any of that in new Christmas songs because the suburbs have ruined Christmas (and not to be too dramatic but America as well).

What the whuk right? I know that seems like a stretch to blame this on suburbia but let me explain. Suburbs are the middle ground, the "best of both worlds": the benefits of the city with just enough grass to feel like you have some space to breathe. When your only neighbors are a mile away or are literally crammed all around you, you get to know them out of necessity or pure proximity. Most suburbian residents know their neighbors on a cursory level but isn't that the point - having just enough space where you can exist in a perfect little bubble? When you try to climate control life and make a comfortable baseline, nothing is special anymore. When I lived in LA, I loved the winter because there was occasionally inclement weather to break up the monotony of "another shitty day in paradise".

New Christmas songs are produced and "perfect" just like the planned developments and communities a majority of Americans clamor to live in. Modern renditions lack the rawness and excitement that the older songs evoke because they are representitive of a society that has gorged itself on plastic mediocrity. Instead of being excited for a trip to the city to see the lights and displays, neighbors attempt to outdo each other with their decorations; try and make a timeless song about that. Or what about kids a few generations ago excited about getting a handful of candy and maybe a new penknife or something they would cherish for years? Most children will get more toys this Christmas than their grandparents had their entire childhoods. Sadly they will also lose interest or break half of them before January ends.

I really have no idea if I'm going to end up living in the city or country but whichever it ends up being, I want to settle down where I can be part of a community. Instead of being concerned about how close I am to a walmart or target, I want to find a great deli for instance where I can get to know the Italian family that owns it. If I live that long, I'll be the geezer playing chess in the park, singing Silver Bells and drinking coffee with Saul from 10B.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Past the Atrium

There are people all of us know that from the outside appear to be no different from the rest of the world but occasionally they'll let you in past the atrium of their lives and you glimpse the strength of spirit they possess. I was having one such conversation the other night and was astounded once again by how tough humans can be. My dithering about life is pathetic in comparison and you, you know who you are, have my profound respect.

I still don't know what the point of life is but maybe that's where I'm going wrong - looking for a point. Some people just exist in each moment seemingly without a thought to how they fit into the puzzle. I think they are the ones who get it because instead of looking for where they fit in, they simply are, allowing pieces to fill in around them.

* For the record, some of the strongest people I know are women and I would be remiss to not make note of that fact. Ladies - you rock. May you be the center of a beautiful puzzle providing inspiration for many. *

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rebel Without a Pause

I stumbled upon this page (litterally with the app Stumble Upon) a few minutes ago. It's a poignant and succinct demonstration of 10 great existential ideas illustrated through Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. The first two in the list are what struck me immediately (because they were first of course) but also because they resonated the strongest. My favorite TV shows and movies have characters with a "good heart" but who color outside the lines with no apologies. The heroes are eccentric, at many times difficult to deal with on a personal level but they are true to themselves throwing off social norms - any shred of left ceremony was left in their mothers uterus'.

While I'm not an anarchist, I believe that if people lived by all 10 of the thoughts in the article, but predominately the first two, the world would be a much happier place. Too many people allow themselves to be trapped in unhappiness because they don't want to rock other people's boats. The thing is, we're all in this ocean together. You have to deal with the wake from their movement so don't sit still because your progress bothers someone else. Everyone needs sea legs and if you've never encountered some waves to develop them then it's not my fault. Keep doing you and be a rebel without a pause.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wind in My Sails

It seems that everytime I get to a place in my life where I'm comfortable, something comes along to disturb my comfort. For a long time I thought I just wasn't allowed to be happy. When I look back at the circumstances, I discovered that the discomfort was propelling me forward in life. As much as I would consider myself a fairly unassuming person, other people and life seem to see a potential in me that I am unaware of.

My new position at work has stressed me out incredibly however it has also afforded me a chance to observe other departments much closer than before. This proximity coupled with observation are instructing me and I expect, unless I become lazy and give up, life will eventually propell me into a much higher position in my field.

The moral is - don't turn down opportunities offered to you because you feel unqualified or stressed by them. If you don't become sedentary, you will achieve great heights.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Labor Not to Be Rich

I'm quoting the bible here which generally I'm loathe to do but you can find wisdom anywhere, even in a TV show, so I'm doing my best not to discriminate. The next verse says "For riches certainly make themselves wings. They fly away as an eagle toward heaven". You can interpret several meanings from this selection but one has been running through my mind the last few days which is identified by the previous verse and title of this post - "Labor not to be rich".
Much of the stress in our world is related to money since it has become a necessity to provide our basic needs in life. A pile of money symbolizes freedom from the rat race but in reality it's freedom from the fear of being powerless over your circumstances. While prima facie, the idea that riches make life easier seems accurate, that mindset will ultimately disappoint. Those who strive for a certain amount of money to feel secure will quickly realize once attaining their goal that there are many other things to fear: the currency becoming valueless, theft, higher taxes (aka legal theft) etc.
Happiness doesn't come from money regardless of the size of the pie that you have. While wealth isn't evil and can provide much help and enjoyment, the quest for riches is a bottomless pit. Happiness come from being filled with peace internally because there is a finite constraint - you. The universe is purportedly infinite and therefore you can never have enough external things to fill the void around you. 

*I'm not sure about the logic of the last statement but it sounded interesting so I wrote it. In actuality peace can be achieved for free, anywhere which is what differentiates it from tangible items.*

A Christmas Story

As an adult I find most things about the "Christmas Season" depressing but this movie somehow cheers me up inspite of everything. That aside, I'm going to go on a short rant about modern film making. When I watched Ralphie and company last night with my children, I paid careful attention to the cinematography. There weren't any fancy dolly or crane shots that I could detect and there wasn't an insane amount of coverage on various focal lengths and lens sizes. I was watching Elementary as well last night and noticed a slow parallel dolly shot of two people on a bench, which would have been great if the editors had allowed the move to be completed on the screen but it was cut after only a few seconds to a close up. WTF?

Contrary to modern film making practices, you can tell a story without all this ridiculous bullshit. They should list the Director and Director of Photograhy on these stupid shows as Scut Farkus because their work looks as bad as the name sounds.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rocket Man

I really have no idea what that song is supposed to be about but what I take from it is this: a guy pursues being an astronaut and in that process he discovers something he didn't expect. As much as he knew what his career was and how much he was going to miss people on earth, he didn't know who he really was. When the ship gets to space he realizes that it's not so much being an astronaut that he wants but It's the solitude and god like perspective on the world he gains in space that he's after.

A lot of things in life are like Rocket Man - you start out in one direction and discover something tangential (and possibly course altering) in the process. My job is like that: I enjoy much of it but it's the why that I'm interested in. Am I discovering "I'm not the man they think I am at home?" Am I a wacked out carny that thrives on chaos and a semi dysfunctional family environment? I don't want things to be hidden from me or the people that know me. As cool as it sound I don't want to be "a rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone".

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Celebrate the Living

RIP, you will be missed - facebook blowing up. Someone famous left this world strangers get choked up. Doesn't matter if it's old age, drugs, or sheer stupidity - they're gone, we're left, with just some fading memories.

Life is pain the Buddah said but so many fear death and being bereft. You can't escape though some try to hide but your ticket will be punched, you'll get on this ride. If you are suffering pain now, is the unknown really worse? I can't wait to die, ride in that hearse. I'll see what's on the other side and maybe I'll find vast nothingness - eternal peace of mind.

Enjoy your loved ones that are still alive, help the helpless as they fight to survive. Don't fight wars for oil or drugs - fight to make the world better with kindness and hugs. The only thing that's certain is the moment called now don't worry about killing someone's holy cow - to feed a begger who's starving for food or let a dude marry another dude.

Your narrow minded ways only lasts till you're gone, is oppressing someone else what gets you off? Yet you mourn for someone you never knew explain how that makes any sense from your point of view?

I tear up everytime I see the flag of names - people who died when the towers fell in flames. Or war memorials, they're people I knew nothing about but their lives were snuffed in pointless wars - candles in the wind gone out.

