Happy 15th Birthday, Rascal T. Brat

15 years ago today [2007], I was on a L&R forum on MySpace, while I was working at MySpace. Someone named Sarah posted that her cat just had kittens. I posted a response to that.

“Dibs on the orange one!”

Now, I did not know that there was an orange one. As it turns out, there was only ONE orange cat in the entire bunch.

2007: A newly-born Rascal T. Brat

She asked me if I was serious. When I said yes, the transaction began.

She asked what we wanted his name to be, so they could start calling him by the name. We went with “Rascal,” obviously. His last name is “Brat” because he looked like he could be a real brat.

As for the middle initial of “T.”, that just stands for “The.”

Rascal The Brat.

Sarah, her then-husband, and a few friends brought him over. We had a pizza party for him. He got introduced to his big brother at the time, LP.

LP tries to play tough. Rascal lunges at him near the end.

They became best buddies instantly.

2007: A baby Rascal, with his Tigger toy and his Aunt Princess Sofika.

For the longest time, Rascal was LP’s cat. LP really stole the show because he was more interactive with us than Rascal. He kinda laid back.

LP passed away on President’s Day 2019. His passing prompted me to make several live changes, including moving to Oregon.

During that move, Rascal rode with me for 1,000 miles in a moving van over the course of 3 days. He would spend his evenings in motel rooms, where he would sit in the window and listen in on the conversations that people had to carry on right outside our door.

He would sleep and maybe drink a little water, but wake up for beef jerky breaks.

In October 2019, we thought that Rascal might want to have a friend, so we adopted a cat named Tibo Bat. We didn’t know he was half-Maine Coon at the time. They’re totally crazy and most intolerable when they are kittens.

Rascal T. Brat, not amused with his new little brother, Tibo Bat.

Rascal was neither happy nor amused. But eventually, they tried to ge along.

Rascal is tolerating Tibo in this moment.

Today, they get along very well. All the same, I do NOT recommend getting a kitten for an older cat. Rascal would have been just as happy, if not more happy, with being a lone cat.

LP was 4 when we got Rascal, which is fine. But when a cat is over 10, think about it carefully.

I could go on and on, but I’ll close with some videos and a handful of more photos. Happy birthday, Rascal T. Brat, and I hope that you have more.

Only 7 weeks old. This video was my son’s idea.
My most popular video on YouTube. Rascal has been deaf for years, but he will speak when I give him a hand signal.
Rascal falls asleep right as the song ends.
Rascal loves watching Maru.
November 1, 2008: Mama Sarah came by to visit Rascal. He was roughly 20 months old.

The Life Bukowski

NOTE: This might be a difficult read for some. Sensitive readers should be cautious, or maybe skip this entirely.


People read or otherwise hear about the life of Charles Bukowski and have different responses. Some will say that he was a bum and a total failure. Others will declare him to be a genius. The former will cite many reasons for their judgmental opinion, while the latter hadn’t found one clue and subsequently lean on the idea of esoteric coolness.

More and more, I am learning that your life determines what you can or cannot do, or what you may or may not be willing to do. Those people who say that the ZIP code where you were born will determine how much success or failure you are allowed to have are most definitely on to something.

Life may not be a thing worthy of examination. However, one isn’t truly certain of this status until it is too late, and they’ve already engaged in said examination.

Oh well.


There are moments that will stand out, such as the first time your parents fought viciously in front of you. The fierce venom and contempt that is to be found between two people who “love” each other infects those around them.

It’s the embarrassment of showing up to your first day of kindergarten, not knowing where to go, and being unable to remember your last name because nobody in your house ever wrote or spoke that name, so there was no need to know it. Mom was just “Mom,” Dad was just “Dad,” and I had no fucking idea who I was.

Some of the moments are public, such as the time your mother took you to a local store to have your picture taken with Santa Claus, and nobody listened to your complaints about having diarrhea. Santa would be the first person to take you seriously, and Santa isn’t even real.

He’s just a drunk who put on a suit and holds you because he needs some extra money for booze. You’re too young to realize that it should be concerning that this was the only person who listened and understood.

Then comes the regret you feel after getting what you wanted. Begging your dad to get you a Hot Wheels set for your birthday, and you get it. Inevitably, something will go wrong and your father will be prompted to pick up one of the Hot Wheels tracks so that he can use it to beat you mercilessly with it.

It puts you in a place where you do not want anything else. And yet more and more gets forced upon you. You have to know this and that, and go here and there, to do one thing or another. You are told that it is your “duty,” as if you are an ant who does what it does for the benefit of the hive, at the detriment to yourself.

If you want more, certainly a strong education would be beneficial to the government, in the form of taxes paid, as well as consumer dollars spent, and the strength that it would bring to your country. But if you can’t afford to purchase this education, then too bad. Then the same government will complain that you are a burden as they ask you why you couldn’t pick yourself up. All you needed was a helping hand, with none to be found.

Dance your way through it, like some clown who can’t wait for the organ grinder to stop so that he can have his next drink. And you have to smile while you do it, or else someone with money, status, and privilege will get their feelings hurt. When that happens, you can expect that they will want you to pay for this transgression. Because nothing is more important than the feelings of someone who doesn’t care if you live or die.


While you are still lacking in life experience, adults around you will spend some time asking you what you want to be when you grow up. Keep in mind that these are the same people who told you that you can be anything that you want if you work hard enough and put your mind to it.

So you tell them what you want to do. This is followed by their screeches, informing you that you CANNOT do THAT, and you must instead go to college to study something you don’t care about, so that you can make money. Happiness or aptitude be damned, your goal is to slave away and make money.

More, more, more. How do you hate it? How do you hate it?

Boy, how you hate it.

They will single you out and demand to know why you don’t fit in. They’ll ask why you are doing something on purpose. If you live long enough, then you find out that you weren’t doing ANYTHING on purpose, and that they were utter morons who didn’t understand you, didn’t understand your position, and really didn’t even understand themselves.

They didn’t care enough to understand any of it, because they had taken that same path, where they were told they could be anything, then told they couldn’t be that one thing they wanted, and ended up being funneled into a job they hate, teaching children they don’t like or even care about.

They will beat you and then tell your parents to beat you.


But eventually that door opens; the door that leads to the forefront of your dreams. With the energy, exuberance, and stupid optimism that comes with being young, you go for it.

You figure that you can make things happen, if only you could go there. So you make a plan and pack a gym bag. You have one change of clothes, a huge bag of M&M’s, and ten bucks. That oughta get you by in Los Angeles in the mid-80s.

This is where you find all of the things that nobody told you about. Your parents and teachers, who functioned under the banner of appeals to authority, would say “no” or “because” and never explain what they were talking about, so there was no way of knowing what they were talking about.

You fall in with strangers, the homeless, drunks, addicts, prostitutes, and gangsters. You are now in a spot where you rely heavily on their kindness and generosity. It’s shaky, scary, unreliable, dangerous, dirty, and yet easier to get and swallow than what you get from a rich asshole who give you a shit job with shit pay and tells you that you ought to be grateful.

No bum, drunk, junkie, or whore ever said or did anything that would lead anyone to feel badly about themselves. They know what it is like to be judged.

The boss doesn’t pay you to work. They pay to you take the abuse.


Women will ignore you if you’re lucky, and laugh at you if you are not. All the same, you go looking and trying, and not just because your second head is doing all of the thinking. Everyone warns you about the dangers of being alone.

They talk about how married men live longer, as if that’s some kind of special selling point. Who wants to be in this bullshit longer than absolutely necessary? And you have to do it with another person in the room. No, thanks.

The women who shoot you down bear the brunt of your frustration. But the women who accept you and pursue you are the ones who should truly earn your contempt. They’re only talking to you because they want something.

Meanwhile, your main head shuts down and your second head tells you they are there because you are truly something special. But there is nothing special about a rube. They get what they want, and you are left holding the empty bag. If you’re lucky, there is no tab to be picked up.

Inevitably, you get taken for a ride by a woman who appears nice to others, but later becomes a monster behind closed doors. Yelling and screaming for help only gets you beaten down by a society that does not care about you, yet still has expectations of you.

