American Nightmare

It’s no secret that I don’t leave the house much; more accurate to say I leave the house as little as possible. Usually, I’ll go to the gym, or take a nice, long bike ride, then come home and write; today I thought I’d try something different. I love to walk, but with the conveniences of gym/bike it’s been a while since I’d done any, so this morning I packed a little bag and went for a walk.

"winter"

“winter”

I found a cozy little spot under a bridge, near enough to a park that I didn’t feel completely isolated, and started to write. I didn’t even notice the time passing as I filled page after page in my little notebook. I’m not usually a planner, so this was all new to me. I had planned on doing some disjointed scribbling, in hopes of coming up with a new story idea, and instead this person in my head said “this is me, listen to me, write this down.” After about two hours, I had learned who he was, what he could do, what drove him, etc. It is in no way what I had in mind when I set out to create something new, but it’s (indulge me) sooooo good.

As I lit a cigarette, I noticed a couple of kayakers who’d managed to get a little too close for comfort. I went back to writing and heard a voice drift across the water. “You know smoking’s bad for you.”

Without looking up, I offered up my usual response. “So’s talking to strangers…”

Now it’s a conversation.

“Just trying to look out for you.”

“You’re about forty years too late, thanks for the concern though.”

(I swear, I must look beatific when I write. That’s the only possible explanation for the amount of people who engage me and/or offer unsolicited advice)

While they shook their heads and paddled away from the (now) scary bald man sitting at the water’s edge, Paul (his name’s Paul) was raging inside my head.

“Call them back! Explain to them! They’re tourists, show them the two new condo complexes and the three new hotels being built on the opposite shore, then tell them how the city shelved plans for an emergency family shelter because ‘the homeless don’t really stick around.’ Walk them around the park, point out the piles of dog shit all over the place, gesture towards the bags, the trash cans provided free of charge by the city, then explain how the police ensure that the homeless stay away from here because it ‘spoils the experience for the snowbirds.’ Offer to walk them less than two miles south, so they can see the poverty that the city ignores, the families living in cars because there’s no place they can stay together. Tell them! Tell them!” and on and on.

The more he yelled, the more things occurred to me. This is a city that was literally built by transients. This town was founded as a place for circus folk and carnies to rest between stints on the road. This place wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for them.

But it’s so pretty, and people are awful, greedy, disgusting bastards.

Okay, I’m done now.

 

 

They Did What?!

As y’all may be aware, I generally like to avoid controversy. The main reason for this is simple; my peace of mind is (usually) more important to me than some dumbasses opinions. That being said, I have to admit I was a little sad that I missed the twitter blow-up caused by last week’s episode of The Walking Dead. For anyone else who doesn’t pay attention, the revelation that Aaron and Eric (new characters, sorry if that’s a spoiler) are a gay couple caused quite the moral outrage. I don’t recall (again, it could just be because I don’t look for it) any backlash last season over Tara and Alisha. Is that because the old stereotype of men thinking “lesbians=hot/gay men=repugnant” is a real thing?

Apparently in a show about reanimated, cannibalistic corpses and people whose moral compasses include the direction “feast on survivors seeking assistance”, that man-on-man kiss was just too much…

Okay, that’s enough. Pay attention though, folks; you’ll notice that those tweets aren’t from last week, the latest one is from about 13 hours ago. Homophobes are so disturbed by the fact that some gay people survived the zombie apocalypse that they’re still bitching about it a week later! Let ‘em bitch, I say, it just lets me know who to avoid/wish gay zombies at. (For the record, I have nothing against gay zombies, all zombies should be treated perfectly equally in my opinion; I just know the idea of “gay zombies” would amp up the general terror level of zombies for these types of folks)

Thankfully, even though those folks are loud, they don’t seem to be the majority. Lots of people are tweeting support and admiration:

This is one of those times where, as a long time reader of the source material, I get to smirk and say “I already knew that.”

ETA: The whole point of this post; sometimes I like things, sometimes assholes like those same things. If said assholes decide they don’t like, they are welcome to fuck off. No one will miss them (well, I won’t).

 

 

Are You Scared Yet?

I said something in an earlier blog post that I feel needs revision.

“Stupid people believe stupid things, and are easily led.”

The more I think about it, the more unfair and inflammatory it sounds. I’ve known lots of “stupid” people in my life, and some of them (most, actually) aren’t much different from the rest of humanity. This may be because the rest of humanity is really as stupid as I think most of them are, but I’m trying to be charitable here damn it. Anyway, I’d like to revise that statement to the following:

Scared people believe stupid things, and are easily led.”

