Once again Andy "Don't call me the Bald Canadian...seriously, like, it isn't even funny anymore and we're only two episodes in" Carleton and I can't figure out how we move from topic to topic.
And he hates Bruce Campbell.
Like that Talking Heads song said: How did I get here?
Once again Andy "Don't call me the Bald Canadian...seriously, like, it isn't even funny anymore and we're only two episodes in" Carleton and I can't figure out how we move from topic to topic.
And he hates Bruce Campbell.
So I've hit a few bumps here and there for building a youtube audience and for building this site.
And my editing skills are rough. Really rough.
But I present to you the first in a regular series called "I Haven't Seen It...But I Disagree", where my friend Andy "the Bald Canadian" and I converse on a strange tangent of topics that go from the Grammys to...Hitler jokes....
Not sure how that happened, either.
Now, without further adieu;
How do you get from Star Wars to Ghostbusters?
We don't know either, but we did it!
My friend The Bald Canadian and I talk. About stuff. A lot. So we decided to do a podcast/vlog about it.
The premise is simple: I do not get to see half the movies that Bald Canadian gets to....but I still have a "preformed" opinion on the subject, however ill informed.
Podcasts coming shortly...until then, you have to do with youtube.
The Pursuit of Happiness.
Scott Adams, that rascally comic strip writer of Dilbert once put words into Dogberts mouth that said “You’re allowed to pursue happiness. You’re not actually allowed to be happy.”
I’ve never been a happy person, that I can remember. Yet people often tell me how positive and encouraging I seem. I honestly don’t know how they come to that conclusion, because anyone who spends an actual amount of time with me finds me disagreeable.
Recently my government employers have decided that they have over paid me, and are wanting to take back the full amount all at once.
At first my thought was If I take out the right insurance policy, I can make it look like an accident, and then my family would be set, and I wouldn’t have to keep going through all this turmoil in my life.
Not a very happy response. “It’s just money” is a nice little quip when you’re family isn’t about to end up on the street because your pay has been cut off due to a clerical error….(and money that technically I am entitled to, because 90% of the problem was a classification code that was put in wrong).
Even with all of this my phrase was (and has been in dark times) “I don’t know all the details, but I know we will be fine.”
Even with wanting to send the family off to the grandparents and wrapping an extension cord around my neck, I still held on to the concept that I could come out of this okay.
This isn’t a one time thing, however. I have been in so many situations that seemed hopeless that I’ve ended up culturing an almost indifference to the annoying things that happen around me. Mostly I get pissed off at bad drivers because my family is in the vehicle. Driving alone I’m less cranky. But a rude neighbor, a mean spirited troll calling me names, even a gun in my face, usually illicit at best a laugh and at worst a shoulder shrug. The horrible events in my life have never forced me into a bed to sleep all day, or kept me up all night panicking over things I can’t change.
So what, if there is one, is my key to happiness?
I don’t know if I have one. Psychology professor David T. Lykken, author of Happiness: Its Nature and Nurture thinks that trying to be happier is like trying to be taller, and that we have a “happiness set point” genetically, and we can’t move past that. Yet he also believes that we can pursue happiness by thwarting negative emotions and fostering positive emotions, also pushed as Operant Conditioning. This conditioning is something I seem to have internalized at some point, but I don’t know exactly where I got the idea from.
Behavior Habit 1
For me this sometimes takes the form of sarcasm. I’ll say something along the lines of “You know what’s worse than this? The Holocaust.” Or I’ll throw out “At least I don’t have it as bad as Andy Dick. That guy has to spend his whole life being Andy Dick”.
Most of the time it takes the form of a quick list or litany: I have breath in my lungs, a family that loves me, working arms and legs, opportunities that I just have to look for, and bad jokes.
Just doing this shifts my attitude away from bitterness and gives me motivation. If I forget to do it in the morning (it happens) I’m usually a total asshole. Especially since I am NOT a morning person.
Confronting the Downside.
I have a metaphorical giant wolf I call Fenrir living in a cage inside me. I take him out for walks occasionally, tightly leashed, to show him who is in charge.
