Badass Motherfuckerdom

Badass Motherfuckerdom.

Allow me to quote Neal Stephenson, from Snow Crash, Chapter 36, Paragraph 1:

"Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad."

Something about us as a society praises and reveres badness. We react with awe to those who are rebellious. The people with the devil-may-care attitude are respected. For some reason that rugged individuality that comes with being a truely badass motherfucker is admired, even in the midst of a society where, for us to be successful, we must curb most such impulses.

I realized while riding yesterday that in the last six months I seem to have made a concerted if unintended push very far towards badassery. In the last six months I've procured a set of combat boots, started working as a bartender, and purchased a black Yamaha Maxim XS400K Motorcycle. Hell, widen the parameters and add a few months and I also let the first serious and productive (if not necessarrily healthy) relationship I've ever had die, crashed my Jeep Wrangler, tried smoking, and began drinking Scotch regularly.

In fact, on the badass motherfucker scale, when rated by activities, career, history, and gear, in the last year I've basically gone from "martial artist, but still mostly dweeb" to "Leatherclad, mudhole-in-your-chest-stomping, Motorcycle-riding cynic."

So that's intruiging to me. Partly because I'm pretty sure most of the people that have known me for a while (especially the males who take themselves seriously and haven't reached 25 yet--see above) certainly don't think of me as much of a badass. In fact, some of the things from the lists above are traits or experiences that I got from friends of mine, some of whom are much more badass than I am.

I also realize that I've got a lot more distance to travel before I think of myself as a badass. There are milestones that, until reached, imply to me that I'm still not quite a badass yet. I've got to aquire a pistol and train with it regularly. I have to verify my ability in authentic hand-to-hand combat. I've got to build a physique and comportment that is part sexual prowess and part restrained potential for violence. I've got to get a tattoo. I've got to train for several more years in the martial arts. Etc. etc. etc.

In fact, I see Badmotherfuckerdom as a sort of moving target, much like I see my proficiency in martial arts, bartending, or engineering. As I travel the path, so too does my goal, ever driving me towards further achievement.

But why is it, really, that I want to be a badass motherfucker? Is it the respect I see their characters treated with in entertainment (viz. Samuel Jackson's Pulp Fiction character, ) or is it just that I crave the attention they recieve? Or is it just another part of the backlash of me being a nice guy? Am I just trying to overcompensate for my perception of what I used to be like?

Who knows. I just know I like the smell of leather, the feel of solid footwear, and the wind rushing past me. I'm enjoying myself, and that's the sticking point, right?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Marley Warning

I left this file on my desktop last night around 4:30 AM, named "The Marley Warning, Post me in the morning if I don't suck."

Well, it isn't very good writing. . . but what the heck, here it is anyway:

It's really two things. The first is a rant about clubs, and feeling comfortable in them. The second is the Marley Warning itself, which is based on a specific example but applies in general.

Ok, so the following is about clubs. I realize that my readership is probably divided into three categories.

1) People who frequent and enjoy clubs, and don't really connect with me as a writer or citizen of reality.

2) People who think they are too mature to find clubs interesting, and are proud to point out that they have never set foot in one except under duress. Several years ago I would have claimed that I was such a person, and would stay such a person. I would have been wrong.

3) People who, like me, kindof wish they enjoyed the club scene, but usually wind up going along with friends, dancing for a while, then leaning against a wall or sitting in a corner watching those friends cavort, laugh and drink, and feeling more alienated than ever.

To all you Category 3s out there: you are not alone. I know it feels that way, but there are lots of other people like you. I should know, I'm one of them. When I go to a club, I can't help but feel like everybody else has gotten some mysterious memo that explains why the damn things are awesome and fun, and I'm left trying to deduce the same information from my smoke-filled and usually brightly-colored but dimly-lit surroundings, and usually draw the conclusion that the reason is too well hidden for my simple mind to discover. [sarcasm weight=heavy]My suspicion is that they hide the answer inside the shots of Rumpleminz and Vodka, but I'm always driving, so I've never gotten to test that theory[/sarcasm].

