30 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 30 2016 -Recovery Time

The workweek that just ended yesterday is one that I won't soon forget. Everything was thrown into chaos because the contract that the company I work for was in its final week. Normally, this is not a big deal, but this time there were too many complications to count. It seemed that anything that could go wrong was going wrong. Paperwork between the company and the client was constantly being called into question, which was very unusual because it has gone so smoothly in years past.
This led to lots of stress from everyone that I normally interact with all week long. The uncertainty led to wild speculation, but that is human nature. Some of the paperwork involved my continued ability to access our company's software on the client's systems. Normally I spend part of 1 day per week working at the client's offices, but this last week I was stuck there for 3 full days (Wednesday through Friday) preparing for the worst case scenario and making sure that all of my accounts and company information was going to be safe in the unlikely event that the contract was not approved. Of course, this meant that most of my normal work I do from home was put on hold. I was still waiting for final word on Friday morning. Just before lunchtime the call came through that everything was finally taken care of. Once again, on Friday, the last day of the existing contract, we were finally advised that everything was in order.
Honestly by Friday morning I was beginning to wonder what was going to happen. Other people had long since progressed into full-blown panic mode, and this really started to attack the last layers of my Thpe B defenses. Between the atmosphere at the client's office, and the stream of rumors filling my messages away from there, I was 99.9% done and ready to just say "FUCK THIS SHIT!" The hardest part was to keep my damned mouth shut other than to reassure everyone that things were going to be OK.
I suppose that I tried too hard to stay calm and maintain my composure at work because when I got home in the evening, I was exhausted but yet I couldn't sleep well. I can't recall the last time I was so completely spent on all levels. Even last night, after things had been resolved successfully, I couldn't sleep. That is why today I am going to do what I want to do until the exhaustion is simply too much to bear any longer, and then go to bed.
It turns out that I did lay down on the couch and took a nap for about 90 minutes right after I wrote that last paragraph. I woke up just as Hal (person) got home from work. We ended up going to dinner and then coming back home. I do feel much better, but still am quite aware of what I have gone through. Tomorrow I will take things easy as well after running the necessary errands while Hal is at work again. I might take a short trip, but right now nothing is certain, except that I don't want to go through another week like this last one.

25 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 25 2016 - Another Monday

The first day of the workweek is always a challenge. I went to bed soon after Game of Thrones last night and woke up this morning with my back screaming in pain! This happens a lot more often as I grow older, but it is no fun at all. It seems to take longer and longer periods of stretching and walking to release the pent-up tension in the morning.
As for yesterday, it was a good day. Hal (person) and I did our weekly 1/2 price pizza at City Kitchen early in the evening and then came home to relax before Game of Thrones.
Earlier in the day, I took a really nice walk and posted pictures from it. I will get my steps in today as well and try to keep the routine going every day, although there are days once in a while when I just take a break.
Now I am making my way through the early afternoon and making certain that I am on top of things. I have my 1-1 meeting with my supervisor later this afternoon and that will bring me right up to quitting time, I will see is Hal (person) wants to do anything after work, especially since the remainder of this week is supposed to be cloudy and rainy. While I don't mind the rain, I do wish that we would not have to put up with it for the next 4 days at least!
If we do get out, I hope that we enjoy ourselves, if not we will stay here and spend time with The Stooges. Either way will be fine with me, because things could be so much worse for us all.

Dreamer's World April 21 2016 - Blogo

Blogo is an application that I discovered while attempting to find a solution to the problem of connecting my WordPress and Blogger blogs to Evernote. It has worked extremely well since I began using it about a year ago. I seldom would recommend something, but I would recommend using Blogo if you are a Mac user as I am.
While the learning curve can be rather steep at times, the staff at Blogo has always been tremendous with responding to questions in a timely manner. This makes the learning curve much more manageable.
Recently, Blogo expanded their product to iOS platforms such as iPhone and iPad. This addition has had some technical difficulties, but that is ti be expected with something new. I was involved with the Beta testing, and I am pleased with the results. While the finished product is still getting the bugs worked out, the staff has once again proven to be exceptional

