Fiction is now reality

Over the course of the Election, I kept running across my social media newsfeeds of all these horrible stories about Trump. I was inclined to believe them, especially all the things that came from Trump’s own mouth. Another set of articles was the fact that Trump had no chance in hell of actually being elected POTUS.

Boy, were those stories wrong.

But the thing is, that it is just exactly what they are: stories. Never did I think to fact check them, nor did I care to. I have noticed just how fictional journalism has become and how it is now designed to not report facts, but circle jerk likewise opinionated folk. And the worst byproduct that came from it was lack of pragmatism–too much I see the selling of opinions, and never the selling of solutions.

Bitches gonna bitch.

But no one wants to listen to different sides of the matter. No one wants to actually sit down and discuss the moralities, the difference in philosophies, or God forbid, peaceful solutions. People are too hung up in their ways in believing that everyone’s creed must be the exact same, and that the agenda must also be the same.

It is possible to believe differently and unify together to fulfill a pragmatic and harmonious agenda. Everyone is different. Life would be too boring otherwise.

So the next time you see that news article that your friend has posted on Facebook, think about who exactly is writing it, what they believe, and the difference between “fact” and “opinion.”

TITS! – There, I got your attention…

All my life I’ve struggled to be heard by just about anyone. The struggle lives on today, and to get people to actually listen to me, I have to raise my voice and make it sound like I’m yelling at others. This way of trying to be heard can either be good or really bad. Most of the times it turns out bad.

Well, today I’m declaring that I do not care if I offend. I’m tired of feeling second rate to everyone else and being walked on over and over again. Whether it is friends, family or coworkers, I will not be treaded on!

Have a nice day!

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Media Trends and the Benality of Evil

Superbowl, 1993

Michael Jackson comes out of a large screen billboard from one side…but wait! He comes out of another large screen on the other side! But then, we see him on the front stage as he holds a pause for a good minute and a half, then breaking composure to look to the other side for another moment, which then breaks into the all time classic “Billie Jean.”

I remember this moment as if it were yesterday. I was eight at the time, and thought this man, Michael friggin Jackson was a god.

Who knew later that one could fall from such grace?

*sigh*

There is something prophetic about this picture. Who knew that a decade later, good ol’ MJ would be considered a heinous sociopath? Well, this was before the internet. Trending thoughts and observations on the matter could not come until years later.

But MJ is not the subject here; trends are.

I grew up in the nineties, went through college in the 00s, and started my career later on. This post is not really about what I became, but what I could have been.

In 2004, I started my studies of being a sound engineer at the local community college. I spent a good four years doing so learning music, engineering, electric theory, and so much more. But it wasn’t what I was doing at school that really mattered (despite earning a degree and getting a job.)

I wanted to get into the music industry. Now, than God I had not. Why was this though? Is it because of corporate greed on one end of the spectrum?

No, it’s what my generation has done. I feel guilty, and I feel like the rest of my compatriots who grew with me through the Clinton and Bush years should feel the same.

You see, in the early 2000s, we were introduced to piracy, or what was called “sharing” back then. We could download our favorite song, our favorite show or movie and get it with the sacrifice of much slower bandwidth than what you and I experience today.

Who the hell knew we were sabotaging our own economy this way?

At this moment, it is fortuitous that “Teenage Wasteland” by The Who came up on my iTunes shuffle right now. Because it was us as teenagers that shaped the future, and now we have earned the title not because of it, but we are the Millenials.

No one thought twice of what we were doing. And big wig bands like Metallica were suing every and any one who was downloading their songs for free. We resented them for coming after us, and the comedians from “Who’s line is it Anyways” was doing a spoof about it on some awards show on VH1 with the line “Dude, it’s free!” *high five*

God, were we so naive to believe that we were entitled to someone’s blood and sweat and tears? Has artistry become so disposable as a toilet paper?

The music industry was once a billion–repeat–BILLION dollar industry. Now, because of our entitlement, songs are sold on iTunes or streamed on Spotify, but none of that profit can compare to what they make touring–which I should mention that tickets have become ridiculously overpriced. Bands who have been signed are lucky enough to be making a six figure salary these days, as compared to pre-millenium.

