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Miley Cyrus

Before August 25, 2013 Miley Cyrus was a young Pop and Country music star know best for her portrayal as Disney’s Hanna Montana. She’s also always been the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus of Achy Breaky Heart fame.

Forgive me while a shudder slightly.
Thank you.

Well on August 25th, MTV hosted the Video Music Awards during which Miley … uh … “performed.” Yeah I put that in quotes because I think it is ironic to call what she did performing, but I have a poor grasp of what irony is. If it isn’t ironic then please assume I’m quoting another source and have forgotten to properly footnote it. Kai? Thx.

So.

Where to begin.

Let’s just say that for someone who’s had a pretty “Disney” background, what Cyrus (Miley not Billy Ray) did was not very Disney at all. Follow this link if you have no idea what I’m talking about. So she shook her thang, stuck out her tongue … a lot … like a mentally challenged giraffe, and did things 16 year old me would have been very uncomfortable watching anywhere but alone.

I am not going to talk what she did, but rather what I observed from others.

So obviously there’s some backlash. People feel disgusted, offended, and maybe even a little betrayed by Cyrus’s (Miley not Billy Ray even though I’ve never forgiven him for ABH) performance. Yeah I know I totally cut that thought in two. Deal. I have some advice for these people. Grow up. Miely has. She’s twenty now. And although she cannot legally consume alcohol, she can die for her country, get married, have kids, and make more money than you will ever see at one time and then blow it on gas for her HUGE tour bus complete with an Olympic swimming pool and furnace that burns twenties. She’s no tween-ager or teenager anymore. It’s her life to destroy, not yours.

Oh and guess what? (Do I use a question mark or period? I mean that’s a command which should end in a period, but I feel like a question mark is more appropriate. Anyway …)

Oh and guess what? That dance didn’t happen over night. It was planned. For days. By people who KNEW what kind of reaction it would generate. Sure the choreographers were probably interested in the 16-year-old-Joe crowd, but they were really interested in ruffling the feathers of those who for so long held Miley up as a Disney style princess. They, they all from Cyrus’s manager to the choreographers, to the promoters and producers of the VMAs, to Cyrus herself wanted to shock you. They wanted you to go to Facebook, to your local Starbucks, and to your Moms groups, and they wanted you to yell and to scream how horrible that, that … THING!! was. They are toying with you, with your emotions, and they want you to be offended because it makes them more money.

So stop it.

The next time someone does something stupid like this, ignore it. No publicity means you’re dead in pop culture, so kill this trite crap by not giving it the time of day or a second thought. It will take a little self control, but isn’t that what we’re really disgusted at Cyrus for? Her apparent lack of self control? Wait no … she pranced around like a whore. That’s not the same thing. REGARDLESS, self control folks. Use it.

To this point it may seem like I’m really only upset with the people who got upset with the whole thing, but that’s not the case. I am also annoyed by the people who reacted in a negative manner to the people I outline above.

Why?

Well for one, they are being played too. Over reaction to someone’s over reaction is AWESOME for the tools that design this kind of stuff. It keeps that engine of gossip and water cooler banter flowing. It generates Facebook comments and memes and revenue OH MY! Also, if I am describing you, SHAME on you for not realizing that these people are being played, and SHAME on you for not having any sympathy. They can’t pick on only one group or crowd of people to shock. It gets old. Pretty soon it is going to be your turn. Someone is going to boil your blood over something petty. So have a bit of humanity for your fellow man and let it go.

Also, some people were BORN to be offended. I’m not talking about normal people with standards and maybe a stricter sense of morality than you may have, I’m talking about people who weep for the trees or who think the physics term Black Hole is racist. Maybe this is someone who immediately thinks that if you don’t think the way they do politically that you must be the devil out to eat babies or pollute the world. CAPTAIN PLANET!!!!!

Ah hem. Sorry.

Don’t feed any of these people the attention they crave. It only encourages them and makes it worse for everyone else.

I’ve Got Nothing

So I’m trying to write more. Needless to say it has been a while. So to that extent I’ve decided to reward myself every time I do post. I really couldn’t figure out what would inspire me. Then it struck me. I want to go to GenCon. Badly. I missed 2013. There were simply too many bills and not enough time to prepare. Mostly because I suck at saving money. So if I were able to raise the money over the course of the next year, I could certainly go. I could go to GenCon. OMG! GENCON! Notice the total geeking out there.

I have two blogs. One that I’ve been neglecting, and another I’ve been neglecting horribly. Additionally I have this thing I’ve been wanting to do for the past several years, creating T-Shirt designs on Cafepress. So I’ve decided to pay myself for each blog post and each successful session of T-Shirt design (meaning at least one new design uploaded). Each success and I will pay myself $20. One post a week per blog + new design per week = $60 per week. $60 per week x 50 weeks = $3000. That’s a damn good start for a trip to GenCon. Might pay for the rooms and tickets. w00t!

So here I am with my first post. $20. Ding!

Now I just need to figure out what to post Thrusday and what do draw Saturday. Check out JoeGamer.Net for my next brilliant post. I’m sure it will be awesome.

Boston

First, before I get stupid, I’d like to express my most sincere and warmest condolences to everyone affected by the terrorist attacks in Boston. I pray you all find peace.

Now to stupid.

I have a few “real” complaints that the Boston attack made me realize. First is about youth. Second is about the media (surprise!). Oh and articles. Who needs them right? Anyway, these items are more realizations about how I view the world and less about the attacks or attackers themselves. It was however the attacks that made me come to these realizations and as such I use them as a framework for exposition.

