Verbal warfare through radical ideals

Posts tagged “life

Great Big White World

Happy 2014, children.

While I constantly receive the urge to write, I admit that over the past year I have grown so critical of my own work that I refuse to hit “publish” until I am absolutely sure it’s perfect. Then, once I am satisfied and have pressed the button I enter a panicked frenzy where I’m caught second-guessing every other line, and quotation as sounding too cliché or simply idiotic. It’s a new year though, so I should probably resolve to stop doing that.

…Or are resolutions too cliché?

The good news is that I haven’t run short on things to observe in my mundane existence, and I still feel obligated to throw war-paint all over them in order to get my point across. I should hit pretty close to home for some of you today, and I’d like to think there are many people who are not only familiar with this epidemic, but loathe it to the extent that I do.

Life as we know it is a never-ending grind through monotonous tasks, plastered smiles, and fleeting climaxes all gift-wrapped as the “experience of a lifetime“. We’re all stuck together in a system that dances circles like the hands on a clock, and much like the clock you can go insane from taking too hard of a look at it. That moment turns into an excruciatingly cruel reminder of why it is that people take vacations, and why therapists exist. However, for that unlucky crowd of isolated units who don’t have their own handful of happiness, or a vice to drown out that emptiness-  life is just their own personal tale as Sisyphus.

It’s one thing to be able to look at the world around you from an emotional gutter. The world seems like a utopia that you’re barred from, where you’re forced to face a sea of pairs, being carried effortlessly upwards towards some golden skyline. It’s an entirely different issue altogether to turn towards your small corner of the world, and view one of your own throwing happiness at you like a trophy.

The first world we inhabit is not a cooperative community, where we strive to flourish as a whole and better ourselves. It’s not even a large raft where we’re all fighting for survival in a chaotic sea while trying to keep each other afloat. Our world has become a vast ocean where millions of tiny islands dot the surface mere inches from one another. It’s a lonely grid where everyone is close enough to reach out and touch each other, but tragically lack the companionship and altruism required to bring others closer to them.

As an adult, you’re forced to confront the fact no one is there to help you. You’re on your own, and people feel the need to consistently remind you of this. Upon leaving high-school, an image is drilled into your head of what you have to earn. It’s a terrible, uninspiring image that few should ever consider. The “American Dream“, a picture so grim that Philip K. Dick made it a tragedy in all of its banal glory in A Scanner Darkly. In retrospect, my entire childhood was based around a loosely translated panorama of the 1950′s where the perfect family unit sits together watching their first color TV and dreaming of a world where technology makes all their fantasies come to life.

The reality could be no further from the truth. My ever-shrinking list of family and friends have turned into a social-media propaganda squad, whose only apparent mission is to rise higher than the rest of their peers. This sad portrait is repeated daily like a chore, where they exchange hollow pleasantries momentarily before unfurling a new list of pseudo-achievements to gloat over. When they exhaust their reserve of words for their success, they quickly switch to a bulky slideshow of recently recorded personal victories, as they cluster together with acquaintances and strangers to paste a smile on and show off the exotic places and strange attractions they’ve visited. It’s a cruel injustice to this amazing planet that we live on, that we’ve become so obsessed with capturing the perfect moments on camera that we’ve completely neglected to take part in, or savior them.

I no longer crave the loud, and crowded parties where seemingly popular people gather to have the time of their lives. I care not for the three-piece suit and the slick appearance of being a hotshot in a trade with no character and no mind of my own. I can’t picture the group of friends locked shoulder-to-shoulder in brotherly and sisterly affection. I don’t buy the millions of photos depicting happy couples locked in a tender kiss. I don’t believe that anyone who engages in this ritualistic, digital sadomasochism ever receives the pleasure they seek from it.

Our world will share a common regret when everyone stops competing for who can look the prettiest for the longest amount of time. I sincerely hope that someday soon people begin trying to write their story in ink, and stop standing still in the hopes that someone will paint it for the ages to gawk at and admire. You should not be impressed by those around you who actively seek to set a “life-example” for you to follow. As young as I am, I’ve come to realize that life is much less of a hassle when you don’t take it too seriously.

It’s also a lot less cruel when you stop wishing to appear happy, and actually start being happy.

Because it’s a great big white world
And we are drained of our colors
We used to love ourselves,
We used to love one another

-Jake


None Becoming

There are many tales of tragedy and woe, but none I know quite as well as the tale of my gaming community.

The tragedy of my clan is not of the sort where death and painful misfortune strike incessantly, eventually bringing the protagonist(s) down to a point of inconsolable misery. It’s not of the hero who marches onward towards their demise, knowing that glory and certain defeat await them. This story revolves around a self-inflicted wound, and the irreparable damage caused by the inaction of many.

Though it has decayed into the city of Terminus, The Sic originally was a flourishing haven for the weary soul; those who had been out in the purgatory of the average gaming group, and had experienced for themselves the lackluster attitude of those whose entire frame of reference was built around statistics, and dull number values. They came to us with the hope of belonging. We gave to them a purpose, and a potential to thrive so long as they were willing to commit to the cause. This presented people with a unique opportunity to actively become social with others from our legion, and work together to accomplish goals thought unobtainable by most others. For a time, we not only proved this true; we set the bar for other groups to follow in suit.

Despite the greatest efforts to keep a sense of stability within our walls, the group has collapsed on itself. The reason? One could make the argument that we no longer had anything left to offer people, and people have attempted pushing that story. That however, is only a half-truth. Another tale woven is that we’ve switched theater of operation too often. Notable, but also false considering it was the only aspect that allowed us to retain a large base of operations for each game we entered into. The actual reason is hilariously simple, and in retrospect I lose my mind thinking about the one word its anthology of examples demonstrates:

Sloth.

An infuriating pattern has emerged over the past couple of years, that has slowly killed off the remainder of my team. While I believed they all fully understood the necessary actions that are required to maintain the status quo of the clan, I no longer believe this to factor into their decision-making abilities. There are only a few facets that require attention from high-ranking officers within the group. The first, is a reasonable rate of activity. This is simply a reassurance for the sake of your members. The second action, is organization. Whether we’re talking members and ranks, game branches and items, or website users and backgrounds, people take a person seriously who can at least be counted on to have a checklist completed by the end of the day. The last action, is of course, recruiting. Without getting people in the door, your gaming clan is doomed to fail.

Therein lies the issue. If you have a gaming clan who isn’t willing to recruit, organize the assets or follow the protocol of the clan, let alone show up at all, then you’re better off throwing in the towel. That’s not a team-effort; it’s a sign that they’re digging your grave.

Allow me to explain what it takes to keep an organization that you care about running. Whether that is keeping your business afloat, trying to promote a cause that you believe is worthy of public attention, or even something as trivial as a gaming clan- this rule still applies. You can’t half-ass your endeavors of any size, and you can’t just sit idly by and hope someone else will do your job for you. If you want a task completed (especially a large one, mind you), it takes more than just what you can offer “when you have time”.

It takes SACRIFICE.

During my eight years managing The Sic, I’ve learned the hard way a dozen times that you have to give up quite a few things that you normally wouldn’t if you want to succeed, and in the process I may have given up a couple of things I probably shouldn’t have. For the sake of continuity, I’ve skipped countless amounts of social engagements that friends had invited me to, as well as a handful of events that these people considered important. I’ve let go of multiple opportunities to network for my career in a new environment, with new people under new circumstances. I’ve willingly buried a fairly successful relationship, and almost another that was my final straw before I finally took my leave. All this I did for the “greater good”, but in reality it was out of a vain sense of responsibility, resting on a mantle that I alone did not have to carry. Only now do I come to accept the sad truth that perhaps I had a misplaced sense of trust, because I presumed others cared as much about our survival as I did.

I know now that people don’t want to sacrifice. They claim they have no time, and conjure outlandish narratives to make it seem as if there is nothing more they could do to show their faces than what they already are. They present apologies, and deflect when presented with inquiry, all while shielding a surreptitious agenda. Most insulting of all is this facade that I’ve never seen end; this cruel world in which no one can just inform me that they’re finished, and that it’s best to simply mark their journey as completed. I have learned my lesson, and thus have played Captain for the last time. If people understand that you’re willing to take the helm even when they’re not there, they feel no remorse about abandoning their posts. It’s the insecurity of not being able to step up and take the wheel when another crew member falls. It’s the shame of calling others your friends, just to leave them to their devices when the obstacles become to great to climb, and it’s the cowardice of not being able to face them, as you run away from your shared problems and pretend you’re too busy to notice the flaming hulk of the ship you’re escaping.

I never left the helm of my ship. I might’ve stepped aside, and even sat back to observe others as they tried their hand at steering, but when the lifeboats were all gone and the crew was sailing furiously into the darkness of the night, I somehow still managed to find myself clutching onto a burning bridge. Much as you start with nothing in the field of leadership, so do you end with nothing.

The dust has settled in
The broken structure
Is now one with
This shattered beauty
In timeless indifference
Become one, become none

-Jake

 

 


The Silence In Between

As I place my hands on the smooth oak surface of the desk, I lean forward within close proximity of the microphone. The unpleasant humming of the dead-air through my headphones reminds me that people are listening to nothing. This is my opportunity, and I’ve yet to speak. The question, so piercing and rhetorical in structure that up until my awkward moment of clarity, I had all but dismissed it. My comfort level quickly fading, I turned towards my familiar soundboard to start a new musical track, but no images were detected. The brightly-lit LED monitor was now dead; what remained was an inconvenient herald that I should no longer evade inquiry.

My chair swiveled in place, and I heard the echoing voice repeat its question. The accusatory tone of the faceless female brought red to my face as she delivered her query.

“What is wrong with you?”

I laugh it off nervously, and respond with a defensive form of sarcasm.

“A lot of things are wrong with me. I’m hungry, for one. I feel slightly sexually deprived, and I don’t have enough happy-thoughts in my life. Does that answer your question?”

I’m met only by the cold, isolating static from the opposite end of the call. Believing her to be annoyed, I crack a grin and return to the mic.

“Well, I guess that wasn’t what you were looking for, was it?” I ask smugly while spinning in my chair. I attempt to provoke a response from her.

“For asking such a broad question, you sure don’t sound as if you want it answered! I mean, come on. You want to know what is “wrong” with me? Well, assuming that your standards are as ridiculous as I think they are; I think I know exactly what is wrong with me, by your definition.

1) I use too much profanity.

2) I take a perspective that is a bit too realistic for your taste.

3) I undoubtedly speak on topics that offend you quite often.

Last but not least, I’m more than certain that you’re one of the self-righteous lunatics who thinks if people don’t live by your definition of morality, then they must fall under some lesser category of human. Did I get that right, sweetheart?”

I lean back against the black leather of my chair, and wait for the tears to flow. However, much to my surprise and dismay- I still have no audience. White noise feeds into the tiny pentagonal room, causing me a relative sense of uneasiness. My frustration mounting, I scoot forward in my chair, ever closer to cold silver of the studio microphone. I don’t feel like a wonderful personality anymore, though. The mic turns into a shiny metallic betrayal-receiver that awaits my every word and action. I’m not having a good time, and as much as I wish for her not to know that, I won’t be able to control my tone on the air as well as I should hope. I fold my left leg over the top of my right knee, and take a moment to steady my thoughts. Did she hang up? Is the communication so terrible, that she believes she is talking to me right now, and I just can’t hear her? Is she deliberately holding out for some type of profound answer that isn’t coming? Whatever the reason, it’s up to me to bring this silly charade to a close.

“Look, I don’t really know what sort of social-experiment you’re attempting to complete here, but I do know that I’ve answered your idiotic question to the best of my abilities. If you can’t handle that, then it’s not my problem. Besides, if you don’t like me then you shouldn’t be tuning into my station in the first place. You do realize you have the illusion of freedom at your disposal, don’t you? I highly recommend you try it sometime. The way it works is:

You don’t listen to my broadcast.

I don’t say things that make you call-in.

You don’t ask me stupid things.

We don’t get in this awkward position we’re in right now.

Now, isn’t that much faster than spending hours trying to think of something potentially intriguing to ask me? Now you can leave, and I can get back to what I was doing!”

Satisfied, I leaned onto the left armrest, resting my cheek inside my left palm. I didn’t want to hear her response. I just wanted the person screening my calls (whoever they were), to do their job and get rid of the little mouse. She had grown beyond the point of humorous; my patience was draining quickly and the only thing I could think of to give me some peace was the fact I still had the power to cut her off. It seemed though, that regardless of what I wanted to do, I would be forced to endure another long, dramatic pause. As if the static wasn’t bad enough, now I was having an internal revolution. The lady had brought this on herself. If she wanted an actual answer to her question, she was going to get it.

I quickly vaulted from the seat of the chair, and kicked it to the back wall. As I leaned forward, I could hear the thump as the rolling stopped suddenly against the soundproof wall. I clutched the base of the microphone, shifting it upwards so I wouldn’t have to be stuck in such an uncomfortable position while on my tirade. I gripped it like a vocalist at a heavy metal concert, wanting to vent all my rage out on my aggressor. As innocuous as the original question had been phrased, I now took it as a personal attack on my character. An anonymous ad hominem of astronomical proportions that I would not tolerate from some whiny, spineless female with a phone.

“Well, Ms. moral-compass…I don’t exactly know what is wrong with me. I can give you a handy list though, so that you can draw it up on a fine piece of paper, laminate it, and distribute it to the one friend you do fucking have! Let’s start here. I am stuck living in some twilight reality that I’ve gone and expunged all optimistic views I had about the world around me. I don’t like the people in it, because I view the majority of them as a swarming mass of pseudo-moral loving troglodytes who are pining away for some world of lore that only the mind of Huxley could’ve conjured. I don’t want to anesthetize myself to things around me, because it’s a lot more enjoyable to be depressed that most of the things I don’t like about my setting are obstacles I can’t change from my end. My only useful skill that I’ve used in the past five years has on some level made use of continuous self-loathing, and everything else I can do somehow never seems to quite live up to a standard I view as acceptable. I want to be social and the moment I step out to do it, I remember exactly why isolation was my only choice from the start. I can’t take any pertinent actions that I’m happy with, because if it has to do with something that matters I’m stuck in a suspended form of self-doubt, where I don’t want to take a risk if I know it could fail. Everything seems like a doomsday clock that is growing ever closer to a point where I break, but it never quite seems to get close enough to strike midnight.

…But you know what’s really wrong with me, lady? I don’t like you. I don’t like having to listen to the sound of my own voice, and I don’t like me. I’m done.”

I slid my headphones off, and shoved the microphone so hard the opposite direction the shock-stand vibrated in place. I put my back against the opposite wall, and edged down to have a seat. I put my head between my knees, and watched the studio lights dim as the static faded.

Then I woke up.

-Jake


Heavy Metal

Greetings, children.

While I may be the writer that you all know me as, and I may dabble from time to time in the realm of philosophy, I’m undoubtedly sure that most of you know me as a die-hard Heavy Metal fan. I’m sure this comes to no surprise for most, as the vast majority of my posts are lovingly titled in homage to a metal tune of some sort. I quote lyrics daily to strangers on social media, and in my gaming community alike. I’m constantly whistling or singing along to a new song that has become stuck in my mind. (I probably cycle anywhere between 10 and 20 songs on any given day)

Needless to say, I love Heavy Metal.

Despite how much adoration I have for the genre that carried me through my adolescence, and continues to do so today, all is not well in paradise. Metal has sustained a wound that refuses to close, and though many people would view it as a form of diversity, they’re only ignoring a continuous problem that Metal faces every year. The growing catalog of ridiculously unnecessary sub-genres has become a problem that not only forces people into senseless debates over the interpretation, and appropriate titling of bands; it dilutes the entire genre of Heavy Metal.

Assuming that what I’ve proposed to do here is indeed, “dissect various sub-genres of metal and effectively reassign them to an appropriate new blanket-genre”, I should undoubtedly go over a few of the classes of metal that need to stay, since there are so many good ones that cover the broad spectrum of the shredder’s rainbow.

  • Heavy Metal- It’s fair to say it’s not going anywhere. The widely accepted definition is the first, and it shall remain. This is what we shall base the origin of Metal with: “With roots in blues-rock and psychedelic-rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness.”
  • Thrash Metal- Its spot is safe. In order to slim down thrash, we would have to completely toss out speed-metal, and forget about Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, and Pantera. It’s not happening.
  • Death Metal- Easily the most broad definition in all of this genre’s history. Death could use slimming, but it’s so broad, I almost view it as an impossibility. One could also make the assertion that the benefits of Death’s creation significantly outweigh the negatives.
  • Black Metal- This sub-genre gave rise to some of the most powerful, and well-known names in the business. To get rid of Black would be a disgrace to the progressive styles of our European friends. It stays.
  • Power Metal- One could argue that Power has been slowly deteriorating over the years, but I’d like to believe that it has only become broader in definition. Power Metal has always been uplifting, and goes through various stages of harmonic glory that one can’t simply discard.
  • Doom- This genre, I will discuss later. Yes, it will be dissected. Not for the purpose you think, though. Doom stays, because it is the closest we have to the origin of metal. It’s also going to receive top-honors in the end, as we trim a bit of fat off of its name and dispose of the extras that are riding along behind it.
  • Nü Metal- While I understand it is indeed a hodgepodge of both good and bad ideas, Nü has brought forth some of the greatest groups of the late 90′s, and early 2,000′s. It would be a tragedy to throw out some of the finer elements of Korn, Slipknot, Disturbed, Godsmack, Otep, early Linkin Park, and even Coal Chamber. For the sake of history, Nü-Metal will retain its spot.
  • Industrial- I couldn’t rightfully get away with losing Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Kidneythieves, Combichrist, or Nine Inch Nails simply out of convenience. No, they will keep their spot because industrial as a whole has grown stronger in the world of metal, and I like it right where it’s at. Necessary only to the beat and to the constant remixing and blank-filling that it allows in metal.

These are the groups that are staying. Now that you’re all happy that I’ve kept your favorites, it’s time to break out my wood-chipper to shred some useless garbage, as well as the clay to sculpt a few new genres that should stand in the place of numerous others. I’m fully aware that makes me sound like a bit of a hypocrite, but I’m willing to take that risk if you’ll let me attempt to convince you.

Metalcore- Since this sub-genre alone is arguably responsible for over 60% of the atrocities that have been committed in the name of Heavy Metal, I’m going to start here.  While Sepultura and Pantera have been credited for giving birth to this monster, you may rest easy knowing that may not be entirely true. While Sepultura has implemented various rhythmic changes in their albums, as well as quite possibly bringing the infamous “breakdown” to life, they are assuredly a thrash metal group, and will remain as such. It also would be a tragedy to pry Pantera from their home of thrash, so I will not offend them.

