Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.
You are a plucky green journalist in a society edging on technological singularity. You are in deep cover as a sporting judge to write an exposé on the international android showcase, a global event of unprecedented importance, you think, the first cybernetics engineering olympics, and it's not being telecast. The megacorporations involved decided to fake the date of their real competition, so they could avoid the scandal of anything not going to plan when their technologies interacted. You smirk to yourself; this is what happen when worlds collide.
You're nearing the end of the first competition and so far everything has been boring. The androids of the megacorporations performed feats of athletic prowess all day, sending waves of smug satisfaction through the tragically small audience of engineers and stockholders. You begin to worry that your tip about the showcase being anything other than a simple, though impressive, demonstration of technology. When suddenly you remember that your journalist cover was designed to deceive your handlers, and the subroutine with your true purpose begins to runs. You leap into the court, and strike, faster than a cobra, with a cobalt blade that was seconds ago an arm you imagined only had the strength to hold a margarita. It flashes through the leg of tan skinned boy, perhaps 16 years old, dressed for a tennis match, complete with racket, sweatband, and overconfident grin, which as you begin to lose consciousness, fades from his face as he falls to the clay earth. The last thing you make out is a swarm of your fellow androids stepping towards you, and the sheen of the titanium where you severed the leg, then blackness. You are told in your dreams that your performance exceeded all mission parameters.
Friday the 13th
Odin, the father of the Norse Gods, the Aesir, spent a lot of time traveling the nine realms, gathering magical secrets. He paid heavily for these secrets, often with pain, once with an eyeball, and most significantly with his devotion to the troublemaker Loki.
Loki was never really well-liked by his own people, the Jotunn, the frost giants. It was sometimes said he was only part Jotunn, and the frost giants did not like half-breeds. Loki responded to this rejection variously. Sometimes he sought to be impressive, to provide solutions for the problems of his people. Other times, his frustration got the best of him, and he sowed misfortune upon his people using his great cunning to exact revenge unto his tormentors.
Loki and Odin met while they were each seeking magic, and they found in each other something they each wished for terribly. Odin saw in Loki, who was a shapeshifter, a most magnificent puzzle he longed to solve. And Loki saw in Odin the warm acceptance of a truly wise father. They traveled together and had many great adventures and discovered many secrets. Loki asked that they be bonded as blood-brothers in a magical ritual. Odin, agreed and vowed even to never accept a drink unless drinks were offered to them both.
After Odin married the lady Frigg, and they conceived and raised up the first of the Aesir, the thunder god Thor, Odin and Loki drifted somewhat apart. Odin busied himself with fathering more children, making war on their neighboring tribe, the Vanir, and welcoming those that wished to join the Aesir, noteably the beautiful twins, Freyr and his twin sister, Freyja, who became gods of fertility and beauty. Another child of Odin, Baldur, was Frigg's greatest pride, and became the god of justice, purity, peace, light, and gaiety. Odin also worked on raising Valhalla, the sacred hall where heroes who fall in the midst of valor in battle are taken to gather, drink, sing and tell tales, and joyously await the final battle.
As Odin's family grew, Loki's jealousy grew, and his attempts to impress Odin and be otherwise included in Odin's family, became more extravagant. He went off to study the runes as Odin had, and learned complex magicks, and explored the dream world. He went off to make deals with the dwarves for their magnificent treasures for Odin, acquiring through trickery a magical golden ring which made duplicates of itself, and the legendary hammer Moljnir, which Odin presented to Thor. He crafted interesting objects, and invented tools, including the fishing net, which he gave to mankind. Loki even thought to have children of his own, and, because he wanted to be so deeply involved in his children's life, he chose to give birth to them himself.
In perhaps his most interesting adventure, Loki was called in to help solve a problem the Aesir were having with a giant who was building a great fortification for Valhalla. The gods had agreed to pay the giant a tremendous unreasonable fee, including the goddess Freyja, under the condition that he complete his works before summer, which the gods thought near impossible. But the builder had a fabulously strong stallion helping him with the project and his work was much faster than expected. Loki cleverly took on the form of a beautiful, alluring mare, and caused the stallion to give chase for long enough that the builder's deal was forfeit. Some time later, Loki came to mother a stunning, eight-legged flying horse, whom he named Sleipnir and presented to Odin, who was overjoyed and from then on always rode Sleipnir into battle.
The young gods were not as appreciative as Odin was of Loki, and thought that maybe his giving birth to an eight-legged flying horse was pretty strange. They were often confused by Loki's ways, in fact, and often showed him much mistrust and disrespect. They did not truly accept him, and sometimes went so far as to conspire to leave him out of their gatherings.
One such gathering was precipitated by a prophetic dream. Baldur worried to his mother that he had dreamed of his own death, and that he was afraid. Frigg was worried too and took drastic measures. She went on a quest and asked all of the elemental forces of the world, the trees, the plants, the rocks, the flames, the waters, all of these for their solemn vow to never harm her son.
She came back from the quest feeling victorious, she called out to her court, "Glorious Aesir, my child, Baldur, our god of joy is saved, he is invulnerable to all harm, I have made it so. Let us celebrate!"
So they had a big party, and Frigg invited 13 of the gods, Odin, Odin's sons, grandsons and adopted sons. And all 14 of the goddesses, including Frigg herself. And there was much drinking and merrymaking and excitement. And the gods riled themselves and one asked "So Baldur is invincible, right? Then let us test the matter!" And so the manly gods of the Aesir began hurling spears and firing arrows into Baldur; and he merely laughed and the arrows passed near him, or bounced off him, or Baldur was inspired to catch them right out of the air. And all laughed and drank and became ever more rowdy.
Loki was not invited to the party. He was the only of the gods not invited, in fact. Even blind Hodur was there, standing around, awkwardly.
But Loki heard about it, oh indeed he did.
He heard that all of Odin's family was attending a marvelous, exciting event, and he could hear their laughter and knew their joy, and he was filled with longing, and sadness, and then, gradually, a terrible fury.
So he shapechanged into a serving girl, and went to the celebration and took in the sights and saw his beloved Odin, there, drinking without him. And his fury turned to terrible purpose. He went up to a merrymaker and asked, all wide-eyed and innocent, "If you'll pardon a simple girl's curiosity, why is there all this uproar?"
"The Lady Frigg, praise be to her name, has rendered Baldur invincible! Her quest was a success! See how all objects are as nothing to harm him!?"
So Loki went to the Lady Frigg and offered her more drinks, and flattered her, "My grand lady, I have heard some speak of your quest. You sought all the beings of the realms to swear to you not to harm your son. That is amazing! You astonish me!"
Frigg, who was deep in her cups, replied "I know. I'm awesome."
Loki then prompted "It sounds like your quest must have been rife with hardship. Were not some of your subjects stubborn, challenging to you?"
Frigg thought about it for a tipsy moment, then said "Some of them were kinda stupid. I had to use hand gestures and such. And there is a plant in the deep forest named Mistletoe too new to the realms to understand such oaths. But she is surely harmless. A cutie-pahtooty she was. I wanted to just kiss her."
Loki took his leave and vanished from the party, heading to the deep wood. When he came upon mistletoe, he asked grandly "Mistletoe, I have spoken with the queen of the Aesir, and she has told me that you made no such vow as all the other creatures made. Is this true?"
Mistletoe responded, sweetly "Oh, you are cute. Would you kiss me?"
Loki concluded that Mistletoe was too young to understand vows and such, and took a piece of her away with him and forged a magical arrow from it. Then, disguised again, went back to the party, and went to Baldur's brother, Hodur. And asked why he was not participating in the fun.
Hodur says "Well, you see I am blind, so I would not be able to strike the mark. And for related reasons, I have no weapon."
Loki said, full of cunning, "That seems like no reason to keep from honoring your mother's celebration and showing the All-father that all of his son's are powerful! Here, you may use my bow, and my arrow, and I will guide your hand to the mark."
Hodur was so convinced and all gathered to watch the blind man fire an arrow into his invincible brother.
The magical arrow, fired by Hodor, guided by Loki, struck true, and passed directly through Baldur's heart. And Baldur was instantly killed.
A pall descended upon the gathering. The god of joy had died in the midst of celebrating his immunity from that very fate. Most began to weep. Some cried out to Frigg, "Goddess? Your plan? How could this have happened?"