The same can go with books, or video games, or anything else. If there is one constant with America, is that this country’s main export has always been entertainment. So what happens when that export becomes unprofitable?

Our generation–the Millenials–have signed their own death warrant. And while they are criticizing the previous generation of their over expenditure with credit, our generation is doomed to become drones in data entry in order to succeed in life. Singers, bands, authors, and actors have become nothing more than assets now. They are the slaves of the corporations that rule now.

And it was all because we had to have that song without paying a dime out of our pockets. And thus so, no one will be able to truly make a career out of an art form, unless you win the lottery, or the equivalent of thus.

Quotes from Novels Read in 2015

I’ve decided to list some intriguing quotes I have found during my reading from the year 2015. I am a quote junkie and am always on the hunt for inspiration for my own musings. Check out my little commentary followed by the gems I have found:

The Mosaic of Shadows
by Tom Harper

This was a Byzantine historical fiction novel, the first in a series. A great book for one who likes the Middle Ages, stories of the Crusades, and even mysteries.

“Buying allies can be an expensive habit. Allegiance bought with gold is like meat in the sun: it festers quickly.”

“Truly, night smooths the fractures of the world.”

“What did your enquiries reveal?” “That a man who values knowledge will pay for it.”

“When you save a man’s life, I thought, you buy it with a small piece of your own.”

Hyperspace
by Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is a professor of theoretical physics. I got this book shortly after seeing the film Interstellar, as I was curious about multiple dimensions and string theory. It gets into heavy science and math later on, but he does “bottom line” thoughts and theories for those who are not of the initiated.

“More than half the gross national product of the earth, representing the accumulated wealth of our planet, depends in some way on the electromagnetic force.”

“Only a thief can catch a thief.”

Dracula
by Bram Stoker

I’ve always been fascinated by Dracula, but I had never read the novel. Last Halloween season, I decided to do so after picking up the latest edition (complete with a cool leather book cover) and delved into one of the greatest supernatural tales of our time.

“They say that people who are near death die generally at the change to dawn or at the turn of the tide.”

“All men are mad in some way or the other, and inasmuch as you deal discreetly with your madmen, so deal with God’s madmen too, the rest of the world.”

“A brave man’s blood is the best thing on this earth when a woman is in trouble.”

“A grip of the hand, the tightening of an arm over the shoulder, a sob in unison, are expressions of sympathy dear to a man’s heart.”

“I have tried to keep an open mind, and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the that make one doubt if they be mad or sane.”

“Is it possible that love is all subjective, or all objective?”

The Gates of Rome
by Conn Iggulden

I randomly picked up the entire Emperor series by Conn Iggulden when my work was giving away all physical copies of their books one day. I could not have made a better choice. The Gates of Rome is the first in the series which follows Julius Caesar’s rise to power.

“Savages and the beasts of the field break, but we go on.”

“A man did not climb trees and throw himself through muddy rivers. Boyish pursuits were to be put behind him.”

“Remember thou art mortal.”
“There are so many memories wrapped up in a hand. I mean, those fingers have held women and patted children.”

“I understand this truth. Few things are worth more than dreams or wives, pleasures of the flesh or even children. Some things are, though, and that knowledge is what makes us men.”

American Tabloid
by James Elroy

This is a novel I had recorded at work. It deals with a character in the middle of a conspiracy dealing with the JFK assassination. It was witty and raunchy, but had a lot to say about everything and everyone of the time. One such quote stood out to me than what you will find on Goodreads.

“Any fact can be bent to fit one’s thesis.”

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I have ready plenty of other books during this year, but these were the ones that inspired me the most. Let’s see what I can find in 2016 and beyond!

Star Wars Philosophical Quotes

There are two words that you don’t really find together in a sentence–Star Wars and philosophy. One would argue that its friendly nemesis Star Trek would deal more on philosophy. And more than likely, it does. However, there is wisdom in the movies, both holy trilogy and prequels. I have found some that can apply to today’s mindset:

“Only a Sith deals an absolute.” 

