Just a blurb today really. My shift got switched at the last minute and to not write in the morning would really be a spanner in the works. I’m trying to do this whole “consistency” thing. It hasn’t really worked with the podcast, but I’m still trying to figure out what that’s going to be. I don’t really want it to be ‘about’ something, but I also don’t want it to be about nothing. There’s too much banality in the world as it is. In anything, I’m only trying to be sincere. I don’t mean to be cynical or ironic. In fact, I try my best to avoid those things. Hipster’s are a danger to the survival of culture and I don’t intend to be lumped in with them.
I should probably put my pants on.
Sometimes I write things just to kill the inertia. Things like that last sentence. I don’t mean to get too “meta”, but I’m in a philosophical mood this morning. I’m thinking about why I do this. Why is it so important to me that I put words down here every day? I like to think the ritual has something to do with my fear of irrelevance or my desire to combat stagnation. It might just be that I’m self-involved and need people to indulge my fancy in order to love myself properly. I think every artist has a touch of the latter. If this starts to get a little weird for you guys, jump off now. I can’t promise it will get any better.
Comcast came through. Replaced the router and looked at a box in the wall. It took them four hours, but I now have somewhat reliable internet. I keep getting periodic losses of signal, but I can live with those. I didn’t choose Comcast for their reliability, cost, or service. I chose them because Comcast is the only ISP that services my apartment complex. It would appear that in the government’s infatuation with corporate America, they seem to have forgotten the danger of allowing monopolies to thrive.
Allow me a moment to get off my soap box and bow humbly to the state of affairs in the world. We seem to be gearing up for a nice World War III, which could possibly go down in the books as the ‘War of Ideology’, which is a thought that terrifies me. The alt-right has taken a firm hold of both America and the EU, agitating our strained relationships with Islamic-majority nations. Erdogan’s inflammatory rhetoric is pushing people into their own corners of political and spiritual thought as he helps himself to heightened executive authority. He speaks of the West preparing for a ‘War Against Islam’, which is a narrative we are constantly playing into by a constant stream of anti-Muslim legislation engendered by a blind fear of the “Other”.
This is what terrorism is for. None of these terrorist organizations have the capability to stand toe to toe with even the most lackluster of modern military forces. What they do is they tell the people around them that their target is evil. Most don’t buy in, they’ve never seen the target to be evil. In some cases the locals even like the target. So these groups will make some very small, but powerful gesture. They’ll blow up a cafe or shoot up a public square. That’s when the target plays into the narrative of the terrorist. They react and punish anyone associated with the terrorists, whether they draw the line on ethnicity, nationality, or ideology. Then, when the terrorists say to the locals that the target is evil, the locals agree, because the target has wronged them based on an action that was out of their power.
George Bush had one thing right. The only way to beat terrorism is to deny them the reaction they’re looking for. Of course, the man bafflingly went straight to war with an unrelated country under false pretenses right after he said that, but we can’t win all of them.
This is a little bit later than usual for me, but I drank a fair bit last night, so I’ll excuse myself. I’m in the mood for a bit of self-flagellation, but I’m not sure if I’ll do it here. I can’t stand the thought of failing. It fills me with bitterness, anxiety, and even a touch of ennui. Everything starts to feel superfluous. It’s fun to think that society isn’t held together by anything stronger than expectation. Civilization only continues to exist because we expect it to. If we didn’t, we would just act however we felt like acting, without any concern for terrestrial order. It happens often in countries that experience assassinations or coups. Once that expectation of peace and stability is gone, everyone scrambles like cockroaches exposed the sun.
I’m not being pessimistic, just pragmatic. This is the way things are, wanting them to be different won’t change them. The only thing anyone can change is themselves. That’s why I’ve committed to striving for greatness. Man has the power, the capacity for greatness. Most of us do. A janitor could be the best possible janitor he could be. I know that because I do it every day. If every person held themselves to a standard just a bit higher than they could ever hope to reach, they would always strive and the world would be a better place for it.
I’m getting preachy again. It’s easy to. I think we all get a little preachy from time to time. Or maybe I’m projecting. I’m probably projecting.
I did a long one yesterday, so I’ll do a short one today.
I need to start having conversations with people I disagree with. I keep doing this thing where I’ll read or hear something that I consider wrong, and then I’ll keep it fresh in my mind for long enough to share it with my friends that share my opinion. Even within my friends I keep the various circles separate because I don’t want any of them to get their opinions on each other and then start spreading bad vibes. In a word, I’ve become a pussy.
I’m going to have to change that if I want to continue moving forward. I know what I believe, but I keep bending it to allow other people room for their own ideas. Why are we so reverent of the thoughts and ideas of others? Don’t get me wrong, we need them to develop a full picture of the world. But why do I need to allow you your opinion unchallenged? Even when you are, by my standard, wrong? Even the last sentence I used was a product of that mindset. I’m justifying my opinion. And now I’m starting to ramble. If you’re still reading, bless you, because I’m not editing this.