How this is manifested in the real world is this: Fenrir is all the powerful thoughts and feelings (mostly unconscious) that drive my behavior. I am a very angry person, and it has taken years of visualisation techniques to not have my anger consume me, and instead use my anger for me. “Me”, a man, is so much smaller and weaker than Fenrir, yet I exert control over this beast. I use the anger, rage, and futility that he tries to instil in me and put it into working out or tackling jobs or situations that I hate or are afraid of.
Fenrir whispers from his cage however, and his ideas are poison. Whenever he brings up a negative thought or feeling I confront it with facts, taking the truth out of the context and diminishing the rest.
You tried and failed!
“I did indeed not get the outcome I desired. But what I did was better than doing nothing, and even I can’t see the end of the effects I have in this world. Also, I learned what NOT to do.”
I sometimes take Fenrir out on other people, but I often try to do that in more deserved ways, such as playing cruel tricks on people who have done obvious and intentional wrongs.
This one I am not the best at. One of the writers of my university textbooks was David G. Myers, and in his own book The Pursuit of Happiness, he writes there are “few better antidotes to unhappiness than close friendships with people who care about you.”
This is difficult for me since my need for love is akin to a cactus. I need very little love attention. Too much and I just get uncomfortable and annoyed. However I do understand that oxytocin is released when people hug for more than ten seconds, and while I may not need that daily boost, I understand that my wife and family do. I try to be complimentary (though I usually fail since it just isn’t something I desire for myself. I find it hard to understand the need for it in others). Though I do not understand all the mechanics of the need other people have for relationships, I do still try to foster them. Like that cactus, plants need water. My need for water is less than others, but that does not mean other plants can live with less water.
There is nothing like the fine wine of holding a grudge. It is distilled. Pure. It gives the same destructive pleasure as homemade napalm.
Holding onto that napalm affects your physical as well as mental health, according to research. (Research, I might add, that religious prophets have seemed to know for millennia…but I digress*.)
By embroiling yourself in holding a grudge, or plotting revenge, you carry your anger into every other thing unrelated to the event. How can you enjoy playing with your children if you’re imagining punching someone in the face? This fantasy behavior bleeds into your ego, taking the event as a slight against your personhood leading you to believe that if you do not act then your life lacks purpose which leads you into a depressed and anxious cycle eroding your connection to others.
I find this one to have been the easiest and hardest one to do. Mainly because other people don’t matter to me very much, and by “letting” a moron make me mad, I’m giving them power over me. What does it matter to me if someone I don’t care about hates me? Their opinion of me matters to exactly jack shit. Or dog shit, which I find absolutely disgusting and puts me in a bad mood, but then I just clean it up and move on. Because there will always be dog shit, and you can’t let it rule your life, mandating if you can play in a park or run through a field.
Forgiveness moves you away from playing the role of victim and releases the power and control the offending dog shit has had in your life.
Choose to be Happy
My son has done this:
“Do you want to be happy?” He yells.
“Then be HAPPY!” And then he runs off laughing. He has also been known to say that being happy is walking in nature.
And he’s on to something. Intention to happiness is the active desire to be happy, it’s consciously choosing attitudes and behaviors that lead to happiness over unhappiness. Going for a walk over laying in bed all day is a conscious choice to choose an endorphin reward over getting no reward. Cleaning will get rid of that hated clutter and dirt and give you a sense of accomplishment, even if brief (I have four boys after all). Make the bed first thing in the morning, and do it as an act of kindness to yourself. By making your bed, you have done one thing that you know is fully completed, and it also shows you how to take care of yourself. Challenge the negative thoughts. For example: when someone pisses you off we often start building a case against that person (grudge) or begin to eat sweets to feel better, but that’s very damaging mentally and physically.
Instead, reprogram your beliefs; instead of candy making you “happy”, explain the truth that if it is true, then your happiness will only last as long as the candy does. And then you’ll be back to zero. Going for a walk might take more effort, but it will make you happy for a longer period of time.
In order to get more out of life we need to put more into it. Or as Fight Club put it, “You decide your own level of involvement.”
The most common type of leisure time is watching TV, which produces the lowest levels of happiness.
Active leisure, the type that helps a person to grow, does not come easily. It requires effort and attention before it becomes enjoyable. Once you are absorbed in a task that is important to you a state of “flow” is reached where you face challenges to your abilities.
Money doesn’t make you happy.
