Saturday, March 29, 2014

On Shame

Writing on the trail again. Same spot different time and in a different place. My mind wonders endlessly while I walk. Perhaps why I like walking so much. Running is a different story. When I run all I can think is "1/2 mile more!" or something along those lines. Any way I suppose I will write something meaningfulish now.

There is no shame in being poor. Perhaps one of the hardest things for me to accept. By the time I was old enough to remember things my dad was already working for the government. Meaning I don't remember when our family was barely scraping by. It allowed me to develop a hard heart towards the poor that surrounded us. When my mom gave a ride to someone who smelled less than pleasant I was not happy. I was resentful. Why do I have to ride with them? They brought this on themselves after all. I looked at being poor as if it was a disease people willingly contracted.

My heart changed eventually, but more in the sympathetic capacity than anything. I still didn't understand the hardship. I still failed to fully understand as I suffered occasional monetary hardship. Like cutting back to only eating out once a week. However I soon understood living  paycheck to paycheck. Or even paycheck to 10 days till the next paycheck.

Why am I sharing this? I don't know really just venting I suppose. Control is key to surviving at nearly minimum wages. Yet constant control is one of the most difficult things ever. That is why when a poor person comes into a little money they spend it almost immediately. It isn't because they lack self control it is simply in order to feed themselves keep a roof over their heads pay the bills and live in general they have to be in constant control. One little splurge and they can't pay for gas or dinner.

Imagine if going to the store was a nickel and dime balancing act. If you had to make 50-60 dollars feed you for 2 weeks.

When people make no effort to understand the stress that others live under on a daily basis they make me very angry. You want to judge the McDonalds employee because they weren't perfectly sympathetic to your burger having mustard on it? Well you get to the point where you can't even afford the food at the fast food place where you work at and then chew that employee out.

If opportunity was for everyone then we wouldn't have poor and if you think you struggled and don't have a heart for those struggling than you probably didn't struggle.

I'm incredibly well off compared to many people I see every day, yet I struggle every day to keep myself financially afloat. I look at those with less than me differently and so should you.

This post seems angrier than I meant it to be. I'm very passionate about this subject so I guess you simply got to deal with it.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fatalism Fractured by the Multiverse.

Short post this morning. Just wanted to write about fate for a minute.

One of my favorite songs is called The Curse by Josh Ritter. And it is more story than song or the perfect collaboration of the two maybe. Anyway, in that song the archaeologist asks the mummy "Are you cursed?" and throughout the song he answers differently. Or at least his intentions behind the answer are different. Life is a lot like that if you ask me. When things are going against us we can get stuck into a fatalist mentality. As if the very universe has steered events against us. But for me life is so much simpler than that... We are simply subject to choice. In fact choice is the largest most amazingly powerful force in the universe. However in choice I don't necessarily mean freedom. I mean when a deer runs down a hill instead of up. As a result your speeding puts you right in the location where that deer bursts from the woods into the road and all over the front of your car. You weren't fated to hit that deer. Choice simply led actions into a collision of irreversible events.

The multiverse theory is so interesting in that every time a choice happens a new universe is born where each possible choice exists. It is so amazing. I doubt the validity of that theory, but is makes our decisions seem to carry a bit more weight to them. Just a random thought. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Faith in a tattered and stained banner.

The shallow casting of an ever finite evening can turn to the darkest of thoughts. Sitting in here I can feel time stretching out around and surpassing me. Does an hour truly matter? The longest ticking of a single second feels like a lifetime of nothing. A seething melancholy embraces my entire being and swallows like the glutton takes on another meal. Teeth tear at the soul and shred as the forgotten feelings of past failings push themselves to the conscious and cruelly use my mind as a playground. I'm never as honest as I pledge myself to be, yet my darkest sins are against myself and perhaps my faith.

Faith in a tattered and stained banner. A banner waving proudly. The wind blows and causes the banned to wave. It strains to be free and yet it is held in place. Limitations pushed upon it by unseen and natural forces that evade its limited understanding. In this field lie the fallen banners of all those who came before. On the skins of the dead and dying we write our story. The story of man. Waving our worthless banner in the wind with childlike pride. Yet ours is not the first banner and neither will it be the last.

A first and last that cannot count past a fucking second. Those that live under the sun bathe in a world of freaks and killers. Blood is our drink and bile our dinner. Can man say he is vast and great while he holds a gun? His hands shaking still from the thunderous clap of gunpowder and lead. Another lies dead at his feet feeding the worms with love and death. We wrap ourselves in filth and eat the sickness that is fed to us. The bastards in their golden thrones sing songs of our idiocy.
"Watch my brothers, the fool kills.
In our name he scrapes for scraps.
Yet our thrones are made of dust.
And still he stands in awe.
We who hold the keys are no more than he.
We are no more yet our kind always win.
We are gods and we hold everything."
Everything slips through hands into others and on down through time. Yet everything could be held by all. Never slipping or falling. A billion billion hands holding a banner will never fall. Yet we tear and grab at the vastness of everything breaking it into manageable pieces that hold no value and bring no joy. All is futile. All ends in blood and dust.

