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.