What follows is a list of the multitudinous absurdities that have been combined in triple-hyphenated fashion in order to justify the creation of a Metalcore group:

<Please note that while I respect Melodeath, Math, Viking, Medieval, Industrial, Progressive, and Deathcore, they will also be used as a reference for the point of bringing light to the issue>

Funk, Groove, Stoner, Neo-Classical, Math, Death, Nintendo, Post-metal, Folk, Djent, Symphonic, crossover, Teutonic, classic, sludge, Prog, Power-prog, Glam, crab, Pirate, Wizard, Viking, extreme, hardcore, punk, Latin, Industrial, Death ‘n’ roll, grind, goregrind, Celtic, Pagan, Christian, avant-garde, experimental, break, drone, gothic, anarcho, crustpunk, unblack, Dark, Cello, Rap, trance, dub, psychedelic, NSBM (National-Socialist-Black-Metal), WP (White Pride), Screamo, crunk, Electronicore, Mall, Satanic, and yes… Anal Distortion.

Every single one of these have been used at one time or another to describe a band, sub-sub-sub-genre, or an album. My head spins just thinking about how much psychological-conditioning it takes for one not to bash their face into a wall at the sight of a band who uses three hyphens to describe what type of music they play. Virtually all of the list above can be tossed out, with the exception of the fundamental names I have already listed as necessities of the original genre itself.

Why? Why would I go and throw out a gigantic wall of sub-subs that might very well hold relevance and beauty to Heavy Metal if put to the test? Because, they already exist and are well-known elements of bands, and songs that we all remember so fondly. I can name thirty bands off the top of my head who use Neo-Classical riffs, and folk instruments on a nearly daily basis. You know what they have in common? None of them would sell their dignity in order to cling to the idea that they’re “Neo-classical-Celtic-Stoner-Prog-Metal”. That bullshit has to go, which is why I’ve just done it for you. It’s gone. Good riddance.

Now, don’t fear for the future of Core. Core is also going to retain its spot, regardless of the plethora of filth that seems to never get wiped off its boots. Metalcore is widely-regarded as one of the best things to come out of Metal, and I can’t say I’m inclined to disagree. It wouldn’t be the same without Trivium, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Atreyu, Soilwork, or Diecast. Yes, Core has a bright future so long as it holds on tight to the basics that make that genre so good. What drags it down is when they allow a disgusting mix of undisciplined sounds to diffuse the power of what we all know already works. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for progressive sound. It’s one of the best things about metal, is allowing bands to experiment and create new tunes with odd time-signatures, untapped instruments, and mixing that brings a new perspective to the genre. What I don’t like, is when five dipshits under the age 0f 21 all grab a fender and play half-ass slow riffs, call it a “breakdown”, use a drum-machine in place of an actual drummer, trade-off who gets to play keyboard, and then auto-tune the vocalist so people don’t know they sound like garbage. You may be laughing right now, but if you have seen as much destruction to the beauty of metal as I have, you would know it happens alarmingly often. It would seem record labels have lowered their standards, and are now paying these children to make a quick buck, just so they can toss them out next year and churn the mixture to produce another terrible band with the same sound, and new members. Let this be your only warning, Metalcore fans. If you don’t stand by what Core originally was, it’s cursed to become something you won’t recognize.

I know at this point, some of you might feel I’m just another purity-obsessed Metal-head who can’t stand new bands joining because it takes attention away from older ones. I’m here to dispel that notion, right now. If that was the case, I would also have to throw out almost every band after 1990, which I don’t intend to do by a long shot. New metal is great, and I love hearing it. What I don’t like, are pretentious children who think they know better than those who came before them, and want to implement the most bizarre styles to a genre that is just fine so long as you’re decent at musical composition, and you can fret/drum/sing/growl/scream with the best of them. I’m even willing to allow the repetition and lack of vocabulary if it sounds like you put some time into it. Ozzy Osbourne, a man who was practically illiterate after leaving school– helped form Black Sabbath and his own solo group while crafting some of the most-praised lyrics of all time. It takes a creative genius to be good in metal, and I grant anyone that can master it my undying loyalty.

Lastly, I want to dissect a range of sub-genres that I have come to love, but I feel that they should be adopted into a broader genre that I have created for them. The sub-genres of Doom, Stoner, Psychedelic, Classic, and Neo-Classical all are redundant and and overlap each other in multiple spots. While Doom stands on its own two legs, many people don’t understand what entails being a Doom group, and will therefore lump many bands that don’t belong there simply out of convenience. I’ve never heard a song from The Sword, or Baroness that should be classified as Doom. Katatonia, who is one of the main groups that come to mind when Doom is mentioned, is capable of so many varied genres that to limit them simply to Doom is almost restraining. There are also, of course, bands such as Black Pyramid and Dawnbringer, who are known for incorporating the finest elements of the classic Metal sound, as well as strong waves of Medieval riffing, alongside a generous helping of Neo-Classical harmonics. They also, are somehow inhabitants of Doom, and yet they don’t fit the description. I also wish to rid the world of the idea of “stoner”, metal. I find it to be an insulting term that clearly implies that the music is designed to pander to those who are lovers of weed (alongside copious amounts of droning,  reverberating guitar chords as well as psychedelic echoes, of course). It adds no substance to the band itself; instead it promotes the band as being limited to a certain demographic, and I would think that would annoy the group more than anything else. Because of all these reasons, it has has led me to believe that we need one blanket genre to support bands that don’t quite fit in with any of ‘em.

This genre is dedicated entirely to the idea of retaining the classic sound of Heavy Metal, as well as promoting the folk instruments, Neo-classical sound, and the rich tri-tone of classic metal groups. At first, I couldn’t decide what to call it. I wanted it to revolve around the idea of the band that best represents the origin of Metal: Black Sabbath.

Seeing as how “Black Metal” is taken though, I’ve had to resort to a much more technical idea. The name of this genre is indicative of everything you would hear from the fundamentals of classic metal albums; single solos that stretch over a minute, simple distortion, and the loud studio sound that you would expect from such a powerhouse group. When people hear of Sabbath now, they recognize them for the classics they put out. It is seemingly everyone’s first encounter with metal, and for this reason I have concluded that there can only be one title for this genre:

Primary Metal

This genre perfectly describes all of the elements of why it is necessary to keep them separate from their brothers and sisters. They seek to establish a classic mindset to new sounds. It’s the best of both worlds, in one broad package. You don’t even have to tread on the feet of other bands to do it. Candlemass is perfectly content being the grandfather of Doom. The Sword however, fits quite nicely as the head of this brave new world of metal; a realm that recognizes and reveres the sound put out by bands such as Sabbath, Maiden, Pentagram, Motorhead, and Judas Priest. They don’t want to mimic it; they want to enhance it.

I hope some of you will take away a fresh understanding of the genres of metal. I know some people will want to remain neutral and keep to the idea of, “It’s musical taste! Who are you to say what should and should not be?”, and that’s absolutely fair. However, I only want to help grow the idea of metal, and in order for newer, better bands to grow out of sub-genres to spawn their own ideas of the genre, sometimes you have to shave off some of the trash that is trailing around behind them. These quadruple sub-genres only limit the image that bands can have for themselves, and it gives idiots a very narrow view of what Heavy Metal is from the perspective of an outsider. This genre is so much more than most people can imagine, and if people can unite under as few banners as possible, Metal can once again overcome the non-stop drivel of horrible, anti-intellectual music that pollutes the minds of people everywhere.

It’s your one way ticket to midnight
Call it Heavy Metal
Higher than high, feelin’ just right
Call it Heavy Metal
Desperation on a red line
Call it Heavy Metal noise

-Jake


An Alternative To Freedom

In our ever-changing world of social acceptance, we’ve come to see shifts in attitude towards everything from ethnicity, to sexuality.

While these issues were seemingly simple hurdles to conquer for a society built upon innovation and progress, our species has proven time, and time again that we lack the will and cooperation to change worldviews at a reasonable pace. The difficulties that come with being part of a minority are sobering, and the threat of being demonized by your peers can be a grim reality for those unlucky souls in the wrong community.

The minority I’m speaking of, however, has nothing to do with the color of your skin, or your sexual orientation. Today, I’m here to discuss the last notable group to be outnumbered, but not yet exhausted of their will to fight socioeconomic trends:

ATHEISTS.

That’s right. The one group on the planet who should reasonably not be threatening to anyone, is evidently last on the list of people who can share their beliefs (or lack thereof), in public.

While I usually would tend to drift off into a rant regarding religion, that’s not my aim here. Today, I want to ask the faith-based people who represent the majority of our small planet to briefly consider the possibility that humans are perfectly capable of leading morally-acceptable lives without having a god to call their own. While I understand that this sentiment is usually met with stiff opposition, I implore my religious and spiritual readers to at least suppress their urge to close out this page for a few minutes.

We’re not that different.

How can I compare myself to you? It’s simple. We’re all atheists when it comes to Thor, (I hope) and we all grasp what a silly idea it is to believe in the god of thunder, even if he does make for an interesting story. I can go as far as to say that we’re both atheists on the majority of the gods on planet Earth today. If you don’t believe me, allow yourself a moment to consider how many religions there are in the world. Think of all the organized, well-known religious denominations, as well as the lesser known tribal religions. Many of these have countless numbers of followers, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism (although technically it’s not a religion). From the perspective of an atheist, I understand that all of these people can’t possibly be insane, and that it must have an internal value to believe in god’s existence. That means that there are some rational people who choose to believe in god because they feel it brings purpose, and meaning to their lives. From the viewpoint of a devoutly religious individual, however, they have the misfortune of being able to only see the purpose of existence through the pages of their sacred text. This is to be expected, as one raised with such a tradition would naturally be inclined to revere, cherish, and cling to what brings them peace and understanding of the world around them.

atheists

As an atheist, I don’t have a sacred book to guide my life. I don’t have lessons through scripture, or the looming threat of punishment in the afterlife. That doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person, immoral, worship Satan, or that I eat children. It means that I have to appropriately measure all of my decisions in life so that I cause the least amount of damage. I don’t go out and kill people, or cause them bodily harm for no reason. I don’t steal from other people, since I have no right to the property of others. I don’t rape women, because that is a cruel, sick, and vicious way to treat them or obtain sexual release. None of these fundamental rules require a background in religion. That’s because morality exists without it, and is a more than conventional way for someone to live their life.

I don’t require prayers to obtain things in life. If you’ve ever spent a long time accomplishing a goal, whether that be studying for a test, working towards a promotion at your job, or something as simple as writing a new post for your blog, you grasp how much discipline, and determination it takes to achieve such things. Atheists have those same goals, and accomplish them every single day without so much as a thought about a divine being. How can this be, if you are a creature of god and have been granted blessings in your life that a non-believer shouldn’t? This is because prayer, however useful and righteous it seems, does little in the real world to further any cause. Yes, it will grant you a fleeting sensation of contentment, but in the end the probability of your prayer being answered is the same as flipping a coin. It either will, or it won’t. It’s my experience that in this situation, if it comes true- many individuals tend to have a restored faith that their god is listening, and this is proof of it. However, if it doesn’t work in their favor, the same individuals will acquiesce to the idea that it was god’s plan for their wish to not come true. Atheists calculate things rather than pray, because we understand the probability, or the likeliness of something to occur is a more practical approach to understanding whether or not your wish will be granted. If you desire a promotion at work, you may add up the amount of hours you put in, as well as the quality of the work combined with how much the managers like you. You may also think that asking for god’s blessing is an asset to your cause. Atheists can’t do that. We try to see how a manager would effectively grade our work, as well as how our quality stacks up against competitors. There is no third-party to intervene, and if we receive such a position it would be through the gracious regard of our superiors, as well as the sweat we put into the daily grind itself.

I have a challenge to all believers. Before you shut me down, know that you won’t have to sacrifice a thing.

When you wake up tomorrow, I want you to do one simple thing:

Go on about your day.

That’s it. You don’t have to do anything else. Not a single thing. Tomorrow, do every single chore you would usually do. Go to work just like you would any other day. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner the same way. Take a shower or bath, in the same manner. Talk to your friends, family, or co-workers the same way. Live your life in the same peaceful, wonderful manner that you’re already used to.

However…

Leave God out of it. Don’t stop to pray for things, and don’t ask for blessings. Don’t thank him for your food, or for any simple victories. Don’t worry about a threat of a bad place in the afterlife, and don’t get nervous over what god will think.  Calculate the probability of things, and use logic and a constant scale of morality to solve your daily woes and issues. I think you’ll find it’s easy to do if you simply feel as if you’re taking a day off from faith. Do this for one day, and you can return to your life with God on your side. I do ask that you undergo this task with some manner of discipline though, because if you’re just going to flake halfway through the day, then your fear of the unknown is clearly affecting your life.

When you go back to your life with god however, I request that you review your day off from him. You might be surprised to discover that nothing has changed. The world didn’t end, you weren’t stricken by a disgusting illness, and no horrible tragedies befell you. Now ask yourself, could you do this for two days? Three? Even a week? Could you live your life like this? Were you slowed down one bit by not having to worry about god? I think you’ll find the answer is “no”, and through this you will be granted a knowledge that few faith-based people have the privilege of understanding:

It’s possible to live a good life without god.

For those of you out there who are hesitant to accept my challenge, undoubtedly because you’re unsure if there will be negative repercussions, I beg you to reconsider.

After all, if your faith is half as unshakable as you claim it is, then you’ve got nothing to lose by humoring me, and your connection with God might very well be strengthened.

Blissful, but not content.

Overjoyed with sentiment.

All the world is a place…

…for your mind to waste.

-Jake


Invent the Truth II

When engaging with a conservative on a social media website, one expects to find what you would with any common debater:

 

  • a series of easy-to-grasp talking points
  • data to back up their assertions
  • reliable sources of information, taken from independent parties
  • a lack of logical fallacies
  • ZERO shameless gimmicks that serve no purpose

 

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. While, admittedly there are many wonderful examples of well-versed modern conservatives who have a true grasp on current events, and have a talent for balancing various different topics including politics, the majority of them lack any clear direction with their arguments, which usually forces them to become belligerent and resort to defensive techniques. Instead of putting in an effort to add a bit of substance to their party-obsessed aggression, they avoid the conflict from the start by outlining a disgustingly useless wall of text that denotes their political affiliations, as well as various other keywords that prove their ‘purity’ and show what they believe to be online credibility to any offenders of their cause.

While it can be argued that a few well-placed words in one’s short profile header can be useful in distinguishing an individual’s attributes and stances, the same can not be said for the plethora of semi-competent sheep who recycle the same catchphrases, one-liners, and titles for themselves as if promoting themselves as an effigy of some right-swaying hero.

That brings me to where I keep my evidence, for my claim. These people, while undoubtedly functional citizens, haven’t the slightest clue how crippling their ignorance is when it comes to debating. The wound they inflict upon themselves comes when they choose to provide a wide list of terms that all make them easy to categorize, as well as dissect before a single word from them is uttered. While this tactic makes them the simplest of targets to shred in verbal combat, they hilariously believe it serves as protection; a showcase of patriotism and godliness that gives them limitless integrity in the eyes of their peers.

To show how tragically common this is, I have taken the top fourteen out of a total of thirty-nine that I was able to find on Twitter in a matter of minutes. Note the ridiculous similarities:

 

Now that you’ve witnessed the absurdity, have any patterns emerged from this mess? The most obvious regurgitations are assuredly the abuse of the word “Constitution”, as well as the usage of the title “Constitutionalist”. This is primarily used as a form of pseudo-patriotism to give the impression that the person has rigorously studied the text of the United States’ Constitution, and that by placing this tag in their bio they believe it demands a higher level of respect. This is nonsense, of course. This shroud is only meant to conceal a lack of reading into the document itself, as none of them who place this phrase have taken the time to memorize such a notable work, or they would not throw its name about with such pomp and disdain.

Noting that words such as “freedom”, and “liberty” also make numerous appearances, it would be a joke to state that they also take these words seriously, considering that the majority of the users who paste these patriotic words in with their name ironically belong to a party that constantly seeks to limit the freedom and liberty of women, minorities, and a multitude of other interest groups. While I’ve covered this issue many times in the past, I would like to reiterate that the right is a wing dedicated to the constant abuse of religious principles, creating a moral shield that allows them to believe that their actions are justified, when in reality they may be truly unethical and discriminatory.

Lastly, and possibly most humorous is the prospect of party-affiliation they have chosen to shift to in this brave new age of voting we’ve entered into. If you’ll take a quick glance back at the list, you may discover that all of them seem to hail from some offshoot of “Constitutional Conservatism”, or “Libertarianism”. Amusingly, many of these have also somehow come to identify themselves as “independent”, which is already neutralized by the idea of swerving to the far right in the first place. Forgive that statement for sounding too forward, but it is not a stretch to imagine by some of the quotes above that these people are far into the red to the point of no return.

Now, the question that no one has asked yet stabs at the loyalty of these people, to their respected parties. For such right-leaning individuals to suddenly pull themselves gently towards the center by bestowing the title of “Libertarian” to themselves, they absolutely don’t seem that inclined to follow that structure. In actuality, it would seem that the Libertarian party that has recently gained a significant boost in popularity due to the mild success of Congressmen Ron Paul, and Governor Gary Johnson, has created a new “safe-zone” for Conservatives who wish to evade the negative light their archaic party has brought upon them as of late.

While you can see a myriad of different terms and names plastered above, denoting all kinds of wonderful and noble causes these people are dedicated to, not ONE of them chooses to be affiliated with the Republican party that more accurately suits their demographic. Curiously, even the most radical of these neo-conservatives chooses to place their flag at the feet of the TEA party, rather than be seen with the Republicans, undoubtedly because of the horrific reputation they’ve earned as of the past decade.

Why does this crowd feel that they must shield themselves behind a wall of pseudo-nationalistic, incessantly repeated, vaguely-distinguished flags? This is not the way for them to prove they can talk politics. This isn’t even the right way for them to choose their party affiliation. This is one more gimmick for the right-wing to hide behind, simply because they refuse to detach themselves from the misguided ethics that they cherish.

How long until they stop being “Constitutionalists”, and start paying attention to what’s actually in the Constitution?

-Jake

 


Lethe

This pale room, illuminated only by the streetlamps through the window, provide a charcoal outline to my settings.

The walls, seemingly metallic, have long since corroded; corridors leading from the room give way to rusted architecture. The ceiling is within arm’s length, yet my surroundings cast an air of reluctance on the notion to touch anything at all. While the faint, white light dimly shines into the room through a dense fog outside, an internal glow can be seen emanating from the floor. As if the entirety of the surface was a radiant source of power, a strange sort of understanding came as to the catalyst for such a crude home.

The floor, a sheet of knee-deep water, soaked everything in sight. It ran through the main room, and down a long hallway like a river. At the end of the hall, the light faded into darkness; this mysterious void seemingly devoid of all furnishings, decorations, or doors. Perhaps it was the door, and the room was just all that could be seen from where I was standing. A voice called out from behind me, and there on a small beige couch she lay. Curled up beneath a pile of black fleece, her soft, pale form could hardly be recognized. My confusion obvious, a slender forearm and hand extends outwards towards my position at the edge of the room.

