TAKEN FOR GRANTED

Hello everyone,

 

Hope your long weekend went well! I know mine went…well, actually not the best. I spent my Saturday at work and my Sunday preparing for a date that I ended up getting stood up on. In LA…which is a 45 minute drive from my house. Yay…So lets talk about that!

Of course, I don’t have any interest in complaining about that person. Everyone makes mistakes. And they get busy, or don’t realize the effects of their actions. That being said, I think that a lot of people need a quick refresher in the world. Because the world is something we all live in, not just the few people that are in a person’s social circle. Seriously. There is more to life than family, friends, and assholes that cut you off at the intersection on the way to work. Yellow means that if there’s someone turning left, don’t dive into the road and make them awkwardly wait until the light is red to begin moving! Jeez.

Anyways, I digress. People use sorry as an excuse a lot. Think about it, all the friends that have been late, or anytime someone at work dropped the ball, sorry is always the first thing they say. And often times it is so trivial. Saying sorry does not actually mean that they feel bad. It just means that they wish to be forgiven. It’s so easy to miss that distinction too. Because many parents raise their children to not realize that there is a difference between wanting to be forgiven and feeling bad for one’s own actions. Guess what, sometimes forgiveness takes more than an apology. Sometimes being forgiven is something that has to be earned.

Put it that way and suddenly it’s much less fair for a person to be mistreated. Suddenly being late for dinner, or showing up drunk to a family get together becomes something less acceptable, right? Everyone deserves the chance at forgiveness, but to be forgiven requires more than just genuine remorse. It requires actions. Sometimes those actions are really easy to resolve—for example, I broke a friends plate by accident while I was over for dinner. Simple mistake, it happens. I apologized, but I also paid for their plate. Because if I had simply said sorry, and then walked out of the house, then I’m not really that sorry, am I?

On other occasions though, it is really hard to draw the distinction between when a person means that they are sorry and when they have made up for the mistreatment they have given someone. Getting stood up is a good example. How does someone make up not only the person’s time that they wasted, but also how that lack of caring impacted the person? Being taken for granted is just about the worst thing a person can feel. It tears at their core. It’s like indirectly saying that one person is less of a human being than another person. Which is awful to think about.

Anywho. I could easily be wrong. I know that many people deserve moments of forgiveness without compensation. Sometimes people have extreme circumstances. But if that’s the case, can’t a person at least be expected to tell the person ahead of time? That seems like the right thing to do.

STAND UP CITIZEN

It’s eerie
How silent the world is
Inside your own mind

You can talk yourself into a stupor
How quickly 8 o’clock
Chimes 10
10:30

People you thought were friends
Or at least were trust worthy
Are instead feeding off your trust
And good nature

I’m sick of this waiting
I’m sick of this abuse
By people who smile to your face
And twist the knife when you look away

I’m sick of these people
So self centered in their worlds
That they forget about the universe
That they spit, trample, and crush
The people that try to do them well

I’m sick of the beautiful girls
Who claim to be even tempered
Or that they don’t abuse their appearance

Im sick of the men who say they are noble
When they don’t bat a second eye
At the people who hold the door for them

I’m sick of the children
Stuck inside these older bodies

I’m sick of these success stories
Who assume their superiority

I’m sick of the happy people
Who assume sadness
Is something that can be reduced

The people who think anger is controllable
The people who think hatred
Isn’t first born out of a seed of love

The people that think simply saying sorry
Is enough to calm the waves of red water
Beating across the shore of a mans heart

The people that think forgiveness
Is as easy as “it’s ok”
Or as easy as “no problem”

That they can be part of a world
Where all lives matter
Where no one is treated unequally
Where we don’t glare at former friends
Or love interests.

Buy your own fucking ticket.
There’s no encore for this show.

 

Hello everyone,

 

I had a tough weekend. Sorry for the late upload. I wrote this as a sporadic free verse poem after getting stood up on a date. Let me know what you think.

