Thursday, February 27, 2014

She Is All of Us

I doubt she thought that morning was her last - she expect the "adults" to have her back. It's their job to be responsible and keep us safe but they failed us all when their goals took center stage. Trains and nature should be respected, our safety priority one not your fucking objective. Striving for money, power, fame, prestige they use people as rungs they climb to succeed.

The disrespect is palpable when only days later he tries to spin her death as a motivator. "What she'd want is for us to keep the show going on", but if you knew her that well you wouldn't let her be gone. From where we're standing we can't hear her say shit just the silence of heartache you fucking prick.

Investigations are being made while you shirk responsibility hoping a lawyer can acquit you, get you off clean. God help you if that happens, cause while it wouldn't be me I hope you get a knife in your neck as the end of your scene. 

They sit behind desks or in directors chairs, it's all budgets and egos the balance is unfair. Just because you have money doesn't mean shit, a job isn't worth a life no matter who's it is. 

Don't try to twist my arm or threaten to fire me I'll shove my walkie up your ass so you can hear clearly - as I scream in your ear cause your heads up there too, you don't belong in the business - Jay Sedrish, fuck you.  

Each of us need to link up like a chain, strength in numbers is needed against a numbers game. Scattered around individually we just make some noise but together we can fight, have a voice. They can replace us all one at a time but if we support each other, they'll toe the line. Stay safe my friends she was one of us...she is us.

Formative Epochs

Yesterday a coworker offered the second bedroom in his apartment to me which had just become vacant. The apartment is furnished so I walked in with my clothes and there was a proper bed and dresser waiting for me. Unpacking my two hampers of clothes into the dresser and hanging up a couple shirts in the closet felt extremely odd after living out of my car for the last 6 months. Knowing that everything is organized, that I don't have to worry about whether I am going to be accosted in the middle of the night for parking in the wrong spot and having a bathroom available without necessitating parking in a Walmart lot was nice; however, I also couldn't escape the feeling that something inside me has changed from my experience.

I don't know where I will be after the middle of May (very likely back in my van) but I now know that I can make a wide variety of situations work. The last 6 months have bent and formed my brain like a bonsai tree that given some time, can form itself into something new - the core structure still being the same. One of my greatest fears in the past has been to be homeless and alone but now it doesn't plague me. Granted I'm wasn't literally on the street but I wasn't living the conventional lifestyle of most 1st world citizens and that pressure is gone from me. I honestly think that my constant stress of worrying for years about failing and becoming destitute was what caused my lactose intolerance because I keep testing it out and I'm still not reacting to dairy products.

What I felt when unpacking was like I had taken a highlighter to the last epoch as if to say "you may enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle for now but this experience has changed you permanently." I don't know that everyone should live in their cars and take baths in lakes or behind closed gas stations but challenging yourself is how you grow. Knowing what extent I can push myself to is extremely freeing and makes me look forward to the next set of challenges in my life because I know I can handle it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Frozen in Carbonite

Some people are born with a persona like a granite statue: time may wear down some of the sharp edges but for the most part they are the same thing their entire lives. Then there are those who are like a posable Gumby toy: they can easily change stances with influence but hold that position until something prompts another posture. The book I have been reading about Malcolm X is titled A Life of Reinvention because he was a man who didn't keep the same posture forever but was constantly looking for a self that spoke more accurately to what he felt inside. The problem is that most people don't want to allow you to out of their preconceived notion of you. It's like they froze you in mental carbonite and despite your protestations, you will always be xyz to them.

We are so good at locking people into roles that it's a fear of any serious actor to be type cast. A few days ago I was talking about Predators when a friend made the comment "I can't see Adrien Brody being a badass". Most people say "boo hoo. Poor fucking actors not wanting to be type cast. Look at all the money they make". While they do make absurd amounts of money, it's not really about that - it's about being free to explore without being locked into another persons preconceived notions about you. A guy I know who goes by his last name, told me last night while sitting around a fire that it's because he shared the same first name with the man who murdered his sister. Through some recent therapy he has been able to deal with the trauma which is why he was telling me about the reason for his moniker. There is a chance, now that some of the pain connected with his first name is gone he may eventually use it again and it would be at minimum obnoxious if I were to over look an evolution in who he was by continuing to address him as before.