“What are you doing here,” I ask from my corner. “…and where are we?”

Her hand beckons me over, as fingers one by one curl back towards her palm. Doubt, clawing at my mind for such an inviting gesture, freezes me in place. A second, precautionary glance down the long corridor allows me a moment to question the decision. Upon returning my gaze to the plush couch though, I notice a strange occurrence. The water line, previously up to the arms of the chair has now receded, allowing for what seems a safe haven from the tide. As I stride over, the ripples reflect parabolic waves of light off the ceiling and walls. I pull my legs up over hers, attempting to settle in a comfortable position closest to the wall. As I nudge my way under the covers, I place my head on her shoulder. Immediately, the familiar scent of complacency and repose penetrates my senses, lulling me into a trance-like state. While the waves and white noise churn in the background, momentarily I am lost within the confines of warm serenity. This feeling, a much longed for event that I have since been robbed of, brings me to the verge of joy. However, it becomes painfully evident that events are unfolding around me. Almost like a collage of scenes I’ve never witnessed, a story is written that consciously I’ve never recognized.

An assortment of shops, all colored in various bright hues, is sprawled before me. As I walk down the sidewalk with her, peering in all of the windows and chuckling to myself at the people inside, my face begins to fade from my body. My features, all slowly disintegrating into dust are replaced by new ones. Colorless, shapeless, soulless; the new form of myself carries with it a hooded menace who I can’t recognize, and don’t want to. It’s a distorted shell of who I represent, and I avert my eyes to the opposite end of the room, where another vision takes place.

I’m driving down a long suburban road, at nightfall. My black hoodie, zipped up high to stave off the cold only provides insulation for my frustration. As I turn my eyes towards the passenger seat, she sits with apologetic eyes staring out the window. Dead pools of limitless resentment, I struggle to comprehend why we’re angry in the first place. As I scan over the panorama, I turn towards her, seemingly ready to reiterate the same question that curses my speech day after day.

“What’s wrong?”

No information is shared. A long pause takes place, where suspenseful dread creeps up between the seats. Trees and power-lines pass by continuously, providing a monotonous canvas for me to bide my time with. She turns her head slightly, her distant disposition flickering briefly to allow me one snippet of disdainful indifference to my inquiry.

“Nothing. I’m fine.”

From my place in the chair, I’m reminded at once of the loathing of that phrase that I possess. I crane my head to the center of the room, and catch one final frame placed directly in middle of the ceiling. As I strain to properly glimpse this image, I climb up from the warmth of the couch, leaving behind my comfort in search of catharsis. I gently step into the center of these decimated living quarters, and fixate my attention into this portrait of disgrace. Of what I should view as happiness, I can feel only hatred and abandonment.

A large beach towel is stretched wide on the sand. An empty, gorgeous landscape of exotic wonder lies beyond the towel, providing what can only be considered a perfect ending to a silly romance movie. It is the stereotypical cover of a vacation pamphlet, inviting all loving couples to spend their honeymoon, wedding, or anniversary there. Upon first glance, only peace could be found here. Of course, my nightmare was yet to unfold. As the camera panned downwards, allowing a look at the owners of the wide beach-towel, I am greeted by the face of betrayal. Their legs, entwined at the knees and ankles, immediately ignite my fury. Bare skin meets bare skin, in a union of lustful celebration. This strange man, unknown to me is an aggressor in my own fantasy, raping every joyful idea I had ever imagined. Envious disgust takes hold, and as the frame begins to zoom in on their arms and shoulders locked in horrifying embrace, I lose it.

With both arms outstretched, I claw at the edges of the picture frame. Regardless of the strength of its attachment, I pry at it with all my might. It gives, almost too easily, and rust showers me from above. Water begins streaming through the gaping hole in the ceiling, flooding the room in a current that flows towards the darkness. as I watch furniture, curtains, and terrible trinkets get carried down the hall, I throw the frame. A broken ornate harbinger of pain, I feel little remorse for the destruction I’ve brought upon it. There was no truth hidden beneath, only that which I rejected the most. This room contained no meaning, only the suffering I wished to evade. With eyes now red with malice, I spun around to the couch to voice my revulsion to her. I was not met by apologetic blue eyes, nor was I greeted by a satisfied grin. There she lay where I left her, the blanket now gone from the raging waters around us.

A stone sculpture remains in her place. With tears in her eyes, and arms reaching out to me, a yearning statue was all that was left. All at once, the weight of the torrent finally dragged the couch, and with it her effigy toppled over, smashing into pieces against the floor. They were then swept quickly down the raging river, and into the void.

“IS THIS WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANTED ME TO SEE?!” I called out after her shattered pieces. I felt empty, and lonely.

Forsaken and and crippled, I sank to my knees in the water. Chilling waves of horror swept past me, and there in failing light of the room, I threw myself at the mercy of the current. Freezing comfort filled my lungs, a moment that I have feared for my entire life. This end, no longer bearing pain for me, brought me into the shadows I dared not tread before.

Then I woke up.

Hold me near, my one friend and guide
As I drown through your fingers
Drown through your love
For you are the life that I hate
You are my… You are my…

Drag me down, in passionate sighs
With the ocean above me
And flames in my eyes
And grant me a life I can live
Without
Take me away

From the life that I hate

-Jake


Before The Hangman’s Noose

Good day, children.

I’ve been flooded with information over the recent suicide of the nurse known as Jacintha Saldanha. She was the victim of a prank phone call recently made by the two Australian radio DJs, Mel Grieg, and Michael Christian. In this prank, they called the hospital where Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge is currently staying following the news of her pregnancy. During this phone call, the two DJs used fake accents in order to impersonate two other members of the royal family. Then, while attempting to find out information about Catherine, the two posing as Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Charles were actually patched through by Jacintha Saldanha to another nurse, who then answered a few questions regarding the medical status of Catherine. The two DJs, not expecting to be put through, let alone given the information they requested, aired the call on their show.

The nurse was found dead three days later, of apparent suicide.

Now, while I do understand that her death is an absolute tragedy, it irritates me to no end to see that the two DJs are taking the blame for her suicide. It also bothers me how many people have jumped on the bandwagon, turning this into a vicious witch-hunt. People have taken to Twitter and Facebook in a fit of rage, being quoted as saying such things as:

“A husband without a wife and two kids without a mother! All thanks to you two @MelGreigHot30 & @MContheradio SHAME ON YOU! #royalprank” (@vratnay)

“Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2DayFM in Australia should be flogged. The power of morons on the radio. Can we declare war on Australia?” (@Joatmoa)

“We are outraged by your disgusting, invasive prank, which has caused an innocent person to take her life on account of believing your lies. The radio presenters should be sacked, the station should be sued. Absolutely hideous. We cannot believe what you have done here in the UK.” ~ Max

“Michael Christian and Mel Greig should never be allowed to broadcast again in the public domain for the rest of their lives, imbeciles!” (@ALG4)

Now that you’ve heard what kinds of creatively malicious things people can invent, you should also understand why none of this should actually be attributed to Mel Grieg, or Michael Christian.

Firstly, if people understood the intricacies of those who are capable of committing suicide, they would know it takes more than a prank phone call to set someone off. If Mrs. Saldanha truly had been taken over the edge by something as trivial and pointless as a prank phone call, then there was clearly something else shrouded by the incident that had been plaguing her prior to this event. Whether there was an internal conflict no one knows of, or a neurological instability that had yet to be diagnosed, something was clearly affecting this woman. The traumatic experience of a prank phone call, however humiliating it may be, pales in comparison to practically everything else that could go wrong in your life. If this phone call was truly that impacting, then by comparison Moe Syzlak on the popular TV show “The Simpsons” should’ve committed suicide twenty times by now, according to the amount of times Bart has ‘tormented’ this poor soul with prank calls. Suicide occurs when grief and pain become greater than the will to live. Seeing as how that instinct is pretty damn powerful, I’m going to have to say that the claim that the prank phone call did her in is bullshit. These people whining know nothing of what provokes suicide.

Next, I listened to this prank call. Those who could be convinced in the slightest that these were the voices of the Queen, or Prince Charles, are clearly incompetent. The voices used by the two radio personalities were not only poorly-articulated, but were comparable only to the likes of Monty Python, or South Park. To think that not only one, but two of the members of this hospital staff were fooled by such a blatant show of lousy voice-acting, should tell you something about the intellectual capacities of the nursing staff hired at this hospital that “typically takes in members of the royal family”.  On that note, if this hospital has been known to receive members of the royal family occasionally, then why the hell would they not have some sort of remotely organized call-screening process, in order to prevent the press or even radio DJs pretending to be members of the crown-bearing clan, from receiving private information on patients? It seems like the list of failures for the security staff of the royals, as well as the hospital continue to grow, the more I think on this. If even low level politicans in America can obtain a secretary capable of giving vague, ‘okie-doke’ answers to anyone who calls regarding anything, I don’t see why the Duchess of Cambridge doesn’t possess one.

Lastly, if someone was going to take their life, why was it merely the nurse who transferred the call? Why wasn’t it the nurse who actually divulged the private information? So far as I’ve heard, this lady hasn’t even been put on suicide watch. It would seem to me, that if anyone were guilt-ridden to the point of ultimate embarrassment, it would be that nurse. What sense does it make to feel bad for simply pressing hold on the phone while you tell someone else to “pick up on line one”? I fail to see how this could’ve been anything less than an “oops” moment, in the eyes of anyone else working the phone. Perhaps, upon learning that the incident was a sham I’d be mildly embarrassed, but to take it beyond an apology for not checking the caller more thoroughly, is absolute lunacy.

To the people who continue to blame Mel Grieg, and Michael Christian:

You’re all complete idiots. Your hypersensitivity and emotional insecurities have led to the wrongful persecution and crucifixion of these two radio personalities, who while their prank was idiotic and trivial, it was also completely harmless in their execution and intentions. A prank phone call, no matter how humiliating it may seem to you, does not throw someone off the suicidal cliff, even people who might be suffering from a social anxiety disorder. It was an annoyance, and maybe even was a blight on the clerical career of this woman, but to state that this prank was undoubtedly the leading cause that drove this women to off herself, is baseless, and can’t be substantiated. Something was happening to Mrs. Saldanha that we don’t know about. It may come to light in future days, but for now we’re left to ponder whether her mental stability was a contributing factor, or perhaps a domestic issue that made its way into her work life, causing her significant emotional distress. Now, of course this call could’ve been that slight, tiny push at the end to make her snap and finally go through with it, but to give these two the full extent of the blame for a campaign of pain that had been building for years, is also immoral.

While my condolences go out to Mrs. Saldanha’s family and friends on their loss, they also go out to Ms. Grieg, and Mr. Christian. I would never want to be in the spotlight of millions of sheep, all angry for the wrong reasons, because of the first headlines to make it onto major media outlets. They’ve painted the two of these people as villains comparable to Josef Mengele, and act as if they held a gun to Mrs. Saldanha’s head, forcing her to pull the trigger. There are actual people on twitter who have suggested that these two kill themselves, which doesn’t surprise me considering that the crowd of people on most social media sites fail to think before speaking, let alone critically think. I can only hope that things get better for these two, and that people will eventually learn to question a situation before speaking out.

For the internet being the place where all the information is housed, people sure like to disregard it in favor of inflammatory personal attacks. Be careful what you say, or you could be sent to the digital Gallows next.

-Jake


The Future Of Speech

Hello, children!

In the realm of the Blogosphere, there are an immeasurable amount of ideas floating around. At one point in recent history, bloggers could actually be taken seriously, and respected. The opinions and informative news posted on the blogs of the past have decayed into various chains of social circles and exclusivity, where if you check one place you’ll find what appears to be a well-versed article regarding a certain topic. However, upon the inspection of another blog discussing the same tagline, you’ll find a slew of polar opposite “facts” that they claim they’ve taken the time to research. While I understand that many topics containing words such as ‘best’, ‘worst’, or ‘smartest’, are unfailingly opinion pieces, and therefore are completely subjective; this doesn’t mean that people are entitled to conjure their own series of facts.

When even pedigree information is cast to the winds, then there is no such thing as the successful passage of information. There should be no discrepancy in replicating and reviewing easily verifiable information. Ironically, despite how often I think this, there remains a million examples of how people manage to turn a simple Q&A into an Ontological debate. Everything from “can marijuana kill?”, to “how old is the Earth?”, is contested on the web, and in the Blogosphere it would seem this is no different. It isn’t that simple, though. This misinformation manages to not just wind up on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblr, Blogspot, or even WordPress pages, but now a plethora of news media outlets have decided to take up the call of freelance bloggers in order to pump out more information, more frequently. This inadvertently has led to the establishment of many pages that are devoid of not just basic knowledge, but sponsored articles that neglect even the most fundamental rules of writing, and editing. Numerous times, I’ve found typographical errors, and grammatical massacres that make me question the credibility of the author, let alone the newsgroup they were hired by. Even on a more mainstream scale, in an effort to get the information out first, various news agencies (most notably Fox News) destroyed their front page headlines with the line “Usama Bin Landen Dead Fox News Confrims” [sic]. With such neglect for even the simplest forms of editorial discretion, the big name players are reduced to the integrity level of the common YouTube video commenter.

Nothing quite compares however, to the fact that blogging as a whole has been slowly corroding itself from the carelessness of its users. The result is a large cesspool of relatively pointless, and counter-productive diary entries, designed simply to facilitate the immediate boredom of the user by informing others of their daily routines and chores. This has inherently bred a swarm of social-media obsessed attention-leeches, whose entire day revolve around the necessity of divulging excessive amounts of bland detail regarding their lives, including some of the more vulgar, or inappropriate events. With Facebook alone as our source in the spotlight, you’re punished by the walls of your friends and extended family, as they prove that the hidden truth behind sites such as this one, is to propagate an existence through the mundanities of everyday life, and the seemingly obligatory acceptance of one’s social acquaintances. Though no real information passes through this site, it is a transitional hub for the exchange of humorous material, political advertising, event scheduling, and entertainment reviews. Featuring a ‘like’ function that has lost its meaning, the approval of others has turned merely into a Julius Caesar-esque voting system of what will and will not be tolerated. Tragically enough, more critical opinions, featuring large bodies of text and sources to corroborate receive little attention, as they tend to not only confuse, but make many individuals feel insecure about their own intellectual contributions to such discussions. This leads to the stagnation of new ideas, as an endless flood of people recycle the same loathing for debates that they always do, including the “STFU” standby retort, or a series of semi-conscious neutral statements asking why people can’t get along, and how they “just don’t understand how people could be so stupid.”

This exercise, as baffling as it is disappointing, is the world of misinformation that we live in. When any dolt on the net can transmit a series of falsified, dreadfully-worded paragraphs intended to convey to an audience how “fukin gay dat one movie iz”, then the tool is clearly not being used for what its intentions were. Granted, I understand that sounds a bit insensitive to the free speech rights of people, however it does no good to simply accept it for what it is. Some people, however cruel it sounds, are not suited for the task of providing other people with useful information. Their opinions, while still valid, are only comparative to those of an infant, and should be treated as such. Many of their remarks, as people have come to recognize, are not only obscene, but incredibly hostile as well.

I may not be a fan of many celebrities or athletes, but I still respect them as people. Multitudes of vicious people have joined the social-media haven Twitter for a chance at taking stabs at celebrities they don’t particularly care for. From over-the-top critiques, to personal attacks, all the way up to death threats, many famous individuals have been astounded to see the aggression and callousness of the flocks of people participating in micro-blogging. While I support their right to voice opinions, I don’t support their desire to turn all posts into moral atrocities of grammar-deficient toddlers. What they do is not productive, nor is it a form of expression. All they’ve done, is choose to contribute to discussions with an array of disconnected thoughts, all designed to bring malice into the subject so that people forget the issues, and coerce others into forming responses defensively. Once that event takes places, blogging is finished. What remains is a belligerent chat-room, with a roving topic that only makes a guest appearance amidst a storm of profanities and condescension.

If this is what blogging has been reduced to, then what good does it possibly do to post reliable information, in an effort to become the counterweight to such blind, senseless, record-keeping? How can we be seen as ANYTHING, but a text-based, title-bearing, fact-distorting, timing-consumed reality TV show, designed to vacuum in ‘hits’, rather than challenge readers to design new latitudes on their creative map?

My prospects have become less promising
I find it hard to believe in anything
Seems I lost my world and so I lost my faith
And I can’t go back to where I’ve been

A brand new day
It can’t get worse
Hear myself say
It can’t get worse

I have no lies or truth in what I say
There is no meaning
The words are numb and I am so afraid
There is no meaning

This is another chance or so I’m told
By those who can push themselves at any cost
They bless me with their fingers crossed
My youth is stolen, transformed and sold

Mulder: Hey Scully, Check this out! Fox News says the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.       Scully: … *facepalm*

-Jake


Lateralus

Tonight is a special occasion for me.

On this day eight years ago, I was forever freed from the tyranny of religious rule. I finally accepted the notion that the world around me was not of some predetermined construct, designed primarily to facilitate the needs of Homo sapiens that were supposedly only spawned according to the tenets of ancient folklore less than a few millennia ago. While lacking in the department of drama and grandeur, my epiphany is no less spectacular than any other who has discovered the joys of being liberated from all deities.

I sit at my desk, surveying the corners that have been gradually worn away by the constant grinding and moving of them throughout their years of use in the classroom. My public school was nothing special, but it managed to retain a comforting sense of security within its walls. The silence of the corridors, provided a sea of tranquility unmatched by anywhere else. I had some personal favorite spots as well, that when the world became too treacherous, and the noise of everyday life began to claw at my nerves, I could slip away to; it was a pocket of warmth where isolation was my only friend. This afternoon, I had to catch up on some reading for my English class, and I did not plan on being disturbed. In retrospect, the violation of my private haven this day is not met with regret.

As I climbed up the stairs in the second largest band hall, the stale air in the stairway reminded me of the poor ventilation shared with this section of the building. Undoubtedly, air for kids who were incessantly blowing out their lungs for the sake of musical perfection was not considered a legitimate reason to drag the budget for the arts wing of the school. I made my way across the upper balcony, peering over the side slightly to put a face to the sounds of the piano gently playing below. Not surprisingly, I was met by the backside of the same over-achiever who had made it their goal to never move from that piano stool. Pecking away at the ivories had become this lady’s prime directive, and since she played quite well, I never complained about the soundtrack for my study-time.

My safe haven, contrary to its elegant titling was actually an inconveniently tiny, soundproof practice room that had been all but abandoned at the far end of the mezzanine. Its walls were stripped of coloring, and the majority of the room was controlled by a large collection of broken music stands and cases, all of which had gone unused since the late 90′s, judging from the rental tags. I dropped my backpack to the floor and unzipped the largest compartment, allowing me to pry my required reading from the bottom of the bag (why does it always end up there?). As I scraped the tattered book from the bottom to the top, I leaned back against the fairly comfortable plastic school-chair, allowing my legs to use a second chair as a resting place. Turning to the page I had left off with, I began to slowly catch up on the thought-chain within. The book, ironically was Freud’s “The Future of an Illusion“. While I can understand what an amusing foreword this is to the events about to unfold, I had never before remarked upon how such an opportunistically tragic moment this turned out to be.