Dreamer's World April 24 2016 - GoT returns and other things

The long wait is nearly over! GoT returns to HBO tonight with season 6. Like so many others, I am eagerly awaiting this show, the difference is in perspective.
I read all of the books years ago and now, for the first time, I am like the viewers who had never read the books because the series will now leap past the books and into the unknown. No longer will I have the inner satisfaction of secretly knowing most of what is about to happen.
Somehow I suspect that a great deal of this season will focus on Brandon Stark. I think that his absence from last years story was a hedge against GRRM not having the new book ready in time for this season. If so, it will give them some time to catch up with Bran's progress and focus less on some of the other storylines.
As for Jon Snow, I honestly don't know what will become of him. The end of the last book saw him apparently dying at the hands of the Nights Watch just as last seasons finale did. All of the speculation has been great and we will find something out soon enough. The other storylines are nearly caught up as well, there is a little room to focus on Daenerys but her story is nearly where the last book left her.
Tyron remains my favorite GoT character. I can't wait to see what is next for him. Sansa and Theon are a departure from the books to some degree. I cannot help but think that Sansa will play a more prominent role in the future but it is unclear right now. Cersei remains a compelling figure, especially compared to Jaime, who has become a cautionary tale more than a character at this point with his subdued personality.
As far as other things go, today should be relatively quiet. Hal (person) is getting ready for work and once he is done I will run the dishwasher and think about how to spend the rest of my day. I have a few errands that have to be run at some point today, so I'll try to knock them out early. I'll also get some walking in during the day. The thought of going back to Old Town Alexandria occurred to me, but it isn't something I'm going to worry about right now. I see no need of being the lone diner at brunch again (if there was a seat to be found). It is better for me to simply get outside and enjoy the beautiful day and wonder why the weekends are so damned short?
I took the following pictures as I walked along the trail this morning on my way to run my errands. First is a man-made waterfall that was created by forcing the water through a culvert.

This was done to insure that there is a steady stream through Holmes Run (creek) as it winds its way towards the Potomac. Here is the view looking downstream from the waterfall.

Obviously, without much recent rain, there is not a full flow to the creek. That can change rapidly when we get heave rains.

Once I crossed over the waterfall, I was on the bike/pedestrian path that runs alongside the creek. It was a beautiful morning so I got a few pictures.

Finally, as I neared the pint along the trail where I would exit, there was another mini-waterfall made from stone that adds some freshness to the water as it continues to flow downhill.

23 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 23 2016 - Impulse Buying and My Bucket List

Normally, I try my best to resist the urge to impulse buy anything. I want to be fiscally responsible, and impulse buying flies in the face of that strategy. However, I also have a list of things that I have always wanted to do, and learning to play the guitar is one of them. Sometimes the impulse overrides the logic.
Very early this morning as I was unable to get any sleep, I was flipping through the hundreds of channels on cable and ran across the Home Shopping Network. Normally, I avoid changes like this but the guide mentioned something about guitars, so I decided to take a look.
They were selling the Keith Urban guitar package. This is the one that has listed in the past for as much, if not more than, $500. I decided to take a look since I had been toying with the idea of getting a guitar on my own anyway, that’s the bucket list thing.
To my surprise, the guitar package was on sale for $199. I stopped and watched for a few minutes to make sure that this was not a reduced package, but it was the original version. I decided to find my wallet and purchase one for myself. When it arrives, I will do my best to practice and learn to play the guitar at last. I know that it won’t be easy, but I hope that it is enjoyable enough to make the effort worthwhile. I purchased the Jade Green acoustic/electric model as pictured below

I am waiting for the confirmation that the item has shipped. I feel that sense of guilty pleasure for actually doing something that I have always wanted to do. I do not predict that I will become a virtuoso on the guitar, but if I can get to the point of proficiently playing chords along with some of my favorite songs, I will be happy.

22 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 22 2016 - Another Musical Genius Gone

     Like everyone else, I was stunned to hear that Prince had died yesterday. After the loss of David Bowie earlier this year, 2016 will already be remembered as a terrible year simply because these 2 musical geniuses are no longer with us.
     I have always told people who asked me that my favorite musicians were Bowie, Prince and Stevie Wonder. They are all timeless greats and their contribution to music will never be equaled. It saddens me to know that already this year 2 of them are gone.
     Prince and Bowie were tremendously talented musicians, each in their own way. I cannot debate the virtuosity of Prince on so many instruments. This is amazing considering that he taught himself to play all of those instruments. Like Bowie, Prince distanced himself from the mainstream at all times, preferring to be the individuals that they were rather than just one of the crowd. Even when Bowie achieved his mainstream success with "Let's Dance", he said that it was the least fulfilling point in his long career. It was as if Bowie only deigned to become popular in the mainstream once in order to say he had done it.
     Prince began as another underground artist who made a big splash and then went on his way. His early music is so much more intense and personal than his commercial period. Perhaps Prince maintained a bit more mainstream success over a longer period of time, but I think that this was due to a recognition of his vast talent, just like Bowie.
     Prince fought his battles wisely and effectively. Like Bowie he kept his persona visible to the public only to the degree he chose to. Both men were intensely private and almost shunned the spotlight unless they were prepared to use it. I mean that last statement as a tremendous compliment to them both.
     Prince and Bowie both explored different genres of music rather than being pigeonholed into a neat category. Bowie explored R&B and Soul, Prince dabbled in Rock and Roll, but neither was easy to pin down. Each would push the boundaries as they explored music and dare others to follow them.
     Bowie and Prince had the same detractors throughout their careers. The small-minded people who wanted nothing experimental or daring from their musicians tended to despise both of them. Bowie fought against the stigma of his stated sexual ambiguity. Prince fought that battle as well as the battle of being a successful Black artist who refused to sell out. Personally, I know of many people that would talk about Michael Jackson and insinuate that Prince must also be another "freak". The sad truth is that the statements against Jackson were always more public fodder than anything else, but as I said, small-minded people could not distinguish artistic freedom in their own little minds.