It just makes me feel more out-of-the-loop than ever. And heaven help me if I do something I regret later (like dance badly, insult a friend, or make a move on someone else's girl), because I'll be kicking myself for it long after all of the people I was with have completely forgotten the entire evening in a haze of Jagermeister and Coors Light.

And speaking of other people's girls. . .Kim: You're a great and fantastically lavicious dancer, and if you were single, even though you are at least 10 years older than me, I'd probably have danced with you for much longer. But your husband John seems like a really cool guy, and you should probably show a little more consideration for him than dragging a random young male into your circle of friends and dancing nasty with him just because you've had a few drinks and you want to dance.

Don't get me wrong. I love a good dance session as well as the next guy, especially a hot one, but I try and keep the feelings of others in mind, and I got the impression that John felt, well, ignored (probably because you were ignoring him, and dancing with me). Relationships are built on trust and mutual respect, and it's hard to respect someone who you suspect might not care for you as much as they care for random passer-by. . .y'know what I mean? If you need a refresher in relational-ethics and respect from an earlier time, you might check out that roadside scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's more insightful than you probably realized when you saw it as a teenager in the theatres (I was 3 years old).

Not that I expect this message to ever reach to people to whom it was written, but perhaps it will still help one of the myriad people for whom it could have been written. Call it a Marley Warning for your love life: Don't be as much of a dumbass as I was.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Here's to Charles Schulz

I am getting better at being me. I think.

I don't fall down now, or touch the ground nearly as much in first gear (more on that later, maybe). And the work I do is much improved, as is the money I make doing it.

And tonight I'll have a trainee! Our new (very attractive, but blonde. Damn!) server and stand-in bartender. So I'll actually have a pretty easy Friday night of it. The downside of course is that I won't make as much money. The upside is that we'll probably make better tips (here's hoping).

But in any case, life is getting better. I feel like each time I really think about where I'm going and what I'm doing, it feels a little less wrong somehow. Maybe I'm just getting comfortable with wrongness? But just perhaps, things really are getting better.

That would be a nice change.

I'm reminded of my favorite Peanuts comic ever. Linus and Charlie are leaning on the wall, talking, and Linus says "Well, Charlie Brown, in the game of life, you win some, and you lose some."

And Charlie says "Really?!" and he gets this really dreamy hopeful look in his eyes and says "Gee, that'd be nice. . ."

It makes me smile. Sure it's pathetic and wistful, but it's a smile nonetheless. And beneath all the bravado and the gusto and the attitude and the loud abrasive laughter. . . I still feel like Charlie Brown a lot of the time. The little loser kid who never really succeeded at anything, but kept trying anyway because. . . well, that's what you're supposed to do, right?

So, well, here's to Charles Schulz. One of the great believers of our time. A man who, through the stories of a boy and his dog, taught me that hope doesn't always have to be rewarded to be worth keeping it alive.

God bless you Charles.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Winners and Losers

Tonight on the drive home I listened to a couple of songs on the radio and thought about the past year.

One was Over and Over by Nelly and the other was With You by Jessica Simpson (yes, I was temporarily on a pop-top40 station, all the good stations were on commercial breaks).

The lyrics to either weren't a big deal. Nor were the songs themselves really.

I was thinking about something totally unrelated to true love and guys with serious heartbreak. I was thinking about an 'us' that used to exist.

Ok, that sounds a little too harsh and jaded, and I'm sure it will be misinterpreted. But that's not what I mean.

I was thinking about this girl I used to know, that I love. I don't think I'll ever stop loving her.

But she's the second girl I've let slip away from me (her choice, both times, though certainly I take any blame for f***ing things up enough to make it reasonable for them to want to go).

