Blogger For Almost A Year – But Should I Continue? (And More Final Reflections)

The year ended and begun just as it did for me last year, quietly and uneventfully. I brought it in with a marathon of “Final 24” on OWN, then some final reflections on important Canadians we lost in 2013 in the final minutes on CBC. I also crafted and posted my final entry of the year on MB man, posting about an hour and a half before my official new year (though apparently the WP servers are in another time zone, since the said  entry  tagged as my first of this year).

The difference between this year and last however, is my state of mind.

I recall that the holidays could not be over FAST enough in 2012, having worked though both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve (and as such, put up with peoples shit as per any retail job). And I also did not agree with getting up at 7am on a holiday, just to serve last minute idiots who couldn’t find the time to prepare in the days, weeks and months BEFORE Christmas/New Years Eve.
But that could have been the no vacation time from work since my 2 weeks off in  2008 talking. Or it could have been the hangover from the bitterness that was my old job, still present. Or it might have been the stress of not having a sleep cycle that accommodated early mornings.

Either way, taking a week off to leave town, did a lot for my sanity. Though 2 family members close to me almost ruined it with their utter selfishness, Christmas was actually good. As was new years. Despite the hangups of retail (not stressing over how little or much sleep I got, really contributes to how good a day can be, I have learned).

When it comes to the question above, it  was rhetorical.

Last year, when I first opened my WP account and started blogging, I enjoyed it, and it shows in the amount of material that I added in the time frame between February and summer. At the time, it seemed that my mind, and the world, provided me with a limitless supply of things to write (or bitch and rant) about. I tried to post at once every 2 or 3 days, which was an easy task, being there was always something to talk about in my mind, on the news, or elsewhere.

But in the last few months, my posts have been fewer and fewer. Which on one hand I suppose is alright (all of my views I am guessing are due to notifications, other then the ones from search engine hits). But I question whether I should keep the blog up. Blogging seems to me to be a hobby that should be participated in regularly, not just as an after thought.

But either way, to all the folks that followed me, liked or commented on my entries, or just read them, I thank you. May the new year be good to you, and may you stick to your resolution, for at least a month (goals for me are more achievable, with smaller time frames. So, no, its not an insult at your expense 🙂 ).

So far I am doing alright in terms of one of mine. My first 2 cups  of coffee of 2014 have stevia. The “sweet” spot seems to be about half of the tiny scoop they provide. And believe me, it IS tiny.

1

2

Even though the stuff is close to (if not) $10 bucks (cdn) a jar, and does not SEEM like much, believe me, its plenty. The reused Peanut Butter jar below contains sugar,which when used at 2 tablespoons a cup, will barley last a month. Since you do not need NEARLY that much stevia (trust me, I found out the hard way when I first bought it lol), this little jar will last months.

In fact, this little jar has been in my house since sometime in the summer of 2012, and used fairly heavily between then and early 2013 (I eventually got sick of it and reverted to sugar again lol).
But despite this, there is still half a jar left. I don’t know how many jars of sugar I would use at my rate in that time (or for that matter HAVE  used, in the last year).

Either way, this year will be sure to be interesting. Hopefully in a good way, but who knows. Were in for a ride, either way.

Duck Dynasty, Paul Walker And A Whole Lot Of Other News

I have not written for quite some time, and a lot has happened. From Paul Walker, to Nelson Mandela, to the Duck Dynasty fiasco, the world has been busy.

First, there was Paul Walker. A man who died quite an ironic and unfortunate death, and one of the actors I enjoyed in the FF franchise.
The first thing about this that bothered me, was the never ending news coverage. Then the makers of the FF franchise not waiting until Walker was even in the grave to start searching for his replacement. Then, more and more useless and ever more parasitic coverage. The worst “hijacking” of his death that I seen, was by TMZ (mainly with the sharing of the car burning video) and a quite popular facebook Christian group using “pray for him!” Memes to garner likes and views (despite the fact that in life, he was a Christian. Apparently his devotion was not good enough). And finually there was the CNN “Breaking News” article on facebook, which reported that “the autopsy has identified the cause of his death”. You could not have gotten a more pointless article then that.

Though I do not like to say it this way (because it sounds terrible lol), but the only good thing about Nelsen Mandelas death, was that it finally knocked Paul Walker off of my radar. A good man who lead a good life, may he rest in peace, and may his family have good luck and support.

Then there was the next big non-issue. The A&E Duck Dynasty anti-gay fiasco. The interview with the magazine that has garnered so much unnessesary attention.