Society will be angry, but about the wrong things. Sure, you’re being beaten and exploited. But you deserve it because she’s a Mexican, or she’s older than you. At the same time, they have NO critique of the number of white women your age who shit on you. It’s your fault for not being better looking and not having money. That was your choice.

They will declare that you had it coming, and that it would be in your best interest to lay down and quietly take it. They’re struggling to hear the TV while they watch their favorite show, as you cry out in pain for help.

In a state of desperation, you call the police for help. They “help” you by arresting you, because you and people like you are always the bad guys, for no other reason than simply who you are.


Eventually, when your life is pretty much over, you finally learn the reason why people exploited you. You learn that early detection is key — that it should be detected by age 3 — as you realize that you missed that boat by only half a century.

So you work to get better. As you’re starting to get better, the world starts to get worse. Before long, everyone on Earth has become you, and you have become something unrecognizable, which means that you now must be them. Then comes the stark acknowledgement that you would have fit in with everything now, if only now had happened 12 years ago.

This is when you realize that you’ve officially seen too much. You can’t un-see it, and you cannot move forward with that vision burned into your shriveled brain.

Phones ring. Emails and texts ding. And every few years there is a knock on the door by someone who wants to ask you if you’ve ever heard of Jesus. That’s like going through the Middle East, door-to-door, asking people if they’d ever heard of Muhammad.

You can’t spell “Muhammad” without “ham.” Or “mad.” Or “Muh.” Language gets in the way of our ability to communicate.

Hell lies beyond this window screen

And so you sit in your apartment, with the view of the dumpsters, the rain, and general ugliness of it all. The only thing that can lift you up from this is some Bukowski.

He wrote “Post Office” after he quit his job at the post office. He wrote “Women” when he had a place that was constantly full of them. He probably wrote “Ham and Rye” after lunch. I can’t write “Cats” because that title is already taken. I’ll have to check to see if “Fart” or “Sleep” are available.

I smell success already.

No, I was wrong. It’s just the litter box.


You find yourself in a place where it feels like everything is about to wrap up. Looking back, you start to realize why life sucked so bad and why it was so hard.

There’s the bad advice from adults, not to mention abuse. There’s the lie that the Meritocracy exists, and if you work really hard you’ll be rewarded. There’s the lie that you have to get married and have children in order to be successful. But by who’s standards?

There’s the lie that you have to gain wealthy and buy a house, as well as expensive things you don’t need to impress people you don’t care about.

The check’s in the mail. I won’t cum in your mouth. Nah, you don’t look fat in that. The lies vary in size and impact. The truth is that there is a “fun size” candy bar in the cupboard with your diabetic name on it. You feel a sense of contempt for the asshole who decided that this small size was “fun.” Fuck you, Mr. Fun Size Guy.

Make it a double.


The more you learn, the more you realize that you do not know. It shows you just how wrong you were about life and the world around you. You USED to believe that huge mommy milkers made the world go round. But then you realize that it’s actually greedy old men who are Narcissists, who start wars that everyone else is forced to fight for them.

That’s what you get. I told you to let the titties win, but you didn’t listen.

At least you get the opportunity to die for a Narcissistic dumbass who never cared about you. That’s about as fair as life gets.

Most of all, you realize why life sucked so much. You tried too hard. You cared too much. You had hopes and dreams. Hope is the quickest way to self-hatred, and dreams are caused by flatulence.

With that, you realize that the only thing you can do in this moment is watch an uplifting documentary about Charles Bukowski. Then, somehow, everything feels a little bit better for a short while.



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Ukraine on My Mind

How am I to see you, when my faith stands in the way.”
— Polly Samson [Pink Floyd lyricist, post-Waters]
In Any Tongue, by David Gilmour


Most of the time, I enjoy writing. I have been writing in my journals just about every day. A few people close to me write on occasion, and I do respond.

My days typically start at 4:00am. I do tooth brushing and other morning things. The cats get their snacks and I do the immediate chores.

Then, lately, I turn on the war and watch.

I refuse to turn away because it is uncomfortable. The innocent people who are affected by this don’t get an option.

No more turning away from the weak and the weary…

As difficult as life has been for me, especially over the past 9 years, it’s all relative. Nothing that I am dealing with comes close to having to evacuate your home and leave everything behind.

None of it comes close to having to say goodbye to your wife and daughter, because you are not allowed to leave because you’re going to be turned into a conscripted warrior who shall be forced to fight, and who is guaranteed death.

There are people in America who are NOT moved by things like this. Fortunately, they label themselves. They’re in the MAGA movement. They’re Christians. They’re Republicans. They have no sympathy, empathy, or Humanity, and the entire world has borne witness to it all.
There is no room for their denial. It’s all on video, preserved and available for the entire world to witness.

I watched Vaush live-stream last night, and we sat and watched as we waited for the bombing that was promised. As we watched, there was an endless string of viewers and subscribers who begged him to do something else.

“Do something fun. Play a video game on stream. I don’t want to see people getting bombed.”

He refused, and reminded them that their discomfort was but a mere fraction of what the people of Ukraine must endure.

When I was a kid, we heard about war on the news, which was a specific hour on the day. We also read about it in newspapers. That was it.

In the 90s, we had CNN broadcasting The Gulf War 24/7. Operation Shock & Awe.

Today, we have regular individuals posting videos from the region impacted. The information never stops.

Although my Clinical Depression is in a good place right now, I have a strong sadness that borders on overwhelming. Remember that depression is different from sadness, in that depression involves the absence of sadness.

This is no different from what a blind person “sees.” They don’t see utter darkness. Rather, they see nothing. The human mind can struggle to understand the difference.

It’s no different from the human struggle to understand one another.

I’ve heard that Putin might be terminally ill and that he is doing this to build some kind of legacy before he goes. This may or may not be an explanation, but make no mistake that there is NO excuse for any of what he is doing. I don’t care if they’re sitting on an ocean of oil.

And yes, I have a problem when America gets violent for oil. With our country designed so that we are dependent on vehicles, I feel sick to my stomach every time I have to fuel up.

There is no excuse.

I’m also relieved that ex-government employee Donald isn’t in charge right now. Something tells me that his loss kind of messed up Putin’s plans to do this while his good buddy and fellow Malignant Narcissist was in the White House.

That’s about as political as I want to get here.

This is more about the people and Humanity.

Generally speaking, I don’t like hairless apes. This is because they are violent, selfish, thoughtless, and very stupid.

A person can be intelligent, caring, and kind. But people? There’s no way.

And our systems are set up to reward Malignant Narcissists. They become the CEOs of companies, because they care about the profits more than anyone who works there. They have NO problem with firing anyone for any reason or no reason at all. They don’t care if they destroy someone’s life.

Money and power are all that matter to them.

And there is no shortage of those who will post lies to promote the bad side of it all. Lots of people would send links to Vaush via chat and ask him to check them out. Inevitably, he would find things that were fraudulent. Sometimes it was hard to sus out, like when we were watching a video with the air raid sirens blazing. We were watching another live stream of the location in question, and we figured out that the air raid sirens were added to the video by the person who posted it.

This is why it is so important to remain skeptical of certain sources and certain claims. I never bought the idea that there are Nazis in Ukraine and Good Buddy Vlad was going to rescue the Ukrainian people. He wouldn’t rescue his own mother.

Anyway, all of this violence and uncertainty, stacked on top of COVID, unemployment, and desperate times, has me in a place where I don’t write as much as I would like. I do enjoy writing.

Writing here is different from writing in my journals, so I have to take a different approach and write in a way where someone might want to read it.

With this war on my mind, I understand that I do NOT want the responsibility of being any type of war commentator. I’ve said enough, and don’t want to end up becoming a source of information. That’s a full-time job, and big brains like Vaush can take that on.

So far as I can tell, there are no gods watching over us. Nobody is driving the bus. We are utterly alone. Over and over, hairless apes engage in behaviors where one tribe will claim that they are their god’s warriors, while the other tribe prays for strength. Both the victims and the perpetrators believe that they are headed somewhere better after death.

It’s utter madness from my perspective, as someone who has never believed in any gods, regardless of whether or not they are commercially available for purchase. It’s one foot in the jungle, and rather primitive to hold a belief in any gods, especially while also holding onto a smartphone.

We should know better. We don’t.

