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Author Topic: rude 'n' ridiculous rants + polite but painfully-slow prattle with passers-by  (Read 19745 times)

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Online Oniya

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Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2012, 10:42:30 PM »
You are far milder in your persistence than others, sir.  :-)  Rather than the standard 'hellfire and damnation' tack, you put out the 'I believe this is good, and this is why' argument.  I respect that.  I had a gaming buddy for a while who was also devoutly Catholic, and while he would occasionally talk religion with the rest of us heathens (even the Anglican! *wink* ), it was always more of a 'this is what being a Catholic does for me.'  The 'maybe you should try it, hint, hint!' was there, but rarely if ever verbalized.  The only reason that we aren't still gaming buddies is that we both moved from the area.

There are some people that I have engaged with (various, in various places, and on various topics), that I simply no longer engage with them, due to the style of their argument.  Depending on the person and the topic, that can mean 'at all', or 'on that specific subject'.  Using a non-religious example - my mother believes very firmly that people of different races shouldn't interact socially.  Trying to get her to see society differently is like banging my head against a brick wall that she has erected.  I can, however, talk about sewing machine repair with her.  There was another woman who told me that my best friend (and Mr. Oniya's best man at our wedding) was a lying, manipulative power-monger, who's trying to create a harem.  I told her to get the heck out of my life, I've known the man longer than she had.  (Said best friend is so devoted to his wife and daughter, the local diabetics are on notice.)

I'm not entirely sure where I was going with this.  Suffice it to say, I don't think you've alienated as many people as you think you have.

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2012, 01:44:06 AM »
Ah, Oniya, I was cowering in terror as I opened this thread, expecting to get slapped around by somebody or other, and instead I find encouraging words.  Your equanimity and generosity of spirit set an example for me to learn from and to aspire towards.  It's quite humbling. 

Thank you.  *hugs*

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2012, 06:46:28 PM »
Twelfth time of blog, lacking for a witty title.  A very important caveat I should have confessed long ago.

Hello, you theoretical audience person you.  How's it going?  Please kick back and sit a spell and allow me to bend your ear once more.

If you've read much of this blog, or noticed how freakin' gigantic it is already, you might think that I'm a loquacious narcissist.  I plead guilty to the narcissist part, but I'm not loquacious at all in real life.  I'm the kind of person who is so uncomfortable talking about himself that he says very little except asking people questions about themselves, keeping the other person talking and keeping the focus on them and their lives and whatever they want to talk about.  I'm a good listener by nature and enjoy doing it, so it's not a bad way to deal with people, except that I also end up feeling like all I do is listen to people talk about themselves without ever telling them anything about me.  This blog is obviously the exact opposite of that; nothing but endless blather from me, and nothing from you, except for the two of you who have so far left comments.  If there were a way for me to convince anyone to do this, I would be so happy to have other people leave long comments about any topic under the sun -- responding to my posts if they want to, or just sharing something that they want to share with me and the other people reading the blog.  But of course not many people have sufficient time or motivation to do such a thing, so for the time being, you're stuck with just me.  :)

I keep harping on this topic of the number of possible readers or lack thereof, partly because of that narcissist thing -- wanting a big audience for my blather -- but partly because I just think it's damn interesting.  The "view" count on this blog rises by 20 or 30 views every couple days, but I cannot imagine that 20 or 30 humans would have nothing better to do than look at this blog every couple days.  That's another reason why I beg for comments so often, because it affects the ratio of humans to searchbots in my mental conception of my theoretical audience.

Frankly I started this blog assuming that no one would leave comments for a long time and no one would look at what I was writing, so it's been a wonderful surprise to see that hasn't been entirely the case, and it's also been a bit worrying; I mean, if people are actually reading all this, they might get bored by how badly written it all is, or upset by some of my arrogant and rude religious views.  But, I assume people understand that I'm not out to deliberately bore or upset anyone, I'm just out to do the blog thing of sharing all my intimate personal thoughts and experiences with the public, for whatever good or ill purposes that may serve.

Yes it's a meandering blog post this time.  Here's something I sort of wish I had done in my first blog post, before telling anyone anything more about my personal views:  I should have confessed that all my views and statements are informed by and affected by the mental illness from which I suffer.  If you have depression, or if you're just a sharp observer, you might have noticed by now that I have an inordinate tendency to be overly self-critical, cynical, pessimistic, negative, and mean to myself and sometimes to others.  These are all symptoms of my mental illness, so perhaps it comes as no surprise to you to hear that I have depression.

Depression for me is not a brief case of the blues, it is a lifelong full-blown sickness of the brain, one for which I continually seek treatment, out of necessity.  I've dealt with more shrinks and counselors than I can recall and tried more drugs than any person would ever desire to try (legal ones, I mean; I'm only an infrequent experimenter with the illegal kinds, partly because they interact with my legal daily meds and can be disruptive in that way).

