Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts’ Category

Politalking: When Is The Right Time To Make It Political?   Leave a comment

That’s the questions everyone has after events like this. Fifty eight innocents dead, and hundreds more injured. A single gunman fired upon concert goers using a rifle modified to give it an automatic rate of fire. Once police made it to his room, he shot himself. As of this writing we don’t know a motive, and speculation is rampant. News is coming out, victims are dying and recovering, and vigils are being held.

America has put aside all of our political differences and came together to support the victims of this tragedy in a sign of humanity and respec-

Oh wait, that is what SHOULD have happened.

What ACTUALLY happened is a bunch of Democrats started screaming for gun control and blaming Republicans for the deaths, and a bunch of Republicans clutched their guns and screamed of Democrat false flags.

Some, like Hillary Clinton, didn’t even wait for all of the bodies to be picked up before pushing oddly specific political agendas. They didn’t finish picking up victims until 2 pm; she sent those tweets at 8 in the morning. The real icing on the cake is she asked us to put aside our politics so we can push forward with her politics. Because it’s not about politics, right?

Other people, like Hayley Geftmen-Gold, celebrated the deaths. We all know only republican gun-toting hicks listen to Jason Aldean, right? We all know your political affiliations make you worse that Hitler, right? I wish her opinion was an outlier, but it isn’t. Go on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube comments and you will see many people saying the same thing. She was just dumb enough to get caught.

The right-wing had their fair share of stupid behavior. In addition to the pearl clutching and fear mongering around guns that always happens, we had people like Alex Jones trying to claim this is a false flag. These claims have been rampant on Twitter, YouTube, and 4Chan as well. We have people claiming it was the government, or the casino owners, or the Illuminati, or some other evil entity. They don’t really care about the victims, except in their use as proof of a nefarious plot.

Bill O’Reilly said shootings like this are just the price of freedom. This one is a little more forgivable, as he doesn’t seem to have bad intent. But this was too soon for that sentiment. This was written before we even knew the final casualty report, and although Bill O’Reilly has never been the voice of reason, you think he would’ve known better. Although I feel his contribution is less bad, it still feeds into my main issue with all this nonsense.

I understand people are sad, and are upset. People are angry. People want to find something or someone to blame. Just like when an ISIS supporter shoots up an office building with his wife and people blame all Muslims, we want the easy answer. We should look for answers, and we should find solutions.

But just like you wouldn’t send an angry email to your boss, you should start prescribing solutions when you are seeing red and we don’t have information. Those of you on the left screaming for strict gun control right now, I ask: If the shooter was an ISIS supporter, would you support us banning all Muslims from America?

I would hope your answer is a quick and vocal NO!

Should we prescribe an extreme over reaction that doesn’t even solve the problem? Should we do it because people are angry? If you don’t support it, does it put the victims’ deaths on your head? Should you pray to God for forgiveness for believing in the First amendment’s free exercise clause?

The answer to all the above should also be no.

The same is true with this. We need to learn more about how this monster obtained his weapons, what his motive is, and what laws were missed or ignored. From what little bit we know now, there are some simple things we can do already. Regulating gat cranks and bump stocks is a good start, but nothing we know at the moment shows any of the policies democrats are screaming for would have prevented this.

That makes what they are doing seem like ghoulish opportunistic tribalism. I don’t believe in the tit-for-tat mentality. Even if Republicans were awful for politicizing the Pulse shooting, it doesn’t make you any less awful for doing it with this one. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and you pooping your pants isn’t suddenly OK because the guy next to you did it too. It’s still gross behavior, and we should be better than that.

That isn’t to say we don’t need to do something; we desperately need to take action. As I stated when I wrote about the Orlando shooting, we have been too complacent for far too long on issues like these. Stephen Colbert put it best when he addressed Trump directly on his show, and I’ve posted the clip below. We should do something. If Republicans don’t like what is being proposed, they should make their own proposals. Either come up with a better plan, or accept the one the Democrats have. Either way, do something.