And I've been thinking about the fact that I've taken this pretty badly. Still thinking from time to time about her, and how much I loved her and half wish I could win her back, etc. The usual guilt/drama/where-did-I-go-wrong?/what-if? stuff.

But from the rumours I hear (sparse though they are) she's with somebody new, and he's great.

And that's really a good thing.

And thinking about that made me remember what I used to always claim. I always insisted that I wanted her to be happy. I said that was my first objective. I also told her, for the length of our relationship, that there was probably somebody better out there for her, and she always insisted that she didn't want anybody else. I didn't mean to prove my point by screwing up both our lives. But I sortof did.

Well, no sortof about it. I messed things up for us both in some big ways.

But from what I hear she's better now, and getting on with her life, which is great, even if I'm not getting on with mine. I wanted her to be happy, and appearantly, she is.

I don't play a lot of sports, and I don't often think about things in terms of 'winners and losers'. I tend to focus more on situations where I can succeed without having to defeat the aims or goals of my fellows. I'd rather work with people than subvert their attempts at reaching for their dreams. I'd rather encourage than criticize. That's just the way I am.

But I work at a restaurant as a bartender, and spend most of my evenings surrounded by televisions displaying various sports, almost all of which demand that, in order for there to be a winner, there must be a loser.

So I came to the realization that if it comes right down to it, if for this girl to be happy I had to screw myself up for a time, and have a lot of regrets, but that somehow through no ability of my own, but rather random blessings from heaven, she goes on to be happy, as I claimed I wanted her to be. . . I'm ok with that. Because I did say that I wanted her to be happy--and she is, I hope.

So I hope she turns out to be the winner, because I'm happy that she's happy. And I guess, in a different way, that makes me a winner too.

In Good Company

It's good to see that there are a handful of movies coming that I'm actually anticipating.

It gives me hope that even if humanity won't save itself, at least it will entertain me before it reduces us all to atoms during an armaggedon of terrorism and hate. Ok, so that was a joke. You're allowed to laugh.

Anyway, There's this movie coming that has me really, really excited. Excited like I was when I saw Lost In Translation and connected instantly with the feeling of entrapment in a society that isn't your own, searching for community in a place you will never be welcomed.

It's called In Good Company. And here is where you can find The Trailer.

This trailer makes me think that the film might cause me to remember what it is like to be myself, or at least like someone I used to be. Let's hope for the best.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I found your diary. And I don't want to read it.

For my ex-Kawaii Girl: You left it open, but I promised I wouldn't. And that's reason one.

But more importantly: I want you to move on with your life, and I think you have. And it's probably better if you don't think about looking over your shoulder, even if I keep looking over mine.

In any case, skimming made me realize I didn't want what I once thought I needed. Full disclosure wouldn't have been what I once hoped it would be.

For the rest of my readership:

T.J. Maxx and Calvin Klein.

First, let me say this, T.J. Maxx is an awful, tasteless store. Taken universally, wall to wall, front to back, it's only one step up from a flea market in my estimation of class establishments.

Something about going in there makes me feel like I'm denegrating myself from a young up-and-comer with a nice job and a sweet pair of wheels to a white-trash reject with no future. I can't explain it more than that.

BUT, taken individually, in parsels, when you're looking for a handful of specific things, T.J. Maxx is badass. Great deals on clothes that fit, and fit well, and look good. Example: A pair of eckõ unitd jeans for $22 that fit great and actually look decent on me.

So, because of the way I shop (for items and look first, and 'fashion' and location second) I find that it's the perfect store for me. The kind of place where a cost-concious person who is trying to be responsible and have good taste can buy clothes that set them apart (in a good way) without wasting money and time in the teen-traps in the mall that scramble to force every young person into the same style molds in 3 month blocks so they can meet each Quarter Earnings amount.

This is an unsettling combination for me.