I'm telling you this now because it should help you to get a better picture of who I am and where my mindset comes from.  It should also help some people who disapprove or dislike some of my views to dismiss them more easily, as the ravings of an unsound mind.  Such is the cost of being open with people about having a mental illness, but it's not anything I'm going to lose sleep over.

Right now is an easier time for me to confess to having my mental illness, because I feel that I'm handling it very well lately, and that is certainly not always the case; depression is every bit the pain in the ass that you've heard, in case you've never had the pleasure of gaining first-hand knowledge of it.  In fact, here's a thought for you:  depression is a fatal disease for many sufferers.  No one thinks about it that way or talks about it that way, from what I can tell, but it's also obvious that many if not most people who commit suicide were suffering from depression when they did it, and the suicide was a direct result of how they felt at the time, so you could say that those were terminal cases of depression; depression fatalities.  Makes you take the condition more seriously, perhaps, in case you're inclined not to take it that way already.

Enough blather for now.  :)  Be well and thanks ever so much for stopping by, even if all you like to do is read; I'm happy to have quiet listeners as well as ones who comment sometimes.  Bye now!
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 07:14:22 PM by rick957 »

Offline Kineas

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2012, 02:06:54 PM »
Hi! Remember me? I vaguely remember you, you had a thread about some kind of writing review or something. Cool to see you again in my random lurking about and reading of all of the things. I just finished reading your whole blog and since you seemed to really want to know when people read your blog I figured I'd post. Yay!

Additionally, I'm actually intrigued by your desire to continue broaching the religion subject. I'm not especially religious (I do believe in god, I don't really follow the tenets of Christianity specifically though, and I'll get into that in a sec) but I do always find religious people interesting. Did you end up finding a church that you like to go to?

I hope not, actually~ O:

While I have no particular problem with religion or religious people, I do take issue with large-scale organized religion and generally church going. The short of it is that, as per your earlier writing, the point of Christianity is to know God. Considering the circumstances that make this kind of an on or off sort of situation, it becomes kind of offensive to me to feel like other people are telling me that I can only know God or reach God through other human beings. Do you kind of get what I mean? I'd like to hear your opinion about this.

That's not to say that I think people should not share religion with each other or even worship together if that's your thing. I just don't like the form that churches take. I don't really like the idea that someone else has to tell me what it means to know God. Even insofar as for me to take the bible with a grain of salt. No thing that has been touched by humans is a reliable guide in my eyes. That's why I don't really consider myself a christian, even though I believe that I believe in the same God that you believe in, if you follow me there.

Online Oniya

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Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2012, 02:25:00 PM »
I suspect both of you might appreciate this, so I'm dropping it off here.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182809

(One of my favorite poets, as it happens.)

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2012, 08:27:33 AM »
@ Kineas

Hello again, and thanks very much for the friendly and thought-provoking comments.  :)  I've been pondering my response to the points you raised, and after mulling things over a bit longer, I'll share my thoughts with you here soon.  For the time being, I've been enjoying a bit of a break from the hectic pace of my first attempts at bloggery ( ... blogation?  bloggravation?  blognastics?) and all the self-exposure in these posts (feeling a bit naked, yes, but the sunshine and breeze feels nice this way, so why not?).  Anyway, thanks muchly for being patient.

In the meantime, maybe another visitor or two will de-cloak and share their thoughts on the subjects you raised, or on anything else relevant to any posts thus far.  If anyone takes the offer, I'll respond to those posts too, natch ...

@ Oniya

Thanks for stopping by, as always.  What a pleasure to get a link to such an amazing poem.  I don't read enough poetry any more to have a "favorite" poet, and I'm not nearly intelligent enough to grasp all the nuances of great poetry, but I've felt nothing but awe and admiration for Miss D.'s works since my first exposure to them, many years ago. 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 08:31:38 AM by rick957 »

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2012, 04:58:06 PM »
Blog another.  (Check the number later.  12?  13?  23?)  Lots of mega-gigantic mega-repetitive mega-paragraphs.  Christianity blah blah religion blah blah blah.

Before I get around to responding to Kineas's post, I'm going to sneak in another blog.  I get these thoughts that I want to share with somebody, so I'm putting them here, under the foolish pretense that these thoughts might mean something to someone else who might read them.  If you are that someone, please let me know the something that these thoughts mean, because just because they're my thoughts doesn't necessarily mean that I understand them, hardly at all.