This one is the most difficult for me. Money would provide a certain level of freedom that I don’t have, and it is the lack of money that has caused a lot of stress for me over the years. Yet even then I still know that spending money won’t make me happy.
For some people, if they're feeling sad, shopping will make them happier because it restores some control in their lives. It's making the choice to buy or not to buy that helps people feel more in control.
The problem definitely comes when we go into debt buying things. Then the Fight Club line “The things you own, end up owning you”, becomes readily apparent. That couch that you bought might make you feel good for a while, but then the bill comes and you have to work to pay it off. And then it gets something spilled on it. Even things like vacations will have a fleeting effect if they put you into debt.
Instead, focus on experiences that make you happy; volunteering and talking to strangers are two ways that can actually make you feel better even if you don’t think they will.
Largely because they involve some mix in all of the above methods.
I don’t often like interacting with people, but every morning I walk my children to school and talk about trivial things with the other parents, sometimes volunteering to watch their kids if they have to leave for work/other. I get my social fill, people think I’m a nice guy, the day goes by a little more smoothly.
We are the architects of our own happiness. When our lives collapse with sadness or anger, it is because we did not build our hearts with enough patience and joy.
P.S. If you can, please buy a print from Cyril Rolando (AquaSixio). He is a very talented artist and deserves attention. Link in the button under the picture.
*mini rant about psychology. I often encounter psychological research that seems to just want to supplant ideas that have been culminated in religious texts for years. “Confession is good for the soul” is one such example. Clergy and priests offer this for free, and its benefits are just as helpful as any $200/hr therapist
I'm over 3 thousand for this video!
Oh, well. I guess I found my niche?
Pump those numbers up if you want to see more of this crap...er...piss.
This last week was a bit of a doozy for our family. My wife had her Grandmother pass away, and she needed our sole vehicle to drive out of country for the funeral.
Leaving me with four boys.
So I did what any father and husband would do: I used my time to clean the basement, and the bedroom, and the bathroom.
Our basement has been a source of contention, with boxes still unpacked from when we first moved in, scattered throughout, piled haphazardly, blocking the path to the washer/dryer that is also under piles of laundry and various bric-a-brac.
But it is not this place that I fear I have overstepped my bounds.
You see, our bathroom is stuffed with lotions and tonics, brushes and pills (of both the legit and snake oil variety) to such a degree that I have a less than one foot cubed space for my shampoo, shaving accoutrements, and deodorant.
Three of my boys' personal grooming is relegated to a bath-time bucket, and suction cup tooth brushes.
My wifes' items fill three shelves, two drawers, and most of the medicine cabinet.
So I took EVERYTHING that hadn't been used in at least six months and put it into a giant Rubber Maid container to be sorted through in the near future (near being ASAP, since if it sits for too long I'm going to be tempted to just put it all into a trash bag this coming Thursday... Garbage Day).
My reasoning is that, well, most of the stuff has either not been used in a long time, has never been used, or we just flat out don't need it. I don't know why we need ten different shampoos, since the only ones that get used are in a shower caddy. I don't know why we have antibiotics from two years ago. I don't know why we have thirty bottles of different nail polish when my wife doesn't paint her nails. I didn't do this out of malice or anger (though definitely frustration), but because I want a nice, organized, and fresh start for her to come back to.
But I'm sure I went ahead and shot myself in the foot. After reflection I've come to the conclusion that my enlightened attitude may be seen as a personal attack on her....and that you should never really touch a woman's beauty hoard (also something I find puzzling, since I think she's beautiful with or without the lotions and oils and de-oiling and exfoliate stuff. I also think she's pretty).
So this may be my last post, ever.
Honey, if you are reading this I am very, very sorry. I would like to mention that while you were gone the children were mostly fed and dressed "okay", and the laundry was folded and put away (except for todays), and the basement is a lot cleaner and the grass was mowed and the dishes were done, and and and....
Good NIGHT EVERYBODY!
I am not a fan of Harry Potter books or movies.
That said, I like to try and grow out of my own realm.
Here I give you an attempt at a short story (unfinished) titled Witherbrand: Fire of the Walker
“Wake up. It’s time to save your world.”
The dead muggle sat up slowly, a confused expression leaking around their eyes and down their face. In life they would have squinted at the burning sunlight, squinted at the blowing dust, grimaced at the heat. In life they had been a shop owner in a nearby town. In death they were milky eyed and mostly unthinking Inferi, weakened by heat and light..