     Bowie and Prince are gone far too soon. The world will probably not know geniuses like this for a long time to come. To have the pleasure of being alive and listening to them both growing up is something that I will always cherish. 

20 April 2016

It's Time To Fix Our Broken System Of Elections

I am so tired of the election cycle that NEVER ends. I am so tired of the constant problems we have even conducting elections in this country. The current system is clearly broken, with voter disenfranchisement at an all-time high due to voter suppression efforts and to errors with the current registration process. I would like to propose a solution to these problems.
First of all, the Constitution ONLY requires that elections be held in November on Tuesday. There are NO mentions of political parties or delegates to those parties.
My proposed solution is listed in no particular order. The main change is that these would be NATIONAL STANDARDS for conducting our voter registration and elections.
I don’t claim this is perfect, but it is a good starting point for reform.

  • National standard Register EVERY American at BIRTH
  • National standard Eligible to vote in first election after 18th birthday 
  • National standard Naturalized citizens registered upon grant of citizenship and eligible to vote in first election after 18th birthday 
  • National standard NO party registration required
  • National standard Primaries and Caucuses open to ALL since there is NO party registration 
  • National standard Primaries and Caucuses are won by popular vote and totaled at conclusion of all states
  • Winners of these enter general election 
  • General elections are nationwide popular vote
  • Constitutional Amendment to abolish the Electoral College 
  • National standard Election days are federal holidays 
  • National standard State election days are state holidays 
  • National standard Campaign cycles limited to 90 days from first state to general election 
  • National standard Vote by mail with registered receipt for tracking
  • National standard Equal time in media for candidates with no political ads
  • Outlaw PACs
  • NATIONAL STANDARD Upon completion of sentences, all former prisoners have their eligibility to vote restored except when convicted of ESPIONAGE or TREASON.
  • Requirement to appear on ballot is 45% of voters/all citizens. NO MORE % of registered citizens according to parties.

18 April 2016

There Is a Moderate Republican in This Race, But She’s Running as a Democrat

There Is a Moderate Republican in This Race, But She's Running as a Democrat

There Is a Moderate Republican in This Race, But She’s Running as a Democrat

Historical perspective on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Who is the real Democrat -- Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton? Why are fringe candidates getting all of the attention this year? Who are the moderates?
These questions can all be answered by understanding something that has been unfolding for 40 years: The center of American politics has shifted steadily to the right. Today, neither party is even remotely similar to what it was when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, for example, first entered politics.
In the late 1970s, as large corporations turned into transnational giants, they pumped huge amounts of cash into the political system. This largesse lured, first, the Republican Party, in the 80s, followed by the Democratic Party in the '90s, and precipitated a rightward political shift as both parties rewrote their policies to compete for the same corporate contributions.
Before this, from 1932-1976, the Democratic Party as a whole was far more progressive. The issues and approaches advocated today by Bernie Sanders were considered mainstream Democratic ideas by Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson, and even many moderate Republicans. It was common to support strict financial regulation, liberal immigration, social services for the poor, and progressive tax policies.
Which one is the Democrat?
Hillary Clinton's stances, while fluid during this election cycle, are historically most in tune with classical Republican ideas, as advocated by Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and others. As a young woman, she volunteered for the conservative Barry Goldwater, and while today she's become liberal on some social issues, she's generally at home with moderate conservative ideas, such as a hawkish military, strict immigration laws, reduced welfare, laissez-faire rules for Wall Street, and international business treaties that favor large corporations. One group started a petition this year asking Clinton to run as a Republican, suggesting that while she is "liberal on some issues, on a wide range of important issues she lands squarely as a moderate conservative."
As for the Republican candidates still running in the primary this year -- Donald Trump, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz -- they are all to the right of Goldwater, and they would have been considered unelectable extremists and distant outliers on the spectrum before 1996.
The steady rightward shift of American politics, before Bernie Sanders

The Rise of Bernie Sanders

Without Bernie Sanders, we would have the political spectrum above. Hillary Clinton and the conservative wing of the Democratic Party have moved rightward into a corporate centrist (neoliberal) position. This position has a certain amount of flexibility on social issues but adheres strictly to unregulated capitalism and favors international trade deals that benefit large corporations rather than domestic jobs, the environment, or fair wage or labor standards. The Republican Party has shifted to the right too, towards policies that benefit no one but the ultra-wealthy and the largest transnational corporations; they cloak their goals in racist or evangelical language to appeal to voters, but their regressive policies generally aim to restrict or even cancel laws and rights won by the working classes in earlier eras.
A popular meme on twitter, 4/9-4/11
This rightward drift has pushed the "center" to a spot between Hillary Clinton and John Kasich. This "center" is to the right of even Social Security, abortion rights, labor unions, and quality public high schools. With that "center," Republicans who wish to be considered "strong conservatives" compete for ground far out to the right, where little civic sanity is left. With that "center," true progressive issues are never even discussed.
The arrival of Bernie Sanders heralds a potential rebalancing of the spectrum:
The rightward shift of American politics explains the rise of Bernie Sanders
Bernie's policies appear to us to be radical and unusual only because the Democratic Party has moved so far to the right since he entered politics. In 1970, universal healthcare, peace, and a livable minimum wage were bread-and-butter down-the-middle planks of the Democratic Party platform.