Sometimes I think that if everyone were able to accept responsibility for their own weaknesses, if they were able to stand up for themselves, and if they realized that this is the one-and-only life that we are guaranteed, then maybe people would be more kind to one another.

But that’s not fun or exciting. Plus, you’d not get to feel the sensation of importance that comes from believing that there is an all-powerful god in an eternal battle with an all-powerful evil devil, and that they are engaged in this eternal battle to decide to gets ownership over ME.

That must be one hell of an ego boost. No wonder people are addicted.

But I cannot join the world in any of these addictions. Belief in gods. Worship of money. Worship of the wealthy and celebrities. Hatred of your neighbors and “the others.” Laughing while others die. Not want to help others when they are in a crisis.

That’s all filthy hairless ape nonsense, and I am not amused or impressed.

Oh well. Time to get back to the war. It is not entertaining. Watching this, feeling their pain, and understanding what is going on will allow me to build better arguments later, when people start talking more about this.

Isn’t it sad that some hairless apes want things like this to happen. They’re monsters, they won’t wake up, and they won’t go away. And you can’t reason with them because they are too stupid.

Stupidity, greed, arrogance, ego, Narcissism, and other human flaws are what keep getting everyone into these messes. Until then, I can only watch. Eventually, I may have more to say. But I know that it will only be meaningful to those who are already on the side of peace.

It feels hopeless.

How am I to see you, when my faith stands in the way?

Home and done it’s just begun
His heart weighs more
More than it ever did before
What has he done?
God help my son
Hey, stay a while, I’ll stay up
No sugar is enough to bring sweetness to his cup
I know sorrow tastes the same on any tongue

How was I to feel it
When a gun was in my hands
And I’d waited for so long
How was I to see straight
In the dust and blinding sun
Just a pair of boots on the ground

On the screen the young men die
The children cry
In the rubble of their lives
What has he done?
God help my son
Hey, stay a while, I’ll stay up
The volume pumped right up
But not enough to drown it out
I hear “Mama” sounds the same in any tongue

How am I to see you
When my faith stands in the way
And the wailing is long done
How am I to know you
With a joystick in my hand
When the call to arms has come

Perception of Reality

INTRODUCTION
I do not know what to call this thing that I will be talking about. When I try to look it up, I find things like derealization with anxiety, and that’s most definitely NOT the case with today’s story.

That leads me to the disclaimer: This is not a story of mental distress. Rather, it is about curiosity. Yes, I will be getting into current events as well.

Finally, these are the kind of stories that I am actively working to forget, so I figured it would be a good idea to write some of them down before I ditch them.


THE SUMMER OF 1968
We were living in our first house, after having moved out of the trailer park. I was 3.5 years old, my brother was 1.5 years old, and my sister was not even two months old.

It was a nice summer day. My brother was outside crawling around beneath some metal half-pipe that was in the backyard. I don’t know what it was for, and still do not. Mom was in the kitchen. Dad was at work.

I was in the bathroom, looking out the bathroom window into the backyard. It felt like my first awareness of summer. I was wearing shorts, and I liked how the super-thick and fuzzy toilet seat covers felt when sitting on them. I would later come to hate these things, as they’d cause the lid to fall while trying to go standing up.

For some reason, an empty toilet paper roll was left on the sink. I turned my attention away from the window to this curious piece of tubular cardboard. My investigation of this fascinating item included acknowledging the color, the shape, the texture, and minute details, such as the slight gap that looks like a line spiraling down around the tube.

My eyes were locked onto this specific item for way longer than necessary. It felt sort of like a trance, although I had yet to understand what a trance feels like.

Within all of this, there was one question that arose in my mind: Does this look the same to everyone else?


What does this look like to you?

THE WONDER
I would start to get curious about what this experience might be like, to physically get inside someone else’s skull and be able to peer through their eyes to see what it looked like.

Of course, this is utterly ridiculous. Not only can I not get inside someone else’s skull in a physical sense, but I’d still be relying on my own eyes and brain.

Later, I would learn that the brain is a big part of perception, so it only shifted the focus of my question slightly.

However, the question remained valid.


THROUGH THE YEARS
Through my formal education, the question would sometimes present itself within the context of how I appeared to other people. Did I look the same to everyone? Did some of the other kids see me differently? Why would some kids see X, while others completely missed it and instead saw Y?

When I left Indiana and moved to California, the question was extended to the perception of events.

In particular, I was riding my bicycle in Los Angeles in 1987. When I got to the northwest corner of Van Nuys Blvd. and Burbank Blvd., a Mercedes made a right-hand turn and hit me. I fell to the ground and hit my head, generating some confusion.

The woman got out and started screaming at me. She said that she had a child in the car, and HOW was she supposed to pay for this damage. She was demanding that I write a check to her for the damage. In my confusion, I began writing her a check for $35 to cover the scratch on the Mercedes.

As I was doing this, a crazy man ran over and started to support HER side of the situation.

“I saw you riding your bike! You didn’t even look before riding across the intersection [I had the green light].”

Then, he got weird.

“And you had those Walkman headphones on! You were listening to Satanic music. I just KNOW it! People like you are out to cause harm to people like her.”

Wow.

Let me think about this.

People like ME? I was riding my bike and obeying the laws of the road. I had music on, but there was nothing Satanic about it, AND I had the volume down low enough that I could hear if there were a siren or a horn.

As for people like her, she wasn’t paying attention, made a right hand turn, and ran over me!

And the guy yelling at me was just one of the countless number of mindless Christians who think they’ve got the world figured out because someone else told them.

But would anyone ELSE see it this way? In this case, I was the toilet paper roll, as well as the observer, and there were TWO other observers on board. All three saw completely different things, but the other two saw enough to go against me, and I didn’t see that at all.


IT GETS WORSE
I was probably in my mid-30s when I started noticing that some people would go to jail for a long time for something stupid, and others would do worse and NOT go to jail at all.

Even worse, I started noticing stories about innocent people who had been executed on Death Row for a crime they did not commit.

What were they seeing? Who was lying? What’s the truth. Is what I see reliable?


TODAY: REALITY DOES NOT EXIST
My perceptions changing over the years have not gone unnoticed by me. The more I see, the more I wish I’d never seen it.

And I’ve noticed the perceptions of my peers changing as well. The short time I spent returning to Facebook in 2019 showed me just how warped and disgusting their perceptions have become.

We are now at the point where there are people who promote things like alternative facts, where they have their beliefs, they aren’t interested in receiving new information, or learning, or growing.

Instead of accepting new information and growing from it, they insist that reality isn’t actually happening, and they stick to what they’ve always believed out of sheer comfort. Their egos are SO fragile that they want their world view to be THE correct one.

Meanwhile, I’ve just sought out the correct view, without the need to be correct in my own beliefs or positions. If I am wrong about something, then I am interested in knowing that I am wrong, knowing why I am wrong, and then correcting this so that I won’t be wrong the next time.

Apparently, this is not a popular thing to do among people my age and older. When people dismiss information because it is inconvenient or it hurts their feelings or scares them, they retreat to what they have always known.


THEY TELL IT TO OUR FACES
Today, we have Republican politicians, as well as Republican voters, looking us dead in the eyes and telling us that the VIOLENT armed insurrection that occured at the United States Federal Capitol building, in an effort to overthrow a free, fair, and decided election, as well as a coup to overthrow the United States government was not what it appeared to be.

What was it?

They call it “legitimate political discourse.”

Too many people actually believe this. Some of these people were once close to me, and now I cannot stand to look at them, and I cannot take them seriously. I don’t trust them. I don’t want to ever talk to them again, in many cases.

Does this look like a toilet paper roll to you? Does it look like “legitimate political discourse” to you? How so? HOW? JUST FUCKING HOW?

For those who are curious about it, those who call it “legitimate political discourse” are engaging in an act known as gaslighting.


WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?
Gaslighting gets its name from an old movie from the 40s called “Gas Light.” In this movie, a man gets with a woman and he wants to rob her of some of her property. I think it was jewels. If I get a detail wrong, it won’t be in the way where it changes much of anything.

The large estate is lit with a gas lighting system that runs throughout the house.

When he goes into the attic to rummage through her things, he turns on the gas lights to see. When he does this, the gas lights in the estate will go dim and then back up, flickering ever so slightly.