Still following me?  Alright, try this one on for size.  Look, it's more about religion.  I don't know who the hell is reading this stuff, but my view count keeps rising even though I keep talking about religious subjects that I would have guessed were of no interest whatsoever to anyone at Elliquiy except for me.  So naturally I'm inclined to keep pushing it and testing to see just how personal and unfiltered I can be without driving away every person who's stopping by.  When will I rein myself in and go back to trying to write material that seems to me to have more general interest?  I dunno.  Sometime, though, I suppose.  :)

Wait; Kineas, are you out there, and still reading along?  Alright, if you are, I suddenly changed my mind; I am going to say some stuff about the points you raised.  I'm going to be a little lazy and selfish about it though; I'm going to respond in a somewhat-obtuse, indirect, sideways-kind of way, and I'm just going to hope it makes some sense to you.  Let me know if it doesn't, or if it does.  :)

Here's the problem that I have with the notion of people deciding for themselves how to connect with God or deciding for themselves on the shape and form of their religious observance or activity.  Don't take this as criticism; take it as frank remarks from someone who knows what it's like to feel completely alienated by every sort of organized religious activity that I've ever encountered; sometimes to a greater or lesser extent, but consistently alienated.  I see the appeal of turning one's back on the whole fucked-up mess that other people have made out of religion, and turning inward instead, trying to make personal sense out of religion in a wholly-subjective and yet sincere way, because the collective and objective forms of religion fall short every time, no matter how hard some of us try to make them work, no matter how hard we try to connect.  [It's a loathsome thing to quote Bono in any way nowadays, but it seems pertinent; back when he could still write lyrics, he once said:  "... I'd join the movement / If there was one / I could believe in / I'd break bread and wine / If there was a church / I could receive in / 'Cause I need it now"  (emphasis added by me, but it's how he sings the lines.  FYI, from "Acrobat" off Achtung Baby, the last truly-great U2 album, IMO, out of the ones I've heard.)]

The problem I have with turning one's back entirely on collective organized religion is the same problem I have with the modern choose-your-own-toppings approach to religion, which is that

1) if there is any truth out there to be found, then surely it must be available to more than just one or a handful of us; no matter how exclusionary Christianity seems when it emphasizes how few the numbers of the chosen ultimately are, it's still a long cry from being a solitary matter.  Furthermore,

2) Christianity always emphasizes the necessity of communal religious observance, and the necessity of community in general; we are made to connect with each other, to love each other, and to do the hard work often required to make those connections and to show love to each other.  Also,

3) I firmly believe that the only truth and the only true religion that can be found by anyone is Christianity, and in spite of the fact that we each have individual needs that we bring to it, it is not up to each of us to decide what constitutes religious truth or true religion.  The truth is outside of us and outside of our control or influence; it comes to each of us who look for it, and we can only respond appropriately, by submitting to it and receiving it, including the parts of it that are very difficult to submit to and receive.  There are many parts of Christianity that I would love to discard altogether, if I thought I could; my avoidance of churchgoing and my avoidance of other Christians is partly an effort to make my religion fit me, rather than submitting to the ways that it wants to change me.

It's dangerous and ill-advised for any of us to imagine that we have the wisdom or authority to craft a religious or philosophical truth for ourselves, one that works smoothly for us.  It's not always supposed to be easy or smooth.  Christianity seeks to completely transform each of us into something totally new and different and better than we were before, better than we ever could be without submitting to its authority.  To do that, we have to let go of some of our natural impulses to decide how things should be; to have faith is to trust blindly in something greater than us, so much greater that we can't be comfortable with it in advance, we can't even make sense of it in advance.  As we are transformed into the persons we were meant to be, the persons God wants us to be, we become more comfortable with the truth and begin to understand it, but that's a slow and difficult process.  That's the unpleasant, "still-fucking-sucks," "cross-bearing" part of life as a Christian.

For some reason, each of us is built to want to decide all sorts of things about our lives that we have no business deciding, decisions we aren't capable of making in a healthy or proper way, not even close.  God gives each of us one choice, one huge and all-important and life-altering choice, and even that choice is far too much for most of us to get right:  he lets us choose whether or not to trust him, or more specifically, to trust the truth about him that he reveals to all and to each of us in the form of true Christianity.  It turns out that, since we are not forced to accept that truth, most of us freely choose to reject it, and we're all worse off because of that.  Our freedom comes at a price that frankly I find nearly impossible to accept or make any peace with.  If the price of freedom is the immediate and eternal happiness of many others all around us, others who are no less deserving of that happiness than we are, then it's damn fucking hard to like that sort of freedom.  For me, at least.  But it's the only one we have, the only one we get.  We don't get to choose anything else.