Before I was able to fully process what was approaching, the sound of an obnoxiously loud Medusa could be heard echoing outside my doorway. The knob on the heavy iron door turned, and in barged the form of one of the most intolerable females on the planet. Behind her, followed a girl that I had recently been trailing behind as a hopeless romantic. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that she was a trivial pursuit, and had since abandoned her and her insane family. The problem at hand however, was that they were both now standing in my doorway, looking absolutely annoyed with me.

“OH MY GOD! THERE YOU ARE! I’VE BEEN FLIPPIN’ LOOKIN’ FER’ YOU!”

The cringe I immediately displayed must’ve been less discreet than I intended, because the look on her face turned quickly from irked, to irate. This girl, who I will name simply “Melissa”, was known for being melodramatic in every situation. Regardless of subject or setting, she was always set to throw a tantrum, shed tears, or feign injury. This commonly made it easier for her to manipulate others, and coerce them into feeling guilty for things they really shouldn’t. As she glared at me from the frame of the door, her voice turned into a shrill, babbling system of high-pitched complaints that she conveyed in a single string of poorly-phrased persuasion.

“DUDE YOU ACT LIKE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME HALF THE TIME AND ACT LIKE A EFFIN’ A-HOLE WHEN I COME TA’ TALK TO YOU- DON’TCHA EVEN WANNA KNOW WHY I CAME UP HERE IT’S BECAUSE I KNOW YOU LIKE HAVE NO FRIENDS BESIDES US AND I KNOW THAT YOU NEED SOMEONE TO HANG OUT WITH WHICH IS WHY I WAS GONNA INVITE YOU TO OUR EFFIN’ CHURCH DANCE TONIGHT, BUT I GUESS YOU’RE LIKE TOO GOOD FER’ US! LET ALONE GETTIN’ SAVED BY GOD SO I GUESS YOU CAN JUST SIT UP HERE AND READ YER’ STUPID EFFIN’ BOOK!!!”

My mind was blown. Not only had she managed to completely destroy the volume level of the amps at the DevilDriver concert I had been to that year, but she had somehow managed to speak quite possibly the world’s longest run-on sentence. As I shifted my focus back down towards the page I was reading, I gave a small, snide response that evidently had been the equivalent of kicking her in her throat.

“You have to pull hard on it,” I replied to her confused expression. “…On the door handle, I mean.”

“Otherwise, you’ll hear horrible sounds coming all the way up the stairwell. Thanks,” I finished, satisfied with the look of disbelief plastered on her face.

All at once, it seemed as if Mount Vesuvius had erupted and her anguish could not be disguised any longer.

“ARE YOU FUCKIN’ KIDDING ME?! YOU’RE GONNA ACT LIKE A LITTLE KID WHEN I’M TRYING TO SAVE YOU?! YOU’RE SUCH AN UNGRATEFUL ASSHOLE JAKE AND GOD HAS A PLACE FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU! IF YOU CAN’T EVEN SHOW PEOPLE THE FUCKIN’ RESPECT THAT THEY DESERVE THEN I GOT NO TIME FOR YOU! SEE YA JERK OFF!”

Her outward rage was so sweet I could taste it, and her jagged finger now pointing directly at me gave me the impression that she was doing all within her control to not lunge at me. Not wishing to let this moment slip past me, I extended a hand to show her to pause a moment, and I continued my verbal abuse.

‘That’s fair, Melissa. I tell you what. Let’s just wait a second. If God feels that I’ve wronged him, then I’m sure he’ll take care to punish me posthaste. Why don’t you stick around for a sec, and you can take some pride that you’re doing his work,’ I said, while checking the time on my phone. ‘Here, you want this chair so you can wait?’ I asked with a smirk.

Her face said it all. I had crossed the line, and she was ready to let me have it. Unable to combat such hostile, anti-theistic words, she turned to her next best, easily programmable response to try and seem as if the infinite was going to suddenly halt time to deal with the tiniest intricacies of the universe.

“WOW JAKE. WELL WHAT CRAP DO YOU BELIEVE?” she spouted without consideration for her volume level, once again. Her impatience obvious, and my need to finish my reading evident, I decided to sink once more; this fight was quickly turning into a spiteful dispute, and I would end it like that.

“I believe your imaginary friend is roughly thirty-five seconds late for showing me the insurmountable power of his omnipotent authority. Should I not expect his arrival?” I answered with phony disappointment.

As she stared open-mouthed at me, all of her gimmicks faded. Her usual self-righteous safety net had given way, and being faced with someone insensitive to the needs of a malicious parasite of bad faith, her final move of desperation lay in her power to cry on command. With a look of apathetic defeat, she allowed a few misguided tears to swell in her eyes, and voiced her Christian opinion of me on her way out the door.

“You’re *sniff* a *sniff-sniff* fuckin’ asshole, Jake.”

She turned immediately, shoving past her friend to go back down the balcony towards the stairs. As the other girl gave me a look of grim displeasure, she took off after her in an effort to play the same consolation role she always had to. However, I wasn’t quite finished. In order to make sure I wouldn’t see her anytime soon, I decided it required a more close-to-home touch, in order to deliver the full effect of adding insult to injury.

“Melissa,” I called down the hall, right before she got to the top of the staircase. She turned around, her face flustered and bleeding eye-liner. As she scowled at me with a look of distinct repulse, a soft facade of apologetic remorse crossed my face. For just a moment, she truly believed I had come to feel guilt, and she stopped to await my imminent acknowledgment of it.

Earth hath no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal,” I quoted while cheerfully shutting the door.

The hysterical expression in her eyes, unparalleled to date, sent me into a fit of laughter as I retook my seat in the corner of the room. But moments later, I realized the gravity of the conversation I had just engaged in. At once, I understood my viewpoint. Though vaguely agnostic prior to this, it had become clear to me that I did not believe any longer. I could no longer tolerate the superstitious nonsense spread by the blindly-devout, and their constant need to feel as if their lives held more relevance in the grand scheme of the cosmos than they truly did. It was a vain exercise of arrogant narcissism; a ploy to convert more people to a larger cause designed to control the socioeconomic trends of the population, and it has worked its magic successfully. Just as irritating, are the creatures much like Melissa, who spend their days attempting to brainwash others with a set of tenets that they claim to believe, and spend the majority of their lives contradicting. The hypocrisy of its followers, almost as silly and destructive to the world as the principles they practice, as they work day in and out to ensure that the civil liberties of those who are different from them are constantly in question; all the time failing to realize how there is no place in a progressive society for religion, nor is there any sense to follow the rules of archaic cultures inscribed in ancient books from an era that believed in so many ideas that we now know to be completely false.

After that day, I would never come to see the reasoning behind why some people dedicate their lives to such blind faith ever again. From that point forth, I learned to stop trying to believe people when they claimed they had the answers, and that my questions would only find the truth I was seeking if I continued to look for myself, outside of the circle of beliefs that most people smile and nod at.

I then promptly returned to the pages of my book. Despite my newfound intellectual revelation, it would not save me from the wrath of my English teacher if she found out I had not studied; unlike God, she was a credible threat.

-Jake


End Of The Road

Dry leaves crunched under my feet; a friendly reminder of Autumn’s presence on Earth.

Where some people see only the death of green acres, I see a chance to enjoy the outside world. This world is different from mine, however. This sanctuary, a sprawling labyrinth of pine trees and dense vegetation, excites within me the urge to experience lands not yet known. While the uninteresting whirr of suburban life may be comforting, the sounds of the wild will always retain their ominous lure. The promise of adventure, and sights unseen carried me from the warmth of this small house in the woods, out into the bitter cold of the morning.

The street was, for lack of a better term, dirt. Mounds of dirt that had settled on top of previously laid concrete, have taken back this path for the Earth. Decades of weathering, as well as a neglect for maintenance have caused this road to be a hazard, strewn with branches hanging down onto the course. This neck of the woods could only be found by those looking for it, and without proper guidance, one would easily slip past this pocket of rural Texas.

I gazed down at the glassy, reflective surface of the lake. Located precariously on the side of a large hill near the water’s edge, my grandmother’s house boasted the finest scenery in the land, and I knew it. I turned back towards the road and began my eastward trek. Though not entirely sure of what I’d find, I made silly, trivial goals of items to seek out, and imaginary places to explore. Trees became crow’s nests, large boulders turned into waypoints, and people outside were transformed from simple townsfolk, into informative quest guides. In a new place, where danger was potentially around every corner, and magic could be viewed simply by spotting the obscure, I had found the Shangri-La of my creativity.

The symbol I finished drawing on a rock with chalk had obviously garnered attention, as I turned around to the cheerful voice of my grandmother’s neighbor.

“That’s some art you’re making there!”, he exclaimed while taking his dogs out for a walk. I smiled, and waved back at him. He was a friendly fellow, with a cheerful disposition that never seemed to dampen. In retrospect, I regret not getting to know the man better. I didn’t know many of the residents of my grandmother’s small town, but the few I did were enjoyable individuals.

I zipped up my black hoodie further, realizing how cold the wind was coming from the direction of the waterfront. As I strode further down the dirt road, I began to lose sight of my grandmother’s house. The road, fashioned in a parabolic pattern began to veer off to the right, and I was compelled to follow it to its final destination. I glanced cautiously around me while stepping ever away from my point of origin. On my left, a large hedge rose up above me. Its leaves, thick and inviting, shrouded the objects behind them so well that a curiosity arose within me. I made my way up to the front drive carefully, as the dirt road had quickly turned to uneven gravel on all sides. The yard, a neglected and shady dump, was littered with beer cans and shotgun shells. A more cliché example of the southern, poverty-stricken American home, there could never be. Inside the walls of hedges, were two double-wide trailers, both of which looked as if the forest had reclaimed them as its own. Ivy crept up the sides of panels surrounding the trailers, a sign of the longevity of habitation. Sparse patches of grass, growing unreasonably tall out of the view of the main drive gave the impression these people lived out here simply to not be noticed, and it would seem they accomplished this goal.

As I peered further around the corner of the bush, I caught a glimpse of the owners of the establishment. Three men, all disheveled in appearance sat down by the water’s edge, guzzling beers by the bottle, and turning frequently to check on a small grill. With a flick of the wrist, the man furthest from me let fly a bottle into a tree, smashing instantly to pieces. The one directly next to him, with volume and hostility, chastised him in a vulgar manner. As the third man lifted his rifle, he took aim down the hill at something that was beyond my sight. All at once, he squeezed the trigger and a deafening burst shook the silence of the forest, causing me to jump.

Having rarely heard a gunshot, let alone without warning, my hands instantly began to tremble. The sounds and sight of the firearm were powerful enough to instill a sense of supreme respect, causing me to begin my retreat from the location. As I backed up, the man who smashed the bottle got up from his chair, and staggered back up the hill to the trailer nearest him. As he got to the door, I began to peer through a side of the hedge by forcibly making an eye-hole. A woman, clad in a large suede jacket emerged from the door as he approached, apologetically handing him a large, cordless phone. As she handed it to him, the phone was swatted out of her hand by the belligerent man, and he proceeded to grab her by the neck. He then muttered something to her, which in my current position was inaudible. The woman, obviously petrified by the man, choked down sobs as he throttled her against the railing of the trailer. The fear in the woman’s eyes as she apologized once again was painfully evident, as her crying was stifled by the man telling her to “shut the fuck up!”, an inch from her face.

He then shoved her backwards and marched back down the steps towards the pier, stopping only to pick up the phone he carelessly knocked to the dirt before. As his figure became smaller in the distance, the woman sat crumpled up against the dilapidated railing, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. Her situation, almost as tragic as her feelings of inescapable hopelessness, brought me to question the moral judgments of adults for the first time. Sheltered from the cold insensitivity of malicious beings such as this one, I understood all too quickly the difference between a functional relationship, and a broken one. There was no place for this type of individual in my life, and I loathed his existence. I had been raised thus far to never lay a hand in violence on another person, and having been exposed to this showcase of outward cruelty, I knew what standard I would set for myself when dealing with others. At this point, all the heroes of folklore and cinema who I revered became so much more; ideals that were immortalized in  my mind from infancy took form, and I vowed to never end up an ungrateful cretin who was devoid of kindness. There could be no justification for planting a sense of fear in someone who subserviently catered to your will. My childhood may have been filled with pleasant memories, but that day I lost a piece of myself in the woods.

So badly did I want to teach this asshole a lesson. So badly did I want to console this woman for the brutality she endured. However, my newly found fury was snuffed out as the whistle of my mother could be heard down the street. The world I had not known may have confused and disheartened me, but I had a long way to go, and I was merely seven years old, seeking justice for things I had yet to fully grasp. I don’t know what happened to this dysfunctional family unit. I’ve never had the opportunity to go back, and see if things had changed. I do, however, hope she gained the courage to leave. Domestic abuse should never be tolerated, and if it’s wrong in the eyes of a seven year old, then it probably is wrong in the eyes of anyone who takes morality seriously.

-Jake


Fire Above, Ice Below

Good morning, children.

I will begin by apologizing once more for the recent absence of over a month. I was on vacation in Pennsylvania, and I daresay I enjoyed the time. Thanks to the hospitality and adoration of my lovely lady friend, I was able to relax for once, as well as focus on issues not pertaining to my usual lexicon of ideas and topics. Of course, after a visit into the mountains of the Poconos, a trip to the large, and ominous city of Philadelphia, and a quiet stop at State College, I naturally obtained a flurry of thoughts to reflect upon, as well as new tales. One of those, I shall share right now.

A flood of footsteps and chattering people fill the streets in a city that has grown so large, it is comparable only to a concrete jungle of droning noise, and flashing lights. The time is early evening. The setting sun casts a crimson glare in between buildings, turning them into sheets of blinding reflection. The wind, a punishing reminder of the looming rebirth of winter, stings against my cheeks. Passing by numerous streets, the grey of the scenery forces me to contrast it with the beauty that has spoiled my eyes for numerous weeks already. Lush forests, promising continuous views of a priceless canvas lift my spirits as my heavy feet drag my weary form back to our hotel. I catch the gaze of my partner, as she weakly grins and informs me once more that she is fine, so long as we’re back soon.

Though cheery and bustling at a glance, the streets are littered with unsettling creatures. Pockets of loud adolescents crowd the sidewalk, oblivious to the intricacies of city life, and to the world around them. The fleeting sensation of youth is vivified amidst friends, and with volume even the most timid of beings can be turned into vultures. Unfortunately, these entitled children are already vultures; feeding from the misfortune of others, and caring only for the web of vanity that their lives are entangled betwixt. As I stride behind the pack of unruly juveniles, their shenanigans turn from harmless banter, into disgusting antipathy. Before crossing the street, one of the older females of the group sways the herd in the opposite direction, citing her supposed need to avoid “that nasty fuckin’ hobo”. Her sight, it would seem, was as flawed as her moral inclinations. The “hobo” she so desired to evade was actually a Vietnam war veteran who just so happened to be an amputee. His unshaven look, complimented by the tattered raincoat and hat denoting his service, clearly had given the impression to the girl that he was a degenerate, looking to scrounge change from her purse upon first contact. This tragic scene, a testament to our country’s complete abandonment of many veterans who should’ve received prime care, is one more example of how our nation has turned its back on the virtues of compassion, and generosity. Especially in a city with such a rich, patriotic origin, I fail to understand why any human being could have such an outward disdain towards the derelict.

As sweeping cold drafts whistled in the distance, the sun began its final descent. Vermilion streaks sketched a skyline above us, outlining black monoliths on the horizon, while casting our pathway into the shade of the night. The smell of multiple restaurants cloud the air, as the aroma beckons passing travelers in. Those wishing to escape the arctic winds quickly navigate indoors; opting to shove past others smoking, and conversing on the front steps of hotels and apartment complexes. Brilliant lights from nearby buildings cast a faint glow from the window to the sidewalk, granting all who paid attention a tiled floor of light and shadow. While passing near a long since abandoned store, a gentleman playing the cello serenaded those who dared to traverse the chilling evening.

We stepped onto Broad street as the light faded from the sky. Above us, a curtain of Catalina blue had been drawn, outlining the majestic eyesight at the end of the street. Philadelphia’s city hall; a sprawling citadel of granite, and marble, that will cause anyone’s jaw to drop at its sheer size and architectural ingenuity. Being not only a geek for history, but a lover of the arts, it’s easy to see how I narrowly avoided becoming a statistic for pedestrian casualties that day. As I snapped a quick photo of this palace of politics, I silently regretted not setting foot on the steps myself. Now, however, was not a time for such considerations. Catching up with my girlfriend, I scanned the now darkened streets for potential hazards. I have never been particularly at ease with a dense, urban setting. The compact, filth-ridden streets were enough to make me uncomfortable, and subjecting my lady friend to the elements as well as unfriendly terrain were not on my list of things to do.

Upon reaching the corner of the street next to ours, the group of blatantly intoxicated yuppies stood in a fit of laughter outside of a bar.  The object of their amusement: a friend of theirs, crouching at the street corner, inches over a puddle of his own vomit. While I can surely understand the humor of such a situation, it was clear that the sick individual was not having a good time. His friends, having drank away better judgment and their inhibitions, mercilessly cackled away at his plight. As he sat crouched on the curb, humiliated and disheveled, he did not notice as his social circle began to walk off in the opposite direction from him. As he turned around, a look of exasperation crossed his face. With ruffled brow, and grimace showing, he took off at an incredibly slow, stumbling pace down the street after them. The antics of the horribly inebriated have never truly amused me, and to this day I frown on people who don’t at least attempt to lend a helping hand to those who are incapable of logical action at the time. It’s irresponsible, and has been the cause of many deaths for those who were left to wander on their own in a drunken stupor. While I recognize that it is each person’s own responsibility to take care of themselves, when you’re with a group, it should fall on your friends to take heed of your activities (to a certain degree).

As we entered the hotel lobby, we climbed eagerly into the elevator. The familiar smell of the frequently cleaned chamber reminded us fondly that we were close to being able to relax. With haste, we sped down the hallway and quickly opened the door to our room. Within seconds of being inside, our clothes had been torn away and we began searching for our night garments. The sights and sounds of our silent room were a welcome relief, as we climbed under the covers of our bed. As I climbed out of bed to adjust the airflow in the room, I gazed out of our 5th floor window at the Philly skyline. There lay a sea of lights, floating seemingly miles above the ground.

While I may not love the overwhelming atmosphere of the city as much as I love the elegance of nature’s scenery and soundtrack, there is something mesmerizing about the life-stream of streets that forever echo with the sounds of the citizens that inhabit it. Some people have their birds and crickets, while others have their taxis, and construction crews. The sounds are different, but the equilibrium remains the same.

