Gawd bless ‘Murica

Today is a good day for freethinkers to avoid social media, because it’s Memorial Day, one of many holidays where the national religion of patriotism is practiced by theists and atheists alike. It wouldn’t bother me so much if all people did was put up flags. That’s just a symbol, and I don’t care what the symbol minded do. It’s all the stuff about soldiers dying for our freedom that bothers me. No soldier has ever died for our freedom. If they did, then we wouldn’t have a government.

There was a time when I would have argued vehemently for the government to be abolished, but that’s no longer what I’m advocating. What I’m saying is that as long as there are people who will punish other people for doing or not doing certain things, we are not truly free. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. We’re not free to kill people. We’re not free to rape. But we’re also not free to make certain amounts of money without giving some to the government. We’re not free to carry certain kinds of vegetation in our pockets. We’re not even free to stomp on an American flag. The government won’t get us for that last one, but patriot religious extremists will.

It’s all well and good for you to worship pieces of cloth and hired killers, but I’d like it if you kept it to yourself. That won’t happen, though, so I’ll just do my best to get through this annoying holiday.

Success following my change in attitude

Hey, everybody. I haven’t posted in a while, because everything has been good. Since I pledged to become a more people-friendly person, I’ve found an awesome job editing books, and my photography has begun to take off. I’m finding success doing the things that I like the most, and it’s all because I stopped tilting at windmills.

Some of you might remember those old, negative posts. Some of you might have even been fans of them, seeing the anger that mirrored your own dissatisfaction with life. I liked seeing other people’s anger, too. It made me feel justified in my own negative attitude, and it convinced me that my lack of success in life was the result of outside forces working against me.

There’s no shortage of potential boogeymen, both real and imaginary. It’s very easy for a person to become convinced that the Islamic Illuminati lizard men are out to keep them down. It’s a lot easier than connecting their lack of success to their own behavior and attitudes, because that requires them to take responsibility for wrongs done in moments of anger. Regret can be one of the most long-lasting pains a person can endure. I know I’ll always carry regrets for the way I treated people while I was refusing to act my age. I caused a great deal of pain because I was too immature to let go of anger that was masking pain from my childhood.

But I’ve truly changed, and while my metamorphosis isn’t yet complete and may never be, I am much better off, and so are the people around me. I’m looking forward to a bright future where my talents and work are recognized and appreciated. Anyone can make these changes to their life. It just requires self-honesty and eyes toward the future.

Escaping Islam

If a person is born to Muslim parents, then that child is brought up to be a Muslim. If a Muslim leaves the religion, which happens all the time, the Qur’an says that person is to be put to death. Heck, it’s pretty hard to not be put to death if you live in a country where the government enforces Sharia law. All you can do is constantly think and talk about how there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.

So I’ve been wondering if there is a point during a Muslim child’s life (and I use the term loosely, because children don’t really have religious beliefs of their own) when they have the option to get out of the religion before the death sentence kicks in for apostasy. If Islam doesn’t have this, then it means that Islam has no tolerance for atheists who were born to Muslim parents.

And that would suck.

A Figment’s Tale – chapter 10

The Royale Hotel received the most well-dressed guest any of the staff had ever seen.  He must have been a millionaire, and his tips showed it.  He rented the nicest room in the place, the emperor’s suite, for the night.  When the manager asked what he did for a living, he said, “I design roller coasters.”  The hotel was located half a block from the Third Satanic Church.  How convenient.

The bed was far enough away from the door that Josh and Happy could talk without anyone overhearing from just outside.

“Happy,” Josh said, “do you think we should really join this group?”

“You’re afraid they want to use us as a weapon, aren’t you?” Happy replied.

“Yeah.  Some of the things they said on their message board were pretty extreme.  I agreed with them at the time, but now that I’m not at work any more and we can do all this cool stuff, It seems like…”

“Like fighting the system isn’t as important any more,” Happy finished.

“Yeah.”

“I agree.  We can have adventures.  We can make the world a better place in ways we’ve never dreamed of.  We can go anywhere, do anything.  The world is our potato.  Let’s poke it in the eyes.”

They both laughed.

“That sounds good to me.  What will we do about compensating the hotel?  None of the money we paid with was real.”

“I have an idea.  You go to sleep, and I’ll take care of it.”

Josh was curious as to what Happy meant, but he trusted him enough to let it be a surprise.  Besides, they could always think of something later if his idea wasn’t a good one.  He went to sleep, and the next day, there was a solid gold statue of a woman carrying a pitcher in the middle of a huge marble fountain in what was once an open area in the hotel’s lobby.  Happy sat on the statue’s head, invisible to everyone but Josh.

“I found all the materials within about a mile of this place,” Happy told him.  “It was pretty easy to shape.  What do you think?”

“Amazing!” Josh exclaimed along with dozens of other people who had gathered around.  The owner of the hotel was there, a dark haired man in his mid 40s, and he was astounded, confused, shocked, and elated.  Where did this thing come from?  How did it get here?