[I really can't believe that I'm saying shit like this in public.  As I write some of these posts, I'm really trying to just turn off my instinctive internal censor and let these words just flow out of my addled brain, unvarnished and unadorned.  Let me be honest:  a lot of this stuff that I'm writing is so raw that I'm not even sure if it's truly representative of my real thoughts and feelings.  I'm trying to plumb my own depths here, in this blog, and I'm hoping that what comes out is illuminating and insightful, not only to any audience, but to me myself, as I go through this process of writing.  I may recant parts of these statements later, or parts of the ideas expressed here; it's not like I know everything, far from it, and it's not like I'm not prone to making mistakes.  At the same time, I don't post these blog entries unless I feel that there's something in them that sounds true and accurate to me, at least at this moment, and something in them that I think might be of use to someone besides me.  Here's something I should put in the first post of this blog, though:  take everything here with a very large grain of salt.  I hope you find something truthful here, but I guarantee that you'll also find a lot of human fallibility and arrogance and idiocy, in between the parts that have value.  It's up to you to figure out what's what; I don't want to withhold any parts or assume that you aren't mature enough and capable enough to do the necessary figuring for yourself.]

I'm finding more and more every day that I have a very strong personal impulse to want to earn the good things in my life, to want to do some sort of work that actually merits the rewards I get.  The "good things" and rewards I'm referring to here are the biggest and best things in my life:  my sense of self-worth, my sense of knowing and relating to God on a daily and moment-to-moment basis, my sense of having been given certain priceless and individual gifts that I can exercise for the benefit of others.  These are the things that make my life worth living, that make my life have real meaning.  I want so much to be worthy of these enormous, wonderful things, but I'm not worthy of them at all; I'm just another fucked-up fault-ridden selfish arrogant person; nothing good or valuable comes out of me; and I can't even be a good enough person to avoid doing awful things on a regular basis.  I'm petty, I'm hateful, I look down on people, I resent them, I covet their accomplishments and gifts, I judge people right and left and hold them to standards that I myself fail to meet on a frequent basis, and I do all of that without the slightest hesitation; I'm a real lousy fuck in so many ways.  :)  I see these faults and problems in myself, and when I do, I want to fix them myself; I want to redeem myself and fix myself and make myself into a good, better person ... but I totally fucking fail every time I try.  Every fucking time, again and again and again, and I keep trying.

This is what being a Christian looks like for me these days:  accepting that I'm not in control of my own life in many ways, and that's okay, because if I can just accept the way that things are and trust that things will keep getting better, then I can finally relax and become who I'm meant to be.  When I get anything right, it doesn't happen because I tried hard enough; it comes to me as a totally unearned gift, it just gets dropped right into my fucking lap, and I had nothing to do with it, it seems.  (Everything in Christian life is the same way.)  Meanwhile I'm busting my fucking ass every day trying to remake myself into this great talented person and trying to earn all these anticipated rewards, but really I'm just being another rat on a treadmill, getting nowhere no matter how hard I try.

It's fucking scary and uncomfortable to accept that I can't fix my own life and make myself happy, but if I trust God to do those things for me, then he will, and he has and he does and he will continue to do so ... In fact, the only fucking way that my life is going to work out the way it was always meant to is if I continually set aside my own ego and my natural impulses, and instead choose to trust blindly in a power that is infinitely wiser and stronger and better than I could ever be ... Follow that leader, chase after him, no matter how stupid I sound while I'm doing it, no matter how awkward and uncomfortable and unnatural it feels.  I do it because I've seen the results time and time again; I have so many wonderful things in my life that were just handed to me, while I was busy complaining about other things that were also being handed to me, and I was busy obsessing over how fucked-up my life seemed and how hard it would be for me to fix it and make it what I thought it should be.  It keeps turning out to be something else, something I didn't expect at all, and it keeps turning out better than I could have ever imagined. 

This is the Christian life as I see it:  continually choosing to submit and trust in something outside of myself, something real and person-al, an actual God who keeps making my life better and better, but also more and more surprising and unexpected.  There's a terrible, cliche, seemingly-silly, and obnoxious phrase that many people use to describe their first exuberant foray into the Christian life, as being "born again."  I hate the term as much as anyone else, because it seems so facile and so fatuous and trite and evacuated of real meaning.  For me, though, I see my life as a continual process of being transformed and transformed again and again, and the transformations are often so all-encompassing and dramatic that they might seem like rebirths or like becoming a whole different and new person.  So I have a certain sympathy for that annoying phrase, but I don't see it so much as a one-time occurrence, but rather as an ongoing and continual process of self-transformation -- or, more accurately, a transformation of my self, not something I do to myself but something that I allow to be done to me by an external force. 