It took me a while to realize the distinction (because I’m stupid), but this is way more accurate. As a former degenerate drug addict and rage-ball, I can honestly say there are very few things in this world that I fear; the government, organized law enforcement, and my father. Also, ladders. I’m not afraid of heights, but fuck ladders; those things are terrifying. We put men on the moon, but that’s the best we can do for scaling a fucking building? Yeah, fuck that…

Think about it, look around, watch the news; they’re the loudest voice when it comes to pushing the narrative. Here’s a few examples:

[Disclaimer: I am not a scientist, or a lawyer, or a doctor; I don’t have so much as a fucking degree in medieval Prussian literature. What I do have is common fucking sense…]

“Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?”

Here’s the thing, though; are they? Are they really? I have to ask this, because S. (that’s my significant other, for all the new readers) is one of these “women in tech.” Her job is so fucking complicated I can only grasp about half of what she tells me about it (but I can build a house, inside and out, from the ground up, so there’s that. #bluecollar4life!). She is staggeringly gifted when it comes to IT. She’s also a young, attractive woman. She was a founding member of a company that handled digital governance for large corporations, back in the day when most people didn’t even know what the fuck it was. She’s testified before Congressional sub-committees, worked with a lot of government organizations, and a few years ago she went to work for the corporate IT division of a large national retailer.

When she first started this latest job; and still now, sometimes, when a new contractor or hire comes in; people underestimate her or make remarks based on her appearance, or based on the fact that she’s a lady. How does she deal with this? She puts them in their place and does her fucking job; and sometimes she does their job when they’re incompetent. Occasionally, at the end of the day, she’ll call me and rant a little about this sort of thing, but the fact remains; no one is going to make her do anything she doesn’t want to do, most especially leave off doing what she loves fucking doing.

Free-Range Parents Are The Debil!

Semi-related post here. These parents are totally okay with their young kids walking a mile unsupervised to and from a park. Some stranger saw them, panicked, and called the cops. THE POLICE AND CPS INVESTIGATED THE FAMILY! (bolding and ALL CAPS to drive this fucking point home) Some total stranger caused a shit-storm for this unsuspecting family, all because of the things that the mainstream media shovels into their empty fucking head on a daily basis. In one TV report, they even had a cop on-camera saying something like “Uh, well, this is a sketchy neighborhood. There’s a lot of crime…” In fucking Silver Spring, Maryland…

Ice-Cube

Okay, so first things first, you’re a fucking liar. Secondly, if that did happen to be true, you’re a fucking cop! You might as well have just said, “We suck at our job, criminals rule the streets. Where the fuck is Batman when we need him?” Have some self-respect, stop peddling bullshit just because someone did something you don’t agree with! Here’s another related post that sums it all up (gimme dem clicks!)

[Quick aside: so these parents were put under investigation by Child Protective Services, and made to sign a document saying under penalty of arrest that they wouldn’t allow their kids to go about unsupervised, yet NOT ONE FUCKING REPORTER has managed to ask Morgan Geyser’s “Hot-Topic Goth-Type” parents whether or not they ever informed their daughter that Slenderman is fucking imaginary?! Fuck you, mainstream media]


 

I’m not even going to start ranting about anything else but seriously, think about it. How much of the shit the mainstream media shows on a daily basis is pushing the narrative “Are you afraid? If not, why not? You should be, and here’s why!” Guns, gay marriage, video games, “rape culture”, ISIS (as long as they don’t call them “Islamic”), marijuana, drugs in general (unless they’re “approved” pharmaceuticals of course! Don’t forget, Botox is now approved for migraines! Ask your doctor if it’s right for you!), Russia, North Korea…it’s fucking everything, and it’s fucking everywhere. Most people in this country are being led around by their goddamned noses and don’t even realize it.

About the “women in tech” thing, I asked S. the other night:

“How many horror stories could you read, or how many horror movies could you watch, before you were so fucking terrified you’d just stop going into the woods altogether?”

I think that’s mostly what’s happening here, in all this shit.

Don’t forget to vote…(I actually had someone say to me, “Isn’t it awesome that it might come down to Bush/Clinton AGAIN?!?!” No, it’s not, it’s fucking terrifying; and it says a lot more about the state of this country than most people realize.”

Scared people believe stupid things, and are easily led.

Internet “Thug” Life

I’m a big fan of the block button. I use them a lot in online gaming. As previously stated, I’ve got a low threshold for bullshit, and if a single button press can remove a minor annoyance, I wholeheartedly endorse it. I’ve blocked/muted LOTS of people in the games I play. The number of people I’ve actively blocked/muted online outside of gaming? One. Long-time readers may remember the story; I took exception with the way this fellow tried to frame an argument (an argument between two people who were complete strangers to him, I might add; he just decided that it fit his criteria for a hill to die on), pointed this out, and spent the next little while reveling in his idiocy as he labeled me a racist and sought to “educate” me. After about an hour, he recruited several (hundred) friends to dog-pile me, whereupon I called him a cunt (sorry, not sorry), he called me a sexist racist, and then I blocked him. That’s what I get for trying to have a rational conversation on the internet, I suppose.