Call me an asshole for not being sad over Mandella, Walker like some fucked up fad - my heart breaks for kids with abusive dads. Its the people in pain not some fucking celeb attention should be paid cause they're not dead.....yet

Rain Drops

I tell people that living in my car isn't that bad because it's not - compared to a tent in Siberia. The truth is that many things about it suck such as not having my own bathroom. You really take for granted having your own private space to get comfortable and eliminate little demons from your body. As much as I dislike Walmart, I'm grateful that they are open 24/7 so I have a place to go if the urge hits.
Despite a lack of facilities and proper heating, there are some things I really like about my van life. This morning I woke up to the sound of rain pattering on the roof of my van. I felt like I was in a little cocoon and it was a moment I soaked in (no pun intended) and enjoyed (that is after I shook my arm awake). I had slept on it so long last night the it was completely dead to the point that when I sat up, my hand hit me in the face and freaked me out because I had no idea what it was. In my groggy state I thought there was a small animal in my car.
After I laughed at myself I listend to the rain for a bit and realized once again that you have to take pleasure in all the little things.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oil Pulling

While I don't obsess over being super healthy (we're all going to die at some point), I do like to be balanced in what I put into my body. My preferences do lean towards healthier foods and practices (I love salads and not having a BMI of like 500) so when I read an article about oil pulling I figured "what the heck, why not?"

The name of the procedure almost turned me off because it's sounds so dumb but everything has to be called something I suppose - like blogging. Oil pulling is where you swill coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes as an alternative to brushing your teeth. The claim is it will repair your teeth and fight cavities. Sounds too good to be true but it doesn't cost much except my self respect when I find out I've been had. Who are we kidding, I lost my self respect a long time ago so this only costs the price of the coconut oil.

I haven't been to a dentist in 10 years so I have no way of knowing if I have cavities to measure the success of the oil pulling by. Hopefully I will get a visit in next year with xrays and all that jazz. If I don't have any cavities, I will probably assume that it was the oil pulling and  try to proselytize everyone I know *sarcasm*.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Growing Up

Over the past 10 years I've been able to watch myself grow up and become a semi-mature adult. It's a weird thing because I was never conscious of the changes in my maturity as a child. That could be due to the fact that kids are obvlious or maybe I was just arrested in development and didn't start to mature till I was 20. The biggest lesson I have learned in my maturation is to face things head on whether they be circumstances or relationships.

I had a moment of childishness last week after getting offended by several family members and I started to cut them off. The reality is that one of the situations was purely from lack of communication which engendered assumptions on my part. After I cooled down from my tantrum, I decided to call both relatives and try to talk about how I felt but also hear them out. Suprisingly, both talks went really well and while there is still an issue between us, we understand each other better and have an open line between us. This doesn't mean that we will see eye to eye and all obstacles will evaporate but there's a much better chance of it now.

Mature people face things, they don't run away. The one caveat is that some abusive people will say you are running away when you distance yourself from their damage and intractability. It's a knifes edge sometimes between the two but when you are willing to face your problems it becomes much easier to detect the difference.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Parental Responsibility

I took the opportunity yesterday to go watch the movie Delivery Man. It's about David Wozniak (played by Vince Vaughn), who through donations to a sperm bank, ends up with 500 something biological children. Part way through the film he decideds to try and find out about some of his offspring. After meeting a few, much to the chagrin of his laywer, David tells him "I think I'm supposed to be their guardian angel." He helps his kids, encourages them, believes in them all without revealing who he is.

Parenthood had already been on my mind for a few days and the movie hit the nail on the head confirming my feelings. Being a parent is about supporting, loving and believing in your children. The protecting portion is only a small part of the job because they quickly will outgrow their need for your protection (if you raise them properly). Some parents try to keep their children from experiencing pain and hardship but unless you live in a bubble your entire life, you will experience difficult things. In fact it's struggling and hardship that make us stronger people and that's where the parents come in - to build up when you are broken down.

Being a parent isn't about you, it's about what you give to your children. It's about allowing them to experience life by being there to cheer for, cry with, hold and believe in them. Anyone who wants something from their children is abusive and an asshole.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

No Fear in Love?

In my quest for existential answers I have thrown into question virtually everything I once believed. When religious people discover you have "lost your way" they try to scare you back into belief with Hell. Some even posit Paschal's Wager - again, fear, but cleverly disguised as an attempt to appeal to your sense of logic. You can hedge your bets against uncertainty but that does not certify the outcome. (Side note: People who hedge their bets are easy to control.) 

Fear is a powerful motivator but when you break it down in relation to Christianity, it makes very little sense. The Bible says "God is love" and "there is no fear in love". (I won't address the fact that it also directly says to "fear the Lord" since you can argue translation of words and I don't feel like delving into hermeneutics). If God is love and there is no fear in him then anything related to fear is antithetical. That isn't to say that you can't punish evil matter of factly but since when is questioning evil? Who gave you the ability to question? "Here is free will and a brain, but only do what I tell you or there will be consequences." No one can offer absolute proof of God. Those that claim to have proof, accept certain prerequisites as fact to complete their argument. Therefore if you have to believe on faith because deep down you know you don't have a choice, then God is not love. Otherwise God really is fine with people questioning and will not send you to hell. 

The one wrinkle I know some will throw into this is "it's all about relationship with God. The punishment is ancillary - a cause and effect reaction to our lack of relationship but not something he wants." In that case he should be accessible through actually physical communication not some mystical bullshit that could just as easily be my subconscious. 

*if this logic sucks or you have a counter argument, I welcome it*

Hulk Smash

I woke up this morning felt like my mind was clouded with a blanket of rage my soul has been pounded. I'm angry that I'm angry, a perpetual motion machine like if the hulk kept hulking ever time he saw green.

I hate that I can't keep Bruce Banner on the scene. I'm not physically violent just lyricaly mean. This mother fucking pissed off ginger gone green is straight up wassabi I make your ear buds scream. Sick of being messed with, tested and prodded - I'm not an animal on your farm waiting to be slaughtered. My mamma, my ex, people I barely know think they have the right to tell me how my life should go.

Shut the fuck up cause you don't know shit - you're about to be named in the next ryhme I spit. I'll spit on your grave while still shoveling dirt, you're about as worthless to me as a virgin birth. Which makes about as much sense as loading a gun, only to disassemble a round, dump gunpowder in his lungs. Then as he's choking to death scream "I went outside the box, unconventional this time just to steal a watch I fucking designed ."

Step back bitches before I blow - I'm like a frag grenade you'll be the first go. You claim you care you can shove it up your ass your love is sticky acid covered in broken glass. Leave me alone quit messing with my head. It would serve you all right if I woke up dead. Had an aneurysm in my sleep, bled out in my car, but i doubt you'd regret having pushed me so hard.

I not going to die, nope I'm sticking around. I'm going to get where I'm going not burn this mother down. The secret I'm learning to break the infinite loop is forgiving you shitheads right here in the booth. I won't be close so you can keep messing with me but this forgiveness is like tephlon - the best way to be clean. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

We celebrate a day of giving thanks once a year. Less than 24 hours later we're out fighting for more. Developed countries have developed a disease - currency exchanged for goods without reciprocity. Accountability is gone for these products on the shelves - just keep accounting in the black, pretend the shit comes from friendly elves. Corporations are proxies keeping our consciences clean from the disenfranchised little hands assembling our things.

Its a superfluous celebration but it fits our society - we celebrate excess through all the crap we are buying. More shit than we need - more than most have in a lifetime we go crazy over sales while impoverished are dying. People stampede like they're running for their lives but their lives are what they're running from through the shit they buy. In other parts of the world when they stand in line, it's for clean water so their families can survive - another day but without another dollar they strugle as we take for granted all we have been offered. 

Settlers took this land through disease and gun - oppressing, massacring, making natives run. Indians cried for the land we disrespected - the white man's way of life based off an entitled perspective. History was flipped 90 degrees, culled of the evil making heroes of thieves. A celebration is invented twisting a legacy of bloodshed into thanks to God for his divine protection. 

