American Christians Do Not Practice Their Faith Correctly

I decided to write this while the topic was still fresh in my mind.

NOTE: If you are a Christian and are easily offended, then I would encourage you to work to put your offense to the side and read this in its entirety, as it might end up being helpful to you. If you comment and I can tell that you didn’t read this, I will not approve the comment. Conversely, I will do my best to not be offensive.


The assertion that American Christians do not practice their faith correctly is a big assertion. Can I prove it? It I can’t prove it, then I must retract it.

The person making the positive claim shoulders the burden of proof. This is my positive claim, and so I am burdened with the proof. If I were lazy and asked others to prove me wrong, then I would be guilty of being disingenuous.

HOW AMERICAN CHRISTIANS CURRENTLY PRACTICE
The American Christian appears to go through four phases during the course of their lifetime.

The first phase is where they are presented these ideas as a child. It’s called “Childhood Indoctrination,” which is a nice word for “brainwashing.”

They get Jesus songs and stories. They are shown images of animals on an Ark, with clouds in the sky and sometimes a rainbow.

They’re taught that “prayer” is being in their knees at the edge of the bed with their hands together. “And god bless grandma, and grandpa, and my family, and my bicycle.”

The second phase is a continuation of this childhood practice into the teen years, with an introduction to the more scary elements. They’ll learn about god smiting non-believers.

As for Noah’s Ark, they will see images of animals on the Ark in a dark storm, waves crashing, and people in the water begging for their lives as they drown to death. Fear used to be an effective took to retain believers, but it’s starting to not be so effective.

I won’t be getting into other things they get wrong. This example is way too obvious.

The third phase can go a few ways. In adulthood, they could keep going to church, but end up decreasing the frequency. Many will just go during Christmas and Easter.

The other possible path is that they could stop attending completely.

The fourth and final stage is where they get older and closer to death. They begin to become afraid of all of the things they were taught, most of it during a time when they were incapable of intellectually defending themselves. This is also know as “child abuse.”

Because of their age and proximity to death, they will fall back on what they know. They might find comfort in this, thanks to self-gaslighting.

Religious belief is VERY fragile, which is why they demand church at least ONCE per week, and why they discourage you from hanging out with non-Christians like me.

I can understand that, as I de-converted a girlfriend to become an Atheist without even trying. I was just being myself, and she was inspired. This is a testament to the weakness of religions belief.

WHAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS DO WRONG
They judge. They gossip. They bear false witness, aka lying, which is against one of their Ten Commandments. They discriminate. They are full of hate and fear, and sell this hate and fear for membership purposes.

Lately, they’ve replaced Jesus with Donald Trump. Some of them created a golden statue, akin to a golden calf, which is a graven image of someone they worship. Along these lines, they also worship wealth and celebrity.

Christian Conservative Republicans, under inspiration from their Messiah Trump, stormed the Federal Capitol building in an insurrection, in an effort to overthrow the United States Government. This goes against Romans 13, which basically says that god put all of the leaders in place for YOUR sake. Should you go against them, or disobey, then not only will you be severely punished, but you must also understand that you brought it upon yourself.

Nowhere in Romans 13 does this have a disclaimer that Democrats don’t count. So since Joe Biden is president, it would stand to reason, according to this superstitious mythology, that god put him there.

American Christians get it wrong.

In supporting Trump, American Christians have chosen to side with the rich man over Lazarus. American Christians have GREAT contempt for the poor, the homeless, the sick, the disenfranchised, and more.

American Christianity looks like this.

One big recurring theme in the bible involves caring for the homeless, the sick, and the sojourner [traveler]. Hospitality was a big recurring theme.

American Christians will NOT talk to a prostitute about finding god, and instead choose to associate ONLY with their own kind. They don’t save new souls. Not ONE person tried to save me for the 21 years I spent growing up in the Midwest.

A Pew study indicated that fewer than 7% of American Christians have bothered to read their bible in the first place. I have read the bible, and I read it so that I could have educated discussions with Christians, back when I had an Atheist YouTube channel from 2009-2011.

What I encountered was that I would bring up something from the bible, and they’d get angry and say, “Where does it say THAT?” Some would even suggest that I was reading the “wrong bible” or “the dark bible,” whatever that means.

A Christian, asserting that the end of the world is coming on May 21, 2011. Almost 10 years have passed. I’m still waiting. End of the world claims and other prophesies cause great harm to Christianity. I can only wonder what excuses they ended up using.

I got my information from a King James Version bible, and I also own a Paraphrase bible from 1969. The Paraphrase bible is easier to read since it uses more modern language to convey the same idea, mostly.

This is why I gave up on discussing the bible with Christians. They simply don’t know it.

They continue to side with the rich man over Lazarus by practicing what is know as Prosperity Gospel. This is the idea that god said it was okay to be rich. I’m sure they’re twisting a bible verse around, but I’m not going to go digging for it, since I’ve not opened the book in 10 years. But I do know the bible says something about how it’s easier to send a camel through the eye of a needle than it is to get a rich man into heaven. This is a more popular passage, and I think it’s very, very clear on where this god stands.

Then again, the bible contradicts itself all the time, and can be used to justify anything. It was used to justify slavery, and is still used to argue in favor of slavery. Their favorite argument is, “Yes, but was it HARSH slavery?”

Yes. All slavery is harsh, by definition.

Christians pray for flippant things, like lottery tickets, finding their car keys, or a sports team winning. But I had more than a few Christians pray for my suffering and death.

These are relatively mild, by comparison. It accurately represents the hatred and fear that exists in the American Christian community.

One was quite specific, that his 300 YouTube followers would be praying that I would get in a horrific car accident, and would suffer and linger for a few weeks before dying.

As for their private messages, they are nothing short of horrific. They are so bad, in fact, that I will not be sharing any of the really pointed ones. But I’ll have a few others peppered along the way.

CHRISTIAN MISTAKES, SUMMARIZED
I know, I’m just an Atheist, so how could I know this? Again, I did read the bible and have an understanding of it. But I have also encountered THREE examples of people who practiced Christianity in the proper way, and I will get to them at the end.

In order to get to what they need to do in order to practice this faith correctly, I must first distill what I wrote above into something more concise that can be argued against.

Would it be fair to suggest that Christianity is a GIFT?

I think that many Christians would say that this is a fair and accurate description. It’s simple, but to the point.

What do you do with a gift?

The average person will admire the wrapping paper and bow for a minute. They might even read the card to see who it is from. But then they OPEN the gift, tearing the paper, opening the box, removing the gift, and then casting the box aside.

What do you do after you’ve opened the gift?

A person will typically experience heart-felt gratitude, and will express that.

When you open a door, what do you do with the door once you’ve entered?

The average person lets go of the door and steps inside.

HOW AMERICAN CHRISTIANS LOOK
This is the best and most accurate image that I can conjure up to describe how American Christians appear to me.

Imagine someone clutching an unopened gift with a death grip. They look angry and afraid. They’re clinging to a revolving door, never setting foot on the other side. And as they swivel around your direction, they flip you the bird and cuss at you. There is no gratitude or happiness to be found.

I feel it safe to say that this is NOT a very flattering image.

As I write my how-to on practicing Christianity, keep in mind the three items above:

  • What do you do with a gift?
  • What do you do after you’ve opened the gift?
  • When you open a door, what do you do with the door once you’ve entered?

You will be reminded of these things in the segment headings.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A GIFT?
In the case of Christianity, the gift is inside a box. This box is not made of carboard, and the wrapping paper isn’t paper. The box is made up of a bible, a crucifix, and other Christian symbols and trinkets.

One act of “opening the gift,” for the sake of clarity in my analogies, is reading the bible in a way where you are in deep study. Consider this the act of ripping the wrapping paper off. Be warned that this could take years. Reading. Understanding. Figuring out how this applies to your life today.

This act of opening the gift would also involve deep prayer. Consider this the opening of the box.

This is NOT the kind of prayer that children do. It’s not a Facebook post of “Thoughts and prayers” with a praying hands emoji. That’s childish, and quite frankly, insulting.

This prayer would involve setting aside at least ONE MONTH, where you do nothing but pray. You do this privately, in a closet, as instructed in Matthew 6.

Matthew 6 also warns you about people who make a public spectacle of their prayer. They’re doing it to show you how good they are, and it’s to cover up something worse. Why do you not heed that warning?

Matthew 6 warns you about this. Why do you not heed this warning?

Once you’ve opened and understood the gift, it is to let go of the door and step onto the path.

HOW TO LET GO OF THE DOOR
You start by giving away your bible. You don’t need to cling to it any longer, because you’ve read it and understand it. Also, you get rid of crosses, crucifixes, and other trinkets.

If you don’t want to get rid of them, then you can put them away. This is because you read your bible and prayed about it. Now it’s time to give your god a knowing wink, suggesting that you understand, and then live the life of example.

Putting these physical, earthly artifacts away is the letting go of the door handle. Next, you put your foot on the path. This is all about “living a life of example.”

Letting go of these earthly artifacts is the ultimate act of faith.

THREE AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WHO GOT IT RIGHT
I’m going to start with the least famous of the three, which was a girl named Rita. She went to my high school. When I was a kid and was bullied a lot, she would always give me a ride home, even though she lived all the way across town and she lived across the street from the school.