These days, I watch and read a lot more than I interact. My unofficial catchphrase has become “I blame the internet!” There’s something for everyone, even if your particular “something” happens to be completely fucking moronic. You can find people who’ll back you up, people who will endorse and reinforce every ridiculous idea running through your vapid little head, and if someone happens to disagree…BLOCK! If you choose, you can go through your whole online existence without ever acknowledging, let alone considering, opposing viewpoints.

I don’t consider that a problem; what I DO consider a problem is that a lot of people seem to overlook the fact that the way you begin an online interaction sets the tone for the course of it. Of course, I have a relevant story:

I was in my early twenties and working for a construction company; my wife wanted to stay home with our son, so to make ends meet I got a part-time evening job as a telemarketer. The company sold tickets to country-western concerts to raise money for various non-profit groups, and I hated it. A lot of the places on our auto-dialers were retirement homes, and I’d spend hours trying to guilt old, retired folks on fixed incomes into giving me money. One of the systems they had in place was this thing where, if we got an abusive person on the phone, we could press a button at our desk, a light at the front of the room would come on, and we could put the call on speaker for the office managers to hear. It was a “cover your ass” protocol in case you said something off-script, as well as a way to identify someone who should be taken off of the call list.

One of the other guys who worked there was this fellow named Race, and Race was country; Nascar, hunting, guns, the works. He was loud, with a thick southern accent, but he was also funny, friendly, and personable. Race was a great salesman.

One day, the light goes on, Race holds up his hand, removes and sets down his headset, and presses the speaker button. A man’s voice, mid-rant, fills the office. I won’t repeat what was being said, I’ll just say they’re what most people would call “fighting words.” The office manager let it go on for a few minutes because most of us were laughing; Race wasn’t. As the guy on the other end of the phone continues to spew awful, personal insults at him, Race fumbles to put his headset back on, presses the talk button and in a slow, steady voice says, “Motherfucker, you wanna talk about beating someone’s ass; I got your address on the fucking computer screen right in front of me. I’ll be right over to [rattles off this guy’s address] and we’ll see about an ass beating.”

Unexpectedly (that’s sarcasm), the fellows whole attitude changed. He calmly and politely asked to speak to a manager, Race got fired, and the cops showed up. They issued him a stern warning and escorted him from the premises. The last time I saw Race was at the end of my shift that evening; he pulled into the parking lot with a beer in his hand and a baseball bat on the passenger seat beside him, he had a small slip of paper with this guys address on it. I don’t know what happened next, but I can guess…

There’s a moral to this story. The moral is “if you poke a bear, don’t cry when you get mauled.” More and more often, I see people throw themselves head-first into online drama. They’re trolls, there’s no two ways about it. (Like it or not, if you engage with someone strictly because you’re looking to mock them or argue in bad faith, you’re a fucking troll.) They’ll pop in with a “witty” remark, or a snarky little Photoshop image, often mocking something that some people may feel strongly about; then, the minute they get negative attention from the people/group that they JUST WILLINGLY ENGAGED, they’ll run back to their supporters and/or the opposing group crying about “harassment”. That’s not harassment, that’s a logical reaction to your own shitty behavior. There’s a real world equivalent, it goes like this; “talk shit, get hit.” There’s a world of difference there, and I don’t know if people just don’t get that or if they’re all just pretending they don’t.

TL;DR?

If you ain’t got a dog in the fight, maybe it’d be best if you just stayed the fuck out of it.


I’d like to give a shout-out to Jason at aopinionatedman for inspiring me to write this post! Stay golden, pony-boy! Fuck the haters!

Last, but not least, in the immortal words of Tyler, The Creator:

 

 

Ode to the Laundromat

“Fuck away from me; what are you, stupid?”
“Yo fugly, smoke that shit outside. I ain’t the one to be testing dude, for real.”
“Control your girl’s child while you’re at it.”

I swear, this is the only place I don’t trust myself these days.

GOOSFRABAH
(And yes, when I’m annoyed that’s what I sound like.)

Is It Just Me?

For a few decades now, not a day goes by that I don’t notice a bumper sticker somewhere that says something along the lines of “Look Twice For Motorcycles” or “Watch Out For Motorcycles.” I just figured I’d report in and say I’ve been watching, I’ve been looking out, and a LOT of motorcyclists drive like fucking idiots.

I’m not saying ALL motorcyclists, I’m not even saying MOST motorcyclists, I’m just saying a lot. Any time I’m in the car for any length of time, it’s practically guaranteed I’m going to see someone on a motorcycle driving like an asshole; riding the line to cut through traffic at lights, hopping on the shoulder when the road’s backed up, riding side by side in a lane (even though it’s legal here, it usually ends up with one or both cyclists edging into the lanes on either side).

So, I’m looking out for ‘em. Florida is full of them, and they mostly drive like dicks.