Youth

The bombings in Boston are now known to be performed by two kids, one 19 and one not much older. (That’s QUALITY research folks). Ignore their religion. There are statistics that mention the high number of Muslims who think attacks like these are justified. My personal experience is completely different. Every Muslim individual I have had the pleasure to know has been the kind of person that I am grateful to have known. So I refuse the religious angle just as I refuse to believe every Catholic was or is still responsible for the horrors it is blamed, justified or not. No, I blame these kids’ youth. Well, partly. Follow me for a little while through the Mind of Joe.

Young people are stupid. Really they are. Bill Cosby said that children have brain damage, and I’m all-in on that idea. It isn’t the kids fault, this incredible stupidity of youth. The stupidity is natural. Brains take time to mature, to develop empathy, to harden against the injustices in life, and to reject the idiocy of the Democratic party. (Just kidding. I love my libby friends). Basically when we are young, our brains are WIDE open, ready for information and ready for influence. That’s good because otherwise we’d have all gotten eaten by saber-tooth tigers and we wouldn’t have been able to quash the Mammoth Apocalypse (or maybe the Mammothagedon? Oh yeah! I like the so much better. From now on it will be referred to as Mammothagedon. Sh!t. I JUST realized (since I tried to back link) that I’ve never shared my B Movie idea with you people. I promise I will in the future. ) I used to think that around the time of college, we fully mature into who we are to be. Like all young people, I was SO wrong. Really. Think about it. Did you have NEARLY anything figured out twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Last week before you were introduced to the joys of Caramel Mocha Frappes? Pft. If you think so then you’re an idiot incapable of rational thought. You’re also probably my biggest fans.

So now you might be SCREAMING at the top of your lungs about the total insensitivity of my thesis. Literally BILLIONS of young people have gone through their entire lives without hurting a soul. I agree. I don’t suggest youth was the sole reason that these, what’s the right word?, d!ck heads, performed this act of terror. No I just want to complain about young people in general. They dress funny. They listen to weird music. They are prone to buck tradition and authority. And they won’t get off my lawn. Plus in rare instances, they get really stupid ideas that they think are brilliant but end up hurting more people than one could ever imagine. Ideas like “let’s bomb someone” or “I’m going to join the Communist Party”, or “Hey, Che Guevara is cool”. (I’m not apologizing for the last two. I really don’t like Communism, and Che was a mass murdering, homophobic, racist, sh!t who’s only real value is to help people use his image in Capitalistic endeavors (Oh! the irony) and to serve as an example of what a real piece of human sh!t looks like).

Young people also tend to be open to suggestion and acts of stupidity, sometimes horrible stupidity. I’m only sort of making up the “fact” that more wars have been started by kids younger than thirty through history than by people over sixty. If the collective “we” are lucky, the stupid actions of stupid kids only affect themselves. For instance “we” would have been lucky if these kids blew themselves up making their first bomb. We in this case doesn’t include the loved ones of those kids. God forbid my daughter ever does something horribly stupid. If she does I hope it is limited to something like creating a moronic blog, voting Democrat (Sorry. Last one. I actually kind of expect that one though), or becoming a journalist which rolls us into my next set of thoughts.

The Media

At first I really liked the positive stories that were coming out about the heroism of the first responders and basically everyone that ran toward the explosions. I thank God for these people. I thank the media for the stories. We needed that. Eventually however the coverage got a little … comical? no maybe … saturated. Yeah. You ruin something when you produce too much of it. It loses value and impact. I’m going to assume the best, that the journalists are just as horror-fatigued as the rest of us. The scars of 9/11 run deep. But where has the hard journalism been? Well, where was the hard journalism that wasn’t showing people how to create bombs or speculating that maybe BOXING drove the older brother to radicalism. Maybe it just isn’t time yet for that level of analysis. Maybe the media will start asking those questions when the time is right. I know there are several political opportunists out there trying to gain public opinion by saying things that are actually highly insensitive or really, really stupid. More the stupid. Any ACTUAL, VALID criticism that may be made in wake of the bombing is clouded with this asinine BS and the media focuses on what it thinks sells (usually the stupid). I’m going to stop this train of thought. I don’t talk about politics. My blood pressure and faith in humanity can’t handle the stress it causes.

Another thing that annoys me is the lengths to which some journalists exercise “The public has a right to know” excuse to be a$$holes. What about the rights of people to privacy? THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW! Psht! For instance, recently I saw an interview of the mother of the aforementioned d!ck heads. Now to the mother, these guys aren’t d!ck heads, they are the babies she bore, nursed and held. They were the children she spoiled and did everything she could to protect and love. These boys were her hopes, her dreams, and the totality of her love. My heart goes out to her, the boys’ father, and all their loved ones so long as they didn’t help plan this horrible action. I don’t have the right to see her pain, her anguish unless she wants me to see it. Now I don’t know if the interview was the mother’s idea or not. If the interview was initiated by her, then I’m OK with it, but if someone approached her or worse coerced her to have the interview, then I sincerely hope that there’s a special place in Hell for the people who profit off stuff like this. If journalists would follow The Morality of Joe, they would never approach the immediate family of the spouse, parents, children, or other close relation of anyone affected in any way by tragedy or loss. LOTS of religions and philosophies have a rule called something like, “The Golden Rule”. It is a pretty bad ass rule. It IS golden after all. Imagine if you found out simultaneously that the one of the most important people in the world to you did something truely horrible and was dead or imprisoned because of it. Imagine that! How would you feel? If your answer is something akin to “Like sh!t” or “I don’t think I could process it for a long time” then congrats, you meet the minimum human allotment for me to continue knowing you. Otherwise you might be the scum of the Earth. Congrats. I don’t hand that title out lightly. Its like the Medal of Freedom but in reverse.