This is said from Obi-wan Kenobi right after Anakin says “If you’re not with me, then you are my enemy.” (Anyone else think this was an allusion to Dubwa Bush?) But Obi-wan was right, despite it being a bit hypocritical of the theme of Star Wars. I mean, you’ve got light side verses dark side–where is the grey rational area where such non-absolutes exist?

But I digress. I’ve always thought that black and white statements are for the small minded, and that one should be objective about their own views.

“So what I told you was true, due to a certain point of view.”

Ah! Is this Kenobi eating his words? Maybe, but again, it goes with my statement about black and white remarks. Yes, every one’s viewpoint can actually be the truth, and truth is subjective. I once read that facts can bend to fit anyone’s thesis. If you were to tell me that the sun will come up tomorrow, I might retort by saying “not in Norway during the summer!” The sun there actually never sets, and goes around horizontally 24/7, that is until winter comes.

“Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

Again, from a movie about light and lark sides of things, this contradicts the theme. But it’s a good quote nonetheless. We know right and wrong from how we are raised–a person who grew up saving themselves until marriage may not have the same opinion of sex from someone who sleeps around. The same can be applied to those that live in the north and southern states of America, and the views of the Confederate flag. This is the essential basis of tolerance and understanding, and it may be the most relevant quote needed to sink in with many today.

“Who’s more foolish–the fool or the one that follows it?”

Pretty much self explanatory.

“May the Force be with you.”

This has always been the sentimental equivalent of “God Bless,” “peace be with you,” or even “good luck.” My Taekwondo teacher used to say this to us whenever he dismissed class.

 

“We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life.” 

This saying is a bit more cynical coming from C-3pO who is wandering in the desert. However, we are all made to suffer at some point. What C-3Po cannot process is that we have to get through it and become stronger than we were. Ironic how one with a computer brain can’t rationalize this.

 

“The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.” 

The Force could be knowledge, religion, or even psychological influence. Either way, weak-minded individuals will suffer from those who have a certain kind of “force” put upon them. Those who control the information will be superior in today’s age. I guess money works too.

“Do… or do not. There is no try. “

You’re either gonna do it or you’re not. “Try” is sort of an excuse–a cop-out to say you’re not good enough, or the task is too much for you to handle. My classical guitar teacher would always quote this to me.

“A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. “

This goes with anything you are trying to focus on becoming. You can’t look at what’s going to happen, and you can’t go backwards. Live in the now, and enjoy the moment.

“Size matters not.” 

This is a common theme even today. We have Frodo, Bilbo, Tyrion, Harry Potter, and then we have the metaphor of the underdog succeeding in life. I believe it was Varys in Game of Thrones that said “even the smallest person can cast a big shadow” or something along those lines.

“If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.” 

I relate this to regrets. If you do something like drugs, murder, or anything else that is a bad decision, it will haunt you the rest of your life, and you have to own that.

“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” 

In the literal sense, Obi-wan meant getting struck down by Darth Vader’s lightsaber and becoming a ghost. However, metaphorically, one could use this mantra as means to pick yourself back up after a failure and learn from it.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” 

Another thing my guitar teacher said. I taught myself how to play guitar and then took classical lessons in college. Rock and Classical are two different things on a guitar, and I had to unlearn some “bad” habits in order to play properly.

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I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that resonated with me the most.

Humanity by Stephen A. Jacobi

When the world has come and gone, who

is going to ask why?

When your home has burned to ash,

are you going to ask how?

 

When someone points guns at others

are you going to ask, “Why would you do that?”

When you are wronged and want payback,

are you going to even ask if you should?

 

Good deeds are well hidden by

those posing good intentions.

Villains can be fabricated

by the ones who want crusade.

 

Is humanity measured by the individual

or is it by the whole community?

Does one judge when another is inhumane,

or has God already done that?

 

We use labels on all to

pick out our fights yet,

In the end, we

are all human. What’s the point though?

 

Is it so much harder to offer

compassion, charity, help

to those when they need it, than

it is to fight amongst us all?

 

Have we become so self-destructive?

Have we become so selfish?

Have we lost ourselves?

Have we lost the dream?

 

To dream is to hope, but

what is hope with hate?

to hope for someone to die is

to hope for freedom to end.