Regardless of location, I enjoyed my vacation to the fullest. I was in good company, and I look forward to many more trips with her in the future.

-Jake


(Per)Version Of A Truth

Good day, children.

This week, a long and highly anticipated event will take place. Our presidential election in the United States has become a nightmare; a barrage of negative TV ads, wasting not only the time of the people of the states, but their money as well. Generous donations flowed in to fund what most people believed to be a worthwhile cause. Millions of phone calls were placed; pleas for votes, and empty promises were uttered as many devout supporters rallied their troops and tallied wins and losses. This well-oiled machine needs no introduction to the society we live in. We’re all explicitly familiar with the method campaigns take to obtain victory. A slew of pseudo-patriotic, vaguely heartwarming phrases were recycled and coined, all in an effort to try and make headlines, or make bumper stickers. Safe-words were viciously repeated to large audiences, all in a desperate ploy to “relate to the middle class”.

This vain exercise proved to have little impact in our politically desensitized nation; being forced to endure fake smiles while hearing “fix the economy”, “make more jobs”,  “grassroots campaign”,  “support our troops”, “best nation in the world”, and “God bless America”, is a recipe to cause any free-thinking individual to cringe on command. Yes, there will be people out there who label me as a cynical anti-American, which I guess is ironic considering that would be their recycled catchphrase for people they don’t agree with. If you are actually moved to tears by these tasteless one-liners by modern political figures, then there’s a good chance you’re a gullible voter who refuses to think for yourself.

Unfortunately, regardless of what people tell you; your vote DOES NOT count in a significant manner. There will also be vast opposition to that statement, as people flush out the same “it’s your civic duty”, “you can’t complain if you don’t vote”, and “how dare you tell people that” quotes that I’m so weary of reading. If we were to compare “American Idol”, to the American electoral system, you would potentially possess more freedom, and have more of a weighted vote when choosing a fairly decent pop singer, than you would if you were to attempt to elect the “leader of the free world”. You choose which president looks prettier in a picture and on paper. You do not hand them the keys to the city. The electoral college does that, and they’re already bought and paid for according to state demographics that, if you live in most states, won’t budge. You can feel good that you chose to vote and it IS a patriotic gesture, but in the end it’s fairly out of your hands. This is especially true if you’re a voter who tends to look at the real candidates who are caught outside of the limelight of mainstream politics. If you vote for a candidate outside the GOP or DNC, you might as well be asking to be ignored. You’ll also be widely regarded as an “independent voter”, which somehow translates to “I don’t know who I want to vote for. Please bombard me with propaganda so I can choose one of two people I probably won’t care for”. This is an idea that must stop, if our democracy is to survive.

Now, I would normally not be inclined to pick a side on the election. Usually I would be of the neutral mindset that “both campaigns are nothing but fundamentally different perspectives, and should be respected as such”. Unfortunately, I can’t do that this time. I could, and hold on to a sense of neutrality that is more than likely healthy; however, I would be kidding myself. We live in the 21st century; a time that when viewed in reverse from the past is depicted as a flourishing Utopia of technology and life, where people could put aside their differences and advance towards a better tomorrow. This vision did not come true, and our political system is a disgusting rivalry between the party of Eco-conscious, socially acceptable moderates (they aren’t liberal. Regardless of how often it gets repeated, these people haven’t seen a real liberal in 30 years),  and an archaic party of folklore-obsessed plutocrats, all of whom pine away for seats in a broken congress, or executive office. To call this an updated approach to politics would be a cruel joke.

The Democrats, who I would say haven’t really had a hero since Kennedy, are practically voiceless. Because they choose a softer method to their political messages, they are incessantly beaten down by the Republican party, who throughout the late 90′s managed to successfully turn the term “liberal” into a profane word. They are now repeating the process by grasping at the president, who despite constant reports that he is “turning this country into a godless, socialist society that lives for wealth redistribution”, has done nothing even close to this. Amongst these ludicrous stories, are the ones that make the before mentioned tale look almost sane, such as the infamous “Barack Obama is a Kenyan who illegally obtained the presidency”, as well as the story of  “Obama is a Muslim”. These are false tales designed to coerce the most incompetent voters into fear-induced ballot-casting. People left behind by the information age reside in this pocket of the conservative party; safely hidden from facts behind a curtain of pre-cold war rhetoric. I can’t entirely blame them. This is the party of liberty they know of old, and if they haven’t failed them yet, why would they decide to sway their decision now? Tragically, the target audience of the GOP has become those retiring. More so, they have worked tirelessly to ensure that they possess the vast majority of geriatric Caucasian voters. If you think this to be untrue, then the statistics are at your disposal to review.

While I agree that it is not appropriate to judge Mitt Romney as a party member as it is to judge him as a qualified candidate, you cannot divorce him from the party he belongs to. To do so, is to completely ignore some of the ridiculous axioms that the GOP lives by. While I normally would never suggest that one party is superior to the other, I can’t say that without violating all moral inclinations. I would have to be absolutely out of my mind to suggest that a party, that is so torn over the subject of abortion as if it were “only okay sometimes”, and at the same time “completely immoral 100% of the time”, could be reasonable. Amongst the various nations that have accepted evolution as credible, the United States is listed as 32nd on the list. I would point out some of the countries on that list, but quite a few are far below our country’s standard of living, and it would only infuriate conservatives further. The problem with this, is that an uneducated population is easier to control, and more devoutly believes in their “fearless leader” without question. Therein, the link between religion and politicians has to be one and the same, lest the party of “believers” becomes angry and begins a campaign of malice towards someone whom they deem foreign, and inevitably, “the enemy”.

The hypocrisy of this party is also painfully evident in their economic tendencies. The conservative party was recently most famous for Ronald Reagan’s famous “trickle-down” economic policy; a system implemented in the 80′s to combat a recession. The idea was to allow wealthy individuals tax-breaks, as an incentive to invest more of their money into the economy. Unfortunately, despite enthusiasm it was an utter failure. We learned the hard way that millionaires who can afford to take their money anywhere, don’t just invest anywhere. Their money made it into Swiss accounts, and into the places that most people would consider “prime spring-break vacation spots”, which ironically weren’t domestically located. Because of blind adoration for Saint Reagan, the losses incurred by Reaganomics went largely unnoticed. Trickle-down as an idea disappeared for awhile…or so we thought. However he handled his politics though, Reagan was, and is  (for some reason) still loved by many conservatives today. Most of those are misguided, awkwardly inaccurate tales of a man who was an aloof, devout old fellow, who merely wished to help everyone in the country, while at the same time never bow down to our “enemies” by compromise.

Ronald Reagan

What people don’t realize, is that Reagan was none of these things. From the words of his own personally hired biographer, Ron was a secular president, who was portrayed accurately on Saturday Night Live when he was shown as cheery when in the room with others, and while alone an edgy, stern critical thinker, lost in thought that often tormented and depressed him. Reagan also never took the time to care about AIDS in the country, until it struck him as a personal tragedy. When Rock Hudson, the famous actor and close personal friend of Ron died in 1985 due to an AIDS-related illness, Reagan realized all too late what little he had done for those who suffered with it. Much of his thinking regarding this issue changed with Hudson’s demise. Reagan began to consider the difficult lives of the LGBT community, which is a topic that the GOP would never relate to, because their religious tenets play an active role in suppressing the rights and liberties of those people. Does the GOP honestly think Ronald Reagan would be on the band-wagon with them, given the circumstances?

Even on issues of war that conservatives hold in high regard, Reagan held none of their beliefs. As much as I love Kennedy, not even HE considered total nuclear disarmament. Between Reagan and Gorbachev, they nearly accomplished just that. However, due to a roadblock from congress, this was never to pass. Does that sound like a Republican idea? Most importantly, was Reagan’s flip-flop on foreign policy views with the Soviet Union. Had Gorbachev and Reagan not become friends, there might still be a conflict today plaguing the world, if not worse. Reagan’s compromise for peace the with Soviet Union came without bloodshed, and without a single bomb dropped over the USSR. This type of thinking is NOT reflected by modern day Republicans, who believe any and all problems can be solved overseas with an armed forces invasion, and multitudes of large artillery.

I find it hard to believe that Ronald Reagan would’ve ever become a candidate for the party that hates the “Hollywood Media Elite”, given that he was a career long actor turned politician. Do you?

Barack Obama

Although I was hesitant to bring this up, I feel it only necessary to point out the obvious. The Republican party, who does not wish to admit to possessing a blind spot to race and ethnicity, should do just that. A news story released in 2008 regarding the election of Barack Obama asked the question “Are you ready for a black president”? The majority of these individuals, answered “no”. Of course, the station treated this with the utmost neutrality. WHY!? This question, which was outwardly charged to deliver this kind of response, proved that people have a difficult time moving past ethnicity. To state “Oh no, I’m just not ready for a Black man in the White House”, is quite possibly one of the worst cover-ups for blatant racism imaginable. Do I have to point out to people why this doesn’t make sense? I already know I’m going to hear from others that the “media is trying to inflame racial prejudices”, as well as “more black people are racist than white”, but these idiotic statements exist as a straw-man argument, allowing a consistent topic that people attempt to avoid. To evade the issue, is to become part of the problem, and the problem is more than the economy. The problem, is when people are willing to shroud social issues with economic ones. It’s the reason people are willing to call the president a “Kenyan, anti-American Muslim who illegally holds his office, got into Harvard because of affirmative action, and is a socialist”, even though he took his own fucking healthcare plan from THE GUY HE IS RUNNING AGAINST! The issue of racism lives on, regardless of who is willing to admit it. Brushing it aside doesn’t change the reconstruction era, where this exact same thing happened. See the “liberal media link” below if you actually want to learn something.

http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/01/parallels-to-countrys-racist-past-haunt-age-of-obama/?hpt=hp_c1

Lastly, I understand fully that women care about the economy, and jobs. That is not an excuse though, to throw the same women under a steamroller on issues that pertain to them. Somehow, this idea has plagued us lately that wanting to give women the right to decide their own path in matters of women’s healthcare is a “guise to divide the nation”. How? Does someone have an actual argument for this, or is this just one more control that the right is afraid to lose? I know nothing about women’s healthcare besides what my girlfriend tells me, and as I guy I don’t believe I’m anywhere near qualified to decide what women can, and cannot do. I would expect the same of females regarding male healthcare, and I would expect they wouldn’t protest much against it. How is this an issue? How is this still up for debate? Do people honestly think that getting women involved in their own medical field is some sort of conspiracy to throw a veil over the economy? Do people actually think women’s health CAN hide the current state of the economy?

Today is November the 5th. A day for all lovers of freedom and rebellion to rejoice, as we recall the infamous “terrorist” Guy Fawkes. His mission to blow up parliament became popular in recent history with the movie “V For Vendetta”, a brilliant look at what happens when an Ultra-Conservative party takes over, using religion and pseudo-morals to control the mass populace into a fear-induced delirium. It’s also a personal holiday for my gaming legion and I, as we celebrate what it means to be outcasts in our own community. Much like the president, our ideas are not widely accepted. Our views, are “foreign”, and “dangerous”. Many people have been too fearful of social persecution to join our ranks, and because we don’t keep quiet the public is rallied against us.

You can not keep quiet, in an election this big. Whether it’s spreading the word in text, or teaching others dearest to you, idealistic volume matters. Intellectual discussions, and debates matter. Free-thinking is something that a political party inhibits you from doing, because there’s no room for thinking when you have to get in line with red or blue. Think for yourself. This is not the better of two evils. This is the difference between returning to the comfortable past of black and white, and the terrifying world of stepping forward, and showing that grey exists between.

I don’t know how this election will end, but I can say that I at least attempted to make myself heard despite overwhelming opposition. The last thing you want to do is approach election day with an understanding like these people:

Remember, remember
The fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Happy November the fifth, everyone.

-Jake


Nowhere To Go

Long time no see children. I’ve been gone awhile, and I will explain my lengthy absence in detail in my next post.

First however, I’m going to share a story on this most joyous of evenings.
As the cold wind whipped my shoulder-length hair back across my black leather jacket’s collar, I relaxed against the front quarter panel of my 1967 Ford Mustang. My hands in my pockets, refusing to stop fumbling for something to occupy them while I attempted to cloak my nervousness. The door to the awkwardly painted turquoise house stood ajar, with loud, expectantly zealous squeals from multiple young females within. As they began filing out of the door, a large figured emerged from behind the herd. The patriarch of the family, complete with wrinkle-free plaid shirt, as well as over-starched beige dress slacks, stepped out towards the car to intimidate me. With dull, hostile eyes gazing downward at my ensemble of black leather jacket, black jeans, black combat boots, and a Disturbed Tee, it wasn’t difficult to grasp that he did not trust me in the slightest with the lives of two of his daughters, as well as two of their friends in my muscle car. A quick handshake, a second glance into my backseat, and a nod were all I received before he went back inside. Not before he uttered the cliché warning bestowed upon all potential boyfriends by the father of their date.

” You let anything happen to my daughters, this’ll be yer’ last Halloween”.

I climbed into the car, met by the sounds of chattering females filling the cabin. Discussions on trick-or-treat locations, Halloween parties, and church events were spewed out all at once, forcing the girls to continuously raise their volume in order to state their ideas. As I gripped the leather steering-wheel cover tight, I came to the realization quickly that I hadn’t signed up for a date; I had become a chauffeur service.

As I chastised “the stupid, sucker Jake” for once again falling into another ploy at the hands of this young girl and her cult of freshmen vultures, the unanimous voice of the council was heard all at once.

“Let’s go visit Glenda”!!

Normally, I wouldn’t have protested; this “Glenda” lady was the girlfriend of an older sibling to the girl I was attempting to date. She was also incredibly handy, as she would take the annoying chorus off my hands anytime I felt it was the proper moment to regain my sanity. She would be their ride, and it allowed me the freedom I so desired. Glenda was good for me. But not this time. We were coming over unannounced, and Glenda was a busy woman who didn’t do social visitations without a phone call ahead of time, or at least text message of warning. This gave me the grim impression that I would be with these loud children for the remainder of the flight, and I wanted to grab the parachute and bail so bad I could taste it. Visions of an actual enjoyable evening teased me, as I played with thoughts of a movie marathon, cheap scares at a nearby haunted house, or even the thrill of a bit of Hallow’s Eve-inspired vandalism. These delusions were fleeting though, as the giggling sound of the sirens surrounding me reminded me of my current purgatory. Passing a nearby soccer field, I caught a glimpse of a small pond at the edge of the turf, placed almost in Kodak fashion in front of a small viewing area with a white gazebo to complete the portrait. I remember distinctly pondering to myself as I carted the girls down the busy highway street, “wouldn’t that be a prime location to enjoy the evening quietly”?
As I turned the corner, I pulled up slowly to the monumental house. Coincidentally enough, the girls usually picked Glenda’s house for a camping spot as she was reasonably wealthy, sporting a fairly large in-ground pool, as well as a home theater system, pool table, and several other trivial goodies that made it a kid’s wet dream. She was also located in one of these neighborhoods that were “safe”, and by that I mean they had gates, a man patrolling the streets as a form of pseudo-security, and well-lit sidewalks by Victorian-fashioned street lamps. However, undoubtedly the reason these obscenely rich individuals felt most comfortable here, was because this burg was almost completely devoid of black people. It was a relic; a warp that transported only the most vain people into a block of absolute ignorance of the world around them. (But I digress, this story is not about the socioeconomic trends of those with money. I’ll save that for another day.)

While the girls filed into the front door, I was met by the cautious, untrusting gaze of Glenda. Her eyes told me everything I needed to know. She believed I was simply there to inhabit the space of her future sister-in-law, and that my presence was a burden on not only her, but the entire family in which I had become involved with. None of them honestly took too long to classify me; I was simply an invader who wished to do harm to each and every one of them systematically. I was a perfect stranger, and one of whom most of them believed to be completely disposable. As often as I was informed that I was in good hands with them, this unit of the moral majority spent the majority of their time making some pretty immoral prejudgments. As I strolled inside the main foyer of this mansion, stereotypical examples of postmodern art lay strewn over the walls as carelessly as they were created. Nothing but lines, boxes, and polygons as far as I was concerned, and only those who were desperately seeking to seem intellectual sought these works to instill a sense of inferiority in the viewer. Upon reaching the theater room down the hall, I was disappointed to find that not only would I undoubtedly receive no intimacy with the lady I desired, there would also be no opportunity for social interaction with her. The room, packed to the brim with a dozen adolescent females had become a nest of estrogen, craving snacks and slasher films to entertain them into the wee hours of the morning. Knowing I would have no place in this festival, I quietly turned around and headed back towards the front door. As I exited, a sharp stab of hesitation crossed my mind.

“Should I just let Glenda take them off my hands”?

The question rang clear momentarily, until I returned to the age of reason. I didn’t belong here to begin with. The father hated me the same as any other date’s father. The girls disregarded me as just another ride to get somewhere. The lady I was trying so hard to impress, didn’t just play hard to get. She played hard to please, hard to contact, hard to not irritate, and hard to not kill after a night of tolerating her bullshit. I realized then, it wasn’t worth destroying myself over, and they would get a ride home regardless, because rich chick didn’t want to piss off her boyfriend’s parents, because she had been with them so long already she ACTUALLY had something to lose. No. This was my night. These harlots weren’t about to ruin it.

My sanity intact, I quickly jumped into my cherry red mustang and took off down the street, blasting Slayer’s “Ghost of War” so loud that these four-car garage having, Cherub loving, spiteful businessmen and women probably thought that the apocalypse was upon them, and I had the soundtrack. As I sped down the three-lane highway, I caught a glimpse that made me slam on my breaks. The pond with the gazebo lay across the street, beckoning me towards it with welcome arms. I immediately turned onto the small dirt road leading out to the soccer fields. As I pulled my car up to park, I noticed a small blue SUV occupied the lot. The two wayfarers of the vehicle, already sitting on benches under the canopy of the ivory painted gazebo, averted their gaze my direction. The one closest to me was dressed as an air force helicopter pilot, clad in forest green gear, and a backpack as well as a large pair of combat boots ; the other, as Beatrix Kiddo from “Kill Bill”, complete with her Katana and the tribute jumpsuit to Bruce Lee, as well as a blonde wig. As I climbed out of my car and began the stroll up the tiny path to them, the pilot called out to me.

“What’s goin’ on?” she asked as I approached them. I smiled and threw a weak wave in her direction. The second one stretch her neck back from leaning against the railing to get a glimpse at me.

“You weren’t just at Nate’s were you? We kind of left in a hurry,” she stated. “…It was really dull though”.

As I took a seat next to them on the bench, I explained my situation. They both chuckled to themselves as I recounted the disgustingly sterile neighborhood, the protective father, my disdain for playing the role of simply a driver, the room full of t’weens going insane for social acceptance at their tiny meet and greet. As with several times since, a silent current of understanding flowed between us.