You shit on your thanks when before the turkey is digested, you trample old women to buy cheap presents. Fuck Walmart, Bestbuy, retailers in general and for Christmas this year continue being thankful. Black friday is a blight on this time of year a magnifying glass making what's inside us clear. Analyze your desires, some of it's poison cause you don't deserve shit and you're so fucking fortunate. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Know Thy Craft

Gone are the days of apprenticing and mastering a skill. Now if you have even half a skill set you can be successful, at the expense of making the people you work with miserable. It's the walmart mentality applied to everything. I was in a 5 million dollar house last week and easily noticed shoddy construction briefly glancing around. It's not much different in the arts.  Any asshole with a digital video camera thinks they are a director or DP without having the requisite knowledge to actually do the job proficiently. Unfortunately technology allows users to not have to think, learn or retain information. 

I've met several people recently who are new to my field and they know nothing which would be understandable except for one thing - the internet. There is so much conyent you can find on topics in most any field that knowing nothing nowadays is inexcusable. Where is the curosity in people? The more you know, the more tools you have. Ask questions about everything - questions are free. Don't succumb to being a cheap item that barely gets the job done. Our world needs excellence from everyone not just a few. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

No Country for Honest Men

*This was precipitated by some family coming to visit my ex and kids. They ended up going to visit my ex's parents as well which I found odd. By no means is this meant to be whining. Only an attempt to make something creative out of current events.*

Times have changed - in actuality it's me, that morphed into something new wanting to be free. I have a family by blood, but backed away desiring something more. A blind man doesn't need to see to understand he's sight poor.

Never escaping the desire, hunting - like an addict for drugs - I thought I found a family through marriage but it was a prison cell of "love". Self discovery comes in layers and slowly you grow but the more you become honest the less you fit inside their homes.

28 years from birth the reality struck - life isn't black and white but a kaleidoscope being shaken up. I watched the shapes change admiring the beauty - broken pieces of glass colliding, my imperfect perfection revealing.

My son asked me today why my eyes look sad. Didn't know it was so obvious - I hate him seeing that in his dad. I miss the one person who makes me feel at home - my country without borders, love's piece de resistance. I don't think I'll be complete till I have her in my arms or learn accept being a lonely honest man.

People from my past life mingle like nothing has changed. I'm on the outside looking in as blood and exes communicate. I've got no corner to back, no posse or gang. I'm a man without a country like Snowden or Assange - I don't want fucking assylum I want a place where I belong. A home for honest men not an island all alone.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Necessary Evil

I saw a bumper sticker today that said "government isn't the solution - it's the problem". Our government isn't perfect but I don't believe there is a perfect solution. Give one person the supreme power or have a ruling class, there will be many disenfranchised. Allow everyone an equal say and eventually the majority, which eventually will be overwhelmingly lazy, will drag the whole system down.

I'm not an voracious reader of history but I do know that all governments fail eventually. I believe the success of the American system was due to the fact that the majority of her early citizens held a belief in hard work and self sufficiency - that and unfortunately many had no qualms building wealth on the backs of slaves. We have come to a point in America where the majority want an easy life such that comforts are practically handed to them. Unfortunately these benefits can be voted in by the majority in a democratic system and our benevolent monster is beginning to eat it's own tail.

People not government are what is wrong with America. Government is a meter of what we the people are willing to allow. Unless there is some collective tightening up soon we'll be headed down a hill at such speed that the momentum will making turning around impossible.

3xhausted

This week only had 3 intense days of work but they felt like a month (or the first cicle of hell). My new position at work he kept me busy almost non stop for all of the 13+ hour days not to mention being nearly perpetually on edge. I accidentally coined a new term when trying to describe through text how tired I was - 3xhausted. I figure it means you are extra tired to the point of your eyes feeling like they are going to fall out of their sockets. You all can use it too free of charge. Maybe it will catch on and I can use it as an icebreaker. "Yeah, that 3xhausted thing, I invented that". Totally wouldn't alienate people.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Burning My Face on the Stove

Today was my second day in a new position at work and this morning I was immediately thrown into the lions den. I was given the opportunity to attempt two complicated procedures both of which I failed at spectacularly. It's bad enough that I know I screwed up but when someone says "this is never going to happen" with the implication being "this guy sucks", it takes it to a whole different level of "I fucked up". My face started burning partially from being embarassed but also because I was pissed of with myself for not getting it.

Sometimes you have to touch the stove to learn a lesson. If your parents were cool they said "you learned something right?" and didn't freak out about your mistake. Thankfully I had a few of those people around me today and 7 hours later don't need a shiatsu massage anymore. You can't expect to do everything perfectly the first time and accruing a few burns while learning is part of the process. Eventually, even though the heat doesn't lower, you learn to navigate through it unscathed....or so I hear.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Canning Currency

A friend sent a link to me this morning about Mark Boyle, a guy who has lived without money for 7 years. He is my new hero - a legit status quo fugitive (and Irish to boot). His major premise is that many of our world's problems are due to currency allowing us to be disconnected from the impact of what we purchase and the damage it exacts on the environment and humanity. His lifestyle and mentality are right in line with my beliefs however I'm conflicted due to my occupation.

I love many things about my job: it is not the standard 9-5, we are a close knit community and many of us care about the environment and social issues. The one drawback is that there is a lot of materialism and grandeur tied to this business. We are providing a drug for the rat racers to numb themselves with which is the antithesis of what I believe.

The concept of living without money seems unconscionable but as with most things in life, almost anyone could do it if they really wanted to. What holds us back are fear and lack of introspective honesty. I've worked hard to get where I am and I'm not quite ready to give it up. Anything I've wanted to do, after pussy footing around for a bit, I just dove in. What's the worst that happens, you die trying? Shit, you're probably miserable already so how much worse could failing be? At the moment I can't live without money due to child support for the next 18 years but I can still live with a simpler mindset and use my money to attempt to affect change in the consciousness of western humanity. My hat is off to you Mark and I hope I can meet you some day and buy a pint for you.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Black the Fuck Up

A small amount of consideration was paid toward censoring the title as Black the F*ck Up but figured that if you're not offended by the * and are offended by the U being there, then you probably don't need to read my blog.

I am aware that this is the wrong part of the year to be talking about Black History month but it was on my mind the other day after I saw all the stages at a certain studio named after black actors. A lot of people would complain "white people couldn't do that. Like they get a whole month. Why do they get a whole month specifically designated for them?" Slavery was only outlawed 150 years ago in America and probably only in the last 20 years were black americans treated anywhere close to white americans. I think considering those facts where we are with race relations in America is remarkable. I don’t think it's some calculated attempt to get back at white America but just an effort to overcome the severe oppression their ancestors faced. Eventually there will hopefully be no differences related to skin color but time is needed to heal. Lil Wayne even said in one of his songs "fuck Jesse Jackson because it ain't about race now". All you people that are freaked out and insecure about your own identity - black the fuck up and get a life.

For all you people with white guilt, lose it. Guilt is a twisted antonym for empathy. I feel about as much responsibility for slavery in America as I do for the extinction of the dinosaurs but I do care a lot. What the world needs is empathy for all the downtrodden not targeted attemps at pacifying guilt.

Parental Approval Rating

Earlier today when I snapped the photo in this post, I received several compliments on it. On my way "home" for the evening I was thinking about how I should call my mother and then send the picture to her. It's ridiculous because I know what the response would be and it's not going to be what I hope for. I thought I was beyond the point of caring what my parents thought but maybe we never outgrow that desire. Maybe we are trapped in a prison wrapped in razor wire where it seems that the more you try to get out, the more you bleed but eventually you can break free....a psychologist would have a field day with this photo. 

