UPDATE: My Bumpy Return to Facebook

It started out fine enough. I set up my new profile, blocked all of my trouble-makers from the past, posted a few minor things, and then set out to add friends.

My approach was to slowly add the friends who had interacted with me over time. Interacting with them would alert others, which would lead to my receipt of friend requests.

This part worked out.

I did have some problems with the issues that come with having high expectations of people or experiences. Dropping that worked wonders.


However, I had some problems when looking for groups. I thought that joining a group for Autistic people would be a good idea.

I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea. When I had a LinkedIn profile, I joined a group dedicated to Autistic professionals. It had 67 members, and experienced about 1-2 posts every 3 years.

It was basically where LinkedIn dumped the garbage they don’t want, like me!

I found several groups, but they all had their problems. For me, the worst one was the group that made you answer questions before you join. See below

The first question was worded very poorly. It should have read something like this:

Are you in any of the following categories? Please select one or two that are relevant.

  1. I am a person on the spectrum.
  2. I am a family member of someone on the spectrum, but not on the spectrum myself.
  3. I am a friend of someone on the spectrum, but not on the spectrum myself.
  4. None of the above.

They could have worded it this way. However, they worded it poorly, and then post a follow-up question that serves as chastisement for anyone who misunderstood their poorly-written first question.

I found the second question to be most insulting. Additionally, I saw it as a peek into the window of how the people who run this group might think. So I moved on.


But eventually, I did find a group. I gave an introductory post where I talked a bit about myself, as well as some of my horrible experiences with these types of groups in the past.

There was no shortage of people who welcomed me and told me that it was a “safe space” where I could feel comfortable and be myself.

That last suggestion, to “be myself,” was bad advice. Still, I took it and decided to be myself. I would soon find out whether or not this was truly a safe space, as they claimed.


The next day, I wrote another entry where I was attempting to ask people about life experiences that haunt my past. I wrote about them in my previous entry, which you can read here.

“How do you get past trauma that you cannot stop thinking about?”

Keep in mind that I was writing about things like my neighbor killing my dog when I was 4 years old, or my kindergarten teacher humiliating me in front of the entire class. To be really clear, these events were traumatic to me, even if they sound like nothing to the reader.

Right away, one guy chimed in. “I still cannot forget how my dad repeatedly raped me.”

Oh boy. I was not equipped or read to deal with anything like that.

Another person wrote, “I struggled with the trauma of past relationships, until I got into a healthy one. Feeling safe will help you overcome.”

So people started asking me what happened. I told them about the dog, and about the teacher humiliating me. I let the other person know that it wasn’t an issue of “not feeling safe,” and that I’ve had other dogs in my life since 1969.

Someone else decided to chime in.

“Does humiliation even COUNT as trauma?”

Clearly, this person was discounting my experience. To me, trauma is NOT a competition where we try to see who had it the worst. Maybe I could have replaced the reference to “trauma” with something else.

At any rate, I got the sensation that everyone in this group was starting to come down on me. An overwhelming sense of panic and dread filled my gut. So I did what I always do.

I deleted everything that I posted in that group, quit the group, blocked re-adding, and considered deleting my profile. I was ready to give up.

Then I wrote an email to a trusted friend for perspective, as I was beginning to question whether or not this was a good idea.


He made a good point, in that I am probably not meant to be a hermit. As it turns out, we both had hermit-like qualities in our youth. In both instances, this lonesome streak was broken by the introduction of music into our lives.

With the encouragement to continue the course, I decided to stay on board and avoid the groups for the time being.


Between this advice, and the advice that I got regarding having low expectations, I was able to get back on and continue interacting with people on my list.

I’ll keep it at that for now. I’m not quite ready to deal with 100% complete strangers.

Should the Past Just Die?

WARNING: I am not writing this in a passive-aggressive manner, in an effort to indirectly hurt someone who is on my Facebook friends list. The people I am referencing are NOT on my list. They are people with whom I have shared the experiences described below. The people I am writing about do not care enough about me to be concerned with my thoughts.

My hope is that this warning will keep the reader from suspecting that I am writing about them.


The past is a most fascinating place. It is where we can find all of our achievements, awards, praise or punishment, lessons learned, and more.

It’s also where we can find some of our darkest experiences. Remember that it’s not a competition and your dark experiences are just as valid as anyone else’s.

And then there are people, places, and experiences. The issue with this is that people change.


Okay, maybe it’s silly to suggest that people changing is an “issue.” To a great degree, it is not. However, it can become an issue for those who suffer nostalgia.

I have suffered nostalgia and nostalgic thoughts for the past five years. When one’s life is destroyed and no good future is presented, the past is where one will go to get a break from a bleak and challenging present.

Hell, I suffered nostalgia so badly that I fell head-over-heels when I encountered a woman I had dated 37 years earlier. Her father chased me away at that time and we lost all contact for 37 years.

After we found each other, she got divorced and moved in with me, and then things fell apart.

Why?

There are only two explanations. The first issue was that I may not have known her as well as I had thought. Or maybe I did, and a second issue comes into play.

That second issue is that people change.


How is this change bad? Generally speaking, it is expected. People learn from their mistakes and experiences, they grow, and they change.

Sometimes, they do not change for the better. This is when change is bad.

Since I cannot speak to change in her case, I will shift gears to another situation.


Facebook is where you find those people from your past. In my case, I may not have seen some of them in almost 40 years. A great number of things can happen in 40 years.

Imagine my excitement when I encountered one of the many people who inspired me and helped me during my early years on my journey through life with music. Of course, it was someone from grade school and high school. There are a good number of them, and I am grateful for their presence.

Some people might be able to figure out who this might be. I can say that, since my profile posts are friends-only, if you’re a friend on Facebook who inspired me musically, and you see this on my profile, then it is NOT about you.

To be clear, as a reminder, I am not writing about anyone with whom I am currently connected. This is NOT a passive-aggressive screed created to harm someone.

The person I am writing about has changed so much that they are no longer recognizable and they are not on my list.


When I found this person, and had them on my list, I felt an incredible sense of gratitude. Keep in mind that this was when I had recently returned to Facebook in mid-2019, after being away from ALL social networking for FIVE solid years.

At this time, people didn’t really know that I was back. Most really never noticed that I was gone.

So I made the mistake of engaging in public gratitude, where I listed some of the people who helped me on my journey.

He did not like this gratitude or recognition, and things got ugly.

He said, “But you accomplished what you achieved all by yourself.”

This is not true, and it runs completely against the grain of what I was saying. The point was that I never could have gone out there and achieved without their early guidance.

I told him that I was just expressing gratitude for early guidance and inspiration. He repeated his mantra again, that I accomplished all that I had achieved all by myself.


Why is his idea so wrong?

Let’s take a look at someone who decides that they’re going to get stoned, gorge themselves on candy bars, and watch YouTube videos all day long. They are in an apartment, completely alone.

Are they “achieving” ANY OF THIS by themselves?

No. In fact, they are relying on thousands, if not tens of thousands of people to do this.

Consider the electrical and internet infrastructures, as well as the infrastructures involved in food creation, grocery delivery, cannabis harvesting and deliver, and so on. Then there’s the thousands of people who made sure the gasoline for his car made it to the gas station and that someone could sell it to him and have it pumped into his car.

No man is an island. And his problem with my gratitude was that it was threatening to break the delusion he lives with, that he somehow is an island and does not rely on others at all for anything.


Why was this bad? How did it have an impact?

For starters, I lost all respect for him. I had regarded him as someone who was intelligent, talented, and driven. At the time, I considered him to be a true hero.

Maybe he was this in the past. But now, he is a perpetually-angry Right-winger who lives in that world of delusions where he believes in the destructive concept of Rugged Individualism. The Right wing does not attract intelligent people, and it does nothing to enrich or fortify their intellect.