What We Are Voting On

Therefore in 2016 we are voting not just for a candidate, but for the very political debate we want to have over the next two decades. I support Bernie Sanders not only because he's right on the issues I care most about -- climate change, campaign finance, income inequality, racial justice, and militarism -- but because electing him will reestablish the left in our political discourse for a generation.
Resetting the spectrum will restart an American political discourse where the left and right are more balanced representations of classical liberal and conservative thinking, and where racist reactionaries are no longer considered American thought leaders. This will enable action on pressing issues like the environment, campaign finance, and livable wages.
If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, her victory will push our political center further right and normalize a crazy cadre of right-wingers as the holders of modern American conservatism.
If Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, his victory will be a genuine win for the American political left, but more importantly it will reset our political discourse and pave the way for sensible debate on the most important issues of our time.

17 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 17 2016

Since today is such a lovely day, I decided to catch the bus and go into Old Town Alexandria to walk, sightsee, and have brunch. Since Hal (person) is at work and there was nothing to keep me tied to the apartment today, I made my choice.
The bus trip is only about 15 minutes and saves the expense and frustration of finding a parking spot anywhere near Old Town. I took a nice, leisurely walk along King Street in the direction of the Potomac because it is the heart of Old Town Alexandria. There were thousands of people out with the same idea I had, but it wasn't terribly crowded along the sidewalks.
Old Town Alexandria is a rather trendy and touristy place. As you walk towards the river from the Metro station, the buildings get older and older with each passing block. By the time you reach the last block before the river, the buildings are all at least 200 years old and have been converted into almost every type of restaurant and shop you can imagine.
My intended brunch was at Buggsy's, a local restaurant near the foot of King Street almost at the river. I arrived there and was disappointed, but not at all surprised, to find that the line was out the door. $9.95 for an all-you-can-eat pizza and salad buffet is a good deal anywhere. I decided to brave the line and made it inside the door when I saw a young woman walking past the line in the opposite direction on her phone saying that she couldn't be seated because she was dining alone and there weren't enough places. Under normal conditions, I might have asked her if she would join me since I was also dining solo, but she was far too preoccupied with her own problems so I'm sure it was for the best.
I then reevaluated my own situation and decided that I didn't need the same type of trouble about dining solo. I left the line and resumed my walking but I was torn between a feeling of isolation, and one of resentment. I had forgotten how difficult it can be to go into a crowded restaurant and attempt to dine alone. Since we have very few friends who care to ever do brunch on a Sunday, if I am going to brunch I must do so on my own. This incident clearly reminded me as to why I gave up going to brunch last summer. The isolation that one feels is very unpleasant to say the least. It is a simple fact of life that my schedule and Hal (person)'s schedule seldom give us a lot of time together, especially on weekends.
On the bright side, Hal (person) will be home from work later this afternoon. At that time, we will go to another place for pizza dinner and it will only be half price!

16 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 16 2016 - The Quiet Time

There are times when I crave nothing more than quiet. I long for those times when my mind is by far the loudest thing in my world, and it is not competing with countless other daily distractions for attention. These are the times when Inspiration seems to come naturally.
     I found this image using Google and it seemed to fit perfectly with my mood right now. I don't like all of the quasi-religious nonsense and quotes that accompany so many beautiful images that portray quiet times. I find them annoying because I am not religious. I do appreciate the Spirituality of moments like these, but only in the sense that it allows me to have greater access to myself, and not because there is any outside force involved in this.
     Quiet Time for me is special because I am at peace. To reach the point where one willingly wants nothing but quiet is a sign that life has intruded to such a degree that we need a break. All of the daily annoyances that never seem to end can make us miserable if we let them. When we finally reach the point where we understand that we NEED the Quiet Time, then we are at last in touch with ourselves.
     It takes a conscious decision to invoke the Quiet Time. The distractions that scream for our attention will still be there once we have enjoyed this time to ourselves. The problems that we are trained to believe we run away from will not really change if we take 15 minutes or so and just tune the world out.
     If our modern world has one major drawback, it is the intrusion of technology into the very essence of our being. It is so easy to always have our cell phone with us. We respond like Pavlov's dogs when the alerts sound, or the vibration goes off. Honestly, think of the times that we ourselves will glance at our devices just to reassure ourselves that they are working properly if we do not receive that external stimulation as expected.