I’d email Rita every 8 years or so. She would send me photos and tell me how things were going. Religion never came up, not once. This was impressive, considering how demonized I was in town. I was the devil-worshipper, so far as they were concerned, and I wasn’t even a Satanist!

The other two are so famous that I won’t need to describe them. In fact, I don’t even need to write their names.

These men need no introduction.

What was or is it about these three Christians that makes them different from the average American Christian, the Trump worshipper, or the televangelist?

They never preached. President Carter may have mentioned being a Christian a few times, but he never beat his chest.

They never condemned anyone or told them they were going to hell.

They never told me that I was a sinner, evil, broken, wicked, and they never dehumanized me.

They never told anyone that they MUST read the bible or go to church.

They never promoted the idea that their religion needed preferential treatment by the American government.

They never pushed for a Ten Commandments statue [a graven image] on public or government property.

They never used their god, bible, or anything else as a shield.

They weren’t mean.

They were never smug, judgmental, or carried themselves as if they were better than others.

They did NOT look forward to the end of the world.

They did not sell or sow fear, hatred, or the practice of “othering” those who are different in any other way.

They took their faith seriously. They read their bible, consumed the information, processed the information, and figured out how it could be best applied by the modern world’s standards.

They lived a life of example.

IN THE END
From 2009-2011, I made Atheist videos under the moniker “TheOtherSide100,” and was also known by friends as TOS100. During that time, I made a lot of videos. Not all of them were good ones.

I ended up deleting the channel in mid-2011, when I started working for a video-based website. Part of their hiring process was to scan the internet and see if you make videos, because they had hired video makers who would steal their content. I wanted them to have no question, so I deleted it.

While some of my takes were solid, others may have missed the mark. During this time, I treated Christians the way they treated me at times, and it wasn’t pretty.

All of the videos are gone, but there was one video that I feel the Christians might have appreciated, had they been capable of getting past the Atheist label. And for what it’s worth, I hardly use the label anymore, because lots of lies get attached to the label by Christians, which is bearing false witness.

The video I made was called, “How to Get an Atheist to Shut Up.”

The basic sentiment of the video was simple. If you believe that YOUR religion should run the government and the lives of everyone, or if you work to interject your religion into the infrastructure of a free Secular society, then I will speak up against it, not only in the name of my own freedom to NOT believe, but also in the name of the freedom of all others who believe differently.

However, if you tell me that it’s something special to you, that it warms your heart, gives you comfort, and serves to motivate you to be a better person today than you were yesterday, then as an Atheist, I don’t really have anything bad to say about that.

For the sake of America and the world, I hope that the fear, hatred, anger, judgment, and other negative attributes of American Christianity will go away. However, I am not hopeful that this will be the case, for those attributes are used to control others, and are VERY profitable.

So long as you keep listening to Megachurch profiteers, televangelists, politicians, and newscasters, you will continue to be kept in this state of fear, anger, hatred, and more. The same will be true if you continue to wear a cross as a virtue signal, waive a bible around instead of reading it, and judging others.

As I ssaid earlier, letting go of all of these earthly things is the ultimate expression of faith.

I might be just another non-believing Atheist, but I know that the Jesus you claim to worship would be against everything that American Christians are doing and saying right now, and he is most definitely against the idea of profiting off of the “good word.”

An Explanation for the 1980s Satanic Panic

INTRODUCTION
I was just a teenager who was into rock and metal music when I first began to notice this. People began talking about hidden Satanic backwards messages, aka “backwards masking,” in rock music.

If you are not old enough to remember this, then this video will give you some examples of those who were making these claims, as well as examples of what they would say.


HOW IT GOES
Regular people were doing this all the time, but Christian preachers started it all. They would first tell their audience that this was from a demonic rock band. Then they’d have a small segment of a song ready to go, to play backwards.

Next is a VERY important part, which is that they TELL you what to listen for. In other words, they utilize the power of suggestion.

Finally, they play the clip, and everyone goes, “Ahhhh, yes! It’s TRUE!”

Time to panic.


HOW THIS IMPACTED ME
We would play with this idea in study hall, bringing in records, playing them backwards, and trying to find things. It was fun silliness for us bored kids.

Hear all of this all the time, of course, was actually starting to piss me off.

My home was never a religious home. My father and mother never brought up religion. I found out my mother identified as Catholic when I was 43 years old.

And yet, my mother bought into it when she encountered it at the office.

“No, you can’t go to the Ozzy concert. Word has it that he’s going to strap dynamite to a sheep and blow it up on the stage.

What did I do in response? Snuck out, stole mom’s car, went to the concert, and came home.

There was no sheep explosion. The worst that happened was a part where Ozzy brought out a few buckets full of cow livers and threw them at us. We returned the favor and threw them back. I had to abandon the shirt I wore out that night, so I got a concert t-shirt.

AN ASIDE
I recalled this story not too long ago in a YouTube comment. Someone wrote, “How sick are YOU that you WANTED to see a sheep get blown up!”

Wow. Really?

I had to reply to that, so I figure I’ll have to reply to it here. I didn’t go because I WANTED to see a sheep get blown up. I went because I wanted to see Ozzy. And I’m glad that I did.

They supposed that I didn’t want to go until I heard about the sheep. Unfortunately for their flawed hypothesis, I quietly had a ticket in-hand before I was told that I could not go.

I WENT TO CHURCH TO HEAR IT FROM THE SOURCE
Yes, I was invited to church because they were having a presentation on backwards masking.

It’s a story that is too long to recount, and one that I’ve told before. You can read about it HERE. It was pure silliness, although it was terrifying at some points.

ENTERTAINMENT, OLD SCHOOL
In order to understand this, a bit of history is required.

Way back in the Before Before times, when there was no television or radio, church was a one-stop convenience for everything. You got socializing, gossip, cake walks, and spiritual salvation.

They would also have the occasional lynching, typically of a non-white person. These were BIG events. My home town of Anderson, Indiana had one. At the time, the population of the entire city was roughly 350 people. The head count at the lynching was 10,000. They had food vendors, picnic areas, and more. It was a big family event.

THIS is what passed for entertainment.

TECHNOLOGY EMERGES
Cable television was invented in the 1940s as a way of getting terrestrial television channels to those rural areas where the air signal could not reach.

Back then, television had 3-5 channels. Programming was scheduled. Television would actually “shut down” for the evening, with a “Moment of Inspiration,” which was a brief 5-10 minute Christian story, followed by the National Anthem, and then static from 2-5am.

The portable radio was invented in late 1954. As I write this fact, I am envisioning the man in church, with that white mono ear bud in place, listening to the game while he should be listening to the pastor.

These entertainment alternatives were starting to take away from these religious institutions. They were beginning to get nervous.

Movie theaters weren’t that much of a threat at the time, because you could go see the movie after church.

THE COMPETITION GETS FIERCE
By the mid-70s, entertainment had ramped up greatly. More blockbuster movies were hitting the big screen. Later in the 70s, the VCR began to appear more in homes.

A VHS copy of Star Wars cost $100. That didn’t stop people, who would buy one, make ten copies, and sell them to their friends for $10-$20 each. But I digress.

In Hollywood with Paul Provenza, 2007

Cable television began to take hold on cities, with 24/7 programming. On HBO, you could watch BEASTMASTER any time you want. As Paul Provenza once told me, “You know what HBO stands for? Hey, Beastmaster’s On!”

And, of course, Rock and Metal music began to truly take shape.

All of this took away from the preachers. When the flock begins to diminish, so does the revenue generated by the flock.

CHRISTIANS ARE FICKLE AND UNRELIABLE PATRONS
A Pew study had shown that just over 50% of American Christians either convert to a new type of Christianity or belief, or they stop believing.

The primary reason cited was “boredom.” Call me crazy, but when your supposed “eternal salvation” is on the line, and burning in eternal hell-fire is a consequence, I’d think that boredom would be the last thing to enter the picture. But, to be fair, Americans do not practice Christianity properly. Maybe I’ll write about that another time.

If someone is going to leave a church, either to go to another one or to stop going completely, then they weren’t taking it all that seriously in the first place. Many people where I lived growing up went to church to put on a show for the rest of the community.

Look at how GOOD I am. I’m a Christian. Just look at me standing here, all dressed up.

And they were better than me, according to their own account.

THE 70s HAD THEIR PROBLEMS
There had been moralizing complaints in the past. Mary Whitehouse was this moralist Right-winger whose life could be the boilerplate for the now-famous Social Justice Warrior.

She sued a gay magazine in the 60s for blasphemy, after they published a religious parody. She won the case, which is disturbing. This was in Europe.

She was so horrible that Pink Floyd wrote a verse about her in the song “Pigs (Three Different Ones).” She was the final “pig”:

Hey you, Whitehouse
Ha ha, charade you are
You!
House proud town mouse
Ha ha, charade you are
You’re trying to keep our feelings off the street
You’re nearly a real treat
All tight lips and cold feet
And do you feel abused?
…! …! …! …! …! …! …!
You!
Gotta stem the evil tide
And keep it all on the inside
Mary you’re nearly a treat
Mary you’re nearly a treat
But you’re really a cry

The thing about this was that Mary Whitehouse was all alone in her self-righteous delusions. Ultimately, she got too delusional and the people abandoned her. Critics have said that her complaints and work made no impact on society at all, and were utterly worthless.