I have gone through many changes in my life usually with much resistance from those around me which may be what gives me perspective on this. The Gumbys of the world are never happy with where they are because they see a greater potential waiting to be released. When you come across someone who is trying to reinvent themselves don't be Darth Vader - it's not cool, it's actually really cold.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Global Evolution

Listening to a podcast about international law vs state laws I began to consider how the advancement of technology and ease of travel necessitate evolution in our laws and social responsibility. When the founding fathers were trying to hash out the details of our nation they settled on states rights as a practical solution for self-government attempting to avoid a megalomaniacal national government. Back before people were hurtling around the globe in metal birds on a daily basis states rights were practical because each state was more like a mini nation with little need to adjudicate the particulars. Now that geographical lines are fairly unimportant and government programs and offices are connected through the internet the need for restructuring is becoming more apparent. 

Massive organizations whether governmental or otherwise cannot pay special attention to every single persons issues but instead must paint with broad strokes in a mindset of efficiency and the greatest good. This also falls in conflict with today's extreme inter-connectivity providing an in-your-face access to all the injustice and heartache in the world which cries out for change. As a society changes many things need to evolve with it. No longer an agrarian society and with modern health care stemming infant mortality, there is no need for large families and I would go so far as to say that excessive progeneration borders on irresponsible. Should the government dictate how many offspring a couple can have or who should be allowed to get married? Each matter is delicate and the effect of each decision is systemic. Despite thinking most individuals holding political office are generally unsavory, I don't envy their job in trying to navigate this changing world. Everyone has a voice and a platform now via the internet which is the ideal behind democracy; however, I would suggest that democracy is the classic expression "try to please everyone and you'll please no one." The presidency has become a ping pong game of back and forth attempts to do the impossible in 4 or 8 years with blame being placed on the previous administration instead of a system that is becoming increasingly more impractical. 

Do I have solutions to the problem? No, but it's definitely something that needs to be considered by the up and coming generation who short of a complete regression back to the dark ages, will face massive challenges as the world becomes smaller and cultures become more entwined. The only thoughts I can offer are personal responsibility. If you see a failure in the system to assist those on the fringes step in and do something because the government can't fix everything. On that note I'm going to make a short plea regarding conservation. Just because something is inexpensive or free to you doesn't mean you have a right to waste it. We have a limited amount of resources on this planet and humanity has been irresponsible for far too long without considering the potential consequences. Turn lights off when not in use, recycle when you can, conserve water etc because one day soon what we take for granted today may become scarce.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Capping the Kra-Gle

If you are at like me, someone who has struggled with perfectionism and mild OCD, you probably have the mindset of "if you want a job done right, do it yourself" or as I in-eloquently put it "do it yourself or get the fuck out of my way." When my family built a 3000 square foot home all by ourselves many times I was relegated to holding a work light while snow melted on my boots or straightening bent nails because it was easier than letting me set us back due to lack of knowledge or experience. My 3rd child received a painting kit for his birthday which he excitedly asked me to break open and use with him tonight. I expected that we would sit there and make our own pieces of art but much to my temporary chagrin, I discovered that both he and one daughter wanted to co-op the drawing with me.

Trying to do anything, building Legos, playing with cars or tonight's everyone-gets-a-brushstroke painting exercise can be irritating to control freaks. I have an idea in my head (even if it sucks) and I want to do it that way not have someone splashing paint in places where it doesn't go. The new Lego movie in the theaters is a very entertaining but poignant film on this topic and I would recommend anyone go see it. As much as I don't want to be, I find myself acting like Lord Business and when little guys get involved, everything is not awesome. Tonight I had a choice to make: ruin the tail end of my son's birthday by being an asshole and insisting that he quit "messing up" my drawing or realize that some things are far more important than my lack luster attempt at art.