Starbucks Rage

Trying to make a Starbucks run for work nearly set me off this morning. I pulled into the packed parking lot and waited for a spot that was about to open up. As soon as it does, some woman in a mini van also backs out blocking me from pulling in. Meanwhile a Nissan Z3000 something or other pulls into my spot. I say screw it and go to park on a side street only to have someone pull up right behind me making parallel parking impossible. Then I got all turned around on the asinine streets of Atlanta. Many profanities later I found a spot about a quarter mile away and said fuck it and parked. Starbucks as an establishment makes me nauseous but also stresses me out. I don't know these ridiculous drinks everyone wants and I'm afraid I'll come back with screwed up, over priced liquid so being in line just further aggravated my condition. If this was real life GTA and my mission was to kill as many hipsters as possible, I hit the jackpot in Little Five Points. I'd like to think I'd get a bonus if I choked them all with their scarves. 

As I waited for the order to be filled I relaxed and thought "if this is the hardest thing I have to do all day then I'm pretty spoiled". There are some cities that are super cool but only if you forgo driving. Maybe that should be a new law -  make it illegal to drive in major cities. But if you make cars illegal, then only assholes will have cars or something like that. The good news is I got over my little tantrum without having to have someone kick my ass and I had a fairly tasty peppermint hot chocolate. For everyone's saftey please keep crowded parking lots, hipsters and Starbucks out of my way. 

#Kindness - It's Trending

I seem to see more and more upworthy.com videos being posted around Facebook lately. Some I watch but some I don't I guess out of a kind of counterculture rebelliousness. Call me a pessimist but I highly doubt that most people alter their behaviour after watching a video. A few tears may be shed and warm feelings kindled but change is not affected. The term "sheeple" was coined because most people succumb to whatever peer pressure is around them at the moment. Very few have original thoughts in their heads or if they do, the chutzpah to follow through.

Am I happy that there seems to be a trend towards kindness and lifting up our downtrodden fellow man? Yes, but I'm also concerned that it's just that, a trend that may change as quickly as popular opinion for a president does. Please don't do something good because it's cool say to go to Africa and help orphans, do it because it's the right thing to do. Your behavior should be the same even if you and the person you are helping were the only two humans left on earth.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Universe Made Me Do It

With Thanksgiving upon us many people are taking the season as an obligatory chance to be grateful for things on Facebook. It's a good exercise but there's one thing that I find supremely irritating - people thanking the universe. Let me preface my rant with the following *I'm sorry if you are one of the people I am lambasting. I don't mean to hurt you, these are just my opinions and are probably just as full of bullshit as the next guy's.*

My problem with thanking the universe is that it's extremely nebulous. Basically you want to feel like a benevolent entity more powerful than yourself is looking out for you. You don't however want to anthropomorphise it lest you feel beholden to rules or instruction that a definitive being would have. Sure there is a basic belief in Karma that goes along with the universe blessing you but you can find the "do unto others" mantra in most belief systems.

Why does this matter to me? I don't care if you worship a god or not but I find it irritating for people to believe something just because it makes them feel good. It's not my job to burst people's fantasies but then again, this is a blog where I can say what I want and no one is forcing you to read it. There are two kinds of people in the world of faith - those who believe and those who know. I believe that if I went to space without an oxygen tank, I wouldn't be able to breathe because I've been told so by reputable scientists. However, I know that I cannot breathe under water because I've tried it and have experienced that it doesn't work. We can't test everything out for ourselves or no one would make it past the age of about 4 but belief can be a very dangerous thing if not tempered with a good bit of "I could be wrong" and "let me think about this logically".

If you are following a system that controls virtually your entire life then you should know not just believe. I think that's why the Universe ploy bothers me so much - it's dipping your toe into the world of faith just enough to get a good feeling but with no commitment or conviction. Drugs give good feelings but they are a tough thing to shake and beliefs aren't much different. I will laugh if I ever hear someone do something bad and says "the universe made me do it".

Friday, November 15, 2013

Inner Peace - SKUDOOSH!

When this week is all said and done, I'll have worked about 75 hours in the freezing cold, rain and on little sleep. I bring that up not to complain but to point out that I am exhausted and a bit down. Everyone sees the world differently filtering it through their previous experiences, establishing their "truth". It may seem true for them and even be situationaly a fact, but ultimately is not the truth. For example (let's go super emo) someone might say "no one cares about me, or wants me. I'm just going to be pushed away again." While that individual may have some legitimately bad experiences with rejection in their past, that doesn't mean it's always going to be that way but it probably will if they hold on to their pattern of thinking. Situations are facts - not the truth (unless you allow them to continue as a cycle in your life.)

I've finally learned to not take myself too seriously when I'm really tired or under stress etc because my perception is usually extremely skewed. I got off work a little while ago wet, tired and lonely with the prospect of sleeping in my car tonight kind of depressing. My life is adventerous I suppose but definitely not glamorous and possibly bordering on stupid. However, I am learning to keep my mind more focused and centered. The material things in life don't matter a whole lot but achieving peace in every circumstance is invaluable.

*I feel really sorry for homeless people. They may choose to live that way due to laziness or drugs but they are still tormented humans that need love*

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'm Not Apathetic, Just Accepting

I've been noticing that recently I haven't been getting stressed out at much as I used to with work or relationships. After seeing all the inept people that have are working (if you can call it that) and continue to work, I've decided that with my work ethic, if I don't get hired it's probably outside my control. The quality of my work isn't suffering but my level of angst is very low now compared to the last 29 years.

The same goes for the relationships in my life. I may appear uncaring but that's far from true. What is different is that I'm not trying to avoid painful situations anymore; I have accepted that pain is part of life. My relationships will get the best of me that I can give but I've accepted that I'm not perfect and again, some things are outside my control. Pain is inevitable but my heart will heal when it comes and yes, it will leave a scar but if you don't take a few hits now and then you probably aren't living. Bring it Life. I'm not apathetic but I'm ready for your shit just like I've come to grips with paying taxes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

That's Harsh Bro

When most people find out I'm still sleeping in my car with the cold weather they serve up some version of "you're hard core but nuts". Here's a free tip for all you softies - get a skiing jacket for like $60, some blankets and you'll be fine. I've slept outside when it was 14 degrees and woke up well rested sans frostbite using that gear. I probably am capable of putting up with a lot more adverse circumstances than most people due to my childhood. There was the time my brother and I had to shovel the snow off our 900' long driveway, or the time I had to haul 5 gallon buckets of water 200 yards in the Connecticut, October night, or the time I stood there holding a work lamp as my father covered up the decking on the first floor of their house for winter all the while snow is falling and melting on my uninsulated rubber boots. Yeah, those were the days.

Calling back to my earlier post about my daughter playing soccer, it seems like you have to be forced to go through hard shit to be tough. I was listening to a podcast (Radiolab) about Kenyan runners and how scientists have tried to determine the cause of one small village's unprecedented athletic ability. The podcast guests surmised that while there may be some genetic advantages, it's most likely due to the heinous coming of age ritual where they are forced to crawl naked through stinging nettles, are beaten with sticks and circumcised with a pointed stick all the while not flinching less they be cast out. 

A debate still continues in my mind over God vs no god and here's why. I can't completely accept evolution because where did the matter come from first of all but secondly, childhood is one of the worst defects of humanity. So much can fuck you up as a child that you have no control over that you would think somehow we would have evolved to a point beyond that. Maybe we will get to that point or maybe its a stupid argument in the first place however if there is a god then I have to come back to - he's kind of a dick. Who says "I'm going to create beings with feelings and life long memory but with the option of being great hedged by the fact that you have to endure a lot of misery to attain it"? It's nuts right?

I know all suffering doesn't have to be emotionally painful but a good portion of it is. The hardcore believers will probably say that this is all due to the fall but I have a hard time accepting that either because then humans would have a fairly pointless life by everyone being on the same plane. Apparently suffering and the drive to overcome it are what make life interesting. You hear about geniuses killing themselves because they are bored with life so maybe I should "rejoice in my sufferings". That all being said, explain then how Heaven, a place devoid of suffering, will not actually be tormenting. 

I still have no idea how to raise strong "hardcore" adults while minimizing mental anguish but I guess time will tell if I found am alternative. As for the rest of life, fuck it, I'm where I am and I'll think about my existential crisis later. 

