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Archive for the ‘Daily Prompt’ Category

Hey, Guess What?   3 comments

Once more into the prompt.

Our free-write is back by popular demand: today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.

(I only edited this for formatting/ clarity. The core writing was all in 10 minutes.)

I got a new job!

The offer came out of nowhere (I had applied by putting my name and resume in one of those cheesy looking ads on the side of a website), and I got the job within a couple of days. The pay is much better than the one I’m at now, good benefits, 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, etc. It is in a tech field doing something I’ve never even heard of, with what seems like an awesome bunch of people.

It almost feels too good to be true. It feels like I’m going to get there and it is going to turn out to be some nasty sweatshop where they beat me with a riding crop for hours on end and laugh at my continual suffering.

Or even worse, it could be a call center.

But, I’m trying to stay optimistic, and I am definitely excited.

It feels weird to leave this job. I’ve been working here for over two years; it feels like I’m leaving a huge chunk of myself behind. In the time working here I’ve become a whole different person. I no longer hate myself; I wake up in the morning and I am glad to see the person staring back at me. I finally am (mostly) in control of my demons.

So I guess this would be the inevitable next step. Once some things in life improve, everything else seems to cascade and fall into place. I couldn’t (and definitely didn’t want to) be stuck in a dead end job forever.

So what does my new job mean for this blog?

I still want to keep it going. This has been a big turning point for me. Making blogging a goal helped keep me focused, and helped keep me from giving up. But I have no idea how much I’ll be able to do with this new job. I’m pretty sure it’ll actually give me more of an ability to write now, but I won’t be able to do so at work anymore.

So, as a heads up, for the next few months content on here may be a little sparse. I’m still going to try to post at least twice a week, and I don’t think that will be hard for me to do.

But it will probably be poems, or small, quickly voiced thoughts. The longer winded diatribes will have to wait.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

-Shaman.

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Posted 09/25/2014 by Shaman in Daily Prompt

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A Cause Worth Fighting For   2 comments

Prompting you to take action!

The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

I talk about a lot of causes.

I’ve definitely covered atheism on this blog, and will probably do so in the future.

I also have strong opinions on a lot sociopolitical issues – gay marriage, equality, education, welfare, etc. – and at some point I may talk about them here too. But although I may feel passionate about those subjects, I tend to abstain from bringing them into the public square.

Politics turns into loud screaming match that gets us nowhere and doesn’t really solve anything. Were the political climate less confrontational, I might be more inclined to wade into the discussion. I also don’t really mind other people’s beliefs, and only when they are thrust upon me. Plus, we have enough irreligious warriors in the Amazing Atheist, Richard Dawkins, Jaclyn Glenn, etc., and I think they are doing a good enough job on their own.

I am also a hardcore skeptic, and I feel that debunking false claims, pseudoscience, and other sorts of woo is extremely important. But I don’t really passionately charge at people doing those things. I’m more like a sleeping volcano, who gets prodded by these things and ends up blowing up at the triggering person in a pyroclastic flow of logic and science.

That is assuming I even care at the moment.

Most strangers can believe in their crystals, homeopathy, and the like. I only really speak out when I see family and friends buying into stuff like that. So even though I feel passionate about this also, I don’t jump up and actively work against it.

There is one thing I’ve been involved in, and I still feel passionately about: Father’s rights.

I got involved in the father’s rights movement because I was a single father who was trying to establish my paternity (my ex actually wanted me to leave, since I didn’t want to be with her. She wanted to keep me off of it so her eventual husband could take my place and adopt uncontested) and gain the ability to see my daughter. I, like many other men, was put through the ringer, and I didn’t even deal directly with the courts.

I was barred from the hospital after my daughter was born, because I had the audacity to ask what steps I needed to take to be put on the birth certificate. Then, while trying to avoid court, I was forced to jump through hoops while I tried to get whatever time with her I could, which was a slowly dwindling amount. This was all because my only option was court, even if they were fully cooperative.

When I finally got sick of the run around, and asked them directly to let me put my name on the birth certificate, I was threatened with never seeing my daughter again.

I decided to petition for paternity, and didn’t see my daughter for 4 months as a result. Instead, she got to call another man dad, and I had to shell out for a lawyer. Then I had to go to mediation, take a paternity class, do a trial/integration period, give an arm and a leg, make a blood sacrifice to Cthulhu, and other legal mumbo jumbo. Eventually, all that got me basic visitation, monthly child support, and one year’s worth of arrears owed (almost 3000.) According to my lawyer, all of that was an incredible deal, and I was lucky to get it.

That was the part that I couldn’t take.

The fact that I got the bare minimum required by law, and was lucky for it, was infuriating.

Then I looked at all the other stories, all the other things people went through, and it made me even madder.

The system is corrupt, and is mired in misguided sexism for both genders. According to the courts, women are weak mothers who never want to work again and need to be protected from the evil men. The men should be reduced to nothing more than walking wallets to bleed dry, because they must all be deadbeats, even the ones who petition and fight for their children.