Frigg was rife with shock and babbled that she did not understand.
When the shock was wearing off and grief began to take its place, Loki emerged in full glory, wreathed in flames. His eyes glowing with terrible fury and worse disdain. Instantly, all knew that he was the cause of this calamity. He approached Odin, and stared him down in betrayal.
Finally, he spoke, his eyes narrow and cruel...
"Next time, just invite me to the friggin' party."
And that is the story of how Loki crashed the party, which had 13 gods attending, making the number 14, dedicated to Frigg, the queen of the Norse gods, for whom Friday is named. The day joy died making the number at the party once again 13. Friday the 13th has therefore always been a reminder of this terrible day, and unlucky.
Baldur was also the god of forgiveness, and now dead.
See that wolf? that is one of Loki's children, enspelled to go all berserker on his brother. See what they're binding Loki with? Yeah, those are entrails, of so berserked upon son. See that snake up there on the right? Yeah Loki and that snake have an AWFUL lot of good times together.
Love and Fire
When the titan of the sky was overthrown, his essence was thrown into the sea, and when dawn touched that essence, where sky and ocean met, Aphrodite emerged from the foam of the union, long before the other gods were ready to receive her. She wandered the world lonely and sad, and all who beheld her loved her, but she did not know how to love back and they were made sad, and some vicious and violent. And so her pain and isolation grew. When the Gods finally found her, they welcomed her unto Olympus, for they could not but love her. But still she did not love them back, and the gods were petty and cruel. Ares had particularly vicious ways of showing his love. Zeus as well, desired her desperately, and so Hera called a counsel of the gods. She said "The goddess of love knows not how to love. Clearly she must be taught to love, so she will be married to my son, Hephaestus."
Hephaestus was the first child of Zeus and Hera, and Hera had such great hopes for his magnificence that when upon seeing him for the first time she was revolted. She was so disappointed and disgusted by her ugly child that she had Zeus throw the baby from the heights of Olympus. Therefrom he fell and fell and fell and finally landed upon the earth with such force that he created a volcano where he landed, and adding injury to insult, shattered his legs such that when he grew up he was lame. But he found some joy when he explored the volcano as he was the god of fire and he discovered metals and learned to shape them in interesting ways. When Hermes came upon him working his metalworks, he became intrigued and asked him if he could try make a weapon. He made a spear of such beauty that upon presenting it to Ares and Artemis, they demanded of Zeus that he be allowed to return to Olympus and make such wonderful things. He crafted weapons, and brought them shyly to Olympus, but always felt terribly unwanted there, unloved, and preferred his volcano home.
So when Hera proclaimed that Aphrodite marry Hephaestus, it was not intended to be the welcome one might think. Hera meant it as a curse to punish Aphrodite for inspiring such desires in her husband and so many others, so much more than they desired her.
But when Hephaestus set his eyes on her, he loved her more than any ever had, for he saw within her how she, just as he, was so terribly lonely. He saw that she could not see herself the way others saw her. And so he went to his forge and rendered a magnificent locket, the likes of which had never been seen, that captured all the glory of the ocean, the sky, and the dawn, and the ultimate beauty of womankind. He presented it to her as a wedding gift, and told her "I know I am the least worthy of you, and I wanted to you know why that is. For this is my greatest creation and it only approaches your magnificence. Nothing could ever capture your beauty." The locket was the most beautiful thing Aphrodite had ever seen, and she could not understand at first how it was meant to be a representation of her. But it was this gift, seeing herself through his eyes and art, that taught her what love meant, and she loved him deeply, and they were married soon after. And their love shined like a beacon that made all the realms glow... for a while.
Being the goddess of love, newly kindled, she had much to catch up on. She had discovered her own beauty, and how to see beauty in others. So she gave her love freely and wildly after that. Hephaestus said "Go, my love, you are a gift to us all. I am content to work in my forge, knowing that you come home to me, when you can." She loved him even more for that. And loved even more wildly. Even giving her love to Ares, who had treated her so roughly before. Ah, but Hephaestus was not quite so cool with that development. And with Hermes' help he built a mighty mechanical cage to catch them in bed together. He trapped them and called all to see, and Hera was made furious. She punished Ares by releasing Hephaestus of his weapon making contract. Aphrodite was angry at Hephaestus for his betrayal, but when he explained that it hurt him to think that she was giving her love to one who so hurt her, she forgave him. Such was life between the goddess of love and the god of fire. Explosive, and beautiful.
When I discovered the sanskrit word "mudita", I was astonished to discover that there is no english equivalent. It means "the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being", or, more simply "sympathetic joy". I have felt this so many times in my life, it might very well be my most common emotion (given a magical world where the experience of an emotion is discrete enough to be statistically tabulated)
The English language, for all its glory, has never created a word for this, despite having two words that each might be its opposite: envy--the dissatisfaction that comes from resenting other people's well-being; and schadenfreude--the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's misfortune (borrowed from german, it's fairly common english parlance). That my culture has never required this word to reasonably describe our world might be the single most embarrassing thing about it.
We have a not too terribly obscure word that describes a bit of plastic on the end of a shoelace to keep it from fraying, but no word for joyous appreciation of the success of others. Perhaps this partly explains why modern capitalistic society, the roots of which trace through dozens of American Secretaries of the Treasury and then to British economic theory (so, um, banking) has decayed into an egalitarian farce, with a wealth divide as absurd as it was in the darkest days of the DARK ages.
For more information check out the wikipedia article on Capitalism. Especially this amusingly brief section titled Systemic weaknesses. Reading through this article, you'll find reference after reference after reference to how Karl Marx famously wrote about what a clusterfuck capitalism is. It's honestly depressing. For a minor pep-up, read Post-capitalism, and for a slightly bigger one, read Post-scarcity economy
Because capitalism is based on an economy of scarcity, capitalistic society therefore implicitly embraces the emotions of envy and jealousy. The desire to take another's wealth for yourself, and the desire to defend your own wealth from threats, and even the fear that someone may hurt your potential to have something you desire but do not yet actually have; are all emotions our society forgives even when they manifest as paranoia and betrayal (ever see the show Cheaters?). Moreover, the (insanely) rich, the obvious benefactors of such an economy of scarcity, use their disproportionate political and social power to reinforce the paradigm and decreasingly gradually cement society-wide oppression of the poor.
Stories I hear about people like these three magnificent fuckers make me earnestly hope that the syndrome of selfishness, envy, and jealousy that plagues my culture, and to a large degree the entire world, and that kept the word and therefore the concept of mudita from spreading, has run its course or nearly has. If that thought gives you hope about our species, help me spread the word. Mudita: your success brings me joy.
Aloha kuleana, my darlings. Love is our responsibility.
Police are normal people with inflated egos
On March 19th, 2015 I was on a holy mission. The tyrannical city commissioners of Gainesville were preparing to vote into existence an ordinance that would make sleeping in any public place illegal. A civil war was brewing, spearheaded by the landowners, the rich, against the homeless, the poor. The landowners lobbied to have this ordinance brought about, to utilize the power of LAW, via the FORCE of the police, to exile the homeless from their neighborhood, because they were lowering the value of the land, costing them money by existing.
A rally was being held at city hall that afternoon, and I intended to get as many people to attend it, or at least know about it, as I could. I got up early and dressed myself as flamboyantly as I could. My friend Michelle had recently given me a new cloak. A glorious thing, just my size, shimmery silver with a hint of green. I named the color of it "tinsel". And I had my trusty magical staff, a birthday gift. It was a two-feet long piece of polished oak with a blue grip in the center held on by amber suede cord wrapped about the entire piece. One end held a smooth jade for working with complexity, and the other held a white quartz, for order and structure and creation.
Fully equipped for a day of magic, I set out into the town. I walked up university ave, crossing over whenever I saw a passerby. I approached everyone I saw at a careful pace, announcing my intention loudly "Hey, did you hear about the protest at city hall!?" I would shout. Most people got interested. Some were too busy. If they were busy, I let them go without complaint. I said "God bless you!" and continued on. I talked to dozens of people. When I got near to Mother's pub, I saw a police cruiser u-turn and park a bit of the way from me. I am terrified of the police, so I ducked into Mother's and popped out the back door. I walked for a ways and then suddenly had the terrible feeling that I was going to be accosted regardless, so I took my staff out of my back pocket and dropped it on the ground. Almost immediately thereafter I heard cops flooding the alleyway with shouts of "freeze!" and "hands up!" I froze and put my hands up, of course. There were guns pointed at me. I was terrified.