*I don't run my car all night or at all during the night : )

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/12/13

The title of those post is completely irrelevant and unrelated to anything except that it's an interesting date. Dates however, are arbitrary measuring of cycles so I suppose there is a slight connection. Today and Monday have been stupid crazy at work with us setting up all kinds of stuff only to have half of it unused. I still get paid regardless so who cares right? 

I found a sheet in my car Sunday night and thought "how could I use this as a curtain over the back window of my car?" Then I realized "this is the kind of shit I get paid to figure out at work" and promptly grabbed a couple .5" spring clips and affixed the sheet to the plastic trim and voila, extra privacy.

Lastly, I ran 5K at the gym last night after work. Ok truth be told me knees started hurting after about 1.5K at 6.5mph so I slowed down to about 3.5 for a bit and then ran the last like 2.5 at 6mph again. Not super impressive but I hate running so I'm happy with it and hopefully will get better.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Broken Records

*This is for all my friends, current and future, who have gone through lots of shit. I love you guys*

Helplessly watching, completely painfully aware of the torment overtaking people I love so much. There are things that could change to ameliorate days going by but it doesnt change the years of trauma that have inundated their lives. People stand in judgement because of choices my friends make but most decisions come out of the way you were raised. You do the best you know how with the information on hand but some of those WMDs were just a smoke and mirrors sham.

I cry for you, mostly inside but I'm so proud of you for still being alive. I'm so glad you've found the stength to fucking survive but I cry because I know what it's like to want to curl up and die.

I wish I was a doctor who could go in with a knife, surgicially removing they memories like an evil cancerous blight. I'd even do like Ashton if that's what it took and not exisit if my wings lying still would right the wrongs in their books. When I see the pain in someone's eyes even though they've done nothing wrong I want pull out a bazooka or a sawed off - run around like Rambo and kick down some doors, blow up some assholes, show them hell's doors. Cause they've fucked up so much they don't deserve to be alive - like a bug in a zapper they should just fucking fry.

I cry for you, mostly inside but I'm so proud of you for still being alive. I'm so glad you've found the stength to fucking survive but I cry because I know what it's like to want to curl up and die.

As much as bringing justice would satisfy it doesn't erase the grooves their needle has cut into your life. There has to be a way to find a reprieve and I'll keep searching high and low, googling shit hoping for some answers even if there are none like a conspiracy theorist supposed smoking gun. I don't want to change you because I think you're fucked up but I want you to be happy because you're worth so much.

I cry for you, mostly inside but I'm so proud of you for still being alive. I'm so glad you've found the stength to fucking survive but I cry because I know what it's like to want to curl up and die.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gym Rat

After two months of taking hobo showers I decided that it was getting too cold and too troublesome to find a spigot to connect to. Today I joined a gym. Don't get all excited ladies, I'm not going to get all Dwayne Johnson, that's physically impossible for this guy and more importantly, I'm unavailable. There is a secondary reason for joining the gym though. Despite being skinny my cardio could use a little help since I don't want to winded during potential extracurricular activities.

So as to not make it obvious that I joined the gym because I needed a shower today I ran a mile and a half on the tread mill in "rolling hills" mode. My legs are already thanking me but I smell good and feel refreshed so I'd say I'm winning. I did do a few pull ups and leg lifts (or whatever they're called) so I could feel a little manly.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Low Grit

*I decided to challenge myself and write in a different style today. This is an attempt at spoken word / rap*

A text on my phone said "man we're promoting you." An unprecedented opportunity considering the life I've been living through. Gratefulness and excitement filled me up - fighting tears on the way home as the realization struck - what I thought would never happen is beginning to play out, my life is turning into what I only dreamed about. After long periods of having the shit kicked out of you, a respit comes giving a moment to breathe, emotions you've been holding back,  begin to seep - out through the joints as you let down the guard when no one's around crying in your car.

I don't think that I deserve it because I've tried real hard, or been through tough times many wouldn't survive. When I stopped fighting, pushing, praying, striving - the closer I got to the top of this mountain I'm climbing. Taking credit would be asinine I know my ass out of nine cause I've had it handed to me about a hundred thousand times.

Talked to a guy who's world is changing too, said his life used to ride on square tires locked with a boot. A wake up call he answered, some hard knocks too, now he's rolling like a Bugatti gassed up with jet fuel. I said "when you don't avoid the bumps it rounds that shit out - knocking corners off in little chunks" its a gradual change like some fucked up geometry that changes the plane. When you avoid difficulties they're just displaced - another chance down the road to fall on your face.

I wouldn't go back and change my struggles if I could, just alter my responses served up on the altar of my life. The gods of fate don't give a shit, they'll protract your life indefinite. Slow down, relax, make the best of where you're at but don't let your dreams go they will work out - cause when you head down the rough road eventually it all smooths out.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Neural Weeds and Other Follies

Fall is here and temperatures are dropping which makes sleeping easier but showering more difficult. I haven't worked out what I'm going to do yet but I've considered sticking one of those electrict charcoal lighters in a bucket of water and seeing what happens. I guess I still need electricity for that to work so maybe that needs to be rethought. Everything else is going fairly well except, truth be told, I had a short moment this morning while folding clothes where I really missed my kids and thought "I'm living in a van. What is wrong with me?" It's a good thing my kids aren't here because it reveals that I need to find more strength in myself. They don't need to be my emotional support: that is my job for myself and them. I'm getting my life together so that hopefully I pass on an emotional quotient that will help my kids have better lives than me.

A new habit I'm trying to form is to start and end every day with gratefulness for what I have been blessed with. I also tell myself out loud truths that I have come to accept. Notice I said accept, not believe. You can accept something without believing it because while it may jive with your soul, your previous subconscious thought habits may oppose the truth. I find many times when I'm stressed out it is because all the years of thought patterns have started winding me up with little whispers that I don't recognize until I'm at DEFCON 1. Habits take time to form and to overcome a previous habit you need to be deliberate. My verbal reminders are a refresh button for my brain to knock down the neural weeds that are trying to grow. So far it seems to be helping a lot and hopefully one day soon I will transition from acceptance to belief.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Indelible Waypoints

Before I left the theater yesterday I went to pee (since I don't have a home) and I ran into someone in the bathroom that I hadn't spoken to since July - my former mentor. It was super awkward partially because it was in a bathroom but also because things weren't left on good terms last we spoke. Our falling out was precipitated by me doing something he didn't approve of and was under the impression he had implicitly instructed me not to do. To my knowledge, he never gave me the directive in question after the face to face in July where the fall out happened, I sent an email the next day trying to discuss the situstion. I fully expected at least an email dialogue to hash things out and after no response to the email and one word responses, if any, to several text messages, I let it go.

Following the uncomfortable hello waiting for a urinal to open up we talked outside the theater for a few minutes where he told me that I didn't fight for our relationship enough and if I had valued it, I would have persisted. I politely informed him that I wasn't sure what he expected considering the fact that he hadn't responded to my communiques. He just repeated that you have to fight for what you want leaving me feeling confused and manipulated. We both had a feeling like maybe this "chance" meeting was for a reason but that reason was dubious. He told me that our relationship had been one dimensional because I wasn't open to a lot of the spiritual insights he wanted to delve into but if I wanted to take another crack at things I would have to be willing to go there, take instruction and allow things to be broken with the promise they would be fixed.

I left the meeting disconcerted, self doubt beginning to swirl in my mind. Was this a wake up call for me? Am I an obstinante rebel that was getting another chance? This went on for about 45 minutes as I tried to get it sorted. Slowly after anaylizing and getting outside feedback, the thought crystalized that maybe the meeting was for a reason, but not the one I initially thought. This had been an opportunity for me to be challenged in my decisions, and beliefs and realize that I am happy with where I am thereby gaining more confidence.

Don't let your first impression of a situation always be your truth. Sometimes you will be pushed right up to the line of losing faith in yourself but when you push through, the tension slingshots you to a whole new level of confidence. "Random" occurances may happen to guide you out of a destructive path but just as often they are there to leave an indelible mark in your soul - a way point that not only lifts you up but can be reflected back on when you feel lost in the future.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

An Ender's Life

I just left the theater after watching Ender's Game so if you haven't seen it or read the book, SPOILER ALERT........

