Tag Archives: people

People, NOT Government

President Obama will be our president for the next four years, the House of Representatives is still controlled by a Republican majority, and the Senate is still controlled by a Democrat majority. Nothing has changed since yesterday. This morning I still got out of bed, shut off my alarm, put on my clothes, and went to work.

For now, I’ll rake the leaves at the beginning of my neighborhood when no one else will, I’ll buy a homeless guy a meal and treat him like a person, I’ll offer to fix my neighbor’s front porch when they need help, and I’ll lend my friends a few bucks when times are tight after they’ve been laid off work. In the end, its the people that make a difference, not their Government.

Did you get that?

As a 25 year old man, with several decades left to live, I believe no idea is more important to perpetuate than our sense of responsibility to ourselves and our neighbors. We have to fight for it!

As it stands it seems we as a population have slowly come to rely more and more on Government. Not just the poor, not just as a social safety net, and not just for emergency – but to such an extent we are losing our sense of community.

Ask yourself: “What is my relationship with my community?” and “What do I think when I see someone in need?” Do you think “How can I help?” or do you assume the Government already is?

We text “Red Cross” during a hurricane instead of preparing a meal for our neighbor. We wait for FEMA instead offering water to the thirsty. We assume “they get food-stamps” instead of offering someone a way to feed themselves. Republican or Democrat this is a trending theme everyone must be worried about.

Help yourself, help your neighbor, don’t wait for anyone else to do it.

Three Important Truths I’ve Learned this Past Quarter Century

There aren’t many things I’m sure about – hell – there are less things I’m sure about today than at probably any time in my life. Having said that there are a few conclusions I’ve come to with some consistency that I think are worth sharing.

1. Stick to it

Anything I’m proud of in life, anything that I look back on and believe was worth doing, took time – and I stuck to it. Maybe this seems elementary, but I’ve always been the guy that would stick with something until the end. That has almost always paid off.

When I was playing high school football I started off as a third string guy. I was never going to see the field. Most of the other athletes were far superior to me via simple genetics, but I didn’t give up. A few hard workouts, a few guys quitting the team, and there I was – a starter. My senior year I didn’t come off the field. Not because I was the best, but because I just stayed on the team.

Almost anything else in life is that way too. Relationships, a career, obtaining an education, all require a lot of time and effort. My freshman year of college I really wanted to drop out and go to a local school near home – God I’m so happy I didn’t. So if you are thinking about quitting, maybe you shouldn’t.

The worst part is that if you make quitting a habit you never realize the fruits of sticking to it. That’s a bad habit to get into.

2. Feelings are chemical reactions

I’m an emotional guy even though people who know me would probably disagree. (I’m good at covering it up) I’ve been so angry that for an instant I could have killed, I’ve been so lust ridden that I could have cheated on my wife 100 times, I’ve been so depressed that I literally didn’t know what I wanted out of life. The one thought that kept me sane during those events was “these emotions aren’t real.”

Once you realize that emotions, no matter what they are, are simply the result of chemical reactions going off in your body causing you to feel a certain way – for me at least – they somehow become easier to manage. Anger leaves, that women you wanted so bad suddenly becomes not so special, and depression eventually fades.

The important thing is to make smart decisions based on facts and reality – not on your animalistic instincts. I think that’s why men like to get lost in sports so much. There is something incredibly natural about relying totally on guy reactions and knee jerk reflexes. A lot of that is a great release from our calculated and restrained lives.

Sometimes if you just take a step back and take some time (maybe blog about it) – things make more sense later.

3. If you think you know, you don’t

When I was 18 I thought I knew a thing or two. I was a smart kid, but damn looking back I realize just how dumb I was. That’s exciting too because I fully expect to look back on myself today and say “damn, I was dumb.” If you are constantly doing that – maybe you are getting somewhere.

The dumbest people on earth, in my experience, are those who think they have it all figured out – so they become stagnant. So the instant you find yourself thinking “I know a lot” step back and realize you have a really long way to go.

If anything, I hope I can always realize that I know almost nothing. I mean so far in life – I might know three things…

Lost in Translation – What I learned about Communication with foreigners in a Bar

One of the things I love most about travel and meeting people of different cultures and languages is the learning that takes place within myself. Here’s a quick example of something I learned – something that I think I already knew, but didn’t really understand the vastness of until last week.