Not sure what got into me. I think I was channeling the same voice that wrote The Great War. I'm terrible at symbolism. Partly due to my impatience. I just don't take the time to make things clear without just saying what I mean. If you didn't get the idea... I was just feeling disappointed in humanity tonight. Reading about corporate greed and yet people having time to simply stand around killing each other. It is mind blowing.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

On a trail.

Life will take away choice. Ego will take away choice. We face issues and problems without bound. To call life the open sea is like calling the hurricane a slight drizzle. But life is neither enemy nor friend. Life is you and me. Life is waking up during the best dream you've had in weeks. Life is the dream that we follow with outstretched hands. Life is death. We living cover only a fraction of the time that goes on infinitely surrounding us. Yet death is everywhere. A million suns have died just to make our form of life possible. The dead return to the ground and bring forth new life. A cycle so long that it existed before the Big Bang. A magic so integral to all our lives yet we try to forget that soon we will be recycled. And the time we live and love is much shorter than the time we will spend nourishing new life. The cycle of life is immortal and goes on with our without our consent. Our god is death and life prying apart and putting together.
I'm sitting here at a park I've never been to before looking at trees I've never seen before. Yet it is all old and all of it is going to last in one way or another longer than my existence. My consciousness only just now recognized what will be and has been. Sitting I hear sounds that in a millennia may never be heard again. Perhaps birds will no longer sing or cars no longer drive on the ground. But none the less the cycle continues. Maybe a new chirping awaits my descendants. To live is to be blessed yet what is life? A tree is cutdown but can it feel? A bug is crushed did it have a family? Out perceptions are so limited. Yet we claim to understand so much. I argue we understand nothing. In our ignorance we destroy and kill. Still the cycle continues and ignores us. That is how god sees man. Man is a tool of the cycle. Just as susceptible as an ant or fly. Yet we move mountains and burn rivers. And think ourselves the lords of the future. But we close our eyes to the fact the universe doesn't need or acknowledge us. An infinite number of other plants have opportunities at having a similar species crawling onto hind legs and taking to the stars certain it controls the course of universal history and is the focus of a great universal plot. Yet none of us are even characters. Our sun lives for such a short span of time it is no more than a background character in the history of the universe.

Deep thoughts while appreciating the sun and new life.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Luck Thief (Part 1)

Sheriff Duncan Kettleborn released the latches and locks on his tomb. The air was still quite cold and would be for several days. Spring was here and he had a year before he'd return to the tomb. Pestle was always sow to awake after Falcon's  Winter. He always got out as early as possible. He could still see the last blue waves in the far east. However crime was always at the worst this time of year. Many people are broke after preparing for the winter and try to get out and at people's valuables quickly. Personally Duncan opposed the commercialization of survival, but as the sheriff didn't have to pay for his tomb he had little ground danger to himself and much if he opposed the system as it stood.

Lost in his thoughts and still stretching outside his tomb Duncan did not notice Deputy Phil Larson walk up behind him.
"We've got a suspected homicide. Woman froze to death outside her tomb key in hand. Strangest thing I've seen for awhile." Phil speaks everything in the same monotone. One reason Duncan found him invaluable, the deputy never got riled up or emotional about crime. He was always focused sometimes too serious. It has been said he leaves his tomb before it is safe and that he survives with magic. Duncan doesn't care about such practices, but the people of the Outer Wilds live there to stay out of the magical conflicts of the "civilized" regions and therefore don't trust those who practice magics. For whatever reason or ways Duncan is certain Phil has been out for at least a day now.
"Guess I've spent all my vacation stretching. Lead the way Phil." Duncan was still stiff. His provided quarters were scant and tight, but they were better than most could afford. Originally used as mines the miners lived down in the vaults year round and once the mine dried up the owners added gates and enclosures and made them tombs for rent. Used to be everyone lived underground out in the wilds. Slowly and violently civilization comes sooner or later. Duncan just shrugged at this thought and continued following Phil. It wasn't far to the Vault it was only across the thorough fair. All the vaults rested on the mountain side of Pestle. They look like a line of giant coffins. The sheriff guessed that was in fact what they are.
"She melted out a bit, but otherwise she is the same as when I found her." Duncan didn't like what he was seeing at all. There were always people who got trapped out in the winter, but this was not normal. She had her key in hand and was at her door. The way she looked off towards the mountain like someone had been standing there. If there had been someone there how were they still alive.
"Lets move her quick. Last thing we need is people thinking we got an ice walker in town. We'll check out her tomb once we have her at the Doc's." Duncan shivered at the thought. Wizards that lived for Falcon's Winter when there powers manifested 100 fold. Most of them were mad and extremely violent. The time following winter was when they released there pent up fury. Many an Outer Wild town has been taken over by an ice walker. Turning the place into a small winter kingdom. At least for a month or two when there power would finally wane.  Then they'd usually disappear only to return with Falcon.
"You really think we have an ice walker boss?" Phil sounded alarmed. This was unusual.
"No, but I know how gossip works here. Pestle will be stringing up anyone with a cup of ice by weeks end if word gets out." Duncan hated to admit it was true, but survival out here lended itself to a level of phobia.

