New Book

It’s been a couple weeks since I paused this blog to write a new book. It ended up being super-short, but perhaps it’s a work-in-progress at this point (I do appreciate brevity though). And since it’s so short, I’ll just keep it as a dedicated page on this blog for now: Virtual Enlightenment.

It’s a non-fiction simulation-based self-help book. It explains how the adoption of “simulation theory” can actually lead to a more enjoyable existence. It’s a concept that helped me tremendously, so I figured I’d write it in a book. Of course this blog says the same things but the book is a more succinct format.

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Pause Here, Again

Just a message for future-me. Hey Rich, it’s past-you. You’re currently writing a new book. Here’s a hint only you’ll understand: “simuletics” (unless it’s been a long time and you forget what it means). Nothing big, just a project you’re working on, which is why there’s a gap here. In order to focus, you’re trying not to write anything that doesn’t have to do with your current project.

You also recently disabled all comments on this blog as well as “Likes” and any notification emails. And just to note, “Likes” still get through by other avenues, even though they’re generally disabled. I turned them off because I didn’t like the silent judgement I felt when some posts received low-to-no “Likes”. Those poor posts, they did nothing wrong… I’m to blame!

Besides that, things are going decently. Oh, at this time you’re currently trying to improve your ability to sleep. How did that work out? And if you’re wondering, Michelle is doing some crafting and just started some new Etsy stuff. Your son is doing well in school and is studying the classics at home (Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Contra for example).

Um, not much else to report. Good luck in your endeavor. Although since I don’t believe in luck, I should say “Good expectations” in your endeavor. I might be back here once in awhile if some thought won’t go away until written down. You may remember that you previously paused in the past for another book you wrote too: Pause Here. Later.

Let’s Get Nuts

Okay here’s the deal. I’m going to continue writing this blog just as I always have. I’ve been debating whether I should focus on something else because it feels a little weird to dedicate myself to a project that’s relatively invisible to the world. It’ll be 7-years soon, over 1500 posts, with only a handful of regular readers. Even though this blog isn’t much, it’s the only thing I’m inspired to create, so I guess that’s what I’ll do. I’ve always found the writing process satisfying, but the lack of audience and income is slightly vexing.

But in a way, that frustration is a turning point: from wanting to be hidden-away and free from the judgmental eyes of others, to wanting to be seen. Yet I don’t really want to spend any time trying to attract an audience. Oh well. This is a personal diary and will continue to be one I guess. I tried to apply logic, I tried to figure out something more practical to do, but ultimately that’s a failed strategy because logic is for losers.

Logic is not the linchpin that binds this blog. This blog will be whatever it’s meant to be by sheer force of will. What middle-aged man is willing to write a “blog” with zero financial incentive, to the exclusion of any other career-related activity, for almost 7-years? A wacko? If I’m a wacko, I might as well go full-blown wacko. The trouble with anything, is when you half-ass it — in any endeavor, you gotta go all-in.

I write a personal-blog as a “career”, I wear an Apple Watch because it makes me feel like a cyborg, I met my wife in an AOL chatroom, I listen to Super Soul Conversations with Oprah, I love Disney World, I have an incense/essential-oil collection, I play War Robots on my 13″ iPad Pro, and I can be seen riding around town on a kick-scooter — let that sink in. I’m a silly guy. A geek/nerd/hipster/new-age/quirky/wacko. If I attempt to live a practical life, then I’m doing “me” wrong.

I’m not Fonzie, I’m not even Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, I’m a complete dork — and I guess I’m okay with that. I’m a comical character, a source of amusement for myself and others. My problem is, I take life too seriously, I take myself too seriously. I love watching funny stuff, it’s only right that my life is one big wacky adventure starring a goof-ball main-character. Fine, so be it — let there be laughs!

My New Year’s wish was to become a player in the game-of-life that focuses on living-out his role the best he can. I suppose this aligns with that. It’s time to remove the self-imposed limitations and be the authentic me. And although it seems embarrassing to be the real me because there’s nothing left to hide behind, it’s really the best option. In closing, I would like to say “Live long and prosper”, “May the force be with you”, “Nanu Nanu”, and of course “Kiss my grits!”.

Slippery Slope

Once when I was a little boy, I saved up a bunch of money and proudly went to the store to buy something with my hard-earned cash. I picked out one of those sleds with the metal runners and a wooden platform for lying on — a flexible-flyer type. I happily brought it home and placed it in the snow, ready to go.

There was about six inches of snow on the ground and the sled just sank into it. It wouldn’t budge. I didn’t get it. We had a plastic sled that worked fine, it slid down on top of the snow. But this one simply sank — I never understood that it would only work on a nicely packed trail. That sled sat in my shed winter after winter — mocking me. I never got it to work as expected.