When she tells him about this, he tells her that she’s imaginging things.


WHAT DOES GASLIGHTING DO? HOW DOES IT WORK?
In a gaslighting situation, a person can tell another person a lie. It doesn’t matter how outrageous or big. They keep telling the lie over and over.

How it works is it gets the victim to start to question their own perception of reality. This leads to a sensation that one is going mad; losing their mind.

Once the victim questions their reality for a certain amount of time, they become easier to control. The victim starts to lose their confidence, and may eventually lose their sense of self.


AN EXAMPLE OF GASLIGHTING
It’s something that I have written about before, but do not dwell upon. Exceptions are made when it’s time to write.

In late 2013, a “friend” on Facebook told me that she had cancer and needed help. I agreed to help her. My girlfriend at the time, Catherine, decided to join in and help her, too.

She would be very friendly with both of us. Over time, she got us thinking that the three of us would live together when she got better from her cancer. She got really cozy with both of us, and we started going along with this idea.

This setup allowed her to play games.

One day I was on the phone with this “friend,” and she told me that she was very concerned about the relationship between the three of us. She told me that I was acting jealous because she was giving more attention to Catherine than me.

This wasn’t true. I didn’t feel any jealousy at all. But she kept telling me that I was jealous, over and over and over again.

One night, she told me, “Your jealousy is out of control, to the point that it has become a deal breaker. If you don’t get help for this, then we are done.”

Next thing you know, I’m in a therapist’s office telling her about my jealousy problems.


THE REPETITION OF LIES IS DEVIOUS
Ex-government employee Donald, his Republican political cohorts, and Republican voters love to repeat lies over and over and over again. This is a devious form of gaslighting.

As they say that it was “legitimate political discourse,” and suggest that it was a tourist visit, and they were “hugging and kissing” the police, I know what I saw. I stick by what I saw. When they start to tell their lies, I shut them out.

In the other direction, Donald voters believe every single word he says. His lies include the lies that those of us who are NOT buying his lies are liars who are lying to the liars.

I know, it gets confusing.

Even though I won’t be buying their lies, I know others who have from the beginning, and have seen a few switch realities over to the one that is more convenient.

To me, there is NOTHING convenient about insurrectionists threatening the country. The convenience is found in those who want to destroy it and take it over.

Pictured: Ex-government employee Donald. He’s a slumlord and former pretend CEO of a fake company on a reality TV game show. He has never worked a day in his life, and people suggest he worked hard to get where he is today. He claims to have the “best grades,” and then threatened to sue his old school if they released or commented on his transcripts. He claims to be very rich, but doesn’t want anyone seeing his finances. He claims to be very intelligent, yet cannot demonstrate anything resembling intelligence. He claims to be a Christian, even though he enver goes to church and has never believed in any gods other than himself. He claims to care about others as he demonstrates time and time again that he is not capable. He speaks of hatred and contempt for America, while his believers and followers talk about how much he loves America. He told several lies every single day of his administration, and yet many who follow him believe every single word he has ever said. They call him “moral,” even though he can’t even be bothered to pay people who work for him.

This is what goes wrong when people get star-struck and worship the wealthy and famous. Oddly enough, these people claim to believe in a god who is very strict and clear about not worshipping any other gods. It leaves them open to be duped by a used car salesman like Donald. I refer to him as “Donald” because Mary Trump says he hates that. I’m sure he views the Trump name as powerful.
But Donald is a duck’s name.

He doesn’t look like a toilet paper roll, but he does look like something that toilet paper is used on.

They even go so far as to call themselves “Patriots,” as they wave Donald flags, or even Confederate flags. The Confederacy was the ultimate internal enemy of America.

So they reference themselves as being the ultimate Americans, while identifying with America’s ultimate enemies, including the Confederacy and Russia.

I’m not buying any of it.


CONFIRMATION BIAS
Confirmation bias is where someone holds a belief, and they will then pursue or process information in a way that confirms their bias.

It’s a flaw in logic that can occur easily to anyone.

Confirmation bias plays a major role in the “research” of Republicans, among others. Here’s how they engage in their confirmation bias.

  1. Make an observation or pick a belief. This can be positive or negative, and about anything. In this case, let’s select the Republican belief that Democrats are un-American.
  2. Google search in support of your position. When the get onto Google, they look for things that support their position. Where they fail is that they seek out nothing that speaks against their position.
  3. Participate in online bubbles. Read posts on Facebook exclusively from friends who agree. Belong to online groups where everyone agrees.
  4. Shun ANYTHING that is to the contrary. This involves the rejection of anything and everything that goes against the grain, or that doesn’t 100% validate your own beliefs.
  5. Work to stay in the group. Sometimes people will keep believing something just so they can remain a part of a group. Some groups, such as Fascists, do not allow ANY disagreement, and view disagreement as treason.

Next thing you know, Republicans hold the sincere belief that Democrat Americans are not Americans at all, that they are the enemy, that they are demons, that they are evil, that they aren’t human, and so on.

You can see how quickly this can become dangerous. And unlike church, where your religious biases are supported and reinforced once per week, with online groups one gets 24/7 confirmation of the bias, as well as added reasons to get angry, stay angry, or even cause harm to other people.


HOW TO AVOID CONFIRMATION BIAS
There is a weakness in the above process. In order to avoid confirmation bias, one can employ the Scientific Method. See if you can tell the difference.

  1. Make an observation. In this case, I’m going to go with the 1/6 insurrection and the suggestion that it was nothing more than “legitimate political discourse.”
  2. Perform a Google search to prove yourself wrong. If you guessed that this is the step where things go wrong, then you are correct. It’s easy to prove ourselves right in some cases. Proving yourself wrong, however, can be a challenge.
  3. Avoid online bubbles. When I was on Facebook, I refused to join any anti-Donald groups, as I have no interest in allowing ANY herd of hairless apes the privilege of guiding my thoughts in either direction. Spending my days hating ex-government employee Donald would not be a healthy way to spend my time.
  4. Don’t get personally invested in politicians. When I was young, the attitude I recognized was that politicians are mostly garbage. They tell you what they think you want to hear [lie] to get what they want [elected or re-elected]. They were shady, shifty, and not worthy of worship. So it’s odd when people tell me that I need to “stop worshipping Biden,” when I don’t. But that’s a game of projection, for it is clear that they are on their knees for Donald. Some of them have even referred to him as the second coming of Jesus himself.
  5. Investigate differing ideas. Does someone else view this differently? If so, why? What is driving their thoughts? Are they stuck in confirmation bias? Are they tribal in their attitude? Am I?
  6. Avoid tribal group-think. For the record, I do not belong to any groups, be they social, political, religious, or otherwise. This is an advantage of being Autistic and a social outcast, in that I have NO group pressure on me to believe in anything. I always vote the lesser of two evils, and that’s always Democrat, but I do not identify as a Democrat or relate to them in many cases. And never stick to just one source for information.
  7. Be an adult who can admit to being wrong. This is a very hard thing to do. When I got taken by the cancer scammer, I believed that she really had cancer, that she really was my friend, and that everything I believed was true. When it all came crashing down, I had to accept the hard truth. This acceptance came with mental, emotional, and physical pain, which is why so many people avoid it.
  8. Be grounded in reality. Can an American president be reinstated? There is no legal apparatus that allows for this, as well as no precedent. Is Hugo Chavez [RIP] controlling the voting machines? No, he’s dead, so that is not possible. Is Hillary Clinton running a child sex trafficking ring in the basement of Ping Pong Pizza? For starters, that building doesn’t even have a basement. And if someone in your group, or the group you are supporting, makes reference to what they’re saying as “alternative facts,” then it’s time to start questioning EVERY SINGLE THING that you believe that is associated with this.

In the case of the violent armed insurrection on 1/6, I do not believe that it is “legitimate political discourse,” primarily because I think that a large group of adults with weapons bashing in the heads of officers who are protecting political figures does not qualify as discourse, and neither does smearing feces on the walls, or threatening to hang the former Vice President.

The violence was most definitely political. There was nothing legitimate about what they were doing, as they believed the election was stolen, when there is no evidence that it was stolen. Plus, what they did was illegal and un-American, as well as anti-American.

Even so often, I will search to see if there is any hard evidence of election fraud or voter fraud, of ANY significance that could have changed the course of the election. To date, I have seen nothing.