“That sucks. I don’t think that’s unheard of though. I am a girl, and that’s pretty much most females I know. Want some Candy?” she responded while tossing a giant bag into my lap. I grinned, and unwrapped a jolly rancher. As we sat by the water’s edge, watching small coy rise to the surface repeatedly, they took turns describing the party they suspected I came from. Rooms of nothing but hilariously intoxicated high school seniors singing horribly at karaoke, as well as spilling loosely laid plates of BBQ over furniture that didn’t belong to them. Much like you’d expect from a party in the Midwest, I can only surmise. They informed me that they only went to enjoy the company of a friend, and left quickly when they realized what a pathetically pointless social occasion they had joined. They were both alone on Halloween, enjoying a single friend’s company and feasting on treats they had earned earlier in the evening.

The crickets sang from the tall grass beyond the well-maintained field, and I sat next to the ladies playing Mudvayne’s “Forget To Remember” on my small pair of iPod speakers. They sang along with me, and we had numerous laughs comparing our friends who didn’t share the same love of metal that we did. For hours, a euphoric sense of relative comfort inhabited the nonexistent walls of this gazebo, providing atmosphere and a soundtrack to the still, black water and the bright stars above. In the end, we came to agree that Halloween was a wonderful holiday, but the rules apply in the same manner as Valentine’s day. You don’t require a special someone to be with on October 31st, but it damn sure helps.

we’ve been brought here for a reason
Be it fate, or internal treason
Souls will be saved,
Or mutiny’s waged,
As we plead for something to believe in

Happy Halloween everyone. It’s good to be back.

-Jake


Vermilion

The golden hue of sunlight can be seen streaming through the stained-glass window at the top of the room.

It’s a rhombus, with tiny intertwined patterns mixing crimson and coral to form a wondrously placed checkerboard on the floor of the chapel. The sound of a voice droning in the foreground does little to interrupt me as I gaze down from the second floor balcony. As people shuffle in and begin to take their seats, familiar faces begin to materialize in the crowd. Those who I sought to escape mingled with those whom I’ve yet to meet; a dreadful hodgepodge of forced social interaction in an asphyxiating, tiny, white room. Couples lumped together in painfully tight clusters, showing off their choices of formal vanity, as well as sharing well-wishes to those they associate with. This terribly heart-wrenching meet and greet, would soon come to a close as the main attractions entered the room.

This sight, a spiteful showcase of lust and impulse; the mere glimpse of black and white husks placed together at the right time to form a symbolic gesture of antipathy and remorse stood out like a torch. From my secluded spot outside of the limelight (literally),  I’m left to ponder my intentions and question my sanity as I sit by playing spectator to a sport of cruelty and deceit. My view, ironically placed in the press box of a show that I’ve yet to classify as either comedy or tragedy; one so obscure that all the cheerful faces of the crowd can’t seem to overwhelm the power of the looming cloud of displeasure floating aimlessly about the room.

As various traditional songs play, a series of objects catch my eye; seemingly mundane in nature, they are strung carelessly around the room in such deliberate fashion that it begs the question if I’ve begun to mesh numerous sites into one multifarious vicinity. A dreadfully crafted charm necklace, upon which a pentagram encircled in iron dangled from a corner of the pulpit. A green “Fender”, left to collect dust in the corner of the room sat upright on a tiny black rubber stand. As I turned down the corridor to the staircase exiting the balcony, a heap of silver tinsel lay unnoticed at the top of the steps. Halfway down, I caught sight of a tiny wooden end table overburdened by the weight of a large, wet cardboard box. Inside, buried beneath a mass of newspaper wrapping, lay multiple fragile articles. A crystal ball, followed by a silver chalice, as well as a large dream catcher were pulled from the box with small paper cards folded into their individual wrappings; this almost ignorable feature undoubtedly a makeshift method of cataloging in order to remember who was to be owed gratitude for their generosity.

Shoving my way into the first available row, I sat in between a portly gentleman, and a young woman with long, sleek, black hair. I knew both of them. After many occasions spent plastering a smile on my face as I humored the gag reels that were their lives, I was now placed in the worst spot possible: between them as they produced nothing but resentful looks of displeased secrecy. They understood completely the laughable nature as to my appearance at this scene, and as they both silently acknowledged my weakness before me, I struggled with the idea of resorting to my volume for a sense of superiority I did not possess. As eyes of more unhappy attendees averted towards me, it became all too clear that I was the odd man out. This isolation, perhaps warranted under the grounds of such blatant hostility I shared with them, brought no consolation as I attempted to retain a cool exterior in the face of what I considered a belligerent environment. As I scanned the faces, I was met by the newly formed adult face of one I once knew in their innocence. His look, such a distressing gaze of utter disappointment tugged at my guilt as I choked back words and timidly dared a wave in his direction.

The chime of a bell gave way to the entire congregation standing. As celebratory tears were shed, and jovial glances were exchanged, the black suited clone began walking down the aisle, shaking hands with easily recognizable individuals, and patting others on the shoulder in brotherly fashion. While the crowd chattered to itself, I sat in quiet abhorrence; my mistakes painfully evident to me as I realized I betrayed not only myself with this visit, but everything I stand for. It wasn’t a sense of smug distinction that I held in regards to myself. This was my retaliation against my obsequity I’ve shown towards outward malice. Despite my efforts to be civil, this would become a lost cause in my book of attempts to try a cloak of compassion. As the black suited man passed by me, a look of sheer contempt modified his previously ecstatic visage. This glimpse, only seconds in real-time stood ever still like a portrait of dissonance. Gazing at me with cold hazel eyes, he knew all at once no such peaceful interaction would be possible. As he returned to the podium, a tranquil sea of eagerly awaiting acquaintances all turned their attention to the large ivory double doors at the back of the room.

As the white shrouded shell entered the room, the tears of those around me who felt a personal connection began to irritate me further. It was my cue to exit, and I dared not wait a second longer to see the end of this passion play. Gliding slowly up to the front, she slowed to a crawl at the last few steps. This ploy, vainly designed to draw some form of aesthetically pleasing tone to the room, carried the hope that it would seem like less of a pseudo-fantasy that it was. I began pushing hard against people in the pew I was seated next to. An exit from this horror was what I craved, and it seemed that the more I struggled, the quicker I made the scene speed up. As I exited the row, amidst a line of fairly annoyed people I couldn’t help but mutter lyrics of remotely comforting verses in order to ease my suffering. As I began to hasten to the double doors at the back, the line “I won’t let this build up inside of me” incessantly reverberated in my mind. These words, although rather meaningless in the ears of most, brought me solace in a time when desperation grasped my throat.

My arms outstretched, I began to press both doors open at once to allow my escape. With almost convenient timing, the doors ceased their swing mid-push; an unfortunate roadblock that brought me to the face of cruelty. I turned around slowly; my black trench coat outlining my form in all of its flawed shame, bringing the mass of people within the room to a speechless affirmation of my existence. All at once, I was met by a stunning panorama of scornful looks, all of whom recognized my departure as a gesture of cowardice. As the preacher closed his book up front, a concerned expression crossed his face. Directly in front, the black suit and the white husk gazed my direction in unison. The distressed look on his face, signaling his disapproval of my interruption was enough to send him into a flurry of profanities. As the white figurine of porcelain raised her veil, two tearful blue eyes stared longingly into mine. As she embraced her partner, a remorseful fixation sent a chill down my arm. With a lump of lead in my throat, I opened my mouth to speak to the congregation. Then I woke up.
As I leaned up in my bed once more, a sigh of relief escaped my mouth. My eyes still adjusting to the light, I placed them into my palms momentarily to avoid any unnecessary visual discomfort. What caused this? Why have my dreams once again turned to personal attacks on my own insecurities? Why am I able to embrace sorrow so often unconsciously, and why must I do so voiceless, filled only with despair?

She isn’t real.
I can’t make her real.
She isn’t real.
I can’t make her real.

-Jake


Of All These Yesterdays

Burned into my mind’s eye upon every return trip, a residual image lingers over footsteps retraced.

Few malls retain such a pointless shape to them. This one, is almost carelessly molded into a square, ushering any consumers with too much time into a void of shops, stretching endlessly around into a four-sided labyrinth of lights and sound. Long, strips of carpet are pulled almost angrily at the walls, until all that is left is a confounded heap of material; wrought with patches of discoloration from the  constant buzzing of security on a segway. Seemingly since the dawn of time, a disgusting azure shade has complimented the messy floor design, peppered with particles of peach, lime, and fuchsia; all of which tend to give the same impression that the interior decorator of the mall was either colorblind, or tasteless. However, for all of its faults and disorderly appearance, it invokes a sort of pathos in me; this attachment to a horrible myriad of color and dust that makes me cling to early days of my childhood and adolescence.

Depictions of christmas lights, tinsel, and swarms of crowds fill my mind as I remember this mall was how far my father and I once traveled to purchase perfume for my mother during the holidays. The rush, and almost unfailing procrastination that only father can portray are crystal clear in my mind as he hands me a small, crumpled paper list of items my mother desires. While I don’t understand the relevance of such items of vanity, I can only surmise my mother will welcome my choice with beaming expression and her unforgettable chuckle. My innocence of childhood can always revive my memories of trailing mere steps behind my parents, like a duckling who wishes only to not be left behind in this cruel, heartless world of tall people and long faces.

Beads of sweat begin to form on my brow, as I climb out of my SUV. With food in hand, I make my way up to the garage door. As I gaze back towards the street, my eyes scan down to the opposite end of our lane. Distinguishing lines of blatant heat waves form freely in the air, hovering feet off the ground over a poorly laid concrete driveway. My mind travels once more, and places me within the confines of an itchy red suit.

This suit, packed to the brim with sequins, buttons, and zippers, hinders not only my movement but my ability to breathe free air as I’m obligated to endure the stench of ten years of marching band members, all of whom reside in the suit like a bodily fluid sarcophagus, trapping only the most putrid odors as a punishment to the current wearer. This straitjacket, a bondage of choice that I’ve compelled myself to embrace as I pine for scholarly excellence, is one of many factors that chain my enthusiasm firmly to the foundation of sanity. This ridiculous, flamboyant uniform, conveys not only the frugality of my band directors, but summarizes the comprehensive attitude of my school district’s confidence in our band’s ability to succeed. While girls in my instrument section fight an incessant battle for meaningless chairs and favoritism of individual directors, I avoid the entire display of trench warfare. My silence, regarded as insubordination and a lackluster disposition ensure only that I will remain at the back of the pack. In this struggle for nothing at all, I truly am the “last man alive” in a sea of arrogant estrogen, whose tragedy is rivaled only by the irony; that being the title of zero credibility in a school where electives matter little.

As I drive northbound, towards my home and my final destination I gaze out my window. With a cool night breeze billowing through my tangled hair, I stare at the long, poorly laid asphalt surface of my high school’s massive parking lot. Being the grave site of many of my memories, a broad slide show of years surges through, filling me with a nostalgia for ages past. Reflections of driving lessons, to marching practice, to bike rides, all of which took place so close to home. In retrospect, this lifeless wasteland of concrete and white lines carried so much of my past that it was possible to possess its own pool of relevance in my heart.

Leaning back against the shoddy car-seat covers of my friend’s tiny Mazda, I unscrewed the cap of my soda and took another swig. Exhausted, and sides aching from constant laughter, I grinned at my friend in the driver’s seat. His face, a look of satisfied comfort stood shining in the reflection from his rear-view mirror. Both of our girlfriends were resting in the backseat, as we reached this point of tranquility; a silent concurrence that our recreational trip for Halloween was an example of “the good life” we so desired. Awesome times with close friends, this road journey we returned from marked a milestone in our trekking far from home. As almost innumerable pairs of headlights passed by like comets, we enjoyed nearly an hour of uninterrupted peace, where our thoughts and our company formed an everlasting connection of solace between us. While fun, and pointless from what I understand now; this act stood as a precursor to something I can only share with the one I love now. Perpetual calm, a force that remains customary in my relationship, is of the same comforting sense as sitting quietly in my friend’s car so many years ago. She brings with her, the joys of my past; a distinct happiness I have long considered lost. As I return my attention to the road, the parking lot shrinks in the distance, as does my fond recollection.

I sit with my face buried in my palms. This smooth, yet horribly uncomfortable wooden surface urging me to move out of the room, to leave this scene of nightmarish finality. I lean back in the pew while straightening my jacket. This unnerving, pastel room taunts me as a symbol of all things I’ve come to peg as hypocritical, immoral, and useless. This chapel serves no purpose, and the comfort it brings to these family members surrounding me is fleeting. An uneasy pause as people begin to rise sends an unwanted, clutching fear of reality that my grandfather is beyond my reach. His passing, one more depressing portrait to paint over the canvas; an already abysmal collage filled with dead family members, scenes of discrimination, and intolerance to everything that its tenets accepts. Revived depictions of old, cruel ladies giving me smug looks in my infancy, all the way up to clubs in school, all of whom held a pseudo-moral of exclusivity about their social interaction, as if you were a lesser being for believing in what they would deem a lesser faith. A political party who views people such as myself as radicals, and friends whom have been shunned for their honesty in revealing their beliefs to their so-called families. An entire paradigm of hypocrisy outlined by lunacy, I was compelled to allow as acceptable throughout my childhood; never again will I allow this same treacherous thought to plague me again. I exit the main lobby of the chapel, striding quickly out to the parking lot. My nerves at ease, I breathe deep the smell of moisture as raindrops cascade down over the canopy of the front drive. Nature, more comforting than the finest sanctuary devoted to worship, will forever remind me as an escape from the prison in which free thought suffocates in.

My memories, etched heavily into me like calligraphy in sand, remind me of the road I’ve taken up to this point. They give me peace of mind; allowing me to reflect on not only my mistakes and actions of the past, but present me with a beacon emanating hope for my future. My memories reveal to me that I’ve learned so much in such a small fraction of time that I’ve been alive; an inspiring collection of knowledge and errors that represent the epoch of my ambiguous existence.

Picture I took myself 4 years ago over an Austin skyline >:D

-Jake


Ordinary Story

I will beg the forgiveness of my readers now; the reason being is that what will follow is a tirade of seemingly arrogant, melodramatic complaints and grievances designed to help me cope with the fact that I’m bound to my own ambitions, and regardless of what popularity contest I could potentially win by abandoning these principles, I’m far too driven in a crusade for literary quality to surrender my dignity to the vanity in turning one’s blog page into an advertisement for the anti-intellectual.

The reason my introduction is such an astoundingly contemptuous show of disapproval, is partially due to my inability to grasp how the masses of the internet cling to the most disgustingly vulgar, poorly constructed, narcissistic, blatantly idiotic subjects and topics that make their way onto their page. I’m absolutely serious. This is not a “Fox Mulder” inspired rant designed to open the eyes of others to the sad truth about our future if we continue down a certain path. This is a desperate plea for someone out there to fill me in on why it is that those of us out there who toil endlessly on our blogs are pitched to the garbage in favor of topics and images that make me contemplate the finer aspects of the “hairpin evolution theory”. I’m not even referring to the myriad of spam messages that are propaganda from political machines designed simply to sway one direction or another by constantly turning the opposite party’s ideology into profanity. That, I’ve become quite comfortable with understanding that it won’t go away; the stones are placed and there is no moving them with two gigantic swarms of blue and red who are arguably involved simply because of the social status, rather than the impression that they truly believe what it is they stand behind. All of this, while ironically more than likely a story worth looking at, still comes across as garbage. No, there is a threat far worse to the human brain, and politics unfortunately pale to this collective heap of utterly mind-numbing refuse.

LOLcats, meme generator sites, horoscope pages that give you 500 different views of the same sign on the same day, any social networking page from a celebrity or sports player, Kickstarter, mass spam .gif webpages,  every single nude streaming site on the planet, lists of the top 10 anything, reading anyone’s facebook/twitter/myspace page who posts every single disgusting event of their mundane lives, millions of “cute baby picture” photobombs, create your own barcode pages, beard rating sites, abstract art generators, scrabble word finders, webpages dedicated to tweaking the same workout routines, any deviantart page who copies and pastes images they like, half of reddit, the doomsday clock webpage, sites for the same download link to the same “pacific island” screen saver, soundboards, the same idiotic “the rapture is coming so save yourself by visiting this webpage” link that I can google right now and find 500 of, gold buying websites for web-based games, online casinos, BidForSurgery.com, webpages for coupons that appear in sunday papers, dancing baby sites, anything rick-roll, the obscenely disorganized mess of any Tumblr page, and 90% of YouTube.

This list alone is reason enough to give up the internet. However, the horrible reality of all of this is that the millions of people online tend to only respond to bland, tasteless bullshit such as the wall of filth I’ve listed above. The other day, I was combing blogs to find something interesting to read, and when I run out of the people I’m currently following, I decide to scour other pages on WordPress. One of these, was an absolute atrocity. Out of respect for them, I won’t name it. (also because I don’t really wish for them to get more views than they already do) Although, I can tell you this person has been around only a few months, and has managed to obtain their entire following by making every single post a horrific barrage of sex, violence, and overtly vulgar imagery. Of course, I wouldn’t dare to claim it is “taboo terrirtory” by any means. I welcome anything that pushes the envelope in terms of philosophical thinking. This page, was nothing but an example of how to pander to every senseless person on the web who has ever felt alpha male symbolism is the only thing that should matter on a site. Female frontal nudity, repetitive clips of automatic weapons firing, numerous videos of cheaply modified custom cars running drag races and drifting, and constant viral images of people so drunk that they didn’t know a picture was taken of them at all.

Now, commonly these are the things that one would see in an irritating spam e-mail designed to get you to buy some idiotic product, or some vain cosmetic item. To exhibit such ridiculous gimmicks simply from another WordPress page is not only insulting to the integrity of other writers on this site, but for them to have this many followers and viewers tuning back in to see how much lower they can go all but devalues what it means to be recognized for one’s work. Before someone states it; YES, I am fully aware that this is America and they are free to post whatever they want to on their page, as it is their prerogative. However, that doesn’t always mean they should. This page wasn’t merely an example of how “not to make your blog look”; this WordPress page was a deliberate act of sabotage to one’s credibility. The shallow, morally bankrupt topics placed on the site were a complete how-to guide on how to look as if you had abandoned ethical thinking and reason. It doesn’t require discipline, and there is nothing to be taken away from it. As far as I can tell, this blog was simply a landfill for this person to place fruitless thoughts that took too damn long to state in conversation. Their message challenged no one to think; to question things about themselves they might not consider otherwise. For a writer who takes long periods of time to plan a structure to their work, and then executes it with a sense of resolve unparalleled by their peers, it was like watching a slow-motion suicide take place where creative thinking potentially could have. In the process, this fool has not only stripped away possible witnesses to a decent blogger’s page; for people who look to blogging as another branch of journalism, they’ve brought to life the notion that literary prowess has taken a dive.

