Monthly Archives: February 2014

Storm warning…


storm-clouds-over-empty-road-16_9-nf4he4

The Gathering Storm

It’s funny. I grew up in the country, so I learned a lot about the ways mother nature will warn you that there’s any kind of bad weather coming. Little things that you only notice if you take the time to be still, quiet, and look at the world around you. I’ve learned to trust those little signs of a coming storm. I might not get as much notice as I would from computer models and weather forecasters, but generally, if I pay attention and look at those little signs, I know whether I’ll need an umbrella or sunglasses on any given day.

Lately, though, I’ve seen something different. Something that’s maybe a part of nature, yet a part of mankind. Something that seems to definitely exist in the United States right now, as well as other parts of the world. There’s a feeling, a sensation, a low rumble that seems to be something people don’t talk about much, but they all quietly acknowledge it’s there.

There’s a storm coming.

It wasn’t all that long ago when I noticed the first gusts of the storm in the tree tops. People arguing about political things, right versus left, big government versus small, that sort of thing. The folks that were on television, the folks that told most people what and how to think about things, they seemed to be arguing, upset about how things were, how things should change, how bad stuff was. People in real life tended to parrot what they heard from them, but that was about as far as things went.

Now, the wind has changed a bit. The gusts that were makin’ the tops of the trees sway back and forth are now down here, at ground level. Folks are noticing that maybe what they were told by those folks wasn’t all true. There’s nothing stable to lean against or hold onto in the wind. People are gettin’ blown around a bit, and they know things aren’t quite right anymore. The trust is gone, and folks are nervous.

There’s a storm coming.

When a thunderstorm comes in, one of the things I notice is the way the air smells. It smells like wet dirt and grass and leaves all mixed up. It’s a smell that’s easy to miss, and gets blown away by the wind. It’s like the way folks in the United States are most entertained by other people’s trouble, and imaginations of apocalypse. Think of all the big movies and such that have been around recently, and you’ll find that a good portion of them, a good portion of the popular ones, have been about the end of the world or dystopian societies. It’s not something you think too much about, most of the time, unless you’re keeping your ear to the ground.

It’s like people have not just lost hope, but they’re secretly thinking about what to do when the world they know has passed on. It’s as if the clouds are dark and heavy with big ol’ raindrops, waitin’ to be driven down by the winds, and the sun is only shining through in a few distant spots, the breaks in the clouds that are slowly coming together as the storm comes along.

There’s a storm coming.

Before a storm rolls in, I’ll see the cows lay down together, the birds will go quiet. I’ll notice that there are more turtles up on higher ground. Odd little behaviors they really only do when some kind of weather is on the wind. People are doing similar things, looking around a little more, going amongst those that are close to them to talk low about things that are going on, but keepin’ that smile on when they’re out with other folks. People are being careful what they say around other people, careful what they post online, trying not to be noticed as the storm rolls in, hoping it will blow over them, leave them unscathed.

There’s a storm coming.

I notice that before a storm, some folks feel aches and pains in old wounds, like their body is telling them to get under cover before it happens again. It’s funny how a lot of wounds that should be healed by now are being dragged up and out into the open, causing pain and hate among people that otherwise wouldn’t worry about it so much.

It’s like the air before a thunderstorm. That air is electric, like there’s an unseen bit of electricity that makes you a feel kind of small and even a bit jumpy. I like that feeling in nature, it’s one of my favorite times when a storm rolls in and the air gets quiet, and even the bugs seem like they’re looking for cover. This feeling is different, though, and it seems like people are noticing it. There’s things going on up north in Connecticut right now that would have been unheard of in times past. There’s folks acting against other folks because of things that really have nothing to do with them, things that make people hate each other. There’s rumblings in the distance, like lightning that flashes in the sky before the first hint of rain, revolutions and such in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, military posturing in China, warnings and arguing between the US and Russia.

There’s a storm coming.