I don't think we are supposed to become wise or smart or good or better by striving to become those things; I don't think we are supposed to have good lives by deciding what that means and then striving to get a good life.  I know what it's like to try like hell for years and years to do just that; it's what each and every one of us are trained to do, it's what everyone is trying to do -- make a good life for themselves.  Here's what I think:  It doesn't fucking work.  It didn't and doesn't work for me, no matter how hard I tried or keep trying.  I'm inclined to think that maybe it doesn't work for other people either; maybe other people feel just as frustrated and disappointed as I did with the results of their efforts to make their lives into something wonderful.  Maybe the privileged few who think they've made themselves happy and given themselves good lives are just lying to themselves, fooling themselves, and in their most honest and self-exposed moments, they see their supposed happiness for the unsatisfying sham that it really is.  I wouldn't ever go up to any person and say that's what their life is; I wouldn't even look at another person and say that person is living a lie or is deceiving themselves; it would be totally wrong for me to judge such things about other people, because I don't know what's in their hearts or what's in their pasts or their futures.  But, for myself, I have found and continue to find real happiness in a totally different and unlikely and unpopular and even contradictory-seeming way, by making Christianity the center and highest purpose of my entire life and my moment-to-moment existence.  If I'm completely honest with you, I must admit that I haven't yet succeeded in focusing exclusively and constantly on Christianity all the time, but the more success I have with it, the better my life gets, and the happier and more fulfilled and more content and whole I feel.  It's a gradual process, not a quick and sudden fix, and not anything easy or natural, but often just the opposite -- difficult and uncomfortable.  But not in the way that other things were that I tried to do in the past; not in the way that my life was difficult and miserable when I was still chasing the things that other people seem to chase, the things I thought I had to chase and was supposed to chase.

We are built to try to give ourselves good lives, but the only way we get a life that's really any good at all is if we stop trying to give it to ourselves and instead receive and accept what God is waiting to give us, even though it might not (and probably won't) look like whatever we were expecting.  He fucking hands it to us, drops it into our laps, and laughs at how shocked we are when it happens.  All our efforts are nothing but folly and counter-productive foolishness.  We were meant to be made happy, not to make ourselves happy ... And the happiness that's in store for each of us is absolutely mindblowing and humbling and overwhelming, and totally customized and individually-suited ... and it's a happiness that most people can't even conceive, that we ourselves cannot conceive until it happens to us.  We don't accomplish it, we discover it, each day that we live life as Christians.

All that sound preposterous to you?  Yeah maybe it should.  :)  But I'm being totally frank and sincere here, for whatever that's worth.  Actually I'm more worried that everything I just said will seem utterly unintelligible and nonsensical and meaningless to everyone but me.  But this is part of my process:  I'm learning to let go of my preconceptions and trust in impulses, such as my impulse to let these posts remain as raw and unpolished as they are.  I'm hoping that someone out there will find something useful as they wade through all this dreck.  If you've made the effort to wade in and got this far, you have both my gratitude and my sympathies, and my apologies, if you feel that you got nothing out of it. 

This blog is feeling more and more like a private journal/diary kind of thing, like stuff I used to do when I was younger, something not even meant for public consumption ... except it isn't, and is ... 

But hey, it's my blog, right?  It's supposed to be full of self-indulgent navel-gazing.  How do you think I'm doing with that so far?  ;)  heh.

@ Kineas

As you can see, a lot of the above isn't so much addressed to you as it is addressed to a theoretical general audience, or perhaps just addressed to myself, like much of this blog has been.  Thank you for allowing me to riff off of the subjects you raised; if you managed to read all of it, I don't know if it contained anything useful to you, but I'm hugely grateful to you for stopping by and plowing through whatever you choose to plow through. 

This is something I would say to any person who was interested in learning about Christianity or giving it any serious consideration, even if they don't accept parts of it, or all of it:  there's no replacement for talking face-to-face with one of those Christians whose job it is to talk about Christianity.  I am not one of those people, no matter how much I keep yakking about religion.  Any real live clergyperson has a duty to spend time with anyone who wants to learn about religion or even just wants to talk about life; that's part of what clergypeople are for, and they're good at it.  I ain't, so much.  Try to find a clergyperson who isn't also an asshole, or at least, one who isn't an asshole in any obvious way; some of them are, I'm afraid.  Most of them aren't, of course.

One more thing, again addressed to you, Kineas, but also to anyone else:  I wouldn't discourage anyone from using their own head and their own heart to guide them, and I fully expect that some heads and hearts will feel led in directions that I wouldn't go or maybe even would disapprove of.  It's your life and your free choice as to how to live it.  I believe God is real and will reach out to each person directly, will speak to each person's heart, and will guide you to him and to the truth -- the one and only truth.