Additionally, he had abandoned his creativity, and replaced it with nonsense.

But I think the thing that hurt the most was the fact that my relatively current interaction with him completely destroyed my memories of what once was. All of my fond memories of us hanging out and spending time on music together are now officially dead. His old self is directly linked to his new self in my mind.

I wish that I had never found him.


During my mother’s time, before the internet, it was different. She would have friends, they would spend their time together, and then they would drop off over time. There was but ONE exception, and they talked yesterday.

The benefits of this experience are fascinating. She has her good memories, she does not have to suffer those who changed for the worse, and she still has that one close friend.

For me, this conjures a question in my mind of whether or not it’s a good idea to avoid a person if I had a great experience with them in the past. This sounds highly counter-intuitive, at least initially. But remember that people change, which is okay, except when it becomes a problem because they changed for the worse.

To be fair to those who are reading this, I have found many decent people from the past who are better than ever, and I have a good appreciation for them. Some of them have had some really good things to say recently, and I appreciate their presence.


This is not to say that I haven’t changed. In some ways, I haven’t. I’m still the goofy musician who is socially awkward. My change is evident in my newfound awareness of my Autism, my Major Depressive Disorder, and a new social aversion that is the result of the trauma that came from being exploited by a “friend” online.

Are my personal changes destroying any past memories that others have of me? Does anyone even have any fond memories of me? I am not sure.

In all fairness, nobody has written to me wanting to talk about the good times. I’m the one who typically starts that conversation, which usually ends up going badly.

What I have figured out is that it goes badly because I place a great deal of value on my past experiences that were positive. They were relatively rare.

It’s like remembering the great year I had with my college band. I have held that time and experience in high regard, while it seems that others who were involved in the band barely think about it.

It seems like I might be the only person who has a living, running catalog of everything that has happened in my life.


Living in the past can generate depression, even if there are good memories. Living in the future can generate anxiety and stress, since it is mostly unknown.

Living in the moment, right now, seems to be the best thing to do.

Letting the past die means forgetting all of those previously cherished memories. It means forgetting all of those people who made a difference before they moved on.


Does Facebook keep some people locked into the past? I am writing this on “Throw-Back Thursday,” or TBT as it is known. For me, it’s a mixed bag. I do enjoy being updated on life’s activities, when it comes to those who grew and changed for the better. Not that they were bad people. They were awesome! Except now they are more awesome.

Some, however, don’t have much of a present. Or maybe they do and they’re afraid to share it, and opt for sharing other things that have not much to do with them. This is an easier judgment to make when the world is opened up and not suffering COVID-19.


As you can tell, this is a highly complex situation that generates questions that sound almost the same, yet have their own integrity and urgency with their own subtlety.

My guess is that the average person does not think about this at all.


What can I do about this?

The past memories of people can be nice. The good memories can be nice as well.

However, there are also horrors in the past. These are things that also live in my head constantly, just like everything else. It gets very crowded at times.

Outside with Taz, summer of 1967.

One of these just came up the other day when I called my mother. I let her know that I was still upset with the neighbor who poisoned my dog when I was four years old. This occurred in the summer of 1969.

My mother replied, “I don’t even want to think about it.” Apparently, it’s a sore spot for her, too. The difference is that she probably never thought about it much again until I brought it up, and I still think about it on a relatively regular basis.

I still think about horrible things that happened in childhood, in kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college. I still think about the negative experiences that occurred all throughout my entire life. And I’m expected to forget about the most recent ones.

The POSITIVE memories that linger can be attributed to Nostalgia. However, obsessing on negative memories is considered to be a case of Rumination.

My thoughts are not INTRUSIVE, as they do not show up and interrupt another thought. That’s the good news.


IN THE END
Time is a tool you can put on the wall
Or wear it on your wrist
The past is far behind us
The future doesn’t exist

These first lines from a song about Time from “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” convey a few ideas. Not only is time a tool, implying that it’s a human construct, but it also implies that the present is the only thing we’ve got.

If all that I have is right now, then what do I do about the past and the future?

With the past, I can write things down. I can organize pictures, audio files, and videos. Maybe I can also dismiss the recent negative experiences with those from the past.

Maybe putting the past away will allow these memories to repair themselves. Sure, they’re jerks now, but there was a time when they were not.

With the future, I can just do my best to be ready for it.

As for right now, I must exercise the fine art of low expectations. It is important for people like me to get their minds into the present, especially before opening up a potential can of worms that is Facebook.

To my friends, both online and offline, who have read this, know that I appreciate who you are and I value your presence in my life.

An Autistic Return to Facebook

On Saturday I took the plunge and created a new Facebook account. I could have re-activated the old one, but I am seeking a new experience.

Before doing this, I reached out to two trusted sources for opinions on matters like this. They both agreed that it would be “good practice” to get back on.

The idea here is for me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.


After creating the profile, I realized that I have lots of mortal enemies who needed blocking. They far outweigh the number of people with whom I might get along, so this took quite a while. Some of these people are rather violent, and I don’t want to leave that door open for them.

Then the question arose regarding who I would be adding. This list was nearly impossible to generate, so I approached it by listing out the people I would not be adding.

This non-add list included people I know from high school, college, or past jobs. If I do not recall interacting with them, then I remove them from my mental list.

Another “no add” criteria was with the people whose posts are either political or religious. It is sad, but people who are trapped in this mindset have nothing of value to say to anyone, so I removed them.

Yet another “no add” criteria was those who have hundreds or even thousands of friends. They are collectors who throw things out to the world. I did make a few exceptions for friends who are famous. They can’t help it. Besides, we do talk on the phone, so FB isn’t the most important connection point for us.

There were other criteria, but I won’t belabor the point. Eventually, I ended up with a list of about 30 people.

After that, I joined a few groups. These groups are related to things like the Commodore 64 or drumming. Added a few photos, posted something, and then let it be.


How did it go?

So far, it’s more than a little scary. A few people noticed that I was gone and gave me a decent welcome. I actually had a few interactions that were positive, although I was in a state of panic the entire time.

Most people didn’t know that I was gone.

The majority of the people I added just accepted my friend request and then moved on. They said nothing. No questions about why I deleted my profile or where I’d been.

It’s as if they have come to expect this from me.

Truth be told, I am a deleter. I will post something, lose confidence in it, and then remove it.

They know.


IN THE END
I don’t know if this will stick. I’m also debating on whether or not I should be “be myself.” I’m also concerned about how much information I post online, as I don’t want a crazy Narcissist to learn it and figure out how to mess with me.

Will I get some good “social practice” out of this, raising myself back up to the status of “terrified to go outside or speak to anyone” again? Will it serve me well in any capacity?

Time will tell.

IQ, Intelligence, and Purpose

Forrest Gump was just smart enough to know that there was something wrong with his mind and abilities. Conversely, Jenny [the object of his affections] was intelligent, and yet she destroyed her own life and died of AIDS.

So far as intelligence goes, I had viewed myself as being “okay” in the past. As life dragged on, I began to question my intelligence.

This questioning was based on things like my inability to get a new job quickly, my inability to keep a job for longer than 5 years, my various failures at relationships, and bad decisions.

When I made two bad decisions, both of which involved being in a friendship relationship with two different Malignant Narcissists. I suffered the consequences of it, and I became worried.

With that, I sought the help of a therapist. As I told him, my primary concern was that I very well might be stupid. He asked me other questions about my life. I think that my talk about how society has two different sets of rules [one for everyone else, and a separate set for me] prompted him to want to give me a test for Autism, as well as an IQ test.

As he put it, “I’m curious. You don’t look Autistic.”

Thanks, Doc.

I agreed to both tests.