     We are slaves to far too many things in this life. Why should we knowingly give up the one thing that we have that is truly ours, and that is our time? If we let others make these decisions for us, then we deserve whatever unhappiness that choice brings our way. I am being this harsh because only you can surrender your time to the world. Only you can make that decision, no matter what everyone tries to tell you. 

15 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 15 2016 - Identity

I decided to try a new profile picture for the post today. I still love having my calendar included to provide myself with a sense of time, and the Lucy and Charlie Brown item adds a touch of unreality as well. The Bose SoundTouch 20 adds music for my mood. The song that happened to be playing was "Message In A Bottle" by The Police, which remains one of my favorite songs of all time. I suppose that I needed a change to things around here as the week rolls to a conclusion.

I finally feel like I am in a good place to write again. My Evernote is filled with abandoned blog posts from this week. There are so many times that I start to write something only to realize that I shouldn't be posting it after all. I sometimes re-read these aborted posts to get a sense of perspective on things, and I find that really helps me in my day-to-day life.

It often escapes us, in our busy lives, just exactly who we really are. Myself, I am a very intense person with a strong sense of purpose, but in a very Zen type of way. By nature I am a Type B personality and I can easily manage myself when left to my own devices. I find that deadlines and the encroaching problems of other people cause me to tune out subconsciously. This gives others the impression that I am aloof and uncaring. Nothing could be further from the truth as far as my friends are concerned, but it a stark truth to those who approach me in the wrong way.

I am an interesting mixture of introvert and extrovert. I usually take my time to formulate a response before I speak in order to say what it is that I really want to say. Once words have left our lips, or appeared on these pages, they can never be withdrawn.

I seldom interact with people that I have difficulties with because experience has taught me that these people seem to only thrive on chaos that they can cause in those around them. My life and my time are far too valuable to waste on these people. When I was younger and more naive, I wanted to think that I could single-handedly change the world and everyone in it. Now I realize that is impossible, and a waste of time and effort.

I welcome a wide variety of people into my life but they remain a part of my life only provided that they behave properly. I believe that each of us has the responsibility to maintain order and happiness within our own lives, and to NOT attempt to be a cause of turmoil to others. This has resulted in my discarding some old friends but those have been replaced with new ones that I would not trade the world for.

I know that life is transitory. We never stand still, but it is up to us about which direction we move. People are a part of our lives at all times, but we are the ones who determine how long they remain because we are each on our own journeys and paths often diverge.

I love cats. They are the animals that I can most easily identify with due to their independent natures. Cats choose people with whom they wish to associate, and so do I. Cats show affection to those they care about, and this is much different than simply showing interest in those they have to tolerate.

I love music more than TV. Music is timeless and not trying to get me interested in something to buy. I seldom watch TV unless there are sports or cartoons on. The news is a complete and utter wasteland to me because I get my information from online sources. Basically all of TV is trash and info-porn that I have zero use for.

I prefer a small group of friends to a mass of acquaintances. There are no benefits to me of being a part of a large group of people because I tend to focus my attention on the person/s I am with at any given time.

I hate people who cannot communicate without giving the appearance that I am something that isn't that important to them. Being out with a friend who constantly checks their phone means that is the last time I will waste my time with them. I purposefully will silence or turn off my phone when I am spending time with another person.

I am introspective. I can lose myself in my own mind very easily when I am bored, and the boredom goes away quickly. I can be extremely quiet at times, and this puts some people off.

I served in the US Navy. I appreciate and respect those who serve and have served, but I know that there is nothing tremendously unusual about the experience. It is simply a system in which some people have worked. My prior service does not govern my life now any more than my experiences in the 3rd grade. There were some impacts, but I frame myself in much larger terms.

I am unique, I am special. However, in the grand scheme of things this is meaningless. Rather, I am as important as I choose to be. That is true for all of us.

10 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 10 2016 -Great Writing is like Great Sex

The mind is aroused. Your breathing quickens. You begin to plan out every little detail, knowing that things will inevitably require some improvisation when the moment arrives. You nervously begin typing, and the adrenaline flows through you and makes you feel like your body is on fire!
     You move confidently, until something is remembered, or recognized, and then you quickly improvise around it to ge to your objective. You laugh, you cry. You scream both outwardly and inwardly. You sweat and you strain and push. You won’t stop until you are finished.  You hyperventilate and things get fuzzy.

     At last you are done. You put your head down for a moment of rest and look to see your blog post ready at last. You smoke a cigarette and congratulate yourself on a job well done. 