Things in Utah are improving slowly, especially in public awareness. But the laws have yet to really change. I heard there was a committee or something working on it, so it will still probably be a while before they do. I only hope that they change while I can still benefit from them with my daughter.

But why am I not still involved with father’s rights?

The reason is a little selfish: it’s because I don’t need to fight any more.

I have time with my daughter and an amicable relationship with my ex. I am also not in a position to gain much more, and I could (and probably would) lose a lot by trying. So for now I am happy to sit back and take a passive role trying to spread awareness to those who want to listen. That will probably change in the future, but for now I’m enjoying the thing other people fight so hard for.

I am enjoying time with my family. That is a cause worth fighting for.

-Shaman

The Party Never Ends.   2 comments

A wild prompt appears!

When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about — and how did you dig your way out of it?

I am right now, and I’m looking for a shovel.

Writer’s block tends to strike quickly and stick around a long time, like a bad relationship. I suffer it for a while, and then eventually I get sick of it and…

Well, I’ve never really figured that part out.

I have no idea how to get rid of writer’s block. Sure, I’ve tried all the tips, tricks, prompts, and pointers. But they never really do the trick. One day, I just get a buzz of ideas in my head again, and then my thoughts take off and I’m back. I haven’t hit that point yer though, and that kind of sucks. Because I was doing really well writing wise for a while, and now its crappy to be stymied.

As for why it happens, I have even less of a clue than my ability to get rid of it. I think this time it is a mix of melencholy, obligation, and life in general. Plus, it doesn’t help I work full time and try to write blog posts in my down time. It is hard to get a good thought going when you have to stop writing every 5 minutes.

Regardless, I’ll take this moment to say sorry for the lack of content lately. I do have a lot that is almost done. Hopefully, I can get motivated enough to finish it all.

Thanks for reading,

-Shaman

Posted 08/06/2014 by Shaman in Daily Prompt

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Change The World   Leave a comment

Prompt, prompt, prompt I summon thee!

Today, write about any topic you feel like — but you must reuse your opening line (at least) two more times in the course of your post.

I want to change the world.

I have not clue how. I don’t even know where to begin. Large, small, for better or worse; I have no clue.

But still that rings through my head: I want to change the world.

I didn’t really realize it until my last blog post. I went with taking the chip, for what I thought were very good reasons. Add to human knowledge, revolutionize psychology as we know it. Help people. Sure, it wouldn’t be a very fun life for me. Being isolated from my friends. My family. My daughter. Not completely gone from their lives, but it wouldn’t be the same. It would be lonely. But at some level, it would be worth it if I could leave my mark.

A lot of people didn’t think so. They may have had respect for my reasons, saw them as nice; as noble. The typical response was that the sacrifice would be too hard, the downsides too great. Some people even thought it was wrong that the losses I would want to do it.

I can’t say they are wrong. Is the willingness to toss my self aside for the “greater good” really good? Do I even know what good is? Am I even able to perform the good that I keep proposing to do?

I want to change the world. But I don’t know if I can?

But then I start to take a different angle. Have I been looking at things wrong?  I am so focused on changing the world at large. At leaving a grand mark. There is no way I have done that, right?

Wrong. I already have changed the world. Just by living my life. Just by being human.

If I didn’t exist, millions of things would be different. My daughter would be gone, some of my friends would be much worse off, and some may be better. But the world would be an entirely changed for my absence.

Even by writing this now, I am changing things. I can’t know right now how things will change. If it will be big or small. Good or bad. But it will be a different outcome than if I did nothing.

I want to change the world. I guess I’ll get started.

-Shaman

A Penny(sized Microchip) for Your Thoughts?   Leave a comment

Is it a bird? A plane? No, its a daily prompt!

A mad scientist friend offers you a chip that would allow you to know what the people you’re talking to are thinking. The catch: you can’t turn it off. Do you accept the chip?

This seems like it would be a tough decision to make. On the one hand, having Telepathy or being The Empath would be awesome. On the other hand, since A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read, it could be as bad as constant Mind Rape or at best being Blessed with Suck. In fact, it looks like this would be a form of super powers with built in Power Incontinence.

With all that in mind, would I take the chip?

Probably. Sure, it’s a social double-edged sword. But it’s also superpowers.

One common theme I noticed on a lot of the other posts on this topic is how it would disrupt their everyday lives, destroying their friendships and keeping them from being able to live normal. They would feel bad invading other people’s privacy unwillingly, would dread having to leave society, would feel the weight of the moral implications crushing them, etc.

Those are all very good, valid points.

But when you have superpowers, why would you want to be normal?

I pretty damn sure I would instantly lose all my friendships, due to knowing what my friends truly think, as they think it, unfiltered and live. But I could get new friends, and even rebuild relationships, over the internet or phone. Can’t read someone’s thoughts when they are miles away, right?

I also couldn’t really stand to be around people for large amounts of time, or around large crowds due to the inevitable brain over-load. But there are many jobs you can do from home, groceries delivered to your front door, and I’m not exactly a social butterfly anyways. I would just be prepared for a psychic onslaught when I went into public, but it wouldn’t be an everyday thing I’d have to endure.