There were perhaps eight cops around me, including one out of uniform who was dressed like a biker. They swarmed around me and grabbed my arms and put me in handcuffs. They did not tell me what I had done wrong. I heard them say "we should cuff him to be safe." Though I know I had not made a single threatening move. One came in front of my vision and pointed to my staff lying, non-threatening on the ground. He asked "what is that? is that yours?" His question was so angry that I was even more afraid and I answered "I don't know what that is, sir." This response further angered him and he said "Are you kidding me? We saw you with it! You're lying to me and it's illegal to lie to the police, did you know that?"
What went through my head at this time was "why did you ask me if it was mine, if you knew?" The answer, in retrospect, is that he was testing me to see if I would be fully cooperative and would tell him everything he needed to know. Bullying is an excellent interrogation tactic, although, of course, evil as hell.
What I said, however, since I was terrified, "Yes, it is mine. I'm very sorry that I lied. I swear I will only tell you the truth about anything else you ask." He replied "You'd better."
One of the cops behind me informed me that I was being detained because they heard reports of someone matching my description who was scaring people, and the reason they drew their weapons on me and handcuffed me was because they thought I had a sword. The undercover cop, the biker, came into view and said "That's not a sword, it's a wizard's staff." The other cop, the one who demanded my honesty was confused by this, and asked me if it was a weapon. I tried to assure him that it was not.
The next 20 or so minutes are foggy as I was very scared and the questions came on like lightning. They asked about my travels, my interactions with people, the purpose of my clothes, specifically my cloak. I told the truth about everything. Including that the purpose of my clothes and staff was to attract attention. One cop said something like "I have to admit, it is a nice cloak. What color is that?"
I had at least two other cops come by and berate me for having lied about the staff in the first place and informed me that they would not return it unless I admitted to the truth about it.
At some point I said "Am I allowed to carry it?" The biker cop answered first "Sure, you can carry a stick around as much as you want." Then others chimed in: "you can't be wearing what you're wearing. It's fine at the medieval faire, but not fine in the real world. You're scaring people, and that's why we're dealing with this right now." At this point I was shaking so badly that one cop shouted "You better calm down sir, I won't have you having a heart attack on me!" I tried to calm down.
One cop informed me that they had a report of my chasing after someone who had to run inside to escape me. That was an obvious fabrication. I didn't chase after anyone all day. The only running I did was to escape the police, which attempt, it turns out, was ridiculously justified.
"So you're going to give me my staff back?"
"Yeah, but you can't carry it around with you."
"um... then what should I do with it."
"well, you'll have to stash it somewhere. And the cloak too. If we find out you still have it with you we're going to come arrest you. Okay? We're taking off the cuffs now, get rid of that stuff."
I thanked them and walked to a convenient grease barrel that was nearby. I wrapped my staff in my cloak, hoping to save at least one of my items from greasy doom and put it in the barrel. I continued my day, slightly less ebullient.
The next day I went back to the barrel, and both items were gone. I have a terrible suspicion that one of the cops saw where I had put them and took them for himself. Envy is just as easily felt by police officers as by anyone else. They are humans, who have been told that they can do just about anything they want. They are the weapon of the law and therefore not subject to it themselves, at least not as much. Power is dangerous if it's not properly earned.
I don't blame them, individually. I learned a lot of humility that day. I fear them, yes, but I forgive them too. What I don't forgive is the government bodies that vest all this power into the police, and do not adequately train them to wield it. People are being brutalized everywhere in this country, bullied, killed even. And what happens to the cops? They are humiliated at best. Whereas pot dealers are getting sentenced to years in prison. That disparity of power is very similar to the disparity between the poor and the rich. The police represent the law, which has been taken over by the rich. And now the rich want to attack the poor directly, exile them to "grace" a homeless shelter set up as a relocation camp for the downtown homeless denizens. It's location is adjacent to the Alachua County Jail. This is not a coincidence.
Rage against the machine, my friends.
Legend of Zelda: Mills' awakening
Lately I have been worried about my progress as a person. I've felt stagnant, if not retrogressive. I wasn't sure of the cause of it until I found myself on a quest. The last third of my life has vacillated between hedonism and self-exploration. In seeking increasingly greater pleasures of the mind and body, I unlocked many secrets about myself and about reality, but I continued to lack many abilities that I dreamed I would have; honestly, that I expected to have.
Power, the last Triforce that I didn't think I wanted. It turns out, knowledge isn't power, it's only an ingredient. To make your dreams come true you need to have all three: wisdom to choose the path that leads to them, courage to face the obstacles in that path, and the strength to endure to the end.
Of all the Legend of Zelda games I've played. I only actually ever beat one of them, when I was 11.
Strength seems to be my missing ingredient. I am soft and lazy; ridiculously far from the steel-encased dragon warrior I envison myself to be. So I will train my strength. I will restrain from desires that do not serve me. And I will strain towards those that do. I will avoid shortcuts. I will flex my willpower, build my strength, and claim my power.
I suppose my new favorite colors are red and yellow, the colors of strength and power.
Yeah, I changed it. It's a good prayer. Especially when you remember that when you pray, all you're doing is talking to yourself ;)
Mills, the dragon's secrets of enlightenment
To *enlighten* means to take light within you, or to put it into others. Light is made up of colors and each color represents a set of significant emotions that add up to define everything we experience; which is why the Chakras are each represented by a certain color--because they are points in our bodies where we process the energy of the light we absorb through our eyes and skin and so the light of each chakra's color is used to help make our body's systems do their jobs! The root chakra, for instance, is in the lowest point of your body (your colon) and RED is the color of blood, physical energy in motion. So red light helps your blood do its job and your lower digestive system. Analogously, experiencing the emotions that are associated with the color red also affect the body's systems ruled by the root chakra, both positively and negatively.
Red is the color of blood, and so it is the color of physical desire, of rage and passion without intimacy. It is also the color of safety, of responsibility, and of repetition, deceleration, and reversal. Traffic signs that are red want the most attention, and a traffic light that is red wants you to slow to stopping.
Yellow is the color of the sun, and thus fatherly love, which can be harsh even when it is beneficial, just as too much of the sun's light can burn. Yellow the color of joy and freedom and self-awareness and therefore also the color of power and decision making. Thus we decide what to do at a yellow traffice light: speed up? or slow down?
Orange is the combination of red and yellow; the color of honey. What happens when you mix physical desire with joy and self-awareness? Sex of course! The good kind: consentual and pleasurable. That's why orange is also the color of danger, caution, restraint, and doubt. Achieving sex with someone and maintaining a healthy balance of power is challenging, but that's the kind that produces romantic love.
Green is the color of natural life, the life produced by mother Earth, and so it is the color of growth, complexity and of motherly love; therefore green is also the color of abundance and acceleration and accomplishment. And so we GO when the traffic light is green, towards unconditional love and abundance.
Blue is the color of water, beauty and appreciation, intimacy and expression, and therefore understanding, which leads to serenity and friendship.
Dark blue, or indigo, is the color of the night sky. It is the color of thought, of knowledge itself and the color of communcation without delay, thus it is the color of the third eye, of intuition, and of psychic transmission and reception.
Violet is the color of cosmic energy, thus is the color of the mystical world, of prana (or mana).
(Therefore purple is the color of magic: which is the ability to accomplish something without knowing how.)
In addition to absorbing light through your eyes and skin (and your third eye), you also absorb the energy of the things you eat, and those things primarily contain kinds of energy which is descernible by what color the food is! So eating green foods is good for your heart chakra, thus good for your heart, which is your emotional center! That might be why vegetables are so important :)
The quick and dirty method to tell if you chakras are out of balance: look down at your clothes. Is there a predominant color? Out of balance people naturally seek to wear the clothes of the color they need more energy for. If you are wearing grey, rainbow, or a combination of black and white you are probably in balance, if not, not. People wearing red to orange are seeking carnal pleasure, or control of others. They want sex or to get into a fight. Yellow to Green is happiness and love, they want to connect with others emotionally. Smile at those people :) Blue is the color of expression and beauty. Those people want to see or hear something pretty. People wearing purple or pink are going to be lots of fun ;)
I recently discovered that the Chakras blend perfectly with Maslow's Heirarchy of needs!