“Is this a good idear, Dry?” a female voice spoke.
“We find the necromancer, we get the bounty. How is that not a good idea, Trianne?” Dry, reached out an enchanted gloved hand, and helped the dead muggle to its feet. It stood on shaky legs that barely supported it. “Now, I know you don’t know what’s going on, so I’m going to fill you in a bit. See, this here magician likes to kill people, and then use them as slave labor for all number of things. Then they get tossed away like a tumble weed. You know who did this to you?” Dry tipped the dusty brown Stetson up from his face as he asked, and the sun revealed a creased face like land so parched it cracked.
There was a long pause as the trio stood waiting. Trianne Deadfeather, dressed in a long black duster that gave off rivulets of mist, the residue of a chill spell that had been woven into the fabric, swayed from side to side in anticipation as she watched the muggle. She nervously rubbed the handle of her whip, and the subtle rattle of spines responded, seeming to tighten and lengthen its coil.
“No need to be nervous, Trianne. The magic that raised this fella is fading, and even if it were at full power, you know I could fire off a bunch of spells before it made a move.” He spat into the dry ground, and that was the only sign that he hadn’t turned into a statue.
Eventually, the muggle shook its head. No, it didn’t know who had originally raised it. Trrianne puffed out her cheeks as she gave a slow sigh. A sound caught her attention and she wandered away slightly to find where it came from. It would take a long time to get any answers from this dead muggle and it left her feeling vulnerable. They really should be less obvious, standing out in a wide expanse of dust and dead scrub grass.
“Do you know where he went?” Dry continued his interrogation, asking slowly. The dead muggle eventually shook its head “no” again, and then made a slow and clumsy swing at Dry. “Your juices are all dried up, fella. You couldn’t hurt a puffskein right now.” Dry reached into the folds of his duster and pulled out what looked like a wooden revolver that had been intricately carved with runes and symbols.
To a living muggle, were they privy to see or hear what was going on, what happened next might have sounded like an auctioneer caught in a bidding war between two rivals who didn’t speak the same language. A litany of spells fired from Dry’s lips, and the wooden revolver snapped out each spell as though it were a real gun, though instead of dull lead it fired magical spells of energy.
The dead muggle began to melt, then turn to dust, and then blew away as the last of the spells fired into it. When the muggle was gone, Dry blew out the smoking end of the revolver and put it away.
“Well, that was a dead end. Pun greatly intended.” He wandered over to Trianne who was still scanning the horizon for whatever had caught her attention. “Find anything?”
His question was met with a fast rustling of dying grass from several directions. From out of the grass leapt several Hodags, their horned and frog-like heads snapping in the air. Normally, these dog sized beasts would have been nothing more than a minor annoyance, creatures that raided muggle farms for food. Something had disturbed them and they had either become territorial, or made aggressive for darker reasons.
Trianne reacted quickly, her right hand unslinging the whip and going straight into a pig drovers crack, the whip circling above her like a large halo, and then into a forward crack. Her spell was only a whisper, but lightning flashed and terrible thunder shook the air as several Hodags were shattered from existence. “Baubillious” she whispered again and again until a dozen Hodags and their toady bodies had been decimated.
With a final flick the whip coiled itself and nestled back onto it’s clip.
“Now, what do you suppose that was all about?” she spat, her thin lips pressed into a grimace giving her normal cherubic face a more fish-like appearance.
“Guess we should head to where they came from to find out.” Dry answered, and began walking in the direction the Hodags had come from.
Trianne had spent ten years crafting the bullwhip. It was composed of almost a thousand toothpick sized wands, all held together by various enchantments, Acromantula webbing and venom. Each wand, crafted by her own hand from the slivers of all the wands from her classmates and professors, placed layer upon layer so that it looked like a cross between a porcupine and a black snakes scales, all gave it a rattling sound when it was being used. Trianne found this noise very calming, like a hard rain before a storm, and she was tapping the whip now as Dry set up the camp for the night.
She had met Dry Witherbrand almost the same time she had completed the whip, and it seemed as though this event, the completion of the whip, had resulted in drawing the bounty hunters attention. He had captured her attention almost immediately with his deadpan nature and disconcerting bad puns, as though he had been compelled by some hex to always make a joke even though he didn’t want to.