I was out to dinner talking to a few Brazilian students who were at a conference for architecture here in the States. Each of them were either working on their PhD dissertation or already a professor.

These were obviously some of the most intelligent people I have ever met – and each of them spoke English to a varying degree. I speak some Spanish, but no Portuguese, so we stuck to English. I began having a conversation with a Brazilian woman named Rosane. Even in English I could tell she was quite intelligent though sometimes when my vocabulary became too complex, I used a common expression, used sarcasm, or spoke a little quickly I could tell she didn’t catch part of my meaning.

After a while she mentioned how it was difficult to articulate what she wanted to say – especially regarding philosophical or highly complex thoughts in a foreign language. That’s when it hit me – the vastness of language and communication.

Here sits two educated people with the desire to communicate complex and interesting ideas, but unable to speak much above a high school level. I love Language and this fact makes it all the more interesting to me – what things can two cultures fail to communicate – what things carry over? I noticed an infinite number of both in the subtleties of our conversation.

I can’t help but wonder how intelligent these people really were. What would that same conversation sound like in English or if I spoke Portuguese. I imagine it would have been deep and informative.

There was a indie rock band playing so on several occasions I tried to explain the metaphor in a lyric, or the meaning behind the title of a book, geo-political issues, etc. Some things I could tell they were instantly clear on, other things truly are lost in translation.

I am ashamed at the level of English other nationalities speak and my inability to speak a second language fluently. I think my new goal is to really master Spanish. I’ve sat on the idea long enough, used it briefly in my travels, but how can I really get to know a person and culture without speaking their language?

Communication, in all its forms, is the key to understanding.

Slipping Slowly into Madness

I hesitate to write this blog post. Usually my strategy in life is to stay positive, keep chugging ahead, and things will work out. By all measurable statistics that’s exactly how things are going. I have a job that pays well and is full of opportunity, I have a loving and caring wife, I have a house that is well on its way to being paid off, I have money in the bank, and based on pretty much anything else one might objectively and statistically measure success by I’m doing good. The problem is I don’t feel that way. There’s a gap.

I feel like an idiot and a selfish asshole for even complaining. So much is going good for me, but some days I feel hollow. It’s almost like a depression that I can usually get over in a few hours by changing my way of thinking or just forgetting about it. The problem is I’m tired of “just forgetting about it”, and I’m tired of this feeling creeping up on me. The conflict is horrible and it’s not fair for anyone who has to put up with it (mostly my wife).

Sometime this feeling effects my personal life too. There are days when I can’t even begin to give my wife the attention and love she deserves. I’m too selfish and too self concerned with some fucked up feeling of being unfulfilled. God it’s fucked. Worst still is that I am a master at covering it up. I can throw a smile on my face and make almost anyone think I am the most confident and happy person on the face of the goddam planet. Hell, maybe sometimes I am.

The Problem, the Uncertainty

The cause of these undefined feelings are hard to nail down. Is it my life, my career, genetic, mommy and daddy issues, marital, spiritual, or some combination thereof? I have no fucking clue. Sometimes right when I feel like I might have a solution or the culprit of my emptiness identified I realize the actions required to rid myself of those feelings are risky at best – stupid at worst.

Why does the human existence have to be so fucking complicated. Maybe it isn’t – maybe I’m just making it complicated. I don’t know…

Honestly, part of me is afraid. Afraid of making a stupid decision. Afraid of making the wrong decision – especially when my current existence by most people’s standards is pretty fucking good (see paragraph one). I wish someone would just say to me: “Do it. Take the risk. Do “X”. That’s what you should do and you will be happy for it.” I’m no idiot though.

There’s no magical person out there that can tell me what I really need to do to feel full to the brim with satisfaction. If I wanted that kind of lie I would buy a fucking Joel Osteen book.

Vegabond

Also, I keep coming back to this idea of selling everything I own and just traveling and working by doing whatever I can do. Of course I would do a lot more planning than that before I actually took the plunge, but the idea keeps falling back to the forefront of my mind. I haven’t fully developed a plan here, but it keeps haunting me. Is this common? Does anyone else have this?

Every time I meet someone from another country I feel like I become twice as informed. Just having the slightest insight into another person’s thoughts from another place is probably the most interesting thing on the planet. That is definitely a shortcoming of the American lifestyle, but I’ll leave that rant for another post.

