Friday, January 08, 2016

Personal Update Time

Been a while since I spoke of myself here, so here we go.  I know you are all dying of curiosity of my current state a mere 4 months out from that life-altering surgery.  I know I am dying to find out how I'm doing.   I don't tell myself either as I don't want me to worry.

Let's get the first thing out there first: I hate this fucking bag!   I do.  I hate it.  I hate the smell.  I hate the bulge it makes in my shirt.  I hate dealing with it.  I hate having a constant reminder of what I went through.   The worst is that I often forget it is there and the sudden realization that it is, is sometimes like getting again for the first time: I have to adjust to it and remind myself that it is permanent and how I am forever.    But it isn't all bad...I wear boxers again and that is awesome!  I don't buy toilet paper and my toilet seat hasn't gone down in months.  I hated taking shits, I just haven't decided if I hated shits more or less than I hate this bag.

I have started working full time-ish again.  Our office has everyone down one day a week, so that is the "ish."   I am not out of my hole of debt, but I can see the bottom which means I can stop sinking and should start rising again soon.   My nihilism is still going strong and that is a problem as I don't think I have fully committed back to the living again.   I feel like I mentally still have one foot in the grave and am simply biding time between outbreaks.  I have to constantly remind myself it is not the length of time one has, but what one does with it that matters and I need to commit to this life.  I am trying though.  I am forcing myself to go out some.  I have gotten back in touch with old friends and am forcing myself to hang out with them.   By forcing, I mean that my natural inclination is to stay home alone as that is my comfort zone, so I force myself to go to them rather than having them come to me.

I am obsessed with comedy programming now.  I won't watch anything serious I've noticed.  I tried Jessica Jones and I can see it is a show I should love, but the unrelenting darkness seems to get to me now where it didn't before.   I've continued trying to learn more and more about myself and to find comfort in what I find.  I have accepted perfection is never going to be attained, but that is not a reason not to strive for it.   I used to use that as an excuse to not try, but I've realized that, while you can't reach perfection, you can get pretty damn close if you try.    This is the concept I am trying to apply to my life now: it will never be perfect and there is officially now no chance of it ever being perfect, but I can get close if I really want to and I think I really want to.   I mean, why did I go through all that Hell if I am just going to wait to die?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Yeah, I Love Quotes

My boss said to me today "stop quoting song lyrics to me" while we were having a debate about life, but I can't help myself.   I have always loved quotes and always found value in them.  I know why.  Want to know?  Keep reading.  If not, sorry I lost you.

Once upon a time, I said something profound that I believed was an original thought.  I was proud of it as it ended the debate and I had won...I thought.  The truth is the debate changed gears to my unattributed quote I had heard, but forgot I heard and thought was original.  All my credibility was shot at that moment and I lost the debate.  If I was wrong about the source, I could very easily be wrong about everything else I said.   It sucked.  I felt shamed.  I began a quest, or rather resumed a quest started in childhood.

I always had an ear for lyrics.  Yes, I didn't always get them right ( "We are the Champions" is NOT "we are the trappers), but I always focused on them.   And, speaking of shameful moments, "we are the trappers" is a big one and another factor to my quote obsession.   Hang on for a tangent.

I forget the year, but "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" was a huge hit and constantly on the radio.  I think I was 7 or maybe 6 and was living in Snapper Creek with my mom and her new husband who became my dad years later.   His son had just moved in with us or was visiting, but I clearly remember being in the downstairs bathroom and singing "we are the trappers" as my brother walked by.

"It is 'We are the Champions, Brad" he said.   Stupidly, I argued.  I insisted.  I fought.  I failed.  I was wrong.  And he holds that over my head to this day and rightly so.  If I had a Trump Card that good to use on him to end every debate, I would use it in a heartbeat and laminate it so it never wore out.