SERI, BLADE OF THE WIND

     CRACK! The tree split in half, a clean, horizontal split through the middle of the truck drifting almost elegantly for a moment before gravity kicked in and it came crashing down. My eyes widened with amazement.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“It’s simple really. I just pictured the tree, then pictured myself cutting the tree in half.” My mentor, Teysa, stood before the tree with her sword out as she turned to look at me. Just moments before the monstrous trunk of the tree had appeared so secure. Ancient, like the air around us. “If you can picture it, you can do it.”

“But I’ve been picturing it!” I moaned. This was day three of our training.

“Well you aren’t picturing it right. Maybe you’re picturing yourself cutting through the tree, but you’re picturing it as something impossible. The point of this is to make what seems impossible, possible. Get it?” She looked at me with a warming smile. “Now take your stance in front of that tree.” She pointed to a tree about twenty paces away. It couldn’t have been more than three hundred years old. It was dwarfed in comparison to ancient one Teysa had just brought down.

I walked over to the tree, opened my palm to it, and pressed my fingers into the grooves if the bark. We were taught to listen to the trees before we cut them down. Trees don’t think the same way as people. Where we take greedy breaths of air, and gorge our faces with the bodies of other species, the trees provide for others. They understand that all species are develop in new ways every year. Just last year we began to see the wolves turn whiter with the snowy season. It was making them harder to avoid during our hunting sessions.

Trees also don’t speak like we speak. They sort of just shift a little bit. Like how a bird will twitch it’s head about when it hears an unexpected noise. Except really slowly. It’s awe-inspiring. I waited until the tree stopped shifting. That’s when they were totally calm.

“Sorry” I whispered. Then I stepped back and drew my sword. It was beautiful, about the length of my arm, engraved with the names of the heroes from each generation. I had yet to earn my name’s place. I took a long, slow breath. I could picture it so clearly. The rough edges of the bark. Myself, standing before the tree, like on Silence Day, standing before the shrine of Apatha. The wind, blowing through my hair. The slow rustles of the wildlife around us. I could see myself take a strong step forward, bringing the sword around like a viper darting at it’s prey. I could do this.

I opened my eyes. I looked dead at the tree. I could feel the earth vibrating below me, like the I had my hand on the pulse of the world. I inhaled again. The air was crisp and cool, with the light smell of mint. I took a step forward, closed my eyes, swung my sword and…

     Chink. The blade bounced harmlessly off the bark. I slumped my shoulders, defeated.

“Well. That didn’t work. You looked so focused too. Maybe next time.” Teysa said.

“Yeah. Next time.”

GETTING CLEAN

Hello everyone,

 

We’re already to Thursday! Yay! Today I was talking about some of my hobbies—I’m a bit of a nerd—and we got to talking about hygienics, since quite a few people in some of the more “nerdy” communities are also not always the most hygienic. Indeed, this often goes along with the stigma that nerdy people fit a specific body type and stereotype. Personally, when I hear gamer, I think of a significantly overweight white male with a food-stained black shirt that doesn’t quite cover his belly all the way.

And I’m sure many of you have a similar image of these gamers. But is that an acceptable image for us to picture? My thought is that no, it is not. First of all, lets discuss the male orientation. I would wager that a solid 95% of people thought of a male when someone says the word “gamer.” Despite the fact that, in many gaming arenas, women make up more than a meager 5% of the population. For example, Magic: the Gathering, a card game produced by Wizards of the Coast has claimed on several occasions that roughly 30% of all its players are women. Yet when I say card game player I have no doubt that we both assume they are speaking of men.

Part of the reason for this is that, for quite a long time, being a nerd was a male-centered idea. Dungeons and Dragons, a game where people effectively pretend to be characters on a quest (typically in a Tolkien-esque world), was and is still oriented toward male characters. Many pictures in the rulebooks would show a male dwarf with a long beard clad in heavy armors of red and gold. If there was a female character, she often appeared in sexualized outfits, usually with a more passive role like sorceress or healer. Not exactly the heroine in reality, right? More like heroine in a heterosexual man’s fantasy.