The IQ test results, while I won’t say what they were, indicated that intelligence is not in deficit, and is otherwise not a problem for me. Of course, I also tested positive for High-Functioning Autism, which was the true source of my problems, or so I may think, for now.

It’s not a number that is to be thrown around like it’s some kind of bragging right. Only stupid people who are crafty and/or narcissistic would do a thing like that.

A person who uses their IQ as a bragging right is probably lying and doing so in order to fuel their narcissistic needs. Even if it’s true, this is still not something that an intelligent person would do. Another sure sign of a low IQ might be someone who receives an insult like this, and then respects that person enough to actually vote for them. They falsely believe that he’s talking about everyone else, EXCEPT for them. He even said that he “loves the poorly educated,” and they ironically embraced him. There is only one way to evaluate this situation.

“I keep trying to think, but nothing happens!” –Curly Howard

After taking a series of WAIS-IV tests, I received my High-Functioning Autism diagnosis and my IQ score at the same time. It left me with one big, burning question: If I’m so fucking intelligent, then why I can’t I use this intelligence to figure a way out of my problems? The problems, of course, include things like getting a job, keeping a job, making friends, and fitting in.

Why can’t I use this so-called “intelligence” to overcome my Autism?

I began to question the veracity of my test results and the therapist’s interpretation of them.


One thing that always plagued me when I was working was something called “Impostor Syndrome.” The office had a speaker come in and talk about this. However, they presented it in some weird way, where this is something that affects only women.

Why I and men in general were left out of the conversation, I will never know. But I did spend a significant amount of time in the nearby kitchen listening to the presentation.

I would often times feel that I was an impostor, simply because I didn’t know everything that others knew about the job. I didn’t stop to consider that they needed to know their things for their work, and I didn’t necessarily need those things.

But I would end up getting quizzed about those things by the boss, which would kill my confidence.

Along those lines is something known as The Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area.

Was I doing this?

I would later surmise that the very act of asking this question meant that I was not doing it.


What I needed was a reference point.

When I was helping the studio scammer Malignant Narcissist build a recording studio in his old garage, I decided to pay attention to the neighbor kid who was also participating. He was known as “Chunstle.”

Chunstle was born to a crack and meth-addicted mother. As a result, he suffered a great deal of brain damage. He was mostly abandoned, and was raised and groomed by the studio scammer so that he’d always have a physically-capable helper who didn’t ask many questions.

Chunstle had incredible strength that is typically found in people who cannot comprehend things like physical limitations. I once saw him climb a tree using only his arms, like an ape, as he quickly ascended to the top of a 2-story building to gain entry into a window.

In observing Chunstle’s words, I noticed a few things.

After working on the studio, we’d sit in the yard and have beers. Chunstle would regurgitate things that he had heard from Alex Jones. His delivery was serious. He would attempt to speak in a tone that conveyed intelligence.

Then he would sit back, say “Google it,” and get a really smug look on his face.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that, so far as Chunstle was concerned, he was the most intelligent person in the room at any given time. He believed himself to have an intelligence superior to anyone he would ever encounter. And he was very cocky about it.

My non-professional evaluation of Chunstle informed me that people who are not intelligent do not know it, do not question it, and might even believe themselves to be intelligent. Not once did Chunstle ever question anything he said to us. He never thought that maybe he was wrong, or that he was believing utter nonsense. He sincerely believed that saying, “Google it!” made him the person who knew everything.

Chunstle was severely hobbled by the brain damage done by his mother in-utero, and it was obvious in his everyday presence. I do not reference Chunstle’s disabilities as something to laugh at, and I do not speak of it as a way of feeling superior, for that would be a low bar and cruel. Rather, it was interesting to note that he actually did not know how lacking his intelligence was.

This lead me to conclude that only smart people worry about whether or not they might be stupid. Still, this does nothing to say exactly HOW smart someone else might be. It says nothing about the point at which someone might question it, or acknowledge it. Again, I reference Forrest Gump, even though he is a fictional character, for he was just smart enough to know that something was wrong with his brain.


Last I heard, Chunstle had a decent job in manual labor. He has a nice apartment of his own. He has a girlfriend and they are going to get married.

Compared to me, he’s got his act together.

Why can’t I intelligence my way out of this mess? Or does intelligence get in the way? Does over-thinking things cause harm?

Does over-thinking cause someone to write nonsense blogs at 6:25am on a Tuesday? That last question aside, which is answered with an obvious “yes,” I still wonder.


I suppose that all of this leads to my problem. I have been told that I have a rather keen IQ, and yet I cannot figure out how to fix my problems and my life. And I still do what I consider to be stupid things that make my life more difficult. Most of these stupid things revolve around either friends or lovers.

I suppose it can be argued that decisions that are made based on emotion could be inspired by my Autism and have nothing to do with intelligence. However, if I know that I make bad emotional decisions, then I must wonder why I keep making those same emotional decisions.

I knew that I made bad emotional decisions as late as the end of 2019, when I invited an ex-girlfriend to live with me, while I was living with my current girlfriend. Nothing weird or stupid about THAT, right?

New Year’s Day 2020: We all went to the beach together.

This situation is more complex than I can get into right now. All the same, it was a bad decision that I made after someone I had previously known declared that she loved me and cared about me. And this came at a time when my current girlfriend and I were having difficulties.

Of course, it was all a lie on her part, and I was used. The ex-girlfriend is now gone. The current/previous girlfriend returned and we are working together to survive the pandemic, before making any decisions regarding moving on. I think that’s where we are both headed. Time will tell, but I cannot help but feel that I ruined the relationship, even though it was on thin ice at the time of my weird transgression.

And the thing is that I did not cheat behind her back. I told her everything that was happening, as it happened. As boyfriends go, I am not all that great.

I physically cringe when I think about what actually happened. Certainly, an intelligent person would handle this differently, or at least better. But this latest event, in my eyes, stands as a testament to my continued questioning of my own intelligence.


I recently took the WAIS-IV tests again, and got similar results. This means that I have TWO professional opinions regarding my intelligence. And yet, I have to wonder what the purpose of my so-called “intelligence” might be. I know that I do dumb things, and clearly they haven’t stopped. Writing this blog entry might also be an unintelligent move.

I still do not know the purpose of my “intelligence,” or if I will ever be able to harness it or reap the benefits that it should provide. So far, I have gotten nothing out of this intelligence, so I wonder about the purpose of such a measurement.

The whole thing just feels dumb to me.

On Liking Yourself

I have struggled and failed when it comes to liking myself. Some days are better than others, and yesterday was particularly brutal.

Certainly, Major Depressive Disorder does not serve to help matters all that much. Being born in the mid-60s and subsequently growing up in a relatively brutal time was not helpful. Not being tested and not receiving help with my High-Functioning Autism did not help. Not being tested right away for partial color-blindness, and instead receiving the suggestion from a kindergarten teacher that I was “retarded” did not help. The kids and teachers who mocked me constantly did not help. The hands-off cold parenting I received did not help. The abusive yelling and hitting from dad did not help. Being punished instead of understood did not help. Not fitting in due to being an undiagnosed Autistic did not help. The general cruelty of the world, as well as the accelerated and amplified cruelty of America, did not help.

That’s just the partial list.

This raises the big, obvious question regarding what will help.

I really have no idea.

All I do know is that liking myself is something that I haven’t been able to master. I don’t really know why I should like myself, beyond the self-esteem benefits that are promised with this. I suppose the idea that happiness must come from within fits in with this idea.

Most of my happiness is a result of external forces, and it’s temporary.

This started out as one problem, and has evolved into two problems.

Does anyone else struggle with this? How would you approach it? What would you do? And how is any of it a case of not fooling myself?

I’m curious to know how you would approach this.

A Man Without A Hometown

It can be weird what inspires a story.

I was reading the news, and saw a headline about a “Jersey lawyer” who had some things to say about Bruce Springsteen’s bogus DUI arrest.