Ah well, that's what the Dragon is here for.
Pride is an interesting concept. One of the seven deadly sins, yet also the most sought after emotion by children of stoic parents. Pride is the feeling of satisfaction that one has when considering someone's actions, or, more fundamentally, their character, their very existential composition.
More interesting is the fact that having pride in another person, or their acts, is not lexigraphically differentiated from having pride in yourself, or your own acts. It seems to me that those concepts are drastically different, unless you're rocking some serious buddhist we are all one integrated entity shit.
Having pride in another is never bad, and always good. Pride in another means you have connected to someone, and made yourself larger and more completed. You are more capable of touching the world because you now consider the actions of another your own. Even if it means taking credit, it doesn't mean taking credit away. I look foward to when we are one integrated entity and shit and everyone takes pride in everyone else :P
Self-pride is the dangerous one. That's the deadly sin: the belief that who you are and what you've done is wonderful and worthy of praise. Wait, is that dangerous, really? Granted, some people and some action are not worthy of praise; instead, they deserve remonstrance, or even castigation. But even among the monsters, does self-pride make anything worse? Does it power their terrible acts, reinforce them? I honestly doubt it. I think that having pride in oneself is advantageous even if you have lots to work on. I think that casting pride as a deadly sin was just one in a vast series of attempts to belittle the populace by a religious institution that most significantly thrived when its constituency felt small and flawed, felt that they needed healing and guidance; NEEDED, not merely would be helped by.
So let me talk about the queers.
Today is the LGBT Pride parade and festival in Gainesville. That's what it says on the sign anyway. To quote wiki:
The initialism LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures and is sometimes used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual or non-cisgender instead of exclusively to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer and/or are questioning their sexual identity as LGBTQ, recorded since 1996.All this hubbub about labels. Always with the labels. I know each group wants their agenda to be taken especially and seriously. But the concise path appeals to me. All of these bitches are queer. And despite being a heterosexual cis-male, I am queer too. And proud.
Queer simply means: not appreciated by mainstream society. And we desire that appreciation. More than that, we desire pride. We want people to see us for what we are and love us. Understand that we are your siblings, gender-regardless.
And love is what it is all about, folks, not sex. You can say how proud you are that your penis has never touched a vagina, but, y'know, I don't really believe you. I think your pride comes from the fact instead, that you find people of your same gender attractive, and therefore you want to have love with them.
It's about acceptance, and appreciation. That's what pride is about. And we queers who live on the fringes of society's acceptance are here trying to tell you that we accept and appreciate each other. It's not hard, and it has plenty of rewards. Join us.
Some early morning birthday thoughts.
My effect on people is more polarizing than it has ever been. I have many friends who adore me, and my ability to love and receive love from them has never been greater. But I have so many who view me with disdain, or even fear, despite having no intentions to inflict harm, and every intention to fulfill those I know as much and as often as I can. There are many who pity me, even, despite the fact that I feel like I have a greater ability to appreciate life than almost anyone I have ever heard of. I have felt myself comparable to Krishna in the garden of Vrindavan, dancing, loving and feeling all the joy the world has ever known. Yet many judge me as being lost. I have caused loved ones to lose their loved ones for simply associating with me. As though I carry a disease of the mind that association will naturally, eventually pass on. Many refuse to forgive me for past mistakes. Some even believe that my mistakes were acts of brutality that stain me permanently as someone dangerous and destructive. I wish I could stop their fears, and gain their respect with my love and my understanding, and to share with them the advantages I have gained from the lessons salvaged from the disasters I have wrought. For all the worry that my tendency to embrace chaos gives rise to, I am still often bound by fear. My dream is to be unbound by fear, but to have learned enough about danger, and gradually enough to survive intact, that my intelligence will guide me away and guide those I love away from harm, without the need for heavy guardian shackles. I'm working on it, and I have had much more success than most tend to believe. But even if I don't get there, and even if my troubles multiplied a hundred times over, I would still love every moment of my life. And even if I lost it, which I do not plan to do (EVER), I have already lived far more than most. And each day that I wake, I praise and I give thanks.
Transformus tickets and rare resources
Transformus is a burning man festival, which, if you don't know what the means, suggests a very specific subculture. Here are the 10 principles of burning man:
Yeah I know, it sounds awesome. It is.
But it's also becoming overpopulated. The sub-burning man festivals that arise to fill the needs of those who wish to celebrate these principles and experience the art and magnificence of human expression are overcrowded. As is our society's wont, the default response to overpopulation, to overhwhelming demand, is to raise the price. Basic economics. Even still, the price is not prohibitive, and these tickets sell out almost immediately. Consequently, there is a board on facebook dedicated to the re-distribution of tickets from those who come to find they no longer need them, to those who missed out on getting them when they were made available for purchase.
One dude wanted to sell his tickets, but, aware of how great the demand was, wondered what the best way to decide whom he should sell them to. So he posted a challenge: he said he would offer the purchase of his tickets to the person who wrote him the most inspiring story, poem, or essay that answered that very question: how should precious and rare resources be distributed?
I assumed that the endless amount of creativity and desire among the burner community would deluge him with results. One girl wrote a poem to answer his question even thought she didn't even need the tickets! I considered writing a story myself, though I could not afford to buy the tickets. But you know what, he didn't get a single serious applicant. In defeat, he resigned himself to offering the tickets to whoever sent him a picture of themselves in the silliest hat.
This was my response to that:
I justed wanted to say that I very strongly considered composing a story for you, despite my inability to buy the transformus tickets, because I hoped to pass on the reward of that opportunity to another, who I care about deeply, who I know deserves such an opporunity, but lacks my grace with words. And I'd like you to believe that the reason I did not was not because I was scared of being judged, and not because I fail to appreciate the burner ethics of gifting or non-capitalism, but only because I had SO MUCH FAITH in the community, that I doubted my own ability to captivate you, comparatively. Kat, who wrote you the poem without even wanting the tickets hammered the nail in my impulsion's coffin. I'm writing you now, not to try to convince you to extend your contest, which is certainly over, but to give some effort to assuage the vicarious disappointment I felt for no one having risen to your challenge.
So a few poeple argued that meritocracy violated the concept of radical inclusion, that making people jump through hoops was unfair and disrespectful. It was said that dude should simply offer his tickets to whoever needs them and be done with it.
My counter to that was that need-based distribution is only sensible when the supply outweighs the demand, and that the oversimplified suggestion defaults to rewarding the lucky, those who happen to be in the right place at the right time. Is luck a better trait to reward than merit?
The thread got deleted. Not sure why. I leave it to your interpretation.
The Ancient Elements
WATER became and moved freely above the EARTH. The EARTH below guided it and carried it, and the WATER learned how to release earth's energy.
There are many depictions of EARTH as green and lush. And sometimes EARTH is omitted entirely as an element, in favor of LIFE.
But LIFE could not exist until WATER taught EARTH flow. Once flow was learned, LIFE bloomed. LIFE is the product of the dance between WATER and EARTH.
Having tasted the glory of that dance, WATER yearned to move even faster. To reach out into the sky, and leave the EARTH behind. AIR became, and it was much faster than WATER. It still had substance, but it was more energy than potential. WATER fed AIR its energy, and created wind, and wind returned AIR's energy to the WATER and created waves and then storms.
The storms taught AIR that it could be even more purely energetic, AIR stormed and swirled, harder and harder, and eventually released FIRE, which was pure energy, without any substance.
FIRE rose above AIR, but it also felt connected to all beneath it.
So sometimes FIRE would travel through the AIR as lightning and would return its energy all the way down to the earth.
FIRE was pure energy, but it realized that it too had some memory of substance, something like containment, some kind of slowness. FIRE knew that it could be even faster, could reach all places without limit. And so around the edges of FIRE came LIGHT, and LIGHT moved without even the memory of substance, as fast as anything can, and it reached out to everywhere, filling everywhere in the world with its brilliance.
And finally, LIGHT gave birth to TIME, and the world was filled with motion, and energy, LIFE and magnificence.
On Human Romantic Relationships throughout the Stars
One of my most passionate relationships started one night on a ship sailing the Carribbean ocean. There was a storm that night, and Sophie and I, thirsty for adventure, went out to the bow of the ship and laughed and shouted and reveled in the intensity of the electricity and wind and water. Eventually we descended, to escape being soaked completely, and we sat huddled together on deck and talked about human relationships. We found ourselves shaping a metaphor that was elegant in form and deeply romantic in scale.