Personally, there is a lot to this that is, kind of funny. The first, is that Phil Roberson’s remarks are somehow surprising. After all, the man is from about as deep south as you can GET. The home of the traditional everything movement, it should not be a surprise that someone from there happens to hold more “traditional” views. And at the same time, I do not blame A&E in their reaction to this matter. All the power to them for sticking up for their GLBTQ employees, as well as all others mentioned by Robertson (African Americans?).
The main thing I keep hearing from the conservative side, is about Phil’s right to free speech. And the main thing I keep hearing on the liberal side, seems to be that such things should no longer be said in 2013.

To the conservative sides credit, yes, he does have the right to free speech, and he was free to share his opinions as he saw fit. Every one gets that right, something that many on both sides of the asile forget (if you don’t allow the “bigots” to share their view, then they get the right to not allow you to in turn. Imagine if real life was life a heavily moderated facebook group). But at the same time, the action of A&E in suspending Phil from the show, had nothing to do with freedom of speech.

Since he was technicly employed by A&E, then they can fire him is they see fit. He has freedom of speech to say what he wants. But at the same time, since he basicly slandered all the GLBTQ employees of A&E, then they can terminate him.

Personally I could care less either way. I never watched Duck Dynasty before, and this certainly will not make me want to watch it any more. I could care less if the Roberson family chosses not to continue filming without him. One less garbage show to pollute the airwaves.

A&E carrying garbage programing is one thing (“Arts & Entertainment” leaves some wiggle room), but the big problem I have is networks like Discovery, History and The Learning Channel carrying useless garbage reality tv. Storage/Shipping/Baggage wars, license to drill, action hunters, all of that. It may have its place on the airwaves, for people to watch out of interest. But not on networks that should be reserved for educational content.

Since its Christmas Eve and the big day is tommorow, I wish everyone in the land of wordpress and the open internet a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday of whatever your chosen belief. The season may be overly commercialized, but the season is what you make of it. I spend mine with family and friends. Find what works for you :).

Children

kids

CONTENT WARNING: If you have kids, you may not like what I have to say. Take it up in the comment area. But don’t expect to change my mind.

The topic of children is one that comes up more and more in my life these days. When I look around, many of my friends from school already have youngsters. Being only 24 (going on 25 in June), I would have thought it to be a bit young, but it’s a personal choice (though sometimes, an unwanted surprise. But as long as they are good parents. That’s all that matters 🙂 ).

But I (as you may have already guessed) do not have kids. And I decided that I don’t think I ever want to have a child.

Of course, given my situation at the moment, it’s not likely to happen anyway lol. I’m far too busy with trying to subsist in life, to worry about the pain in the ass that is dating. Not to mention the other emotional baggage I’ve accumulated over the years (my imaginary semi-trailer is full LOL).

Though the topic does not often come up, when it does, I tell them truthfully. And like many of my other conclusions in terms of different topics, most don’t understand the “Why”. They say stuff like “You never know, that right person might come along . . .”, which is alright. But when it comes to my reasons for that decision, I am not always entirely honest (depending on the person).

George Carlin (Rest in Peace Old Fuck 🙂 ) says pretty much all there is to say when it comes to my attitude towards having children (maybe not so much my attitude TOWARDS children. But not too far off either LOL).

At the moment, for me personally, they would be a financial expense that I am not ready for. And they would be an expense on my mental health that I’m not yet ready for.

And looking at the big picture, they are an expense on the planet’s ever-dwindling resource base (especially those born in the western world). Those born into westernized nations fall into the consumption trap, from a young age get suckered into a life of consumption by marketers. And not just the fast food and new toy ads between cartoons, but even built INTO many of today’s plotlines (mainly the Christmas specials, as mentioned in my previous entry, “The War On Christmas“). And it’s not just children’s shows (think of the sitcom shows where A gets in the doghouse for forgetting to buy his wife an anniversary gift).

And to be born in the 3ed world is to be likely born into poverty, starvation and an early demise.

There is WAY too many humans alive already (not even mentioning their over-consumption on a MASSIVE scale). This is why I am of the opinion that the way the governments of the world currently deal with children, is in a sense, wrong. Well, not with children in themselves, but more, parents.

Many governments offer child tax incentives to parents, often for each child. This is the part that I disagree with.

My first reason, being how the system is abused. Though not many do this (I should hope anyway), it’s easy for a couple to have many kids, just for the money. In this respect, you can guess that the money isn’t always going to be used for the well being of the children. Which makes both the contributing taxpayers and the neglected children in such homes, the losers.

Then there is the whole idea of spending within your means. I can get myself a credit card with a million-dollar limit. But if I spend myself up to that limit, and suddenly realize that I can’t pay it back, no one is on the hook but me. The government is not going to issue me a weekly or monthly check, to help ease the pain of my stupidity in financial planning.

Though arguably not a direct comparison to the situation of having a child, it’s close. When a child (or children) are brought into the picture, one should automatically assume there will be financial obligations right from the start. Right from the beginning, diapers and formula are not cheap. Neither is clothing/accessories, nor food, and a million other expenses that any parent can add to this.