Dreamer's World April 10 2016 - Siblings Day as an Only Child


     I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as Siblings Day until today when I saw friends posting about it on FaceBook. It seems like a wonderful idea to celebrate one's siblings so I am surprised that I hadn't heard of it before. I am sure that I would have remembered this from the past, because it does hold significance for me, although not in the way that it does for most people.
     I am an only child. The reasons are complex, but they center on the fact that my Mother was rather small of stature. I found out when I was a child that my birth, had it occurred naturally, would most likely have killed my Mother and that was why I was born via c-section. Obviously, this led to the decision by my parents that they would not attempt another child at the expense of my Mother's health and/or life.
     I have always envied those who have siblings. I choose that word carefully because I am NOT jealous of those people, I envy them. The best way to explain that rather deep sentiment is that I can envy someone who is rich, because I have never been rich. I can only be JEALOUS of someone who has something similar to what I have, but which I feel is better than what I have. I hope that clears things up.
     Growing up as an only child was something that I was aware of, but that also involved the realization that there was nothing at all I could ever do about it. I asked that question about why i had no brothers or sisters when I was very young, because all of my friends did. When I was told about the medical issues with my Mother, I understood and never asked again.
     And so, I lived my childhood knowing that I was different to a degree. I was never spoiled, but I was made aware that I was special and unique. I was given a healthy sense of self from both my parents and I am grateful to them for that every day of my life. I learned responsibility by being the one who was responsible for things, not for being one of a group of people. I had no fall-back position if I did something wrong. I could not blame anyone else for my fuck-ups. While this lesson was not particularly pleasant, it was very important as I journeyed through life.

     I found this picture and it does resonate with me as I talk about this. After the death of my parents I am totally alone. There is no other real family left. I have my relationships, and I cherish them, but they are not the deep bond that siblings have. Siblings know that they carry on what was given to them collectively. They remain as sources of support throughout their lives, and that is beautiful. Anyway, back to the picture 

               I am the figure on the path. I may be moving towards the viewer, or I may be moving away. It is beautifully indeterminate, just like life itself. For me, as the figure in the picture, my reality is where I am on the path. It is everything else that changes as I move along. As much as I love Hal (person), this path is my own. Only a sibling would have enough of the commonalities to be pictured as walking with me.
     Surprisingly to some, I seldom feel alone. I feel normal, as I always have. My path was always the solo path, fate made it so. To be miserable and feel overwhelmed and alone would mean that I would stop moving altogether. I will never stop moving along my path until I die, there is too much to see. The direction I choose to move in is irrelevant from this picture. If someone sees me moving away from them, then so be it. If they choose to see me moving towards them, then so be that as well.
     I will get to where I am going, through the sun and the shadows. I will not get there by standing still. For those on their own paths who are fortunate enough to have siblings, enjoy the journey together, and may there be as few forks in your path as possible to separate you. My path may have forks in it as well, I have the freedom to take them to see where they lead, knowing that only myself will answer if things go wrong.
     That sense of freedom is exhilarating and scary at the same time. Not having to worry about a family member is a blessing and a curse. In the end, it all evens out, and my Type B personality just tells me to take things at my own pace and enjoy the journey.
     Happy Siblings Day to everyone. Hold them close. 

05 April 2016

North Carolina GOP now in full-on delusional damage control after losing PayPal over HB2

North Carolina GOP now in full-on delusional damage control after losing PayPal over HB2

Dreamer's World April 4 2016 - To Write Is To Live

Regardless of how I feel each day, there is nothing that makes me feel better than writing. When I finally let my guard down and simply begin to put my inner thoughts into this blog, my mind soars above all my troubles. What an invigorating feeling!

I normally try to analyze things when they happen, and this is no exception. I have to consciously let myself go in order to reach this writing Nirvana. That has always been my weakness. When I do let myself go, I have no earthly idea how long I will be in my Writing world, or when I will drop back to reality. TO be honest, I simply don't care when I am there. But I have to make my way through the real world at the same time, and that often keeps me from letting go when I would like to.

It sounds like I am describing a drug, but that is what Writing is to me. It always makes me feel better, and to a degree, I need it. Likes and comments on my blog make my day. I am not a great Writer, I would like to be one day, but I want to enjoy every second of the freedom and the rush that Writing gives to me.

Sadly, I have to resist the wonderful urge most of the time, but that makes the opportunities to let myself go that much more special.

What are your feelings when you Write?

Mississippi governor signs 'anti-LGBT' bill into law

Mississippi governor signs 'anti-LGBT' bill into law



04 April 2016

Breaking: Conservatives Just Lost Huge at the Supreme Court - The New Civil Rights Movement

Breaking: Conservatives Just Lost Huge at the Supreme Court - The New Civil Rights Movement

Dreamer's World April 4 2016 - Is the Election over with yet?

