20 July 2012

Too bad, ya almost made it.

“Omnes relinquite spes, o vos intrantes” ~Dante

Or, alternately “Welcome to America”.

I’m tired, I know, I know, so are you. But I’m tired for a different reason.

People need to wake up, but I fear the day that they do. The world is collapsing around us, and very few of my fellow ostensibly sentient bipedal hominids seem to have the slightest clue.

Good. Yup I said it, good. I hope with all honesty that they don’t wake up.

“But how can you be so cruel” is the hue and cry, “don’t you have any sympathy for your fellow man”.

Short answer? no. Long answer? Not on your life. I didn’t create their issues.

“Well neither did they”, well they may not have “created” the situation, but they sure as hell didn’t do much to make it better. All I read online, is “I’ve sent 100 resumes out without a single nibble or interview” hmmm…have you gone down during the middle of July and offered to clean the stalls of a local horse farm? Have you gone to the lettuce and strawberry fields and bent over them for 12 hours a day to the point you can’t walk just about, only to go back the next day and do it again? Of course the answer is “No”.

Then why pray tell, would you insist I have the single bit of sympathy, hell even the poor in America don’t know what poverty is. They think they do, but they would be considered kings in many parts of the developing world for simply having a single faucet that puts out somewhat clean water that hasn’t been contaminated with some parasite that makes you shit yourself to death.

Never mind the car (that runs no matter how crappily), the 56 in flat screen TV. you can find in almost every poverty stricken apartment in any ghetto in the united states (an no I’m not talking about people who voluntarily give up what passes for entertainment these days.) along with the fact that most everyone has at least one game system to keep the mini gang bangers busy between drive by shootings.

Well guess what buttercup, shits about to get a far site worse, and your fat pathetic candy ass aint gonna make it through the upcoming bottleneck, which bodes well for me, cause I get all your shit. All your plastic pumpkins you milked the welfare system to get are now MINE.

While you were out buying Xboxes, and large screen televisions I was out buying tools and seeds to make it through, while you were getting beer and smokes with your monthly allotment of other people’s money, I was investing in shovels, hoes, and rakes. While you were buying ding dongs and Twinkies with your food stamps, I was buying rice and beans in bulk, not the tastiest I’ll admit, but it’ll be enough calories to keep me going while you sit around and try to figure out where your next crack hit is going to come from.

Granted that is probably a wholly absurd notion above, however close to truth it may ultimately turn out to be. For the typical American their crack may turn out to be dancing with the has beens, or American idolatry, makes no difference.

To quote the late great George Carlin, “they want obedient workers, people just smart enough to run the machines and do the paper work, but not smart enough to sit around the kitchen table at night and figure out just how badly they are being fucked”.

Critical thinking is not in their plans. Too bad it aint in yours either.

And in the event you are wondering about that quote at the beginning, it’s Latin. It translates “all hope abandon, ye who enter here”.

Now if you’ll kindly excuse me, I need to finish sorting my seeds, and sharpening my tools. I think I’ll make a junk run around the local yard sales to see what can be repurposed or saved out for trade when the shit really hits the fan.

15 June 2012

No I'm Not Sorry...

“I’m sorry” ~ Modern colloquialism used when someone has done something society states they should feel remorse for.

And you are not going to hear it from me. I’m not sorry; above all else I seek the truth, no matter how inconvenient. I don’t deal well with feelings, in order for me to do so it would first require I have them, and being half Vulcan and all it’s kind of tough.

Fact is no one is coming to your rescue. Fact is if you have been unemployed for 2 or 3 years you really need to take a hard look in the mirror, because you obviously missed something when you showered.

Above all else you are solely responsible for you. No one else is, Mitt Romney is not going to save you, Barack Obama is not going to save you, and only person that can save you is you. The Federal Government can bloviate all it desires about the “little guy” fact is they don’t give two rat shits about you or the fact you’re going to lose your house, or that you lost your car, or that you lost your job. Really they don’t, they have much bigger fish to fry, and let’s face it you aren’t even bait to them. After all they just rushed to take care of all those Katrina victims…oh wait, yea that’s right they did too little too late.

When you realized you were going to be at the very least under employed for a longer period than you anticipated, first thing you should have done was sell the McMansion, even if you lost your precious deposit, after that you should have sold the other two cars you really don’t need and never drive, and found something you could afford, rather than try to hold onto the house you were in because “it was your dream home” well guess what buttercup your “dream” just turned into a nightmare.