I should mention that I am not totally against gov’t assistance of parents in ALL cases. Considering my childhood upbringing, I would have starved without such assistance. But the effort must be met halfway, or a valid reason must be provided if not. For example, for a couple that is working hard, but still having financial troubles, it’s alright to help out. An exception to the working rule could be if there is a disability that prevents the parents from working (the case of my childhood).

The parents that should be affected, are mainly those that abuse the system for their own self-interests. But also those that feel entitled to the funding (whether they can afford a child otherwise or not), just because they have a kid.

For this one, the first thing that comes to mind is a Facebook status update from someone I know. They had just given birth and were angry that the hospital had charged them $400 for the use of the bed (or maybe it was the ambulance ride, not sure). Either way, they had the “entitled” attitude, which irked me.

At the time I saw it, it was fresh with no “likes” or comments (and I didn’t comment. It better that way lmao) and I didn’t bother checking the commentary since. But I thought to myself, it was a decision between you and your partner to have sex. So why is it that I and other taxpayers are automatically expected to foot the bill?

And when it comes to supporting those children, my attitude remains the same. One should treat children in the same way they treat an expensive item (like a luxury car). Feel free to have a child, but be sure you can afford it.

But of course, in life, there are things you may not see coming. Shit happens. And one may end up with a child that was unexpected, at a time when one is not really ready for one. It happens. So long as ANOTHER child doesn’t suddenly come along that they can not afford, I see nothing wrong with helping out.

For me, one of the biggest reasons that I am against the idea of a child is its future. At the moment, we are still in great shape in every way. There is enough food to keep the stores full, enough fuel to keep the public happy, food and energy still being relatively abundant enough not to be a worry.

But, consider how much of your life is tied up in fossil fuels. Oil, natural gas, coal. And also metals, as they play a prominent role in our lives (think of everything from the aluminum food/soda cans to the electronic gadgets in your home).

Now, consider that all of these things are finite. There is only a certain amount of these things easily available for extraction from the earth. And we have been getting more and more industrialized (therefore, consuming more and more) of all these things, for the past 1 to 200 years. And now, our society is as hungry as ever for these finite materials, especially energy (oil/gas/coal). But the low hanging fruits are almost (if not totally) gone. And what’s left will from now on be increasingly harder to access, and process (would offshore drilling be necessary if oil were readily available in easier to reach places on land? Would there be such a market for tar sands bitumen <fuel that takes MORE energy to process than what is obtained in burning it!> if there was no shortage on the horizon?).

Not to mention, the climatic hangover that our past fossil fuel use has left us with. Whether people chose to accept facts or NOT, climate change IS a very real threat to mankind. We now I suspect are just beginning to see the effects. Because of the delayed reaction of CO2 in the atmosphere, the CO2 that is affecting the climatic system now is likely that of which was burned years ago, by people who have long since died. But we are now pumping out more than ever, per person and as a whole (humanity).

As I mentioned before, I am 24, going on 25 in June. At the moment I am questioning what the planet will look like, within MY lifetime. I’d like to put on the rose coloured glasses of ignorant bliss I once had, but I can’t anymore (once reality tears them off your face, one can’t put them on, no matter how hard u try).

So, knowing that we are heading into a  number of shortages of key materials such as water and petroleum and its bi-products (also affecting food, as much fertilizer is petrol-based), I can not personally justify bringing a child into the world. And I wish that all will think long and hard, about your decision to have a kid, knowing that the consequences affect everyone in the end.

 

P.S

I wasn’t sure exactly where I could fit this into the entry before, so I will add it here. My opinion, that to be pro-fossil fuel and pro-industry, is to NOT be pro-life. This is aimed mostly at republicans, but if the shoe fits otherwise, wear it or make it fit.

Anyone who has paid any attention at all to politics in the US for the last few years likely knows about the republicans, and what they stand for. In recent years, they have followed the religious route, and thus are pro-life, anti-abortion and even to a degree, anti-contraception (think of the over-the-counter morning-after pill backlash). They are also very pro-industry, and very keen to stick with the old way (fossil fuels).

While the full effects of global warming are still coming, the vast majority of the scientific community agrees, it is happening. The signs are pretty much EVERYWHERE if you choose to look. Unlike all the worries of now such as the state of the economy, the dollar etc, global warming could very likely wipe mankind off the face of the earth.

And even if global warming does not fully pan out, the after-effects of “deregulation” and allowing the industry to self regulate could very well be the last straw. There have ALREADY been massive amounts of damage on account of deregulation (consider the Deep-water Horizon blowout, and the West, Texas explosion).

So if you are pro-fossil fuel, DO NOT tell me you are pro-life. Because you are NOT.

