32: Mountaintop Shout

This one’s gonna be a little different folks. Took a few months off to get things straight, and over that time a lot has been on my mind. A few different topics are going to get touched here as kind of a purging of thoughts and ideas. So with that said, let’s take this trip together.

First off, the family you choose can be the greatest asset in life. I call some of my cousins my brothers and sisters. They’re my best friends and in the best possible ways remind me of who I am. That goes for my closest friends too. Too many people are basing their “friendship” on a number on the side of a screen. Yes, you’ve met almost a thousand people but they are not all your friends. Not in the sense we all need anyway; The ones who can pick you up when you’re down, or better yet the ones who’ll call you out for being a complete jerk from time to time. Both sides of that coin are equally important. We lose sight of that when all we receive from our virtual friendship are likes and smiley faced comments. It’ll always hurt when the ones you truly care about tell you something you don’t want to hear, but we’re usually better for it. Why? Because if they’re truly the family you choose they only want you to better yourself, or at least not be a douche. I still feel a sting when I think about some people I don’t talk to anymore for reasons big or small. Mostly because I remember why we linked up in the first place. It’s not mooching if it’s mutual, and it’s not real help if you expect something in return. Hell, even waiting for a “thank you” can be a bit presumptuous. We could all get by with a little help from our friends, and the better ones we have, the better REAL help we’ll get. Case in point, my new house is awesome. Thanks Friends.

 

Second. Stop taking everything so damned personally. We have gotten very sensitive, and I don’t mean that in the intuitive way that people associate with the word. A disagreement is not a drawing of arms or somebody revealing their true feelings about you. Maybe they just don’t agree with your taste in music. Get over it and focus more on what you do agree on. Also, there are things called isolated incidents. Sadly people like to let their emotions rollover like minutes on a cell phone plan. This never ends well and usually brings unwarranted tension to otherwise harmless situations. If you have an argument about politics or something slightly above trivial leave it there, that conversation has no real business or connection to the who forgot to call whom the next day. I don’t like Twilight. No big secret there. But every once in a while, I meet someone who doesn’t know that about me. And boy do they get all up in arms in a very personal way in defense of the series. In short, the person never really defends Twilight in any real way, they more validate why they like it and why they shouldn’t be judged for it. Problem is, I never judged them for it, I judged the series. I do believe that you should never have to explain why you love the things you do, but should at least be able to. Seeing the world past the front of your own face is a key component here. As I’ve said before, our digital reliance on instant gratification and positive feedback has made us the all important wizard in our own world, and we carry that sentiment around with us everywhere. The world keeps moving, and things happen with or without your thought, feelings or influence. Get used to it. So while I do think twilight sucks, that does not mean I think that you suck. Unless you try to convince me that its good literature or film. In which case, get the hell away from me.

 

This one is short. If you aren’t basing your opinions off of multiple sources in this time, you are part of the problem. Between facebook, twitter, Wikipedia, Fox News, CNN, Daily Show, Cobert, and various other sources. There is a barrage of info coming at us all at once. They’re all  trying to get our attention, and the need for numbers has overtaken the need to inform the people for a lot of sources. Case in point; Fox News. Stories have more than the fabled “two sides” and but still only one truth. There is what happened and what people will try to convince you of. Hell that’s why eye witness testimony has been proven to be unreliable over time. Once we filter and apply biases, the sure thing we thought was truth can be written off. No one source can be trusted when dollars supersede truth.

 

Your plan is flawed. There is no one way through life, and our entire existence comes almost from happenstance and luck. I’m not saying not to work for things, but keep in mind that anything can happen and probably will. The more you think your strict plans are more than guidelines things will go astray and cause more damage. I’m not where I thought I would be 5 years ago but by no means is that a bad thing. I have a good roof over my head, great people around me, and I’m happy. Society and their constraints can be damned. We’ve only got one life to live and a million ways to do it. I like those odds.

 

Men and Women are different. Neither group is complicated, and both generally want the same thing; to not be alone. It’s the courses they take to get to there vary, and here’s a shocker, it can even differ for person to person within the gender. So ladies, if you’re worried about how much the guy you like dates around, keep in mind the same things that attracted you to him are probably attracting other girls. It doesn’t make them sluts or whores because frankly, that other girl is saying the same thing about you, when you both should be targeting that anger at him. Guys, women want to be respected. I know it sounds crazy, but bear with me for a second. Imagine a relationship where you’re actually friends with a girl as well as lovers and not this one dimensional caricature of what people think a relationship should be. On this same note, keep separate interests. Stay in touch with your friends and maintain  a life of your own so that when you come back to your partner (yes partner, that’s what every couple should be) you’ll actually have something worth a damn to say. Things will stay fresh and you’ll be able to better grow together as you continue to grow separately.

Wow, this is nowhere near done. Looks like we got ourselves a two parter.

To be continued….

 

Carpe Diem Kids.

