Truth as I see it


It is best to know the truth even when it hurts. Ignorance is bliss. Both of these statements are true because I believe they are both true. Truth is perception.

The truth isn’t always the truth. Urban myths are a fascination of mine. I’ll listen to whatever someone’s sister’s cousin’s roommate told them, then wait till they are out of earshot and have a good laugh. Check out Snopes if you want to unlearn anything that sounds too weird to be true.

If a majority of people believe the truth to be false, then it is false. The Sun went around the Earth, but now it doesn’t. The Earth was flat, but now it is round. Pluto was a planet…and still is, damn it. I don’t care what they say.

“You will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
-Obi-Wan Kenobi
“Return of the Jedi”

People are going to believe what they want as long as it supports their point of view. People that watch one news channel say the other one does nothing but lie. The only time someone jumps the fence to the other side is when there is a convincing enough argument.

The truth hurts when we don’t want to hear it and more so the more we don’t want to hear. Do you really want to know your butt looks big in those jeans even if you ask? What if the person said your butt looks big without you asking?  The more it hurts, the more likely the person is going to think it is a lie or are just being cruel.

White lies and half truths are a necessary evil in modern society. They help us get along with the people we don’t like, protect the feelings of those we do like and maybe land that job that you really need. Does anyone answer the “What is your worst flaw?” question truthfully and expect to get hired? Well, yes, but they are only lying to themselves. The person that is honest and says their worst flaw is punctuality is going to lose the job to the person that lies.

This brings me to the 800-pound gorilla on the internet: wikileaks. I think wikileaks is an effective tool when they shed light on human rights violations. I think they need a better focus on what they release because not everything needs to be known. The latest batch of wikileaks shed light on what I already knew, ambassadors don’t always like each other. For me, if ambassador A thinks ambassador B is a tool that’s fine as long as they get along.  Ambassador B doesn’t need to know A thinks less of him, that’s only going to strain the relationship and make the job those two ambassadors harder to accomplish.

In the same release, they put out information that may have been used to bring down the corrupt government in Tunisia. The important stuff gets lost when you don’t focus. If you don’t have focus and treat everything as important, people don’t take you seriously, or worse, take you seriously for all the wrong reasons.

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First love: A stream of consciousness post


I didn’t write last night because I wrote earlier in the morning. I couldn’t decide on anything to write and the topics weren’t appealing. On top of that, I spent, and this is a little embarrassing, six hours setting up a new social media website, connecting it to Twitter and Facebook, then unlinking Twitter from Facebook so as not to create a black hole of status updates. I forgot to eat because I was so focused. I posted one photo.

At the time it was fun and engaging, but this morning when I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to write it didn’t seem like time well spent. I had actually set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., but my brain decided it was Christmas morning.

I’ve been sitting here wide awake for what feels like three days but has only been about an hour. Thankfully I have coffee and the Palladia HD channel, which for those that don’t know is what MTV was before the dark times, before game shows and “reality” TV. It’s the only channel I’ve watched for about six months now, just music and concerts from some of the greatest bands to ever be filmed. The downside is I have to sit through the occasional Justin Bieber video.

I kid about the kid. He’s catchy, he’s popular, the girls love him. I respect that. Yet, I have to chuckle when I hear him singing about love.

What does he know? He’s just a kid. I’m twice his age…and then some. I remember 15-16 and how everything was so damned important. I remember that feeling of having that first love and every time after that. I have journals from back then about what I was thinking and the girls I liked. I read them now and I don’t remember writing them. I barely recognize the handwriting. Clearly I’m not the guy I was 18 or 19 years ago.

I wrote similar things back then to what he sings about now. Glad I didn’t show them to anyone. I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve even loved a few more times. Nothing beats that hormonal out-of-your-right-mind first love, though. Maybe that’s why we never forget that first one.

I laugh at the kid who doesn’t know anything singing his heart out about love only because I was that kid at 15. Now I’m the kid at 34 writing his heart out about imaginary people having real love. Time is meaningless, love is forever.