THE 80S RAMP IT UP
It’s one thing when you’re going after Little Richard, or the song “Louie, Louie,” and television shows like “Mr. Ed.” But it’s a totally different beast when you have Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ronnie James Dio, and others, along with 24/7 cable television.

While Mary Whitehouse was a moralist who may or may not have made a profit [I suspect she was just crazy], the moralizing to come from American churches would be way bigger and more involved.

As media diversified and expanded, the church began to get smaller.

It also affected other businesses. Coffee shops and bars used to be places to have big social gatherings, political discussions, and more. Now, the coffee shop is a place to get coffee and surf the internet, and the bar is a place to get drunk and laid. At least one of those is guaranteed.

But now we’re in the 80s, and the media is in our face more than ever. People are leaving the church, especially those who viewed it as an entertainment source.

Do you REALLY want people whose belief is so weak that they will leave when there is better entertainment around? The weak believer serves two purposes. One is they may be donating money, which is number one for the church. The second purpose is that the fill out the crowd, making it look bigger. Nobody wants to eat at an empty restaurant.

It makes sense that, as the media presence ramped up, so would the attack on these media forms from those who are most affected by it.

The church.

WHAT CAUSED THE 1980s SATANIC PANIC?
Money.

The churches were losing money, plain and simple. The Satanic Panic was their best bet at hanging on to what they had, or maybe even gaining new bodies, because Christianity has a built-in victim mechanism. They are always the victims, even in situations where they are the majority.

Victim status is a very prevalent thing in American Christian churches.

Also known as the “Christian Persecution Complex,” it’s an added complexity to this already-complex situation, so I won’t be getting too deep into it. You can watch this video if you want to understand it better, from the perspective of someone who grew up in the 90s.

To me, it sounds both exhausting and depressing to live with a sense that everyone is always out to get you. They do make medications to aide in battling that affliction.


IN THE END
The Satanic Panic of the 1980s hurt a lot of people. It hurt me, in that it encouraged Christians to view me as an evil, non-human threat. When you’re dehumanized, this makes it easier for others to cause you harm, or even to kill you.

This is why the powers-that-be during The Cold War would refer to Russians as “Godless Commie heathens.” Because, should the time have come where sending nukes to Russia became an actual option, it would be way easier to get public buy-in to completely wiping them off the face of the earth.

It’s why black Americans and other non-whites are depicted as having animal-like traits. This is something that is also practiced in American politics.

There is no good way to end this one, so I’ll call back to earlier when I mentioned that American Christians are not practicing their faith properly. I may very well write about that in the future, because I think it is an important topic to cover.

But money is why, in many ways, the Satanic Panic never really went away. To this day, the internet and various platforms, as well as movies and music, get attacked by American Christian leadership and their followers.

Maybe the followers believe that it’s a matter of morality. But the leadership is going broke. Creflo Dollar will be needing another new private jet in the near future.

All Leveled Up

Yesterday, I got my second jab of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19. Now I just have to wait 14 days for full coverage. Considering the years I’ve spent under lock-down, this should be a cake walk.

My personal lock-down started in mid-2016. I would get out on occasion, usually once every other weekend, and ride to the guitar shop. I struggled being around people so much that I was afraid to play guitar in front of others at the shop.

This went on until early 2019, when my beloved guardian [a cat named LP] passed away after 16 years of dutiful service. After he died, I got a temporary boost of energy and a shred of confidence.

I used that energy and confidence to drive from Simi Valley to San Francisco to drop off some Ronnie Wood artwork that we inherited when my girlfriend’s brother died. Spent about a half hour there, and then drove back the same day.

“Beggar’s Banquet,” by Ronnie Wood. It was the first piece to sell.

It was proof of concept that I had some capacity. So we decided to pack up in May and move to Oregon.

Once I got to Oregon, I tried to get out more. Living in a secluded rural area inspired me to return to my hermit’s ways. This would continue until late 2019, when an old girlfriend showed up from 1982, and we decided to give things another shot.

The day I got the confidence to go to an agency and register for work was the same day that the lockdown started. We mostly enjoyed the lock-down until late September, when she conveniently went nuts after her divorce was finalized and she got a $60,000 check.

So after that, it was back to square one for me.

Maybe I should say back to square two or three, because I have been able to get out and go to the grocery store every week. I also have been communicating with people, which is good practice for getting out.

And I found a drummer and guitar player to jam with. I told them I’d be ready to go in two weeks. That gives me time to practice every day and get ready, by the time my Moderna vaccine is fully ready to go.

Making plans to get out is the first step to getting out.

Another COVID-related thing is mask wearing. I remember the first time I had to wear a mask. I could only do it for about 5 minutes, less than 10. It would inspire panic attacks and felt like I was trapped in a coffin. Yay, Autism!

So I would practice with it. Today, I can wear a mask for up to an hour, maybe more, and I am free of the trapped sensation.

I laugh at those who complain about it. They don’t know enough to understand it.

Since the mask doesn’t protect me, I could make that excuse. The purpose of the mask is to protect others and to slow down or stop the spread of the virus. It stopped the flu. I can tell how unintelligent a person is when they tell me that the mask won’t protect me.

Speaking of unintelligence, there was this old man I wrote about quite a while back, possibly in a now-deleted post. He was in the lobby of the post office and people were waiting for him to leave. He was refusing to leave, and would not put on a mask.

He was asked why he wouldn’t wear a mask. He said, “I don’t need a mask. I’ve been bathed in the blood of the lamb.”

Well, guess who died. Now he gets to spend forever with the “lamb,” should such a thing actually exist. But I digress.

Word has it that there may be a “mask season” in the future. That sounds way better than having to wear one all the time.


IN THE END
What has bothered me most about the entire pandemic is that someone who used to be president decided that it would be a great idea to politicize the virus and to rile people up in a way that encouraged the spread.

This is the same person who said that exercise makes no sense, because the human body has a limited amount of energy, like a battery.

He could have implemented the 68-page plan that the previous administration had left behind. However, he threw it away. To him, it was bad, not because of the contents, but because it came from an “enemy.”

We are ALL Americans and we are supposed to work together. Nothing gets done with that attitude.

He also could have said that he had the best scientists in America working on it, hand the reins over, and let them do their jobs. But he was too much of a child and viewed that idea as giving up his power. So he dragged them on national television and forced them to try to keep a straight face as he talked about getting light into the body, or bleach injection. His words sent many people to the hospital.

All of this could have been so much easier for everyone. But his fragile ego would not allow for it. He and his supporters are why we are still wearing masks. They are why over 580,000 Americans are dead. They have caused so much trouble, while blaming those who haven’t done those things.

They can’t seem to take personal responsibility. This is why they call themselves “the party of personal responsibility,” and why they call themselves “good Christians.” They have to tell you that they wear these labels, because nobody would be able to guess it based on what they say, what they do, and how they behave.

They’re children.

That’s my rant, and I could go on forever. But the one thing that sticks in my mind is how they have this annual “war on Christmas,” where they whine about unimportant stuff, like no Jesus on Starbucks cups [he was never there in the first place], or other garbage, while encouraging the kind of Black Friday expansion that Baby Jesus would want [insert sarcasm].

They’re so unaware of that which they claim to believe.

But for all of the non-issues about Christmas being taken away from them, it is important to acknowledge and remember that THEY took Christmas away from everyone with their antics, shenanigans, tribalism, and lies.

Remember what they’ve taken from you.

I Am Not Helpful

I used to be a very, very helpful person, ever since I was about 4 or 5 years old and actually wanted to help mom around the house. I used spray Pledge on the wooden tables and wiped them down. That was my first helpful moment.

This expanded into other chores around the house, as well as mowing the lawn. I was helpful, dependable, reliable, and always doing whatever I felt I should be doing in order to be helpful.

Those were the early times when I was helpful.

I still remember the last times where I was helpful.


ONE OF THREE
In the mid-2000s, I would go to these parties in Death Valley, California. Specifically, Panamint Springs. I got invited by comedian Doug Stanhope, after helping him with a major “groups” issue on MySpace.

With Doug Stanhope in Panamint Springs, 2007. While he did not attack me when I was being taken by the cancer scammer, he did make it clear in later years that he did not like me. Thanks, Autism!

From 2006-2008, I would attend these gatherings, which brought together a bunch of comedians, as well as aspiring comedians and hangers on.

Before long, I would start being helpful. If someone was traveling from overseas and needed some booze picked up and brought, I would do it. If someone needed a ride from the airport, I’d pick them up.

If someone was having a difficult time, they would call me in the middle of the night and I would answer. If they needed a few hundred bucks for rent, I’d give it to them.

And one friend lost her radio job, panicked, and was crying with me on the phone because she didn’t know what to do with her life. I got her to calm down, asked her about what she loved, and encouraged her to move forward. Today, she is a very successful dog trainer.

One year, I couldn’t get a room [they are very limited], so I rented an RV. I crammed close to a dozen people into the RV to take them to the desert. I don’t think anyone chipped in for gas or anything else.

But that was okay, because this was how I brought value to the situation. This was a reason why someone should be my friend; because I’m helpful. I always felt that I had to give, because that’s what friends do. Oddly enough, I never expected it from anyone else.


TWO OF THREE
In 2010, shortly after I had helped a band with their drummer crisis, the band leader wanted to convert his garage into a recording studio. I would show up after work, the weekends, and any other time that I had free time. I would chip in 50% with all supplies and help with the project.

I made sure that I was helpful and useful. I spent at least 3.5 years and over $10,000.