24: Karmic Sucker Punch

You’re riding high on life. Your relationships are going well, maybe you have some money in the bank and the bills are paid, even your favorite TV episodes are playing lately. Nothing could go wrong; until one thing does, and then another and still another. It’s not only raining, its pouring and your umbrella just folded in half on you. “What the hell just happened?” you may ask. Well, if you believe in universal balance or Karma, then you have just suffered a “Karmic Sucker Punch”, (I used to call it something else, but being the progressive gent I am, the name has been changed). Yes, karma loosely means that what you do will eventually come back to you; good or bad, but sometimes it’s delayed or even undeserved. And in those cases, it’s really just the world balancing out the numbers. So, while you may be walking on sunshine one week, next week you could be trapped in a glass case of emotion almost out of nowhere.

I’ve covered this “phenomenon” somewhat in my own life (State of Mined Vol. 3), but at the time details were limited. I used the term more to describe my terrible luck. How I always seemed to get the worst of a situation dumped on me all at once, as if some cosmic force was trying to make a point to me and only me. Small example; every Thanksgiving for more than 10 years, I would get sick. Not the flu or anything, but just enough so I couldn’t really taste anything day one, and didn’t have enough energy to do anything with my family. To tie things to a more recent timeline, for the better part of the Fall season life was going pretty frickin well for me. I didn’t have to budget my life down to the nearest cent, I’d lost the equivalent of a 2nd grader in weight, having great times with better friends, and I’d gone about 2 months without butchering my shape up(yes that’s a big deal). A slew of other good things were happening too, and I’d almost forgotten about the Sucker Punch. It’d taken so long this time that I’d got too comfortable. Now for the better part of 2 weeks, the punches kept coming. I could roll with the first few but damn if Karma isn’t persistent when trying to make a point. I’m taking losses left and right, nothing major, but you do enough small damage to anything it adds up. The worst part is, I know it’s gonna keep on coming. Like I said, it’s about balance and I’ve been coasting for a few months now. So unless there’s a reset coming soon, a lot of my texts are going to end in sad faces, and some status updates might sound like My Chemical Romance lyrics.

I try not to dwell on the why me aspect of these situations, because in all honesty, this sort of thing is necessary. It rains on the just and unjust alike you just notice it more when you’re not wearing a coat. I know people who get hit with bills all at once, then their cars crap out; Sucker Punch. Lose their jobs, then their gf/bf; Sucker Punch. Cut the bottom of their foot right before they have to take a long walk somewhere; Sucker Punch. I’m sure everyone has their own example to draw from, and at the time they all seemed like the end of the world. Some key things to notice though, you made it through, and it’s not only you. It was just your turn in the rotation. Take the licking and keep on ticking. Just remember, the higher you were before hand, the lower you’ll feel when life tries to knock you down a bit.

My State of Mined is “expectant”. I can never truly plan for or avoid these things. I just know it’s my lot in life to catch a swift one to the face every now and again. People sometimes say, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” I guess that’s true, but its daylight savings and it’s dark for a really long time. It can wear down on you. Keep your guard up kids, Karma fights evenly dirty.

Carpe Diem

Short Minded: The Best Intentions

I’m starting to notice that our short attention spans and need for instant gratification has affected more than just are social interactions. During college and after, I began to meet plenty of well intentioned people who wanted to “change the world”. Yes, I am all for helping those who can’t help themselves, but with that we have to realize why they can’t help themselves in the first place. Our “we want it now” mentality has given us a short sight when it comes to hard work and why things are the way they are.

There are laws in place that counter act a good natured individual. Giving food to the hungry can sometimes lead to lawsuits due to food bourn illness, So do we blame the restaurants for protecting their ass, or do we go after the laws and legislation that stop us from doing what we all know is right? Well in the 60’s we would have been writing letters to our congressmen and picketing. Today, we put up a facebook status and blame Chili’s for being wasteful. We get made at folks for complaining about the heat when there are troops overseas in a desert but then we want the right to complain about our issues. Screw the cake, we want the bakery. We have the world in our palms but we barely reach with our fingertips.

Nothing worth having comes easy, and it gets harder when fighting a battle for those who can’t. Our collective hearts are in the right place, but we don’t use our minds and resources enough to truly make the difference that we want. If a fight wasn’t hard it’d be a discussion, and we have gotten too used to being given things right away. Progress takes time and patience, and often a little aggression. We can’t forget how hard people are willing to fight to keep things the same. Then again I’m human and prone to being wrong

31: Greetings From the World of Tomorrow, Hope You Have Wi-Fi

Well a new social networking tool has arrived. Google+ is the current “rage” and topic among the internet crowd. Some are saying it will overtake Facebook as the primary social networking site, while others are saying it will die a fighter’s death at the feet of the 750 million member (worldwide) giant. All of this is exciting to watch from a tech nerd standpoint, and variety is nice, but it’s hard not to realize that this site along with others like it has made its simplicity, use of categorization and filtering to basically do our thinking for us. In the dark ages we had to pick and choose what we were exposed to in one way or another, now a few clicks of the mouse and we never have to be bothered again by things we currently have no interest in. But what about when our interests change, or when new ideas and thoughts are shared? Resetting the filter isn’t as easy as you think since, and we are all too happy to live in out our funneled dreams in the house we built.