The movie is about a boy in a post alien attacked world (the humans won the fight). Ender along with many other children are being trained to hopefully defeat the aliens once and for all. There is a quote in the movie by Orson Scott Card that informs the entire plot "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him."

The whole time the children are training mercilessly they are indoctrinated with the idea that they are humankind's last hope. When asked about his concern for Ender's mental and emotional well being Harrison Ford's character says "what does it matter if there's nothing to go back to?" A final battle simulation is the climax of the movie. If Ender and his team pass, he will be given a chance at the real thing. When the simulation starts, the enemy is doing nothing although they clearly see the human troops. Ender considers whether or not they are waiting trying to communicate somehow but when pressed, he attacks. The battle ends with a particle weapon destroying the alien planet. It's then revealed that this was in fact the real deal and the alien species have been wiped out.

Guilt stricken Ender says that had it been for real, he would have made an attempt to communicate first because why hadn't they attacked earth again when they clearly had the means. I don't feel like explaining how this last bit occurs but it will suffice to say that Ender finds the dying alien queen on the planet his base is on and promises to find a new home for the growing queen in her little pod.

I found the end of the movie analogous to my life and somewhat emotional. I was raised with a very narrow view of the world and life. The ungodly and their ways were clearly evil and not to be triffled with. I tried to live their "simulation" only to find that I was in the shit. When I finally had the chance to understand some of the "aliens" around me I discovered that most of the time when you understand someone, despite how annoying they may be, you love them. I've fucked up and have to live with it and will spend the rest of my life trying to put the pieces back together.

Intrinsic Lack of Self-Awareness: Trophies Are For Winners

My oldest daughter had her last soccer game of the season yesterday so I made sure I was there to see it and attend the party afterwards. Watching kids play sports is difficult for me because the lack of understanding, skill and effort are glaringly obvious. But they're 8 so it's all for fun right? "Stop being such an asshole man and let them just be kids." Here's where I have a problem with that, I don't believe that you should half ass anything even if its just for fun. That doesn't mean that you have to win every game but you sure as shit better give 100%. Many times when you hear about young peoole that are brilliant in school, they are also star athletes. My hypothesis is that it's mostly due to them giving everything their best.

Apathetic people seem to be apathetic in their entire lives, for their entire lives. I don't want my children to be mediocre yet I don't want them to be perpetually driven and stressed. There's a huge difference between being driven and being excellent: one tries, the other simply is. How do I instill baseline self awareness and excellence into my children without turning them into OCD perfectionists?

When I was 10 I played the only team sport of my life (baseball) for one season. For a multitude of reason, I was one of the worst players on the team and I knew it even though no one ever told me. In fact when they handed everyone trophies at the end of the season I remember thinking "I don't deserve this. I suck". Trophies are for winners but these days everyone is a "winner" just for showing up. It's a bunch of hyper affirmation bullshit which, in my opinion, helps no one. A computer program won't do well if not debugged and children won't excell if not guided. My daughter seems to be completely unaware that she has a lot of improvement to do despite having other kids on the team that are much better than her. I hate to be the one to break it to her especially since I only see her on weekends.

When people find out how I grew up they almost always say "well you are pretty normal considering...." I have always been extremely self aware which is why I am who I am today. My behaviour was constantly analyzed and compared to the "normal" people I encountered in the real world and I adjusted accordingly. I would be remiss if I didn't point out the fact that while my self awarness has made me fairly normal, it also tortures me because I have a tough time shutting it down. Judging yourself non-stop is exhausting. The reason for my "condition" is because my mother was critical of everything I did as a child with no praise to balance it out. She meant it to help me, and it did to a certain extent, but it also has caused me a lot of pain and turmoil.

By no means did I have the worst childhood ever, but I want much better for my kids. I hope I can figure out how light a fire in them without burning down their soul.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Second Biggest" - Buster Bluth

Yesterday I made the biggest purchase of my life to date buying a Toyota Sienna. It was also the first time I ever bought a vehicle through a dealership; man it's a pain in the ass. I was there literally all day signing papers, getting approved, signing more papers, driving 2.5 hours to have my ex release the title for my vehicle but I finally drove off with my new van around 6:30pm. Every single vehicle I've acquired in past has been $3000 or less and a lemon of some sort. Usually I would freak out at what I'll be dumping into this van because of all of the what ifs but I think I've finally grown past that. It was a necessary purchase that is part of life and when you accept that, it takes away a lot of stress and guilt.

There probably isn't a great way to explain the difference between sleeping in my previous car and this van. The best thing I can come up with is the Hyundai was like sleeping in a lumpy coffin while the van is like sleeping on a queen sized bed. With the bluetooth, I can connect my ridiculously giant Note 3 and watch a movie with a home theater sound experience (okay it's not literally surround sound but its awesome). I also have room to put a cooler for food when I'm between jobs so my girlfriend doesn't have to worry about me wasting away.

The Hyundai was getting me almost to a breaking point but now, the saga continues. I love my van!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Unrelateable Relatives

Your family should be the ones that understand you and support you more than anyone else in the world. It would seem like an evolutionary instinct to protect your own blood. Unfortunately most of the people I know have strained, distant or just plain ambivilant relationships with their families and it's usually because someone is placing their ideals above people.

While convictions are respectable amd important, I find it a shame that my sister would not attend our brother's wedding because he was marrying a woman who had been divorced. My mother informed me about a month ago that she would not accept anyone I might be in a relationship with since I didn't have a biblical reason to get divorced. Then my brother who has always been the quiet rebel (though never as extreme as me) said he couldn't support me but that he wouldn't oppose me either. It saddened me today that one day when I buy an engagement ring I have very few people who will give a shit.

This past year has changed my mother a lot and so I still talk to her but when she asked if I was coming to visit any time soon I had to be honest. "I don't really have any friends to see up there and it will only take one day to see Grandma and the other relatives. You don't agree with much of what I do so what's the point?" I said it as kindly as possible but extremely honestly because why lie?

I don't know why people let their families treat them poorly these days. This isn't the hunter / gatherer age and most of us don’t live in tribal regions of the world where our families are integral to our survival. One of the many things I love about my job is that I get to meet and spend copious amounts of time with some great people who have become more of a family to me than any of my biological family. There are some great people in the world, some shitty ones too (most likely your family) and nothing is stopping you from making your own life and family. Cut the poison out of your life and do not feel guilty. Blood is thicker than water but sometimes that thickness is like a pit of quagmire dragging you down. As always, I recommend a little bit of alcohol....to thin the blood out of course. If you love something, you don't hold it tightly - you celebrate it and set it free.

Decisions Don't Always Decide

I'm in the process of trying to find a replacement vehicle/house and I'm kind of freaking out. By American standards it's not manly to admit that I know very little about cars but those standards can go...well you get where I'm going with that. I've been pretty much screwed on every car I have purchased in my life and I'm rather worried about making the right decision now - it seems so critical.

My mind has been like a tornado of pros and cons. Should I buy from a dealer because then I would have some recourse if its a lemon? But then its going to cost a lot more...I could buy something almost new and just have a payment? But what if I don't have work?
I'll spare you because it goes on and on. Ultimately it all comes down to one core fear " if I make the wrong decisions, I'm going to ruin the rest of my life (or at least a large chunk of it)".

Many times things we fret over are completely trivial and insignificant. The only thing that matters is how you let the outcome effect your life. Sure I could get a vehicle with a payment, lose my job and then have my credit take a hit but it's only a problem if I let it become one. We may have temporary hardships because of choices we make but they are only temporary unless we allow them to change our thought process and in turn our approach to life. Decisions don't always decide the outcome - but your response does 100% of the time.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Occasional Asynchronous Unity

A question I field often when people hear about my divorce is "what happened? You guys seemed fine. I mean you had 4 kids!!!" I find it odd that so few people seem to understand. Sitting at a stop light today I became semi hypnotized watching the reflection of my turn signal on the trunk of the car in front of me. Our signals synched up just briefly and then they went their separate, out of phase, blinking ways. Some desperate people view temporsry synchronicity as a sign but the truth is that even the most out of sync items will align every once in a while. It's not fate, or magic, or god - it's just a statistical probability.