Since it has been almost 14 months since the insurrection, I think that if ANY evidence existed that it would have been presented by now. Instead, what I do see is declarations of certain things happening in the future [i.e., Donald reinstatement as president], and then goalpost moving when said event does not happen.


IN THE END
Do I think that the toilet paper roll looks the same to everyone? Physically, that’s a maybe. Philosophically, absolutely not.

Sure, some will agree with me that it’s a tube of cardboard that used to be the hub for dispensing toilet paper. But there are others who will tell me that it’s something else, that it has some other purpose, that it was created by some “dark” entity, that it’s used for evil things, and that its purpose is to control my mind.

Should one of those people tell me that I am suffering from confirmation bias, or that I am being controlled, all I have to do is utilize the Scientific Method to figure out if this is the case. The primary move I make here involves setting out to prove myself wrong.

That does NOT mean that I try to prove myself in agreement with them, for as I could be wrong, so could they.

It means getting to the bottom of it. It means putting my intellectual curiosity into gear

And if there is even the slightest of chances that I could be wrong, then it is essential that I prepare myself for the idea that I might be wrong, and that I will have to admit that I am wrong, as well as be accepting of new information that will change my perspective and perception.

A young Tibo Bat says, “What’s a toilet paper roll? What’s toilet paper? All I know is that this is a cushy thing to lean on.”

But if I DO have confirmation bias, and I want to keep it, then I can huddle up with those who agree with me. I can conveniently call everything I don’t like or that disagrees with me “fake.” I can join more groups of people who agree with me. I can use Google to find information that agrees with me and call it “research.” I can foster an anger for those who disagree with me, to the point that I set out to cause them harm. From there, I can engage in violent activity, including intimidation, so that I can prove myself correct by force.

Should you encounter an individual or group that is behaving like what is described in the previous paragraph, then you have your first clue that you’re facing a person or group that is suffering from confirmation bias.


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RIP Tink1272 [Jen]

INTRODUCTION
2004 was a strange year for me, in many regards. I was doing fine with my music pursuits, but my job left something to be desired, as I was getting paid mere peanuts to work at the worst website on Earth. It was so bad and obscure that posting the name of the company here wouldn’t change the story.

All of this began to change for me, when a friend told me about MySpace.

I met lots and lots of people on MySpace, and those online meetings, more than often, translated into in-person meetings and hangouts.

The problem was that the site kept crashing, and in lieu of the site you’d get a Flash version of Pac-Man to play.

Circa 2007: Me [R] with my former boss and everyone’s first MySpace friend, Tom Anderson.

All of my friends were distressed that the site kept breaking. With that, I started volunteering on MySpace, reporting issues with the website directly to Tom. I would even test fixes while I was at my horrible job.

In late July / Early August 2005, I applied for a job there and got hired to do what I had been doing for one year for free.

In the blink of an eye, I went from the worst website on Earth to the most popular website of the time.


BEFORE I GOT HIRED
At this time in my life, I was up for going out and meeting MySpace friends, just about anywhere. All they had to do was send a message and that would get the ball rolling.

One friend in particular was going to be in town, about an hour away from where I lived. Anyone who has been in LA traffic knows how bad that can be.

I should be very clear about my meetups. They were platonic in nature and never resulted in any explicit activity. It was meet, hang out, have a great time, and call it a night.

So Catherine and I drove one hour-plus on April 9, 2005 to meet up with Tink1272 and her mother. Tink, aka Jen, was also known as The Red Queen.

Like all of my other meetups, we first met in the MySpace forums, in a section called Love & Relationships, or L&R for short.

MySpace meant this to be a forum where people could get together and maybe date or hook up. But MySpace users utilized it much in the same way as my 1997 mIRC group called MarriedButFlirting. That group name was PERFECT for keeping younger users and jerks from participating.

Early 2022: On March 10, 2022, Rascal T. Brat will be 15 years old!
We got him on MySpace.

It was the typical memes, jokes, videos, and so on. Occasionally, I’d make a friend. I even got one of my cats, Rascal T. Brat on the L&R forum in 2007!

Back to the story.

We met Tink and her mom and hung out for about an hour, talking about life and challenges. It was a friendly connection that cemented an online friendship.


MYSPACE AND FACEBOOK
After I got downsized from MySpace in late July 2008, the site started having problems, started dragging, and not living up to the hype. Before long, people left MySpace and went to Facebook.

When MySpace died, so did my online social activity. Facebook did NOTHING to repair this at all. It wasn’t cool or fun, and most definitely wasn’t social. It left me feeling rather cold. As I write this today, Facebook has become a cesspool of garbage. But I digress.

Still, Tink and I kept in touch and would comment and write from time to time.


TINK GOT MARRIED
Eventually, Tink started seeing a guy named Tyler. Before you know it, they got married. It was a true, solid union, and they stuck together. I never got to meet Tyler in-person, but the few online interactions I had with him confirmed that they were a great couple.

I really wish that we had gotten the chance to meet Tyler. That would definitely help me to write more about him. I wish that I had more to say. From my perspective, they had a solid relationship and enjoyed being around each other. He seemed like a funny guy who kept his sense of humor, even when things were difficult.


OREGON 2019
In mid-2019, Catherine and I moved to Oregon. One of the first things I did was write to Tink to let her know that we would be in Oregon! We live about an hour from where she and Tyler live, so we figured that we’d be able to get together soon.

But every time I suggested that we get together for a spell, there would be something in the way.

And I don’t have to tell you how 2020 and beyond went. That messed up things for everyone. We’ll just side-step that turd right now.


TYLER EMAILED ME TODAY
Shortly before 11:00am, Tyler emailed me to let me know that Tink had passed on. Her Leukemia returned and this time she wasn’t so fortunate.

I thanked Tyler for letting me know. He said they will be having a memorial service for her on the 15th, just 4 days from now. Of course, we can’t attend due to the short notice. It’s as if an invisible force didn’t want us to meet up anymore.

I shared the news with Catherine, and it hit hard. I won’t go into their friendship all that much here, but they enjoyed writing and talking. They almost looked like sisters, too.


IN THE END
This entry will serve as my memorial for Tink1272, aka Jen. She was a really good online friend, and I am glad that we had the opportunity to meet up one time 17 years ago.

Tink was more positive about her health issues than I would have been, and that inspired me to try to do better myself.

Thanks, Tink, not only for the inspiration, but also for the online friendship that inspired me to try to be more positive. There was nothing like hanging out on MySpace, and there never will be.

You will always be missed.

Catherine and Tink, at our first and only meeting.
Farewell, Tink. Thanks for everything.
I have three types of subscribers: Garbage spam accounts, new people who are reading what I write [thank you!], and most of my true friends. I appreciate everyone who reads what I write. Knowing that Tink will no longer be reading my writings leaves me more than a little sad.

Nothing Means Anything

INTRODUCTION
Every so often, a memory returns to the forefront of my mind. I don’t know why this happens, or the purpose behind it, so I suspect that it is one meaningless link in the meaningless chain of nothing.

It was early December of 1990, and my future ex-wife got me a Super NES for my birthday. It had been released a few weeks earlier. I took it as something positive, and I was grateful.

Then, she decided that she would get a Super NES for each one of her 18 nieces and nephews. It is important to note that NONE of these kids OR their parents had EVER given us ANY gifts at all.

There were a few problems with this situation.

For one, my future ex-wife didn’t have a job and I didn’t have the money to buy these things. She got all of these Super NES systems at the Rite-Aid across the street from our apartment building. There was a manager/cashier named Tim who always looked at me with contempt.

So I can guess how she got these.

And they were in short supply, I would later learn, as she only got 17 Super NES systems. Yet all 18 kids got theirs.

When we got home from our Christmas trip to Bakersfield, to dump awesome gifts on the laps of the ungrateful, I decided that I’d just shake it off by playing some Super NES.

The problem with this idea was that she had packed my Super NES up and gave it to one of her ingrate relatives.


EVERYTHING GETS TAKEN AWAY
I have never really known how to view that gift in a positive light. I had it for maybe three whole weeks, and then it was taken away.

My suspicion is that the purpose of this gift was to serve as a distraction so that she could do her thing [ahem] to get paid in 17 Super NES systems.

