Sticking around a while


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(I almost regret drawing this now)

I haven’t written much here recently, mostly because I’ve been so busy.  My life seems to have been caught up in some kind of whirlwind that has been propelling it forward at 4x the normal speed.  So many good and bad things that it would take about five posts just to summarize it all.

That said, I have some good news to report.

After He Who Shall Not Be Named became president elect, it really felt like my country had suddenly become a place I was afraid to live in.  Not because I’m one of the many who are literally threatened by his proposals, I’m fortunate enough to have the ‘right’ skin color and gender, but because of the people who look like me that supported him.  And, would you want your tax dollars going to that asshole?

But it’s not just that.  For the past five months I’ve been working on a book about spirituality and life.  As an agnostic (basically someone spiritual without a specific religion), I became obsessed with writing something that would basically be a bible for people like me.  I was making a lot of progress and was really, really excited about where it was going.  It’s a totally new way of looking at life and death, at being open minded and appreciating diversity.  In a lot of ways it’s a really beautiful set of concepts that I think could unite people around positivity instead of dividing them.

The thing is, He Who Shall Not Be Named actively goes against every single part of my new ‘religion’.  Literally, point for point, that asshole violated every guiding idea that I came up with.  It’s all about truth, equality, and being accepting of those with differences.  Half the time he violated all of those in a single tweet.  That’s terrifying.

I couldn’t sleep the night of the election.  I was horrified.  Not only was this country a far, far scarier place than I ever imagined… A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE VOTED AGAINST EVERY PRINCIPLE I HOLD DEAR.

I almost threw away my book, my cherished project.

I wanted to leave the country, after throwing up everything I had ever eaten.  I wanted to crawl in a hole in some far part of the world and hide, hoping the end of days would miss me.

That feeling lasted for two days.  I was shopping for cheap property in Canada.  Not kidding.  I’ve been to Canada a number of times, it’s a truly amazing place that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets.  I’d consider that an upgrade in almost every way.  Did you see how awesome they’ve been with the Syrian immigrants?  Makes me tear up.

But then I had this thought.  The only reason that He Who Shall Not Be Named got elected is because of fear.  A lot of people who are normally smart and kind allowed fear to blind them to the obvious faults of someone who never should have even been in the running for political office.  They allowed fear to mislead them.

Which meant, if I let fear of the future influence my decisions, I would just be promoting the same mistake.

So, instead, I decided to stay and fight.  Not with fists or even words, but with love and compassion.  I’m going to try to live up to my own ideals and continue to promote them.

I picked up my book and kept writing.  I also made a few phone calls to various charities to see what I could do to make the world a better place.

That’s where the good news comes in.

This week, I heard back from my favorite of the organizations.  Without naming them, they support a lot of people that have earned it and really need it.  They’d like my help organizing a new program to spread their message and raise funds.  I’m ridiculously excited because the program is really cool, the charity is amazing, and I’ll get to help out one of most deserving groups of people.

I guess the message is this, no matter how scary the world might seem, no matter how bad things look, it’s worth sticking around and standing up for what we believe in.  And every one of us, no matter our talent or ability, are still capable of improving someone else’s life and making the world a better place.

That asshole doesn’t represent me, what I do represents me.

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In a Rant of a Mood


As usual, the news today pissed me off.  Specifically, the Kentucky County Clerk.  First, she refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples because it went against her religious beliefs.  This got her in trouble because that’s illegal since the Supreme Court ruling, and the court ordered her to start issuing them.  Now, rather than doing her job, she decided to not issue any at all to try and avoid the ruling.

Really?  Are we back in Kindergarten?  That’s like the little kid that pouts when you tell her she can’t just eat the chicken nuggets, she has to eat her vegetables too.  So, she gets pissy and refuses to eat anything.

The Clerk and her friends are arguing that they are exercising their first amendment rights.

That’s bullshit. Continue reading

Apologies and Forgiveness


I wasn’t going to comment on the Ashley Madison leak, I didn’t give two shits about it.  Married folks signing up for a website to cheat… not the most sympathetic victims.  If forced to provide a statement it would have looked something like this:

(Nelson from The Simpsons)

However, as a few of the more celebrity users have started providing responses to their leaked use of the website it brought up a couple thoughts.

As a society we have this fascination with tearing down successful, recognizable people.  The bigger they are the harder they fall… the harsher the criticism and laughter from the masses.  What makes a story even more juicy is when the person is famous for their values and beliefs, then it’s brought to light that their actions are completely contradictory to the image they try to portray.  Two of the big names are high profile Christians. Continue reading

Sunday Morning Craziness


I have a wonderful, wonderful dog.  Mostly.  She’s definitely a personality.  Most of the time we get along great, but one of her less endearing traits is her punctuality.  You see, during the week we go for our morning walk before I leave for work, which is really early in the morning.  This means that on the weekend she expects us to keep this schedule.  No matter what.