From that experience, I learned that nothing was worth working for. Nothing was worth saving for. The end result of effort was disappointment. If it didn’t come easy, then I didn’t want it. A sure thing — or no thing. Take a guess how well that philosophy-of-life worked out? Spoiler Alert! Not too well.

So I ask you, did life set me up for failure, cruelly taunting me with an expectation of fun and excitement only to snatch it away? Or was I simply a little brat, too quick to criticize and too stubborn to see beyond my first impression? Life simply said: “Hey Rich, wanna try something new?” And I replied, “Sure, but I’m pretty confident I won’t enjoy it, I’ll put in a half-hearted attempt, but I’ll be quick to give up and blame you for it not working out. Sound good?” Life: “Sigh…..”

Down to Business

Okay, let’s get down to business folks. Career-stuff has vexed me my entire life. It’s time to turn that trend around. For too long I’ve thought of myself as a pawn, subject to the whims of Lady Luck. My thought pattern has been: “Well, I’m just waiting for a lucky break, then things will turn around. Any day now… [many years later…] Um, hello? Uh, well I suppose patience is a virtue after all…” Guess how that technique has been working out? Poorly, in every sense. It’s time to pivot to a new direction.

Lately, I’ve been paying attention to some content-creators. Not what they’re saying, but what’s going on underneath the surface. Fundamentally, their content is fleeting and futile in isolation. It’s the audience-member himself that turns content into something personally meaningful. For example, if I have you listen to a song I like, or sit you down to watch a funny video I like, you’ll probably just shrug. Content is a very personal matter and the consumer brings so much to the table.

Many content-creators are shocked that people like their work, and are often surprised at the specific aspects people enjoy, and are amazed at all the meaning ascribed to it. This means that a content-creator’s work exists beyond the creator. He or she is merely the conduit. In fact, you’ll often see a problem develop when a creator truly believes himself the source of his content, he develops a warped ego, gets anxious and paranoid about generating new content, and the content can get weird or dry up.

Okay, back to my personal situation. I started this blog about six and a half years ago and it’s been my creative focus ever since. I believe this means I qualify as a content-creator. And it’s true, I feel like a conduit for words that come from a place beyond myself. Thoughts appear in my head, I type them out, and publish them here. So what’s the problem? Well, the content I publish doesn’t have a significant readership and doesn’t generate any revenue. Oh.

It’s a hobby I’m passionate about, not a career. Whereas I’d prefer a career of some sort at this point in life. I’d like a satisfying answer to the question, “So what do you do?”. I’d like a reason to be busy and feel like a productive member of society. I’d like a source of income to buy all the trinkets and experiences I fancy — for myself and others. I’d like a reason for people to respect and admire me. I’d even like a reason to have a home-office and a desk.

And in a sense, I have a responsibility to distribute the content I’m provided. I shouldn’t feel awkward or self-conscious about it, it’s not really mine anyway, I’m the messenger. There’s an audience out there seeking content and I should accept that I’m a content-conduit. Fundamentally, I’m here to establish a relationship, a threesome if you will, a triumvirate, a trinity in fact — of creator, content, and consumer. So let’s get it done. “Hi my name is Rich, and I’ll be your server this evening!”

An American Beginning

An excerpt from the fictional tales of An Imagined History of America.

It all began one day in England when Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim were attempting to worship the Almighty Creator in their own special way. You see, they liked to sacrifice fowls and roast them on an open spit right in front of the king’s castle. But one day the king himself, on his way for a morning walk, saw this practice and was to have none of it.

“See hear! What on earth are you doing!?”, shouted the king.
“Why we’re giving burnt offerings to the Lord, your majesty,” said Mrs. Pilgrim.
“But why here and why now!?”, inquired the king.
“To worship the true King of men and give thanks for all His blessings of course, your majesty,” replied Mr. Pilgrim.
“Guards, get these fools away from here! Immediately!”, shouted the king.

Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim were ushered away and their offerings were disposed of by the king’s men. The reason they chose the doorstep of the king as their place of worship was actually a slight bit of defiance you see. Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim believed that the true king of man resided in heaven. They thought of the earthly king as a charlatan and fraud — a blasphemer and usurper that put himself in the place of Almighty God.

“You know what Martha, I believe we should leave this unholy land and start a new life elsewhere, in a place free of blasphemy — in a land ruled by God himself, God’s Country,” said Jonathan.
“Why Jonathan, your boldness and passion enflame my heart. Yet we are mere townsfolk, where are we to go, how are we to make-do for ourselves?” replied Martha.
“But Martha, we are children of God and He shall provide. And I’ve heard talk of a new land, they call it America. A veritable Garden of Eden that the Almighty created for those that worship Him with all their heart, all their soul, and all their mind,” replied Jonathan.
“Oh Jonathan! I shall not doubt His ways! Truly we must travel to that land He provideth!”, said Martha excitedly.