THREE OF THREE
The third was a “friend” of 3 years who cried to me about how she had cancer, nobody was helping her, and she was broke and scared. I spent 9 months and $40,000 helping her.


THINGS UNRAVEL BACKWARDS
The “friend” with cancer turned out to be scamming me. She was a drug addict, and hid it very well. She put me through the Narcissist’s trio of love-bombing, devaluing, and discarding.

While this was going on, the studio friend figured out that he had lost control over me and my money. So he went to all of my desert “friends” and got them to be flying monkeys for his Narcissism. He did the same love-bombing, devaluing, and discarding.

These flying monkeys were many of the people I had helped and catered to during the Panamint vacations. He told them a bunch of lies. Then, like Republicans believing Trump, they believed everything he said and started a vicious campaign against me.

Some were more disturbing than others. The woman who cried about losing her radio gig, and who I helped become a dog trainer, told me that she stole a joke from me and that she did it to save her house. Her brother is a big-name comedian, so I’m leaving his name out of it. I would later figure out that she was trying to “teach me that stealing is wrong.”

She asserted that I was stealing by supporting this “friend” who had cancer. She then verbally attacked me, and that was the end of that one. There were dozens more horrible, cruel, and awkward endings to come.

It would be another 7-8 months before I would figure out that she was scamming me.


SOME OMINOUS WORDS
Most of the flying monkeys were constantly attacking me in ways that I did not understand. At the time, I had no idea that the “friend” who said she had cancer was a scammer. What they were saying and how they were behaving, at the time, wasn’t yet adding up.

Some made it worse by telling me things that were not true. For example, one friend said they were all on Facebook having a friendly discussion with the District Attorney. She told me, “Your friend is going to be indicted in January [2014] for all of this. Just call the DA’s office and they will tell you everything”

What she doesn’t know is that I did call the DA’s office. They said that indictments are sealed and they don’t talk about them, but that they could look at the roster and see if her name was there. It was not.

January came and went without an indictment. The same was true of February, March, April, May, June, and July. July was where her trouble began, and this was when she had to come out and tell me that she was scamming me, because I just wasn’t figuring it out.

Until then, I would look at the lack of an indictment has some type of “proof” that they were misguided.

Hooray, Autism! It would be 3 more years before I would learn that I am Autistic.


FIGURING THINGS OUT
It took me a very long time to figure out what went wrong. I had been a “good friend.” I had been “helpful.” I had given them money and done things for them. Sometimes it was a genuine crisis and I came through for them.

And then, they all turned against me. They forgot that I had helped them. In my time of need, they turned their backs on me, but not before causing me a great deal of harm.


THE FEW, THE HELPFUL
Not everyone took that route. One of the guys stood up for me. His brother and I became really good friends, and he passed away in late September 2007. I got a memorial tattoo of his brother on my arm, and attended his funeral in Las Vegas.

Even then, I had “friends” asking me to make expensive memorials and then hand-deliver them to the service. This forced me to drive to Vegas, instead of taking a flight, so I really went out of my way for them.

This friend’s brother is now a friend of mine.

But there was one person connected with the group of desert friends. I didn’t really know him at all, and I didn’t recall meeting him. He went by the name “Colonel Cow Killer,” because he worked in a slaughter house.

Sometimes people would pretend to care, commiserate, and get me to say certain things, just so they could have their “A-ha!” moment. But this guy didn’t do that.

We talked for a few via online chat before he said something to me that I’ll never forget.

“All I got to say is that, when all of this blows over, you will never help another person again for the rest of your life.”

I didn’t like how that sounded. Besides, if I’m not helpful, then I will have no value, and nobody will want to be my friend. That is how I saw myself. I had to “provide value” to others, so that they would like me and be my friend.

Funny how I never expected that of them, for some reason. They could just be, and it would all be cool. I held myself to a different standard. Maybe I knew deep down that I’m offensive and off-putting. I’m not certain.

But this got me wondering: Would I really end up that way?


FLASH FORWARD
Reaching this point in the story involved seven years of loss, doubt, struggle, lack of focus, regaining focus, questioning, wondering, reading, learning, testing, therapy, and more.

Yes, the majority of the people in these stories did me wrong. The question remains: Was Colonel Cow Killer right?

Well, sort of.

Before all of this, I would be eager to help anyone who called themselves my “friend” with pretty much anything they needed. That was back when I had dozens upon dozens of “friends.”

The chain of events noted above cleaned house, purging the so-called “friends” out of my life, which was a very positive thing. What this means is that the people who remain are those whom I can safely consider to be true friends.

The thing about this is that these friends aren’t calling upon me in this way. They don’t call or write, asking for help. They don’t tell me about big problems in a way where they’re looking for help. They don’t consider me to be “Old Reliable,” because they don’t rely on me for much, and this is mutual.

But suppose I got a new friend. I suppose it could happen. Maybe they bring me a big problem that sounds serious. My response would be that I am sorry to hear about that. I would let them know that I can listen, but also inform them that I am not in a position to offer any financial help. Additionally, my response would include the note that I will not offer up solutions unless they ask me. Even then, I might not have one.

I can’t save the world.

And if I were to get cancer tomorrow, I’d not be asking money. I might not even tell anyone that I had it, or maybe a select few, but there would be no public announcement.

For the record, I do not have cancer, so do not worry.


IN THE END
So I helped a bunch of people, and they turned around and stabbed me in the back. It happens. It shut me down for several years. Sometimes, these experiences will still affect me in a way that is surprising and unannounced, which I think might be PTSD.

But I don’t have to be a rescuer in order to be a friend. I don’t have to give people money to be valued by them. In fact, I think that money should stay out of it.

I can offer up advice if they want it, or an ear to listen if they need it.

Ultimately, who they are is why they are my friend.

What I have to learn is how to accept that who I am might be valuable to those remaining friends. That’s the difficult part.

Expectations: Addendum

I went out to my patio, and the sun was out. It felt really warm, so I decided that I should go for a walk. It’s something I need to do more often.

So I put on my shoes and got my phone and earbuds together. Went outside the door, and the sun was gone and it got gloomy. I went back in to get my jacket.

Tibo Bat: The fluffy monster who lives under the chair.

Things went fine, until I got half-way down the stairs. As if on-cue, hail the size of peas began to fall. No walk happening here, so I grabbed Tibo Bat to take him outside to experience the hail. Note that it wasn’t big enough to cause harm.

Grabbed him within 10 seconds, and by the time we got outside, the hail had turned to rain.

And so it goes, that I am back in my chair, sitting as I do.

Oh look! The rain stopped, and the sun it out now. Except for that ONE cloud over there. So if you don’t like the weather in Oregon, just wait a few minutes.

Dark cloud to the north. Not pictured: Bright, hot sun to the south.

Lowering Expectations

Does anyone have LOW expectations of you?

Whenever I engage anything, be it a job, people, a relationship, or anything else, it seems that people and organizations are consistently holding the highest of expectations when it comes to my participation.

While I can say that I do my best to meet those expectations, should I care about them, I don’t know if it makes them happy in general.


HIGH EXPECTATIONS BRING TROUBLE
Maybe their high expectations bring them money. But does it bring them peace?

They can say that it does, but I have my doubts.

In my daily life, I don’t even have HIGH expectations. Instead, I have mediocre, baseline expectations. The restaurant gets my food right, or the bank does the correct thing, or the company will honor its 10-year warranty.

I would have, at best, mediocre expectations of the world, and I would end up angry, upset, disappointed, and more. These people are SO stupid! This company is full of incompetent cretins.

If expecting mediocrity ends up this way, then I can only imagine how the world looks to those who have high expectations.

EXPECTATIONS = EXTERNAL CONTROL
I cannot control other people. It’s enough of a struggle to control myself and my own internalized negative thoughts. No matter what I expect, I cannot make anyone smarter. My expectations most certainly will not inspire a company to do the right thing.

Expectations feel like an attempt to control the external. No wonder I get so mad, upset, and disappointed!

These expectations, and the disappointment that is almost always guaranteed, are the drivers of depression for people like me. When things fail, as most things do, I can feel myself getting dragged down by the incompetence of others.


LOWERED EXPECTATIONS
As I typed out this heading, I couldn’t help but think of the Mad TV skit.

Good humor typically has some truth to it, and this most definitely fits that category.

I know that all of this raises a question. But if I lower my expectations, doesn’t that mean that my own life will start to fall apart?

The world must be divided up into two different viewpoints.

  • Myself, and things that are within the bounds of my control.
  • The external world, and things outside of my control.

When I am dealing with myself, I continue to have higher expectations, and I do my best to make sure that they are reasonable. I will do a good job sweeping the floor, I will get my chores list completed, and I am prepared to tackle the things that I need to get done today.

That’s fair. It is also productive. I won’t get mad that grocery shopping took me 25 minutes, when I was set on being done in 20 minutes. Keep it all real.

But what about the external?

There are the baseline expectations, which resemble mediocrity. To me, these types of expectations run in the background. As noted above, when this mediocrity is not met, I will start having a bad day. What do to about that?

On top of these baseline expectations, I will attach a reminder to be ready for things going wrong. Don’t necessarily expect these things to go wrong. Just be ready for it.

Be ready to encounter rude or stupid people. Be ready to have an experience that is different from how I envisioned it going. Be ready to trip over my own two feet and land on my face.