One of the things that I have always noticed is the way people talk about an oncoming storm. Plain, simple, country talk about how bad it might or might not be, and what to do about it before it comes. More and more, I keep coming across people from all different walks of life that, while they might disagree about just about everything else, agre on a few things. They agree that congress is just about useless. They agree that not only do they have issues with the president, but that the choices available in the past haven’t been worth the spit to talk about. They agree that something is about to happen, and it’s time to get ready for whatever it may be.

People are scared of whatever is coming. Bankers are offing themselves for no apparent reason. There’s talk about money being weird and how many ways things can suddenly go wrong. People are thinking about what to do when the storm comes, whether they have shelter for the storm, and who they might go to should the storm overwhelm them.

There’s a storm coming.

It’s all the little things put together. I don’t know if we’re going to get a misty soak followed by rainbows and birds singin’ on the wind. I don’t know if it will be one of those storms that blows a bit, makes some noise, and moves on, leaving the day more hot and humid than when it began. It could be a short downpour, what we call around here a “gully washer”, one that almost seems to clean things up a bit, or a tornado that will just plow everything down in it’s path.

I hope it’s a light mist, personally, or maybe a short gully washer that won’t last too long, and afterwards things will just seem better for awhile. It’s hard to say, though. I’m not sure whther it’s time to just get out the umbrella and keep it handy, or whether to check around to see where some good root cellars are to make it through.

I hope it’s just a shower, and we’ll all get to go play in the puddles afterwards. Maybe it will be, and everything will be fine. It may be that we all have to come together afterwards and try to clean up the mess left behind, though.

All I know is what I see and what I feel, and what I know is that it feels like there’s a storm coming. I hope we can all go out and play in the puddles when it’s over, but we should all be ready to go and help clean up the mess if it’s somethin’ worse.

www.cracked.com/article_20819_5-disturbing-reasons-not-to-trust-news-from-reporter.html

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/12/17/trust-in-congress-gallups-to-single-digits/

www.cbsnews.com/news/most-americans-disappointed-in-obamas-presidency-poll-says/

www.coolage.in/2014/02/27/the-ukraine-crisis/

www.usatoday.com/story/news/2014/02/23/maduro-seeks-venezuela-peace-conference/5760543/

www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/25/us-afghanistan-usa-obama-idUSBREA101B420140225

rt.com/usa/us-military-cuts-budget-423

www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/350486/news/world/china-says-decision-on-new-air-defense-zone-depends-on-threat

www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/us-warns-russia-military-drills-ukraine-border

www.cnbc.com/id/101450365

 

If you liked the way this was written, check out my e-book, “Fairy Ring”.  Only 2.99 and found here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I7YXGLG

 

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Internal Computing of Morality(for me)-or why I hate my brain sometimes…


mammalian-brain-computer-inside

(image credit: http://www.voodish.co.uk/articles/human-brain-simulated-on-super-computer/)

Morality. Noun. Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

I always wonder how people develop their morality, how they make “moral” choices, and what they mean when they describe a person as a “moral” person. It’s honestly something of a curiosity to me.

Let’s take a look at the definition, first. “the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad”

Think about that for a minute. Does right equal good? Does wrong equal bad? Who is it that decides these things, exactly?

For some, the answer is simple. They point to a deity of one sort or another, look at their sacred texts, and come back with an answer to what is right or wrong based on that. The problem with this, is that there are several to choose from, and while societies can form that support these ideals, those societies tend to be at odds. In general, within these societies, there are also conflicts within them about the interpretation of the sacred text and what it is the society itself should be doing, causing splinters within the society.

For others, they go with instinct. The problem I have with instinct is that instinct seems lot flipping a coin or rolling dice to decide on the outcome of a given situation. There’s no real thought put into it, you just go forth and do, and hope for the best. Some of these people do well, some do not. Instinct alone is all about survival, and while you may survive and even thrive on it, it makes you a bit random. The only thing that is apparent to me that those who follow instinct first and foremost can be depended upon for is to look out for their own interests first in any given situation. Whether this is good or bad is a question that I’m not convinced even applies.

So, morality is still an enigma, as far as how other people come to their decisions and whatnot. This is how my mental computer works, as far as I can understand.

1:Input: Something is Happening.

2:Choice: Is the input signifying something that must be decided on now? If yes, continue, if no, return to input.