This lead me to thinking about how he was a Jersey boy from a Jersey town. All that stuff. And of course, this lead me to think about John Cougar Mellencamp, who was the Hoosier from a small town in Indiana.

Well, someone else is from a small town in Indiana. Yours truly. It was a town so small that you didn’t even have to dial all of the digits to call someone else in town. The last 5 would suffice.

Summer 1966: Me, in a small town Indiana trailer park with my trusty Samoyed, Taz. My little brother is in the background. My neighbor had just read a book to me, and let me have a few sips of his Fallstaff beer. I would learn about this after sharing this picture with that old neighbor’s daughter at my father’s funeral in early 2003.

What bothered me about these thoughts was the realization that I don’t really have an old hometown to talk about. The Boss and Cougar both wax poetic about their hometowns and how much they love their hometowns.

Adding to this, they are very beloved in their hometowns.

I do not have that experience.


Growing up in the Midwest was very difficult. I won’t belabor too many points in great detail. I suppose the biggest point was that I never fit in with anyone in any situation at any time.

I now understand that this is because I am Autistic, but I did not know this until 2017. It truly feels like a life wasted, and this does nothing to help me during those times when I am feeling like I might be better off dead.

Summer 1981: Banging out a quad tom break in marching band rehearsal for the song “Light Up” by Styx.

My education was horrendous, and I was smarter than the back-woods “teachers” who populated the classrooms for their paychecks.

I was not religious, I have never believed, and never will. This runs in direct contrast with everyone around me being a hard-core Christian. I got constant judgment, demonization, and was dehumanized by others.

I never fit in, and could not wait to leave.

On a side note, if you’re curious about what I’m playing the photo here, and want to see and hear the official performance, you can do so here.


Late 2009: Drumming at the famous Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, CA on the Sunset Strip.

In late 1985, my mother invited me to move to California. I left on New Year’s Eve, landing in Bakersfield in 1986.

I would make my way to Los Angeles in 1987. I’ve told this story at least a few times on this blog, so I won’t re-hash it.

Long story short, I stayed in Los Angeles for 33 years, pursuing a career in the music industry, before ultimately moving to Oregon in May 2019.


The big problem with moving from California to Oregon is that people in Oregon do not like people from California. They especially do not like people who work in Tech, since their presence tends to raise the prices too high for everyone else.

I don’t work in Tech anymore, so I have that going for me. My Tech/California concern is actually a very serious issue, as is demonstrated in this news article.

No, this wasn’t a case of road rage. Yes, he had a road rage encounter. It was caused by his California license plates.

When I first moved to California, my mother still had Indiana plates on her car. Someone saw us, and they were not shy about making their opinions audibly known.

“Uhg… Indiana… Hope they don’t stay long.”

Americans are anything but united. But I digress.

After I moved here, I got Oregon plates right away. I couldn’t afford to lose my car, and still can’t.

But I had one other thing going for me.


For all of my 33 years in California, I was never able to shake my Indiana accent. A co-worker at MySpace best described it, saying that I sounded “like a gay pirate.” All I could say in response was “Yarrrrr!”

But he was not alone in his judgment of my accent. I have hated it for my entire life.

So whenever I meet people in Oregon, I will say that I spent some time in California, but will then say that I am from Indiana.

I try to quietly cringe inside as I say it, but I know that the reason I’m saying this is all about nothing more than survival and not getting my ass kicked by some idiot yokel who has hatred for every American who isn’t living in their little town.

Yes, I moved to another small town. This small town is at least 8 times larger than where I grew up, so there’s that.


I truly hate being from Indiana.

I hate my accent.

If there is something bigger than my very strong dislike for my own accent and voice, it’s that I do not have a “hometown” to call my own. I don’t say with pride that I’m from anywhere, maybe because having pride about that is best reserved for those who are lacking in intelligence.

But then I see the likes of Springsteen and Mellencamp enjoying their hometown status and I wonder. I see it in others as well. It’s almost like everyone else has this, except for me.

Reddit determined that my guitar is “Autistic.” I suppose that makes sense?

This point of view is brought to you by Autism. Autism! Fucking your life and every opportunity you see. Every day. All the time. Get it. Be it. Live it. Autism. WARNING: Do not try to cure Autism. Others call it a “gift” but nobody can tell you HOW it is a gift for you. Not curable or transferrable. Side-effects include not being liked or likable, not fitting in, losing opportunities, failing at just about everything, Autistic meltdowns, people abandoning you, people exploiting you, stimming, repetition, obsessive thoughts, nostalgia chasing, useless “special talents,” being a burden to everyone, rumination, loneliness, progressing situations to their ultimate deadly conclusions, and more. Ask your doctor if Autism is right for you! Offer not valid in Minnesota. While supplies last.


But really, if I wanted to get something more out of this entry besides venting about how much I hate being from Indiana, while simultaneously lamenting the fact that I don’t feel like I’m from anywhere, it would be my desire to get rid of my accent.

I really want to get rid of my accent, so that I can have a man’s adult voice. I don’t really like my voice at all.

It’s one thing that gets in my way, where I feel like there might actually be something that I can do about it.

But maybe I am just fooling myself.

So, for now, I will sit here as that guy who was raised in Indiana against his will, who left for California, only to end up not being able to afford it, getting funneled into Oregon, and sitting in a frozen landscape during a pandemic while coming up with the great idea to try to get rid of his accent.

Sounds about right.

Los Angeles 1987: My first new drum set and my first studio apartment.

My Take: Impeachment Acquittal

NOTE: I am not writing this with the idea that I want to debate anyone. This is my personal story, and I’m going to tell it. If my story upsets you, then do not write to me. It would be time better spent if you instead looked inward to figure out why a complete stranger’s opinions and positions upset you so much.


I don’t like talking about politics all that much. However, a close friend and reader of my writings asked for my take on the recent acquittal of ex-government employee Trump.

Before I dive into that, I’d like to give my readers a bit of my political history, because simply giving you a blunt opinion doesn’t seem very informative. Context matters.

I’ll be going through my personal political history, my history of knowledge and thoughts on Trump, and will then give you my thoughts on the impeachment acquittal.


Grandma E: A lifetime of inspiration.

EARLY POLITICS
My introduction to politics came in the fall of 1976. My grandmother was involved in Indiana’s Women’s Democrats for 30 years. In late 1976, I went with her to an event where they were going to meet with none other than Rosalynn Carter.

I got to meet her. She autographed a cocktail napkin for me, which I have unfortunately misplaced over the years, along with another piece of history.

I have to admit that I had a bit of a crush on Mrs. Carter, even though I was only on the edge of turning 12 years old. I asked her for a kiss on my cheek, but turned my head at the last minute, kissing the future first lady on the lips.

Shortly after this, I would receive a package in the mail from Mrs. Carter, and in that package was an invitation to Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. I couldn’t attend, but the thought that she put into the package was wonderful.


February 3, 1978: Pictured in the Indiana Senate with Senator Tom Teague and my younger brother, Todd.

14 months later, on February 3, 1978, my younger brother and I would serve as a Pages in the Indiana Senate, sponsored by Senator Tom Teague [D] of Indiana.

I remember the day so vividly. The building itself was massively huge and had the personality of cold stone.

I was very uncomfortable in my suit. My stiff dress shoes caused blisters on my feet. And at the point when this photo was taken, I had given up on trying to keep my clip-on tie straightened.

As a Page, my job is to go from one office to another, shuffling papers and envelopes.

Basically, I was a kid who had no idea what he was doing. I hated that I was constantly awaiting further instruction from someone. Really, I felt useless and in the way, and I’m sure that feeling would have changed, if only I’d had some experience, knew what I was doing, and could move about in an autonomous fashion.