More unsettling is that I now own a pair of C.K. jeans. I've never been a fan of C.K. It seems to be mostly the wear of yuppies with too much money trying to look younger than they are when they go out on the weekends, or young poseurs shopping on Daddie's credit card who want a status symbol on their ass.

But I was in T.J. Maxx (see above) and found a pair for $16.00. So I figured, "what the hell. I need a pair of jeans, I'll try 'em on." I expected to be dissapointed, because Tommy Hilfiger gear looks (and feels) terrible on me, and I figured CK would as well.

Quite the opposite. It was like they had been tailored exclusively for me. So not only do I shop at T.J. Maxx, but I own and wear C.K. clothing now!

I feel like I'm failing all the standards tests I would have subjected myself to 4 years ago. Ohwell.

And you thought YOUR life was weird.

Seriously though, why is it that I end so many of my posts in questions? What is my obession with the unkown or (often) unknowable?

Change in direction: So, you thought your life was weird?

A gay man tried to set me up on a blind date with a straight (female) law student tonight. And I think I might have let him.

Try this on for size: I had a sortof quasi-regular of mine come in tonight. I'll call him Bobby (not his real name). He is very, very gay (on a scale of one to ten, Bobby's scale just shrieks and bursts into flames). He's a nice guy though, with a good sense of humour and a quick intellect. He reminds me very much actually of a roommate I had last year.

Anyway, Bobby is cool. But he comes in with 'George', a friend of his. They're both fruity as nutcakes, but I don't think they're dating, I think they're dating other people. Anyway, while they're there, George sets me up to get an e-mail from some girl, who has just moved down here and doesn't know anybody, and for some reason asked the two of them to find her a date. As george put it "We don't know any straight boys. But you're cute, so why not you?"

I find this argument distressingly compelling. Why not me? I'm just some random bartending bum, but I can keep up, intellectually at least, with a 23 or 24 yr. old Judge's clerk with a law degree. I must admit it sounds kindof intriguing.

So now George has my e-mail address (at least, the one I route all spam and junk through and check maybe weekly), and is supposedly going to get this e-mail address to the girl, who will write me.

We'll see.

[hindsight-o-matic: she never contacted me.]

In any case, that just serves as proof that my life is stranger than yours.

So there.

Ha! I didn't even end with a question. Wasn't that refreshing?


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

"I asked you first."

How much of what you do every day is an act?

I just asked that question of a friend of mine, but I'm fearing the point where I have to answer it for myself.

There's not a numerical answer for the real questions in life, and sometimes that leaves me feeling trapped and incapable of functioning on the level I know I should. I find that when I run across questions like this I can create eloquent but meaningless responses that let me off the hook. They leave me unchanged and the question unanswered.

I have always played my various percieved roles to the hilt. I'm an overactor, and I'm pretty sure everyone (friends, enemies, family) knows this, though if asked most of them would try and politely deny thinking such things. But overacting can be as much a blessing as a burden. Playing my parts to the fullest exent of my ability is what keeps me from feeling like I'm useless. It's something that allows me to feel that somehow I'm living life to the greatest extent and siezing the day.

But isn't my gung-ho 110% persona, overbearing and blustery as it can be, hindering my search for answers? Do I actually search for answers for myself, or is that just another role that I think I'm supposed to play, and so I go through the motions.

I told someone once that I'm very good at engaging in long conversations that feel very meaningful, and when finished, my companion will realize that they've shared lots of information about themselves and learned almost nothing about me. I've got a disgustingly effective gift for turning a conversation away from myself and onto the troubles and cares of others.

This gift can work wonders when I want to stay inside my shell, and helps me learn a great deal about others and how to help them. It doesn't allow me to open up much, or allow others to get past "How has your day been?" and actually find out who I am.

I'm going to sidewind on that topic. They say that No Man Is An Island. Well, I'd say that is true, and that nobody really can know themselves unless others also know them. Does anyone know me? I'm beginning to doubt it. Can I hope to know myself while others remain in the dark? Can I hope to ask others to understand me? I doubt it.