Anyway, quotes are now an obsession and have been.  Breakfast Club and Heathers were movies I memorized start to finish.  I tried learning Monty Python movies, but they keep changing the scripts on me.   I swear I learn it down to the adverb, and then suddenly it is something different.   Screw you, Monty Python!

So I love quotes and use them all the time.   Even my cancer support group has noticed and called me out for always sourcing things I say, but it all goes back to that being called out.   I realized everything I could say has already been said and probably far better than I could say it; certainly said with more authority than I could give it.  I mean, what weighs more: Kanrei said or Ghandi said?  If you said Kanrei, thank you.

So I find myself when I write or blog looking up quote sites, typing in what I want to say, and finding someone who said it better and learn their quote.  And as annoying as it is when talking to me, I must always source my quote out of fear of reliving an embarrassing moment.

Sorry.   As Steve Martin said in "Grand Canyon": That's part of your problem: you haven't seen enough movies. All of life's riddles are answered in the movies.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Kanrei's Episode Three

I am quite happy with my Special Edition plots for the Star Wars prequels; about as happy as most who write fan-fiction are with their work which I realized I had done, so I am going to elaborate on the one scene I really would love to see: the betrayal of the Jedi in my version.

I don't change much in how it ends as far as Vader and Obi Won's fates, but how it happens changes greatly.   I see the Jedi on a volcanic planet being lead down a dark valley by Vader and Obi Won with Vader in the lead.   Vader and Obi Won have joined them to help clear the name of the Jedi after the terrorist attack of the last movie was blamed on them.   It is believed the real source of the attack is hiding on this planet.   As the Jedi pass the pitch black walls of valley, above them, one by one, red light saber blades start to emerge.  They don't notice at first as slowly over 100 blades begin glowing above the 20 remaining Jedi.   It becomes clear the Sith were waiting and this is a trap.

As the Jedi begin to notice the glowing red blades of the Sith, Obi Won also notices Vader has moved about 20 feet away from the pack of Jedi with his back to them.  Obi Won calls out to his student to be careful as Vader slowly turns around to face Obi Won with a smirk on his lips and his own red bladed light saber is unleashed spelling out to Obi Won exactly what has happened.  Without hesitation, Obi Won launches a full assault on Vader allowing his rage to take over and the Sith overpower and slaughter the Jedi.  Vader's smile grows as he taunts Obi Won with the fact that it was Obi Won's uncontrolled rage that made Palpentine pick him to train Vader.   It was Obi Won's style of being a Jedi that allowed the Sith to infiltrate the Jedi Order.  It was Obi Won's trust that lead to the downfall of the Republic and it was Obi Won's friendship that blocked his ability to see any of it.    The more Vader taunts, the more rage Obi Won feels, and this rage forces Obi Won to not just defeat Vader, but to mutilate him all while screaming and revealing his own personal feelings for Padame, feelings he didn't even know he felt.  In a final act of vengeance against his former student,  Obi Won purposely leaves what is left of Vader alive.

Yoda, who has been missing since the first movie contacts Obi Won to come to the Dagobah system and bring Padame with him.   He infers it is her children who are the only hope for the galaxy.   Yoda further reveals Vader only knows about one child, not the twins, and that he knows it is a son.   It is decided it is best to separate the twins with the one Vader doesn't know exists remaining in the Republic to learn the insides of the system while Obi Won would go into hiding and would  watch over the son, eventually contacting him to reveal his true place in the galaxy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Star Wars Prequel Special Edition Plot

Been thinking about the Prequels and I think we need to Special Edition them.

Phantom Menace would introduce the true Jedi Knights. They would wear armor sort of like the Stormtrooper's wear, but slightly different to show their higher rank. Obi Won would be assigned by the leader of the government a new student named Anikan Vader to train. Anikan would have a secret assignment as well that would slowly be revealed where he was to commit an act of terrorism against the Republic that would appear like the Jedi did it. The first movie would expand on and explain the possible rift between the Jedi and the Republic; possibly Yoda sensing evil in the Republic's leader. Padame would be introduced, but not sure of her role. First movie ends with the Jedi being sent off by Palpatine (except Obi Won and Anikan who are assigned to protect Palpatine) to deal with a created crisis far from the capital. At no time is it spelled out Anikan or Palpatine are evil, but it is hinted at.