My brother [L] and me, with Lt. Gov Robert D. Orr of Indiana. Look at how happy I am to be there.

That day, I also met Lieutenant Governor Robert D. Orr [R]. Two years later, he would become the Governor.

Maybe he’s a nice guy. I don’t know. All I remember is that I got the creeps being in his presence. I felt very nervous interacting with him.

I had no idea, and it would be another 39 years before I would find out that I am Autistic. Compared to Orr, I felt at ease with Teague.

These experiences, no doubt, had an influence on me as an adult.

VOTING
As an adult, I tried to have an open mind about it. I saw the Democrats as having ideas and putting forth policy that could potentially help others. However, the Republicans complained, obstructed, or just made up outrageous bullshit.

Indiana was the LAST state in America to approve the Equal Rights Amendment on THIS very day, Valentine’s Day, in 1973.

Who opposed this?

Republicans. And they had very weak and superstitious reasons. Senator Joan Gubbins [R-Indianapolis], the leading opponent forecasted the measure would lead to homosexual marriage, sexual deviancy, female soldiers and motherless children. [Source]

I was only 8 years old when she suggested this, and even I knew that it was bullshit. Imagine a woman actively working to keep other women down, because she is informed by superstitious religious beliefs, in a religion that tells women they cannot hold dominion over men [1 Timothy 2:12].

According to her own religious beliefs, she is supposed to stay out of politics and keep her mouth shut. What a hypocrite.

In spite of this, I kept an open mind, with the idea that I would vote for a Republican if they were upstanding people who had good ideas.


POLITICAL PARTIES: LONG STORY SHORT
Flash forward to 2021: I have never voted for a Republican in my entire life. They want to keep everyone down. They want to force their religious beliefs onto others. They obstruct. They present NO new ideas at all.

But as time wore on, I started to realize that the Democrats were also not representing me.

I would vote, and vote, and vote, and it wouldn’t matter. Nothing seemed to make a difference.


MY THOUGHTS ON TRUMP
It is important that I provide this information as well, before giving my thoughts on the topic.

I remember him as far back as the 70s. As a little kid, I thought that he was a horrible person. He got sued for discrimination in hiring, as well as other arenas. He had to borrow money from his father. He didn’t seem like he had it together as a human being.

Flash forward to 1987, and I bought his book, The Art of the Deal. This was an age where everyone had their get-rich-quick offerings. I was part of the desperate, unprivileged masses who wanted to join the wealth club.

I read it twice, because after the first reading I felt as if I must have missed something. I mean, I was expecting to LEARN “the art of the deal,” and there was no such expression in the book, either directly or implied.

The basic summary of the message, beyond his bragging about things, was that he would never know how a deal was going to go. It might be good, it might be bad. But regardless, he enjoyed the experience.

I figured that this couldn’t possibly be all he had to offer in the book. So I started to pick little things that he did, thinking that maybe they would make me “tougher” so that I could walk his path.

One example revolved around his bragging about how he sleeps only 4 hours per night. He suggests that, when he feels tired, he will take a rubber ball, lean back into his office chair, and then throw the ball up and catch it with the same hand.

This was what he did to stay awake, according to the book.

So one night I felt tired and decided to try it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t going to get rich like this. Nobody was going to call me. I was basically staying awake for the sake of it.

After the second reading and numerous attempts to understand anything that might be a “how-to” moment, I determined that he was full of shit. I threw the book into the garbage.

I have known that he was full of shit since 1987.


I KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING IN THE 90s
Anyone who has seen Terminator 2 might have recognized that the Terminator [played by Arnold Schwarzenegger] does not kill anyone in the entire movie, with the exception of the bad Terminator at the end, which is a machine masquerading as a human.

Arnold did this because he had political aspirations, and did not want his characters who killed to turn off potential voters.

He even started doing comedy fluff pieces, like Kindergarten Cop and Junior.

During the 90s, a person can find Donald Trump cameos in films. Much like Schwarzenegger, he also had political aspirations, even though he declared that he was not interested in politics when he was 33 years old.

He was uncertain, but was putting things in place, just in case.


IMPEACHMENTS AND LIES
During my lifetime, I have witnessed THREE Presidential impeachments, as well as the potential impeachment of Nixon.

One of these was President Clinton on December 19, 1998 [the same day that I left my abusive ex-wife]. The other two, in more recent history, were both Trump.

People get very confused about Bill Clinton’s impeachment, which is obvious when they suggest that he was impeached for cheating on his wife, or for getting a blowjob.

This is not true. The reason why Clinton was impeached was because he LIED under oath.

It was one lie, about something that seems relatively inconsequential. The bottom line was that he lied under oath, which is dishonorable. It is important to note that, when Clinton lied, nobody died. Still, a lie is a lie and it should not be tolerated, especially under oath.

With Trump, we had a person who lied several times per day, every day. He lied so much that his lie about the stolen election is referenced as “The Big Lie,” in order to differentiate it from all of the others, since it caused the most damage [so far as we can tell].

Over the course of his presidency, Trump has expressed 30,573 false or misleading claims. All of these items have been carefully documented.


MY THOUGHTS ON THE 2021 IMPEACHMENT ACQUITTAL
This may have been the most important hearing of my lifetime. Trump spent YEARS getting his base used to things like “alternative facts” and open hate speech. He divided people. He spread lies; too many to even detail.

He carefully worked up his base to a froth, which lead up to January 6, 2021. This allowed him to deliver his message and commands in a way that would not be too obvious.

His personal lawyer — HIS LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE — Rudolph Giuliani, called for “trial by combat.” I think that when a person’s personal lawyer makes a statement, and then the person praises them for it, that it would be incitement, by-proxy. But nobody brought that up.

The interesting thing to me was that he lied to his own followers when he told them that he would be at the Capitol building with them. For some reason, that either floated over their heads, or they simply do not care if they are on the receiving end of a lie that directly impacts them.

With all of the violence, terror, and death, as well as the threat of overthrowing the United States government, he was still acquitted by the majority of the Republican Senators.

Why?

Republicans have gone mega-tribal in their approach. They treat politics like a football game. They don’t care about policy or how anything will impact Americans, and instead only care about “owning the Libs,” even though not every Democrat is Liberal, and almost none are Leftist. It’s childish and unproductive.

Normally, I would say that it is dangerous to put people into a group and then condemn them. I see this with the Republicans, where they have horrific things to say about Democrats, most of which are not true. Nobody wants open borders, nobody is coming to take guns or bibles away, and nobody is kidnapping babies and drinking their blood to ingest Adrenochrome so that they can remain youthful as members of a Satanic Cabal that sex traffics children from the basement of a pizza parlor that has no basement.

None of it is true, but is sure scares the fuck out of Republican voters, most of whom are more religious, less educated, and easier to scare.

But the Republicans and their Nazi off-shoot organizations have forged their image in the fire, blood, and blind hatred that they unleashed on the Federal Capitol building on January 6, 2021.


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
Many people have expressed that “the truth has been told,” and other sentiments. I agree that the truth was told. I watched all of this on live broadcast on YouTube. What made it all more shocking was the added details that were all snapped to a timeline grid, showing just how serious all of this was.

Sure, the truth as been told.

However, there were NO CONSEQUENCES! Some of the insurrectionists who were arrested have yet to face any consequences. Maybe they’re building cases. But these will be one-offs that most people won’t see, including the Christian Conservative Republican Domestic Terrorists who engaged in this insurrection.

With virtually no consequences, these people are poised to do this again. And since they have experience, my unfortunate projection is that they will succeed in overthrowing the American government.

Even worse is the idea that they not have to do anything more.

America is a country. The country is founded on laws. The greatest document of law is The Constitution.

What we learned in the impeachment acquittal is simple: The law does not matter. Secondarily, one can deduce that the law is applied exclusively to the little people, the regular person.