What’s keeping me from just doing it? Comfort and the feeling I’ll be giving up so much, in such a good spot, for a big mistake. It could be the biggest mistake or the greatest achievement of my life. The problem: I’m not good with risk. I’ve been calculated and conservative my entire life, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m trading the security of mediocrity for the potential for a life worth living. Any advice?

Marriage

My marriage is rocky. I need to put in some work. We were married too early and been together too long. Sometimes I think that is both a lucky thing and simultaneously the worst thing.

To make things worse: I met a Brazilian woman while I was out of town at dinner the other night. She is 30, interesting, educated, had an amazing accent, eccentric, and was of course beautiful. We hit it off really well, too well, and I developed a shameful crush for her – and she for me. Those elementary school feelings will quickly leave and luckily she is going back to Brazil and I will never see her again, but sometimes I feel like being married so young to a women I’ve known so long has lead to missed opportunities. That’s probably the voice of ignorance speaking, but I know it is partially true. Maybe that’s a blog for another time too.

My wife is great and almost any shortcomings in our relationship are my fault. My failure to accept her for her own personality, my failure to give her attention when needed, and my failure to not marry her if that was the case. I’ve thought about this many times and even if I wanted to I could never bring myself to leave her. It’s the Irish in me, I’ve been told, we will live with something and be unhappy forever if that’s what it takes.

The End

This is getting long and I haven’t even read over it to see if my stream of consciousness writing makes any sense what-so-ever. I feel a little better and if you have bothered to read this far I appreciate it.

BlogTruth Challenge: Week 2

Holden is still a fatty and I still have no trace of abs, but the BlogTruth challenge is still going strong into its second week.

The Challenge: The first person to reach their goal wins. (Holden = 190lbs, Atticus = Abs)

Week 2

Week 1

NO KIDS FOR ME! How having kids ruins lives.

I do not want children.  I have no desire what-so-ever to produce offspring.  I am not concerned with passing down my name, my genetics, nor any legacy.  I’m a happy guy and I want to stay that way.  I’m not missing anything, I’ve tried the dog thing, and taking care of something besides yourself sucks.  Period.

I can hear the parents screaming now.  You don’t know what you are missing!  You are naive!  Having a child and watching them grow is SO rewarding – and so the arguments go.  Let me just say something – you are all full of shit.

My happiness is not tied to the existence of a smaller, younger, screaming, shitting,  person that shares half my DNA.  I do not need another person’s life to complete my own.  Maybe you are just fooling yourself!

Society says: “Have a kid!” 

Having a kid is something society has taught us to do.  We should breed.  We should head forth and multiply!  It’s even in our religion, government, and genetics.  We want sex, the Government gives us tax incentives, and “God” says married people should have orgasms to breed, not for pleasure!  I mean who doesn’t love a cute kid?  Maybe society just wants us to join the club – and be as miserable and bogged down as they are.

Everyone I know who has a kid is a liar too.  How do I know?  Because the one thing they complain the most about (their kids) is the exact thing they say is the best thing in their life.  I call bullshit.

Seriously, if you tell me that having a kid completed you.  If you say that having a kid is the most special thing to ever happen in your life.  Or anything like that – then you are just trying to make yourself feel better about how bad having a kid sucks.

Disadvantages of Having a Kid

Kids are expensive, they get hurt, they get into trouble, they fuck up your house, they crawl on you, and I could get over all of that.  The one thing I’m not sure I could stand is losing time.  No more heading to the grocery store or out to dinner on a whim, no more sex in the kitchen just because I want to, no more weekend camping trips out of the blue, trips across the globe become “I have to find a baby-sitter”, and every convenience I once had suddenly becomes an exercise of “I would, but I have to watch the kids.”

Freedom.  Gone.

Kids also wreck that shit when they are spat out of a women’s vagina.  The once perfect breasts, smooth skin, tight ass, and sexual aura becomes a moody, orangutan titied, wilder-beast that survives by cutting your balls off for leisure.  Why would I want to subject my self to a lifelong tenure of mediocre sex with a former hottie that is destined to be interrupted by crying?

If you say having children is a blessing – then you had no goals or life beforehand.

Alternatives

With so many alternatives to having children I can barely stomach the idea of ruining my wife’s body to produce a second me.  I mean there are a million orphans going hungry at any given moment so why not adopt?  Perhaps that is more meaningful than producing a child of your own.  Adoption is a gift you give another human being – what can be more special than that?