Her own life had been boring before that. She had barely graduated from Ivermorny School and had returned to her families homestead outside of Texas when she met Dry. It was there, after her completion of the whip, started before she went to Ivermorny and finished after she returned home, that Dry had crossed her path.
He had come to their home asking if the crops had been good, if the animals were okay, if there had been any odd changes in the land over the years. He disguised this as a curiosity regarding the purchase of nearby land. His own questions led Trianne to come to the conclusion that he was actually looking for someone. He startled her with his blatant honesty and told her that yes, he was searching for a rogue wizard that had a price on his head.
Scourers. They were the bounty hunters and mercenaries that had peppered the New World, had grown to power, become corrupt and then themselves were chased and hunted until they were all but history. Dry had confessed to Trianne that most of the Scourers had gone into hiding so deep that they had forgotten their own heritage, but that his own family had merely disguised themselves so well that they had been overlooked.
The intrigue, the danger of it all was intoxicating, and she had been pulled into his life and continued on forevermore.
Brushing her red hair out of her face she plucked a single hair and wrapped it around her finger, her favorite way to think: The Hodags came from the North but the Inferi had come from the East. Was there a magical location nearby that had drawn the necromancer?
The only major city in that direction was Chicago, and as far as Trianne knew, there was nothing magically interesting there.
The nearby lakes had an interesting history, though. A lot of dead bodies in those lakes...
Good day, Cogs!
Oh, what an amazing, juice reviving time it's been.
As many of you know I am somewhat of a troll. A "good" troll, in my opinion. Definitely annoying, sure, but never really harassing.
My trolling is usually in a intellectual pursuit, sometimes at the cost of another persons sanity.
You see, I like to play Devils Advocate, often turning the argument back on the person who holds their idea as pristine and untouchable. When I argue with atheists, I argue only from a scientific and materialistic standpoint.
When I argue with theists, I argue mainly from their own views and theology.
Sometimes I argue from my own beliefs, but rarely.
And so on.
I do this for what I feel is a very important reason; I want to make sure that I am not caught in an echo chamber, to test my own ideas, strengthen some and abandon others. I also loathe it when a person has formed an idea of the universe without any examination of it at all. That includes atheists who have never read a theological verse, and theists that have never read a science text.
On rare occasions I do call people stupid. Usually it's other trolls who are just trying to start a fight.
Currently I'm trying to actively engage with the people I'm arguing with by DM'ing them and requesting a video chat.
But NO ONE WANTS TO FIGHT ME?!
To quote Connor McCloud "They all run away".
So I plan to have more content on that soon. Maybe you can watch me become intellectually taken down a peg (I'm sure many of you would love that).
Have a great day, Cogs!
Riverdale is quiet popular these days, with it's adult themes and modern day issues (Archie Double Digest pun intended), but there was one film I saw as a teenager that made Riverdale seem like the sweet comic it's based on.
That film was called Hot Times, or A Hard Time For Archie. (link here)
This is basically a mainstream porno film that tried to tout itself as "American Graffiti...with sex!"
The main character (Archie) is a black haired Jewish kid with an afro, his friends name is Mughead, and he tries to sleep withe Bette and Veronica.
You know. JUST like the comics.
What's really funny is that this movie is available to watch, unedited, on youtube. That's right! You can watch seventies twenty-somethings pretend to be teenagers having sex!
As a teenager I was able to rent this movie from my local video store, no questions asked. And I rented it a few times. Many a few times. For a teen boy pre-internet living in the prairies this was absolute gold for destroying my vision.
The times I wasn't able to rent it I knew that my buddy had rented it, and it was an unspoken piece of information between us, a shameful thing when I would go to the place on the rack where the VHS box stuffed with styrofoam stood and see that it had been rented, or vice versa.
This movie is awful, and even the memories of it are pretty bad. As a teen I realized that the dialogue was stilted, the film production was super low, the sound quality was atrocious, and had I been of the inclination to voice my opinion of the film at that time I'm sure it would have been a scathing indictment of the genre.
But...there was boobies. There are a few movies that are live action versions of the Riverdale Gang, like Return to Riverdale. But this one film really appealed to my teen appetites.
Why "Failed Daily"?
Because I fail to update daily.