Justice for thee, but not for me.

Our “representatives” — who falsely call themselves “public servants” — are actually career politicians who are bought and paid for by Corporate America. They do not represent the little people, but rather the corporations.

This is why the average American worker gets shit on so massively.

And you can thank Republican Mitt Romney for the idea that “corporations are people, too.” They’re not, but it’s too late to close that flood gate.

They earn on average $174,000 per year, which is more than the shit minimum wage that the average American earns. They have the best health care that we, the people, can pay for.

Meanwhile, the rest of us suffer.

It is no wonder why the vast majority of Americans do not vote. If someone started the No Vote Party, which would automatically adopt the potential vote of every person who did not vote, that candidate would win every single time.

Americans, generally speaking, are pathetic, tribal, superstitious, afraid, misguided, misinformed, poorly educated, and have bad attitudes. And those are the good qualities of this particular brand of hairless primates.


IN THE END
With regard to politics, I have spent my entire life working to invoke change. Nothing of much significance has made a difference with regard to my vote for presidential candidates.

RIP Kristan

The only two things where I can say that my vote made a difference was the legalization of cannabis in California, and the overall drug legalization in Oregon. Treating drug addiction like a medical issue, instead of a criminal issue, is essential.

If we had this approach, then my little sister might still be alive today. She died of a drug overdose in late June 2017, just after her birthday.

Locally, I have helped to make a few good things happen. But overall, I feel disenfranchised. Beyond that, I also feel exhausted for all of the time and energy that I have put into actually paying attention to politics. So far as that goes, I feel that it is simply not good for my mental health.

I may register to vote, just in case, but I think that it’s time for me to stop giving this shit show any more attention, now that America is brain-dead and on life support.

My opinion that America is dead might seem hyperbolic, but when the law no longer matters, or is unevenly applied, it does not bode well for the concept of a country like America. We are the laughing stock of the world; a big joke to everyone out there.

And now, the entire world knows just how easy it is to attack the Federal Capitol building. If a bunch of mouth-breathing, Trump voting idiots can do it, then certain anyone can.

We have been compromised.

As I write this, I realize that I could probably get arrested for this, since The Constitution is no longer a valid document. And it doesn’t matter that I’m NOT making any threats or inciting anything in this entry. I could still end up in big trouble, because I had the nerve to say something negative about Trump and his Fascist Nazi Christian terrorist group.

Everything feels uncertain, except for one thing: Should someone give me grief for this, on an official level, because I put forth my honest opinions, then it will serve as confirmation that I am correct in my assessments.

Owning Media

I’m 56 years old, and anyone my age can relate to the frustrration I felt whenever I would re-purchase music. There are some albums that I owned on 8-track [yes, I had an 8-track player in my car in 1981], then on vinyl, then on cassette tape, and then on CD. In some cases, I would buy them yet again as an MP3 download, should the media have worn out.

To me, it sounded like a very expensive proposition to keep up with the latest formats. But it was also essential to keep up in many cases. I do own some vinyl albums, but do not currently have a record player. It can be expensive to keep various players in-house and maintained, not to mention the space they take up.

But for as much money as I seem to think that I “wasted” on this upkeep, I look at what the kids are doing today and consider myself fortunate to have lived in a relatively inexpensive time of transition.

You can’t get your MP3s autographed, kids.

They pay something like $10 per month to just RENT music. And in some cases, it’s nothing more than background for them. Now, if they want to spend the money on this, then more power to them. It harms the music business greatly, which is just one of the problems that I have with this.

I cannot imaging spending $120 on music, where at the end of the year, I own NONE of it. As a kid, if I spent $120, then I had roughly one dozen records that I could listen to again and again.

Maybe I have Autistic listening habits. I’m certain that I do, because I can listen to the same album over and over again. For me, variety doesn’t matter so much as my mood.

But I digress.


SOME ONLINE PURCHASES AND THEIR FATE
I remember buying music on iTunes, and being unhappy with the DRM, which is a form of copy protection on the files.

Knowing how DRM works, it got me wondering what happens to my music that I purchased on iTunes if the DRM verification servers go down.

The answer is that the files become useless. I do recall someone from Apple saying that online media purchases are basically rentals, but I cannot find that source as I write this.

So I stopped purchasing things in iTunes and would go to the record store. As the record stores began to fade, I would find myself purchasing audio files that were DRM-free and downloadable.

Digital properties that cannot be downloaded are another problem. More on that later.


THE NETFLIX DILEMMA
I do have Netflix, and think that I get my $13.99 per month value out of it. Most of what I watch are things that I will never watch again.

During my time working on social networking websites, I would often times have to work at night. So I would pull up Netflix on the flat screen and put on “The Big Lebowski” while I spent two hours testing a fresly-uploaded iteration of the website.

One night, as I prepared for work, I realized that Lebowski was no longer on Netflix! This made my work evening feel a bit drab, so I went out and bought two copies. One to use and one as a backup.

During this time, Lebowski would return for a little while on Netflix, before disappearing.

Netflix is too unreliable when it comes to films that I love, so I always purchase hard copies of those.


WHEN A SERVICE GOES AWAY
In the early months of the pandemic, I was splitting my focus on entertainment between my existing collection, going to the movie rental store, and purchasing or renting online.

Renting online is more expensive than going to the movie store. The up-side is there is nothing to return. I’m okay with renting online sometimes.

This title [a rental] is so obscure that it’s very difficult to find on IMDB, and likely not available for rent online anywhere. This may be for the best. Trust me. But I love movies like this, especially at a rental store, and I cannot explain why.

My collection is somewhat limited, although I do have copies of some movies that I have yet to watch.

I only recently watched Inception, and have yet to watch Avatar. I bought these titles, as well as others, as an impulse buy at a closing Blockbuster in LA, for $1 each.

I also have some Criterion Collection releases, such as the Blu-Ray of Eraserhead. These releases typically have high-quality artwork, as well as detailed booklets, photos, commentary tracks, and more.

The video store is the best for me, as they have both rentals AND used releases that are available for purchase. And the store owner, Terry, is always willing to find and acquire those really crappy horror movies for me. They’re totally niche and difficult to find in the wild.

VIDEO STORE = COMMUNITY
I used to go to a video store in Santa Monica, California in the late 80s called 20/20 Video. They also did film developing. They had a girl working there named Magdalena. She was 22 years old and had 18 siblings, yet NO TV show. She would always have movie posters waiting for me. They were either extras or were outdated and supposed to be thrown out.

I’d also go to another in town called VIDIOTS. They had a great collection of films. I rented Eraserhead there, and asked the person working there where I could buy a copy. He said that David Lynch had put a moratorium on releasing the film for purchase.

December 2019: Me and Tibo Bat, helping Mr. Video promote his latest releases on Facebook.

At the time, I owned a LASER DISK of Eraserhead, as a motivator to one day buy the equipment. It became outdated by the time I was half-way there.

The guy at the store rented me the movie, but also let me take a VCP, or Video Cassette Player, so that I could make myself a bootlet copy. I kept that bootleg VHS copy that I made, and watched it until I found out that Criterion Collection had released it on Blu-Ray.

Finally, legit!

My latest video store is Mr. Video. It’s a great place and worth the drive. I don’t go there as much as I used to, since funds are tighter than ever. But I still show support however I can, whenever I can. They appreciate their customers and it shows in how they run and maintain their facility.


A RUDE AWAKENING
When I moved from California to Oregon in late May 2019, I was excited to get things going. My girlfriend had gone ahead of me and found a place, so I was bringing the moving truck.

One of her jobs was to get the cable installed, so that we would have internet access when I got there. I haven’t had actual cable television in about 15 years, but internet has always been a necessity for me.