Second movie starts with the Jedi heroically dealing with the created crisis as the terrorist act they are to be blamed for happens at home. Palpatine makes a speech condemning the Jedi for leaving and hinting they may have been behind the attack. The rift between Obi Won and Anikan starts as Obi Won knows something is not right, but Anikan defends Palpatine. As Palpatine expands his power to protect the Republic from the Jedi threat (and crushing those he deems pro-Jedi), the surviving Jedi start to make their way home unaware of the changing climate. Ends with the audience seeing Obi Won starting to fall for Anikan's lies about Palpatine thanks to Padame's defense of Anikan.


Third movie opens with Obi Won and Anikan linking up with the remaining Jedi under the guise of coming to aid them as they have now become aware they were set up. It is mentioned Padame is pregnant back home with Ankian's child. Obi Won goes to hear their side, but Anikan has been sent to lead the Jedi into a trap. Anikan and Obi Won lead the Jedi to a volcanic planet in the name of clearing their name, only to suddenly expose a Sith army lying in wait for the Jedi. It is at this moment Obi Won realizes how he was betrayed by Anikan and the slaughter beings. Obi Won is the only Jedi to escape, deforming and almost killing Anikan in the process. Palpatine rewards Anikan's loyalty by saving him and promoting him to the title of Darth; Dark Lord of the Sith while Obi Won takes Padame, who unknown to Darth Vader, gave birth to twins. One twin, a daughter, is kept right under Vader's nose while the other, a son, is sent off to live on a far distant desert planet and given to a family with the name "Skywalker." Vader knows he has a son, but not a daughter.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Yesterday's Thoughts Continued.

Following up from yesterday:

Let me tell you a story.  Sit back and relax, but this won't take long.   Parts of this story will be exaggerated for both dramatic effect and to inspire you to look it up for yourself.  I will point the way and give you a guide, but it is up to you to connect these dots.   Ready?

Once upon a time, Europe was falling one nation after another to a fascist, nationalistic, and racist government.  As each nation fell to this mighty force of evil, certain members of those nations who were deemed less than human by the evil force were relocated to "re-education" camps to learn how to better serve the new evil force.   When the sheer number of these sub-humans kept growing, it became a problem and a final solution was proposed to deal with these poor cretins.  

But not all who were conquered supported this cleansing.   A ship was commissioned,  the MS St. Louis, and in 1939 it set sail with 908 poor subhumans on board searching for a nation to take them in.  First was Cuba where they were denied entry.   Next came an attempt to find sanctuary in Florida, but the US said no as well.   Canada was the next port where help was sought and was the third nation in a row to turn down the refugees.   So back to Europe they went where England and a few other nations agreed to take in some of them, but as nations fell, many of those refugees found themselves right back in the very same situation they first fled from.  In the end, well...
"Of the 620 St. Louis passengers who returned to continental Europe, we determined that eighty-seven were able to emigrate before Germany invaded western Europe on May 10, 1940. Two hundred fifty-four passengers in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands after that date died during the Holocaust. Most of these people were murdered in the killing centers of Auschwitz and Sobib√≥r; the rest died in internment camps, in hiding or attempting to evade the Nazis. Three hundred sixty-five of the 620 passengers who returned to continental Europe survived the war."Source

I know there are people screaming again about Godwin's Law, but dammit if you don't want to be compared to Nazis, then STOP ACTING LIKE NAZIS!   I studied history and I learned from the past because I don't want to repeat it.   I have seen directly what becomes of refugees when we decide we have filled our quota of immigrants from a specific area or of a specific ethnicity.    We talk a damned good game of freedom, equality, and noble pursuits, but we suck at follow through.  Let these Syrian refugees in!