They had her wrapped up nice and neat for Doctor Vivian Garnet. She would be out in the next day or two and she would want to look at the body. Lucky there was plenty of ice in the town to keep the corpse fresh.

Back at the tomb Phil turned the key and opened the first gate no problem. The men crouched down and walked down the steep steps to the next gate. This one as smaller and thicker. Opening it they saw the place had been left untouched. Whatever happened to the girl it was not a robbery. The little six by six by six room as even smaller than the sheriff's. He understood why so many went insane during Falcon's winter. A week of captivity like this can ruin anyone's mind.

Looking in her cupboards they saw she had the usual provisions. It was regretful that the mine owners would claim her assets, but such was how the law worked. Concerning everything she left in the tomb. They stumble on their first luck when Phil saw a journal wrapped in her bedroll.

After perusing for a few seconds Phil looked up, "Her name was Jocelyn Rivers. Her family were very wealthy only ten winters or so ago. Some say that there luck ran out. She was the last surviving heir to the estate. Which was scant at this point. Apparently she had to work at the Golden Sun just to make ends meet. I'd say once we speak with the Vault Officer we will need to go there."
"Sound like a plan Phil. Once you've finished reading the journal leave it on my desk at the office. I need to finish the rounds."
"Alright boss. Don't be out too late you know it'll still be cold."
"I got my duster it'll be fine. Thanks for the concern." With that Duncan crawled his way out. And all he could think of was what he'd dreamed over and over in the tomb.

P.S. I hope you are looking forward to Part 2. Something that I always strive to think about in my world creation is who has the power. As you can tell the Sheriff is more of a figure head. Sure he stops lawlessness, but the true power is held by the Vault owners. Since survival is always paramount it is an easily held power.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Luck Thief (PL)

Jocelyn looked up and saw the alignment of Falcon, Estaria's largest moon, and she knew winter would hit within the hour. She was rushing to get home. Anyone caught outside would die within minutes of exposure. As she ran through the all but empty streets she chastised herself for taking the winter closing shift at the saloon. She knew the dangers, but the pay had been too tempting. She was too receive 3 Griffon Marks assuming the bar lasted the week. She had closed everything properly and knew she would get paid. Now the only question was will she survive the next hour.

Jocelyn noticed a figure as she passed the alley beside the Golden Sun, the tavern she works at. The eyes shown red from the silhouette.
"My dear, would you be able to give a Dog to a poor man? It is all the money I need for a shelter. I will die otherwise." His voice was strange and not entirely real. She didn't want to stop she felt like she had no time, but she couldn't let him die. She searched her pocket and found a single Dog Coin. It was all she had left after stocking up on supplies and she knew a huge pay day was coming.
"This is all I have." and she threw it to him. The man caught the coin and smiled. Or at least Jocelyn sensed that he had smiled. It was then that Jocelyn felt the first wave of winter rush over her. She nodded to the man and ran.
"Thank you!" he shouted at her from the dark of the alley.

She was still about twenty minutes away from her personal shelter. She was poor and couldn't afford one of the nicer shelters. It was expensive to heat the larger spaces. She always felt claustrophobic inside her tomb, but she would live.

Her breath was starting to burn both from exertion and the cold. But she could see the rows of doors that were part of her vault structure. This vault structure housed about 40 individual tombs and 10 family tombs. No tombs were connected to prevent any breaks that could take out the entire vault. Her vault was on the opposite side she was getting so cold.

Falcon was rising a cold blue orb that filled the skyline. Larger than the sun this orb of death marked the new year. Everything would be born again once Falcon finally set. Falcon passes around Estaria once a year and all regions mark its path around Estaria instead of Estaria's path around the sun.