She was having trouble with this. Seems the order was being placed, but then nothing was happening. I didn’t believe it, until I went through her same headache on three different occasions.

I got these VHS tapes at a local second-hand store for 25 cents each. They don’t look too shabby on the 55″ curved screen television, either.

The problem was that our brand-new building had faulty cable installed! The rental management company was slow to act, even when I told them that I was losing great work-from-home opportunities that were costing me $300 per day. They didn’t care. Fortunately, I wasn’t really working, but that’s what I would have lost, based on past performoance.

By the time I had internet access, two months had gone by! No Netflix, no YouTube, no Google Play. NOTHING!

This meant that I had to rely heavily on my physical collection and Mr. Video.


CLOUD STORAGE
This makes me VERY hesitant to rely on cloud storage for ALL of my media. I don’t want my music collection on a server. I want it here, right now, accessible by me at any time, without the need for internet access, a subscription, or any other fees or hub-bub.

Hub-bub. I am officially old, just for using that phrase.

The new Samsung phones do not accomodate an SD card for memory expansion, which is why I will not be upgrading. As I write this, I am considering stand-alone options for music, including making my own with Raspberry Pi. We shall see.


YET ANOTHER RUDE AWAKENING
The unreliable nature of The Big Lebowski on Netflix is one thing. Shoddy construction and sub-standard cable is another.

My latest rude awakening is a combination of TWO things.

The first is the death of Google Play. My television still has the Google Play app on it. I had purchased many things on Google Play, including the first four seasons of Rick & Morty, as well as some other television shows and movies. It’s not a huge investment, but enough to get me thinking.

The app feels abandoned. What will happen if those services shut down? Will I get a refund? No. All of these purchases are not really purchases, but are actually rentals.

This first part of my double-platinum rude awakening rides piggy-back style on a story that I read recently about how Terraria’s Stadia Port is Canceled after the main developer got ghosted by Google.

What happened was his Google account got shut down for no apparent reason. This killed his access to ALL GOOGLE PRODUCTS, including Gmail, YouTube, and whatever Google Play is called now.

Essentially, he had all of his eggs in one Google basket, and the basket just got crushed for no reason at all. He still cannot figure out why.

For everything I have on Google Play, as well as how much I rely on YouTube and Gmail, it got me thinking how precarious my own online access is right now.

And the scary thing is that I don’t have to do ANYTHING wrong at all. All it takes is one mistake on their part, or a false flag put forth by a social engineer who hates me, and my life is over.

Should I spend any more money on Google?

I think not.

And this goes for other services like VUDU, where I have purchased a few movies. What happens when their website and service goes away? I lose everything that I purchased, for it’s not really a purchase and is merely a rental. This is the case for EVERYTHING that you cannot download!


HOW DID WE GET HERE?
My guess is that we ended up here because our society has no respect for masterful artwork. I have written in the past about how music has been devalued. The same is true for most movies.

I’m old enough to remember when purchasing a VHS tape was the only option to get a movie at home, and these would cost as much as $100! Not many people were buying at the time, so I suppose that made sense.

Now, we live in an opposite world where there are too many options out there, so everyone has to go cheap. It doesn’t help matters that American Capitalism is broken and corrupt, but that’s another entry for another day.

In this photo, I am holding a triple-release Blu-Ray featuring three masterpieces by Stanlely Kubrick.

I found this in a bargain bin at Walmart for $9.99. Three complete classics — masterpieces for the ages — and this is how little they are valued by society.

Good for me, with regard to price. However, I think that society is paying a far larger price by devaluing movies, music, and other art forms.

Society’s shame is my gain, I suppose.


MY GENERAL RULE
The general rule is that you do NOT own it if it is not in your hands or on your local drive.

This guides my new online media philosophy, where anything I cannot download and keep for myself MUST be treated like a rental.


COUNTER-ARGUMENT: THE JERRY MAGUIRE VIDEO STORE
In early 2017, a company called Everything Is Terrible had an art display in Los Angeles. It was a Jerry Maguire video store.

January 25, 2017: Me, in Los Angeles, at the Jerry Maguire Video Store, where they had over 14,000 copies of Jerry Maguire.

You could not rent anything in the store. While I was there, I did see 14 copies of Jerry Maguire arrive in the store, in varying levels of condition.

Their presentation housed everything Jerry Maguire, as well as over 14,000 copies of the movie.

Why would they do this? They had spent years collecting these donated movies. After the video store, they planned on building a pyramid of this collection, to stand as a monument to “American consumption.”

Everything Is Terrible.

Ironically, I purchased a few items they were selling, including a Jerry Maguire t-shirt.

The Jerry Maguire Video Store rental card looks just like the old Blockbuster cards. I still have mine in my wallet, from 12/31/1999.

I get their point, which harkens back to my purchase of used VHS tapes at the second-hand store for 25 cents.

People buy movies, watch them a few times, and then don’t watch them anymore. What this means is that the physical production of products is generating a great deal of waste on the planet, and something must be done about it.

I do agree with them on this point. Does that make me a hypocrite? Since I don’t throw away movies or take them to the second-hand store, I don’t think so. All the same, if I died tomorrow, one might safely bet that most of my stuff will end up in the dump.

My Jerry Maguire t-shirt, from Everything Is Terrible and their Jerry Maguire Video Store.

As I am writing this, I am thinking back to the Kubrick triple-release set for $9.99. As low as the price might be, this move could be nothing more than a cash grab from Walmart. I would be okay with getting rid of things like this.

I would gladly pay $40 if there were a Criterion Collection style release of just one of these movies. Doing this would reduce waste, and lower the likelihood that the release will end up in a landfill.

I am also just now remembering that I have TWO copies of Jerry Maguire. One is a physical DVD, and the other is on Google Play. So far as I am concerned, I have only one, for the Google Play purchase is nothing more than an over-priced rental that will one day just disappear without fanfare or explanation.

Basically, the Google Play purchase is money wasted.

IN THE END
If I can have a hard copy for the shelf, then that’s great. But if I can only get a download of it, then that’s fine too. My main problem is online purchases that are actually over-priced rentals.

The only way that I can appropriately end this entry is with a video tour of the long-gone Jerry Maguire Video Store. This is my video, taken with my phone, and my narration.

The environment is important. So is not getting ripped off. My approach to this is simple.

With movies, I buy the ones that I know I want to keep, and rent the ones that I’m curious about. Buying used is also an option. With music, I will buy used CDs or purchase DRM-free downloads online.

Is there anything that I missed? Please do let me know your thoughts on music and movies, as it applies to online purchases that cannot be downloaded.

I wonder if they have any copies of Jerry Maguire available LOL.

Take Nothing Personally

INTRODUCTION
In yesterday’s entry, I wrote a number of things, including how I do not exist. The basic idea is that the thing I call “me” is a construct based on my limited, skewed interpretation of the limited and skewed perception that others have of this entity that I call “me.”

To take that further, there are things “about me” that have nothing to do with me at all. To make this more relatable, most people are afraid of big spiders. Encountering a big spider in the home, or even outside, can inspire a great deal of fear.

That fear of spiders is automatic, it is subconscious, and it is not about you.

On a more wide level, your heart beats, and you are not the one who wills this to happen. The heart muscle just does what it does, regardless of who you are, what you want, or what you try.

This also has nothing to do with you.

I’m Autistic. This speaks to my systems, not to me. These systems interfere with the presentation of the thing that I call “me,” which harms the perspective, which in turn damages the self-perception.

That’s not a thing that is “me.”

On the other hand, any work-arounds I can implement to thwart this broken system [i.e., learning behaviors in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy], could be considered a part of “me,” since they are things that I consciously do.

Over time, as those behaviors become second nature, they cease becoming a part of me, and continue on as a newly integrated part of the system, which has nothing to do with “me.”