Facebook Is The Devil

I’m a member (or perhaps more properly, a product) of Facebook. I basically joined Facebook because it seemingly was, and actually was, a better MySpace. I joined MySpace purely to keep in contact with my family. At the time I lived in South Mississippi and the majority of my family lived in North Mississippi. I hate phones. No that’s not ture, I hate calling people on phones and talking to people on phones. The internet I like. Instant messaging I like better. An almost completely anonymous system in which I can follow my friends and family wherein I don’t have to engage if I really don’t want to? Ohhhhhhh … I love that. And on top of it all said system reminds me of when people’s birthdays are? AND reminds them when MINE IS? Well, as a child of Christmas who’s birthday is rarely if ever remembered by even the closest of family until the day of his birthday, I can tell you that I’ve gotten more “Happy Birthdays” in two years of being on Facebook than I have counting the rest of my non-Facebook life. I seriously don’t think I’m making that up. Nor do I think that I’m bitter. AT ALL. No, I’m not upset that my little sister’s birthday was in the middle of the summer and that she got more gifts than I could shake my jealous pudgy fists at while I was relegated to just one Christmas-hold-over-present because “it would be unfair to get twice as many gifts as everyone else at Christmas time”. “But it’s not Christmas anymore! It’s my Birthday!” I’d scream into the night. Yes cute next door neighbor girl, that was me screaming into the night two days after Christmas every year. At least someone noticed.

So now that I’ve rehashed that old wound all over again for what I can guarantee will NOT be the last time, I can continue to discuss why Facebook is The Devil.

So you can see, I have some issues with communication. Now imagine, if you would, Facebook. Or better yet just go to Facebook and live it for a few days. I’ll be here waiting.

<voice style=”SpongeBob Narrator”>Several days later. </voice>

First of all, congratulations on giving away all rights to your identity for the rest of your life. Now you’ll never be able to unjoin FB, and even if you do manage to unjoin, you’ve probably given them the right to sell your soul. Well maybe not sell your immortal soul, but they now certainly now have the right to market your soul’s likes and status updates. Good on you, Sucker.

Now that you’re part of the cult, you can also start to do things like join Groups. Joining Groups in and of itself isn’t that horrible. Basically you’re signing up to get spam, but it’s your news feed so have atcha. Enjoy! Personally I love Spam. The “spiced ham” meat product is great sliced thinly, fried until it is sort of a molten brown color, and topped with mustard between two slices of bread. Eat hot. YUM! The other kind of spam makes me forget how alone and lonely I am. I’ve even considered changing my name to “Or Current Resident.” All of the spam mail would be mine. I’d be popular! Then I could also complain about how everyone is getting MY MAIL! I don’t like the middle name “Current” however, so I’ve never gone through with changing my name. Bonus points to anyone who knows my actual middle name.

Anywho, Groups aren’t bad to join, but your friends are joining Groups too. And you friends will undoubtedly find something in their multitude of Groups SO FUNNY or insightful or so freaking spamalicious (That is so a real word!) that they have to share. Some friends don’t know when to stop sharing though. On and on and on shared nonsense gets added to your news feed. You know that important family thing that just happened? NO! You don’t know! You don’t know because someone spammed his friends with so many “Send this to 10 people or an angle will kill this child needing a heart transplant” or “<insert random cliche over a cute image>” posts that your interesting items are pushed to the bottom of a freaknormously (That is so a real word!) deep spam pit that you’ll need Deepcore II to read it! What do you mean, “Deepcore II?”? Deepcore II! Yes. That’s a reference. No, I will NOT tell you to what! You have the entire internet at your fingertips. Look it up! I will provide a very helpful link however. CLICK ME I’M HELPFUL!

Another horrible aspect of Facebook is the multitude of casual games. Don’t get me wrong, I love casual games, but the VAST MAJORITY (a scientific measurement) of the games on FB require that you spam your friends to get them involved. So to complete some asinine quest you have to become an ass. I know that I’m an ass, but that doesn’t mean I like everyone to KNOW it. Well not on FB anyway. This guarantee that you’ll never finish a game (assuming you aren’t or don’t wish to appear to be an ass that is). It also guarantees that you’ll get invited to every game-du-jour that comes along several times! EACH! It’s a beautiful thing. Even if a game doesn’t require you to spam friends, it will probably have micro-transactions. Like spam, I’m OK with a small number of micro-transaction options, but almost all of the FB games I’ve ever played make it impossible for you to advance beyond a certain point without making micro-transactions or spamming friends. There’s one son of a bit-ch (Get it? [Computer] bit + bitch = bit-ch) game I’ve played that gets really hard without the special power-ups the game has which are For Sale (of course) yet they have the audacity to ask you (read force you) to watch commercials between rounds “to help keep the game free”. Really?! Really? Ungh. In the rare instance where I stick with a FB game for a while, I will often find myself playing said games for HOURS on end. One need only look at the frequency of my posts here for evidence. My frequency of posts resembles something in the super long wave form range. I’m the kind of poster that kills cows from half a world away … in a mixed metaphor meets bad science kind of way. And by bad science I mean I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Probably my favorite worst-aspect of Facebook is that through status updates and comments you inevitably learn horrible things about many people you love. You will learn which of your loved one has horrible spelling and/or grammar, “OMG! Your not going to beleev dis. I juz finds out that Titanic moovy wuz real!” I don’t think I can can create a bad enough good example, or is it good enough bad example? Anyway, just read more posts here and I’m sure you’ll find several.