I cannot be the only person who feels that this Presidential election will never end. I am already so sick of the shitstorm that I wish all of the candidates would just go away to never bother me again. I cannot believe that we have 6 more months of this BULLSHIT to endure!
The media is all too complicit in this. They constantly blare out their sickening info-porn 24 hours a day like there is nothing else going on in the world except for this election that will eventually happen. It's almost as if they WANT people to get so disgusted that they tune out and just say "FUCK THIS SHIT". I honestly believe this to be the case because it insures that the most corporate and vanilla of the candidates will emerge victorious.
George Carlin spoke of the "Illusion Of Freedom" in which we are presented with a tremendous amount of choices. The trouble is the choices are already decided in advance. The options have been approved by those in power to insure that none of our "choices" will actually threaten their status quo. It doesn't matter which flavor of ice cream we choose, Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, etc because it is all the same ice cream.
Our system is corrupt and designed to protect those in power. If we vote in elections, we get what we deserve. If we don't vote, we are criticized because we didn't participate in the fake "Freedom of Choice" steaming pile of BULLSHIT that was shoved in our faces. This is a closed loop with no way out.
The media plays their part in this charade by bombarding us with the BULLSHIT 24x7. Real issues are quickly replaced by personal attacks because real issues aren't the reason for our elections anymore. There is no surprise to me that a Nazi like Trump is considered a candidate. He is a product of the media and plays their game to perfection. He goes for ratings with empty slogans, but the media will NEVER call him out on this because it is all part of the game to them.
The rich and powerful have created this charade in order to protect themselves. This is the "Bread and Circuses" of the digital age, except that it is the PEOPLE who are being fed to the Lions while the PEOPLE watch and give thanks that they were not the ones chosen to be sacrificed to the BULLSHIT on that particular day. Give people info-porn rather than information because info-porn requires no thought process to digest. It only provokes instinctive reactions that are then presented as political facts. Find some scapegoats to blame for peoples' problems and they are happy because those problems actually are caused by those in power, but they never are called to account for this. Let there be no doubt, there will always be terrorists, criminals, religious lunatics, out-of-control cops and other problems because these problems keep our attention diverted from the fact that we are being USED.
In true Orwellian form, our freedom has been taken away from us in the name of "Freedom". We are overloaded with BULLSHIT to cloud real issues and then asked to judge which BULLSHIT we want to be force-fed for the next 2-4 years. But don't worry, the system is already rigged for that as well.
The day after the election is finally over with, the next cycle of BULLSHIT will start all over again.

Dreamer's World April 3 2016 - A Sunday Routine

Hal (person) is home from work at last. When he has had a chance to get a shower and relax, we are going to one of our favorite places to eat. City Kitchen is a restaurant about 2 blocks away that opened a year ago. The food is always excellent and every Sunday night, excluding holidays, they have 1/2 price pizzas. It has become a routine for us to go there to close out the weekend and have a good meal and a good time.

This is not some extraordinary expense, 1/2 price is what got us going there in the first place. It is not the fanciest place in the world, but we don't need all the bells and whistles of some overpriced place. It suits our lifestyle and our budget, and most importantly, we love the place. We ha e told our friends all about it, but they seem too addicted to the DC establishments to ever venture out into the provinces like Alexandria. We consider this to be their loss.

I think it is important to have some routine in our lives that doesn't involve anyone other than ourselves for the most part. There is no pressure to make the time together any more special than it already is. The days of being social butterflies are behind us. We treasure our time together more than ever. When we were running around with our group of "friends" there was always the pressure of not excluding anyone or making some people feel more special than others. Personally, I always found that to be rather nauseating because no matter how hard you try to make it work, someone always ends up being angry or upset.

One of the secrets to a relationship that has lasted over 16 years is the recognition that we become one rather than two. We don't have to talk things out as much because we pretty much know what the other is thinking. With friends who seem determined to remain single it becomes more and more difficult to relate to them because their lives are seemingly on endless repeat.

We have decided that we will go on with our lives. The pizza night is a nice little distraction from things and gives us time together. That is the key to us being happy. Other people can be in our lives, but time has taught us that they have to be less intrusive and more stable for that to really mean anything to us.

The key is to be happy with yourself and your life. Everything else will fall into its proper place.

Dreamer's World April 3 2016 - The Downside to Social Media

I love to write. I love to communicate with other people, and the Internet is a wonderful tool for doing so. It does have it's drawbacks however and today I have reached the boiling point with some of those drawbacks.

My Twitter feed is polluted with nothing but garbage, I suspect it is one of the campaigns by groups of people to blast everyone else out of their on-line existence via concentrated tweets. Regardless, I am done with Twitter for the time being, if not for good. The purge is underway today, but then I realized the utter futility of my action. Why am I letting this shit get to me? It makes no difference at all what people say or do on Twitter or any other site. It is my response that generates my feelings, and that I can control.

I am done with Twitter for a while. When I venture back, I will not take the time to tolerate or respond to any bullshit, I will just start a slow process of unfollowing and blocking the users who waste my time. This might well lead to my leaving Twitter altogether, but I can accept that. The key is to not just respond immediately because that plays right into the hands of those who provoke for no reason but to get a reaction in the first place.