And finally, to Kineas, and to anyone else still reading:  please feel free to share your thoughts (pro or con) about anything I've said, or about the approaches you've taken personally towards your religion or your general way of life.  I know I can learn a lot from you and from anyone willing to share, so I'm always very interested.  :)  I hope my stances regarding Christianity don't offend you, although if you actually read this entire blog (holy shit!), you're probably a difficult person to offend ... which is lucky for me, because I have some offensive opinions and beliefs. 

Alright, I'm out!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 05:12:31 PM by rick957 »

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2012, 01:23:45 AM »
Blog 14.  Random Notes 'n' Links.

Although you might not believe it if you've seen how many freakin' posts I've devoted to religion in this blog, I have a wide range of interests, and I'd like for this blog to reflect that.  Ergo, here's the first in a possible series of quickie random observations that interest me and may (hopefully!) interest you too.



Just caught Bill Gates on the Charlie Rose Show (link).  Why is it that I like this guy?  I fucking detest Microsoft products (sorry Microsoft fans!  to each his own, right?) ... Windows breaks every time I even look at it, and it's been doing that to me for at least 18 years (mothafuckin' Windows 95 up).  I guess I'm just a sucker for anyone who can express themselves as eloquently as Bill Gates can.  If you believe that Bill Gates is Satan or the Antichrist or something, heck, I won't argue with you, maybe you're right.  Apparently he's spent a million bucks lately in philanthropy, which sounds impressive until you realize that for him, that's like me giving a one-dollar bill to a Salvation Army bell-ringer at Xmas time.  He says that fanaticism is good for ambitious people trying to build businesses, so that made me feel nice; I'm sure my religious views and other opinions make me seem like a fanatic to some people, so it's nice to know that isn't always a bad thing.  Of course my fanaticism hasn't earned me a fucking penny yet, but anyhoooo ...



R.I.P. Andy Griffith (link).  Yes, of course I fucking love The Andy Griffith Show, all six or seven seasons of it, including the ones without Barney, and even the ones in color, which always seemed wrong for that particular show, IMO.  You can't grow up in the American South or anywhere near it without loving that show.  I used to assume that the Andy Griffith Show occurred in the 1950s (it was actually in the mid-to-late-60s) simply because good ole' conservative Mayberry did such a good job of embodying the antiquated values of the naively-optimistic, family-values-centric 1950s.

Hell, I even enjoyed the Matlock show when I was a young'un who spent way too many hours watching shitty television.  Not that Matlock was shitty television, necessarily; I haven't seen it since then, but I'll bet it was well-written mystery-genre fiction, for the time period.

Do young people still revere and admire Andy Griffith, or did he move completely off the pop-culture radar in the last couple decades?  That would be a shame.  You really can't overestimate the influence of Andy on the modern American South and its impression of its own values and identity; who the hell wouldn't want to live in Mayberry for ever and ever?  I miss Andy already!  :'(

(Although I'll admit, Don Knott's passing a few years back bothered me even more.  Don Knotts = comic genius.  Remember that!)



Sorry to end on a down note, but look, every American needs to know this.  Human Rights Watch (link) says that there are at least 27 "torture centers" in Syria right now where even women and children as young as EIGHT YEARS OLD are rewarded with things like rape and mutilation for their opposition to the Syrian dictatorship, or maybe just for the kicks of the fucking torture-center employees.  ("Employees"?  Do they get paid for their services by the government?  Are the benefits good?  Is there a bonus based on the number of fingernails you've yanked out in the past fiscal year?) 

[I'm sorry, but there are certain horrors so horrific that one has to turn to black humor to keep from slitting one's own wrists over the very thought of them.  (See Catch-22, one of the greatest novels I've ever read, for the definitive treatment of side-splitting humor in the face of gruesome horror; or check out the DVDs of the all-time-classic TV show M*A*S*H*, which introduced the masses to a toned-down version of Catch-22's pitch-black hilarity.)]

Next time you hear a politician claim that America takes action to defend human rights and uphold universal values, remember that the fucking U.N. observers aren't even observing the motherfucking torture centers, much less attempting to stop what's happening in those places. 

Sorry to end on a downer!  The world is not at all a nice place for many people, and I suppose we would all do well to remember that, at least for a couple seconds each day. 

Thankfully we can then change the channel and go back to watching Andy Griffith reruns.  ;)



Oh!  Speaking of which ... I'll take any opportunity to reference Michael Franti and/or the Disposable Heroes; listen carefully, boys and girls, and try to overlook the dated parts, because IMO this is the still the real, hardcore shit.  Crank the volume first on your computer speakers and imagine how it would sound if they actually reproduced the bass frequencies:

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, "Television, the Drug of the Nation" (circa 1992)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 07:17:00 PM by rick957 »

Offline JackWhite

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2012, 05:33:09 AM »
A millions bucks still is a million even if it's not much for the one that gives it's a lot for the receiver. At least he gives away some of his money. Can't be said of all the mill-/billionairs. And I think it's okay to admire someone that has achieved this much in his life even though you hate his product. I admired Jobs for his talents too even though Macs are overpriced.