And so it was that Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim found themselves determined to travel to God’s own country. Within their small circle of friends, they convinced others to make the journey with them — all simple townsfolk lacking the knowhow to survive in an untamed wilderness. But by their ignorance, their faith was emboldened!
“Surely God will make safe passage and provide the provisions we need!”, they’d say.

Then came the day upon which Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim, and their friends, boarded a ship that would set sail for the Promised Land. It was a long and arduous journey, something the simple townsfolk weren’t used to. The winds and waves rocked their tiny ship and many of the landlubbers amongst them lost their lunch overboard. But what nourishment did they truly need, but the word of God — and so they read their Holy Bible day-in and day-out as they sailed abroad.

Finally, after so long at sea, they landed. But it was cold, so frigid in fact that Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim lost half their party due to a lack of faith in the Lord. Woe to he that doth not trust in Him to provideth. For truly, some were superficial in their belief whereas others came with the seed of God sown deep within. The day of reckoning had come where wheat was separated from chaff.

And after those first frigid days, the party ventured deeper into the new world. God had not forgotten those that had brought faith instead of knowledge. No, for he sent to them a native-guide that miraculously spoke their own very language. A native that had been taken from his home years earlier, trained in the king’s English, and returned. Even an unoccupied native-village awaited their arrival. God provideth!

Once Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim and their friends settled into their new life in God’s country, they set about to give thanks to the Almighty for the blessings received. After finding the largest fowl they could, a turkey, they set it as the centerpiece of a magnificent feast filled with all kinds of local farm-to-table goodies. This great dinner would be known as Thanksgiving in the years to come.

And with the Pilgrim’s example, many other religious zealots also made their way to the New World. Of course, when you get a lot of opinionated people together that share a penchant for disregarding mortal authority, there’s bound to be some underlying friction. And so it was that many separate colonies were created, each with their own ideas of how to run things. This was America’s beginning: a land given to the faithful by God.

Episodic Dreams

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Consumed by Reality.

By the glow of the screen I could see my face reflected on its surface. I sat with the show paused. Was it a message? Am I as schizo as the character I’m watching? To scroll through the thoughts I’ve been having lately, it certainly seems like I’ve given up on reality — the reality I knew for so many decades, now gone.

In favor of what? A belief that boils down to magic? The casting of verbally-invoked spells and manifesting wishes? Really? That’s insane. But why does everything I keep watching and reading keep telling me the same thing? Am I just surrounding myself with nut-jobs? Is the Bible, a book revered by billions throughout history and the world something to be readily dismissed?

If I simply follow my cultural heritage as a Christian, then I’m supposed to believe in supernatural powers — case closed. But it’s more than that, even the best-selling books on “business success” are telling me the same things. And interviews with world-famous people speaking on their own success further corroborate the same extraordinary forces at work. I feel like Alice in Wonderland.

Could it be that the things I believed about reality for all those years are completely delusional? Was I nuts? Am I only starting to see the reality that everyone else is living in? Holy shit! I’ve been a crazy-person lost in my delusion for decades!? Or is it that I’m NOW going crazy, seeing a fantasy world where none exists?

Was my family just playing along? Humoring the weirdo that believed in a physical reality ruled by random chance? Did they even think I was serious? “Of course he’s joking! Haha” — or at least they hoped I was. Or perhaps from their perspective, they just couldn’t understand the ravings of a madman.

Although in my defense, the people around Jesus didn’t “get it” either — not the people that had him crucified nor even his direct disciples. Am I to believe that everyone gets it nowadays? And I’m just the idiot left in the dark? I find that hard to believe, yet everything I’m seeing lately implies it’s common knowledge.

Where do I even start looking for a foundation? So let me get this straight, the planet I’m living on wasn’t created billions of years ago by a seemingly random explosion in the center of the universe, nor did life come-to-be by chance millions of years ago and evolve over time into many varying species, one of which being humanity? And the course of each human’s life isn’t determined by a cocktail of random-chance, DNA, survival-skill, societal influence, and luck? Well shit.

And instead of all that, I’m actually a welcomed and cared-for guest in some sort of fabricated paradise in which my every desire is meant to come true — all I have to do is wish it into existence? What the FUCK!? Was my head THAT buried in the sand? It’s like Little Orphan Annie finding out she’s been adopted by Daddy Warbucks — or Charlie walking into the Chocolate Factory — a dark and gloomy world dawning into one of delight and wonder.

Even THOSE movies were trying to tell me something. To get me to snap out of it — to wake up. You mean this awesomely elaborate world isn’t a complete shithole hellbent on tormenting its inhabitants?? Oh, my bad. And the part about it being a fun-factory of dream-fulfillment is actually true? It’s not hyperbole? Really? Huh, well don’t I feel like a dope.