In a bigger context, what does it mean when EVERYTHING gets taken away?

I used to have a great job that paid well. Then it got taken away.

I used to have the ability to get a new job within a few years. That ability has been taken away.

I used to belong to bands and perform as a musician on the stage, but that was taken away.

I used to be able to stay up really late, and that ability has been taken away.

I used to not need Diabetes medication, and that freedom got taken away.

There were lots of friends, acquaintances, and loved ones who were there, and then they got taken away.

The things I own today will probably end up in a trash heap after I get evicted or otherwise end up homeless.

Any type of happiness that I used to have got taken away.

There were women I sincerely loved, and for one reason or another, that relationship got taken away.

Everything gets taken away.


THERE IS NO REAL PURPOSE
With all of those jobs, opportunities, friends, loved ones, and possessions gone, one might wonder the point of it all.

There is no point. It’s all blah blah blah and then nothing.


TOXIC POSITIVITY
Asking this question is a good way of ending up receiving a load of unwanted toxic positivity.

Their purpose was to make your life a little bit brighter.

Why is THAT a purpose? And it leads me to ask what MY purpose is, as someone who doesn’t make life a little bit brighter for anyone, including myself.

Then I remember: There IS no purpose.

Oh, you! Just cheer up.

Why? What purpose would that serve? To pretend to be happy? Even if I was truly happy, what’s the use in that? What does it do?

Nothing. There is no purpose.

There is no meaning.

There is no reason.


NO MAKE-BELIEVE REASONS, PLEASE
Some will say that you should believe in a god — of course, THEIR god — if you want to have meaning in your life.

This is not helpful, in any way, to those of us who are incapable of engaging in the ego-maniacal self-delusion that comes with sincere believe that there is some kind of god hidden away in the sky who doesn’t talk to you or interact in any way at all, and who demands blind faith and belief, so that you can avoid burning in fire for eternity and instead spend it on your knees bowing in worship for eternity.

Basically TWO different version of hell.

What’s the point in THAT?

So, no, holding superstitious mythological beliefs will not give me anything resembling meaning.


IF I HAD TO FIND JUST ONE REASON
It seems like the entire point to living life is suffering. Being a slave so that rich people can get even more rich and acquire more power, while they continue to take and take and take and take and take, to the point that we are trying to pay our ever-increasing expenses with less and less and less.

They keep raising the prices and lowering the pay, so they can get rich and have power.

Why?

So they can avoid suffering?

And money is a mutually-agreed-upon delusion that ultimately has no meaning.


IN THE END
There really was no point in writing this, since it is meaningless. So I’ll just keep on having my meaningless days, until one day, when the final piece gets taken away.

Four Films Where The Main Character is Already Dead

INTRODUCTION
This list will include some major spoilers. Fortunately, most of these things are old, so I shouldn’t worry about dishing out spoilers all that much. But you can find the movies and watch them online before reading this if you like.

It is said that the film Carnival of Souls from 1962 is the original film to depict a character who was dead all along.

Today, I’ll be writing about four movies, where I will explain why I think the main character is already dead. For the sake of relative brevity, I won’t be getting too deep into some details of the movies.


1 of 4: AN OCCURRENCE AT OWl CREEK BRIDGE
This isn’t a film, so much as it is a short that was produced for The Twilight Zone and aired back in February 28, 1964. In 1973, our teacher showed this to us in my third grade class. Any teacher who showed this today would be ridden out of town on a hyperloop.

It’s the story of a man named Farquhar, who is about to be hung on Owl Creek Bridge because he is a civilian Confederate sympathizer.

The film starts with his execution, where he is standing on a board overhanging the bridge with a rope around his neck. On the signal, a man standing on the other end of the board steps off.

Instead of hanging, Farquhar falls into the river after the rope breaks. He swims down the river, somehow avoiding all of the gunfire that is barely missing him from the soldiers standing on the bridge.

He runs through the woods, evading and dodging anyone or anything that might get in his way.

Finally, he makes it home and runs to his wife. As he is about to kiss her, we hear the board, we hear Farquhar fall, and he hangs.

My third grade brain deciphered this as him having some kind of fantasy as he awaited his fate. This is possible. However, as an adult with some life experience, I do think that he was hung in the beginning, and his escape was part of the fever dream of a dying brain.

NOTE: The original is 25:42 in length and requires purchase. There have been many edits over the decades. The version we saw in school was 15 minutes long. This one is substantially shorter, but delivers the idea well.

2 of 4: JACOB’S LADDER
Tim Robbins plays Jacob Singer, a soldier who is returning home from the Vietnam war. Or so it seems.

Jacob’s Ladder is a 1990 film, and it came out just a few years after Tapeheads, another Robbin’s film. That film cemented Robbins in my mind as a fun comedic actor, which in part lead to this film being more disturbing for me.

They hint at his death in the trailer, which is kind of a bummer, but only in hindsight.

I have never been in the military or in a war zone. However, I’ve had terrifying experiences of my own on the streets of Los Angeles. Based on this, my guess is that Robbins’ character died in Vietnam, and the desire to go home is what keeps him in this mental nightmare.

It appears to be a case of his brain wanting to go home, even though his body is dying.

His chiropractor, played by Danny Aiello, eventually tells him that he has to let go. The idea is that clinging to life is what is generating the nightmare. For me, I’ve learned that clinging to my past is an act that has the capacity to spin a great number of deep and dark terrors.


3 of 4: DONNIE DARKO
Donnie Darko is a teen kid who is experiencing some issues during the 1988 election. He wakes up on a golf course and wonders what is going on. When he gets home, he sees that a jet plane engine has broken free from a plane wing, has crashed into his house, and destroyed his bedroom.

He encounters a creepy rabbit named Frank who makes some appearances and has some influence over events. There are scenes with strange and/or difficult interactions. Some scenes come off as if they are dream sequences featured in a music video.

On a side note, I recommend the original over the Director’s Cut, mainly because the music is superior. Too many changes were made in the Director’s Cut for me to be on board.

This is from the original. In the Director’s Cut, this song IS NOT in this scene. That’s a deal killer for me.

Eventually, Donnie ends up in a position where a girl he loves gets run over by a car and is dying. He somehow figures that the only way to bring her back to life is to go home, lay in his bed, and wait for the plane engine to fall on him.

This is somewhat similar to Jacob’s Ladder, in that he appears to be clinging to life when he is already dead, and this is causing him a great deal of distress.


4 of 4: GREASE
Grease is a fun movie about two high school kids who are going through the girl-likes-boy situation that we all can understand. There’s good times to be found, and the movie comes off at times like it is a theatre musical.

Sandy [Olivia Newton-John] is the good girl who wants to be in with a bad boy named Danny [John Travolta]. She struggles with how to get his attention and win him over because they belong to two different social cliques.

She eventually decides that she’s clinging too tightly to certain personal standards. In response to this, Sandy pours herself into some leather pants and does herself up like a wild girl that he’d want. They even sing a song, “You’re The One That I Want.”

They end up having a great time at the carnival.

Wait. Who is already dead, and why would I think that?

Let’s start with the “why” of it all. At the end of the movie, Danny and Sandy get into Danny’s car, and instead of driving off, they fly away!

Out of freaking nowhere: The first time I saw this, I missed certain lyrical cues, and took this ending as a “happily ever after” type of thing, where they didn’t really know how to end the movie.

What?

There are NO other supernatural themes throughout the entire movie, so this is totally out of left field, and is the last thing viewers get before the movie ends.

A clue can be found very early on in the movie, within the lyrics to the song “Summer Nights.”

She swam by me, she got a cramp
He ran by me, got my suit damp
I saved her life, she nearly drowned
He showed off, splashing around

The above lyrics represent Sandy’s fantasy of how things would have happened. Yes, she got a cramp. The second line about getting her suit damp makes NO sense at all, and may be there to fit a rhyming scheme.

But the third line is where we find what she wanted to happen, which would be Danny saving her life.

In my analysis, Sandy got a cramp while swimming, Danny tried to save her and failed, and the rest of the movie represents the death throes that could be found in her brain as she was dying.


YOUR LIFE FLASHES BEFORE YOUR EYES
This is something that people talk about as an event that happens when a person is on the brink of death.