Not having kids doesn’t make you selfish – it means you have different priorities

A lot of people call childless couples selfish, but that is a fallacy.  People without children aren’t selfish they simply have different priorities that do not include kids.

I want to travel the world, I truly want to make it a better place, I want to help people – especially those that already exist.  It almost feels more selfish for me to have two kids when I could use those same resources to help two children somewhere else – who have already been born – and are going hungry.  Maybe having children in a world full of hungry ones makes YOU the selfish one.

In all seriousness

Have kids or don’t.  I’m not sure either path is any better than the other.  My overall point here is that no one should feel pressured by society to have children.  For many people, especially those people who aren’t ready, having a child is a responsibility they aren’t financially nor mentally ready for.  Let’s stop with the “let’s have kids by 30” thing and start a “lets enjoy life” one.

The Planet is NOT 6,000 years old you Young Earth Dummy!

If you choose not to believe in evolution, fine. The theory isn’t perfect and there are a few scientific alternatives to our arrival on this earth as a species.

Hell, you can even believe God put all of this into action. Believe that God created these processes that eventually and inevitably lead to our very existence. You can believe in big-foot, the tooth fairy, monsters, the paranormal, and whatever else you want too, but PLEASE can we give up this young earth creationist bullshit?

Christian’s are the only ones clinging to this idea too (not all of them, even Catholics are laughing). Why? Because apparently you can trace the linage from Adam to present day at about 6000-10000 years. Taking the bible, a book whose stories existed as oral tradition for 100s of years, as historical fact is your first problem, but I won’t go there. The real question is how are you ignoring all the scientific evidence to the contrary?

Dinosaurs

One evening when my wife was out to dinner with and old high school friends, catching up, the friend brought up the young Earth theory. She said:

“Well, the bible talks about dinosaurs. It mentions behemoth, which is the description of a dinosaur…and you can’t refute the bible.”

No. I’m not fucking joking. This individual is responsible for another human life and is attempting to reconcile the existence of dinosaurs to a fucking verse in the bible. If God exists he is as disappointed as I am.

If Dinosaurs existed during the time of man humans would have worshiped them. We wouldn’t have drawn sketches of buffalo or lions on the side of caves and pottery, there would be monuments dedicated to T-Rex! Who the fuck gives a shit about a puny antelope when there are goddam brontosaurus roaming around!

I would rather believe fucking ancient alien theory than this shit.

Brainwash

Let me get serious for a second because I know a thing or two about religious brainwash. Why? Because it almost happened to me.

I was raised to believe that the bible is the literal word of God and when you are told to believe a certain thing your entire life the bullshit isn’t always obvious. For the first 12 years of my life I’m not sure I realized there were other religions (or lack there of) at all.

When all of the people you love and respect teach you the same thing, drill it into your head, it seems real. Of course they never bring up the holes in their arguments – no one EVER teaches you about that – not until your brain is so full of mush someone could show you a monkey transform into a human and you would deny seeing it.

Anyways – that’s pretty much how I grew up. Not forced to believe, not abused, just never shown anything different. So by high school I was doing my very best to believe, but I always had problems.

Looking back I could never fully commit myself to a belief in the God I was taught about. I tried though – and I was a hard worker so I did my studies. I read every argument, searched for videos, read articles.

By the time college came around I bumped into an evangelist who almost sucked me in. I might have been a fucking campus street preacher – one of those annoying bastards. That not happening may be proof there is a God after all.

Luckily at the same time I was also taking my first religion class. The women teaching it was actually a Christian. The class blew my mind. I had no idea how the bible was put together. I had no idea so many religions were so much older than Christianity. By the end of the class I wanted more – I eventually earned my minor in religion, but that was only enough to make me realize I know exactly nothing about it.

So here I am now – a guy saved from religion – by studying religion. I find that ironic.

Republican National Convention: Forget the people, We choose who is in power!

Whoever you support in this presidential election cycle you should be upset at the Republican national convention’s treatment of Republican delegates and voters who did not support Romney – and there were a lot of them.

Upon further research you may be interested to learn the tactics the Republican party used to ensure Ron Paul would not have an opportunity to speak at the RNC.

A candidate must win 5 states to speak at the RNC – Ron Paul did that – that is until 10 delegates from Maine were replaced at the RNC giving Ron Paul only 4 states.