For example, if I go see the insurance agent, and he starts being a rude jerk, I have the right and the ability to sit back and say to myself, “How cute.” This is my cue to stop taking this person seriously, as well as the situation.

Don’t get mad. Don’t yell. Just look at them like they’re a big fucking joke. They are.

Sure, this conversation was supposed to be important. This agent is simply incapable of handling it right now. If possible, find someone else. If not, then return the next day. If you can’t, then find someone else who can work with you. Maybe let his supervisor know that your account is at risk of being lost because your agent isn’t performing well right now.

In many cases, there are options.

Now, I live in a small rural area where some services can’t even be found. Nobody here sells musical instruments. I have to drive at least 10 miles to find two places. One is vintage and over-priced, and the other has cheap stuff that caters to beginners and students.

So I drive 15 miles to a Guitar Center. It’s in a not-so-big, but bigger town so their selection is better, their prices are better, but the selection overall is still way limited. I’m used to being in Los Angeles, where one can find a music store across the street from a music store, with another music store on the same corner.

When I go there, I have relatively low expectations. Maybe I can find something that will do the job. Maybe that piece of gear they have available brings about limitations, and maybe that will inspire something else. Limitations often breed inspiration.

But getting mad, upset, or even sad about it achieves and accomplishes nothing.

Well, it does accomplish one thing, in that it helps me feel sad and ugly inside. Why bother with that? Why accept that? The situation remains the same on the external, while the internal gets eviscerated for no good reason.


IN THE END
Today, I will do my best and strive to be a better version of myself than what I was yesterday.

At the same time, I will be ready to encounter incompetence, stupidity, trouble, negativity, and broken people and things. I will accept that there is nothing I can do about those people or situations. I have no control over them. I will not adopt them as being my problem.

I will think, move about, live, and achieve in a way that meets or exceeds my expectations of myself.

The world may be a very mediocre place. That doesn’t mean that I must conform.

Analysis: Ruby Cassidy and “The World Will Need You”

INTRODUCTION,
This is more the story of how I met Ruby Cassidy, aka “Mystica,” from the Philippines, but I will also be including info on the recording of our album, with main focus on one of the 8 tracks that we wrote and recorded, titled, “The World Will Need You.”

While I am using Ruby’s real name, some other names will be either changed or omitted to protect others; some innocent, some not.


MEETING
For all of my struggles, my life was seemingly going not only nowhere, but maybe swirling down the drain. I had failed at leaving my girlfriend. She poked holes in my condoms, she ended up pregnant, and I was forced into fatherhood against my will.

At the time, I was also going through a great deal of abuse from my main boss, Mark, at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, where I worked as an Administrative Assistant. Most of it was comments about how, “a REAL man would not be doing a woman’s job.” Real class act.

So after work, on my way home to West LA from Sherman Oaks, I would stop at the fringes of Santa Monica to a little club known as Fantasy Island. This club served alcohol and had exotic dancers. Because alcohol was being served, the dancers had to remain clothed.

The club was dark, the music was good, and it was nice to get attention from a pretty lady, even if I had to pay for it, before going home to the yelling and violence that became a mainstay of my future ex-wife’s life.

For anyone wondering, yes I eventually got out of there and away from her in late 1998. But I digress.


THAT FATEFUL NIGHT
I was there one night, just having a drink and watching dancers. At one point, I had looked down and saw the man who plays the magical dwarf of Twin Peaks, hanging out and having a good time. I considered it an omen of sorts, but good or bad have yet to be seen.

Ruby

That’s when a young, 28 year old woman named Ruby approached me and asked me if I wanted a dance. I agreed, so we went to the benches where the guys would sit down, and the ladies dance in front of them. There is a clear NO TOUCHING policy, so nothing wacky was going on.

She seemed nice enough. But I was there to forget my horrible life, so I didn’t put much thought into anything.

After the first dance, she offered me a free second one, so I took it. Money was tight, and I had a very small budget that was just enough for a beer or two, or a dance or two. I wasn’t going broke.

When that dance ended, she sat down and decided that she wanted to talk to me. Okay, fine.

“So, what do you do?”

This is a horrible question for a man to hear, when he’s working as an Administrative Assistant. I didn’t want to talk bout that, and I was really uninterested in allowing the hard reality of my life into this fantasy world.

“I’m a musician.”

She got excited and asked me what I played. I rattled off all the instruments and noted that I’m a songwriter as well.

She told me that she was looking for a musician to write for her album, and asked me for my number. I wrote down my name and number for her before leaving.

Outside the club’s front door, I told myself that it was just another bullshit thing, and nobody is calling me to write music.


THE NEXT DAY
I had barely been awake for a few short hours, when I got a phone call. It was Ruby, asking if she could come over to talk about her music project.

I agreed that we could talk and that we could get together any time in the morning. I didn’t want my whole day tied up waiting for someone.

She came over immediately and brought her lawyer along with her. His name was Rob* and he was a big-shot politician in Canada. They both were asking me questions about my past and current musical endeavours.

At one point, Ruby perked up and asked me a question after I told them that I played guitar. “Do you play electric, or acoustic?” Except, she couldn’t pronounce “acoustic” properly, so it instead sounded like “aqua stick.”

I thought that pronunciation was cute and we moved on. Remember this rather innocuous detail for way later.

While there was no contract signing, we agreed to work together and we got started right away. This would not be the first or last time that I made the mistake of starting work based on nothing more than a handshake.


THE WORLD WILL NEED YOU
I was in my upstairs home studio, playing chords on my home-made guitar and looking for something. Instead of thinking of chord names, I focused on patterns on the neck.

Suddenly, I came up with something that was interesting, at least to me.

Most pop/rock songs will have things in sets of 4. The verse may have four measures, or TWO sets of four measures.

With this song, I had two sets of THREE measures. This gave it an odd feel that was different from having a time signature that is not 4/4.

The verse and intro wrote themselves right there. The chorus was inspired by music I had been listening to while driving somewhere earlier that morning, which was “Women in Love” by Van Halen. That song inspired the overall feel of the song as well.

I called Ruby and told her that I would have a song ready for her to hear in about 20 minutes. She started writing lyrics, and I began recording the drum machine, bass, and a rhythm track on the 4-track. I left the fourth track open to record our rehearsal run-through.

Just as I finished up work on the 4-track, she ran upstairs with paper and pen. I played the tape for her once, and she made some notes on her paper.

After that, I set up the video camera, hit RECORD on the 4-track, and we ran through the song for the first time. She put her lyric sheet on my hi-hats and we ran through the song for the first time.

A comparison between the first run-through and the final product.

The above clip demonstrates a comparison between the first run-through and the final product. In this video, when I am visible, you can see my home-made guitar.

It was an exciting moment, for we felt that we had worked up our flagship song.

We laid back on a futon and played the song again on the speaker system. She said, “That song is so beautiful, I could make love to it right now.”

I replied, “Yea, it’s pretty good.” Her pass at me went completely over my head. So she had me drive her Corvette and instructed me to park at a seedy motel. There, she proceed to clunk me over the head with what she meant earlier. I will leave it at that.


Ruby and Jimmy in Music Connection. My name is in the print.

THE RECORDING STUDIO
Once we had 8 songs together, Ruby found a studio in Hollywood, where we would end up going to record. It was Cazador in Hollywood, run by producer and drummer Jimmy Hunter.

We sat with him as he listened to our demos. He said, “That sounds too much like Lita Ford. You can’t get arrested as Lita Ford these days.” He basically told us that our demos were dated. He would later produce it to have a very 80s sound, so his critiques were odd.

Ruby was paying for everything. She would usually make good money at Fantasy Island. Her boyfriend, Rob*, would give her an allowance of about $30,000 per month. He also provided the Corvette. But she was also seeing the CEO of a company at this time, and he was paying her $40,000 per month to pay him a visit on occasion.

Money was no issue, and this album was going to sound great!


MY FAVORITE MOMENT
Two studio musicians were hired to perform on the album. We had the late Bobby Birch, of Elton John fame, on bass. This was not too long after his tragic accident that ended up destroying him. He was a trooper.

We also had Steve Caton, of Tori Amos fame, taking on the lead guitar duties, as well as some rhythm. If you need a primer on Steve’s past work, here’s the song where he shows his more abstract lead guitar work.

We were about to record another song, “It Must Have Been Good,” when Steve told Jimmy, “I know that Dan is the songwriter and all, but I think he should be represented as a player on the album.”

Jimmy fought the idea and eventually agreed, saying, “Okay, but he has to play your guitar. His home-made guitar looks like shit.” Steve fought back, noting that if we used different guitars, then we’d sound more like a band.

It was Steve’s thinking that got my home-made guitar on the album, and his thoughtful argument that I be represented as a player. He was a paid performer and had NO obligation or duty, and he stood up for me.

I am forever grateful for Steve’s defense.

You can hear my guitar in the intro of the song.

As you can tell, my guitar sounded just fine.

A WEIRD TURN OF EVENTS
Once the album mastering was done, Ruby asked Jimmy if she could “borrow” the master tape. He agreed and let her take it, which is something he would not normally do. My only guess is that she clunked him over the head in the same way as me, if you get my drift.

She then decided that she would NOT be crediting him as the producer on the album. He had said something about her “reneging” on their deal. She would list him on the album as “The Mystic Renegade.”

This is a great example of how she dressed at Fantasy Island.