A BIG QUESTION
If I do not exist, then why should I take anything personally?

We tend to take these ill-constructed opinions of others and adopt them as being a part of us. I remember being the “weirdo” in school. Over time, I ended up adopting that as a part of me.

I officially became “weird.”

Others delivered this information to me in a way where they would insult me in an effort to lift themselves up. The desired results were achieved on their part, meaning they felt better about themselves, while I felt worse about myself.

Why would they pick an easy target in someone they knew would not fight back? The answer is that their attacks against me were a simple, easy, and risk-free way to assert the idea that they are somehow better than me.

Are they really?

On the outside, this appears to be true. They are better looking people, they hold high positions, and they earn a great deal of money. Meanwhile, I’m left behind.

On the inside, they needed a boost to their self-esteem, and they took the cheap and easy route. It’s like getting in the boxing ring with a dead person, punching them a few times, and then declaring yourself to be the winner of a “fight.”

Just like that thing I call “me,” their boost was an illusion, and their superiority is also an illusion. Fortunately for them, their illusion fits nicely within the construct of Capitalist American society.

My illusion, on the other hand, fits in nowhere.

But does it even matter?

For survival, their illusion definitely makes things way easier for them. They have successfully found a way to fit in a system and function within its boundaries and requirements.

For me, I felt knocked down on a rather consistent basis.


ANALYSIS
What would my analysis be of the situation where others bullied me in school?

My mind immediately gravitates to a time in Kindergarten, when the kids stole my crayons and tore all of the names off of them. When we were coloring, I was not using standard colors, and my teacher became concerned. She thought that either I was mentally retarded, or I was being a rebellious problem who needed to be taught a lesson.

It wouldn’t be until second grade that it was figured out that I was partially red-green colorblind.

But back to Kindergarten. The kids pointed and laughed. The teacher got angry for a while, before giving up and using me as the butt of her sick humor.

Pick either premise — that I was stupid, or that I was rebellious — and evaluate them. Was I really being stupid for using the wrong colors? After all, I was giving my best guess. And was I being rebellious? To the contrary, I was struggling to fit in, and would continue that struggle for the rest of my life.

Being colorblind is not a choice. It’s not something that set out to do. Since it is automatic, it should not be a part of the constructed illusion that I exist. Rather, it is a biological anomaly, much like my Autism.

And yet, society so desperately wants to make it a part of me.


THOSE WHO INSULT
When a person hands down an insult, there are usually a few things going on in that situation. The person handing out the insults might have low self-esteem, or maybe they’re suffering abuse from a person who has power of them, and they are transferring that abusive energy down to someone who is an easy target, who may have NO relevance at all to the pain they are enduring.

They could also be a toxic personality, and this is nothing more than business as usual for them.

Then there are those people who engage in personal attacks because they don’t have an argument to defend their position. It’s part of an errant “might makes right” strategy, which is a useful and effective strategy for those who are incapable of intellectual thought.


LETTING GO OF ABUSE
When “you” are nothing more than a concept, and others are nothing more than a concept, things become a little bit easier to figure out. Getting the egos out of the way and focusing on the actual issue makes it all about the issue, and not about the person themselves.

In other words, this being has some behaviors that are considered to be good, bad, or otherwise curious. But even this, by holding judgments of “good” or “bad,” takes advantage of these internal and social constructs.

It’s like a mode of communication that has the purpose of making communication faster and easier, with negative side-effects.


IN THE END
For most of my life, I have allowed others to define me as X. However, I have to also take responsibility for building my ego or persona by adding other things like personal beliefs, positions on issues, and so on.

All of this created something that I call “me,” and it’s not really something that I built all that well. In my defense, it is my first time. When others tell me to “act your age,” I have to tell them that it’s my first time being 56, and I don’t know what is really expected of me.

It would be ironic to call it a “personal goal” to fix the things that are wrong with that thing I call “me.” The being that represents “me” understands that the social construct in my possession that I call “me” needs an overhaul if it expects to survive in our twisted, mangled, broken society.

A good first step for me is to not take anything else personally, since I personally do not exist. Instead, I should take it for what it might actually be. It could be a cry for help, or a desperate attempt to boost themselves up higher.

Regardless, their problems are not mine, and I refuse to accept them.


Life, Time, and Other Illusions

Life is an illusion caused by death.

To understand this concept, first you must work to imagine a world where everyone and everything has always been and always will be. It’s a world where people never die.

Would anyone talk about being alive? Would anyone even be concerned with that illusion? I’d think that most people would not even give that consideration at all.

Effectively, the concept of life, or of being alive, would not exist.


Money is a mutually-agreed-upon delusion. This mutual agreement must exist on a massive scale in order for it to work.

The only reason a dollar is worth a dollar is that everyone agrees that it is worth that. Imagine the chaos if the grocery store did not agree, and instead held the belief that your dollar was worth only 25 cents.

Yes, the value of the dollar fluctuates, and this fluctuation is typically based on human feelings. That’s not a reliable scaffold upon which to place much of anything.

Imagine two people, trapped in a pandemic, with no way to get out. There is a government collapse, and the dollar becomes worthless.

One person has $100,000, and another has enough food to last for about one month. Which one will survive longer?

The value of money is not within the money itself, but rather can be found in the items one would purchase with this money.

The person with the $100,000 can offer that money in exchange for the other person’s food. But in this situation, it will not happen.


A photon is a tiny particle that comprises waves of electromagnetic radiation. Light photons are created by sources of energy in the sun.

These photons bounce around, trying to find their way out. On top of the constant bouncing around, they also have to contend with the extreme gravitational pull of the sun.

The gravity of the sun is strong enough to bend time. This is why the core of the sun is 39,000 years younger than the outer area. By comparison, the core of the Earth is about 3.5 years younger than the outer crust.

The light photon eventually escapes the gravity of the sun after roughly 100,000 years.

Once the photon has taken flight, at the speed of light, it can travel for up to 25 quadrillion years before it finally dies.

But the most interesting thing of all is that photons do not experience time. This means that, so far as the photon is concerned, the 100,000 years spent escaping the sun and the 25 quadrillion years it spends traveling all happens at once. Instantly.


I do not exist.

The thing that I call “me” is a construct in the brain. This construct is built when others observe “me.” Their observation is based on limited exposure, and this observation is contorted by their own personal bias.

They deliver this observation back to “me,” and the biases and other contortions that exist in this brain twist their twisted perception even further.

This manufactured mess becomes my self-perception. This becomes “me.”

As a being acquires life experience, this self-perception is fed a steady diet of bullshit from other beings.


Finally, what if all of our problems magically went away? What would happen? It may seem like a crazy notion to suspect that all of our problems could be solved.

Americans throw away enough food to feed the world every year. America has enough money and resources to solve poverty, and yet it is encouraged. America has the money to pay workers a dignified adult living wage, but they do not.

Why not?

American Capitalism [Crony Capitalism] relies heavily on people being afraid and desperate, to the point that they will take anything for work, with minimal pay. This helps the wealthy become even more wealthy. See the above segment about money.

Our health care system and insurance systems rely heavily on YOU getting sick. They need for you to be sick, and often, if they expect to turn big profits.

Our legal system relies on you to break the law, however big or small. Best case, you get a speeding ticket at the end of the month, even though you were not speeding. Worst case, you are arrested and thrown into a for-profit prison, where you are used as slave labor, as is supported in Amendment XIII of the United States Constitution.

Indeed, Capitalism forces everyone to do horrific things, sometimes to each other. So many problems could be solved, but they will not be solved because it simply is not profitable.

But what would happen if someone was able to solve all of our problems? The video below reveals the most likely outcome.

What would happen if all of your problems were solved, and things like “broken” and “death” were no longer an issue?

Thank you to everyone who reads and comments. I really appreciate it.

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