3:Choice: Is the input enjoyable? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7

4:Choice: Is the input good? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7

5:Choice: Is the input right, wrong, or neutral? If right, continue, if wrong, continue to step 7 if neutral return to step 2

6:Return to Input and continue

7:Cease activity and return to Input.

*****************************************************

Pretty basic, right? The problem here is defining the variables “enjoyable”, “good”, “right”, “wrong, “bad”, and “neutral”.

Looking a little bit deeper at myself, I find that I have quick lists in my head. Like bookmarks. Each variable has a tab, and each seems to have a list of experienced activities and sensations attached.

The problem is this, though. I can’t figure out what subroutine in my head places things in the tabs as they are. I know that some were learned, whether by parents, society, school, or religion. Those things are all also marked as things told, not experienced.

I have another tab, though, marked experienced. This is another list of things, some of which are in the not experienced tab. These two tabs seem to be outside of my decision making process, though, as I look at my internal “program” above, I see no place where the use of either tab fits.

:internal examination:

On further examination, I find that somewhere along the way I placed in my “good” and “enjoyable” tabs the concept of increasing the number of things under my “experienced” tab. Further, this seems to be reinforced by something that affects the way I receive input. It’s sort of like this:

1: Input: Something is Happening. If input is not currently in experienced tab, check told tab for variable reference, but force continue once. If input is in neither tab, force continue once.

The problem here is that it suggests there is more to the program than I have seen so far. It appears that it actually goes more like this:

1: Input: Something is Happening. If input is not currently in experienced tab, check told tab for variable reference, but force continue once. If input is in neither tab, force continue once.

2:Choice: Is the input signifying something that must be decided on now? If yes, continue, if no, return to input.

3:Choice: Is the input enjoyable? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7 If no reference, go to enjoyable subroutine.

4:Choice: Is the input good? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7 If no reference, go to good subroutine.

5:Choice: Is the input right, wrong, or neutral? If right, continue, if wrong, continue to step 7 if neutral return to step 2 If no reference, go to right/wrong subroutine.

6:Return to Input and continue

7:Cease activity and return to Input.

************************************************

So-I have subroutines to examine.

*************************************************

Enjoyable subroutine

1: Input: Something is happening.

2: Choice: Does the enjoyable tab have anything similar to this, but different enough to be considered a unique experience? If no, continue. If yes, mark enjoyable and return to decision making process at step 3.

3: Choice: Does this cause me some kind of pain? If no, continue. If yes, mark as “painful” and continue.

4: Choice: Does this cause anyone else any kind of pain? If yes, cease activity and reboot system. If no, continue.

5: Choice: Does this give me pleasure? If yes, mark “pleasurable” and continue. If no, force check to decision making process at step 4.

6: Choice: Does this give anyone else pleasure? If yes, mark pleasurable. If no, force check to decision making process at step 4.

7: For each pleasure, add one point. For each painful, subtract one point.

8: If points is greater than zero, mark experience “enjoyable” and return to decision making process.

******************************************************

Good seems to be similar, but different. It includes a couple of extra steps.

1: Input: Something is happening.

2: Choice: Does the good tab have anything similar to this, but different enough to be considered a unique experience? If no, continue. If yes, mark good and continue.

3: Choice: Does this cause me some kind of pain? If no, continue. If yes, mark as “painful” and continue.

4: Choice: Does this cause anyone else any kind of pain? If yes, mark as painful and continue. If no, continue.

5: Choice: Does this give me pleasure? If yes, mark “pleasurable” and continue. If no, continue

6: Choice: Does this give anyone else pleasure? If yes, mark “pleasurable”. If no, continue.

7: For each pleasure, add one point. For each painful, subtract one point.

8: If points is greater than zero, mark experience “good”

9: If points is zero or less, but activity is marked “good”, then remove “good” marking and remove “good” marking from similar experiences.

10: Return to decision making process at step 5.

***********************************************

One more subroutine… Right, wrong, neutral.

Right/Wrong subroutine:

1: Input: Something is Happening

2: Choice: If input is not marked experienced, check learned tab and continue.