Some of us are meteors. Burning bright through the sky, unconcerned with our own destruction.
Jack London knew this, and said famously:
Of course, some others are not. They instead work to be centered and stable. It is they who create homes and nurture families. They are planets.
Some meteors, flying wild through the heavens, will fall towards a planet.
It might burn hot and bright and streak through the sky and then be gone.
Or it may crash into a the planet's surface, and explode in fiery beauty.
And leave behind an indelible marks on the planet's heart.
Or it might, when the speed and angle of descent is just right,be taken into the grasp of a planet's gravitational field. Destruction is averted, and that meteor is now the planet's moon, the two locked in loving embrace, perhaps for eons.
There was once a planet I knew named Jeff who was brimming full of life and love and he wanted terribly to have a beautifully orbiting moon that he could hold and care for. For years, he was in love with a girl who took all of the nurturing love that he had to give, but never gave him love back. She stayed in his orbit, but never near enough to satisfy him. She was not a meteor; she had no fire to burn into his heart. She was a comet, a meteor made out of ice.
Sophie and I named ourselves meteors. And I thought of our relationship as the crash, for it seems the most intense of relationships are when two meteor's meet and give all of their momentum to each other--and both are destroyed.
However... I discovered that I am not a meteor at all. I am, in fact, a star.
I am one who carries many meteors and many comets and many planets, some with and some without moons, in a loving, unifying embrace. And when my beloved meteor, Sophie, crashed into my heart, she added to my fire and did not destroy me.
And I hope upon hope, every day, to bring you all warmth and light, and to burn brightly forever.
Dream weaver I believe you can get me through the night
Warning: this is a summary of the dream I had last night. Other people's dreams are usually boring as fuck unless you're featured in them. And even then... You've been warned.
Went to Texas for a bachelor party with my old friend Jay, he picked a fight with like 8 guys and I got the shit beat out of me, but I did some kind of zen trance thing and didn't get a scratch. Went to a strip club and got him lap dances, while I bought drugs from a seedy motherfucker in the back room. Then we went home and his fiancee was having a threesome with a guy a girl, and leaped up naked to greet us happily and unabashedly. We jumped right the fuck in.
Scene change: drove to a music festival with Norma, it was under construction and I worked on the construction as as demolitions engineer. I was laying pipes and having shit buried and having other shit blown up. When i got off work, I took Norma on a tour around the grounds and spoke perfect French to a woman who looked like Rihanna, we then trespassed through her house and I stole a hat.
Scene change: I am alone at an opera. I flirted with my waitress, who looked like Mandy and convinced her to sit and drink with me, turned out we were both spies trying to catch an assassin sitting a couple rows from us that looked like jake gyllenhall, but we found out he wasn't an assassin after all. We both had misinformation to get us out of the way that night for some other shit that was going on.
The opera morphed into a blockbuster movie theatre premier which I sat with Zach in, whispering and chatting with famous people. I met Mandy Moore, she was trying to revitalize fist bumps. Bruce willis was not impressed.
Scene reversion: back to the music festival, no longer under construction. Danced my ass off. At one point I walked past six people with joints all smoking. One girl was smoking two joints at once and dying of laughter. I walked up to this sexy black dude with a joint and I switched bodies with him. Then everyone got muddy as fuck like in woodstock. I asked Amy to help put mud on me. She did, but she did not know who I was, because I was in that other dude's body. Then time reversed and there was a super exciting stock car race on top of the dirt, and got muddy as the race went on.
My epic dialogue with an old friend
A few weeks ago, I had an incredible encounter with Amber, a girl I had met a couple times before at Julien's place, but one of us was distracted the other times. This time, we embraced, looked into each others eyes, and it felt like I could see a glimmer into the truth of the universe. Like we were two cosmic beings cris-crossing and by the crash broke through each others glamour of a mortal coil for a few infinite moments.
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intelligence introspection and self-improvement
I was talking to my love, Norma, the other day about the theory of Multiple Intelligences, and I was going on about how it seems less salient to me as I get older and observe my own aptitude across the board. Suffice to say, she mopped the floor with me, and convinced me that I was regressing to an oversimple paradigm. Today we were talking about it a little bit more, and it occurred to me why I was doing that: wishful thinking. I have a friend, my best friend, actually, who has some mental and emotional problems that strike me as fucking incandescent, but like most people, she hides from these problems, or convinces herself that they are not problems, or tells herself that they're okay. All incredibly common methods of coping with a flawed self without enduring the hardship of reforging it and all the awful pain that comes with that.
It is my wish to believe that her intelligence, which is significant, would inexorably lead her to the decision, to the compulsion even, to rigorously self-evaluate, and then devise a plan to regulate and ultimately redesign herself. It is my belief that my own intelligence has lead me through this path. I truly believe, that because of my dedication to introspection and self-awareness, I am exactly the person I wish to be. I have no flaws.
"When you're as gifted as Bean, accurate self-assessment looks like vanity"
Of course, I do have weaknesses, but they are all weaknesses I have chosen to allow in exchange for the complementary strength. For instance, I am fairly terrible at striking up conversations, asking for phone numbers, and initiating sex. It takes a very high level of comfortable rapport (or drunkeness) for me to be able to do these things. And the reason is because I place tremendous value on being unintrusive, and not being the kind of person who puts social pressure on others. And I place so much value on it because YOU do. You, collective set of all the people I have interacted with. I have listened endlessly to people bitch about that douchebag who failed to respect your space or privacy because he was such a self-absorbed tool that he couldn't read the signals you were giving off.
It is my intelligence that has allowed me to collate these stories into a universal poignant desire for others to not be oblivious or intrusive. To stay the fuck away when a signal is given that you are not wanted. (of course, some people don't even bother to send a signal). And I believe the gradual result of the KNOWLEDGE that this is how a person should behave to minimize alienation of those they encounter was for me to intelligently apply practices that kept me from being intrusive, at the cost of my ability to be intrusive, heh. So there's a reward built-in there, but additionally, my meticulous avoidance of intrusiveness lends strength to my perspicacity, and lends confidence to my responses when I am certain they are desired. I way excel at responding.
It is unfortunately likely however, that some people, however intelligent otherwise, do not have the emotional strength or whatever skill is at the root of the ability to gaze with clarity into themselves. Hell, that should be obvious to me, with the prevalence of therapy in the modern world. I suppose I am gifted in that I do not need therapy to solve my problems of self. But that makes me a little sad, because I want everyone I love to be perfect, and therefore be as happy and satisfied as possible. And maybe more important: to rid themselves of any obstacles that might keep them from loving and appreciating ME :D
...stay tuned, in my next post I will include the transcript of a text message war I had with one of the least self-aware people I've ever loved.
It's amazing to me how many things, as my mind and spirit coalesce into this unstoppable force that is who I am becoming, were true about myself that I claimed, but true to so much greater a degree than I suspected.
For a very long time now, I have identified myself as a Paladin. A holy warrior; unswervingly ethical in the pursuit of a beautiful orderly way of life. I always made the caveat, the evasion: "but I am a chaotic good paladin, so the title doesn't really stand". Chaotic good alignment basically means you do whatever the fuck you want, given any dilemma, but choose believing that it's good for the world. Lawful alignments don't get to choose for themselves because their ethics are written out in a book, and that's the part that didn't jive with me. It turns out, that I am lawful indeed, but have merely written my own book. I am a paladin of an order with a single member, but as sickeningly lawful good as any paladin of Tyr. Tyr does not write my laws for me, but they are written nonetheless, and yet I am also still willing to change. I would say that among those written laws of mine is one that requires that I change any law if abundant proof of its unfairness is offered. Along with another rule that I must pore over any such proffered proof, with great tenacity, without the defensiveness that might close my mind.
These are ethics I have been building and honing my whole life without realizing how profoundly concrete they have become for me. I do not need to question whether the vast majority of life's actions are good or evil; because I know generally know the truth of them immediately, from deep within my heart, where I have been keeping and growing my code of honor, my personal law of goodness.