As my previous example demonstrates you will learn which of your loved ones is an idiot. I’m sure some people who’ve found out that the Titanic was a real ship that sank then infer that Jack and Rose were also real people. They weren’t by the way. I looked it up using my very helpful link above.

You will definitely find out which of your friends and family are Grammar Nazis. Yes, I cannot spell very well. Yes, I used the wrong version of “its”. Yes, I know I very likely misused a comma. Or hyphen. Or colon. Yes, I know all of those are fragments. Yes, I know I always, always, always misuse the ellipsis. I know this all. It is known. Grammar Nazis don’t care about your learning disability, your propensity toward making typos, your creative use of language or punctuation, or your incredibly low IQ. Generally they just want to show the rest of the world how superior they are by pointing out every mistake and error on your (not you’re!) part. Yes, I also know I just complained about people with bad grammar AND Grammar Nazis. This is my blog. If you want to complain, get your (not you’re!) own blog and yell at the world from there. You’ll probably get twice as many readers as me without even trying too hard.

My penultimate least favorite type of status update or comment is one that requires some sort of context to understand what is written, yet none is given. Hell, I’m certain no context usually exists outside of the brain pan of the poster. (Remind me sometime to tell you the story of the Most IN in-joke ever). A good example might be, “He better not!” He? He who? Better not? Better not what? I don’t know if I need to come to your aid, start hating someone with you, or watch whatever TV show you’re watching because it sounds freaking awesome! Come on people, CONTEXT! Geesh.

Finally you will absolutely find out which of your friends are political or religious zealots. I’m not against a little debate, nor am I against a little evangelical advertisement. It’s all good baby. What I am incredibly annoyed by is the “us vs them” mentality that FB just seems to BEG people to demonstrate. Oh! You say I’m a bad person and/or going to Hell because I don’t support this agenda or believe that religious dogma? P!ss off P!sser! (See by replacing the i’s with !’s I changed curse words into a confusing mix of characters yet I get the point across. Yes I know I’m brilliant like that). Personally I’m a “it takes all kinds” kinda guy. That mentality includes the jerks as well. If you point out that the “us vs them” crowd should be included as the jerks in my “inclusive mentality” … well … pffffftttttfffftttt! (Imagine me blowing raspberries at you with my tongue stuck WAY out. And there’s a lot of spit too). I guess you can just stop reading this post!

Why I Hate Wil Wheaton

Note: If you are looking at this post and thinking something along the lines of TL;DR, then scroll all the way to the bottom and read the last line. This has been a service of the Oh Yeah I’m Not Going To Read YOUR Post Either Guy.

Recently on Facebook a friend of mine called me a “hipster nerd”. Well I took offense. I am most certainly a nerd, but while I would have loved to have been a beatnik when I was a kid (forgive me, I was young), there is no way in Hell I’m going to allow someone to categorize me as a hipster. Those were fighting words! My friend explained the reason for his slanderous missive was ‘…You’re all like “Everybody hated Wil Wheaton when he was on Star Trek, so I liked him just to be ironic, but now everybody loves Wil Wheaton, so I hate him”.’ He was of course wrong. I explained myself and we parted friends once again despite him driving me to use all caps at one point.

Let me begin by stating that if you are reading this and you don’t know who Wil Wheaton is … well I got no hope for you. The best I can do is suggest you do some f’king homework and Google the man. No. Wait. Let me do that for you … Click on the following: Oh Joe! Please help me understand the mysteries of the internet. Who is Wil Wheaton? Was that so hard? I mean I have like ten readers that I am pretty sure I know personally. If you’re reading this and I DON’T know you … well let me say, “I’m sorry”. And perhaps, “If you think this is funny, you’re kinda messed up. Welcome!

ANYWAY, a few days later I was sitting in my office trying to prepare for a Pathfinder game on Roll20 that I’ll be DMing when I decided to watch episodes of TableTop to help me keep my attention. Yeah that really doesn’t make sense to me either. but I’m more productive when I’m either slightly distracted or SERIOUSLY pressured. Wil Wheaton is the host of TableTop. You don’t need me to Google THAT for you too do you? Ungh … geesh people/ To figure out what TableTop is click the following link: Please Mr. Joe show me the wonders of TableTop. You are king! While watching TableTop I ended up getting very little accomplished, but I laughed my ass off. So all in all that was a win, but it also got me to consider, “Why do I hate Wil Wheaton?” So I did a little soul searching and I included my findings below.

First of course was Wesley Crusher, a character portrayed by Wil Wheton. Man I hated Wesley. What? You don’t know who Wesley Crusher was. Seriously this is the last time. To find out who Wesley is click the following link: JOE! Give me a very helpful link! OK. So now that we will have no further interruptions, there was Wesley Crusher. I thought Wesley was cool. At first. He was a kid. On the Enterprise. Representing all of us kids that wished WE could be on a space ship exploring known and unknown universe! F’kin’ A! Then it became apparent that Wesley could do no wrong. I mean really, NO wrong. Even when he screwed up it was genius. Everyone including I started to hate him, and frankly it was kind of fun. I should have known better being one of the weird kids in school, but I WAS a kid when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. (Sixteen still classifies as being a kid right?) So I didn’t always make the best decisions. Eventually Wesley became a Q or something which you know … fit, and well f’k him.