And if being known by others is one of the keys to understanding, then it is a key that I am keeping out of reach via my gung-ho shell and my diversion of any conversation that reveals anything about myself.

Very few people even notice the diversions, even after I point out that they occur, and even fewer try to get past them and actually find out whats behind them all. Why is that?

And why do I want people to defeat my instinctive methods of self-protection? And why do my entries so often end in question marks?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

You just can't find good help these days.

Definetly in love.

Y'know that catch phrase, "You can't find good help in this town."

It's proving true. We lost a server last week, so I picked up three shifts. this week we lost another server, and one called in sick last night, and so Saturday night was INSANE. On top of that, since we're down a server (or three?) I'm working two more doubles, Monday and Tuesday.

Hows does two 13 hour days of serving others sound? Back to back?

Sounds like my life. I wonder if He's trying to tell me something?

(sigh). But at least the vehicle situation is sorted. There are now 3.25 vehicles in this family, and counting. :)

My New Love

I think I found the new love of my life.

My age, too. . .and boy, is she beautiful.

But we'll see. After tomorrow. We'll see.

And how about those Red Sox, 'eh? Was that an incredible comeback or what?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

After that last, clarifications may be in order.

The irony is. . .I'm not angry.

The word is resigned.

I like my life. I enjoy my life. I have no faith in others. I still sigh when I see a beautiful sunset. I still smile when my dog greets me at the back door. I still laugh when people tell funny jokes. I still listen quietly when a child asks for my attention.

Yes, one of those sentences seems to not fit with the others.

But it's true. I'm not bitter. I'm not angry. I'm not depressed. I'm just. . .resigned.

I can write something like the last post (I call Bullshit) and it's not a big deal to me. That's just how I see the world. Sure, it sounds like a full blown railing-against-the-fury-of-the-storm rant complete with shaking my fists at the heavens (Curse you heavens! Doubly so since Tim taught me the best way to shake my fist at thee!) but in truth. . . I deploy no energy in my frustration with the race that I feel has failed me in its inability to reach any of its true potential.

One of my best friends feels that drudgery is the only way to perfection.

Is he wrong? No, not really. I mean, damn, he's got a good point. If you aren't willing to put your nose to the grindstone, and do the damn work. . . you're not going to really see enough improvement to stand out from the crowd of wannabes. I have a degree that proves that you've got to knuckle down and get the work done.

But something about the idea of drudgery as something we should attain and maintain freaks me the hell out.

Is that related to what I was talking about above? No, not really. I think my mind is wandering.

By the way, I found a new collection of beers I like. Rogue. Try 'em out. Your local fresh market or equivalent might have 'em.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I call bullshit.

I am not trying to be the bad guy.

I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in any of you anymore.

I don't believe you'll improve, I don't believe you'll change. I don't believe you'll get better. I know I haven't.

Humanity is not a dynamic and advancing race, it is a stagnant and chaotic collection of failures and false-starts.

I'm sorry Gene, your humanist philosophies no longer stir dreams of a promising future in my heart. I'm sorry, christian ideology, your claims that some portion of humanity will someday repent of its sin and turn it's face to a God that is bigger than it can concieve no longer cause me to have hope for the coming years.

I call Bullshit.

It never gets better, it never changes. We play the same instruments in the same marching band and march into the same failures every day.

So here it is. My current message to the world: "I'm sorry I am right about you, I've never wanted to be wrong more in my life."

In the hallway of my mind, I'm closing the doors to the dreams I held in youth.

And to the visitors who did little more than rearrange the furniture that temporarily let me suspend my disbelief: Come back when you're willing to prove me wrong.

A Different Leaf

Turning over different leaves

I had an experience tonight that reminded me that I am a writer, and this is the result. The cadence is odd and the writing is sophomoric at times, sorry.

Dear Reader, whoever you are: this poem is not about you. It was inspired by my sister.