3: Choice: If input is marked learned and marked right within tab, mark right and continue, if not, continue.

4: Choice: If input is marked enjoyable, mark right and continue, if not mark wrong and continue.

5: Choice: If input is marked good, mark right and continue, if not mark wrong and continue.

6: For each right mark, score one point.

7: For each wrong mark, subtract one point.

8: If points is greater than 0, mark right and continue if not, cease activity and mark wrong.

9: Choice: Does this cause anyone harm? If yes, mark wrong and return to decision making process at step 3 for reevaluation.

10: Return to decision making process at step 6.

************************************************

Whew! That’s pretty involved.

Well, for me, the good news is that I can now examine these processes, and if I can examine them, I can tweak them. The bad news-this is just how I sort things out internally as to morality and decision making. It tells me nothing of what to expect from others, unless everyone works off of something similar.

So… how about you tell me? How similar is your own process? If it’s completely different, how is it different? Can you edit this process in ways that will make it more efficient, or line up more to the way society works?

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Something interesting developing in my head…


I might make a new blog for this concept, it might be a book or just a story or…  I have no idea.  I just found it interesting and wanted to share it with you.

*****************************************

 

Objectives: This unit is to examine potential destructive animal species 1174902 found in section 37134.78 by 27136.89 by 787135.2 Spiral Galaxy 27351

 

This unit has been selected for passive investigation of animal and plant species on planet 3 orbiting beta type star.

 

This unit has specialized in higher level machine cognition and a previously unusable low-level decision making matrices.

 

This unit will report regularly by burst channel communication not to exceed 40KBits per report.

 

This unit will be retrieved when threat status of potential destructive animal species is maintained in a critical state-to be shown on a scored scale.

 

Message Ends

***************************************************

 

Welcome to how my brain introduces me to stories!  Nope, no idea yet where it’s going.  🙂

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I7YXGLG

 

 

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The pic of the girl tonguing the POW/MIA symbol…


http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/02/15/air-force-will-take-action-over-pow-mia-emblem-photo.html

Okay, folks.  I have read up on this a bit now, and I just have to say that the people who are freaking out need to think about themselves a bit.

I remember being a young Private in the Army, fresh out of AIT.  Nearly everyone just out of training had a few things on their mind:  1: Sex.  2: I don’t know ANYBODY.  3:  How can I get number one and fix number two.  For most, this didn’t change, that I am aware of, unless they achieved the demigod-hood of E-7 and above.

The fact is that many people find themselves in this new atmosphere and go wild, do crazy things.  Taking a pic with you pretending to french some painting on the wall is far and away more minor than some of the things that I remember, and probably more minor than most of us who have been in the service remember.

Think about it-these are kids, college aged kids doing things you’d expect a college aged kid to do.  People want her to be punished for doing something silly, which not only happened at the beginning of her career, but also happened during the huge step from airman to sergeant(something that can take years)?

This soldier is doing a job that few would want.  Ease up, people, unless you can pull out your unblemished service record, without so much as a verbal warning.  If you can do that, then just tell me how you’d want things to go down if you knew her personally?  Is this really something that is worth destroying a career over?

So, to the young Sergeant…  No more stupid pics, go say something nice and respectful to the POW-MIA folks, and drive on… and remember this moment the next time some idiot private is standing in front of you, mumbling about the stupid thing they did.

Edit:  The importance of the image/group is not lost to me, but I honestly didn’t know much of squat about the importance at 19.  I’m 37, now.  How old are you, if it’s the “disrespect of the symbol” that’s got you upset?  Not everyone is aware of it at that age, so maybe you should channel your angst into increasing awareness, maybe with the help of a certain apologetic Sergeant.  🙂

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Something Different: A poem by me


Yeah, I write poetry sometimes.  I don’t think it’s nearly as good as much of what I see out there, but…

Anyway-here’s one I wrote a little while ago.  Hope you like it.  🙂

*****************************************************************

Right now

Life is funny
Here today gone tomorrow
Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow is a dream
All we have is right now.

Right now, we can have some joy.
Right now, we can choose to weep.
Right now, I can think of you.
Right now, I could get some sleep.