After Wil left ST:TNG he seemingly feel into obscurity – to me at least. His IMDB page shows that he’s worked pretty routinely. Hell he’s worked in stuff I love. I’m looking at the IMDB page now and I’m kinda impressed. Wait. I’m talking about Hating Wil Wheaton, not being impressed by him. Damn it. So anyway, a few years ago this thing called the internet appeared and Wil had a blog or something. I’m of the general mindset that people that write blogs are idiots, total idiots, but I heard a lot of good things about his stuff so I went and checked out his site. His posts were often endearing and/or entertaining, so I would occasionally return. Some in the online community seemed to want to gold plate his turds. I didn’t think his stuff was THAT good, but I guess everyone needs a hobby.

This brings me to my second thing … the thing that almost made my friend correct about me acting all “hipster”. Having been the weird kid in school, I tended to reject the things that other people liked. It kinda became my thing. Oakley sunglasses were “in” this year? F’k that. I’m wearing squinting. Izod all the rage? Wal-Mart Made in the USA brand t-shirts for me baby! Yeah so it might be important to also note that I was broke around this time. Pretty solidly broke. Like poor in a small town and too lazy to get a job so f’k it I’ll be stylish my own way kind of broke. Most people just called it being poor. Even after not being dirt poor anymore, that whole hating what is popular thing still rings with me on occasion. It is part of the reason why I hate Apple. That and their shit is expensive. The second part is the real sin though. Keep your iWhatever … I just got two PCs for about the same price. Can you LAN with yourself on that thing? NO? Well I got TWO computers and neither can I because they don’t have the right hardware! BUT I COULD IF I DID! NYAR! Anyway, so there is a small bit of not liking him because everyone else does, but that bit of pettiness is the smallest of several components of pettiness.

Then there comes Mr. Wheaton’s stance on politics and religion. Most of you who actually know me know that I usually try not to let this kind of stuff get to me. While being religious and somewhat conservative, I’m perfectly willing to accept everyone’s approach to life as long as they are genuinely good people who aren’t out to push themselves on others. Many of my friends are polar opposites of me in these two regards and yet I let them live. Erh … I mean I love them like the brothers and sisters that I’ve adopted them as. But there have been times that I’ve perceived Wil’s tolerance for religion and religious people to be almost violently negative. Violently is the wrong adjective to use. Maybe vehemently negative. When I encounter people who come across as potentially bigoted, I usually just remove that person from my life. There is no need to get all dramatic. I just won’t interact with that individual anymore. I won’t allow them to influence me in ways I’m not interested in developing. I’ll be polite and even helpful, but I won’t be attending their appendectomy recovery party. Now I’m CERTAIN most of my friends are at this point thinking something along the lines of “Wil’s sweet and loving! He’s not a bigot! You’re a poopy head!” That could certainly be true. I know I am in fact a poopy head so we’re half way there at least, and that is why I put emphasis on the word “perceived” earlier. This man could be (probably is) awesome. I will say I haven’t seen him at any APA (Awesome People Anonymous) meetings however. Wait crap. That’s supposed to be secret. Sorry APA folks!

Fast forward a few years and Wil’s on Twitter. (If you’d like his Twitter handle or don’t know what Twitter is, just click on the Very Helpful Link from before. It works for this too.) Once again friends tell me about how cool he is and how funny his Twitter feed is. So I follow him ’cause hey, I’m that kind of guy. I have no idea what “that kind of guy” IS, I just know that I’m one of them. After a few weeks of reading tweets and getting occasionally miffed at what I perceived as somewhat jerkish or arrogant tweets, I once again leave the Circle of Wheaton. For someone who’s motto is “Don’t be a dick,” I was often thinking, “What a dick”. Of course I’m a mindless churl so what do I know?

Faster forward a year or so and Wil’s on G+. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Meh. I decided at that point that I’ll let my friends filter out the best stuff and let me know about it.

Faster forward another few months or so and Wil’s on TableTop. This I can watch. He almost never makes me flinch while talking about gaming. TableTop could have been a turning point with my non-relationship with Wil Wheaton if it were not for the number ONE thing that keeps me HATING the jerk. Jealousy. Man! He does voice overs for animation and games (something I always dreamed of doing as a kid btw), he gets to play games, he’s RICH! (well at least from the perspective of the dirt poor teenager from rural MS that I was), and he got to hang out with {insert entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation except Wil Wheaton here} and currently gets to hang out with Felicia Day. If you don’t know who Felicia Day is I beg you to go away and never come back. Please. So yeah I’m jealous. That’s impressive too because I’ve learned to be happy and appreciative of the things I DO have. I feel honestly blessed on a daily basis, and yet I’m JEALOUS of WIL F’KING WHEATON! What a jerk he is for making me feel that way!

So now when I see him all I can think of is “That smarmy bastard!” Yeah I know it’s harsh. I’m sure he’s not a figurative or literal bastard, and I think his face might just be stuck in that constantly smarmy look all the time. It is like he’s got the answer to a joke or riddle that I don’t get but he does. I think the joke goes “I’m Wil Wheaton and you f’king aren’t!”

So yeah, I’m jealous. What a petty fool I.

Interesting Images – Or I’m Still Learning Stuff Most of You Probably Already Knew

So I was playing around with Google Earth and I found the following. When I saw it I thought to myself that the image looked like it was pixelated in places. It looked as if Google Earth just couldn’t render the image properly or someone was trying to hide something.

Who's Hiding Something?

Wondering what was afoot, I zoomed in closer to the following. The closer image was really starting to look sketchy. I mean there seemed to be whole sections that were not distorted and others that were distorted with either squares or circles of color. I could then see that it was definitely some sort of cover-up.

The jig's afoot!