Guitar Notes fill the space
taking word's unspoken place

Three dogs, two friends, one little brother

Lyrics quoted, laughter shared
moments recall our fondest cares

I wish, you want, I never bothered

What did it start with?
Where does it end?
Is friendship the moment
when true love beings?

Twang of a string, twinge of my heart
Please let me dream
just don't let me start.

One grin, two smiles, three muffled giggles,

You had to be there, I missed you so,
How much you were loved, you'll never know.

Old friends, Fresh Tea, Rose Colored Glasses.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Fly me to the moon

I want to get out of here. So why am I trying to hang around?

On a moderately related note: I'm thinking of buying a motorcycle.

Probably something like this one or this one. I would consider the Honda Rebel 250, except that pretty much everyone say's the frame is too small for someone my height.

Dream Bikes?

These Three Bikes make me sigh: The Triumph America($7,999 USD), the 2002 Honda Magna 250(Appearantly around £6,930 GBP), and the Harley Davidson V-Rod Line(Starts at $17,695 USD).


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Car Trouble

I'm out of debt.

Every penny I make now is my own. A dream realized.

Life is better.

My Jeep (Chetter) is dying. I feel bad for him, but for right now I'm also kindof helpless to do anything.

Combine that with my monther's van's transmission going out, and you've got a three car family with three independent schedules working off 1.5 cars.

This is a bad thing.

And while we're on the subject of motor vehicles, I present a short, overwritten and blustery rant.

To the driver of the Burgundy Conversion Dodge Ram Van with North Carolina Tag 101449:

The "passing lane" is called a passing lane because people who travel at higher speeds (like me) use it to 'pass' people traveling at lower speeds (like you). Moving to the 'passing lane' and then sitting there with your speed matched to the 18-wheeler to your right is foolhardy and makes me presume that you're inbred, ignorant, and generally a waste of good oxygen and citizenship.

In addition, in many states it is illegal to pass on the right, and thus I attempt to avoid doing so at all costs, especially in heavy traffic. That you are not aware of this and did to proceed to move to the right lane as soon as possible after the aforementioned 18wheeler finally decelerated further justifies my belief that your license should be revoked and your vehicle given to the poor and needy, who will probably use it as housing.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Future is Here

Between bouts of self-pity and pithy but inneffective ranting about my personal life, I work as a bartender.

However, I would, if pressed, admit to being a freelance geek. An engineer dispossed of his real work in a vain effort to capture something (freedom?) he can't explain or define well enough to know where to look for it.

However there are times that my geekiness shines through so blatantly that it must be reflected here, and this is one of those times.

As a preface, I read Gizmodo daily. If you have never been tempted to ask questions that invoke numerical answers when your friends show you their latest gadgets, Gizmodo is probably not the site for you. To wit: You can like tech gear, and talk about tech gear, and not be a tech/gadget geek. I have coworkers who are perfect examples of this, crowding around visitors when they display Gameboy SPs, and comparing cell phone functions between orders during the dinner shift, but never displaying any real knowledge of technology's direction, pacings, or innermost workings.

In any case, today in particular, my sense of the coming future is brought into high relief by an article Gizmodo posted linking to HaloLabs.

It references three tech demo videos of a new product, a motorcycle airbag worn as a vest by the rider.

Those of you familiar with SnowCrash or affiliated works (or even many other works from the sci-fi genre) will immediately be reminded of the balloon-rider safety systems these authors invoked as a means of explaining high-speed impact survival in the early part of the 21st century.

Well, the future is now. It is the early part of the 21st century, and those devices are on their way to release.

Rarely does a product or device so easily cut through my normal stoicism about the steady but slow march of progress and remind me that we are living in a world of rapidly developing technology. I find myself suddenly glancing out the window as if I expect to spy a flying car or nearly self-sufficient mobile android.

Ok, so I'm excited. The future is here!