My ex and I found occasional moments where our out of phase personalities matched up but that's not good enough because even turn signals achieve that. Thankfully I've found a relationship that is more like a set of olympic synchronized divers. A few small actions may be different but overall, its a beautiful, awe inspiring thing to watch.

The next time someone asks why I got divorced I think I'll reply "because we're not turn signal dammit."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cross Pollinating Technology

My recent acquisition of an Android phone is prompting the sale of my beloved iPhone 4S. Of course before kissing the beautiful little slab of glass and metal porn goodbye, I had to make a backup of my data. When I moved, everything not necessary to my daily life went into storage, with the exception of my Surface RT tablet. I had been running a Mac Mini connected to my flat screen for several years and it was a good setup albeit not very portable.

Thankfully all the pieces were easily assembled in the hallway of my storage unit and I set about to back up through iTunes. "This device requires iTunes version 11.blah blah blah". Great, so since I upgraded my iOS to 7 I can't back the thing up? I then found a link to download the latest version of iTunes to my Note 3 which I would transfer through USB. WRONG! As luck would have it, you need a special program for an android to be read by a mac (also available via the internet).

That's when it occurred to me that I had the Surface RT in my car. The files easily transfered from the phone to the surface but the first flash drive I connected was broken. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! After rummaging in my storage unit for a minute or so I found my trusty old Fireball flash drive (it's exactly what it sounds like it is - a flash drive in a bottle of Fireball whiskey). From then on it was easy. Files were transfered (USB 3.0 is unbelievably fast BTW), the iPhone was backed up, then erased and everything went back into the storage unit. I think the moral of this story is that things get easier once whiskey is involved.

No Safe Haven

People (particularly religious ones) like to say "this is a safe place" to which I say - bullshit. There is no such a thing as a corporate* safe place because whoever is saying that has no control over all the other members of the group. They may want it to be safe for you but at some point someone's personal interests will trump any concern for you. When that happens you are lucky if you escape without becoming a pawn in their game. If you want a safe place, turn the entire world into one and spray on a thick coating of emotional Teflon known on the street as "not giving a fuck". The necessary hardener for this epoxy is knowing when to keep your mouth shut. Some things don't need to be shared and can be used by a malicious individual to penitrate the most ambivalent shell.

*I do believe that you can be safe in a partner / spousal relationship if both parties put the interest of the other above their own.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cats in the Cradle

This isn't a topic I'm thrilled to admit but I'm an honest person and feel compelled to share. I feel like I don't know how to relate to my children anymore. I love them but when I visit them I find it stressful and annoying. That makes me a terrible person right? To say I'm getting annoyed with kids I only see on weekends? Being in my ex's world is not something I am comfortable with or accustomed to. She is still religious and if that's not bad enough, her family attempts to be quasi-Jewish which is just fucking weird to me. I don't want to turn the kids against her so I try not to demean the way she is raising them - but they're still my kids and I feel responsible. I want them to see how I live life but unless I have a home for them to come to, it's kind of tough. I feel like I'm failing them by not being in their lives more and the guilt causes me to stress and not engage which causes further guilt. Not a good cycle.

My life at the moment consists of working and seeing my kids - that's basically it.  I wish I worked all the time because working makes me feel productive, builds my savings account and is slightly distracting from how badly I miss my girlfriend. Whoever said that money doesn't solve problems was full of shit. I love making money because it gives me options and is distracting but I don't want to use work to escape my life's non economic problems. There has to be a better more balanced solution.

When I was typing part of this my 4 year old son jumped into my lap and wanted to play. at first I was kind of annoyed because I was trying to write thoughts down before they escaped but then I put my phone down and hugged him soaking in the moment. It's not the kids that are annoying me, it's that they need something from me when, because of the environment, I feel tapped out. Regardless of what anyone wants or thinks i should give them, I have what my kids need: love and acceptance.

When I review the past few days there are a lot of good moments where I did engage. This afternoon I played catch with my 8 year old and showed her how to throw properly. Tonight I told my 7 year old what a turd was when we were playfully calling each other names and took a mental vine of her laughing her head off. Yesterday I got to bond with my under the weather 20 month old and had him fall asleep on my chest. When I was driving to Home Depot with my 4 year old he asked why my back seat was folded down. I told him I slept back there to which he replied "whaaaaaaaat?" with great amazement. Later he said he thought that was pretty awesome.

While I still feel out of touch with their lives, and don't like a lot of what their mother does, I am making a difference and that's really what they need. What a relief!

Please Stop Believing...Let Go of That Feeling

My ex told me that she is trying out something new with our children - no punishments. She tried to explain it and it didn't make much sense but I'm supposed to be getting an email at some point with links. Color me excited. The announcement came as a bit of a shock from someone who espoused the biblical "To Train Up a Child" method. While I'm happy to see that she is willing to branch out and try something different, I'm miffed at the fact that there is almost certainly a "biblical basis" for this new method. She doesn't do anything that she can't back up with scripture especially when it's 180 degrees from her previous beliefs. What irritates me is the fact that as her world view changes, there is a new "revelation" on a scripture or a new more accurate version of the bible that supports her new beliefs.

Full disclosure, before I left religion behind, I played a similar theo/mental game and that's why it annoys me so greatly now. I haven't divested my belief in a higher power yet but I really don't understand how people can still think the bible makes sense. Apparently your God isn't the same yesterday, today and forever and that's the key, he's your god. He evolves as your needs dictate or as your mind is opened through life's experiences.

Most belief systems are based on circular logic / unsubstantiated facts with a healthy side of fear. If your beliefs are so true and right then they will still be there if you step away to examine them but that's where the fear gets you. What if your god is an asshole that can't handle a question or two? Then you're fucked worse than being miserable in your current life: eternity is an even longer time to be miserable.

I truly believe there is a god but I don't think anyone really knows him..her...it. Please stop believing in your god or at least admit that it's a god of your making. Don't try to sanctify and sanction your actions via your invisible friend because it's looks really foolish. Oh wait, your god tells you it's okay to look foolish...I give up. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

End of The Red Road (for now)

Today was the last day on my current gig (The Red Road season 1). Normally I would be sad and stressed but for once I'm not and the lack of turmoil is a sign of growth for a perpetual stressor like me. It's partially because whatever happens I have things I could fall back on if necessary but more importantly I'm finding my path in life.

Practice makes perfect, it's true but practice also builds confidence which is a necessary ingredient for perfection. After years of struggling I've been afforded the opportunity to work with kind, patient people who have allowed me to learn and develop confidence in my knowledge and skills.

In the Native American culture the "red road" is the difficult path one takes to redemption. I feel like the last 10 years I've been on that difficult road and finally my life is being redeemed. Today I have a job and woman that I love - the red road is a hard one but well worth it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

They Walk

I crawled into bed around 10:30 last night parked behind a gas station our crew was going to be using today. Now mind you that was after taking a cold shower with my $15 self coiling hose and nozzle from Walmart and popping 4 valerian root capsules so I was sleeping like a log when the cop woke me up. Dreams rarely visit me but last night I dreampt I was loading our truck and someone said "what are you doing here?" I thought "I'm loading the truck douchebag" but suddenly snapped awake when I heard it again and realized there was a cop shining his light into my car.

About the only thing I can think of that rivals being woken by a cop is having your child cry out in the middle of the night. I had my wits about me and thankfully for once I had grabbed a call sheet and map before I left work so it was fairly easy to prove I had a reason to be there. After making sure I didn't have any warrants, the officer came back and said "you're not from around here are you? This area is pretty dangerous. See that hotel across the street? People get high over there and then they walk." It's hard convey the chilling effect those two words had but when he said "they walk" I felt a chill go through me.

I thanked the officer and promptly grabbed my bathing suit that was drying off the top of my car and went and parked by our trucks under a street light. I finally fell back asleep but kept thinking I was hear scrabbling on my windows like zombies from the Walking Dead were trying to get in. I think it's time to get a windowless van and a Mossberg to sleep with.