The saga of my Lightsaber's battery fail
On 4/27/2012 3:51 AM, Ryan Mills wrote:
I ordered the Phantom Initiate V3 on February 24th and up until a few minutes ago, I have been profoundly satisfied with every aspect of this purchase. The lightsabers I purchase from you are without a doubt the best purchase I have ever made. I have been dancing with them almost every day and everyone who sees them has been impressed. I always tell them of your site and I imagine I have sent at least one new customer your way and am extremely proud to do so.
Today however, disaster struck and I discovered that the leads which connect to the Lithium Ion battery pack in one of my sabers spontaneously disconnected. The problem is very obvious to the naked eye, as is its solution given the proper tools. Tools which I unfortunately lack. I am writing to you for guidance. Would you have my send my saber back to you so that you can reconnect the leads, or should I go on a quest to find the right kind of tools to reconnect them myself while causing minimal damage to the wires and battery pack?
I am including a photograph of the problem to further enhance the clarity of my issue.
I deeply appreciate your consideration and eagerly await your reply. I am truly serious when I say that going without my saber for even a few days will be an ordeal for me.
future jedi knight
On Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 2:16 PM, Emory Harris wrote:
Very sorry to hear that this happen to your saber. This is still covered under warranty so we can definitely get this fixed for you.
Please mail to us a COMPLETE copy of this entire email chain (VERY VERY IMPORTANT) and the hilt ONLY to:
3581 Nantes Ct
San Jose, CA 95148
We will get this inspected and fixed and shipped back to you asap.
Thank you for your response and your sympathy. It is reassuring that you are willing to cover my saber under a warranty, however I was unable to wait even the time it took you to make the reply, much less the time it would take for me to send my hilt back to you and repair it and wait for it to come back to me again before I have a working pair of lightsabers. To that effect, I threw myself into understanding the method by which the leads were connected to the battery pack and how I could reconnect them. It was arduous and challenging but I was successful. I had to strip the wires back a bit in order to reconnect them to the terminals. I also decided to connect the leads OUTside of the battery pack housing instead of inside as they were built by you. I believe the disconnection problem I encountered was a result of the method I use to extract the batteries from the pack; I pry them out by inserting a butter knife between the battery's positive terminal and the pack's lead terminal. But since the wires go inside the housing to attach to the metal of the lead terminal, my butter knife prying most likely just sliced right through them.
This happened because of a minor design flaw: Either the leads to the pack terminal should be outside the housing, or the batteries should be extricable without needing to use a prying bar or psychokinesis.
So the leads to one of my sabers now connect on the outside of the pack housing and thus only the metal of the leads, not the wires, are inside the pack, so I can pry with abandon.
I'm sure this meddling has voided my warranty, but that's okay. If anything much more serious goes wrong with the sabers, I'll mostly order new ones.
Let me tell you once again that this was the best purchase of my life. You have my eternal gratitude for doing what you do.
Inspired by these: http://www.dndadventure.com/html/articles/gaming_stories.html
In my teenage years, my DM was the sort who was much more interested in stories and imagination than she was in rule lawyering or power balancing. Consequently, our characters were often loaded the fuck down with inappropriately epic magical treasure.
One day she decided to have our party--fairly high level, I think our evoker was 14--encounter an army of goblins. Upon encountering the army, we discussed what it mean for our five person party. We decided that what it meant to be our level was basically such that any one of us could go for days on end slaughtering goblins (less than one hit die). But for an army we needed to use swarm rules, so that every so many, say several dozen, goblins together would equal a reasonable opponent for each of us given that they were an army and interested in working together to defeat their enemies. Our party was standing on a hill, and after a bit of conversation about swarm rules, our evoker (wizard who specialized in destructive magic) asked a question: "Which way is the wind blowing?" The DM considered this for a bit and said, well you didn't notice them until you crested the hill and saw them, so let's say a very mild breeze is blowing towards the army." Our evoker grinned at this and said, "okay, I cast Death Cloud." The spell creates a 100ft x 100ft cloud of death that lingers for the casters level in rounds and does a crapload of damage each round but also automatically kills creatures with one hit die or less. Our evoker said she wanted to shape the cloud to a 10000 x 1 ft rectangle starting at the front of the army. Our DM was thrilled and ruled that the breeze was sufficient to carry the cloud over the entire army in 14 rounds. All but a few dozen of the goblins were killed (the ones in the back who saw the cloud coming, had room to outrun it, and weren't too stupid to do so), those promply ran screaming away from the carnage of their thousands of killed companions. The DM awarded our evoker a level, and a forcible change in alignment from Good to Neutral. For being a fucking mass murderer: "those goblins didn't even see you yet, and now they're all dead. ". I said "corpse looting time!"
Betrayal at the Hilton Garden Inn of Historic Ybor
Nestled in the heart of Ybor, perhaps the most purely party-oriented city in Florida, is a lovely little overpriced branch of the Hilton megaopoly. The Hilton Garden Inn of Historic Ybor is magnificently positioned two to three blocks away from the Strip, which is about a 15 block long string of decadent shops catering to drinking, dancing, smoking, and a variety of other enjoyable behaviors of the wild-side of humanity. During Gasparilla, a month long party celebrating Ybor's pirate-oriented history, there is a parade, beads, breasts, and drunkenness on par with nothing other than the great Mardi Gras celebrations of old New Orleans. The Garden Inn is also magnificently positioned for those visitors seeking similar kinds adventure but with a darker shade of cosmetics. The Castle is the largest, most well known, and most impressive goth club in Florida and arguably all of the southeast, and it too is a mere couple of blocks from the very hotel which it is my great sadness to have cause to write about now.
I have stayed in the Garden Inn dozens of times. In fact, it was my absolute number one choice of hotel. The location is not the only reason for that. The staff there has always treated me more than fairly. Far more, in fact. There have been many times, when, exhausted from a night of dancing, my friends and I sought the soothing joy of the jacuzzi. But it was closed of course, because for some reason, establishments often close their pool area after the dark. That's when the vampire piranhas come out, I suppose. But the management and security staff at the Hilton Garden Inn let it slide on a few occasions. And my respect and adoration for them went deep.
This weekend, that adoration disintegrated violently.
This weekend, that being in the middle of Gasparilla, I did not expect to acquire a room. I thought more enthusiastic party-goers would have already snatched away all the rooms. But I lucked out, and got a reservation. When I arrived there, the hospitality staff treated me kindly. Even went out of his way to comp me for parking, when he saw that I was a state employee but he could not give me the room discount because the overbooked status would not allow the procedure. It was with a happy, easy heart that I set out to meet my friends at the castle to celebrate the birthday we specifically came to celebrate. I did not even enter the room before sallying forth.
When my friends and I returned from the castle, it was with high spirits, despite the fact that not a single member of my party had been drinking. On our way back to the hotel, I recall passing by an SUV that had a few clearly drunken ladies outside of it screaming about how they were not going home with apparently the men who had brought them. We chuckled and passed by. This is Ybor after all. This is Gasparilla even!
Upon entering the hotel room, Drew, whose birthday it was, set up his music station. I didn't think too much about it, because, after all, this is Ybor. However, before a single song could end, we were intruded on by an extremely condescending security guard. He made it clear that we would have to turn off the music, or we would be asked to leave. Naturally, we were all disappointed, but we acquiesced and turned off the music. Everyone was bummed out and some were considering leaving because we couldn't enjoy ourselves the way we hoped.
Things went from sad to outrageous and tragic when one extremely idiotic member of my group accidentally turned the music back on. We at least four of our group immediately told her to shut it off, but the damage was done, because no more than 10 seconds after the music was accidentally switched back on, did we hear the ominous, angry knock.
Yes, 10 seconds. There can be no doubt that the guard was standing in the hall, waiting outside my door for the disturbance to reach the critical level he was waiting for and he could demand that we all leave. Of course we begged, we pleaded. He was hearing none of it. So with a mix of sadness and anger, we departed. Having been in the hotel room for no more than 20 minutes total.
As we passed through the lobby, some of my group pleaded with the lobby attendant. He apologized profusely and mentioned that there was a corporate executive in the room next to ours. And if the hotel wasn't completely booked, he would have just moved us to a different room. Naturally, I asked him if I would be charged for the room, and with a shrug, he told me I would have to take it up with the general manager, John Sullivan.