So changing the rhetoric and imagery to be more inclusive of women is something that could pull more women into the nerdy realms. This extends to more forms of gaming though too, think of how few video games have female protagonists. Seriously. Then think of the girls on that list. How many are sexualized in some way? Even Samus, one of the pioneer female characters in gaming, is sexualized outside of her “powersuit.” Why can’t we just have a character that is a female dressed closer to realism. Why is there such a focus on men wielding swords, and women wielding hair brushes?

Of course, hygiene, which is what I opened this discussion with, is also a problem. Often time sedentary lifestyles are produced by people that game—whether it is card games, video games, board games, role playing games, or whatever. The list goes on. These lifestyles in turn lead to a drop in hygiene for whatever reason. Why isn’t there a conscious effort on the part of businesses to clean up the appearance of their crowds? Why isn’t their a conscious effort of players to be more clean. Even if it is a minority today that isn’t fully hygienic, even if only 10% of the people smell, that’s more than enough to be what the rest of the world focuses on. And that’s unacceptable. Because so many people are afraid to say “I play Dark Souls” outside their clique of “geeks” for the fear of being judged. That’s not fair. These people are human beings, and most of them are kind-hearted as well. Please be more active in treating each other with respect—both as a player and as an observer.

FRIEND REQUEST RECEIVED

Hello everyone,

 

How many friends do you have? According to Facebook, I have 601 friends. But I don’t really have that many friends. I mean, I have a ton of acquaintances that I have met through work, class, my hobbies, and so on. But I don’t really have 600 friends. I have more like 5 close friends, maybe 30 people I consider friends but am not especially close to (of course, excluding family, who are my closest friends). Which leaves about 550 people unaccounted for. Which is pretty insane.

Of course, like many people, my 5 close friends have shifted over time. I know some people are lucky enough to maintain close relationships with their friends from preschool or earlier through college and into adulthood. And that’s great, more power too them. But most of us fall out of favor with friends. Which sucks. I mean, sure, sometimes it’s a good thing—typically we want to weed out the people who are just taking advantage of us or are poor influences over our being. But sometimes we lose friends that are people we really like, or were really good people to be around. Sometimes it happens with break ups, and mutual friend feel the need to “pick sides.” Those usually end up extremely bitter. Sometimes it happens completely by accident. People just get busy, move to different areas for work or school, and suddenly it becomes hard to talk to them as often as you used to.

And then there are the times where people cut you out of their lives. Those ones hurt the most. If you have ever had a significant other that was first a friend and then a lover, you know what I mean. Just the sudden “hey, I’m not into you anymore. At all.” And suddenly you can’t talk to them. What’s worse is that, in my experience, I always want to talk to those people. Because they are usually your best friends. The people who you have trusted with secrets, who you have confided in for various reasons, and probably had dinner dates that were less about getting in their pants and more about getting into their mind.

How do you get over that? Do you just shrug it off and move about your day like normal? That seems like the obvious way to do things, but important people to your life have a way of invading your thoughts. It’s impossible to talk to them—because they won’t respond. Personally, I try to get into contact with other friends. Remember those 30 friends that I am not especially close to? Those are the kind of people you can fall back on pretty easily. They are usually open to going to get dinner, they aren’t attached enough to you to obsess over your issues, but they are kind enough to listen and respond in ways that will help.

I know that many people could go to their families as well. Which is great, and probably one of the best outlets available to the average person. I have trouble with this though, not because my family isn’t supportive, but because I am extremely introverted about my social life outside my family. The people who know my friend groups the best are my other friends. So when I lose a friend, it is typically other friends that know the situation well enough to help me through it. The important part is that you be available for your friends, because they will be for you. And that’s how real bonds are built. By trusting other people.

PAYING A PENNY FOR FREE THOUGHT

Hello everyone,

 

I woke up today amazed and annoyed that it was only Tuesday. But hey, that’s life right? Everyone has rough patches. That being said, some people have it way harder than others. But I hear a lot of these people who “have it easy” complaining a lot about their difficulties with life. So today I wanted to talk a bit about the different struggles in life and how people deal with them.