I do not think many Ron Paul supporters had any delusion that Ron Paul would come out on top in Tampa, but we wanted the message to be heard. This was just poor and disrespectful treatment to all the people who organized for a cause they believed in.

In my opinion it was spitting in the face of many Republicans who happened to support someone other than the candidate the RNC chose.

Have the Courage to Break the Rules – Or live like a well fed Slave

This evening after work I was sitting in the hotel room day dreaming and kind of letting my thoughts fall out of my head without purpose or any intent at all. Kind of one of those moments when you daze off and then come to about an hour later and realize you have been looking at the ceiling the entire time.

Anyways, I was thinking about my life and dreaming I was doing this or that and finally I proposed a question to myself.

“What would you do if you could do anything?”

What would you do if you could do anything?

That thought bounced around in my head for a while. I thought about things like going back to school, traveling the world, and other shit that people like to dream about. Then it hit me – I guess technically I can do anything I want. Anything, if I’m willing to accept the risk.

It’s such a simple thought, but one that has never really hit me. I can do anything. What a profound thought. Think about it. I can do ANYTHING. Seriously, drop everything, leave. Stop my life, book a plane ticket right now, and leave. Live as I can and see what happens. I won’t do that, but the fact that I could is interesting.

What’s stopping you?

I’ve said this before, I think, but what will I think about my life when I look back on it at death? Will I say to myself: “I really wish I would have taken that 6 months…written that book…lived abroad…” or will I be perfectly happy having never taken a shot at doing something that seemed a little crazy at the time?

Neither is right or wrong, but its important we are true to ourselves and actually do that thing we REALLY want to do. Even if it’s not typical – don’t ignore it.

I think sometimes we let what we think we are supposed to do, the safe route, control us. Rarely do any of us really take the path less travelled or do something truly spectacular. Even if we are great at our current lives we mostly play by the rules in which we have been given.

I’d like to think I’ve done something special, but in reality I haven’t. I finished school, learned the required material, got a job, and became a good little tax paying, law abiding citizen, like mostly everyone else. There’s no shame in that, but have you ever asked yourself “what else is there?” I have, but I have done nothing about it.

Risk: The well fed slave and the man who died free

What would be the consequences of taking 6 months or a year off and traveling with the wind? What would happen if I documented it all and tried to write a book about the experience? What if I left my job and went unemployed for a year? Would my life, my future, fall apart?

I often think back to the question: Is it better to be a well fed slave or a man who died for his freedom? I’m not facing literal life or death here, but the situation still applies. Do you leave the comfort of the status-quo for something more or do you consider yourself lucky for what you have and remain content?

The reality is I’m a beaten slave in so many aspects. I’m honestly afraid to take the risk. In a certain way I am afraid to live the life of my dreams. What if I’m wrong? What if I make a mistake? What if I give up everything and it doesn’t work out? What if I regret it? All too common, and not unreasonable, questions that run through my mind.

So what does an average guy do? Risk it all for something more or stay the course for what is a completely decent life? I’ll probably never muster the courage to do anything about my little dreams, but part of me hopes I can muster the courage to break the rules – even if only for a little while.

Partial Birth Abortions

Before you say you support abortion, especially partial birth abortions, maybe you should read up on the procedure.

From Wikipedia the procedure is as follows:

[T]he largest part of the fetus (the head) is reduced in diameter to allow vaginal passage. According to the American Medical Association, this procedure has four main elements. Usually, preliminary procedures are performed over a period of two to three days, to gradually dilate the cervix using laminaria tents (sticks of seaweed which absorb fluid and swell). Sometimes drugs such aspitocin, a synthetic form of oxytocin, are used to induce labor. Once the cervix is sufficiently dilated, the doctor uses an ultrasound and forceps to grasp the fetus’s leg. The fetus is turned to a breech position, if necessary, and the doctor pulls one or both legs out of the cervix, which some refer to as ‘partial birth’ of the fetus. The doctor subsequently extracts the rest of the fetus, leaving only the head still inside the uterus. An incision is made at the base of the skull, a blunt dissector (such as a Kelly clamp) is inserted into the incision and opened to widen the opening, and then a suction catheter is inserted into the opening. The brain is suctioned out, which causes the skull to collapse and allows the fetus to pass more easily through the cervix.

If I was a doctor I would refuse to perform such a procedure.

Thanks to the super conservative blogger from Canada for pointing out the Wiki link.