Many people were talking about angels, gods, and miracles.  Josh thought to Happy that they shouldn’t reveal that it was him.  Let them believe what they want.  It can’t do any harm.  Happy agreed.  They made their way out of the building and flew off in view of many witnesses, letting them believe about it whatever their minds came up with.

Maintaining control

I’m having a really hard time today keeping my anger in check.  My girlfriend’s son broke my macro tube that I use to get close-up pictures of things, and though I did manage to avoid screaming at him, I’m having a really hard time not flying off the handle now at every other little thing that bothers me in the slightest.  (To be clear, I never scream at him.)  All I can do is stay away from people until this passes.  I don’t like this.  I wish I could stop getting angry like this, but I don’t know if it’s a consequence of the way my brain formed during my childhood or if it’s something that I can overcome with time.  All I can do is hide until Mr. Hyde leaves and Dr. Jeckyll comes back.

Book review: The Lightbringers by H. C. H. Ritz

As a photographer, it’s easy to get people to look at my work. As a writer, very few people have actually taken the time to sit down and read my books. That’s why when my friend said she had written and published a book and that it was science fiction, I had to check it out. The short review of this book is that it’s awesome and you should buy it and read it for yourself. You can get it here.  If you want more, keep reading.

Synopsis:

It’s the future, around 2079 I think, and the United States has closed its borders and became New America, where everything is perfect and everyone thinks positively in order to bring good things into their lives.  That’s what the government tells them they have to do anyway.  Gaylen Andrews is having trouble with the usual prescription for all of life’s ills when his wife leaves him and takes their daughter with her.  Then he discovers the underground, where everything the law forbids is done, and he becomes entangled in a world of violence, death, and terrorism.  He is forced to leave his old life behind and begin a new one where he faces his inner darkness rather than denying it for the first time.

Opinion and stuff:

The author tells the story from the perspectives of not only the most important protagonists, but also a few of the antagonists, which I found very interesting.  It’s nice to see things the way a villain does and to watch even him grow throughout the story.  Gaylen, who I didn’t realize was black until halfway through the book (not that it matters really), starts off as a “sleeper”, which reminded me a little of the people in The Matrix who are unaware that their world is a lie.  Then, almost involuntarily, he becomes so much more.  It was a lot of fun to grow along with him and witness his struggles.  The book has a great message, that it takes more than just positive thinking to make the world a better place.  Well, that’s part of it anyway.  There’s a lot to it, and you really should read it for yourself.

Scenes are described but not overdescribed, and there are many moments when I was actually excited about what was going on.  I often thought I was watching a movie, especially toward the end.  The only criticism I would give is that there were some minor formatting errors and maybe a spelling mistake or two.  Most people probably wouldn’t notice.  Now you might since I mentioned them, so forget I said anything.  Just read it.

What, you need another link?  Fiiiiiiine!  Here. Click here. Or here. This whole thing is a big link. You can’t miss it.

Here is a link for those of you who don’t like Amazon.

Back from the deep end

Let me tell you about the most obnoxious person I’ve ever met.  He liked to argue, and he always had to be right.  He could combine words so well, even clear-thinking people with perfectly sound minds would become unsure of their position.  He was a troll and a bit of a bully, and he was headed down a path that could only end in loneliness.  That person, as you may have already guessed, was me.

I’ve been paying close attention to the Elliot Rodger incident that happened last weekend.  I’ve seen all of his videos, including the chilling final one where he discussed his “day of retribution”.  As I listen to what he has to say, I can’t help but recognize a little of myself.  I wasn’t as crazy as he was, but who knows what could have happened if I had kept going on the way that I was?

To clarify things a bit to certain people who might be reading this, I no longer label myself an anarchist.  My anti-government ravings were not well thought out and the product of a lot of very misplaced anger.  I wasn’t wrong about everything, but anything I was right about, I was right about for the wrong reasons.  I don’t think totally throwing out the government is a good idea at all.  People need to come together, not split apart.  Peace can only be achieved by people listening to each other.

It’s so easy to go through life without considering yourself from other people’s points of view, and it seems like most people do that.  They react to things without thinking, they misunderstand, they get angry, and they seek satisfaction rather than resolution.  I don’t want to be like that.  I’ve managed to take a look at myself from the outside a few times in my life, and about a year ago, I did it for the first time in quite a while and realized that something was seriously wrong.  I had forgotten to value my relationships.  I saw valuing the opinions and feelings of others as a weakness.  Then Michelle reminded me that only from the outside can you get an accurate overview of what most people see when they look at you.  I silenced my ego, I opened my eyes, and my world changed for the better.

It does you no good to go around hurting people and cutting yourself off from caring about the suffering you cause, because as humans, we need each other’s help to have a happy life.  Societies thrive on harmony.  Productive members of society are the ones who facilitate harmony through peaceful interactions.  That’s what I want to do.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.