Firstly, I know I personally have a decent life, if not a good one. It’s always hard to judge personal struggles. I work 2 jobs, and am a full time student. So yeah, I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep every night. And that sucks. I often times have work every day, and on the days I don’t I do other productive things, like train my little brothers. But hey, I have jobs. I’m not starving. I have a roof over my head. I have enough of an income to eat out with friends and go to things occasionally that I have a personal interest in. Isn’t that enough to be happy?

Well, yes and no. Let’s take the low road on this one, and say my life sucks. I’m an average American, but being an average American isn’t that great anymore. Wealth inequality is intense, despite our lives being easier and safer than they were 150 years ago by a long stretch. Most people work long hours, and are expected to make self sacrifices to be “heroic” for their families (the last part is a careful rhetoric formulated by our media and expected interests as Americans within the cultural sphere). Some people have it harder than me, but some people have it way better. I’d love a yacht. I’d love some free time to go visit another country and not have to worry about burdening my family or myself with potential debt. But hey, maybe when things line up. Maybe if this blog takes off.

This is, of course, a very negative way to look at things. But there are also the positive aspects. Compared to many other developing countries, things here are great. I’ll never have to worry about being persecuted based on my religious inclinations, or lack there of. I have never had to worry about finding my next meal. That’s better than several billion people on Earth already. I shouldn’t complain and I should be thankful for what I have. This is the way most of Americans function. They are told by business and many times by family that they should be thankful that they have it better than so many people. And that having those advantages should be good enough.

I don’t buy it. I think that just because things are good does not make life easy. I think that the barrier for “a good life” is much higher, and should be much higher, than what it was 150 years ago. We have progressed—part of being a developed country is the fact that we can expect better treatment than in other areas. Across the board—not just the wealthiest among us. We need to take care of ourselves, and it starts from within, not from the outside. For the leader of the free world, we are lacking in free thought.

15% FOR HUMANITY

Hey everyone,

 

We’ve made it through another weekend. I was out with friends recently, and I live in California, so of course we went out to eat at some fantastic places, and some trashy ones. Every time I am out with one of my friends, he refuses to tip. His justification is that tips are designed to compensate people who are underpaid normally, and it is factored into their payroll. For example, if a waiter is paid $6 per hour, the tipping can help compensate them for the additional $2 to catch them up to minimum wage in several states. He said that in these states, it made sense to tip because that’s helping someone’s income to afford everything they need as minimum wage has defined it.

To contrast, in California he refuses to tip because the state requires that all waiters be paid minimum wage before their tips are added. His justification was that it makes no sense to tip a person for one job that deals with people but not another. For example, it doesn’t make sense to tip a waiter but to not tip a sales rep at JC Penny, or a cashier at Barnes & Noble. They have to deal with jerks, annoying people, friendly people, and other shades of personalities. This is solid logic when worded this way. It views food as a just a product, like a t-shirt or a novel. However, I think that it ignores the real reason for tipping.

I think tipping is, for the most part, not just good etiquette, but also something that reflects each waiter. Being a waiter is hard. You are constantly in high stress scenarios, dealing with multiple people at the same time, and it’s very easy after long, strenuous hours to break down at people. We’ve all had those days. Additionally, the waiter is a representative for you. Think about fast food places—they cut out the waiter. The cashier is the closest thing to a waiter, but they aren’t going to bring you a refill. They aren’t even required to care about you. Being able to listen to people, give recommendations, be composed, all the while juggling orders from people, your boss, and so on, is obscenely hard. Think about it. Retail work can be annoying, but at least when those people are taking payments the customers are in a line, so they only have to deal with one person at a time. A waiter has multiple people to deal with at a time. And remember. Who had the Coke. Who had the Sprite? Which table had the bacon and eggs with syrup and which one had the same thing but with egg whites?

Put the wrong plate down, and suddenly that food is technically no longer clean. The food HAS to be trashed, since legally nobody is safe to eat it except the people at that table, as the standards are currently. Which means a mistake could be 20 more minutes of waiting for a customer. That doesn’t happen in retail. A minor mistake can be reversed with a couple button pushes.