 

However, before we act, can we take a little time to mourn? Can we take a least a day to be sad for the victims and their families? Can at least we give a moment of silence for the dead?

You may think by politicizing this you are helping. You think you are being respectful. You think that is shows you care about the victims. But it isn’t helping the victims, or your cause. Would you be screaming your political points at a funeral for a family who lost their son? Or for a husband who lost his wife? By jumping into politics so soon, that is exactly what you are doing.

You are taking a tragedy someone else is living through, and you are making it about you. You propose your solutions to their problem. You are ignoring their pain and suffering by not being there for them, and instead you are using it for your own means. You may think you are being noble and your intentions may be good, but it is selfish and divisive in a time where we need to be there for those in pain.

Be angry. Get motivated. Write down your thoughts, find your representatives contact information, and find out who pays them. Write down angry emails, work through your thoughts, and discuss it with your friends. But leave the specifics for a time when you are thinking clearer, like you would if it was an angry email to your boss. Take a moment to just feel the tragedy that happened. It will help galvanize you for when we start to solve it. The time for solutions will come sooner than you think.

So, when is the best time to make it political?

I don’t know. There’s not a specific rule in place for tragedies like this. But maybe next time, can we at least give it a day before we start making it political? If you are too impatient to do that, then can we at least wait until the bodies are cold?

I don’t think that it too much to ask for.

– Shaman

Posted 10/04/2017 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts, Politalking

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If the Man in the Mirror – by Anonymous   Leave a comment

I just heard this poem on the Art of Charm podcast. According to the original website, this was found written on the wall of a death row inmate’s prison cell. It is really good, so I wanted to make sure to share it.

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t a man’s father, mother or wife,
Whose judgement upon him must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in life,
Is the man staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test,
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But the final reward will be heartache and tears,
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Anonymous

Hope you enjoyed,

Shaman

Posted 08/22/2017 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts, Poetry

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Its been six weeks   Leave a comment

I haven’t seen my daughter in over 6 weeks. It’s not for any malicious reason on my ex’s part. Not that I know of, at least. It’s just bad timing and busy lives.

I always told myself I would always make time for my daughter. I would threaten to quit jobs before I would miss my weekends with her. I still feel that way. At least I feel I do. But feelings and thoughts don’t count for much. In the end, I still don’t see my daughter. If I had to say it to her face, would I still make the same excuses? Would she care?

Or does it just matter that daddy isn’t there again?

I don’t even know why I’m writing this right now. I’m not depressed, just sad. I guess its because this is something more concrete than a journal I throw in a box and never look at again. By writing this, maybe I’ll try harder from now on. But who knows?

– Shaman

Posted 07/27/2017 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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When Friendship Ends   Leave a comment

I just did a Facebook purge. I went through my list, and really thought hard about who I actually cared about, and who cared about me. It brought back memories. Of times where these people made me smile. Times where they comforted me. Times where we laughed, times where we talked; meals, movies, and parties.

But I don’t do that anymore. Not with them. I didn’t think it’d make me sad. Many of them were strangers to me now. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even notice me if I passed them on the street. Some of them I didn’t talk to any more for a reason. A bad break up, or a mutual connection severed our connection. Some were withered connections; people that I always meant to check up on. But I couldn’t find the time to do that between video games and stuffing my face.

My birthday was last month. I only had 3 friends show up. They are really close friends who I love very dearly, and I truly enjoyed the company. But it made me realize how isolated I am. My friend was putting the dinner together, and she tried to contact people. But there wasn’t anyone to reach out to. The few she tried either didn’t care, or were those withered connections, angry at how I never talked to them.

Friendships are plants. Some are cacti, only needing  little bit of water to grow. Others are crops, needing tons of work to foster a bountiful harvest. All are beautiful. All need nourishment. Other wise, they dry up, and turn to dust. If you neglect the garden too long, you are left with a pile of dirt and nothing to show for it.

I understand life is a journey, and people will drop in and out of that journey. Just like love, you either grow apart or one of you dies. I shouldn’t be surprised. When I think rationally, I know they weren’t friends anymore. They were bittersweet memories I would view as I scroll through Facebook. They were just ghosts of my garden. Now that they are clear, maybe I can get to adding new plants.