The War On Christmas

war-on-christmas

Its 4:37am local time, and im having trouble crashing out (im guessing, due to the red bull drank earlier to wake me up), so ill use this time to write here about a subject that has amused (and irritated) me for the last few years.

Some could say im 4 months late (or 8 months early) for this topic, but ill cover it anyway. The War On Christmas.

Ive heard about this so called “fight” in the media for the last few years. And even come across one person (a customer I served at my old gas bar job) whom proudly wore a badge reading “Keep The Christ In Christmas”. Something I found hilarious, because he always threw his cards at me, and was the most miserable old FUCK I knew (did I mention, his cards identified his employer to be the local child protective agency (Child and Family Services)?).

Even on facebook, members of the family would pass on these idiotic defending Christmas oriented memes. Telling there friends about how they are PROUD to say “Merry Christmas!”, instead of the less Christ-inclusive “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings“.

And indeed, the holidays have changed a lot. Not because of us evil asshole atheists, but because the world has woken up and recognized that Christians are not the only group that has holiday celebrations in the last part of December. And some groups do not celebrate at all. Not all non-celebratory groups are secular either.  The world has become a very diverse place, and so our society is recognizing that.

But I do see one thing that has managed to hijack “Christmas”, and pretty much every other holiday that there is. And its not secularism either! Its capitalism.

I have never known an “old” Christmas, but for me personally, it is a holiday that is meant for family interaction. A time to get together with friends and relatives, maybe have a bite to eat or a few drinks. And its also a time, to be charitable (though, arguably, the time for that is every day, but I digress . . .) .

But today, I see the vast majority of people interpreting the “charity” aspect of the holiday, as meaning a shopping spree on gifts for all there family and friends. People go into debt, and get overly stressed out, just to fill in that Christmas list. Or are proud to brag about gaining 20 pounds because of all they ate.

And the holiday is no longer about spending time with family, its more about gifts. How many, what kind, what do I want. Children now grow up feeling entitled to a gift or 20 every Christmas (and feel compelled to give in the same way). And if you watch many children’s cartoons, they also add to this problem to.

I know people, now grown adults, with this childish crap still firmly engrained in there brains. But im glad, to have kicked the Christmas shopping habit.

It happened a few years back, after there was a family scrap between my father and another family member, because he had forgotten to bring her gift with us when we left town (it was bought and wrapped, just at home, 200kms away). The family member and my sis were visibly upset that the gift had stayed home.

All I thought was, we have not seen each other in over 6 months. And your telling me, that a mistake that could happen to anyone, a FUCKING forgotten present, is more important then our mere presence? We drove 200kms, and your mad we left the GIFT?!?!

That left me kind of ticked off, but I made a change the next year in my holiday spending. Instead of the normal spending spree on useless materialistic crap that would eventually get thrown out or shelved (and that we REALLY, do not need), I put the money to charity’s. The first year I donated to Drs without boarders.

In following years, when the funds were available, I donated to a wide variety of organizations, from a local mission in Winnipeg (to help some less fortunate have a good meal), to environmental charities, to humanitarian charities.  I do have a very short gift list (parents and a couple friends), but otherwise ive sworn off gifts totally. I do not give, but I do not expect either.

Part of the reason I gave up giving, was because of the ecological costs of Christmas. When you consider all the factors (materials used in all that Christmas “crap” were buying, fuel used in shipping the stuff, AND fuel used in moving ourselves all over the country), the Christmas footprint on the enviroment is HUGE.

The above is a link to the song “Christmas Time Is Killing Us”, from the 2010 Family Guy Christmas Special. Still a favorite of mine, because of the underling message of the episode, made brilliantly clear by the song.

But another reason I quite following the Christmas crowd, was the whole stress part. Preparing for a holiday of happiness, should NOT be stressful. And yet people make it so.

But I admit, one of the bigger Christmas spirit killers, was people themselves. Being in retail, I got to serve people, and they often showed no respect at all. They didn’t at the gas bar where I worked, and they don’t at the grocery store I work at (leaving carts all over the lot, among other things).

At first, the thought of dropping the shopping seemed an ENORMOUS task, since I didn’t know how other people would react to it. But then I realized, it is not there money that is at play, it is YOURS. You can spend it on whatever you want (or not spend it!), and if they don’t like it, to bad.

Fortunately enough, some family members had already started doing this, so it wasn’t all that new. I admit, I didn’t even donate this year, but im hoping to make up for it this summer upon getting a more secure financial platform.

But, the point of the post is this. Though Jesus gets his name dragged into this debate all the time, im thinking he would be appalled by what Christians consider a proper “Christmas” today.

So if you find yourself running around the grocery store and the big box, going into debt and stressed to the max, all in preparation to the most happy holiday of the year, consider this all when judging who the great “Christmas Killer” is.

Secularists. Or Capitalists.