I told my wife that I needed to contact Agent Mulder at the FBI, but she just grunted and returned to watching Shipping Wars. I screamed that I needed her to get the number because I had to continue to monitor Google Earth. Someone could have come along and removed the evidence before I could get it to someone in the X-Files department, so OBVIOUSLY I couldn’t look away. A few moments later my girl comes in the room with a corner of a sheet of paper. On it was scribbled, “Agent Mulder” and below that ” 1 800 You’re An Idiot” All I could think for several minutes was, “That’s a LOT of numbers”. Then I noticed the apostrophe and I thought, “What number is THAT”. Finally I got the “joke” and I slammed my fist down on the desk. When I did I accidentally hit my mouse and my fist slid off the scroll button. Man that hurt, but when I looked up I saw the following. Finally the truth was revealed.

Hunh. Who'da thunkit?

It seemed that my conspiracy was actually modern farming techniques in the Mid-West and Western USA. First it seems that there’s SO MUCH FARM LAND in these states, someone decided to go all Minecraft on the roads and build them into nice little squares. Then someone got real lazy and built irrigation systems that only water in circles. Circles are the Devil’s work. I don’t trust ’em. Finally it seems different people own these squares and circles and they don’t all agree on what to plant or when to plant it, so all the colors are different. From the right distance from the ground, it all looks pixelated. Crazy. You learn something new every day. Or in my case, I learn something new every once and a while. Something tells me I should have learned this a once and a while a long time ago. Oh well.

Things That Are Creepy

I recently watched The Woman in Black, and that fricken movie was fricken creepy. Elements of the film really set off the creepiness, and it inspired me to compile a list of things that I find creepy.

1) Dolls with teeth. Who thought this was ever a good idea? This was in the film so maybe it was a British thing. Supposedly the British don’t have good teeth so maybe they created dolls with teeth as sort of a fantasy play thing. “Mumsy, why are Ms. Peabody’s teeth all nice and straight yet mine are all crooked?” “Because Ms. Peabody was a perfect child and you ask stupid questions”. Yeah I can see that. Frankly though I find teeth in general kinda creepy, especially a handful of perfectly good teeth with no mouth to put them in just lying around like someone got bored and just started yanking them out. Maybe that should have been my number two. But back to dolls with teeth. Why? Stop it.

2) Mirrors. Reflective surfaces in general are pretty creepy. Anytime you look into a reflective surface you assume that what you see is exactly as the world appears, but it isn’t. The image is flipped on the vertical axis. I think most people assume that the mirror displays exactly what other see, but it doesn’t and that is why you should let other people dress you and apply your makeup. They see you the same way the rest of the world sees you, so that and frankly because you have horrible taste in everything so just give it up already. What really makes reflective surfaces creepy though is we fear what we cannot see, and we cannot see what is behind us. Reflective surfaces remind us that there’s a whole portion of the world that we don’t see. And what if we see in the reflective surface something we didn’t know was there? Or what if maybe we see something that we “know” isn’t there but we still see it? Yeah, THAT possibility is REALLY creepy.

3) Dead people. This is probably a given, but dead people creep me out. The stage of dead that really freaks me out is the whole been dead just long enough that you know they are dead with their blotched yellowing complexion and staring milky eyes. Granted the only dead people I have seen were properly prepared for internment, but the ones in the movies or television shows that look like that creep me out a little. Not as much as some of the other things on this list because I know those images are almost always fake and the likelihood of me encountering them is small. Still ew.

4) Peep holes. I always think of this when I use the peephole in my front door. Every time I use the peephole I expect one of two things, either 1) someone is holding a gun to the peep hole and will pull the trigger when I look (damn movies), or 2) someone else’s eye will be looking back through the hole. A dead person’s ghost eye. Oh and there’s always the possibility that you look, see nothing, and just as you begin to look away, something horrible shifts into sight. Aw man. I think I have to go lock myself in the bathroom for a little bit. At least until the toilet starts bubbling. Which leads me to …

5) Black or dirty water coming out of faucets. This one isn’t as hard core as the ones before but it makes for a really good lead up to something worse, like a hand reaching up through the pooled water (it isn’t deep enough for a full person!) to grab the victim and pull them through the drain (that isn’t even humanly possible!). There are a lot of possible creepy encounters that can start with a simple set of dirty pipes. Those pipes are probably filled with evil because you have a …

6) Basement. Several things going on here but mostly these things are dark holes in the ground which means slightly closer to Hell and death. Bad things are ALWAYS in the basement. Supposedly ghosts like Attics, but everything else AND some ghosts like basements. You NEVER hear of an angel coming up through the floor from the basement to protect a family and slay the evil anything. That’s because basements are ALWAYS bad. Basements come with at least three significant flaws. The first significant flaw is the non boxed stairs, you know the kind where something can hide underneath and then when you get about halfway down it can reach through the stairs to grab your feet and cause you to fall and break your neck? Yeah that kind of stairs, and you ONLY see them in basements. If you are going to have a basement don’t put in those kinds of stairs, but since you are the kind of person to make the really bad call of adding in the gateway to First Level of Hell in your own home, you’re probably the kind of person to make the really bad call on the types of stairs to descend into it. The second significant flaw is horrible lighting with the switch at the top of the stairs only OR the only light is an unshielded light bulb hanging by a cord in the middle of the room that can only be turned on by pulling the chain hanging from it. What are you thinking? That you’ll be able to use that flashlight you keep at the top of the stairs? The one you never change the batteries in? The one that inevitably will fail on you two steps before the thing under the stairs can grab your foot causing you to fall and break your hip so you can no longer reach up and pull the chain to light the room???? Bad idea dumbass. The third significant flaw is that people put the fuse box in the basement. What are you thinking? First you build a portal to Hell and then you place the fuse box there? So if something manages to get into your basement, say from Hell, and it wants to lure you down, all it has to do is loosen a fuse or flip the master breaker and then you and your family are demon chow thanks to your six year old flashlight batteries and poor planning skills. Congrats. You deserve it.