“There’s always a reason to do stuff for no reason”, it’s a phrase that I made up, that I live by, and will probably die as a result of. To me, life is something that you live and experience, not get through. Now, this somewhat deep philosophical open may seem out of place in a SoM about cyber filtering, but it goes hand in hand. In my humble opinion, one of the best things in life is discovery; the serendipitous moments in life where you just stumble upon new things. We have begun the groundwork for letting our machines do the discovery for us. Right now, you can group your friends, family, people you kinda know, and people you just want to follow. It’s a great way to filter out the “useless” information that the people you let in your lives spit out. Delegating who or what you allow to cross your virtual desk so that everything isn’t bombarding you. Everything you like, nothing you don’t all at your fingertips thanks to some machine crunching numbers. So much of your thinking is done for you that your cellphone will soon be able to ignore calls for you based on the time of day and who the person is calling. We have become puppets of our own creation. I never want to be so stuck in my now, my present state of thinking that I no longer allow the chance for something new to enter. Whether it is some random band recommendation from an advertisement or a friend posting comments about their views on salary caps in the NBA. I want to be able to learn or decide not to acknowledge these things. I want to be able to grow as a person from the decisions I make. We are slowly but surely taking away our free will in this regard. Making sure that decisions are almost mistake proof because they have already made it through our digital screening process, and there is little risk that we won’t approve of the options before us. Anything or anyone slip through the defenses, and we mark our friends as spam. Never to be seen or heard from again.

Part of it may be an issue of time. Our time is valuable. Most of us work jobs where dollar an hour is how we delegate importance; our time literally is our money. So if you can’t say or do it in a matter of moments then it’s not worth doing. This has severely limited our interactions with others. Planning a trip to the movies with friends could become one of the most stressful acts you do in a day if one person doesn’t respond quickly enough to a text. We don’t want to take the time to sift through the crap ourselves, or do the legwork that comes with our social interactions, so why not let your computer do it for you. Mostly because you leave yourself open to miscommunications and errors of judgment behind the anonymous glow of a screen. We end up blaming our machines when we make mistakes. On a small scale we blame out iPhones for autocorrecting things for us, but let spell check not work before we have a paper or presentation due. We don’t blame ourselves, but the machines. You accidentally click a spam email or open a virus and it’s the computers fault not your own lapse in judgment. We are almost to the stage where we no longer have to hold ourselves accountable online because the computers will do it all for us. All we’ll have to do is sit down, login and tune out. The wave of the future involves a lot of comfy chairs and open browser tabs.

I know this comes off a little heavy handed, and almost as some prophetic rise of the machines sort of thing, but it’s really more a decline of human interaction. Again going back to discovery, I wouldn’t have seen my favorite movie if it weren’t for taking a chance on something. I watch Pulp Fiction for the first time on an old VHS tape with the title smudged out and in between a movie I knew I wanted to watch and a movie I’d seen a dozen times before. It was because of those two certainties that I took a chance on something else. I guess it’s my natural tendency to look at the safe route as a backup plan more than the way I should do something. People, for the most part operate in the opposite manner. Why take the chance if you know one way will work for sure? And for the most part, this way of thinking has kept us alive, but when it comes to interacting with those we already call friends it limits us. It changes the way we speak and act. The unspoken hierarchy that usually runs through social interaction has been given a name. In the old MySpace days, it was the Top 8, on facebook it’s your groupings and those you see at the top of your chat list, on Google+ it’s your circles. Again, in theory this is perfect for keeping connections in order, but along with those social limitations, you now limit what those people can bring to you. Yes, we all know dumb asses wHO tiipe liKe diss or sprout ignorance on such a regular basis you’d think their rights to free speech should be revoked for fear of infecting others, but just because you can shut some people out of your life doesn’t mean that you should make it a common practice.

I hope I’m wrong, and that humanity will win out in the end. People still taking chances on ideas and other people even though it’s possible to live in their bubble in such an ignorant bliss that they need not experience anything new because everything they already know and love is right in front of them 24/7. I’m not saying treat every person like some sort of scholar or your closest friend, but to realize that anyone at anytime can bring something positive into your life. Whether it be a movie suggestion or a song from a band you’d otherwise never hear if you keep all of your virtual roadblocks up. My State of Mined is “New, Old Fashioned”.  I’ll continue to be open to things and live my life online the same way I do off; taking in new ideas and people as they come and filtering them myself. No machine could ever be me better than I can, so why give it the chance. That’s how the robots take over in pretty much every Sci-Fi movie. The computers realize they’re doing all for us anyway, so they just cut out the middle man. Don’t let digital convenience make you the middle man in your own life.

Carpe Diem Kids

Sorry for the delay…

My thoughts on the pop culture world, nothing more, nothing less.

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