Friday, October 08, 2004

The voices in my head.

I am replaying a memory. In the darkness of the theater I relive the feeling of being captured by words not my own, yet they speak my story. Is this the mixture of amazement and pain that Lauryn Hill sang about?

They are my words. Or are they her words? Dare I call them ours?

"No. No, you can't... STOP. Please don't go away. Please? No one's ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave... if you leave... I just, I remember things better with you."

I do dare call them that. They were our words once. Once we shared. . . We shared our selves, each other, and our crazy, childlike dreams of what the future could be like if we could just bend reality a little past the breaking point. But reality always wins.

"I do, look. P. Sherman, forty-two... forty-two... I remember it, I do. It's there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it."

I can feel it. Even through the anasthesia of self-denial and the passionate refusal of personal investment, the words still sting, and the feeling of connection gained and lost still lingers.

Is it better to have loved and lost? Some part of me wants to think that perhaps Samuel Butler's bitter cynicism says it best: "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all."

But I cannot celebrate my freedom. I loved, and do love, and will love. And no number of truisms, clichés or quotations will change that.

"And-and I look at you, and I... and I'm home. Please... I don't want that to go away. I don't want to forget."

Forget? Far from it. Forever that moment in that darkened theater will be locked in my memory. Knowing that this simple exchange in a children's film was a key to my life and mind and future.

"I'm sorry, Dory. But I... do."

And she does. And still the world turns.

And All is Well.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

You live what you've learned

I do admit to listening to Linkin Park. One of my roommates last year got me started on it (Deep Blue See - He's awesome!). I really enjoy some of their lyrical work and music, though much of it begins for sound formulaic if not mixed in between work by other artists.

All that to say I was just hearing Points of Authority, and listened the lyrical hook for the first time.

It's an interesting factor in human development. Rather than living to avoid the mistakes we've made before, often we're content to live the patterns we've already established, even if--when pressed--we admit those patterns are destructive.

Let's take, for example, a habitual 'go-along-with-the-crowder' who is invited to a party based around drug use. Such a person might say "well, I'll go, but I won't try anything" though if questioned they would admit that in every similar case before, they've gone along with the group's activities.

So they go to the party, do some drug (any drug, pick one) and maybe it's a great experience. Maybe it's a horrible experience. For the sake of this discussion, assume it's a good one, the first time.

After a few subsequent uses and some scary situations (OD scares on the part of friends, drug-induced nausea, etc) one would assume that such an individual would realize "Y'know, when I go to these events, bad things happen to me. I will stop attending them."

But that often isn't the case. Instead, the user will continue in a cyclic pattern, simply repeating the paths they've walked many times before.

Why is it that human nature (I'm speaking both macro and microcosmically), is so cyclic? Doesn't this fly in the face of logic for a species that possesses such a powerful ability to learn and adapt?

We talk about humanity being such a strong life form because it's so adaptable, but so rarely do we learn our lessons and actually get on with the frigging adapting. It's such a symptom of our species that we have our own trueism for it: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And we repeat history all the time.

What's up with that?

Monday, October 04, 2004

On People and Faith, Continued

Funny how finishing 8 hours of work and sitting down with a nice cold Beer (Rogue Mocha Porter from Oregon--a nice brew) makes whatever I was worried about this morning seem far less signifigant in the grand scheme of things.

Let me see if I can recapture where I was.


But even though I've abandoned manipulation as a tool (the loss of any sense of enjoyment from it helped). . .

. . . the side-effects of its use linger in my attitudes towards the people with whom I interact every day.

Romantic Example: I believe that theoretically there may be someone out there who could be the love of my life. There could be a person to whom I devote myself as a mate.

But on a practical, real-world level, I neither believe nor expect that I will ever meet such a person.

Professional Example: I work with approximately 20 people, and my impression is that fully four of them are truely competent. Of the four that I think are competent, one's a drug addict and compulsive liar, one can't do math, and one lets his desire to be boss get in the way of his professionalism.