But not today. I don’t feel particularly optimistic. So I’ll sit in the dark, and mourn over the husks.

– Shaman

P.S: I know things have been sparse lately, I’ve been going back to school and it eats up my time. But I have been writing a lot in my classes, and hope to share it when I have the time.

Posted 07/06/2017 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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Politalking: In Defense of Not Voting For President   Leave a comment

It is Election Day Eve in America. I’m sure everyone is currently filling up their bunkers and buying their guns. To say this election has been divisive would be an understatement. I’ve avoided talking about it for most of the time, but with it being so close to over I felt I should get this off my chest while this is still relevant.

I’m not trying to convince you to vote for any particular candidate. They all stink, and it’s just a matter of how strong the BO is. Not only do I think there is no good choice, but I believe voting should be as private if you choose it to be. What you do when you sign your ballot or go to the polls is your business, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is an ass who is trying to manipulate you. They don’t give two shits about you voting unless it is for their candidate. I will be keeping my vote private, except in discussions with close friends. I think more people should do the same.

That being said, do you even need to vote?

The answer is yes, but only because of all of the local issues. Those are the races that have a direct effect on your life, and the ones you have a chance to influence. Too many people get up on the  Trump Train, the Clinton Hill, the Johnson Bong, and the Stein Totally-GMO-Free-Rice-Cracker, and forget to even look into who their local reps and judges are. The vote for president is the least important part of your vote. Even in swing states (of which Utah is one this year) it doesn’t matter much.

As an example, I know many people don’t bother to learn about the judges in their district. I wish more people would. As a single father, I dread ever having to go to court in Utah, as I would have to face some of the most close minded and negative judges we have in the country. They pass down some of the most unjust and overbearing ruling to fathers who only want to see their kids. I’m not going into specifics as it’s not my case to talk about, but there are some horrific stories.

Many of these judges should have been voted out long ago, but they still serve. You know why? Because people don’t learn about them, and then check yes on reaffirming because they don’t give a damn. Imagine how much change you could make in people’s lives by voting informed. The president may hurt our standing with other countries, but these judges can and have destroyed many families and many lives.

You can prevent it. You could sway the results. Many of these elections ar only one by a handful of votes. Your voice and opinon can actually reach these politions, and you can have real change. I think that is a thousand times more important that deciding if you like spray tans or pantsuits.

So, if you find yourself feeling like you just want to stay home because you think the candidates suck; If you are a burnt-out Bernie Bro or a Guac-Bowl carrying Jeb supporter, please still vote. Nothing requires you to vote for a presidential candidate. You can leave it blank or write in your mom. But don’t ignore everything else.

I hope everyone has a good and swift election tomorrow, and I will see you in Canada as we all jump the border.

Thanks for reading,

Shaman

Posted 11/07/2016 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts, Politalking

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So, I Quit Facebook…   Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago, I got fed up with Facebook. I never really engaged in the social aspect of social networking. I mostly just used it to stalk old friends and crushes, watch people yell at each other, read funny memes from George Takei, and overall waste time not doing the things I should be doing. In addition to it being a colossal time waster, I found it was making me more and more depressed. I’d get to see high school friends getting nice jobs, buying homes, having kids, getting married, living life to the fullest, having all sorts of awesome adventures, etc. Doing everything I wish I could do if I wasn’t too busy dicking around on Facebook.

So, in a bout of lucid self loathing, I said, “To hell with this! A pox on thee, Facebook, and thy creator, Zuckerberg too!” Well, I said that in some universe, at least in my head. But, I did go and deactivate my Facebook, deciding that I needed a break from it. That was about two weeks ago.

I don’t really miss it all that much. I tend to keep in touch with the people I actually care about, as they are the ones who bother to text me and actively attempt to see me. They actually try to be real friends, perish the thought. I don’t really miss out on current events, political debates, or funny memes. I have other websites for that, and although they can be a bit of a time sink as well they don’t drop my mood or trap me in some stupid little skinner box.