I can see that people will not take me seriously regarding the apparent hostile reaction I’ve made clear in this post. They’ll discard my warning, and perhaps they should. Perhaps I’m once again over-analyzing an isolated incident that should be left to stagnate. Maybe I should turn my blog page into exactly what it is I loathe the most.

Hey, all of you out there! Listen up! From now on, take 15 minutes to write your entires on your blog. Forget the use of a limitless vocabulary! Describe all things in words of three syllables or less. Make sentence fragments. Or make run-on sentences that stretch on forever and ever and ever without use of punctuation and completely ignore all fundamental rules of grammar and typography. USE CAPITALS ALL THE TIME BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE TO READ LARGE BOLD TEXT AND USE IMAGES THAT CATCH THEIR ATTENTION BUT DON’T ACTUALLY ADD ANYTHING TO YOUR ORIGINAL POST! DON’T FORGET TO GET YOUR FRIENDS INVOLVED SO THAT YOU CAN SPREAD THE WORD ON EVERY SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE AND MEDIA OUTLET THAT YOU ARE AWESOME AND SHOULD BE LOOKED AT BECAUSE YOU HAVE EVERY SINGLE THING THAT PEOPLE WANT TO SEE AND HEAR BUT NOT EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO.

FUCK YOUR IDEALISM! IT’S TIME TO WHORE YOURSELVES OUT TO A WORLD OF TRENDY, MEDIA-BASED IMAGERY AND POPULARITY TOPICS DESIGNED TO SCRAPE HITS OFF THE FLOOR! YOUR CONVICTIONS MIGHT BE DEAD AND BURIED, BUT YOUR BLOG IS FUCKIN’ ALIVE, BABY!

-Jake


Her Silent Language

Seldom is there a worse issue in a relationship than the inability to communicate with one another.

I’m probably one of the more qualified people to speak on this topic, regrettably. Spending roughly four years in the midst of someone who refused to throw out even the slightest indication of what was amiss led to an eventual breakdown in the bond between us, and I’d like to think that it was the silence that ensured it would never be pieced back together. Countless times I sat with a smile plastered on my face, completely ignorant of the hostility being aimed precisely at me, out of the misguided notion that I should somehow just “get it”, when I had yet to understand that there was a complication. It was an idiotic assumption on her part, and to believe that people function simply on an unconscious level of omnipotence is not only hazardous to the future of a couple, but should be considered sabotage of social interaction.

It’s not an easy feat; surviving a fight with your significant other, only to try to go on living as if the altercation never occurred in the first place. It’s something that tends to drive couples apart, as a fear sets in that “if it has happened once, it’ll happen again. I don’t want to go through it”. Unfortunately, as close to a prophecy as this statement is, if you’re constantly afraid of your life imminently approaching the event horizon of a spat, then you probably aren’t fit to be involved in a committed relationship in the first place. Secondly, one should be able to have a mature argument with their counterpart, as the ability to disagree and compromise is an important aspect in the foundation for a successful affinity. If one is unfailingly dodging issues out of the dread of confronting their partner, I can only imagine the eventual explosion that will come of bottling a myriad of serious complaints and issues up inside for a long stretch of time.

Three years into my previous relationship, it became evident to me that more often than not my partner and I were becoming needlessly engaged in a series of volume-challenging disputes. This was in part because I was incredibly insecure with myself, and took to incessantly asking her “what’s wrong” every moment a grimace crossed her face. However, the blame could be placed on her as well for containing issues she had for weeks, until she finally had a nervous breakdown in front of me. Before this point, the only answers she could be bothered to confer were “I’m fine”, and “nothing is wrong”, in such a blatantly deceptive manner that it made me question the issue more consistently, rather than reassure me.

Many a night was spent yelling meaningless apologies back and forth as we attempted to decide where to place the blame, only to eventually come to the pointlessly executed bi-partisan decision to cease the discussion of the problem altogether, killing any opportunity to solve our dilemma. What followed were extended periods of unnecessary sulking, where solemn glances were exchanged as we tried to figure out how exasperated we were with one another, while ironically never coming close to uttering the questions themselves out of a fear of retaliation. This seemingly endless period of time became almost ritualistic, as we both took comfort that while we weren’t saying anything to each other negatively, we also weren’t saying a damn thing at all. In retrospect, I regret not using the spine I have worked so hard to obtain simply because I didn’t want to see the tears of a girl begin to flow at my overt display of insensitivity towards the fragility of our current standing. It shouldn’t have mattered, and I should have stopped living in a sterilized box, sheltering both her and I from the fallout of our cold war.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen numerous examples of how this issue has come into play. Too many of my co-workers, acquaintances, and even family have a notorious habit of believing that if they somehow refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem, that suddenly there will cease to be one. This hasn’t been the case, as break-up and divorce have taken the place of uneasy comfort and frustrated resentment. Their ridiculous refusals to meet at the center to engage their partners actively brought upon the deaths of their bond, and with that came postmortem grudge-matches, designed merely for the vanity of placing useless blame in order to clear their own consciences. Even after my own failure, the advice I would presume to give others was swiftly tossed out, in favor of picking up another stone to throw at the image of their recently beloved. The damage caused by new-age couples trying to distance themselves from their companionship’s controversies are NOT irreparable; they only enter that realm when people refuse to remember why it is they care for that person in the first place, and abandon them in favor of something not so difficult.

Regardless of how you feel for advice on the internet, (as it is a rarity to find worthwhile guidance online) allow this to be a fair piece of well-informed instruction on the subject.

Don’t ever be afraid to engage your partner in active debate over issues. Nevermind the mentality that there are just “some subjects that shouldn’t be brought up”. Throw that away. Everything between your significant other should be on the table. That’s what they’re there for, and if you can’t discuss these things with them, perhaps you should reevaluate the connection that you possess with that person. There should be absolute trust, as well as complete comfort in the fact that both of you are there to make it work, no matter how demanding or overburdening the struggle to get there might be. Don’t bother with hints either. People DO NOT take hints, despite what you’ve been told, and this is a path to suicide that you don’t want to follow. The only effective way to deal with a disagreement is directly, and if you believe this to be false then you can speak with the hundreds of thousands of people living near you alone because of their use of discretion in dealing with their partners.  If you truly mean it, then don’t hold back simply because tears will be shed and psyches may be injured. The damage you’ll incur is more of a crippling affliction than any small argument will ever be, and refusing to face your problems today will ensure that they come back to haunt you later. You may not notice it at first, or even weeks down the line. Then you’ll become who I was three years ago. Pathetic, spineless, stagnant, and wondering if your condition will ever improve as you both are so close, and yet so far apart simultaneously; personifying cornerstones of the same building, doomed never to see each other as the duo you both are.

If you love your partner, your silence should be the last thing you offer them.

Eyes far into the distance
A life that does not connect
Time played well its part
On the strings that bind us

Encounters in silence
Words elude the freeing night
Wish I could fathom
What is too hard to tell

Her head hangs low
In the silence of her room
Her head hangs low
She takes a bite out of her heart

Have you come here to warn me
Of what I cannot see
You want to tell me something
But you do not have the words

-Jake


What does it take (to be a man)

If there is anything that I don’t have a finite supply of currently, it’s the list of expectations that I have. Over the course of roughly five years, I’ve turned from maturing adult into gigantic disappoint to my parental figures. Undoubtedly, this sounds like the rant of an angst-ridden adolescent, pining away for a chance at rebellion and exonerating myself from any and all obligations I might have as a contributing member of society. Oh, there’s nothing further from the truth.

I’ve been out of work for a relatively long time. I won’t bother to defend myself, as I left on my own terms. I became tired of dealing with my self-righteous manager and practically forced myself out the door; happily walking away from a job that caused me severe depression consecutive days out of the week, but made me reconsider if there truly is a such thing as being happy in life when all you’re forced to deal with are miserable people who treat you as if you’re garbage out of what almost seems to be a necessity to their daily grind. I don’t believe I even regret my actions. I worked hard at that horrible job, and tolerated every bit of punishment by people who were willing to tread on someone who wasn’t willing to fight back. I did this dishonestly, in retrospect. I believed somehow that the role of the kiss-ass served me better than in my first stretch of employment where I was over-enthusiastic towards most everything. Being nice in a job, and being empathetic towards everyone are two different things; two that I’m now aware are equally as crippling to your personal image as any negative characteristics.

However, I couldn’t have chosen a worse time to lose my job. The recession hit its disgusting chasm in the summer of my termination. With unemployment rising swiftly, the window of opportunity to grab a job on the rebound shut quickly, and I was trapped in the current purgatory of endless applications and inevitable silence. Looking at every link online,  and at every paper offline, the amount of headlines reading “Why has no one contacted me” piled up as I tried every single hot-tip and useful pointer imaginable to try and get my foot in the door. It mattered little, as everything that receive any attention at all was met by courteous disinterest. It seems as if I find myself in a minority of the chronically disregarded.

This issue however, is met more often than not with skepticism by my parents who mistake my lack of interested employers for a sign that I’m making no effort to seek work. Undoubtedly, there are many of you out there who have encountered this same reaction from others you might know as well. It’s a frustrating, and awkward position to be in, and to hear the commonly phrased argument that “Oh, it’s not that hard”, is the most insulting quote ever to my intelligence. Even with years of experience in retail, I’ve yet to be picked up by even some of the largest franchises in the nation, and to know that I’m missing out on a job that ditzy, bimbo-t’weens get yanked out of thin air for, is not only irritating, but disheartening. This is why, the more I hear these motivational speeches from my parents about how I’m not trying hard enough, it makes me question whether or not they still have a frame of reference that is functional, or if they’re doing it simply because they feel they have to.

The same information being submitted on the exact same lines dozens of times, including pedigree info regarding my work experience, as well as countless lists of “professional” references that have assured me of their confidence of a positive review if called. There is only so much I can control on my end. Even with follow-up calls, which I am forced to hear as so-called helpful advice every single time a new story pops up on ABC news about how to “get work in this economy”. What I don’t believe people realize is that watching the news and paying attention to spots that divulge “tricks of the trade” are watched by the same millions of people across the country who watch it every day, and by the time that story is released that helpful advice becomes practically irrelevant. The people who were desperately seeking work before use these tips along with the same morons who actually ARE barely trying, and they’re once again forced into the same lump of job searchers who hand off their applications and résumés to managers who are “taking applications”, which is the same as saying “Here! You throw this away”. It also doesn’t help that whenever a study is placed regarding the best ways to acquire jobs, they commonly are in the field of corporate work, and are attempting to communicate to people who are working hard to throw on the suit and force their way into a position where the salary is going to keep them as well as multiple other people afloat. The media isn’t going to waste a minute trying to help people looking to find entry-level positions at companies because that’s off their charts for “the big picture”.

The reason this became a topic is not because of fact that it is severely interesting. No, in all honesty this isn’t interesting at all. Now, one could definitely call it tragic, and I’d be inclined to agree. Even “pathetically scarce” would be a good term to describe the current wasteland of job searching. The reason this topic exists currently, is because of the sad petty way that every time I decide to open mouth, my situation becomes a form of ammunition against me. Suddenly, a personal attack becomes the easiest way for the “adults” to try to pry their way in, because suddenly I stop being a young adult, and start becoming a parasite. Someone who is purely leaching currency and precious resources away from the hive, and I must be badgered by this incessantly. Unfailingly, I have to listen to the same mindless guilt-trip that I have somehow done nothing but cause grief for everyone around me, and that I’m a burden for a poor soul to bear. I’m tired of hearing this, and for anyone who has my read my blog in the past, they would know I throw great passion into my writing, as well as any work that requires my skills to be put to use. I am sick of being patronized by authority figures who figure condescension is the easiest way to make themselves feel as if they somehow are more of a human because of what insignificant change they contribute to society. I’m fucking tired of being bullied by people who are supposedly there to support you even when things seem the most disparaging.

Just because I haven’t given up on my dreams and goals, doesn’t mean I’ve given up on being realistic in my search for work. I am trying. You just refuse to see it.

-Jake


When

Greetings children. It has been a dreadfully long time since I’ve shifted my focus towards the “Add New Post” button here. I can only apologize for my absence, as I’ve been a busy man.

With plans of moving, plans for new jobs, and plans for trying to move into the dimension of an independent adult trying to pick up table scraps to survive, it’s baffling at how fast time can move. However, the more I write by way of pen on paper, and for the practical purpose of attempting to make a living I might add; one would think that eventually the sparks of creativity would move off the page and into the minds of the masses of readers actively engaged in seeking new, and original material to add to their vast libraries. (I’m kidding, I know the current generation holds an incredible disregard for any such appreciation of the necessity of being literate)

All comedy aside, the point I’m trying to navigate to is simple. In fact, it’s so much so that it is quite possibly the most common question plaguing the majority of aspiring writers today. Any artist in fact, could be haunted by the thought. It’s a roadblock in the mind of the intellectual, and remains a constant threat to future productivity.

“When will people acknowledge my work”?

The grim, almost tragic reality of this question is enough to dishearten anyone reaching for the stars. The truth is, there is a slim to none chance that I as a writer will ever be recognized by anyone on the streets of my city. There is an even less likely chance that anyone will ever come to know me by a title of my work, or know distinguishing aspects of my writing that bring to light what sort of morally acceptable person I may or may not be. Recently, David McCullough Jr. received quite a bit of attention for giving a commencement speech for high school graduates that detailed to the class of 2012 exactly what needed to be said. Unfortunately, the mass populace regarded the story precisely how one would predict them to: with much praise, as well as a slight degree of shock that he said exactly what was on the mind of everyone around him. The thought was not original, nor was it necessarily bold in my opinion. In the eyes of someone significantly younger and less experienced in the world than himself, that was merely an ideal that I felt he was obligated as an educator to share with them. In a world of carefree, hypersensitive idealists who want to start a civil revolution every time someone screws up their order at Starbucks, Mr. McCullough’s thought was a refreshing look at the petri dish of an age we live in.

It’s difficult trying to be a writer in the age of digital information. I can only describe it as being a toy in a claw machine, where all of the prizes look the same and are all forced to occupy the space of the large transparent case, with the most cruel joke being that you just so happen to be buried at the bottom beneath every other toy. While this may be a hilarious analogy, I also believe it to be amusingly accurate.

The average blogger is not only competing with other bloggers anymore. They’re now competing with the regular cast of every blog site imaginable, tumblr users, reddit randoms, facebook addicts, Twitter celebrities (who link to everything else on the planet), any “opinion” titled article on any individual major media site, and dare I say every single person on YouTube who dictates to the world in their 45 second long video that they’re a “vlogger”. Needless to say, it’s not easy for the average person wielding the power of the pen to keep up with the ever demanding need for fresh thinking, not to mention the difficulty of keeping the attention of every single person on the planet who has ever gone on a two-hour long spree of looking at nothing but ridiculous pictures of “cute kittens” in a single google search.

Pumping out worthwhile material in a thought-provoking, let alone “thought-puncturing” standard that I try to shoot for consistently is incredibly tedious, not to mention requires either the stimulation of something that has recently irritated me, or has been so grave of a matter that it has forced me into a state of perpetual concentration on a single issue for hours at a time. Any writer whose fingers have felt like liquid after many hours of furiously typing will know that once you start on a subject that has pierced your passion and is now dragging you along for the ride, is impossible to quit once you have started and until you feel that you’ve beaten the point to death with a blunt object, you won’t cease your tirade of truth. It’s that wonderful blazing vision that gives wings to your ideas and allows you that instantly gratifying feeling of accomplishment. That same feeling is that which propels you into a euphoric mindset of wanting to tell others; the notion that you wish to divulge to the world your mindset regardless of consequence or reaction. It’s a profound feeling, knowing that what you’re saying could potentially have an impact on someone else, but when stacked against the rest of the internet, let alone the volumes upon volumes of philosophers who have already laid their mark on the Earth, it can discourage even the most empowered artist.

That’s why, while I may feel more often than not that I am a voice of reason to those who have strayed too far from the realm of possibility, the truth is that I’m just as lost in the void of hopeless idealism that many others reside in. I strive incessantly to find a purpose through my writings, and while I may never have a fan base, cult following, or even the cleverly misleading “15 minutes of fame” that so many people crave, I can rest assured in the fact that I’ve made a valiant effort to try to reach those heights.

I am a writer because I have to. I am not a writer for fame, or financial security, or even in the vain hopes that some publishing company will stumble across my page and grant me all the freedom I need to spread my “word” to the masses. I use my pen (or keyboard, I should say) to communicate words that would otherwise go unnoticed in the world around me. I enjoy every word that I type up, because I know it’s an activity that I never have to regret afterwards. I will never look at this as a waste of time, or simply conceal later to hold what’s left of my reputation intact. This is who I am, and to those who are familiar with me, my most unsettling thoughts don’t cause them to flinch anymore. They’ve abandoned all ideas of taboo or censorship when speaking to me, as they understand that any thought with purpose should never be met with hostility or contempt.

For those of you writers out there who grasp the point I’ve made here, spread the word. It doesn’t matter that you’re just another keyboard pounding, pen draining, microphone destroying individual. What does matter is that you’re still doing it. You’re doing it for yourself, in whatever fashion that pleases you. Anyone who has witnessed me write can tell you I’m a head-banging, obnoxiously singing, heavy metal adoring wordsmith, and to take that away from me would kill who I am as a person, which is more than the celebration of my work by the masses could ever give back.

Ladies and gentlemen, keep that pen moving.

-Jake


Shogun

You never think you have the will to hand off the scepter, but somehow after seven years it seems like the weight of it has finally brought down the arm holding it.

I’ve been the leader of The Sic gaming community since its inception, and regardless of how much torment I’ve been put through, a few lessons have made their way through the miasma of conflict. I’ve come to realize there are the same lines keeping people apart online as there are in a real-world social setting. They’re just titled different, and carry a different emphasis based on the realm you frequent. There are rules, that when broken shock people into disbelief. These people are so fragile already, then when they are met by a rule-breaker they instantly presume the person to be of the worst moral standard, and disregard any and all thoughts and musings from that person from that moment onward. The shroud of anonymity plays an integral part of any person’s online life, and they will use it to their advantage to let loose a tirade of online credentials that they can neither substantiate nor support, to prove the most trivial of points. There are those online whose only job is to create a sense of apathy about them, and wallow in self-pity while collecting the favor and trust of relatively compassionate people. These people play the martyr at every chance possible, and will use it to manipulate the will of those who have already handed over their trust, using a vicegrip on their moral inclinations. There are those who attach themselves to a certain individual or unit, with the full intention of becoming a parasite to their host’s ambitions. These people excel at riding their way to the top, and because of this are fated to be as human as any backpack. There are those who maintain a constant air of overconfidence; this foul superiority complex driving them to belittle and condescend to all those who they don’t recognize as peers. Then there are those who make it a goal to never appear. Their entire persona is based on living in the limelight of those around them, and observing from the shadows in silence. The harsh lesson which has brought me here today though, is that of loyalty. I’ve learned that no matter how many times someone reassures you of their undying dedication to a group or you as a person, their resolve is more often than not a disgusting facade for the hope of temporary association and cooperation.