The next morning, I called John Sullivan three times and was directed to his voicemail three times. Eventually, in the afternoon, he called me back, and was less than accommodating. He reported to me that droves of guests were complaining about the horrendous noise coming from our room. The guest across from the hall allegedly said "louder than any nightclub". That is, of course, insane. But honestly, despite the fact that this is the partyiest hotel of Ybor, despite that it was Gasparilla, I did not begrudge the staff that they needed to ask us to leave. Even that they were fiercely ready to spring to kick us out. What I do object to is the fact that I was required to pay for the service that I was not allowed to enjoy.
When I brought this up to John, he countered with the fact that our disturbance caused him to lose business, thus I did not deserve my room fee returned. I warned him, that this act of disrespect against me would lose him more business, but he would not be moved.
Please my friends, I beg you. If you find injustice in my story, do me a favor and send John Sullivan an email. Tell him how he is wrong. Tell him that he will lose your business and the business of your family and friends.
I never wanted to disturb anyone, but I think the Hilton Garden Inn took my punishment a bit too far.
John Sullivan, General Manager
Michelle Cardamone, Director of Sales
Hilton Garden Inn Tampa/Ybor City
1700 E. 9th Avenue
Tampa, FL 33605
Sometimes I am forced to confront a friend of mine for taking advantage of my generosity. It sucks profoundly; gets my heart racing faster than asking someone out on a date. I am so afraid that I am making myself seem like an uncharitable monster, or that I am misunderstanding my evaluation of the fairness of the situation. But I do it. More now than before, both because I am older and stronger, but also because Llewellyn is very good at informing me when I'm being somebody's bitch. I try to be polite, though it's very hard when the basic point I need to get across is that taking advantage of my generosity is, itself, impolite. I definitely make mistakes, usually in the direction of harshness, and I terrorize the object of my castigation. This is a big fucking problem, because what usually results of that terror is complete abandonment. And that pisses me off SO much more than the mooching did.
So you feel guilty because I've brought it to your attention that you're a greedy bitch, and you just run away? That tells me a variety of things, none good. First, it tells me you're afraid of me. That is bullshit. My friends should not be afraid of me. Being afraid of me means you don't understand me, so fuck you. Second it tells me that you feel only exactly enough guilt to know that what you were doing was wrong and/or won't be tolerated anymore. You don't feel guilty enough to actually try to make up for it, or at the least, begin attempting to redress the balance in our relationship. So fuck you for that. Third, it suggests that my friendship was only valuable to you because you were able to mooch from me. Oh well, free rides over, no more use for Millsey. Fuck you for that.
This message is dedicated to Pat. Thanks alot, douchebag. No more hugs for you.
Social responsibility is always shared.
My friend emblemparade recently delivered unto me a stab of his rapier sharp socio-philosophical understanding. He introduced an idea to me, which while not exactly new, was phrased in a certain way that made me desire to contemplate its profundity.
Social responsibility is always shared.
He said this right after "my disdain for libertarianism is complete", which coming from almost anyone else, would have pissed me the fuck off. But from him, I welcomed the criticism. I've held an uncontested adherence to libertarianism for so long, I basically take it for granted in my evaluation of most senarios. I've always known that the validity of this philosophy peters off when you consider larger and larger groups of people, assuming one's faith in the ability of the groups members to behave reasonably does not expand in proportion. What that means is that holding libertarianism as anything other than a utopic concept makes the holder either a blind idealist or a sectarian elitist. I've considered myself a delightful combination of both. But it dawned on me, in contemplating that phrase: social responsibility is always shared, that there is a non-idealist non-elitist way to approach solving social problems.
This isn't like a world changing epiphany I had here. Obviously nothing can be done about idiots. Nothing can be done about people who delude themselves into believing irrational things and making bad decisions and holding to unfair positions.
Libertarianism demands that actions always be just, and if not, their injustice realized and redressed automatically. Realism, it seems, requires a different demand.
What actually hammered home the point for me was a bit from an essay--part of the uproar about DCs insanely pandering oversexualization of MOST of their female heroes.
But it’s not the sole responsibility of women to somehow get themselves hired so they can write books that their nieces might buy. Men – yes, even straight ones – will have to make an actual effort to establish that diverse landscape in which some of the female characters do wear pants for 20 whole pages. The problem DC has right now is that too many of their creators decided that their book was going to be the one targeted to that all-important horny adolescent boys niche, and someone else could deal with stuff like ‘women’.
And I was all like, fuck yeah! Stupid sexist comics creators! Fuck them, it's all their fault. But then I considered "all important horny adolescent boys niche" along with some earlier thoughts from the same essay: "there is room in comics for sexually aggressive female heroes...There is even room in comics’ diverse landscape for bisexual strippers, alongside flamboyant gay characters...But first you need to build a diverse landscape."
And it became clear. Social responsibility is shared. The company had a responsibility to reach all of its market. Even if they meant to pander only the niche market, for the sake of profit, which reasoning, libertarianism would vehemently support... well, that's just not cool.
The fairness of an act is always determined by considering the poverty of those who are lacking a resource in contrast to the wealth of those with the power to provide it to others. Maybe in economic issues you can just say "I own it, I can do what I want with it" but socially, that's wrong. (And maybe not just socially... Karl Marx is going to haunt my dreams tonight EEK!)
I believe pretty much everyone does this among their friends and family. I think the reason I never thought to apply it to larger groups is because I personally cringe at the thought of providing a resource to a portion of the populace for whom I cannot directly measure their wealth.
Tal told me that I failed in my responsibility to Vickie because I allowed myself to be convinced of the earnestness of her suicide letter. I owed her "the benefit of doubt", he told me. And he was right, the fucker. I was arbitrarily granting her choices an unassailable status while I was heaping derision upon those who sought to defeat her will. I realize now that I did this, largely, due to projection.
I am desperate to have the sovereignty of my will be respected. In fact, I would go as far as to say I am terrified by the thought of having my will dominated; by a person, by the state, by whatever. By even an ego-defeating psychedelic drug experience (but at least I am usually aware that the latter is temporary). I am absurdly idealistic about the responsibility that everyone should own for their actions because I so badly want mine. Kinda silly now that I think about it out-loud, so to speak.
Especially because of another example that Tal and I discussed: language. He suggested that I put too much of the responsibility of understanding on the speaker, that some was also owed the listener. I almost dismissed the suggestion until I considered how hard I myself try to understand the nuance and variability of that which is spoken by those around me. I've always taken the responsibility to be an avid listener very seriously, even thought I bet that a few days ago I would have argued staunchly that it was not my responsibility to understand a weak or flawed communicator. Surely there is responsibility to be well understandable also. But even that requires one to understand those he is trying to make understand something, enough to know the correct language to choose. It's about finding a common ground, and both people have to walk towards the center, in order to meet fairly.
I have more to think on this, and maybe need to read a Ayn Rand novel or something to see how my thoughts response. But in the mean time, one piece of advice remains universally useful and relevant: Be excellent to each other, dudes.
(and party on)
thoughts on suicide
Earlier tonight, an old friend of my posted a goodbye letter to facebook. The letter was short, cogent and beautiful. She expressed a life of misery and desire for an end to it. She reassured her friends and family that they had indeed been positive forces in her life, but it was clear that they were not enough to make her life worth living. She asked them to understand her choice and not begrudge her the selfish choice to attempt escape. They did not. Instead, everyone scrambled to find someone who could stop her, and they succeeded. I expect she is now in a hospital, and I imagine she is even more miserable and far more hopeless. I imagine her tear-streaked face, deadened by the knowledge that she failed, that she is now doomed to unending suffering.
I discovered the letter when it was mentioned to me by one of those so scrambling. I was shocked, naturally. But after I read her letter, I felt only deep sadness. It breaks my heart to imagine anyone in that much pain for so long--an entire life. And in the comments to her note, where others were expressing disbelief and indignation, the only thing I could think to say was "Good luck". Yeah, well, so much for luck. Shortly after I commented, someone else commented that she had been rendered "safe". Waves of relief swept the audience. I did not feel relieved. I felt something more like disappointment and frustration. And I felt the strong desire to apologize to her, on behalf of whoever intervened--for their selfishness.
Earlier today, interestingly, I was reading the wikipedia article on seppuku. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku
The Samurai of ancient Japan would take their own lives, rather than suffer the torture and shame of enemy capture. One quick, brutal slash across their own stomach. There lay, for them, great honor, in suicide.
Now, of course, we think they were fucked in the head. Imprisonment and torture are always better than death because at least there's HOPE. You can escape imprisonment; you can heal from torture; you can make up for your shame. What a bunch of fucking optimists we are.