After that it’s time to go through the garage and get rid of all that crap you don’t use anymore that’s been in a box or bin out there for the last 20 years.

Next you get rid of cable, dish network or whatever other idiot entertainment you have piped into your home. Then you sell the gaming systems you spent all you’re hard earned cash on for your overly spoiled offspring who have known nothing more than a much better life than the typical Ethiopian.

Ok now on day two, you get rid of all but one of the 14 cell phones you have for you and your progeny, cut that plan back to the bare minimum or get a prepaid plan and tell your phone carrier to kiss off, don’t worry about your credit, you don’t have that anymore, after all you stopped paying those the day you lost your job, sorry Charlie, but look at it this way, if you don’t have a phone the collection agencies can only send letters…and who actually gets their mail.

Fact is by severely slashing your outgo from the outset you stand a much better chance of a rapid recovery to something that resembles your old life; at least you’ll be able to afford a monthly trip to McDonald's and not have to order off the dollar menu.

You should reduce your outgo to rent, utilities, food. After that if there is enough to keep the car, insurance and gas then good on you, if not might I suggest you either find a place to work you can walk to or move somewhere they have public transportation to work.

Also start applying to those places you said “I’ll never work there”. Hey bunches of other people have, and they are still alive to tell you about it, your turn. Just keep the Ivy League education off your resume; actually don’t give a resume at all, it just makes you look desperate. And guess what, when you’re in that situation, there are jobs Americans WILL do, go get one of those, oh wait your probably overweight and no one wants to smell you sweaty fat carcass when they are working.

While I can have some variety of empathy for the genesis of your situation, I have no empathy or sympathy for its continuation at your own hand. Only one responsible for you is you.

Got news for you, the President of the United States can no more spur job growth than Madonna or lady gaga could be Mr. Rogers, it’s just not in their genetic makeup.

24 January 2012

Darkness Falls

“ ”~Zen Quote

I’m that guy. You know the one down the street; my kids went to school with your kids, yeah that guy. The guy who you let your daughter babysit his kids when his wife and him went out for dinner every now and again, yeah him.

The guy who owned a nothing special American or Japanese car, the kind of car that just screamed mundane. I went to work every day, kids went to scouts and soccer, sometimes with yours, sometimes they played against each other, but always ended up eating pizza at the same place it seemed. You knew my name, I knew yours, but neither of us really knew the other.

What you did not know however, that I had a hunch about but never said anything, was the world was about to collapse around us, and there was very little either you or I could do to prevent it. The housing bubble popped, jobs were lost in the name of “profit”, you felt ok, after all you were still employed, but you remained worried even if you didn’t say anything.

To you I seemed aloof, not caring one way or the other, secretly you wondered what was hidden behind it all, the fact I never seemed phased by what was going on around me, even as neighbor after neighbor lost their jobs, and subsequently their homes to foreclosure. Signs now dot the street you live on, I live a block over in the “older” homes that predated your cracker box development of McMansions, “but I had a good job” you cry as the repo man comes to take your toys away for nonpayment.

Hard as you tried you were unable to fathom why, why I seemed so content, why you were being punished for simply doing what you were told, following that dream that everyone had. As you sit remembering the life you used to enjoy, comparing it to mine for some reason you still cannot elucidate correctly, that guy, yeah that guy, always seems to have food, and lights, and heat, try as you might you can’t keep but one on at a time, let’s face it rapidly diminishing unemployment checks are killing you as you try to salvage what’s left of your dream, even the food bank is tired of you, or so you think.

Here’s what you don’t know. I survived, some things are best left un-discussed at length, but suffice it to say that at one point in my life I was put into situations that most people until now would have no idea about. I lived all of this once before, not here, not on this soil but this, what’s happening now to us, here, at home. And while I cannot “un-see” what I witnessed, it did teach me a valuable lesson, one you did not learn, even though during our conversations I tried to tell you about it, about what was coming you thought “aah, he’s just a kook”, or one of those “survivalist” types you hear about on the news just looking to prostilyze to whoever will listen. But since you haven’t heard anything in your normal circle of prayer group friends, I must be some kook.