On the plus side this is what I get to look at all day at work. Winning life.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Motivational Analyzer

This is a post script to yesterday's entry on morality. I was mulling over what I had written and realized that many people have claimed to be doing what they believed was right but in all reality hurt many people. Religious zealots are the first ones that come to mind in the category of misguided shit stormers.

When you are searching for what the right thing to do is, you have to make sure you aren't doing anything because of fear. Generally we fear what we don't understand and hate what we fear. Analyzing your motivations is imperative because a lot of good intentions are masking harmful emotions.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Dogma

Growing up I was taught that the ends do not justify the means and that there are clear rights and wrongs in life. I believed and accepted my parents world view until I had experienced several years of life as an adult in the real world and discovered that: things don't always match up with what you believe. I still believe that there are some things that are clearly wrong like murder but most situations are just gray areas and are based on your culture and personality.

I was raised on the bible and taught that it was a guide book for life. Sure there is some good advice in there but I agree with what I heard a preacher say "the bible is mostly a history book that shows what men did and how God interacted with them. It's not meant to give consent for actions people took but just lays it out matter of fact." It's true when you step back and consider it. Sure God had a lot of rules but a lot of people broke them and he still had a relationship not withstanding the consequences. There was a lot of fucked up stuff that went on in the bible: incest, rape, murder, adultery, theft, genocide and more but it never says it was okay (well with the exception of the genocide) it just says it happened.

Your beliefs dictate your actions and if you don't have the same beliefs as me, your actions may be offensive. That doesn't make them necessarily wrong. The advice I gave to a friend who I know has different beliefs was "don't do just what you want to, do what you feel is right." Sometimes those two will coincide, sometimes they won't. Other times there isn't a clear answer because it's completely a matter of preference. Religious folks get hung up on the idea that atheists or non Christians have no basis for morals however I disagree. Everyone person, religious or not can be selfish but on the same token, we all have a feeling of something being right or wrong. You can't prove a god that doesn't show himself so whatever conclusion you come to, as long as you do it with a good heart, that's all anyone can really ask for.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What Does it All Mean

Please don't interpret the title of this post mean I am depressed - far from it. I finally have a job that I love, great coworkers and numerous other blessings in my life so I would be an assholes to be depressed right now. What has been running through my head though is what does life mean and is having a good job and good people to be around enough?

I was raised to think that there was some grand purpose and master plan for my life (if I didn't fuck up). Now, I'm not so sure about all that. My mentality caused me to never be satisfied with my life because I had to make a lasting change in the world. I mean isn't that what God put us here for?

I don't want to settle; it's not in my nature hence the title of this blog. However, maybe I can relax a bit. Is there a higher calling other than being true to yourself? Is self sacrificing work the best potential use of one's life? I have seen a lot of missionary type people thinking they are following their "calling" but their families are falling apart or they are just failing at helping the vast numbers of people they dreamed of. I'm becoming convinced that the best thing you can do for yourself and the world is live out the gifts and personality that inhabits you. Sharing what you have with the world is the best way to serve not divesting yourself of you and attempting to fill someone else's shoes.

"A hammer makes a shitty wrench when trying to tighten a nut." - Me

Saturday, October 12, 2013

John Locke Juking

Any true fans of the show Lost will remember John Locke's famous line "don't tell me what I can't do". Granted he did attempt some things that were at a minimum eyebrow raising but the idea of making your own destiny was not lost on me. John's sentiment resonated with me because I have set out on numerous ventures in my life where people told me in one form or another that I would fail. Sometimes they have been right on the surface but I've still grown from the experiences. Other times I have succeeded against the odds to much amazement.

A few weeks ago I had considered buying an old RV this older gentleman wanted $7800 for. It was bigger than I wanted, older than I wanted and to top it off he was a flagrant racist so I decided to go in another direction. He called me a couple days ago to see if I was still interested and when I conveyed my plan to live out of a van instead he said "you can't do that!" I wanted to recite John's line to him adding "you racist bastard" at the end but instead just thanked him for calling and ended the conversation. The RV owner isn't the only one to tell me I'm crazy, in fact someone echoes that sentiment every few days it seems but I really don't care. If you want to be truly happy, you have to pursue life how you see it in your mind. Sometimes you will find the naysayers were right but at a minimum you will be left with experience and probably some good stories. If you don't give up, and push through the failures you will eventually be rewarded with a fulfilling life that is everything you dreamed of. I know the negativity can pile up and weigh you down but you can always John Locke juke them with a loud "don't tell me what I can't do" 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Breaking Badass

It's been about three weeks since I gave up a permanent place of residence and it feels like I'm just starting to get broken in and used to it. Every single night hasn't been in my car because this isn't some kind of religious flagellation that I'm trying to perform. If a place is available, I will take advantage of it some times but mainly it's just been for showers because no one wants to be around a stinky dude.

The weather is changing and temperatures are dropping at night so I have been sleeping wonderfully. There is a sweet spot in the ratio of blankets to cold environment where I sleep like I've taken Ambien. Right now, I'm there but I'm a little worried that if it gets too much colder, I won't be able to blanket up enough to sleep well. Hopefully I'll have some time to find a van in the next few weeks that I can insulate a bit and actually sprawl out instead of sleeping like an unborn child. For now though, I'm still having a good time and feel like I'm breaking to to being a bad ass.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Mental Winch

With the advent of the iPhone 5S, I have been debating whether to purchase another iPhone or make the switch to Android. The Samsung Galaxy S4 was really attractive due to hardware and the operating systems ease of rooting. My two main concerns were 1. A great camera for my Instagram escapades and 2. A phone with 4G I can create a hot spot with.

I love the apps on my iPhone for taking photos (specifically Camera+) but the S4 has a great camera as well and if I root it, I can turn it into a hot spot for free. The thing is, I don't feel like taking the time for the learning curve. I just want my phone to work.

Something I've noticed as I've gotten older is the seeming decline in my ability to comprehend new things. When you are a kid there are generally way fewer pressures in your life and a phone that glitches, for instance, because you are trying out an experimental ROM is not a huge deal. That's why kids learn things so easily - they are unencumbered by life. I don't think my intelligence has declined but instead I have lost patience with things not working perfectly because I have enough other issues to contend with in my life.

After obsessing for a few days over which phone to purchase, I went with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Because if you're going to do something, why not over do it? I don't want to get stuck in a mental rut so I'm forcing myself to learn a new phone and system and hopefully keep my mind young and open to new things. Along with that, a heavy dose of chill pills to not make such a big deal out if stupid things like cellphones. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

They're FINE....

There is a portion of the population that did not have a childhood in any form of the word except physical development. From their earliest years they were expected to act far beyond their age in their emotions and requisite behavior. However, when it came to actually making decisions for themselves, they were treated like infants. On the surface these folks look put together to the world because they know how to present themselves. They would tell you they are fine; the reality is there is a huge swirling ball of fear and insecurity inside them.

The formative years are there to allow you to make mistakes and learn from them, to grow into an adult that can handle whatever life throws at you. Not being allowed to fail or even make decisions for yourself arrests your development to the point where the real world freaks you out. Unfortunately a lot of people raised like this try to maintain the adult facade they have learned and get married as soon as they leave their parents home. Having lived this out, I can tell you that just about every aspect of life was stressful because I had no idea how to handle anything.

The best advice I can give is to just plunge into life head first. You will make mistakes. You will be miserable. You will look back and feel embarrassed. You will probably do ridiculous shit like live in your car but if you keep going you will get through. There were supposed to be 18 years for you to get acclimated to life that were stolen from you. Don't be hard on yourself if it takes 10 years to get on track. Sure that's depressing but it's better than being "fine" the rest of your life - freaked out / fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional.

It's imperative that you do not run from situations but face them and learn from them. They will not break if you if you believe that no matter what happens you will be okay. As long as you are still breathing you can continue. Life has a way of teaching us the things we need to learn to grow into amazing human beings. If you run away you are bound to keep repeating the same things over and over. You are strong, you have the power. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.