She was finally at her door, with no time to spare she reached in her pocket. She couldn't feel it. Ripping her pocket out it was empty. Where was her key. The vault door was unmovable without a key. She swore to the Fifteen and turned out her other pockets two at a time. It wasn't there. The office would have closed hours ago. Just like everything else in Pestle.

Already everything started to go numb. Breathing was pain she huddled against the door barely able to search her pockets any more. But that was her only hope.

Her fingertips could feel nothing. The cold was inescapable. Jocelyn fought back the impending, but it was too much.  Pulling her hands from her pockets she slowly opened her fingers which were turning black. And in her palm sat the key. As she died she thought she saw the red eyes staring at her from the white darkness of Falcon's Winter.


Not sure how many parts this story will be, but it is based off of a campaign idea I had. I don't get to role play at all any more. So, I decided to write the story. The world of Estaria will become more richly detailed as you read, but it has been very fun for me to mentally design.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Path Behind

I suppose many of you are either done reading this blog or have gotten tired of my words due to the "religious" questions that have been put forth here. Even more might just read this to feel the vindication that comes from ones beliefs being questioned. Or those who find shelter in my words since they walked a similar journey. All of those are actually the very reasons I write these words.

I'm not trying to act out or glorify myself, but I want to reveal my journey. If you read some of my older posts you will see the same voice. I've written about the grief of losing my grandfather. I've written about the shame of my DUI. I've written about my cowardice and my failures. So, none should be surprised I'd write about my altered views on the beyond. These have taken me the longest time to write about or even act upon.

The full story goes back further than I like to admit, but I suppose I should talk about it. Also the reason I don't like to admit how far back it goes is because it shows my true cowardice. Not from a lack of commitment.

I first admitted to not believing in God while I was in high school. I had a long talk with my brother Nathaniel about it. There was some yelling, mostly on my part. My belief's were still in their infancy at this time so by playing on emotions and fear I was de-converted. I renounced my doubts and recommitted my life to God. At this time I was on a run that perhaps god was a being powered by our beliefs and that mankind controlled their destiny through faith. This of course made room for all religions and beliefs. It was an easily defeated stance and was made without much thought. So, I withdrew back to what was safe and comfortable.

Safe was what I lived for the next several years. I went to church on Sunday and talked about my beliefs when asked. Having been well educated in the semi-modern Christian belief structure I could give many of the pro-God arguments and had pretty much everyone convinced on a mental level. I however have never once felt the true presence of God as described to me by others. I have felt manipulated emotions that wear off quicker than a hangover.

Oh yeah, back to the Sunday Christianity. So, I continued to do what I wanted, but say what others wanted to hear. I even became a Sunday School teacher. I was good at it too. Due to my education and skill with children I could answer many of their questions quite easily. But then it always felt wrong. Which I suppose is where the essence of my problem with God blossomed so long ago.

I have felt like I was wrong/broken since I can remember. Of course the depths to which this goes are beyond what I will speak about in a public forum. Needless to say things that were part of my very nature were constantly driven as sinful and disgusting in the eyes of God. Things that were ingrained to the point that they were subconscious. I would wake up from dreams at the age of 6 or 7 feeling as though I had sinned. Some would say that thoughts are sin and some would not. Many cannot even agree at this point through thousands of years of Christianity, but I digress yet again.

Needless to say always feeling wrong did nothing for my self-confidence. I retracted into a shell that would last until about halfway through high school. Which is the point where I started to see that other views on life existed and made room for me to be accepted. A perfect example of this is the stifling nature of church camp as opposed to 4-H camp. I would have a week of being a leader and a happy popular kid at 4-H camp. And then I would spend a week of no friends and no joy at church camp. Many of the most popular and religious kids at the camp I knew to be complete phonies. It was something I didn't talk to anyone about for a long time, but it was a complete blessing when I graduated and got out of church camp completely.

So, needless to say as my freedom grew so did my path into a spiritual awakening. It started slow. One of the first things I ever did was in my religious views on Facebook I put "impractical" instead of Christian. Little things like this continued to happen. Until late 2012 when I came out to my parents. It took over... 6 years to admit to myself and others what I knew to be true. Another year went by before I started to talk about it. And finally the post that started this series happened. So, when people tell me I'm acting out and trying to get attention obviously don't know what they are talking about. Because If it takes... 20 years to build up to a temper tantrum then I must surely not understand myself at all. Although for the first time in my life I feel I do understand myself. I don't expect anyone to accept my views as their own or to even stop trying to convert me. I love everyone who wants to take the time out of their life to save me from hell. It means a lot. If I believed in hell and I knew a way out of it, believe me, I'd do the same thing for you. Do not think I am ever going to be offended or off put by that.

However I do not take kindly to my intentions being misrepresented and my views being misrepresented. That is about it. Thanks for reading and have an amazing day!