All this adds up to a tougher job, and then being able to stay composed. In France, the tip is included with the bill. And I’ve heard that the French waiters are less friendly because of this. They’re more like the McDonald’s employee who past a customer a tray with a burger. Take money, give product. Doesn’t that suck? So tip your waiters. Unless they’ve been absolutely terrible. In which case they didn’t rise to the occasion. But be fair with them. They’re people too.

IN THE DARK OF NIGHT

We broke into the houses. All of them. It was late, the crescent moon gave off an eerie glow, like looking at a fire through glass. It was a quiet night, which was in no way to our benefit. We needed cover, not calm. It was just three of us, me, Angie, and Stephan. We moved through the forest like panthers, only a well timed dead leaf fluttering beneath our feet was cause for sounds.

Our targets were the Khans, a group of bandits that had been blockading trade routes on the overpass between the merchant city Delfan and our lord’s castle in Bronsec. Our lord had gained information hinting that the Khans were hiding in an abandoned village in the woods, some 5 miles out from the road, and we were sent to bring a swift justice. The fight had only lasted a few minutes—the Khans were really not as fearsome as their namesake implied. We caught the guards by surprise, swinging in from two trees, with Angie landing directly on the first one, knocking him out cold. Stephan hooked the other one around his armor, which was a chain mail. A poor choice of defense, if I say so myself. It’s easy to dodge a sword, or parry a spear. It’s a pain to get momentum ripped away by a simple hook slipping between the loops. Before the guard knew what had happened, he was pulled off balance, and Stephan crushed his windpipe. We had to slit the last guard’s neck. I did that. It’s never fun, I hate having to wash the red out. But this was a “leave no survivors” gig.

The first two houses were no trouble—almost everyone was asleep at that point. We slit their throats and let them pass in peace. It would have been perfect, until the man, really not much more than a boy, saw us from the windowsill. Who keeps a candle lit at night? Don’t they know that’s how people get cooked? The boy called out and drew his sword. Angie silenced him with a knife through the air, which whistled like an icicle as it fell of my roof back home. But his call woke the last house. Three men came out, these ones bigger than the ones in the beds. Great. Why do we always hit the henchmen first? It would be easier if we could just kill the leaders and then deal with the rest after. The leaders always were better fighters.

I swung down from the rafters, landing with knees bent so that my right hand could lay flat on the ground. My left hand coiled behind my back, like a snake as it moved into position to strike. I felt the handle of my dagger and rested my hand on it.

“Look at you,” the biggest one scoffed at me, turning to his partners (friends would be an incorrect assumptions), “you can’t be more than 15 hands. And you’ve taken out all of my men.” He laughed. Oh I hate when they laugh. Always deep, from their bellies. I stood up, and walked over to them. They towered over me.

“Can we eat him after” said the fattest of them. Ok. Cannibals. Gross. I signaled to Angie, who had taken up position on the rooftop behind them. She threw a knife through his throat. Blood splattered the ground, and the two others looked at him in shock. He struggled to speak, his eyes bulged out from the pain. Then they sunk back and his being collapsed to the ground.

 

Hello everyone,

 

So this is all I have time for today! How do you like it? I was thinking of continuing this next time, or perhaps next Friday since I’ve been doing most of my creative stuff then! How does that sound?

THEORETICAL FEMINISM

Hello everyone,

 

Another day, another dollar. Here we are again, all of us. It’s nice to think of everyone working together, falling into the category of human as one. I was thinking today about some of the divisions of the sexes that exist, and came across some divisions of feminism that I didn’t know about. Did you know that there is an area called Cyborg Feminism? It’s quite interesting. Pretty much, it begs the question about “what is natural?” In terms of menstruation, cyborg feminism would be more likely to embrace synthetic menstruation suppressing drugs, where as, say, eco feminism would not, because those feminists see the drugs as unnatural.