Just when I was finishing with that rant, the same thing happened, or rather something that just hit me the wrong way at the wrong time, on Face Book. An old Navy buddy, well more acquaintance since it has been years since we last spoke, put out the brazen announcement that anyone who did not cut-and-paste a statement proving that they were actually following his time-line onto their own time-line would therefore be considered no longer a friend to follow. Once again, I saw red but was much quicker to calm down this time. If he has to plead for people to follow him by displaying that type of subservience, then it certainly isn't worth my time to be bothered with him.

The key to all of this is Life goes on. We have a huge degree of influence over our own reality if we choose to exercise it. People from an on-line world mean nothing. Friends who have morphed into nothing more than on-line presences are exactly the same. I took a long time to realize that people genuinely act the way they want to, it takes effort to maintain a friendship or an acquaintanceship. It is hard work and I simply don't have the time or the inclination to allow those people to dictate my life.

Life is always better with friends, but life is better without fakes and posers pretending to be friends than it is to pretend that these people actually care.

03 April 2016

Dreamer's World - Choices

Life is a series of choices for all of us. Some choices are easy, and others are gut-wrenchingly difficult. They all add up over time to put us in the place that we are. It is a no-win situation in the sense that not making a choice is in itself, a choice.

I am remembering a former friend who decided to walk out of my life one year ago. The reasons were complicated, but they centered on a lack of honesty and communication, as well as attempts at blatant manipulation. The friendship was doomed from the start, but we tried to make it work for as long as possible. Eventually, the facades dropped and our real faces were revealed.

The choice to end things was made unilaterally by the other person, but honestly, I was on the verge of making the same decision myself. He simply made it first. I wasn't surprised by the choice, but the attitude that went along with it really pissed me off.

My decision to attempt the friendship was a choice that turned out to be the wrong choice. I made it anyway because things were not totally clear at the time. I don't regret that choice because I learned from it, and that is the thing that we all need to remember about our choices. They all will teach us something in the long run.

There are times in our lives when we face choices that we would rather not make. Life demands that we do so anyway because life isn't fair. The trouble is that there are times like that when we are paralyzed by indecision, and that is never a good thing. While taking some time to make a decision is perfectly acceptable, we cannot allow it to become procrastination, or refusal to act.

These are the lessons that we all learn as we go through life. I suppose that in the cosmic sense that there truly are no right or wrong answers, because nothing that we do will alter the basic function of the universe in any noticeable way. We view things in a much more personal way in order to retain our sanity, and this is where we encounter the difficulty.

I have wrestled internally with choices not because I didn't know the right thing to do, but because I was afraid of how those choices would be received by other people. A little concern for our fellow man is one thing, but surrendering our choice based on the opinions of others is to stop living.

If you are reading this, stop right here. Take a look around and really see where you are and who you are at this time. That is the result of your choices. It is not good or evil, unless we choose to make it that way. Sadly, we have a tremendous capacity for blaming ourselves for everything that happens to us. This is a basic truth, but it is not final. The next choice that you make will have an impact on things in your life. Always try to make the choice that is best for you. To seriously delay that choice will only hurt you down the road.

We are the end game of our own choices, but the game never stops. If you are in a dark place, you can change that. If you are on top of the world, you can lose everything. Nothing is guaranteed.

We only live once, but the second that we surrender our choices, we accelerate the process of dying.

01 April 2016

Dreamer's World April 1 2016 - There are Vampires Among Us

The upcoming weekend is still a blank slate, and I prefer it that way. Things will happen or they won't and I don't have the circle of friends that plans things out. In fact, I don't really hear from them about getting together at all, so they are falling into the category of "acquaintances" more than "friends" at this point. I don't let that bother me because there is nothing I can do about it anyway.

I am very happy with my life right now. While there are always things that can be improved, I see no reason to focus on the things that are out of my control. I make the best of each and every day. I focus my time and attention on Hal (person) and The Stooges when I am not consumed by work, and this makes everything pleasant for me and for them. There is no reason to try to force change onto this situation. If "friends" want to be involved, they have to understand that they have their place, and since they have not chosen to be deeply involved for the most part, it is truly up to them to even attempt to initiate those changes.

I honestly believe that we spend too much of our time trying to appease other people and that is a bad way to spend our time. If we are not happy with ourselves and our own situation, how can we hope to improve things by avoiding the issue and attempting to replace that happiness by placing that effort onto dealing with other people? I have tried that in the past and always felt more empty as a result. When the other people are not around, you are still forced to at last deal with yourself. If you are unhappy with yourself, then you will find that all your energy went to those other people and all that you will have left is despair.

Breaking that habit was incredibly difficult. It meant putting people out of my life because they were, in a way, vampires that sucked the life energy out of me and gave nothing in return.

Amnesty International Protesters Threatened by Turkish Security in Washington | Amnesty International USA

Amnesty International Protesters Threatened by Turkish Security in Washington | Amnesty International USA

Turkey illegally returning Syrian refugees: Amnesty International | Public Radio of Armenia

Turkey illegally returning Syrian refugees: Amnesty International | Public Radio of Armenia