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2012, 05:37:05 PM »
@ JackWhite

Sure, those are all good points, and I get what you're saying.  Besides wishing that I hadn't spent so much time over the years struggling to get Windows to work right for me, I have no strong feelings towards Bill Gates or Microsoft.  I do respect and admire his philanthropic efforts, which have gone on for a long time now and have been quite extensive by any measure.  In that TV interview that I linked to, Charlie Rose quotes someone who suggested that Gates will be remembered by future generations not for any of his business or technology accomplishments, but for the long-term benefits of his philanthropy.  That's at least a conceivable possibility, and if it works out that way, heck, I wouldn't care about the silly Windows headaches after all.  :)





Blog 15.  By this point I really don't understand why I'm doing any of this -- writing this stuff, posting it where people can see it.  How fucking weird. ... hoo boy, I hope I don't regret posting this kinda shit later on ...

(Sometimes I see other Christians talking about Christianity at Elliquiy and other places.  I almost always feel confused and disturbed afterwards ... that is, after I stop feeling angry.  And also I feel really lonely afterwards.  I can't make sense of what other people say about Christianity, most of the time; it looks alien to me, not anything I can relate to.  Anyway, here are some thoughts sparked by seeing such stuff here and there.)

Here's some more of my perspectives on Christianity that aren't likely to make me any friends any time soon.  :( 

Any version of Christianity that seems palatable and polite and admirable to large numbers of people is not a true version of Christianity.  This unfortunately includes the interpretations of Christianity that basically amount to hippie-style "peace-and-love for your fellow man," "c'mon people now / smile on your brother / everybody get together / try and love one another right now."  Before any of us can start loving anybody, Christianity tells us that we need to face the truth about ourselves, which is that each of us is born with only the capability to love himself or herself; we are born as selfish creatures unfit to love other people.  It is only through a complete transformation of the self that we become able to truly love anyone else.  That transformation can only be accomplished in one way, through faith in Christ and what he did for the sake of humanity. 

All the altruistic impulses in the world don't amount to anything of value in God's eyes, and ultimately, it's his opinion and only his opinion that counts, not ours.  God asks each of us for total and singular devotion to him, and in exchange for that difficult task, he offers us a kind of fulfillment and wholeness that we cannot get anywhere outside of Christianity ... It's a kind of fulfillment that makes every other goal that anyone pursues in life seem utterly hollow and pointless, by comparison.

At the opening of this bizarre blog thread, I launched into an insane-sounding argument about how any person could get everything they ever wanted immediately by simply becoming a Christian.  I believe that, but this is what I really mean by that:  each of us has one need so huge that it dwarfs every other need or desire that we ever have in life, and that is the need to reconnect with God.  We cannot reconnect with him in any way apart from putting faith in Christ; every other way that people try to connect with the divine ultimately amounts to nothing more than human folly, and that includes every other religion or philosophy or worldview, even the nicest and sanest and most respectable and most likable ones.

Who doesn't feel all warm and fuzzy when you see a Tibetan monk in his robes?  Who doesn't respect and admire many good people of various faiths, and all the wonderful people who claim to have no faith at all? 

None of what matters to us matters to God; all our accomplishments, all our selfless acts, no matter how valuable and admirable they appear to us, none of it matters to him.  The only thing that matters to him is whether or not we believe in Christ, and whether or not we put Christianity first above everything else in our life.  And the truth is that the former necessarily leads to the latter, if the former is real faith and not just pretense.

Reconnecting with God through faith in Christ fulfills a person in ways that we don't even realize we can be fulfilled, until it happens.  When it happens, we come to realize that knowing God is the only thing each of us really wants, deep down in our heart of hearts; we learn that not only material comforts but even the love of other people is worthless compared to knowing God's love firsthand.  That's what it means to get everything you want or could want:  to get God. 

The Bentleys are just crap by comparison, and Christians learn that, about whatever it was that they thought they wanted or needed in life, apart from God:  career accomplishments, education, personal skills, romance, even marriage and family and friendships -- all crap by comparison.  We all want those things, but once we get the more important thing, the thing we really need most of all in life, then our desire for those other things gets put into a whole different perspective; all our priorities get re-ordered, and every other goal takes a distant second place, next to our direct personal connection with God, which is an active and ongoing relationship, something that thrives and changes over time, as we get to know him and start to see our lives from his perspective.