Now you just wonder, your wife has left and taken the kids, moved in with her mother, or so you were told, you honestly don’t know at this point. Some thugs just came and stole your 88 ford, the only car you had that was paid for and the repo man couldn’t lay a hand on. Your food ran out three days ago and while the mail still gets delivered to both of us, as we are the only ones left in the neighborhood, all they seem to bring you is notices of default, foreclosure notices and other sundry bad news.

You sit in an empty house, the majority of your possessions were sold long ago to try to keep the house from going back to the bank, powers been off for almost a week, gas has not been on for a couple months, you’re not quite sure, cable TV was the first to go, then your cell phone, then the house phone, and now the house.
The food bank has long since closed, you now wander the neighborhood looking for left behind food stuff, and you don’t even care if it may be spoiled or out of date. You’ve long since ransacked all the remaining homes looking for so much as a left behind can of tuna, eyeballing my place, but not certain you want to try to take anything from the kook, no telling what’s behind the fence you think to yourself.

You will however come take fruit that hangs over the fence on my trees, it’s on the outside of the fence you think to yourself, and if that guy wanted it he’d have trimmed the trees, at least that’s how you rationalize a behavior that eight months ago you would never have engaged in. Truth is, I left those there just for you, and those like you who failed to listen to those like me when they tried to tell you.

Pretty soon the fruit hanging over the fence runs out, and lacking another food source you decide to peer over the fence, when you do you almost pass out, there are all sorts of vegetables growing almost wild around the yard, no dog, at least not one you can see, you whistle, and wait, after what seems like an eternity you decide to see if the gate is open, it is, aah, your luck has turned, if only for today.

You never hear the shot as the bullet passes without effort through your pectoral muscle piercing your heart, as you lay there the last thought going through your mind is “he don’t live that way” the bullet came from the wrong direction.

That kook you ignored learned many a valuable lesson, the only defensible position is the one aren’t yet occupying, while you were out in the other part of the neighborhood in a desperate search for even the tiniest morsel of food, I took up residence 650 yards in the opposite direction, that dog you remembered came with me, the balcony on the master suite made a good vantage point to keep an eye on my place without being obvious, another lesson I learned, I made an educated guess as to how long you would last before you came to steal what I had planted. Had you attempted to knock on the door first, I’d have come out of hiding long enough to give you whatever you needed, I might have even asked you to come stay with me for a while.

I’ll bury you properly of course, since there hasn’t been law enforcement in this area since about 2 months after the crash “not enough people to worry about” they claimed, what they didn’t say was the guy who lived two doors down was a cop, who lost his job, then ate a round of his own accord…

15 October 2011

Why must the jonses make it so damned complicated

The cacophony of everyday life is no more blatantly evident than when the power has gone out and we are left with only silence. ~Me

This past weekend I was a unfortunate (as some would put it) or fortunate (as I would state it) “victim” (isn’t everyone a victim?) of hurricane Irene who seems to have done more damage to inland areas of my location than to the coastal areas, of course not all damage reports are in yet so…

The old adage is true, silence is indeed deafening. And had the silence not been broken by the one fool in the hood that has a generator, it could have also been a small taste of nirvana. You see in no uncertain terms I hate modern civilization, which is sort of a dichotomy when you understand what I do to make it in the world, at least for now.

The finest time I think I have ever had is right now. No power, no noise save the fool neighbor and his generator, living the way our ancestors did as few as 80 years ago. Save the modern convenience of running water, it’s not been all that bad, fact of the matter is it’s been quite enjoyable.

The largest conundrum I have had to overcome in all of this is the odd look or questioning from someone when I mention that it either don’t bother me, or I wish it would stay off forever. There appears to be a normalcy bias in most people’s minds, that states unequivocally “electricity is a must” that it is some variety of “God given right” for people to have power piped directly to their homes to run all of the appliances and especially the idiot box because God forbid we miss American idol or dancing with the has-beens yet again this week due to no power.

I’ve come to the conclusion that while very nice to have its not absolutely necessary at the micro level, the personal level, I understand and whole heartedly agree with the necessity of power at a macro level, to keep the gas pumps on, the stores working etc. but at my level, down here where the peons live, it’s not a necessity. I don’t watch a lot of television anyway, and while my mode of earning an income is dependent on the power being on at the office; it certainly does not need to be on at home. “But what about the refrigerator and freezer” is the hue and cry?