The problem with this conversation and any like it is that we cannot attack an opinion without attacking the individual behind it. I think that’s because we have no respect for each other. If everyone had a little bit of decency, respect, and civility we could all disagree in peace. And now I’ve slipped back into second-person language. Something that, given the nature of the topic, I didn’t want to do. Generalizing accusations like this will just make people recoil from my work. “I don’t perpetrate ad hominem attacks on everyone that voted for Trump, Gerald is a tool”. Go ahead and say it. I’m still not editing.
I just want to be a better person to the people around me. A better citizen to my community. A better father to my children. A better husband to my wife. If I find these faults in anyone, it’s because I have them within myself. I really am a tool. I dehumanize people that have different opinions than me. I group people together to make them easier to deal with. I am the problem.
I’m really going to have to work on this shit.
It’s a beautiful morning in “My America”, or some such bullshit. To be perfectly honest, it’s much too cold for me to discern the beauty of the day. I’ll have to face it soon anyways. I don’t feel like I have much to say this morning. I’ve said that more than once now. I can promise you that I’ll say it again. I’m trying to develop good habits here. Write every day. But if I don’t actually publish these things, I would be beholden only to myself, and that is rarely a recipe for success.
I did quit smoking. Cold Turkey, last July, it was great. I did that one by myself. I keep reading things online about how, once you quit, other bad habits fall out even easier. Why wouldn’t they? I quit smoking for Christ’s sake. That has not been my experience. I’ve had an even harder time quitting soda than I did quitting smoking. I did quit the fast food though. It was getting ridiculous. Just because McDonald’s is the cheapest and fastest way to keep yourself alive, take your body a little bit more seriously. I didn’t realize how dependent I was on convenience dining until I cleaned out my wife’s car and found what was, for us, a week’s worth of fast food packaging. It’s disgusting.
You have more time than you think. Just cook something for yourself, take your shortcuts where you need to, but take a little bit of time to think about your nutrition. Of course I’m saying shit that everyone else seems to know, so if I’m coming across as naive, just let me know.
I want to live well and do well. Be an example to my daughters and to my wife. Or maybe I’ll just drink myself to death. I like to keep my options open.
I feel a little bit stuck this morning. I felt quite a bit more stuck last night, when I first tried writing this. I had the idea that I would write this before I went to bed so I wouldn’t have to write it at five A.M. when I woke up. I have always been one of those people that have unwittingly subscribed to the philosophy of “Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow”. It’s not that I don’t try to be present, punctual, and live in the now. It’s just that it’s so much easier to imagine myself doing things than it is to really do them.
With that said, I really am trying to form better habits. I’ve written every day for the past week, something I haven’t done in my adult live. In childhood and my teenage years I thought nothing of sitting up half the night filling a notebook. It’s harder now. I’ve somehow made it feel like work, even though I don’t get paid for any of it. I don’t mean to say that I don’t enjoy work. When I have plenty of it my life feels rewarding and when I don’t have any I feel empty. Work gives me a sense of purpose. But it’s very hard not to resent the things that we have to do.
I’m still working out the game that I’m going to review for indie spotlight. The first game I picked was a really fun Rogue-like that was just too short to write about. I’m going to link it here because it’s a good way to spend five minutes, even if I can’t write a full review. There’s another game that I grabbed that may be too long and complex for the format of review I do. I think I’ll play something shorter for this coming Saturday and just give myself another week to review the longer game. I really need to spend more time with it.
Another thing that’s exciting is an artist found one of my old postings for a collaboration. The project that I had in mind then is not going to happen, but we’re putting together ideas for a small project that will test out our skills as developers. I also need to finish Super Snake RPG, but I underestimated just how much writing goes into having that many endings. And of course there’s Imperium, my old team’s RPG that I’ve agreed to finish. My plate is full and I promise you guys some real forthcoming content. Provided I can maintain my sanity long enough to deliver. I love you all.
A couple of months ago Comcast had an outage in my area. They brought a truck out to my apartment complex and tinkered for an hour or two. After that, I had no internet for about two weeks. I called and set up appointments and they would never show up, prompting me to attempt a reschedule. They finally sent a guy who took five minutes fiddling with it and I was reconnected. They promised to credit my account for the time I had missed, which they forgot to do until recently.
I bring this all up to say that, by some miracle, Comcast has managed to pull the same trick. I wised up this time. I gave it five minutes after the truck left for my service to go back up before calling them. I sat on the phone for two hours and more or less accomplished nothing. They say that I have a wiring problem that needs to be addressed at some point in the future. Instead of letting me know about the problem and fixing it, they’ve instead decided to routinely shut my services off without warning.
As I write this, I feel the need to remind everyone of the tired old cliche. The massive black cloud of Comcast does, in fact, have a silver lining. Because Comcast is the only provider where I live, all of my neighbors have Comcast routers. Comcast routers kick out some free wifi to anyone that has a Comcast login, so I’m not having to lose out on any work in the process of getting my services returned.
I’m confident that everyone has at least one of these. This isn’t even my only one, or my best one. Comcast has a near-monopoly in many of the places it serves, so they don’t actually need things like customer service or client retention acumen. And I know this is a first world problem, but I give not two shits, I am irritated.