 

Is there someone who hopes

for an end? To bring about the darkness,

To destroy everything just because

they are a cynic and perhaps too sluggish to try?

 

To be a cynic means

to lose all hope.

To lose all hope, means

to lose the future–to lose all dreams.

 

If we lose the dream,

then we cannot shape the future.

If we have lost the battle with ourselves,

then we have lost the right to a future.

 

If we lose our collectiveness,

we have lost all of our humanity.

For one can’t be judged

without another.

 

In the end, hope is humanity,

and that humanity can restore the dream–the future.

Smug Writers and Internet Trolls

Let’s all take a moment to praise the digital age; a time when anyone who is anyone can be someone important and become famous for practically anything they come up with. It is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.

All right, yeah there is some irony to that statement however, I do my damnedest to remain humble. But there is one thing that is absolutely itching at me these days–it’s the idea that a writer absolutely believes they are the shit because they have written a book and published it without going through a publisher, and then lamenting other people for writing in the genres they do.

*sigh*…..

As I write this I cannot NOT be introspective. Yeah, I am not published, but there is a certain stereotype brewing that is both troll and smug. This person shows up on numerous social media forums lamenting certain romance genres, cliches, cover art, and just about anything else that they believe is “not cool” or “played out” despite their “massive” success in the book industry. I consider these folk to be a long time nemesis of mine: AKA bullies.

I feel bad for Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. Yeah, she went and wrote a whole book series about romancing vampires for the tween market. I may not follow her work closely or be a fan of it, but some of these jerks that are out there go out of their way to bully her and say some nasty things.

If you don’t like, then don’t read it. New golden rule.

But unfortunately, people don’t seem to have the respect and tact that most ladies and gentlemen of the Victorian age possess and “disagree respectfully.” No, people actually find it FASHIONABLE to say nasty things to Stephanie Meyer for her writings. What does that say about about our society as a whole? We’ve become a society of rabid feral wolves who bite at a chance to be “heard.” That’s the power of reviews baby!

It makes me wonder then: why the hell would anyone want to publish their work to be met with this kind of acrimony?

After that fact, why do so many people have this itch to berate something they are clearly unfamiliar with, or needing to point out the flaws in an extreme vehement way? Well, I feel like it can be boiled down to just one simple action: jealousy. We have become a jealous society; no one really cares about another’s success unless it can be directly attributed to their own life somehow. The irony of all this? I blame authors.

How many times are writers preached to “put a reader in their position?” How many times does relation to a character or plot need directly affect one’s own perception? Do we really need to put a person in the character’s place? What ever happened to storytelling in general?

Have we not grown curious outside our own familiarity anymore? Are people only interested in what they know and grew up with? Have we become so closed minded?

Not this guy. I vow not to rag on any writer’s work and only provide constructive critique.

Homage – A new word to use other than “ripoff” or “cliche”

You know what I really hate? This leftover hipster energy that basically points out at everything being “unoriginal” or a “ripoff.” I am sick and tired of people or websites speaking about how things are “too cliche” or “it’s already been done.” And then some holier than thou smug person decides to create a blog about it, listing all the archetypes that people are bored of, or any tropes that they can’t stand reading or watching again. To me, this would not be the most inspiring kind of person to be reading. Yet, everyone seems to dig it.

I came across a really good quote the other day though: “Stealing an idea is called ‘plagerism.’ Stealing many ideas is called research.”

I was really impressed by this. The more I look back on shows I watch, games I play and books I read, the more I recognize hints of ideas that were previously published. But these ideas were combined with others to create something new and fresh, instead of just re-inventing the wheel.

A good example of this was Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter. This dark but humorous story told the tale of three men breaking out of jail and then going on a killing spree. Throughout the book, I would think of Natural Born Killers meets Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? Strange combination, but it was pulled of quite well.

The thing about cliches is that they are subjective. One who has experienced Star Wars at the age of five might grow tired of a “farm boy growing to his destiny” trope, while someone who has never seen the movie until they were seventeen might think it is the greatest thing ever. It’s all about what you are exposed to.