This idea of conflicting feminist ideologies is really interesting to me, because a lot of the feminists involved all want the same thing through different means. Take liberal feminism versus radical feminism, for example. Liberal feminism typically is pro-choice, and in favor of giving women more options. The whole “equal work, equal pay” motto evolves out of this ideology. Radical feminism, on the other hand, embraces the idea that women have needs that differ from men, and that the workplace should be more inclusive in its scheduling to achieve this goal. To give an example, liberal feminism would probably look at pregnancy in the work place as a situation where women work within the jobs requirements as much as possible until the birth of the child, then a recovery period, then give the option as soon as possible for the woman to go back to work (I should probably note 2 things here. 1) is that I am making extensions based on my understanding about feminist theories, and I recommend you look into it yourself if my ideas seem wrong, and 2) the phrase “liberal feminism” does not refer to the belief of all people with liberal mindsets—It is quite possible that liberals, in the political sense, disagree with liberal feminist theory. Ok, back to what I was talking about). This liberal theory basically give the woman time off for birth, but really no time to raise the child. The theory shapes and justifies this position by claiming that they are “empowering” women with more choices.

To contrast this, radical feminism would expect the system to change, rather than the women within the system, to accommodate this pregnancy. A radical feminist would probably argue that a woman should work while she was capable of working, but once she began showing the need to remove herself for her personal health, she should be able to leave. A radical feminist also would probably be more interested in pressing for paid maternity leave. I think, in this scenario, I am more on the side of the radical feminist—family is important to shape properly and in a healthy manner. But there are some things I disagree with. For example, I think that menstrual-suppression drugs are something that do many women good—for example, those with irregular period or extremely painful ones. It’s good to look at things from more than an open-and-shut perspective. What do you think?

RELIGIOUS STATE OF MIND

Hello everyone,

 

Hope you’re all having a happy hump day! Today has been an eventful day of nothingness for me thus far. I was thinking about how people flirt with one another earlier today, and eventually my brain got around to wondering about religious freedoms. I know, seems like I missed a couple spaces in between points A and B, but hey, sometimes the mind jumps around unpredictably. That’s part of life.

So how do people define religious freedom? I think most people recognize it as the right to practice religious beliefs as they choose. That sounds fine and dandy, but as we have noticed in recent extremist attacks, some people take warped, violent approaches to religion. Not Muslims, by the way, or the vast majority of Islamic peoples. But very specific groups of extremists (Klu Klux Klan, anyone? That’s a Christian group). So clearly religious freedom does not equal the right to practice religious beliefs as they choose.

I think a better definition is “the right to practice religious beliefs as they choose, so long as they do not directly impose or punish others for their personal religious beliefs.” This is a pretty secular definition, which is too bad for a lot of bible thumpers, because an aspect of Christianity is to attempt conversion, along with several other religions. It’s the argument to keep Creationism in schools. That’s imposing religious beliefs in a secular learning environment. I’m sorry if that hurts feelings.

Of course, the other side of this is that, to be free to practice religion, includes allowing those people to trust their own explanations of the world’s creation, in spite of scientific evidence otherwise. So we are stuck with a hierarchy of values that are in conflict with one another. Do we value religious freedom or education more? Some would argue that the Bill of Rights protects religion first, along with assembly and so on, and therefore is the primary law we should follow. Others will recognize that we have a distinct, intentional separation of Church and State for a specific reason—so that religions cannot impose their ideas that are against the development of intellectual thought.

The reality is that (public) schools are made to include all religions, as well as those who choose not to be religious. If a bible thumper imposes that creationism, a distinctly Christian ideology (at best, it’s a monotheistic ideology), is what everyone must learn, what is to prevent another religion, say, a revived Norse religion, or even Satanism if it were to gain popularity, from imposing its own ideas? The reality is that, as Jay-Z put it, “life starts when the church ends.” It’s totally acceptable to have beliefs, and even to practice them publicly. I have my own ideas about religion. But keep them just that—personal beliefs. Otherwise, we really aren’t that much better than the states we condemn for imposing religious sanctions on minority groups.