Life is the greatest gift, after all.
Lift is not a gift, people. That's sunday-school propaganda. Life is value-neutral. For some, life is filled to the brim with rewards and successes and above all: joy. For others life is a never-ending nightmare. At least, until it ends.
Some injuries cannot be repaired. And sometimes, in the end, it wasn't worth all the struggle.
I know there are all those walking-on-sunshine suicide-depression-recovery poster-children. And I know they would all take turns punching me in the kidneys for what I'm saying here. Fuck them. They lucked out, that's all. They won the goddamn psychological lottery. Yay. I do not believe that everyone can be saved.
And I don't think ANYONE should be. Well, kids, yes; they don't know what the fuck life is about yet. But adults? Cogent adults who regret the pain their death will cause their loved ones? Guilt like that is a symptom of maturity, not derangement.
I do not believe any reasoning, self-aware creature should be prevented from doing any damn thing to himself that he wants. Above all should be the right to quit. I feel that not having that freedom is tantamount to subjugation.
Sometimes giving up is the right thing to do. Blind persistence in the face of insurmountable opposition is stupid. And who could possibly gauge that battle other than yourself? Who would know better than you how difficult your life is? Who would know better than you if it's all worth it? You probably don't know either. I don't know if my life will ultimately have been worth it (though if I died right now, it would very much have been). Nobody should have the right to demand that you fight a battle that they can't know you'll win.
I feel deep sadness that my friend has such insurmountable opposition in her life, but I feel even sadder that she is now being forced to persist. I suppose I just have to hope now that somebody eventually succeeds in brainwashing her into loving life. Scrub-a-dub, optimists.
Web programming things that have pissed me off for the 400th time this morning.
1) The fact that Facebook only sends email notifications for what OTHERS post. So if you post something on someone else's wall and they delete it, it's like it never happened. Livejournal, at least, always had this one right.
2) The fact that you can't set the hour that starts your day in Google Calendar. You can set what DAY the WEEK starts on, but not what hour starts the day. So every day always starts at midnight. That is annoying because if you have an event that goes past midnight, it gets broken up. And all of my events go past midnight.
oh aim you dirty minx
ctstorm4: hey whats up?
me: the ceiling
and the stars
and the outer ring planets
and the cirrus clouds
ctstorm4: im bored wanna do something fun with me?
me: like play in a lightning storm naked?
give to me
give me the link baby!
ctstorm4: i found this iq test take it with me and lets see who gets higher http://twurl.nl/yd67vd
there it is
rock on with your bot self
ctstorm4: k brb im going to get a drink and take it..
k l8r dude!
ctstorm4: no lol its me
yeah it's you
even if you're human, you're still a bot
ctstorm4: i got 103 haha what did you get?
103 too how weird!
that's just crazy
gosh I'm glad we met
you are so great
thank you for informing me of this wonderful way to discover my IQ
I will make haste to share this bounty with all my other online friends
but none of them are as nice as you
Abortion is one of those hot issues that make some people fucking crazy; even normally very sane people. I myself am driven rather insane by this issue, though not directly. I am often crazed with anger by those that feel strongly enough about the issue itself that they feel the need to start shit with people who take related action to protect themselves from harm. Shit-starters are my anathema. And that brings me to my point, to tell them to go fuck themselves, and also to delve into the whole sloppy issue with gusto.
Yesterday, I read this article: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/10/nebraska-abortion-law-tragic/ The short version of which is that a lady in nebraska's unborn child was declared medically doomed to die a painful death shortly after birth but since the fetus was two weeks past the allowable maturity for abortions, she was forced to continue carrying it, forced to give birth to it, and then forced to watch it die of unavoidable asphyxiation.
Thanks Nebraska legislature! You're awesome!
This is so obviously the perfect reason why the 20 week rule is arbitrary and shitty. Oh but there is a slippery slope! Goodness! What if we take away the rule and then people start aborting 9 month old children who are also doomed to die of asphyxiation upon birth. UM THAT WOULD BE FUCKING FINE.
I know the issue rolls back to the question: "is your life yours?" And the answer to this is so fucking obvious to me that it hurts my spleen to contemplate those who are confused by it. What is the alternative, I ask? Owned by the state? Then why aren't all soldier's conscripted? Why only 25% income tax instead of all of it? Communism is the ultimate incarnation of state-owned citizen's lives, right? And don't we hate communism? Yes we do. Okay, is it owned by civilization in general? When was the last time civilization needing something from me? Is the only thing it needs my life? Why does it need it? Just because. Awesome argument. Not. No, there is no reasonable argument against everyone's life being their own property.
My life is mine and no matter how insane I am, I should never be inhibited from doing any nutbag thing I want to do with it, except for harming someone else. The people who disagree with this are the worst of the arrogant. "No, you shouldn't do that nutbag thing with your own life, because I know better than you what you should do with it. You should be a bus driver. Naturally. So put down that crackpipe, sir." God, soooooo fuck you for telling me I should be a bus driver. I'm going to smoke this crack (in a well ventilated or unpopulated area) until my lungs hurt and then I'm going to jump off a bridge into a rocky ravine.
Okay, so you're going to tell me that I'm crazy and therefore you can put a jacket on me that constrains me from succeeding in my chosen nutbag endeavors until you have some other similarly arrogant codface wave his magic wand of psychoanalysis at me until I speak his language and do your bidding. That sucks, but I can even appreciate your thought here. You want me to act in a way that is in accord with your understanding of healthy and sane. That is at least reasonable. Until you demand that I not escape my pain. Until you tell me that I have to die of asphyxiation rather than take the peaceful method provided by the darling dear of a doctor with his satchel full of IV morphine. "No, you have to die painfully because your life isn't your own, which is true, though I cannot support it reasonably."
Or maybe instead you say "No, you have to die painfully because we cannot give the power to take lives to fallible doctors."
Oh is that your fear? Well why not do what humans always do when they have to make decisions that are too big for a human. Form a fucking committee. That's how we imprison people. Jury committees. And that's how we hand out of the death penalty.
Oh THAT'S RIGHT. The death penalty exists. You amazingly arrogant motherfuckers say that sometimes groups of people are allowed to TAKE the life away from someone entirely against his will, and yet when someone desperately WANTS to die, because his life is nothing but torment, nope, cupcake needs to just suck it up. Does that sound like justice to ANYONE?
But the thing that really drives home the madness of it all. Is that what if this life that is pure torment, what if it has only existed for a tiny short while. What if the body it inhabits is unable to survive in gravity and breathing air? What if the intelligence it supports has gathered no information? What the the sum of everything that makes this life what it has so far become is merely the spent energy of a single woman and a few burritos. Then what say over it do you require? What do you demand from this life, that is causing and will cause nothing but harm until it ceases to exist? What could you possibly want from it to demand that it remain?
The only reasonable answer, and I stretch "reasonably" quite brutally here, comes from mind-numbing levels of blind optimistic idealism. Delusions of utopia, in fact. You have to think "Everything can be saved, and nothing ever has to go to waste." You who believe this are certainly poor, because your economic sense must be nonexistent. Perhaps you are the product of a rich family and never had to support yourself.
Anyone not so cursed, can understand why it is a good idea to cut your losses as soon as you know that your investment will only lead to hardship. This is a universal principle that can be applied to anything that can be referred to as an investment at all. That includes people, motherfuckers. People are an investment. You put energy and comfort and wealth and time into growing them up, learning them up, and hope that eventually they become useful contributing members of some community somewhere. And if you have the chance to realize that that final product isn't going to become what it should, way before a tiny fraction of all the energy and comfort and all the crap that goes into raising a child is expended, then it's time to celebrate, mom! Okay well not celebrate; maybe you're pissed it didn't work out, maybe you're heartbroken because you've invested emotionally and now you'll need to tear part of your heart out to hit reset. But at least you get to try again and get it right, and don't have to just deal with a mistake that would have done nothing good but only suck the life out of you and hurt you worse than anything you've yet felt. Oh, well, unless the government tells you you're not allowed to, that you have to endure the sentence of torture, and for no good reason. Thanks Nebraska!
I'm not even going to bring up all the religious arguments. Even if you support what I'm talking about here, your god doesn't, unless your worship Bhaal, the god of murder. Your god can blow me.