It makes me a hopeless romantic, but I hope to get that first love feeling again. I’ll be happy as long as she reminds me to get off the computer and have some dinner at a reasonable hour.

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The most important thing…for now


“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
– Mark Twain

I have a terrible habit of bouncing from most important thing to most important thing. Call it a lack of focus with too many priorities and I’ll say something always comes up. If it’s all important than nothing is important.

The most important thing right now is to study for my promotion. That bumped my previous most important goal of finishing my degree and writing a novel. The education is still going to be there when I’m done with my test and the novel isn’t going anywhere either.

I’m about three years part-time away from a degree in English and I don’t want to get into how many false starts, hiccups and brick walls it’s been getting to this point. I hate to keep putting it off, but the promotion means more money and responsibility which will help me with the other goals.

The novel? Don’t get me started. On second thought, do get me started. I take heart in every time I read someone took five years to write their first novel, but seriously, I don’t want to be one of those people. One or two years would be awesome, thanks.

I’ve spent more years as an editor than a writer and I red pen the heck out of anything before I even start. I send myself proposals, but I keep rejecting them. I do have one idea that to me sounds really interesting and I’d love to start writing it. Any day now.

What I need to do for the novel is start getting it on paper…so to speak. More time would be nice too. I know “lots of writers don’t have the time” and struggle to find ten minutes between family and work, but that’s not really advice and doesn’t help me at all? Hearing that just makes it worse because then I spend more time thinking about how everyone else can find the time to write and how I waste it thinking about all the people that struggle to find the time to write and still finish a novel. Twenty minutes of that and I need to leave the house and get away from the computer.

Secretly it’s a mix of confidence in my ability to write and the belief that someone will like the story. The confidence is building with practice, a couple courses from Gotham Writer’s Workshop and a few books. The practice is coming along nicely through blogging. The courses were excellent because it helped me tighten up my writing and discover new flaws for my inner editor to fuss over. All that’s left is for me to finish this book on novel writing…and this collection of Russian short stories…and this other book on novel writing.

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Witnessing bravery


Being in the Air Force public affairs business, we get stories from around the world of Airmen doing brave things at great risk and sometimes great cost. Explosive ordnance disposal specialists come to mind immediately. We published a couple stories of our folks going out into the community and working with law enforcement to dismantle and defuse explosives and munitions stockpiles, not in a war zone, but in suburban areas of the United States.

We’ve been compiling the stories we get from Iraq and Afghanistan into a publication called “Portraits in Courage: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5.” It’s only a small sample of the many brave souls in one branch of the armed forces. There’s many more people that have sworn to protect and serve and run in while others are running out.

Bravery isn’t reserved for people that dodge bullets and fight fires, bravery is displaying the courage to do what you feel is right no matter the cost. There’s bravery in day-to-day life such as knowing when to call foul when your company is in the wrong, standing up to the bully at school, speaking out when you’re afraid to.

I think it’s in all of us to be brave depending on how willing we are and how deep we need to dig. Sometimes it only takes an extra cup of coffee in the morning and sometimes people need help to find it. For some it’s so close to the surface it’s nearly instinct and they don’t give it a second thought.

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Hope?


Last night’s post didn’t get posted on time so I technically missed the post once a day aspect. Then again, I wrote it yesterday so I didn’t miss the write once a day aspect. My internet connection was “hiccuping” according to my provider. On my end it looked like it had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I hoped it would be fine in the morning and it was.

Tonight’s topic is hope. Did my hoping help my internet connection to work? No. Well, maybe. I can’t prove it either way. Did it hurt anything? No. It did make me feel better.

Hope is a tricky feeling that borrows from other feelings like love and faith. It doesn’t change anything as far as I can tell other than give people the motivation to keep trying. Sure, there’s false hope, but at least it makes people feel better even if it is a delusion. As long as it doesn’t prevent someone from doing what’s best for them then I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Hope is a feeling I get from time to time when I want something a little more than usual and I don’t think I’m going to get it. For instance, a donut. I’ll want a donut, but I’ll hope someone brings it to me.