She also chose a really tacky picture of herself to serve as the album cover. To be completely frank, I felt that it was a horrible choice and most uncalled for as front-facing public artwork. I’m no prude, but even I had the understanding that this might alienate some potential listeners.

She had the CDs and tapes produced, and they looked VERY professional, other than the art work. She had also purchased a list of all of the record labels out there where we could send these.

We spent the entire night packing up Overnight Fed Ex envelopes with CDs, photos, and a cover letter. She probably spent $20,000 doing this.

We called all of the labels after the packages had been delivered, and they all said the same thing. They do not accept unsolicited materials, and all unsolicited materials get thrown in the trash.

Great.

I don’t miss my hair at all.

A BIRTHDAY GIFT
Ruby decided that she wanted to do something special for my birthday, so we went to a photographer and had some photos taken together.

I really don’t know what is more cheesy, between her genie outfit and my ponytail. There is nothing more 90s to me than these photos.

My son’s mother wasn’t too happy about these photos. But her unhappiness was about to be turned into eyes full of greed.


AN INDECENT PROPOSAL
Ruby and Rob* told us that they wanted to become US citizens. They were both Canadian citizens. She had achieved her Canadian citizenship by marrying a wealthy man in Canada.

Their offer, to the point, was that Rob* would marry my son’s mother, and I would marry Ruby. We would have houses next to one another, which he would pay for. He would also give us a monthly salary of $6,000 each.

Free rent and money?

This got my son’s mother very excited. However, I was terrified of the idea, because this is basically defrauding the government. I told my son’s mother that there was no way in hell that we could do this. She eventually gave in.

TOP OF THE WORLD, BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
I had gone back to Fantasy Island, and found that the DJ was playing one of the songs from our album, aptly titled, “Fantasy Island.”

The club owner, Dennis Morgan, loved the song! When he found out that I wrote the music, he was giving me all kinds of “Fantasy Bucks” to spend at the club. I could basically say whatever I wanted, and it would be given to me.

There was even one time where this dancer broke down crying during our dance. She told me that she hated dancing, that she couldn’t do it, and she had to get high to go to work. So I went and talked to Dennis about the idea of having her be one of a team of “cocktail girls” who go around bringing drinks to people.

He loved the idea and took her off the dance floor immediately. The next time I saw her, she was dressed in a half-tuxedo feminine outfit. She was sober, smiling, and very happy. She thanked me, declaring that I not only saved her job, but also saved her life.

This was the kind of power that I had, having written a song that was being played in the club, as well as late-night television commercials.

The world was my oyster. But the oyster was about to get pearl-jacked.

Her boyfriend, Rob*, called me to say that he was bummed that we wouldn’t be able to do their marriage/citizenship thing. I told him that I was really sorry that we couldn’t do that, but that their offer would certainly be able to attract someone who could do this for them.

He changed the subject to talk about Ruby. I told him that I liked working with her. He asked me if there were any moments that stood out as an example of why I liked her.

I told him about the day that she and he came over to my apartment. I said that I found it very endearing how she pronounced “acoustic” as “aqua stick.”

He suddenly said that he had to go, and we hung up. 20 second later, the phone rang again. It was Ruby.

“I heard what you said about me. The ‘aqua stick’ thing. You think I’m stupid? YOU THINK I’M STUPID? I’m NOT stupid! This is the end. We are DONE!”

She hung up the phone.

I was shocked. What just happened? I didn’t say anything mean, and I wasn’t talking down about her.

I had to sit and accept the harsh reality that these people are Narcissistic criminals who only care about themselves and who take whatever they want. Ruby and Rob* weren’t really my friends. They didn’t care about me or my situation.

Had my son’s mother and I taken the up on their marriage/citizenship deal, they would have thrown us under a bus factory. They would have blamed us. And they had money for lawyers. I barely had money for anything beyond home expenses and a few beers at a club.

Needless to say, but I never went back to Fantasy Island again after that remark.

SHOPPING THE CD
I gave it to several people to listen, including music producer Max Norman. I even took it to a music industry event that attendees called “The Concrete Convention.” It normally cost something like $475 to attend, but Megadeth drummer Nick Menza got me in for free. He was a true bro.

I went to this one room, where demos would be evaluated by a panel. There were three people on the panel, and one of them was Simon Cowell. He was using this venue to do a test run to fine-tune his idea for American Idol.

People threw their CDs into a pile. They played the first CD for under ten seconds before stopping it. “Who is responsible for this? A man stood up, and they proceeded to grill him in front of everyone.

At this point, I didn’t want mine to be picked. But eventually, it happened. They listened for almost a full minute before stopping it and asking for the creator to stand. I stood.

Simon said, “Money is obviously no object for you, because this is the most well-produced thing that I’ve heard in this setting.”

He asked me about the band, and I told him that we didn’t have a full band yet; that it was just me, the singer, and some studio musicians.

Then, given the context of American Idol, which is singers with no band, he said the strangest thing to me.

“If there is no band, then what’s the point?” I argued that we made a pro recording so that we could attract and retain top-notch talent for the band. This was a quick and acceptable answer, but I was smart in avoiding telling him the truth about the drama.

Besides, I didn’t care about anything more than getting professional evaluations and opinions. And I got one.

I ran into Simon in the parking lot, and he apologized for being so aggressive. We shook hands and went about our separate ways.

The day, so far as I was concerned, was a success.


THE AFTERMATH
Once I got my professional critique and validation, I considered the project closed. Done. Finished. There would be no more. It would be years before I could listen to the songs again.

Ruby would go back to the Philippines with the master tape and all of her money, to start building her entertainment/drama empire. She would re-work the songs to be more club-themed. Basically, using the vocal track over a weird beat with sirens in the background. It sounded like shit.

I would be left with a professional reel of my work, along with some hard feelings and horrible lessons learned.

I spent the longest time wondering why Ruby would rip me off like that and hurt me in the process. Over time, I came to realize that this is just the kind of person she is, and there is no way to change any of it. There would be no making up or fixing anything.

I never got paid any cash. Maybe she thought that sex was payment enough, but it really wasn’t.

These days, she’s still an “entertainer,” although more along the lines of someone you might see as a guest on Jerry Springer. In some of her latest videos, she begs for money and cries. Her videos get massive down-votes. It seems that being young and pathetic fools people way more than being old and still pathetic.

The above video was posted just two hours ago. I picked it because it is new and it has no crying. It says in Tagalog, “WE THANK FACEMASK BECAUSE WE ALL LOOK THE SAME AND THE SAME BEAUTIFUL! HAHAHA!”

She is very self-conscious about her looks and the damage caused by aging.


IN THE END
Once we had started working together, I felt that we could have been a good music writing team. It could have turned into a solid enterprise.

However, she wasn’t in it for the long haul, and abhors the work that it takes to record an album. So she took the easy way out.

If she is reading this, then she might not be too happy about this and may even ask me to take it down. One of the things that I write about is my own experiences. If she doesn’t like that she looks bad in my story, then she should have thought of that before belittling me and ripping me off.

I would delete this if she paid me for my work, but only after that. I would say that my work on that album was worth US$20,000 at the time, and I would accept that amount today, without interest or inflation.

So if you don’t like this, Ruby, then pay me and I’ll remove the ugly details from the story. Until then, I will never omit the truth about how I was treated. And, for the record, I thought that she was better than all of this. In this regard, I hate being wrong.

In the background: Aqua Stick

Chances are VERY slim that she won’t read this, so it’s mostly a non-issue.

Still, I have a professional reel of my work, and a few lessons learned.

As far as lessons go, I have an old acoustic guitar that I have named “Aqua Stick,” as a reminder that there are horrible people out there who will cause harm to anyone if it works in their favor.

May 6, 2021

I also happened across a tape that is still wrapped in plastic. It’s the only physical piece of media that I have left from this project from 1997.

Beyond that, I have what I thought were good memories, sullied by the horrific nature of the reality of the situation.

It’s the kind of memory where I am glad it happened, and I also regret that it happened. I suppose this conundrum would prompt a smile from Kierkegaard.

I have TWO more things to end this, for you. The album is available on SoundCloud for free streaming, and you can do that HERE.

The last thing is this video, which is bittersweet. The video is from the first time we ran through the song, recording it to the 4-track. However, the audio is from the album; the final product.

It was kind of easy to sync up, since we kept the same tempo. There was one part in the middle that was written in-studio, so you’ll notice that there is no proper video to sync up with that part.

In the end, even though I got taken for a ride, as is usually the case in the life of an Autistic person, I am still very proud of the work I put into this, as the songwriter, guitarist, and production supervisor.

Thanks for listening, watching, and reading.

Video of our first run-through of the song. Audio from the album; the final product. By far superior to anything she has done since in the Philippines.

All That Red Pill Nonsense

INTRODUCTION
Lately, it seems that many people are creating their own “X Pill” cultures. The most popular of them all is the “Red Pill,” which is a harsh reality that stands in direct opposition to the “Blue Pill,” which is a world of delusion that is sometimes willful in nature.


DEFINITION
For ease of writing, I’m going to stick to the tenets of the “Red Pill.” In the movie “The Matrix,” the Red Pill was what Neo ended up choosing to take, when he was offered a Red and Blue pill. Doing this shocked his system back to reality in an abrupt and violent manner. He got the wind knocked out of him. He was dazed, weak, confused, had trouble getting a handle on things, and went through a great deal of struggle and pain to rise above.