There is nothing to fear from the refugees.   Why bother with refugee status and loopholes when you can come into America as a tourist or on a student visa like those who have actually attacked us have done.   Refugees are too well watched compared to tourists and students.

The ports are safe.  Thank the mafia for that.  Same with those drug tunnels coming from Mexico.  Thank the Cartels for that.   Neither of those groups want more government attention on them and they know all it would take is for one attack to be traced back to either route for those organizations to suffer greatly.    Right now our attention on terrorism has given them a sort of clearance to do business as normal so long as they keep a lid on it and I doubt they want to risk that.

Limiting access to guns will help, but using something as vague as the Terrorist Watch List, which I believe accepts anonymous tips to add people who would then be denied their Constitutional rights without confronting their accusers would hardly be American and if we start denying basic rights based on anonymous tips, the terrorists win.   Where would it stop?   Imagine losing your right to speech, a public trial, legal assistance, a defense, etc all because someone said you could be up to no good.   Even more frightening, imagine this due to some clerical error and your name was placed on the wrong list.

We have too much to lose to willingly give it up for the illusion of security.   We cannot possibly be guaranteed giving these right up will protect us, but we can be guaranteed giving up these rights would forever change our nation and remove the very ideas we are willing to die to defend.

Sometimes life really does break down to the famous Rocky quote: Life isn't about how hard you can hit; its about how hard you can get hit and keep going.


Monday, December 07, 2015

A Brief Moment of Serious Thought

When I blog on that other site, I tend to find myself defending Muslims quite often from blanket accusations and hate.   Eventually someone always says "funny that a Jew would defend a Muslim when that Muslim wouldn't defend a Jew."   I can't tell you how offensive that question is and how telling it is of the person who asks it, but I am going to try in the name of posting something since it has been a very long time and this is where my mind is headed.

First is this stupid idea that a Muslim wouldn't defend a Jew.  Do people really think this is some kind of global war where all members of a faith are drafted in and happy to engage in the fighting?   Do you really think any one faith is centered around killing, violence, and death?  Is your's?  Because that is what they probably think and if they are wrong about you, can't you be wrong about them.

Have you read the Quran?   The Torah?  The Talmud?  The New Testament start to finish?  More than once?   Studied and compared it?   Did detailed analysis of each and its place in the context of the times in which it was written?  Looked at the symbolism, the metaphors, and the analogies contained within each?   Me either.    So we can't really talk with knowledge about any faith, can we?   Bet we haven't even done this with our own faith, so we can't really talk with any knowledge about our own either.   Funny, huh?

I have done some research recently out of curiosity and I will share it with you about the context of the word "Allah" in Islam and to whom they speak when the Quran threatens the lives of those who don't believe in Allah (which is probably a metaphor, but I can't back that up).   The short answer is "Allah" is G-d is Jesus is Adoni is the Flying Spaghetti Monster is whatever you believe is god.   Weird huh?   So technically, almost everyone believes in Allah.   Don't believe me?

Here:


Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
--  trans. Yusuf Ali, Quran 2:256

AKA: You can't force someone to worship Allah as you do.  So who or what exactly is Allah?

First of all, it is important to note that "Allah" is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word "Allah" being used where "God" is used in English. This is because "Allah" is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word "God" with a capital "G". 
source

So everyone who worships a god worships Allah and you can't force someone to pray the same way you do.    Pretty much means everyone killing in the name of Allah are not very good Muslims, are they?  Also means there is no reason why a Muslim wouldn't defend a Jew, does it?

Now at the risk of violating Godwin's Law, I must bring up Nazi Germany.  I apologize, but it is necessary to why I defend Muslim accusations.   I'm not going to recap the history (you're welcome), but I am going to quote my favorite poem from the era which I think sums my position up perfectly:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me source

I'm going to stop for now and let that sink in.   I'll have more later about the refugees and why we need to take them in.