Assuming you’ve had an injury where your brain wasn’t immediately turned to mush, your brain will start to be deprived of oxygen through a loss of blood flow. This often time generates the “bright light” that people claim to see before they die.

However, before this happens, let’s assume that you’re falling off a cliff, headed toward the jagged rocks below. Or maybe you have a pistol being held to your head, as I experienced in August of 1993.

When your life flashes before your eyes, it’s a case of your brain flipping frantically through your life experiences in an attempt to find a way out of the situation. This can cause a few seconds to feel like an eternity.

This is a complex idea, so I won’t be getting too deeply into it, for the sake of relative brevity.


IN THE END
There are many ideas about what happens when we are dying. People report a variety of experiences and visions.

Just as our brains generate a full persona for the sake of transaction and preservation, it can also generate a full-blown story. We know this when we wake up from a dream that felt so real.

These stories are fed by our own experiences and knowledge. People of varying religions report seeing their religious figures at the edge of eternity or heaven. But that’s just one of many points where the brain fills in the gaps, sometimes too efficiently, and other times with things that leave more questions than answers.

This is but one of many reasons why I continue to suggest that life is an illusion caused by death.

But, oh, oh, the summer nights!


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The Paradox of the Adult Autistic Brain

INTRODUCTION
There isn’t really much in the way of information to be found when it comes to the adult Autistic brain and aging. Most of what can be found online involves Autism in children.

Add this to information I’ve received from experts, and it paints a picture that is odd and confusing, because it seems that the brain is going in two separate directions at the same time. To be more accurate, the brain is anchored in one place far away, while advancing to another place far away.

The path is between youthful and elderly.


THE YOUNG SIDE
The therapist who had initially diagnosed me back in 2017 recognized that I would speak in certain ways that were conflicting. I would sound like an old person talking like a young person, or vice versa.

On the young side, he suggested that it appeared that I am emotionally frozen in time at around age 16. Fortunately for me, I was already a responsible human by that age, working a summer job, and purchasing and maintaining a car, as well as taking on all of my responsibilities at home and school.

My attitude, at times, is that of a teenager.


THE OLD SIDE
At the same time, this therapist noted that Autism can age the brain in a profound, accelerated way.

He suggested that I may have the brain function of an 83-year-old man. He then added, “a relatively healthy 83-year-old man.”

He expressed concerns that I could experience cognitive decline, which can start as early as 45 years of age. As I write this, my brain is approaching double that age.


HAVE I NOTICED ANYTHING?
As I think back, I do recall first noticing a decline in my Executive Function as early as 2009. There was a decrease in self-control and flexible thinking. I also started having more difficulty with focusing and making decisions.

Overall, there are 7 executive functions:

  1. Proficiency in Adaptable Thinking: This involves adjusting, as necessary, to overcome instantaneous obstacles. To me, my performance can vary, depending upon the situation. In a work environment, there is too much pressure to say and do the right thing, under threat of being fired, losing your home, and starving to death on the streets. I will often times fold up due to the pressure. I do fine when I am sitting here, alone, thinking on my own about something I want to think about.
  2. Planning: With regard to this, I think that I do rather well. This area is of no concern.
  3. Self-Monitoring: I’ve historically been bad at this, but some self-awareness and work has helped me to improve this. But I would have problems with this in a work environment. This was especially true of my last job, which had an open floor plan. This adds a great deal of unintended distractions, and also encourages people to be even more distracting, under the banner of “collaboration.” I suspect that I perform as well as my environment allows.
  4. Self-Control: This breaks down into four segments. My control of physical movement appears to be fine. Emotion control is an area where I need more work, although I don’t know if it can be repaired. My concentration also depends on the environment, and work environments do nothing to contribute to concentration. Finally, my ability to control impulses seems to be fine, although I could be wrong.
  5. Working Memory: This is something that is also impacted by the environment. In my normal life at home, I’d rate this as an 8-9 on a scale of 10. But at work, I’d have to rate it as 5-6, which isn’t great.
  6. Time Management: My time management is stellar at home. At work, it’s hard to say since there are usually so many people pushing, pulling, and demanding time, to the point that it cannot be predicted, and is therefore difficult to utilize.
  7. Organization: Another one where it’s stronger at home than work. I am sensing a theme here.

I don’t know if this puts me closer to 87 than 57, but I hope to find out.


IN THE END
On a personal level, all of this leads me to moments where I feel like a teenager, to the point that I’ll have to stop and remind myself that I am not. But at the same time, I feel like an old man whose life is over and has been over for decades.

This is why I don’t sit on a lawn, waiting for young hooligans to trample my grass. My response to them would be too confusing.

“Look, guys, it would be unironically based if you could be a good PogChamp and get the FUCK off my lawn, you filthy ragamuffins!”

“GG. Poggers.”


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Finding My Own Place

INTRODUCTION
My senior year of high school had just started, when a new TV show called Cheers hit the scene.

The show has this theme song about how sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Quite possibly the greatest sitcom theme in television history.

Of course, I was not quite 18 years old yet, so the idea of hanging out in a bar sounded like a grand fantasy of sorts. I mean, I loved drinking beer and malt liquor, so what’s NOT to love about a place like this?

Early November 1982: Almost 18 and feeling oddly positive about the world. It was the Colt 45, and I had recently seen Rush in concert.

My attitude about bars changed significantly when I turned 21. I went to a Holiday Inn bar, which was pathetic. I didn’t get carded and there were too many people in suits.

So I went over to a place near the Guide Lamp factory called The Lamplighter. You could get a beer for $0.65 at the time. The place was full of factory workers who had given up on life long ago. It looked like it used to be a place where you’d order a burger. What killed it for me was the office lighting. The brightness and the buzzing left me empty inside.

There was a bar in the town where I had lived called Woody’s Tavern. I hear it’s still a hoppin’ place to this day. But people from that area would be shocked to hear that I never once set foot in Woody’s.

My aversion to being around groups of humans has always existed. It just got progressively stronger as I got older.

Before I turned 21, there was a bar in the town where I went to college called Papa Louie’s Chug-A-Mug. I would see older college students go in there. I was not so fortunate to be able to get into that bar.

Also before that time, I would go to the Pizza Hut near the Mounds Mall on Sundays and get a pitcher of beer with a pizza. I was 16 years old. They served me alcohol no matter what. This was the case even that one time when I went with my brother, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s twin sister, all of whom were 14 years old. I just ordered a pitcher with 4 mugs. No questions.

But I had this idea that a bar would be an ideal place to find my place. After all, the physical atmosphere of Pizza Hut was very similar to The Lamplighter. And in both cases, the atmosphere left something to be desired.


MOVING ON TO LA
I moved to LA just under one month after turning 21. I spent 33 years there, making music at all of the big-name venues on the Sunset Strip, as well as smaller venues.

All of these places had something unique to offer. But what I needed was a space to call my own. It would be a spot where I could get away from people, but not be all that far from the action.

I would say that The Rainbow Room got close. Celebrities like Lemmy or Ron Jeremy had their own booths, and you really had to have a big name to get your own booth. I would get the privilege of sitting with Lemmy at his booth on occasion.

One time, I even got invited to his apartment, which was a short walk from The Rainbow Room. Having an apartment that close to the action was something I would have loved, but it’s also something that was very expensive.

Out of all of the venues that I had ever played in LA and the surrounding area, there was one club that had a space for me.

The Gig had two locations; one in West LA and one in Hollywood. The one in West LA had an identity crisis, as it was previously Igby’s Comedy Club. But the location in Hollywood had to be my favorite of all time.

This was because they had this backstage area that was kind of like a long hallway. It was easy to get to, but the doors were somewhat hidden in order to keep the general public from wandering into the space.

Late September 2004: On the stage at The Gig Hollywood with my old band WHIPLADS, opening for a Marilyn Manson CD release party. The curtain behind my drumset hid a backstage hallway, complete with an access door to the side of the venue, off the main fareway.

In this long hallway, I felt safe and hidden away. At the same time, I could get up on the stage and be hidden away behind the curtain. Best of all, I could hear the crowd of people in the venue.

At the time, I had no idea that I was Autistic. Even worse, I didn’t really acknowledge the backstage area at the time. I thought that the reason why I liked the place was the stage was upgraded, the booking agent [Marsha K] was amazing, and people loved to come to our shows at this location, more than any other place.