The struggle is a major, undeniable element of the story this movie conveys, and it cannot be ignored. If there were no struggle, then Neo would just swallow this Red Pill, magic would happen, and he would instantaneously become the end product of the film, without any fanfare, concern, or dissertation.


THE FAKE RED PILL CROWDS
How can you tell when you’ve encountered a group of people who use this terminology, while missing the point?

Announcement: The first thing to note is that they love to announce that they’ve “been Red-Pilled.” It’s a very convenient and slightly less Narcissistic way of making a declaration to the world, letting them know that you’re not only intelligent, but you are also more intelligent than anyone else in the room.

A Full Understanding: The faux Red Pill individual will assert that they have a full understanding of the topic at-hand. You can rest peacefully at night, knowing that they’ve got this covered.

Arrogance: It migh be subtle, but there is a definite residue of arrogance emitting from their aura.

Lack of Struggle or Pain: I point back to the second and final paragraph of the “Definition” heading. The struggle and pain, as well as uncertainty and a host of other elements, appear to be a big player. They seem to be the point.


A DISCLAIMER
What I am about to write is my story. It is my experience, but is not meant to be utilized as a declaration of deep fact. The truth is that I cannot accurately detail this, but I am going to attempt to do so, to the best of my ability. This struck me like a Mac truck while I was doing dishes, and I dropped everything to write this before it slips away.


AM I HAVING A RED PILL EXPERIENCE?
My story goes all the way back to the day that I was born. I don’t have to give you a long, drawn-out detail of my life.

What I must tell you, however, is that it has been a path of pain. This is not to say that I suffered more than anyone else. In fact, some of the things that cause me pain are things that you may not even recognize, such as being in a room that is a little bit too crowded, or being in a sudden state of major Social Anxiety.

The pain persisted, as I attempted to navigate abusive and other failed romantic relationships, negative employment situations, and more.

Starting in late 2009, I found myself in a unique situation, where it was a personal connection who would be abusing me and exploiting me, and it was not a romantic endeavor, either. They would use my life’s dream of being a professional musician against me.

My dream was effectively turned into a nightmare.

This was brought to a head in mid-2014, after 9 months of emotional and financial abuse at the hands of a cancer scammer, who destroyed my life completely.

When I say that my life was destroyed, I’m talking about friends, acquaintances, and co-workers all believing a horrible rumor about me. Run off of all social networking, this rumor would extend, destroying my job and career, disrupting my reputation, and more. It also initially killed my hope for Humanity.

Years of pain followed, which was punctuated with a variety of life events, including a few deaths, the loss of a major relationship, an Autism diagnosis, a Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis, and more.

These diagnoses also came with the results of an IQ test, where my numbers showed to be better than I had hoped. It was a strange situation where a psychiatric professional declared my IQ to be “way more than adequate,” as he told me that, “you have no problem with intelligence at all. In fact, if you were in a room of 100 people, you would be smarter than 89 of them.”

Now, consider the scenario where a trained professional gives you this news, and the only thing you can think is, “Well, if I’m so fucking intelligent, then WHY can’t I use that intelligence to fix any of this?”

It’s like getting news that doesn’t matter.

My perception of the world warped, waved, and twisted. The things I used to believe, love, hope, enjoy, crave, and would dream about were dead and gone, without a trace.

I had to spend TWO years getting the nerve to do anything more than drive to the guitar shop on the weekend. I might see a friend on occasion, but I wasn’t having that much fun. I was struggling to appreciate their company, and I do [ more about these amazing people later]. There was a darkness that coated everything.

When my cat died in early 2019, I freaked out and drove over 1,000 miles to move to another state, to a town that I didn’t even know existed until shortly before I started driving. People who live less than an hour from this town also do not know that it exists.

I moved here to die.

Not necessarily a suicide thing. I felt like the way I was in California, I was a husk of my former self, clinging to the life I’d once had and lost. My Blue Pill life.

Rather, my old life needed to die off.

I LOVED my Blue Pill life. There was music, friends, and adventure. Never mind that most of it was a lie. I still enjoyed every minute of it. Every lie they told me. Every time they pretended to care about me. I dug it immensely.

I wasn’t even gone for a year, when a glimmer of hope struck, when I found a former girlfriend online. We’ll call her “Jane Doe.” Jane claimed to love me and we got together.

It was like getting my old Blue Pill life back. It was magical, fascinating, stimulating, and it drove me to want to be the absolute best version of myself possible.

But then, the faux veneer began to peel away. She didn’t love me or care about me, or anything. It was just a case or “mirroring,” where I was showed whatever I wanted to see.

It was a bad simulation that almost cost me my life.

I got the opportunity to pick back up with my old situation, but it had been destroyed. There was no going back.


WHY WRITE ABOUT THIS NOW?
Lately, I’ve had too many people whom I respect and trust say too many important things to me over the past month. It has me wondering whether or not I’m really having a Red Pill experience.

To summarize, I had a life that was full of horrible things, but also had an assortment of illusions that I found comforting.

One day, it all came crashing down, just as it would when one takes the Red Pill.

I spent a long time feeling weak, depressed, unable to function, and very confused. There was a great deal of struggle and pain.

At my lowest, I got a taste of what could be described as what the Blue Pill life used to be about. Then a harsh reality brought me back, like the gravitational pull of a planet.

Over the past month, I’ve been getting some important messages from people I trust. I won’t write what they’ve said or written to me, because those messages are for me, and me alone. They would be meaningless to the ears of anyone else.

And if that is not enough, I am reaching a point in my life where things are about to get really difficult, and it could end up being a life-or-death type of scenario, where I will either sink or swim.


THE DIAGNOSIS
It’s probably coincidental things that I’m recognizing. Human tend to be good at recognizing patterns.

Was this a Red Pill? If it was, then it was given very forcefully, without water, and I almost choked and died on it. I feel like I’m in the galley of a strange ship, struggling to cope with the pain I feel in my eyes as I try to use them for the first time.

I’m not going to get on a high horse and tell everyone that I’ve gotten something figured out. In fact, I’m going to say what most people should admit, which is that I have absolutely no idea what is going on. I have nothing figured out, at all. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know, and the more stupid I feel.

I would love to say that this is some kind of Red Pill experience, because then I’d have more confidence and certainty about how things are going to turn out for me. That would be such a wonderful thing. However, I don’t really know what it is at the moment. Autism and Major Depressive Disorder appear very real whenever I look at them.

This might be air that I’m breathing. Maybe it’s a simulation where I can actually die. Maybe life really is an illusion caused by death.


ACCEPTANCE
Those other ideas are very fascinating, but I think that I have a good guess of what is happening.

I am beginning to accept the harsh realities of life.

For the longest time, I would get upset about why that girl did what she did, or why that friend would cause me harm. I’d get angry about bosses who hated me, jobs where I got ripped off, and the unjust nature of the world. Bad situations, horrible people, broken promises, and other avatars of shit.

I’d feel badly about myself for unwarranted and unsubstantiated reasons.

But now that I’m working on accepting that the world mostly stinks and only has occasional nuggets of goodness here and there, the weight of those people, situations, and complaints is feeling as if it is beginning to lift.

Maybe this is the side-effect of acceptance.

Or maybe it depends on how you see things. Look at the world as if there is no Red or Blue Pill. If it were a short-cut, then it sucks as one. If it’s a fix-all, then it’s not fixing it all until YOU fix it all first.

Maybe accepting that most of it stinks means that I have free license to laugh at all of it before I toss it in the garbage and move on. No digging in the trash!

Or maybe I’m a character in a hamster’s dream about running in a wheel.

I started out declaring that I don’t really know much about anything. This is still mostly true. But there is one thing that I feel I do know now that I’ve written this.

There are no short cuts, so don’t even bother asking. They’ll just send you the long way.


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

Song Analysis: Finger Nine, by DrumWild

This entry is to showcase a song from a collection of songs that I wrote and recorded in 2017. The name of the album was The Year of My Birth [2017]. I had almost called it The Year of My Death [2017] to represent the death of my old self. Good thing I didn’t go that route, as two people close to me died shortly after I started working on it.

There will be a link to stream the entire album for free at the end of this blog entry.

As things go with a collection of songs, some are better than others, and I most definitely have my favorites. Today, I’ll be writing about my favorite track on the album, Finger Nine.


On stage at The Whisky a Go-Go, late 2009, filling in with the band.

ORIGINS
In late 2009, I was hired to fill in last-minute for a band that had a gig at The Whisky on the Sunset Strip. They had paid $600 for the privilege of playing a 25-minute set on the stage, and would have to pay extra fees if they could not perform.

I had originally agreed to do the work for pay. But I liked the songs, and the band had some monthly gigs lined up on their Facebook page, so I decided to forego the pay for this one gig if I could get in on the money for those monthly gigs.

Of course, I would later find out that those gigs listed on Facebook were not real gigs, and were only there to make the band look busy so they could get more gigs. By this point, I had moved into an apartment that the band leader’s parents owned, so I was pretty much “in” the project.

That promise was replaced by another promise, which was joint ownership of a recording studio. I invested money for years, paying half of most supplies and 100% of other supplies, as well as installing my own gear. I would later be told that I “contributed nothing,” and would lose my investment and all of my gear.

The Control Room of the recording studio that I helped build. My total loss is estimated at $10,000.