Here is an idea; how about we relearn how to do things the really old school way. Mankind lived for tens of thousands of years without electricity, in fact in the grand scheme of things electricity is relatively new technology. Until just recently in historic terms we lived without power coming out of every wall socket, we canned our food, harvested when we could and put up for the winter, not unlike the ant in the in the parable of the ant and the grasshopper who toiled away to put up sufficient supplies for himself while the grasshopper did nothing.

I know this is getting posted well after Irene, and well after the lights “magically” came back on, in retrospect, they really weren’t necessary. I and those who where her e with me did just fine thank you, although I will admit to the need to mind whatever time piece was handy and still functional so that things could get done while the natural light was still about to be had. Normally I don’t recognize time itself except for the normal social things of arriving at an appointment at some pre-described moment during the day that has been mutually agreed to.

I am daily attempting to voluntarily simplify my life, mini disasters like Irene are just reminders of what stuff we really don’t need.

26 June 2011

What does matter anyway...

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. ~Seen recently on a bumper sticker.

I won’t regale you with the contents of the other bumper stickers on the back of that particular car, since most of them defiled my basic conservative view point’s anyway, I’m still wondering how that whole hopey-changy thing is working for everyone.

Nevertheless, it got me to thinking, so I suppose we can ignore the proclivities of the occupant to think that the government is going to come to their rescue, just like they did during Katrina a few years back, oops never mind.

I however started to ponder the ideation, what does matter? Ultimately what matters to one may not matter to another, coincidently does that infer that everyone’s lives begin to end on different days because we all certainly do not stop caring at the same moment? Or perhaps we all stopped caring too long ago to account.

I read constantly how people are getting out of debt by doing things like cut out the 5 dollar coffee, now I don’t drink coffee, never appealed to me, so maybe am not equipped to understand how anyone can spend that much money every day on a coffee, especially when a coffee maker at the local department store runs what? 20 bucks or so? Seems to me that for Monday through Thursdays coffee expenses you could acquire one of those and find a brew you like (hell even the expensive ones will turn out cheaper than 5 bucks a cup).

I attempt to have as little debt as possible anyway, some is unavoidable, i.e. the house payment, tax payments are a form of debt that come around once a year, that sort of thing. Having 4 children who are my responsibility takes a good chunk of my venerable pay, but I don’t mind that, one it’s not forever, and two they are mine and by that extension I have an obligation to take care of them until they turn 18. Or can successfully take care of themselves on a day to day basis.

I don’t turn on lights or the TV (very often anyway), I light the house with what the universe saw fit to put into place, the sun, during the winter I use candles I purchase at the dollar store, I spend about 10 dollars a month during the winter, and even less in the summer. House stays cool enough most nights that the AC is a luxury I rarely use. Heat can be made with wood or small space heater in one room etc.

Yes I have a cell phone, no its not one of the latest and greatest, it texts and makes calls, that’s all I need it for anyway. My car is 10 years old and slowly but surely falling apart, until it does so completely I’ll keep it on the road. Yes I work on it myself.

It’s not that I have some grandiose idea that anything I do is going to save us from what’s coming at us at breakneck speed, the fact that the main stream media seems to finally be figuring out, we are headed for doom be it financial, or from Elenin, from some rogue nation setting off an EMP weapon, or the sun itself deciding that it needs to belch and we just happen to be in the way.

I guess the one thing that matters right now, is survival, without that you won’t have anything to worry about anyway. So work on that, if a few bills get missed, it’s not the end of the world, after all mankind spent the first 5000 or so years of his existence without the luxury of electric lights, cell phones, television, game systems, cars, gasoline, JIT delivery of his food (well that could be argued), or anything else we take for granted now, including permanent housing.

05 June 2011

Oooh Shiny...

“Oooh shiny” ~Homer Simpson (or at least he’s the most attributable to it)

Welcome to the OOOH Shiny generation, those whose lives are so enamored of technology that should they lose the ability to purchase their triple half soy mocha mint latte no whip with a wave of their android phone would simply have a nervous breakdown right there in the middle of Starbucks.

I have taken notice that everyone has some variety of “smart” phone permanently tattooed to their ear (give them time and they’ll be actual tattoos, if the world lasts that long). They all have a million friends on Facebook, but none in real life, they text incessantly, talk on chat programs that would make our parents blush with the utter risqueness of dress that the avatars are allowed to have. Never mind the fact the person on the other end of that never ending sexy avatar most likely needs a hover round to do their grocery shopping for no other reason than they fell victim to what grand daddy used to call “elbers bends” disease, every time your elber (elbow) bends your mouth opens.