Ok. I am going to take a break now to regain some sanity. I have to go check to see why the telephone continues to ring. I swore I canceled the service and unplugged the thing. (Yeah I know, like anyone has a land line anymore – just go with it).

The Dangers of Kindle Reading

I love reading. My anxiety has basically reduced the amount of reading I do from a novel a week to something more along the lines of a novel a month or a season. It sucks, but that’s life. I still try to force myself to power through some books. In fact I have a tendency to read really thick books like Patrick Rothfuss’s King Slayer books, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time novels, George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, or Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight series. For about two years I had a thirty to forty minute commute both to and from work each day and I filled that time listening to several novels from Audible. This was an enjoyable way to fill that otherwise dead time, but Audible books don’t work for me in any other circumstance. So to make reading more portable and accessible I use the Kindle App on my first generation Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Now I can carry an entire library with me at any time and theoretically be able to read whenever the whim strikes me. That isn’t to say that there aren’t some issues (that’s what we computer people call problems) inherent in the system.

First and foremost, if you switch to a digital format you have to either split your library into paper and non-paper, or you have to repurchase all of your books all over again. For me that wasn’t such a difficult challenge as most of my older books are gone anyway either loaned and never returned, stored in less than perfect conditions and ruined, or traded/sold at used book stores where it isn’t in their best interests to go one for one with you. So in reality, buying digital to me means always having access to my library – assuming Amazon continues to stay in business of course.

Second, my ability to read now depends greatly on how charged my tablet is. This problem can be mitigated by having several devices each hooked up to the same Kindle account, BUT I usually read on my tablet and if it dies, so does my ability to read. Note that this isn’t all bad since at times my tablet dying has caused me to actually go to sleep instead of staying awake while trying to find out just what the FLIP happened to Arya.

Finally we have the whole reason why I started to write this post. With dead tree version of a book, you hold something in your hands while you read that gives you a status of where you are in the book. With the exception of some books such as The Wheel of Time books or Song of Ice and Fire books which have extensive notes and appendices in the back of the book, paper books tell you how close you are to the end of the book. If you are reading a page and the back cover is only three pages away, you’re almost done. This does not translate to the Kindle App. Sure the Kindle App will show you how many out of fifty thousand divisions you are to the end of the book if you look, but you have to look. There is no physical difference in how you hold your reading device on page one than page five hundred one and as a result suddenly the story can just … stop. That’s exactly what happened to me with Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, a not thin book that I read a little at a time as my anxiety allowed. I guess I read more per sitting than I suspected because when I thought the book should have really started to take off, and it seemed like it was about to, it ended.

What the f*uck?

Thank you Kindle. Thank you ever so much for basically giving me what was in literary terms a premature ejaculation. Everything in the story was building up, and when I expected things to get really good I find out that not only have you finished, but there’s no cuddling afterwards. All of this would have been fine if that were what I was expecting, but NO you had to go and make it seem like things were going to keep developing into something more. That just made me pissed. NOW I have to figure out how to finish by myself. I’m thinking some fan fiction might do me wonders. I guess I COULD go get the second book of the series, but I know that’s exactly what YOU want so I’m not going to. I’m going to make you wait like the lying whore you are.

I’m not exactly sure what just happened there, but I leave it as a good representation of just how dangerous reading on an electronic device can be.

OMGOMGOMGOMG

I’m about twelve hours away from getting on an airplane for the first time in my life. If I don’t think about it I’m ok, but when I do I’m all OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!

I should try not thinking.

Yeah not helping.

Maybe I can find another way to get my mind off things … like telling my twenty readers how my anxiety is all “Muhahahahahahhaha” right now. Cause it is. Damn you Richard.

So if anything happens to me during the flight (which it won’t) then I want my wife and child to know that I love them dearly. I want my family to know how happy I am to have had them. I want my friends to know that I appreciate them and love them all, especially the ones that make me say “Well at least I’m not as bad as HIM!” You know who you are Chuck 😉

OK, now that I’ve made fun of Chuck I feel better. More normal. Kewl.

Bring on the wings and the defying of gravity in a flying bus!

My Anxiety Has a First Name, It’s Richard

Recently I was in a car with another man. (Yeah I know. This is getting good already). He was driving us to New Orleans for some nerdy “recreation” when we started doing something that is totally socially unacceptable in most states. We were talking reasonably about politics and religion. Both! I know right? WHO DOES THAT ANYMORE? But we were two men alone in a car with no witnesses. We might not have this chance ever again. I won’t fill you in on the details here because I don’t talk about politics or religion online because the internet is dark and full of trolls.

Once we started getting into the greater New Orleans area, our discussion turned to why I was a little nauseous and trying to press my foot through his floorboard. When I explained that I had “some anxiety issues”. He said he understood and it was pretty impressive that I hadn’t beaten him over the head, thrown his body into the back seat, and then taken control over the vehicle. I DO like to be in control and mentioned that, but I was working on it. He mentioned that I could probably benefit from some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but that sounded like a LOT of work. And quackery. And potentially expensive. So when something is hard, expensive, AND made-up I am probably not going to take part in it. Probably.