That is another story unto itself. Today, I’m writing about the singer, Aaron. I will not use his last name, or the last name of anyone else, to protect the guilty.


ABOUT AARON
He was the “singer” of the band, and I use that term loosely. He was unable to improve as a performer, and rejected anything resembling help, since he viewed it as criticism. The owner of the band would taunt and criticize him a lot, so he was conditioned to be weak.

He would proudly refer to himself as “The Nine-Fingered Singer,” as if the number of fingers you have has anything at all to do with singing. Last I heard, he’s now the six-fingered construction worker, but I digress.

He actually quit the band shortly after announcing to all of us that he’s an alcoholic. This was after he was severely late for a rehearsal and had to get a beer first before starting. His announcement went something like this:

“Hey, guys. So, like, I just figured out that I’m an alcoholic so I need you guys to help me out. I decided that I have a three beer limit. I’m warning you ahead of time that I will try to drink more than three. If I go for another beer, you guys have to stand up and fight me.”

Ah, personal responsibility.

After he quit, the band and studio owner, Chester, said horrible things about him. Some of them were homophobic slurs. He accused Aaron’s wife of being a transsexual woman, so there’s also transphobia. Chester had absolutely NOTHING good or nice to say about Aaron.

This makes it all the more curious and funny that Aaron would email me to defend Chester for the song, “Peppered in Salt,” which is also on this album. “Peppered in Salt” was about Chester the studio scammer, and a woman named Kristen who was a cancer scammer who took me for a bunch of money. This album truly pivoted around these two people, who effectively destroyed my life.

In his email, Aaron wrote about how he wanted to “hug” me around the throat until I died.

His death threat was forwarded to the local police at the time, and were also given to the police where I live now. So if anything happens to me, my family, or anyone in my life, Aaron is their primary suspect, and he will be automatically arrested by default.


Single artwork for “Finger Nine” by Junior Martin.

INSPIRATION FOR THE SONG
After Aaron threatened my life for that song, I felt inspired to write a song specifically about him. It’s amazing what can come out of a weak death threat. Of course, he would never say that to anyone’s face.

So with a wimpy-yet-fresh death threat in my mind, I decided to start writing and recording at the same time.

The entire process to write and record this song took about 25 minutes.

The music was inspired by a track that I had heard the night before called “Mexico” by Billy Momo. They’re fantastic. In particular, it was the running bass line that moved me.

“Mexico” by Billy Momo.

The lyrics were inspired by my dealings with Aaron, especially since he was the one who called me to ask if I could fill in for their drummer, who was supposedly flaking out. I would later learn that I was brought in just to mess with him.

A link for the album will be at the end. But here, you can listen to the song “Finger Nine” right now, and then read the lyrics and the story behind them below.


LYRICS, EXPLAINED
“Finger Nine”
by DrumWild
The Year of My Birth [2017]

You hit me up in your time of need
I filled your cup so casually
Cracked a Coors and ditched the wine
All for you, Finger Nine

This is in reference to him contacting me in desperation, because they were supposedly running out of time to find a replacement for drums. I was able to step into their situation very easily and quickly. “Ditch the wine” is a reference to me foregoing payment for the emergency fill-in gig.

Later that week, we did the show
Packin’ ’em deep at The Whisky a Go-Go
Just sign me up, don’t pay the fine
My brother in arms, Finger Nine

This references the venue where we performed, and the band had a decent enough crowd show up, which at the time confirmed to me that I was making a good decision. I would be wrong. Again, referencing that he doesn’t have to pay me. “Brother in arms” is reference to the fact that I was a band member and we were in it together.

After this section, I give the song a “Two Tickets to Paradise” style guitar solo.

The weakest one was the first to go
You couldn’t handle the Bastard Code
We tried to help, but you just stopped tryin’
You shit on us, Finger Nine

As noted previously, Aaron was the weakest member of the band, and he was the first one to quit. He whined a lot about Jesus and some other things, which was odd. I hadn’t pegged him for a whiner, but I should have guessed. The “Bastard Code” was a name Chester had for the “code of ethics” that the band members needed to have in order to be involved. We all tried to help Aaron, but he wussied out. After that, Chester talked shit about him for two months solid.

You couldn’t hold your drink, threw hissy fits
You talked a big game and then you quit
The game is over, you’re out of time
Go fuck yourself, Finger Nine

As noted earlier, Aaron self-diagnosed as an alcoholic. After that, he was a consistent whiner about everything. He would talk about how he was going to improve, and how we were going to do some big shows, but he ended up quitting. I think the rest speaks for itself.

After this, the main guitar solo kicks in. I had to write and record a solo for my guitar lessons with Zoot Horn Rollo, so why not fit it in a song? I got high marks for the solo, and an extra pat on the back for the motif at the end.

Fade out.


IN THE END
I suppose that this is some kind of silver lining for all the crap I had to endure with these people. There are many things that I can say about this experience, but I’d most definitely not call it boring.

I don’t know if I’ll write about any other songs from this collection/album in the future. But it could happen. In the meanwhile, you can stream the entire album for free on SoundCloud. Thanks for reading, and see you soon.

Donkey Kong on the Commodore 64

One of the hobbies that I enjoy involves reviving, maintaining, and using old computers. For the past decade, I have been focusing on a Commodore 64 from 1984.

I got this from an old woman who said it belonged to her husband. As I went through the floppy disks, I figured out that he was part of a group called CSUN, or Commodore System Users Network.

He had all kinds of games and other software. There was some redundancy in his collection, as CSUN would distribute physical floppy disks to every member monthly.

So I went through over 300 floppies and consolidated them for my own convenience and sanity. Plus, it saves room to not have 300 floppies in tow.


Last year, I cleaned up the computer and re-applied thermal grease to the chips, which improved performance, and also fixed a problem where a few of the keyboard keys were not working.

I cleaned a little and added the thermal grease before remembering to clean the rest. The capacitors appear to be relatively new. Replacing the capacitors is a practice known as “recapping.” You can buy complete sets of new capacitors for your Commodore 64, based on ASSY NO., for $6.95.

I don’t know if the system was recapped, but I may recap it myself next year. It’s working fine right now, so no problems.


My favorite things to do with this computer involve keeping a daily journal and playing some of the games. Today , I’m going to write about my favorite game, Donkey Kong.

I’ve played Donkey Kong since it first came out on July 9, 1981. I drove to the arcade and spent at least $50 playing the machine in one day. Needless to say, but the game was new and it took a lot of time to figure it out and learn it.

I have played it on various systems. Today, I have it on the Commodore 64, as well as the Nintendo Wii and GameBoy Advance SP.

With the Commodore 64, there are some bugs and challenges.

One bug is that Mario [known back in the old days as “Jumpman”] will sometimes just fall for no reason, or die with nothing near him. I wonder if this is a sign that there are capacitor issues, but it may not be because the bug isn’t very consistent. It has only happened a handful of times in the past few years.

It has happened only once since replacing the heat grease.

Donkey Kong (Atarisoft) - C64-Wiki

There is a level with conveyor belts, where lots of fire balls try to get Jumpman. Many things are moving on the screen, including Donkey Kong, the girl, the oil barrel on fire, conveyor belts, fire balls, and Mario.

As a result, sometimes there will be some lag as the action on the screen beings to move in slow motion.

There is no feature where you can pause the game or choose a save point.

Finally, you cannot save your high score. This isn’t a bug, and isn’t specific to Donkey Kong. This is how games are on the Commodore 64. So if you want to keep track of your high scores, then you can either write them down or take a photograph.


GAME PLAY
At the start of the game, you can decide where you start. Levels 1-5 are an option. I chose level 5. It is more difficult, but you get to bypass four levels that are relatively easy.

Each level has six screens. There is a girder scene, the cement factory, another girder scene, the elevator scene, another girder scene, and the rivet scene. These are not official names, but represent how they look.

The original arcade game had four screens per level. On a side note, Donkey Kong was the second-ever game to have multiple levels, right after Gorf by Midway.

In this older video of me playing, I start on the first level, so you don’t get to see all of the levels. The cement mixer level shows up later in the game play.

It appears that the first level has only two screens. I haven’t played levels 1-4 for so long that I can’t say for certain how many screens they have.


HIGH SCORE
Yesterday, I got the highest score that I’ve ever achieved on this particular system.

I started out on Level 5, which has six screens. Every level from at least this point forward has six screens. I made it to the first screen of Level 12.

From Level 5 to Level 11, up to the first screen of Level 12, is 42 screens.

Each game starts with 3 Jumpman characters. The player is awarded an “extra” Jumpman at a score of 7,000. There are no other bonuses after this.

After clearing 42 screens through 7 levels, my new high score is 358,100.

This took just over one hour.

In my morning routine, I will usually write a journal entry on the C64 and then play one game of DK. My average score is usually between 70,000 and 120,000.

This new high score is an unusual result for me, so it’s neat that I was able to get a picture of the final screen before it reset and jumped back to the opening screen.


IN THE END
Old computers like this Commodore 64 can take a person like me back to a simpler time.

Before ending this, I should note that I have not really been gaming all that much lately. When I do, it’s on the Commodore 64. Yesterday, I tried playing DK on the Wii and GameBoy Advance SP, and it takes a while to adjust to the faster game play and the controls.

Whatever it is that you love to do, try giving that some attention today or tonight. You’ll be glad you did.

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