Love puts everything in perspective and is a great way to rid yourself of at least small amounts of OCD. A future relationship with my kids is far more important than whether or not they want to make a Lego spaceship that doesn't have properly interlocking sections or would have no possible way of flying in our current understanding of physics. OCD and perfectionism seem great because on the outside they can make you appear successful and together; however, they wreak havoc on your soul, body and many times the people closest to you. Since I've started letting go of my intense need to be perfect, I've become much happier and as a side benefit my lactose intolerance seems to have gone away (several milkshakes in the last two weeks attesting to that fact).

Most people pervert religions because they lose sight of love. Love obfuscates the unimportant, keeping you grounded to what is salient - the souls of fellow man. It's cliche but true - what the world needs is love not perfectionists trying to keep their Legos glued together. Hang out with your kids or nieces and nephews if you don't have your own and engage with the haphazard and illogical joy that only a children posess. I guarantee that if you allow yourself to let go, you will find lasting lessons you can carry into the rest of your life.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weak Sauce

Growing up I was sheltered from many things mainly from the fear that I would be influenced by evil in some form: ideas, company, spirits etc. While I was taught to be logical there was also a very strong counterbalance of "accept this because it's the truth and we don't question it" when it came to religion and a social / political viewpoint. As an adult who has traversed three decades of life, I have seen that much of what I was taught doesn't work in real life in every circumstance. That isn't to say that anarchy is a good concept - even the universe follows some stringent rules; however, there is a lot that falls into the margins of grey area. The conclusion I have come to is that if your beliefs can't stand up to some scrutiny and questioning, then they aren't worth holding onto to begin with.

The other night when I was in Walmart buying my sleeping bag I happened to walk by the book aisle on my way back from the restroom (side note: the restrooms in the back of most Walmarts are less busy and are almost always cleaner). Since I've been trying to read more as of late, I decided to pick up some new reading material. A small paperback novel caught my attention (although I'm expecting it to be less than engaging but it was only $5) and a biography about Malcolm X. Black History Month didn't cross my mind as a motivation to buy the bio but the fact that what little I knew about Malcolm X from my schooling was vague and leaning towards negative compelled me to pick it up. Considering my fairly one sided approach to the world as a child, it seemed only fair to give this man who was obviously of major influence some consideration. In the first 35 pages of the A Life of Reinvention: Malcolm X, I've already learned much and have received a healthy dose of perspective and respect for the man he was.

It never hurts to hear out an idea, a person, or a belief. Only the fearful and narrow minded (usually you can add bigoted) resist learning about the other side because they are unwilling to face change. The process of metamorphosis is uncomfortable and a struggle but anyone who is successful and makes an impact in the world for good has embraced it. If your worldview can't be questioned you have no business pushing it on others or probably believing it yourself for that matter. Questioning ideas is like eating hot wings - it burns on the way in and on the way out - it's daring but you're left with nutrition and know you're alive.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Advent of the Mummy

I finally succumbed to peer pressure (or wisdom depending on how you look at it) and bought a sleeping bag last night. With another winter catastrophe upon us in the god blessed south east, it seemed prudent to have something other than my blankets to keep me warm. It probably shouldn't come as a shock but I was amazed at how well I slept last night when I was actually warm for once. This sleeping bag is the best $29.97+tax I have spent in a while. It's really not a bad idea to buy one and stick it in your trunk with some water and granola bars in the event you get stranded somewhere cold. A mere $40 of supplies could save your life. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sensationalizing Current Data

Talking to a friend recently who was feeling down about their life I was struck again by our inadvertent penchant to sensationalize current data while forgetting everything else. The climate change debate is a perfect example of people flying off the handle as soon as something like the "polar vortex" hits dumping winter anarchy over the south. "Yeah so much for global warming Al Gore" and other epithets begin circling the internet. 

As I've said before, I'm not a scientist and am not taking a side on the issue with this post, but what I will say unequivically is that humans over react with little thought to the greater picture. This leads to hasty judgements that are in many cases untrue. If you could plot a graph of the earth's temperature over it's entire history, I'm fairly certain it wouldn't be far from a straight line upwards but would look more like the Rocky Mountains. 