It is that very notion that has brought me here today. I opened this gaming community upon my entrance into high school, out of what I presumed was a sense of revenge against those who felt better than others. I created a safe haven for those who were trampled on repeatedly, and with it a new responsibility to ensure that the hardships they endured in their lives would never follow them into their hobby of gaming. This home for the meek was an inspirational source of teamwork and ambitious ingenuity that conquered seemingly every challenge that was placed before us. We watched with grins as those who had originally denied us our desires were swept violently to the side. They became nothing more than speed bumps, and as we rolled over them in waves of relentless hostility, we forced our way through the crumbling walls placed by those before us.

Although I viewed it as a long-lasting endeavor for myself, I never truly viewed the scene of chaos I had created in a panoramic sense. I had tunnel vision, and year after year I saw it as something I had to continuously shove forward myself. I preached ideas of self-sufficiency, and handed my crew the tools they required to trudge forward to victory. However, the next day I was right back on the battlefield, abandoning all prior plans for a chance at being there for the next round of trench warfare. When I did step away, it always seemed as if things never were quite taken care of in my absence. I always returned to a showcase of negligence; a sobering sight that made me believe that not only were the people running the show truly unprepared to take the wheel, but that I had somehow failed them and not given them enough resources or guidance necessary to keep the ship afloat in icy waters.

It was for this reason, that I tethered myself to the wheel and kept a steady eye ahead. It wasn’t enough however, as the more I shoved the admin crew to take charge, the more they came to resent me. I realized with bleak clarity that not only had I entrusted the future of the group to the wrong people, but I had done it out of a sappy, ridiculous sense of idealistic aspiration for them to all want to achieve as much as I did. These people experienced less than lackluster emotions towards fueling our cause, and were more concerned about self-serving goals than actually promoting progression in our clan as a whole. These people, when chastised for their lack of concern for our group became disloyal, and in time lashed out with the only thing they were skilled at doing. They mutinied, and because of their manipulative prowess took multiple people with them. These people, out of their contempt for me siphoned anyone who they could coax, or coerce to their team. There was no righteous cause, or just reason. Their motives relied strictly on the basis of wishing to not be held responsible for any action anymore, and their hope of placing the blame solely on me succeeded, as they held their passion play weekly to produce a sphere of hatred aimed at the person who just wanted them to act as if they gave a fuck. In the end, their ability to deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate allowed them to escape whatever prison they felt they were in, and suck the life out of a group that they were completely ungrateful to. I hold these people completely responsible for our group’s current condition, as they couldn’t get over themselves long enough to realize they were the problem they were all looking for.

My remaining team turned into a husk of what it had formerly been. The few left standing, shared with me handshakes and whispers of promises which I can’t blame them for doing. The thoughts of a fruitful future kept me clawing onwards, believing in idiotic hopefulness that one day they would return; that perhaps I wasn’t being dragged to the guillotine alone while the crowd before me stood peppered with familiar faces looking at me with solemn expression. With no one stepping up, and no one wanting to wear the mantle of leadership, I was left to make every decision, and give guidance to every single new person who stepped through our doors. There are only so many explanations you can give someone for why they don’t see anyone, and why no one is ever available to do anything besides a couple of people. People in my group now don’t want power. They want influence without earning it, and executive power without responsibility. The grind that all good leaders must take upon themselves falls upon deaf ears when all they see are money, multitudes of resources, and strength in numbers. I can’t muster troops to fight anymore, and those who do show up know that they were the only ones listening, while everyone else turned away in deliberate evasion.

This is why I regret to inform you all that I resign my position as Shogun of The Sic gaming community, effective immediately. I don’t know how many people will respond, or even take a second glance over this, however I’d like to make it clear that this was not an easy decision. I tried endlessly to make it work, and to promote ideas for constant change and progression to ensure our group’s longevity, however it seems that I’m a relic of an age of honor and discipline that is lost to this current time, in which people just don’t care how strong your will to take initiative is. Over the past year and a half, I’ve slaved through an incessant string of flakes and no-shows, many of which gave me profound promises of loyalty and respect, all cast away the instant the pressure became too much for them. I held onto a string of hope that perhaps one day I’d see the dawn of return for these people who once extended me the hand of trust, but it is now sunset and I can no longer see that hope anymore.

In short: I’m tired of being bailed on.

I’ve had thousands of members pass through my archways. I’ve fought at the sides of hundreds of amazing individuals. I’ve witnessed the maturation and growth of dozens of competent, and enjoyable young men and women who have turned out to be the paramount of our generation. I led a gaming community that broke more social barriers, and tread on more taboos to the current realm than thought imaginable. My legacy will be that of upsetting people who felt any subject was black and white when presented to another, and making an enemy into a friend by reason and cooperation. Marilyn Manson was the shock rocker. Howard Stern, the shock jock. The Sic will go down in gaming history as the “shock flock”, who managed to return humility to a land completely submerged in conceit and arrogance.

I’ll be around. I’m too involved already to completely phase out into the crowd, and my loyalty will always be to the people of this group. I only hope that if you are a new member, wanting to “be the best” and show others that you’re not one to be taken lightly, that you’ll consider my teachings and make your own decision based on them as the words of experience that they are. Being a gaming community leader has no prestige. There are no awards for doing it right, and there’s little applause for the guy behind the wheel steering the ship out of the path of imminent danger. You live on a sliding scale of public opinion, whether it’s a well-informed opinion or not, and because of that there may be times where support seems distant. No one can truly know the burden though, until it’s placed on them, and they have no other choice but to face their problems head-on.

I may never appear again as the same person that people recognize me as now. I may not have the same persona of hostility that people have come to appreciate from me currently. I may not ever sit on the throne of another group, pushing them to become more than just gamers. However, you can always expect that where there is a fork in the road ahead, I’ll be the guy walking straight in between them, causing mass confusion and having everyone wonder around me how I could be so bold as to make my own choice on direction.

-Link/Jake

~Shogun of The Sic gaming community,

2004-2012


The Quiet Place

Whenever a new study regarding gamers decides to show its face, it comes in two forms. The first of which, is a well-constructed, purposefully fueled controlled test where the subject group is placed through various events in order to ascertain how a certain effect is incurred. Afterwards the test results are more commonly found to be inconclusive or incapable of proving that video games, or many forms of entertainment have any significant long-term effects. However, the second test is slightly different from the first. This is the test you’re more likely to see on any media outlet, or placed online for the everyday googler to stumble across inadvertently. These tests are usually slightly more to the left or right of a particular issue, and by slightly I mean “so ridiculously far to one side or the other, that there’s no possible way the test results are accurate”. These are the tests that were neither conducted, nor properly researched in any setting at all. These are tests where someone who is hoping for quick results in their favor can go to a polling company or study center for sociological research and purchase the results they are looking for. That’s right. They buy the exact thing they want, and with so many idiotic statistics on the market that are overwhelmingly black and white on issues we all know are shades of grey, they’re easy to spot for inaccuracies.

With this being said, I’ll arrive at my point. The most infuriating “study” ever bought and sold on MSNBC as conclusive evidence regards the characteristics of gamers in such a stereotypically condescending manner that it’s only fair that I set the record straight as to how far out of touch with us these so-called experts are. This post was brought about by a study that made the claim that “Video games have the unfortunate effect of causing their users, primarily the frequent ones, to experience severe depression, as well as prefer a sense of isolation to the outside world”.

This statement alone is enough to prove that there was little to no proper research conducted to obtain this result, as well as show that either the people who purchased the results, and perhaps the study center itself is not even close to being familiar with today’s youth. What these people don’t seem to understand, is that they’re trying so desperately hard to receive results that would display games in such negative light, that it would be regarded in future legislation as having an overbearing vicegrip on the psychological stability of adolescents, allowing them to further limit what forms of interaction that kids have with others today. Controlling the alternative forms of entertainment allow authoritarian figures to push forth what they would deem as “safe” substitutions for youthful individuals. Something as dangerous as this, cannot be allowed in the eyes of any sane person, as allowing anyone to determine for you what is and is not taboo is the fastest way to achieve personal enslavement. Games are one of the newest forms in which hyper-liberalism and ultra-conservatism have managed to demonize as vessels for “ideological agendas” to be forced upon children. This, of course can’t be taken seriously seeing as how they are messages being pumped from the mouths of the “convert or die” parties. The reason I can say with a sense of arrogant certainty that this is one of those situations, is the fact of how loosely strung together their argument is for the connection between depression in users, and the games themselves. Allow me to explain.

Clearly, it would stand to reason that the people pining away for these demonizing test results haven’t the slightest clue, that being a kid can suck tremendously. That’s why the argument that “video games spawn depression in their users” is invalid. They fail to grasp that these games aren’t the catalyst for being a recluse; they’re the safety net. Let me inform you of things that are certain to cause depression when added to the equation.

When your teachers look down upon you every day as the incompetent, uncaring kid and you get called out in class at every opportunity out of spite because this magical example of the failure to mimic “Stand and Deliver” trying to get you to focus. When every time you pass a group of more socially inclined kids in the hall, they utter malicious phrases and torment you with verbal abuse incessantly. When your grades on a subject are declining, and your parents bitch at you to try harder but don’t bother to understand why it’s difficult because they presume the school system is top-notch. When every message you hear from peers is that “if you don’t do well in pre-k, you won’t do well in elementary. If you don’t do well in Elementary, you won’t do well in middle school. If you don’t do well in middle school, you won’t do well in high school. If you flunk out of high school, you’re doomed to die a sexless, jobless bum in a cesspool of filth with miscreants and hoodlums alike as you rot slowly in a puddle of decaying flesh”. When your parents encourage you to be honest with them, and when you are they use it as ammunition to turn your confession into an intervention. When you finally get the strength to talk to the person you’ve liked for so long, and they openly reject you as a 2nd class citizen. When you finally work so hard to obtain a goal, only to find out that someone else can do it in half the time. When you find faith, and devoutly ask for assistance in things in your life that are important, only to be denied promptly. When you believe in something so strongly that it is infallible, only to find out that you’ve lived in a doomed leap of faith for the majority of your life. THESE, are things that cause depression.

Many of these things have caused people to turn to video games for solace. Not because they are looking for a way to make themselves more hopeless regarding their lives, but because these games have healing properties. Video games are stress relievers, because you’re free to do as you please. Whether it’s building empires, slaying demons, participating as the MVP in your favorite sport, or even bringing the world back from the brink of global destruction, games have always given people a chance to live their fantasies in digital format. They bring incredible pleasure to those who accept them, and they aren’t going to judge you. They’re not going to suddenly become violent with you, or condescend to you when they feel your inadequacies need to be addressed. They allow time for you to gather your thoughts, while doing something you actually enjoy for once. MMORPGs also can provide a reasonable alternative to common social interaction. Here, you are welcome to engage in activities with other gamers who understand your issues, have felt the cruel injustices of the “real” world, and who aren’t going to delve personally because of a veil of anonymity between any two people. They allow you to form guilds, which can comprise of people that you might trust, and it has led me as well as many others to not only meet good friends, but also their spouse.

Rift online

In closing, I’d like to state that any person who is opposed to the idea of video games, has clearly never been forced to endure life’s punishing social purgatory, and therein cannot be considered a valid source of information regarding them. They’re inexperienced, and haven’t nearly engaged in them long enough to fully understand the joy that people can obtain from playing them. If they’d like to argue, they can take it up with the 70% of the world who are currently playing them. I’m sure any one of them can tell them why it is that they are a necessary cornerstone of entertainment and social prosperity.

Video games DO NOT cause depression. This horrific, war-torn, celebrity-obssessed, superiority driven, perpetually anesthetized, slave camp of workforce stagnation and social discrimination causes depression. Video games just allow you a few peaceful, quiet hours of not having to look at it.

-Jake


Forsake Not The Dream

Greetings children.

This new year has done two things for me so far, that I am grateful. First off, it has presented me with new opportunities for my gaming community to flourish, which is an imminent event swiftly approaching. I’ve waited for over a year for people to begin motivating themselves to get involved with the group again, as for the longest time it seemed that as excuses piled up, so did the lack of care from people who I originally thought showed more interest in our cause then I had previously recognized. This disheartened me to a degree you can’t imagine, as it wasn’t just a matter of deteriorating loyalty, but the prime catalyst for the systematic disintegration of our gaming legion. As you can imagine, I’m naturally excited for a brand new start this year. The idea alone that our group has a new mass of possible fresh recruits, as well as the chance to show off our PvP capabilities in a game that promotes teamwork as well as leadership, makes me cry tears of joy at a new moment where I can jump back into the fray. It’s all illuminated once again.

The second of which, is the overwhelming joy I feel at the hands of my much more visually pleasing counterpart. More often than not, I find myself displeased with my image in comparison with hers, perhaps out of some lingering inferiority complex left over from the Jake who died during high school. That Jake had a ridiculously notorious fear of interacting with the opposite sex, because of a continuous habit of being a peer to overly condescending feminists who constantly felt the need to express their distinctly unsatisfied attitude towards him. Luckily for all of us, that Jake met an untimely end at the hands of me. One day, I was forced to strangle that Jake to death out of a fear that one day being trampled by an unnecessarily strong sense of self-loathing, as well as an ancient monster brought forth by low self-esteem. This creature, was a worthless wretch who could only place himself on the lowest rung of any ladder leading up to the adoration of vain statues who he thought were beautiful. That Jake, who is now safely buried deep below, never took the time to realize that the only reason he felt that he was being discarded by everyone, is because he incessantly ignored the notion to look for someone real. He spent his entire adolescence staring at mannequins, and it eventually led to his untimely demise.

Enough grim reminders of my past. Let’s continue with positive things! She WANTS to take care of me. I’m not stating this for the horrible picture that it sounds like, with me being an invalid at the hands of someone more caring. No, she actually puts forth an effort to make sure every single day that I’m not even remotely discontent in any shape or form. If I am, she takes it upon herself as having a bad day, and like an anti-virus software program swiftly seeks to kill the intruder ruining our fun. It would not be inaccurate to say that she looks out for my immediate and long-term interest more than any other person I’ve had relations of the sort with. With such constant affection being flaunted for me at my every whim, I can only lead to question my own capabilities and ask myself the all important final question of, “Am I fully capable of providing for this person no matter what”?

It’s a painfully relevant question to place at my feet. Perhaps I’ve finally come face-to-face with that which I’ve desired the most and what I have to show for it is nothing except pretty morals, and a full spectrum of idealistic notions that equal up to all of nothing. What can I possibly give to her that she couldn’t go out and obtain for herself, with half the trouble? She’s more than capable of being self-sufficient and has proved this to her peers and family time, and time again. She’s a well-oiled thinking machine that has continuously pursued exactly what it is that she wanted, without compromising her integrity to do so. The same can not be said for me. I’ve sold myself like a cheap whore to dozens of people in an attempt to make myself for likable, or cooperative to an individual or team that was looking for a specific person in a business or academic community. Most of these were done much to my dismay, as the human race as a whole has come to prove to me that they’re avaricious little snakes with a moral compass so fucked they couldn’t find their way home from the driveway. I catered to the will of many of these morons in the vain hope that I’d be considered positively as a candidate for their favor. All it got me was repeatedly called upon so that they may vent their frustration to someone who was unwilling to defend themself, and a much more hostile attitude towards those who’d consider themselves part of an authoritarian position.

The point I’m trying to get across is, without a doubt my lady friend has had her spine a lot longer, and with much more steadfast certainty than I have. I have little to offer now, but I’m going to have to earn fast. I can’t back down in the face of opposition merely because of phrases such as “unqualified”, “lacks credentials”, and “could use experience”. I have someone to work for now, and that’s something major I’m going to have to place in front of me like a beacon. I may have to cut others down in the process. I might have to act aggressively to obtain what I’d call success. I might have to shatter a few social boundaries in order to promote myself in the way that I see fit. There will be angry people. I may need to openly present myself as a corrupter of masses, in order to make my face known. To receive the attention I so deserve, you readers may be the last group to know me as a word of slightly well-informed opinion, rather than a villain and disturber of the peace. Such is the punishment for those who dare commit to the rattling of the common cage. However, if it means I can provide for those whom I love, I will gladly accept the target of a public enemy on my face. A challenger to the monotonous norms of society I shall be, and for this I’d ask only that you continue to listen. As long there are still people willing to say “At least consider Jake’s point of view”, I’ll know that I’ve done a bit of good.

There are plenty of you out there that know of my plight. You will do any and everything necessary to ensure the survival of your family. That is where I am, and there is not a single force on Earth large or strong enough to sway me. Last year at this time, I was miserable and completely willing to try to drift through searching for answers. By pure accident, I’ve found my source of happiness and now I must become an anchor to make sure that she doesn’t drift anywhere else, but at the same time ensure that she doesn’t sink with me. Many of you are quite possibly anchors in your own life. You know what it feels like to look up through the metaphorical ocean of burdens on your life, be able to see the sun above you, and know that there’s solace to be found in those you’re working to hold up. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of intolerable stress you put on yourself to ensure your loved ones know no pain, but I salute you for it.

I can only hope to accomplish my goal, as I dare not let down the only thing keeping me shoving forward towards the finish line. I may only be a writer, such as many of you are; however you know as well as I do that while you may be the one holding the pen, the people who you love are the ones who keep that pen perpetually moving, bringing you to new heights in creativity.

-Jake


They Escaped the Weight of Darkness

Of what one could only consider the inevitability we all must come to accept, I have once more faced the sight of mortality.

However, this time was not brought on by the recurring strand of dreams brought forth by images of the macabre, or a grim scene of my own demise. This was much simpler, as it was dearer to me and the person was much more important than the masses of faceless puppets I’ve come to associate with on a less than necessary basis.

As I stood by idly, I thought only to wrestle with the ideals of vain optimism. She was well treated, and her relevance in her lifetime brings me great solace. In the grand scheme, few are regarded in such manner and for this I am grateful that I was fortunate enough to share the time I did with her.

My hands cupped, I lifted her from her bed and stroked the protruding tuft of hair on her head as vigorously as possible. She never ceased to inform me of how much she enjoyed this, and I hoped this was an acceptable way to tell her she always got her way, even on the way out the door.

From rattling bottle to incessant chattering, she was a reminder of times enjoyed with the wrong company. She was my first step towards making committment and in the end she turned out to care more than the 2nd party involved in her adoption. In retrospect, it’s a cruel iniquity that her other co-owner deserved far more for treachery than SHE ever did.

I’ve learned something tonight. It’s that, no matter how many times you come to face death; regardless of how many times it is vicariously shown to you almost in careless fashion, you’ll never be prepared for one of the ones who matter to move on. I feel that a piece of myself lies raped tonight, as I attempt to draw meaning from indiscriminate death and its single comfort. Pain lasts no longer, and those who already know this I envy, as they are eons beyond the understanding we all share as ghosts in our own world.

Rest in peace,

Ishimura (2008-2011)


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