Every moment of every day
Wherever we go and whatever we do
We have right now.

Right now I’ll be with you
Right now you’ll be with me
Right now is all we have
So right now, I hope you see

Nothing in life is guaranteed
There’s no way to reset and try again.
So the moments we have
right now
Those are the moments to be in

Right now, let’s be happy
Right now, let’s have some fun
Right now, let’s choose to laugh
Right now, before we’re done

Life is funny
You never know what will happen next
one thing is guaranteed
unless we live right here, right now
We’ll just look back and grieve

Right now, think of the sunrise
Right now, smile your secret smile
Right now, let’s wish for each other
Let’s let right now be for a while

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On love…


Love is one of those concepts that people seem like they have no real idea about what it is.

I mean, there are plenty of metaphors for love, and plenty of people will describe love as a “metaconcept”, but I tend to think that love is a pretty simple concept that people imagine is far more complex than it really is.

To me:  Love is putting the happiness of another person before your own.

People hesitate to say, “I love you,” because of the way our society and culture suggest that there is an implied guarantee in that statement.  “I love you and only you and from now on will only imagine you as being more important to me than my own happiness and desires,” seems to be the imagined promise.

Now, I can only address the concept of love subjectively, and as I stated, it’s pretty simple to me.  The confusion seems to be that people think that there’s an equation that Love=Relationship=Sex.  This equation, however, is insane.

Think with me.  I love my pets.  I do not want to be in a relationship with my pets.  I do not want to have sex with my pets.  Therefore, Love =/= Relationship and Love =/= Sex.  To take it a bit further, I have any number of relationships where I may or may not love the other party, and have no desire to have sex with them.  This leads to Relationship =/= Sex either.

It would seem to me that maybe people just need to be a bit more specific, and open to specifics.  Think of how simple things would be if a person who was in a social group could simply say what it was they were seeking from another person without implying other things which were unsaid.

Love is a verb.  Something done.  Love can be shown by example, but its nature doesn’t change in the showing.  No matter what you do, love is what it is, and everything else is everything else.

Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just love freely and openly as we pleased, without other assumptions being made as to our intentions?

My advice is this:  Just love and find happiness in that love.  Whatever comes of doing this comes of it, but let the love be something on its own, without conditions.  You never know, this could be the very thing that leads the whole human race to a happier existence.

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On “Erotica”…


I’ve been asked about this a few times, and I wanted to express my thoughts on the topic.

First of all, if I ever write something that I don’t want one of my children reading, or at least not until they are an appropriate age, I’ll include a warning either on the cover or in the description.  I’m not going to say that I will never write something that contains some form of erotica, but it’s not something I foresee right now.

Secondly, erotica is, to me, low hanging fruit.  You can only describe genitalia and the interactions between people involving them so many ways.  Once you’ve covered all the possibilities, you’re left with just looking for new metaphors and similes.  I don’t really want to describe to you every time a person uses the bathroom for the same reason.  It might be mentioned, at some point, but some things are just best left to the imagination, in my opinion.

When it comes to erotica and romance and such, I think about it in much the same way Stephen King takes his position on “scary things”.   To paraphrase, it’s frightening to walk into a room full of blood and guts, but it’s far more terrifying to walk into a dark room, look for the light switch, and feel a large, hairy hand guide your hand to one.  That’s what I think of, well, most things, really.  Is it better to have a full on graphic sex scene, or is it better to describe the interactions that lead to it, the little moments that matter followed by a nod in that direction?

As for my current novel/series…  the different relationships need quite a bit of time to develop as it is.  I will be pretty surprised if any of them gets to a point past brief kisses, fond touches and fluttering eyes anytime soon, and even if it potentially goes there, I have to refer back to the idea that I want my kids to be able to pick it up and read it without getting any specific ideas.

In summary, will I ever write any kind of graphic erotica?  Maybe, possibly, someday, forever is a longish time that’s hard to judge.  Probably not tomorrow, though.
I still have more things for you to read for the sake of characters and plots, and I don’t want to distract you with that right now.  🙂

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