I’ve come to use the term ‘homage’ other than ‘ripoff’ and ‘cliche’ these days. Things that we have experienced before should be honored in a positive light, not buried away in a safe where it cannot be touched.

It’s sad to see people so bored with things these days. I guess that’s what happens when you have everything you ever want at your finger tips. New generations will always be overexposed to whatever they want, and the days of having to wait for something to experience it are long over.

Five ways Kit Harrington will return as Jon Snow

Valar morghulis!

Yes, all men must die in the Game of Thrones universe, and this includes everyone’s favorite Night’s Watch Man Jon Snow. I was a bit disappointed the way he was betrayed in the end, and was unimpressed how it was pulled off. Yet, I could hear, see and feel everyone’s cry for their beloved character’s fall, and everyone believes that he will return.

People are now watching what Kit Harrington does these days after portraying Jon Snow’s death. He is being watched like a hawk, and so many out there are conjuring up that Jonny Boy isn’t really dead. He was last seen in Belfast which appears to to be a Game of Thrones set, so everyone knew for sure he would be back. However, one of the show’s production staff has been quoted that he is indeed dead.

But I still wondered–just how the hell would this be guy coming back from being stabbed multiple times?

Well, to be honest I believe that there is hope that Kit Harrington will return as Jon Snow. Allow me to show you five ways in how he does:

Shadow

1) – A shadow Conjured by Melisandre,

Remember the shadow that the Red Witch gave birth to back in season two? Apparently, that wasn’t the only one she made. In the books, Melisandre was able to to make one with Mance Rayder’s appearance and cast onto someone else, thus forming a lookalike to take Mance’s place when he was burned at the stake by Stannis. Could she have done so with Jon?

Writer’s logic would point to no. There was no mention of an imposter Mance in this season taking taking his place, and to use it in the next season after Jon’s death would just be weak writing due to the lack of foreshadowing.

Probability of Jon Snow living: Unlikely

melisandre

2) Resurrection

In the third season, we were introduced to a scarred up Beric Dondarrion and his best friend Thoros of Myr who had resurrected Beric over and over again using a prayer to the Lord of Light. Since Melisandre preaches the word of the fire god, she may have the power to re-animate Jon’s corpse somehow. But we have not seen her do this as she was surprised to see Beric’s resurrection, showing hints that she somewhat had doubts of her own beliefs (a notion made certain with her “magic” in season four.)

This one seems to be the most logical since we saw Melisandre come back to the wall, but then again, where is the Brotherhood without Banners post season three?

Probability of Jon Snow living: Plausible

Flashback

3) Flashbacks

If there is one overused piece of writing in television, it’s flashbacks. However, in Game of Thrones we haven’t had any of the sort. Could the producers lower themselves to such a thing and thus rehire Kit Harrington to once again play Jon Snow in a scene that happened before his death?

Perhaps, but this would mean that the boy is still dead.

Probability of Jon Snow living: None. Still dead.

Visions

4) Bran’s Visions

It has been confirmed that Bran Stark will return next season after taking a hiatus. In the books, Bran gains the ability to “see” images either happening now, in the future or even the past via the Three-eyed Raven. This idea piggybacks on the flashback idea, however the bonus with this is if we get to see Jon again with these visions, then perhaps we could see dear ol’ Ned again, and perhaps even more.

Perhaps, even Jon Snow’s real parents!

Probability of Jon Snow living: Again, still dead, unless we get a glimpse into the future. But how is he alive then?

Wight

5) He Becomes a Wight

This is going to be the most unpopular idea on here. We’ve seen the Night’s King resurrect an entire army of fallen Wildlings in the last season. Could he resurrect Jon Snow?

If he did, then Jon would then be fighting for the White Walkers as a zombie, and seven hells know no one would like that! However, it would give so much more meaning to the stare off between Jon and the head White Walker during that pivotal battle scene that truly made us believe winter is actually coming!

Probability of Jon Snow living: Mostly dead…?

So, there we have it. Five ideas coming from my strange little mind. If none of these happen with Jon Snow and he is gone forever, then something tells me that some angry fan is going to challenge George R.R. Martin to a trial by combat.