So, every Saturday and Sunday morning I’m woken at an ungodly hour by a whining, insistent, nuzzling nose.  She does not care how late I was up the night before, nor how many alcoholic beverages were consumed, nor how hungover and exhausted I am.  When it’s time to go, it’s time to go, and I’ve learned the hard way not to ignore my doggy alarm clock. Continue reading

A Dangerous Precedent?


It seems like every time I check my news feed I see half a dozen articles that piss me off.  I should really just stop reading the news, it always puts me in a bad mood.

Today I read a piece on the Huffington Post, “Why the Boy Scouts new policy on gays sets a dangerous precedent.”  Article.

Before I go into the wrongness of the article I’ll give you a little background on myself.  I was an active member in boy scouts for many years, during that time (fifteen years or so ago) were the first debates about homosexuals in scouting.  I came down firmly on the side of gay rights.  It was too early then, the changes were shot down.  Many boy scout troops are also sponsored by religious organizations, mainly Christian, something else I was not a fan of, but that was the driving force behind the ban on homosexuals in the organization.

However… I think the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) just made a step in the right direction and opinion pieces like the one in the Huffington Post are steps in the wrong direction. Continue reading

Conservative Hypocrisy


I read an article today that irked me.  This happens most days, which is why that cabin in the middle of nowhere seems more and more hospitable.

The article is an “idea” piece for the Time website: “Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn to Live As Exiles in Our Own Country“.  Essentially the piece is about how marriage and societal views have shifted away from the writer’s values, as though he and those like him are somehow now an impacted minority. Continue reading

God’s Not Dead


***Disclaimer: I have absolutely no problem with any religion or ideology on its own.  My philosophy of life is pretty straight forward, do whatever you want as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else.  Gay, straight, sexual preference, ethnicity, religion, are all irrelevant to how I interact with people.  Power to everyone.  Believe whatever you want, do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.  It’s simple.

What I do have a problem with is how some religions sell themselves and how some lead to poor treatment of others, whether that be women, homosexuals, people with different religious beliefs, etc.  That violates my “do no harm” clause above.  If someone wants to be close-minded that’s their prerogative, as long as it doesn’t affect others.  As for marketing, some religions, or branches of those religions (emphasis on some, not all), use the same persuasive techniques that advertisers do to try and influence and shape public opinion.  I don’t have a problem with religions trying to increase their flock as long as it’s done honestly.  That’s not always the case.  It’s one thing to state your beliefs, or have an open and honest conversation, it’s another to use subterfuge.  That’s bullshit, and I have no problem calling anyone on their bullshit.***

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Taking a breather


You’ll have to forgive the break from trip posts for a moment, it’s been a crazy few days.

Sometimes the universe just slaps you in the face.  You could say it’s a sign from God, Allah, Yahweh, whoever/whatever, but as an agnostic I like the idea of the great unknown and “the universe” is a nice, ambiguous way to put it.

The problem with these proverbial slaps is that they don’t come with instructions or a convenient moral at the end.  There’s no sky banner saying “That’s what you get for XYZ, asshole!”, or “Don’t forsake love for the better job in Denver!”, or whatever the applicable lesson should be.  We just get bitch slapped and left wondering why.

Since returning from Australia I’ve had a series of unlucky, unfortunate events.  At first, it was a few minor things not that far out of the ordinary but the magnitude and frequency of these events kept increasing.  I went from thinking that maybe I was having a string of bad luck to thinking that the universe was trying to tell me something in an incredibly awkward and increasingly painful way.  Whatever the lesson is, I’m not learning it quick enough. Continue reading

Visiting Ann: Mindfulness


**I recently returned from spending ten fantastic days with Ann St Vincent.  These posts about the visit aren’t going to be in any specific order, there is too much to write on too many topics.  So, don’t look at these like one long story, they are more like post cards or snap shots from a fantastic trip.**

Those of you who recognize the term are probably wondering why a Buddhist phrase might apply to a very non-Buddhist, sex-filled vacation with Ann.  Keep reading and you’ll find out.

For those of you who don’t recognize the term, “mindfulness” is a phrase common in eastern religions and Buddhist texts.  According to Google:

Mindfulness: “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” Continue reading

Door to door salesmen


Mormons.

I was out walking my dog this afternoon and noticed a flock of Mormons making the rounds in the neighborhood.  This is unfortunately common.  There is a large LDS church/school just down the road a couple miles and the neighborhoods in this area get more than their fair share of door to door missionaries.   You can see the young, student missionaries a mile away.  They are all clean cut young men, walking or biking around the neighborhoods in groups of two or three, wearing black pants, white shirts, black ties and name tags.

Going door to door for god, such are the glories of modern religion.

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