My interactions with my family have basically gotten to the point where I've boiled them down to a single tenet: "in the battle to see who can be less mature, I will not strive to be the victor." I have surpassed my parents and other relatives in ability to take in stride insults, aggravations, and petty comments, and there is no reason for me to get bogged down in their desire for personal conflict to match the strife with which they fill their lives.

It doesn't matter wether it's family, romance, or my workplace, I just don't believe in people's abilities anymore. They do the same stuff, over and over again, and they never change, improve, or look beyond the squalor of their lives except to dream about a future that they will never have the work ethic to actually attain.

I don't believe I will ever meet a person I will love unreservedly and ungruardedly because I don't believe I'll ever meet another person I'm willing to place that much faith in.

This attitude plays out in my professional choices. I never assume that someone will come through for me in the clutch. If there is a risk that someone will cause me a delay, I call ahead and tell those expecting me that I will be late, even if the person winds up keeping their schedule straight and I arrive with time to spare.

I have simply begun to assume that people will always fail me.

That's a painful realization to make. But it has it's benefits. It frees me from the shackles of trying to 'change others for the better'. I used to spend a lot of my time trying to strive to improve the lives of others.

But with the knowledge that I have no faith in their ability not to screw it all up anyway: Fuck others. They don't have a clue anyway, leave them be, and let them figure it out on their own if they want to improve their lives.

It also frees me from the desire for companionship. The knowledge that it will just be history repeating itself (geekout: a recursive function with a broken pointer) in a new and perhaps more painful way makes it a problem to be avoided rather than a new chance to ease the loneliness of my existence.

So, am I recommending that you lose your faith in people?

Hell no. It sucks being where I am right now. My heart feels like it's been soaked in isopropyl and coated in lead. But am I depressed that I am what I am, and that I believe what I believe? Not really.

What will be will be.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

On People and Faith

I have a friend (don't be too surprised, eh?). He's a good guy. Sometimes he seems very hit-and-miss. One moment he's a technical wizard, and the next, he isn't. But his mastery of what is and is not a programming language notwithstanding, he's a strong ally and a good man. He can be the kind of southern gentleman that is hard to find among the rabble and refuse of my generation in these later days.

One of the reasons I cherish him so much as a friend is his willingness and ability to call it like he sees it, even when that means he steps out on a limb and challenges people who may not want to be challenged. He isn't always right, and even when he is sometimes it costs him dearly, but it has been an incredible blessing to me throughout our friendship.

He said something to me a couple of months ago. Something beautiful and sincere and true. He was calling me on my loss of faith.

"To lose your faith in humanity is normal. But to lose your faith in people is terrible."

I have no faith in either. As I told him at the time: I firmly believe that humanity will go on as it always has. Overall, they'll keep doing the same shit they've always done, creating and destroying nations, breeding, make happiness and art, subjugating each other, and admiring the quality of a sunset. I'm not worried about humanity.

At the time, we were discussing my ability to manipulate people, and my belief that I was coming to a place in my life where I made use of that ability , and was slowly ruining my own life doing so.

It was a time of frustration for me, because I really have no interest in manipulating people. I feel bad doing it, a sortof sickening feeling like putting your hand in a pile of mud. But I cannot help but admit that I was also drawn to it. It was an undeniable power trip, and an easy way to get what I once thought I wanted.

However, the more I made use of the ability, the less I believed that people were really worth having faith in, since so many times they were so predictable or controllable.

I have since abandoned (as much as possible) the attempts at manipulation. The third strike makes clear what two sometimes do not, and on that final failure, I came to realize that trying to a relationship, any relationship, that didn't happen spontaneously was, for me, asking for trouble and despair.

But even though I've abandoned manipulation as a tool (the loss of any sense of enjoyment from it helped). . .

I'll finish this later. I've been called away.

Saturday, October 02, 2004