Those are legitimate reasons to like the venue, but there was something more to it that I would not be able to acknowledge until over a decade later.


FIGURING IT OUT
My fantasy of finding a bar like Cheers was something that I didn’t obsess over, but I would think about it whenever I walked into a club of any kind.

After decades of entertaining the idea, I started to realize that I wasn’t too keen about being in crowds of people.

And I most definitely did not want to have Norm’s experience. Whenever Norm walked into the bar, everyone would say, “Norm!” He was acknowledged by everyone, and I figured out that this was not what I wanted in my fantasy situation.

So what did I want? And what was so appealing about the Cheers situation, anyway?

I sat to watch some episodes, when it suddenly hit me: What I loved about Cheers was Sam’s office.

Sam’s office on Cheers. This is where an Autistic person would disappear for a while to get away from the crowds and recharge.

Sam’s office had a door that was kind of hidden away; about as hidden away as a door can be in a big liminal space. The door appeared to be strong.

One minute, Sam would be in the bar dealing with people and situations. All he had to do was go through his office door and he’d be in his space, safely hidden away from everyone else.


THINKING BACK
Once I realized that Sam’s office was the thing that appealed to me, and not the bar, I had to think about the other spaces. Earlier, I had acknowledge the long hallway / backstage area of The Gig Hollywood. But what was so appealing about other locations?

The list is way too long to get into that. The first place that comes to mind involved what I loved about college house parties, besides playing music at them.

It was, of all places and things, the bedroom that got used as coat check. It would typically be dark and quiet, although you can hear the muffled party noises. Sometimes I’d crawl underneath the pile of coats and hide for a bit.

All of it started making sense.


MY CURRENT PLACE
My ideal situation would be a hidden room in a house. I could be that creepy guy who lives inside the walls, and be totally happy about it. Of course, I would not like that if it were inside someone else’s house, as I’d not want to be found.

But if I owned a house, I’d have a hidden room inside the walls, and that would be where I’d spend all of my time.

I don’t own a house. So do I have an ideal place?

Yes!

Inside my apartment, I have to go down a hallway to get to the door leading to the Master Bedroom. Once in there, I can close the door and go to the Master bathroom.

The Master Bathroom is about 5’x8′ in dimensions, with the shower being built into the wall. It’s a room inside a room, and it has no windows.

When I need to recharge, that’s where I’ll go. This is the case even if I am home alone, because having too much space can get to me after a while.


Before the internet, this was the only way to get any juicy dirt on Sam and Diane.

IN THE END
I once believed that I wanted to have my own special place where everybody knows your name. But as it turns out, my preference is to be in a place where nobody knows I’m there.

It’s fortunate that I don’t really need to be in a place like this all of the time. I can go to a bar, club, house party, or any other situation and cope to a degree. But I have to have that coat check or other hidden away place where I can disappear at a moment’s notice, not to be found.

Some people dream of having a spacious mansion. I dream of having a private walk-in closet as a space to call my own.


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Connection Criteria

INTRODUCTIONS
A part of me wants to avoid human connections at all cost, save for the ones that I have already. They’re not toxic or dangerous. Gaining these friends was no small feat, as it required me to go through a sea of horrific people.

On average, I gained one genuine friend every decade. Based on the suggestion that the average person has 2-5 close friends, it would seem that I’ve done well.

As we get older, we become more risk-averse. The chances that I took in gaining some of these friends were not optimal, and in some cases were dangerous. Other friends were gained through situational events, such as being at school or work. I even gained a few through more modern methods, such as the internet.

At the same time, another part of me wants to find and meet new people to see what else might be out there. This is not to say that my current friends are no good. What I can say about my current friends is that they’re mostly not local.

My one and only local friend lives with me, and I have that going for me, which is nice.

Assuming that I’ll live through all of this, and assuming the world opens back up at some point, this might be an activity that I would want to pursue.

Maybe.


THE OBVIOUS
Of course, I need to keep out destructive people, such as Narcissists, Psychopaths, Sociopaths, BPDs, and others. Abusive people, those who put others down, controllers, and those who enjoy dispensing insults need not apply.

The same goes for those who possess ulterior motives.

Many of these people are difficult to suss out at times.


EXPECTATIONS OF MYSELF
The main expectation I must have of myself is to set solid boundaries, and then adhere to them. Trust the boundaries, for I know the author [me], and I know that these boundaries were put in place by me for my own safety and protection.

Sometimes boundaries can get in the way of someone or something that looks appealing. The problem comes from within when I want that person or thing, and view the boundary as something that is standing between me and something that could end up being really good.

That’s how I ended up with my last Narcissist in late 2019. This is something I learned through a combination of solid therapy and sincere introspection.

Do not be a people pleaser! This is something that I have done in the past, in order to display my value as a friend to the other person. I did not expect them to show me how they brought value as a friend. It was a one-way thing.

But there are things that I will expect from others, as well as myself.


MUTUAL EXPECTATIONS
A commitment to no drama is essential. Some people get bored unless they have a great deal of trauma and drama in their lives. They can go jerk off elsewhere, because I have no patience for any of it.

Self-respect, along with mutual respect. Self-respect is something I’ve had to put real effort into, so I know it’s not easy. This kind of dovetails into the next point.

Taking personal responsibility for mental health. I’ve written about my Autism and Major Depressive Disorder in the past. These issues can fairly be cited as explanations for things, but they must not be used as excuses for things.


MY EXPECTATIONS OF THEM
So far, I’ve noted some expectations that I have of myself, as well as mutual expectations that cover a good portion of the ground when it comes to expectations of others.

Having some type of expectations is important. Things like civility and taking responsibility for personal mental health are reasonable things to expect.

Most of my expectations of others also apply to me, which is why I view them as being fair expectations. But there is one expectation that I have of others that I don’t have with myself.

That is, I expect that my connection with them will NOT interfere in my connection with myself.

Although I don’t hold this expectation for myself in my own connections, I think it is fair of others to expect this of me. Only YOU can determine whether or not another person is interfering in your connection with yourself. Nobody else can know this.

What does this mean?

A good example can be found in a situation where you’re hanging out with a “friend” after work. This friend is a Narcissist, which means they have their own mental health struggles for which they are not taking any responsibility.

A Narcissist typically has to feel or believe that they are better than everyone else, including you, their friend! This means that they might belittle you in some way.

They might present it as a joke, even though it must be understood that this is not a joke at all! You might laugh with them about it at the time. But later, you might start to take it more seriously. As a result, you could have a lesser view of yourself, or feel self-disappointment, or any other negative consequence.

This interferes in your relationship with yourself. When you feel badly about yourself because a Narcissist “friend” decided to treat you like garbage, it’s the beginning of the end. The Narcissist will ride you hard and put you away wet.

In this case, the “friend” is dishing out abuse [disguised as a “joke”] that ends up damaging your self-esteem. It is true that self-esteem comes from within the self, and others don’t really have a duty or responsibility to lift you up. That said, your friends and other connections do have a responsibility to you to NOT actively go after your self-esteem in a potentially damaging way.

Friends don’t attack you. It only took me 50 years to figure that one out.


IN THE END
Keeping to myself and avoiding people might guarantee that another person will not interfere in my improving relationship with myself.

But really, how healthy is this approach? How realistic is this idea? Based on what I have read, it is neither healthy nor realistic.

The bad people I have encountered are evidence that there are more of them out there. At the same time, the good people I have encountered bring their own evidence to the fold with their presence.

Being older and more risk-averse, it is essential that I find ways to reduce risk in order to enable activity. Setting solid boundaries and adhering to them is very important.

It’s a good start.

Maintaining an awareness of my environment, of those around me, and how I am feeling may also contribute to a safer and more healthy experience.

My natural curiosity has me wondering what else would contribute to a safer and more healthy social experience. As I find them, I will write about them. My hope [and goal] is that I can move about in groups of people without feeling like someone is going to cause me trouble.

And when someone does show up to cause trouble, I will know how to deal with it in a way where I protect myself.

Otherwise, I might end up adopting the attitude of Carla Shaw.

“I don’t need friends. They disappoint me.” –Carla Shaw

If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

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