Maybe it’s a perspective thing. I can’t think of a time when something gave me hope, but it might renew my hope. The hope itself never goes away but will get beaten down sometimes the more unlikely I think something is. Once it got beaten so far down I didn’t think I would get it back, but it never died. It’s not something that I’d ever want to loose again. People can live without faith and belief, but they can’t live without hope. There’s no way to function without the thought that things can be better or can be changed.

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Does everything happen for a reason?


I’ve pondered this topic daily for the last 15 or 20 years. There’s no proof either way, but it is fun to think about. If anything comes off sounding religious, I assure you that was not my intention.

On the one hand, sure everything happens for a reason. People die so that others may live. Sometimes people are in the right place at the right time. Even with free will sometimes things see to work out on their own or are even miracles. I can work really hard at something and possibly excel, but wasn’t I supposed to excel any way?

On the other hand, all people are doing is looking back on all the events after they’ve happened and assigned meaning to random events because everyone likes patterns. It makes it all easier to deal with. We all like feeling comfort and security.

Say you can’t find your car keys and you are late leaving only to get stuck in traffic because of an accident. It’s easy to think, wow, if I had found my car keys on time, that might’ve been me in that accident. Good thing I didn’t find my keys when I needed them. What about the guy in the car accident? Everything was going just fine until the accident. He also had a whole set of events that lead to the accident.

I go around in circles thinking about this. Part of me thinks that everything happens the way its supposed to rather than happening for the best or for a reason. I think people aren’t truly aware of what their effect is on the world. We’re all butterflies flapping our wings and we don’t notice the small changes in the weather only the tornadoes. When the tornado happens, we look back and remark about how the tornado must mean something because of all the things that led up to said tornado. Really, it was just us, all of us. Everything all together flapping as one. Doesn’t breathing change the world in some way?

With the enormous complexity behind it all, it is easy to say it’s magical, there’s a design, there’s a plan, or science can explain it. Everyone has billions of brain cells firing with electricity and pumping with chemicals, and there’s almost seven trillion of us flapping. Then factor in all the other forms of life all going about their business flapping. Sometimes the tornado is going to make sense because the brain loves finding patterns and other times it’s just going to be senseless if only because we can’t find the pattern.

The tornado doesn’t stop being amazing just because you did it. It should be even more incredible. The odds are against life in the universe and we happen to have the 200+ factors needed to support it right here where everything you do matters in some way.

Does everything happen for a reason? Yes. What’s the reason? 42. God. Because. Whatever reason you want. I’m going with an incredibly complex web of cause and effect. The real question is “Why?”

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My favorite genre


Tonight’s topic is brought to you by the number 6 and the letter H. I’m deviating from the writing prompts of the Postaday2011 blog because it didn’t inspire me at all. Their topic is “The wackiest advice you’ve ever received.” I don’t really receive so much as offer the wacky advice. I can’t narrow down the wacky advice to just one time. I did get plenty of material from the movie Surrogates, hence my favorite genre.

I read and watch a lot of movies across many genres. Classics, science fiction, fantasy, thriller, suspense, humor; I like it all. The book or movie has to inspire me in some way for me to like it. I’ll watch even some of the worst drive-in classics as long as I get something out of it. Some movies I’ve liked only because I imagine how the movie should be written instead of how it was.

I liked Surrogates. I can’t tell you if it was a good movie, but it made me think of genres in general. It reminded me of my favorite type of fiction, horror.

Horror brings up different feelings and ideas in people and it’s not everybody’s favorite. I also don’t think it’s entirely a genre but a feeling or reaction to an idea thereby slipping into other genres. It can be blood and guts, it can be supernatural beasts or it can be the horror of everyday life ala Stephen King. I’m more of a fan of the mood and atmosphere of horror, the Poe style of horror.

I don’t read or watch horror to get scared. I’m more interested in the response of horror to the situation. The “My god, man! What have you done?” reaction that happens just before the scared part with the pulse racing.

Surrogates had an aspect of that as do all of the sci-fi cautionary tales. People invent something, mankind is changed for the better, the hero discovers it’s all a lie/mistake. It’s the “Soylent green is people” moment.

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