It would also completely destroy my self-esteem at first, since hearing how someone thinks you are fat, ugly, and stupid for the umpteenth time wouldn’t be fun for anyone. But at the same time, if someone likes you, or thinks you are awesome, you would know that is how they truly feel. You could surround yourself with the truly nicest people around. Or, at least, the most honest jerks you don’t mind. Plus, it would force you to develop a thick skin, a strong sense of self, and a good sense for bullshit.

Aside from all that awfulness, I’d have to power to know people’s thoughts. I’d know the perfect thing to say, when someone is lying to me, a person’s bank account info, where the killer hid the body and murder weapon, insider trading information, etc.

That is a lot of power to wield, I’m getting a maniacal rush just thinking of it.

It is a lot of knowledge too. I could learn things at the speed of thought from Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and other great minds. I would know how someone’s brain processes normally, and how it would change or differ while under the influence of drugs or mental illness. Imagine all of the leaps and bounds you could make in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and sociology. Not to mention, other fields of science, by being able to combine the best thoughts out there into one. Imagine being able to literally write the book on people, on how different personality types work, on how people think and feel. Imagine being the greatest mind alive.

Why would I ever pass up that opportunity?

So, since I’m not a manipulative bastard, my plan after getting the chip is to use my power to make a bunch of money and move somewhere away from civilization. Then, I would either visit or invite people so I could learn and develop various grand world shattering theories and the like. Go to school online, make friends via the internet, and general live a good, productive, world changing existence.

Or, you know, use it to become an evil, world ruling dictator with my mad scientist second in command.

Or use it to get laid.

Or even do all of the above.

Because who would really be able to use god-like powers for only good?

-Shaman

Posted 07/16/2014 by Shaman in Daily Prompt

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What do I have to brag about?   1 comment

Right to Brag

Tell us about something you (or a person close to you) have done recently (or not so recently) that has made you really, unabashedly proud.

I don’t really brag enough.I would like to say that it is because I’m modest, but that isn’t it. I actually struggle with my self esteem. It is very hard for me to see the good in my self, even when everyone around me tells me its there. It is something that I have dealt with my whole life.Or, I only used to feel that way.

I don’t know when it happened, but one day I woke up and when I looked in the mirror, I saw the face of a guy I liked staring back at me. A not half bad looking guy with great hair and a great smile. I see the guy that people were telling me about, and I like him too.

When the hell did it happen? I have no idea. I was dealing with all the same problems, all the same issues, and I haven’t really felt like I made progress. In fact, I have recently felt beat down and drained towards all of it, and almost felt like giving up. I’ve felt stagnant, unchanging, and unsure on what to do.

But apparently, through all of that struggle, I did gain something.

I gained a healthy sense of self esteem.

I think that is something worth bragging about.

-Shaman

If I Had A Million Dollars…   2 comments

Haven’t done one of these in a while.

You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?

First thing?

I would invest/save it and use the interest to buy things/pay debts/etc.

Yes, I know that is a boring answer. But I haven’t really ever desired to have tons of money and “nice” things. I’ve always wanted enough to live comfortably and simply.

Plus, one million dollars can’t actually buy as much as you would think. That is a very nice house and car with a couple hundred thousand left over after taxes. With a cheaper car and such it can go farther, but if you just chip away at the resource, eventually it will run out.

But, say I threw it in a five year certificate (which is the absolutely simplest way to save it, not the best one. I’d go see a planner), and had the interest on it go into my savings. At 2%, that would be $20,000 a year in interest. Sure, that’s not very much after taxes, but since I only make around $16,000 a year after taxes at the moment, that doubles my income. That would certainly me my life easier.

I could look for a job I really want without being afraid of lacking an income. Or I could work less hours at the one I have now, giving me more time to focus on my writing and music. I could also keep working the same amount, but buy a house, a car, fancy clothes, new guitars, video games….

But as I said, I don’t care for shiny things. So, in that case, what would I do with the money?

Assuming I’d gotten my self handled, I would help people with it.

First, I would help friends and family.

I would help my friends go back to school, so they could finish/get the degrees they want, but can’t afford.

I’d take some of the burden off of my mom and cover some of her house payment and other debts.

I would definitely save some money for my daughter’s schooling.

If I somehow handled all of my family and friends with money to spare, I would start trying to help others.

Maybe I would donate some to causes I find important, like father’s rights, or the homeless. But I haven’t really thought that far before, since I’ve never really had enough money and influence to think about effecting the world at large. So I guess that part I will deal with when it happens.

My basic point being, that although money can by possessions and a fancy life style, that isn’t going to matter in the end. When you are back to being broke you aren’t going to really want your super expensive Lamborghini and Armani suits.

But friends, family, and memories: these things sustain us, comfort us in our last days, fill us with happiness and love, and make life worth living.

Seems like they would be worth investing in, right?

-Shaman

P.S: What do you guys think? Comment below or link me your responses so I can check them out.