I tried to explain that I had at one point thought that I was coming down with Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder because I was getting to the point that I couldn’t read more than a sentence at a time (especially with email) without giving up to do something else. I couldn’t focus, and on occasion I would feel like I was vibrating internally like my chest imprisoned a miniature demon that would constantly rattle its cage (my ribs) with a tin cup. There was one day that I could literally draw a line diagonally down my torso dividing the sections of my body that did and did not feel like they were vibrating. It was disconcerting.

One of the problems with my Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder theory was that I couldn’t find anything suggesting that ADD had an Adult Onset component. Yeah, it seems that I couldn’t find anything about Adult Onset ADD because ADD doesn’t have an Adult Onset component. Someone should put this down somewhere that can be easily accessed by people that can only read twenty words at a time. When I was in primary school as a child I could focus like mad, and if you ever have ADD, you’ll have it as a child. Many children outgrow ADD, but others do not and so Adult ADD is an actual thing, just not Adult Onset ADD.

My wife was working as an MIS Support Specialist at a local mental health facility around the time I was struggling with my search for what the Hell was going on with me. She found out through completely unrelated conversations at work that ADD and Anxiety are often misdiagnosed as the other. In fact ADD, Anxiety, OCD, and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome all have similar symptoms. The mechanism for ADD is different than the other disorders but they are all similar to a degree. Symtematically. Having had NO luck looking for information to help me with ADD (that I didn’t have) I found a book titled Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic. Whereas I never could relate to any of the books on ADD that I found, this one spoke to me before I completed the introduction. I finally figured out what was going on with me.

Now I’ve never been properly therapisted, so I can not say exactly what my deal is, but knowing what was generally wrong with me, knowing it was real, and knowing that it wasn’t something to be ashamed of helped significantly. I started to practice a lot of the relaxation techniques and while it would take six years for me to have my first real panic attack, the techniques paid immediate dividends. That said, simply knowing about my anxiety doesn’t really help attacks to not happen, but I am more prepared to deal with them when they do. And they do.

One thing we anxious have in common is we often have vivid imaginations. I’m going to try to explain how exactly this can be detrimental with an example that still sometimes shakes me, and I’m going to share how I was able to finally shake the worst of it. Basically I had accidently stumbled upon that CBT thing that probably doesn’t exist. Before I start though there are a few things you need to know. 1) I have a vivid imagination. Sometimes I can picture a thing so strongly that I truly experience it. 2) I am very empathetic, meaning I honestly sometimes do feel your pain. This is particularly true if you hurt your fingers, but my empathy is not limited to digital pain. 3) I have a little girl. Luckily I started learning about dealing with my anxiety before she was born (another story that), but I still have some tough times. Basically I love my little girl without end. I love her before she existed and until nothing remains. Parents understand this, the rest of you will just have to take my word for it. Also know that we moved to the country to be safer for her and to be closer to her grandparents.

After moving to the country, my commute is now about 30-40 minutes, but that’s OK. On my commute is a property I call Five Oaks that has (wait for it) five oak trees around a nice single story country home. I’ve dreamed of owning that property. I could raise ten families there and be content to never leave. When driving home, the property signals that only about three minutes remain on my commute home. Then one day while passing the property and looking at one of the giant oaks, I got one of those instant images in my head. This one was of my little girl laying dead in the street having been hit by a car, and I am the one to discover her. I knew this was just my imagination, but the image was so powerful that I began to mourn. Not a lot, but just a little. The problem with anxiety is that the brain starts a type of feedback loop that feeds itself and grows. So my imagination triggered my fear which triggered my imagination. Wash, rinse, repeat. Seconds later I had tears in my eyes, my heart was in my throat, I was trembling, and the fear was a living thing charging on its black stallion of shadows toward my happiness intent to utterly destroy it forever. The closer I’d get to home the more likely I was convinced that the image that flashed in my brain was going to be true. I honestly wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

Naturally I’d round the final curve in the road and see that there was nothing amiss. My relief would be palatable but I wouldn’t trust the logical side of my being until I saw my girl smiling and playing. And that is only a part of what it is like to suffer with anxiety just a little. My logical brain still functions and yet while it would scream things to bring me back to Earth, my emotional anxiety ridden side would retain control until I could prove the anxiety wrong, which doesn’t always happen quickly. And I haven’t gotten to the worse part yet. Now that I had a very strong, very emotional experience on my commute that first started purely by coincidence while looking at one of the trees on one of my favorite properties on this green earth, that tree became a trigger that would cause me to re-experience the entire scenario. I’ve mourned my child’s death more times than I can count. I’m sure none of them would come close to the real mourning I would experience if God forbid something were to actually happen to her, but it was really wearing on me. Then I stumbled into CBT.

In a vain attempt to NOT have the tree on my commute trigger the whole scenario for the umpteenth time, I tried something different. I would replace my previous ridiculous imagery with something similarly ridiculous. When approaching the property with the tree that I once so loved, instead of allowing myself to experience the completely imagined horror of my normal anxiety attack, I forced myself to imagine my wife and child greeting me as I pulled up each sporting giant insect heads.

I didn’t think it would, but it worked.

I saw, for the briefest of moments in a clarity I have yet to recreate, both of my loved ones with giant fly heads like something out of a bad 50’s horror movie. I literally laughed out loud. Now on my commute despite the fact that I remember the images that triggered my anxiety I also remember the images of my family with fly heads. Since that day I have been able to counter this specific trigger with either logic or silliness.

So despite being able to (now) deal with my somewhat mild anxiety without drugs or expensive therapisting (yet), I can still attest that anxiety is definitely a dick.