I don’t say this to admonish people who do enjoy Facebook. It can be great for keeping in touch with friends, reconnecting, and sharing your life with others. I know both my parents have used it to get in touch with old friends and distant family, and my dad posts pictures from his garden all the time. People use it to arrange hangouts and catalog their fun times with each other. It has its uses, but I wasn’t making use of them.I was using it in all the bad ways, and making bad habits. So I think it was good move to give it the axe.

wpid-quiting-facebook1

Yes, yes, I know, Random-Meme-I-Pulled-From-Google. I’m not saying I am done for good. I know eventually I will get sucked back in and reactivate my profile. But I think it will be later rather than sooner. You know why I think that?

Because I already did it. I got curious and I wanted to see what happened in my two-week long absence. So I signed back in while I was at lunch. I had a few missed notifications, but mostly it was just filled with the same inane bull that I hated and was trying to ignore in the first place. People posting drama statuses. People praising Hillary/Trump as the second coming of Jesus. George Takei posting a cat pic. All of the time-wasting goodness I used to eat up like it was my last meal.

Did I get sucked in? For about 5 minutes. Then it hit me: I really didn’t care. It isn’t worth my time or brain power. So, I disabled it again. Maybe this time it’ll be for two months. Maybe even two years. By that time, who even knows if Facebook will even be the big thing any more? It may totally be some twitter Snapchat amalgam that provides even less thought and more cats. (It’s the internet, it’s always more cats.)

Either way, I think I am going to steer clear of it, and actually enjoy going outside and living life playing video games and watching YouTube. You know, the important things in life.

 

Thank you for reading :),

Shaman

Posted 07/30/2016 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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How do you even write fiction?   2 comments

My friends and I have started a writing group. They all want to improve as writers, and I want to try and start writing fiction stories. I have a lot of cool ideas, and I think it would be better if they are out in the world instead of gathering dust in the back of my brain. Ideas have always been easy for me, the hard part is actually writing the story.

How does someone even write fiction? Do you just make stuff up?

I used to know how when I was younger. I could sit down and write pages of fiction without any effort. The characters, plot, and everything else about them sucked. But at least I could write it. Now I find myself staring at the keyboard, its QWERTYs, ASDFs, and WASDs burning my soul with their judging mocking gaze.

If you ask me to create a character for Dungeons and Dragons, or any other RPG? I’ll not only make a mechanically unique and effective character, but I will build him a detailed backstory with family records, milestones, mannerisms, etc. But I cant turn it into any sort of narrative story.

Ask me to write a blog post? I can put down 500 to 1000 words on a topic in an hour, 3 if I need to revise/make it sound good. It’s not hard for me to put my thoughts down, as I write the way I think and speak. But fiction means I have to put myself in someone else’s head, and I don’t know how to do that.

So when you tell me to sit down and write a fiction story? You might as well tell me to win the lottery or grow wings and fly.

I know a large part of it is a lack of experience. You don’t go into the gym and start benching 200 lbs if the last time you did 100 lbs was in high school. That is a good way to injure yourself. I can’t jump into a chihuahua crushing epic fantasy novel without tearing my corpus callosum either.

However, I have no idea where to even start. I have all of these ideas buzzing in my head: cool scenes straight out of a move, a Silmarillion’s worth of world building, and a somewhat unique magic system. I’m an avid reader of both too many books and too much TVTropes. What else would I need? Actual talent?

It’s like I have a fresh batch of ingredients and a full purpose kitchen, but I only know how to make a grilled cheese. I’m just the wordsmith equivalent of a line cook who has been asked to make whatever he thinks would impress the food critic. I hope he likes Kraft singles and white bread.

The point of this post was to state I may also start posting short stories here, in addition to rants both political and personal, and my poetry. Just like with Politalking, I am going to try and keep things labelled, so that those of you who check my blog out for the poetry alone can skip it if you want.

Time for me to drop down and give 20 paragraphs. Wish me luck!

 

-Shaman

Posted 07/25/2016 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts, Writing

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