For my friend I related this concept to personal life in a slight spin on my Swings and Roundabouts post. When my life feels shitty I try to step back and look at the greater picture - reexamine my past for context. I'm not the same person I was 3 months or 5 years ago. The data points of my life have been peaked and vallied but the over all conclusion is that I have moved significantly from the baseline. Yes it's swings and roundabouts but if you don't stop moving forward, it won't be a wash but forward progress instead. Dripping water doesn't erode a stone overnight. The progression is virtually indistinct unless you have various samples to compare to over time. If you feel like you are stuck or failing, step back, get out of your head and picture your life like a time line on a graph. Hopefully you will see it like a promising stock - trending upwards. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Smarter Than You Might Think

It's suddenly 2006 again and everyone is taking tests online to see what TV show character they are or some other absurd delineation related to pop culture. Of course it's an unspoken requirement that you must post your results on Facebook because how else would anyone know that you you are Donna from That 70s Show? I succumbed to an IQ test a couple days ago because I've always been curious and while I had my doubts as to the veracity of the test, I couldn't resist. Most of the questions seemed extremely simple - problems that could be solved by pulling at the strings until it unraveled - but then the last 4 or 5 completely dumbfounded me and I couldn't see the pattern with a gun to my head. When the results came back I was shocked at my score because it was way higher than I would have expected. Shouldn't it be lower because I couldn't answer the "hard" questions? Then it occurred to me that the "hard" questions are probably nauseatingly simple to folks with IQs of 180 for example.

Bragging about an online IQ test on Facebook would be both stupid and obnoxious so I didn't post my results for general viewing but made a comment about it in a private group of close friends who were all raised in weird home schooled environments like me. One guy commented that he doesn't put much stock in the tests because he comes out as brilliant whenever he completes similar quizzes. Then last night I talked to another friend from the same background who took the test I did also receiving a similar score. She was surprised as well which got me thinking. I'm not making a case here that we are geniuses on par with Einstein but I find it interesting how people similar to me are hesitant to accept good results related to their intelligence. Because most of my friends were discouraged from going to college and we aren't breaking open ground in quantum physics or curing cancer, we feel like proof of intelligence must be a failure in the measuring stick at best or an aberration in the test at worst. 

While it may not have been intentional, teaching your kids enough to make them useful but not giving them the confidence or opportunities to succeed is a great way to control someone (it's also a great way to fuck up someone's head). To all you minions out there who are probably way more intelligent than you think: when someone tells you you are smart or a test says so, don't do this 

but instead say thank you and accept it. It's a proven psychological fact that if you think you are smart you are way more likely to do well on exams etc. Your potential is probably untapped so knock the valve off that oxygen cylinder and go nuts.

Getting Old

Leaving work at midnight I really wasn't looking forward to sleeping in the metal tauntaun again. My back has started hurting from my tool belt and adjusting to being on my feet most of the day again but I'm sure my sleeping arrangements aren't helping the situation. When it drops below 40 degrees I wake up feeling like I was beaten with frozen kielbasas during my sleep and despite having my eyes shut for 10 hours it feels like 4. Enough was enough (and I needed a shower) so I crashed at a hotel around the corner from work today. I haven't slept in a decent bed in so long that even though this bed is most likely not of the highest quality, it still felt like it was stuffed with baby angels wing feathers (they're going to lost them anyway when they grow so why not keep them grounded a little longer right?). Of course I had to simulate my home planet to some extent by turning the AC on nearly as cold as it goes but I slept great. Living out of a van can be cool occasionally or if you take the time to retrofit it with some insulation and a proper mattress but this shit sucks: apartment hunting to commence this weekend.