Now I understand that some people (but I would be willing to wager not the majority) of those have some actual medical condition that requires the use of such a device, but too often I see them in the store with a basket full of Twinkies.

They also have the attention span of a gnat, the planning capabilities of an artichoke, and wouldn’t know a real book if it jumped up and bit them in the ass. All of this of course courtesy of our technological march toward the grandiose Olduvai Gorge that is coming toward us at a pace heretofore unseen before in human history.

Teachers are now required to “teach to the test” that George W. Bush put into place in an effort to make teachers more accountable, and elevate the worst performing schools to meet the rest of the nation, this has had the net effect of a bunch of small hominids who do nothing but regurgitate rote memorization of the basic facts needed to pass the standards of learning so their teacher doesn’t get fired at the end of the school year.

It however is a very poor method to teach our children to “think” past the end of the test, given a problem to solve (which they should be acquiring the skills to do so) if it falls outside of the parameters of the exam, then they simply cannot fathom how to accomplish this. I have seen it firsthand.

Take all of this and couple it with Facebook, Twitter, and a plethora of other distractions, and it’s no wonder our children cannot do simple things without either immediate gratification, or stick to something long enough to see it through to the end without someone there acting as a drill instructor to get it done.

I work until the sun goes down, how do I know it’s time to stop working? It’s dark outside. I’m not saying that everyone should take this approach, and often times I’ll take a break in the hottest part of the day (on my days off) so as to not kill myself, however as it cools in the evening I return to the task in order to attempt to finish whatever it was I was doing when I stopped earlier in the day.

I’m not going to complain about it, it does no good to do that. At the very least I will acknowledge it, and simply shake my head, what else can I do really. The world is as we have wrought it, nothing more, and nothing less. It is as it should be, only human beings would dare to think otherwise, after all we made it this way, and unless we as a whole (that is the entire of the human race) collectively do something to reverse the trend, I’m afraid we are headed toward the cliffs edge at a blistering pace, Oooh shiny…..

When people inquire of me where I see the modern age going, I just reply, you truly do not want to know what I see, history does not repeat, but it certainly rhymes.

13 May 2011

Why oh Why did he have to say That

“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” ~ Deepak Chopra

I know I know, two posts in a row with a quote by the same guy, but I’ll tell ya Chopra got it goin on in the philosophy department.

I hate more than a couple choices, even when faced with a slew of them I’ll try to narrow it down by dismissing those things that flat out don’t fit into whatever it is I’m trying to make my choice about.

We have (at the place of my ostensible employ) been attempting to hire a junior version of us. Things started out bad, and essentially fell off the edge of the table. None of the 11 candidates we deigned to interview (which is what it was in all reality as none were qualified and we knew it) could get the rudimentary questions right, we did however settle on one likable chap who at least had 40% of what we were seeking (the remaining 10 were to say the least not very useful).

Now I am not sure I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I’m Buddhist. Western Zen variety for the most part, however I have been known to partake in sazen from time to time even though it’s not really a necessity to comprehend the universe as I do.

My boss is aware of my “religious” affiliation, and the fact that I do not deign to discuss religious differences with anyone, simply because I do not feel that it would be productive in any way shape or form, I get paid to write code not play “my Gods better than your God” games at the office.

Well one person decided it would be in his best interest to mention that he brings a “Christian” centered perspective to his work, now that’s all well and good, but like the Christ said, let your actions speak since your words say nothing. Anyone who has to TELL me that; one is no Christian and two has no place in MY shop.

Mind you the other people who work in my department are both very Christian in deed and belief, and neither of them would EVER think to bring it up in casual conversation (the boss occasionally will but only in the context of going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car).

Why oh Why did he have to bring THAT up, which by the way after he did my boss damn near slapped me out of my chair in an attempt to keep me from opening my mouth, but I as the consummate professional did not say anything, much as I really really wanted to.

All of this leads back to choices, this individual could have chosen to answer the final question any number of ways, most of which would not have affected the final outcome, but never the less, they chose to utterly alienate themselves from the prime mover of the group’s decision making process.

Bit of advice for ya’ll, next time you find yourself in a job interview, leave the religious proclivities at home where they belong, you’ll no more convince me of the existence of your God than I will convince you I’m a car.