P.S. My post yesterday was typed after having just woken up and being somewhat out of sorts as you can probably imagine; however, I stand by extreme living circumstance being better than living with an angry woman. I still think most people that succeed in a relationship are either delusional or just don't give a flying fuck about much but that doesn't mean it's outside the realm of possibilities to have a good relationship that is legitimate and pure. My grumpiness was also fueled by the realization that I'm probably just way too picky and aiming well outside my league.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Van in a Corner of the Desert

There is a proverb spoken by Solomon "it is better to dwell in the corner of a rooftop than with a brawling woman and in a wide house" or "it is better to live in the desert than with a contentious and angry woman". Both of these were quoted by me to my ex-wife at some point during our marriage. While I understand it probably wasn't the best way to approach the situation, it was me using the bible trump card when all else had failed but it's still probably a douche move. Of all people, Solomon would know about dealing with angry women considering the idiot supposedly had 700 wives and 300 concubines (either he had massive OCD or someone fudged the numbers). 

People talk about hell being the worst torment ever but isn't living on earth sometimes bad enough? There isn't much worse than heartache but we are essentially compelled toward it like moths to a hacknied idiom. It's almost as if we are programmed to torment ourselves through our biological desire for love. Tell me that's not a mind fuck. Before anyone says "we should all be gay because we'd understand our own gender" I'll stop you right there and say homosexuals are not exempt from emotional irrationality.

As much as I'd love to go to a home after a hard day of work and crawl into bed next to a woman I love, I'm tempted to agree with Solomon most of the time and say it's better to live in a van on the street (not down by the river you jerks :) than with an angry woman. After 1000 women you would think Solomon would know, but maybe he was the pussy and didn't know how to deal with the situation properly and kept repeating the same shit over and over again. Maybe there is a secret formula, a relational anesthesia that blocks the pain, to somehow get through the bullshit our heart compels us to do but I'm inclined to think it's just called being delusional. Delusion is the minds way of not going absolutely mad. If delusion is what it takes, I'll keep my lucidity and keep living in a van thank you very much. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Swings and Roundabouts

This British expression recently joined my vocabulary through a comment on Facebook and then I heard it again on The IT Crowd. Swings and roundabouts made little sense when I first heard it but I learned it's sort of the equivalent of "6 of one, half dozen of another" or probably more accurately "you win some, you lose some". I wouldn't call myself an Anglophile but some of their expressions sound cooler or maybe they're just less hacknied making them more pleasant to my ears. 

Not only is it a cool saying but it's indicative of life - there are ups and downs and they kind of balance each other out. The caveat is that what you choose to focus on determines how you perceive the varied terrain of life. I started doing the 365 grateful photo project a couple weeks ago and feel like it is already changing my perspective. Living in America you would think it to be an easy task to find something to be grateful for every day but I've found it takes a unique attentiveness to find something to celebrate each day. Obviously this is partially due to not wanting to be redundant and repeat the same thing over and over but it shouldn't be very difficult to find a plenitude of things to be thankful for in each and every day. 

Sure bad shit happens but that's why there are toilets - so you can flush it and move on. It's swings and roundabouts my friends and has been forever. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Finishing Last

It's said that "nice guys finish last" so where then is the incentive to be decent? I told a friend tonight who was encouraging me to go get what I want, that I won't because I am trying to be one of the few guys who doesn't think with his dick and keeps his word - I want to be good even if I finish last. This isn't some moral high ground or code I'm adhering to because I think God or "the Universe" and karma are dictating it but because I want to be different. The name of this site denotes a clear perspective born out of observing the world and normalcy and being displeased with it. If you take the Taoist Ying-Yang concept, you need some people on the other side of things for balance which is where I'd like to think I come in.

Forgive me if you hear me complain about things that I could "easily go and get". I am trying very hard to be grateful for what I have and be true to my side of the metaphysics but I'm not perfect. The truth is that most any of us could go and acquire what we want but the collateral effects our actions are distasteful. In my case the collateral effect is being swallowed up into the eviscerating normalcy that gobbles up the feckless as fuel for the machine to keep churning.

I'm only here for possibly another 50 years which will pass in the blink of an eye and that's all I've got - if I finish last, it's because I was running at my own pace.