Any Christianity that doesn't force a person to make dramatic and immediate changes in his or her day-to-day life is not a true form of Christianity.  Any Christianity that doesn't continue to challenge a person and seem terribly burdensome sometimes is not a true form of Christianity.  There's only one true form, and it does all those things.  (Jesus said so in the Bible, or so I believe.)

People who seek meaning and fulfillment outside of true Christianity will ultimately be disappointed and remain unfulfilled, incomplete, and wanting.  That's not a very nice thing to think about, but if Christianity is true, then that part of it is true too:  there's only one right and good way to live, for anyone, and it involves putting total faith in Christ and what he did for us.

... ...

Here's where I get to admit some stuff about myself.  Having written everything above, I now feel really bummed, because I don't like the idea of appearing to push people to agree with me.  Actually, the very thought of it bums me out so much that I don't even want to post this post, frankly; I'd much rather shut the hell up about all this shit.  In fact, in case you hadn't guessed, I kinda have no fucking idea why I keep talking about all this religious stuff in this blog; I didn't intend to do that hardly at all, when I started.  (Seriously, my first year or year and a half at Elliquiy, I said pretty much zip about religion to anybody; I was RPing and writing kinky sex scenes and stuff, like a normal Elliquian might.) 

I assumed I would say a thing or two now and then about religion in this blog and otherwise focus on non-religious stuff.  Instead this blog reads like some kind of fruity religious treatise or something, as if I'm some bigshot Christian trying to convert the whole world over to Christianity.  I'm no fucking bigshot anything.

But I do have an impulse to post this stuff, and I think it's healthy and good for me to trust that kind of impulse, even if I can't make sense of it yet.  Who would possibly benefit from any of this?  That's beyond me -- perhaps no one else at all ... but maybe the purpose of all of this is really about me facing certain things about myself, without turning aside from potential public embarrassment or other undesirable consequences.  (Man I'm fucking embarrassed about saying all this shit in a semi-public place.)

Honestly, all these blog entries about religion might be mistakes.  I make mistakes, lots of them, and when I do, I always think I'm doing the right thing at the time.  Pretty much always.  If these are mistakes, I hope and pray that I'll come to realize that somehow, sooner rather than later, and I hope I can undo or make amends for any damage caused to anyone else by any of this.  I try really hard not to make mistakes, and I still make lots of 'em.  Such is life, or my life, at least. 

Thanks for reading, all you masochists out there who put yourself through this stuff.  ;)  If you feel an overwhelming urge now to "rip me a new one," well, heck, maybe that's a healthy urge, I dunno.  What the hell:  post away, and rip away.  *winces*

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #35 on: July 05, 2012, 03:45:13 PM »
Sixteen.  How I see life.  Somewhat stream-of-conscious format.

Being born is a blessing in and of itself.  This is the first blessing, the first gift, that each of us receives:  life.  Not to be taken for granted.  Not something any one of us gets to choose for himself or herself; something given, and a good thing that's given.

Always a good thing; even when it doesn't seem so?  Yes.  We do not know and cannot know and could not hope to ever understand why some little ones suffer and some little ones even die.  These are the saddest of mysteries, and we can only witness them with sorrow, and wait for understanding that won't come to us on this side of the great divide.  Someday we will know and even rejoice over it.  Yes:  rejoice over our sorrows, and all the more for the greatest ones of all.  But not now.

Life is a series of gifts; a series of blessings.  Something I didn't know when I was younger:  everything, every thing, that happens to us is a blessing.  This is the lesson of Job, the hardest lesson we ever learn (? ... one must hope that there isn't a harder one still):  even to suffer is to be blessed; even suffering is a gift.  And yes, every single fucking time.  No accidents and no trivialities; even the hairs on our heads are counted.

What, then, is expected of us?  What are we called upon to do?  To receive; to submit; to trust; to give thanks.  Nothing else I can think of right now.  If one can do those things with each and every good-seeming and bad-seeming thing that happens in one's life, then you're on the right track, and you're finally starting to see the truth of things, finally starting to pierce the veil, wipe some of the darkness off the glass we look through all our lives.

Who isn't thankful and happy to receive good things in life?  Only foolish ones take physical and material comforts for granted.  But so many of us imagine that we supply ourselves with the good things that we have.  This is blindness, for everything is given, and given without merit; given freely without concern for whether we deserve it or not ... because none of us do, not in and of ourselves, none of us are good enough to deserve any of the good things we get each and every day that we're alive.

Bad things are blessings in part because ....

Bad things in life are mysteries.  We do not and cannot know why the worst things in life happen to each of us.  It is vanity and arrogance to look in the face of life's horrors and smugly assert that one can understand them and appreciate them.  No, the worst of the worst in my life and in your life and in life in general is too horrible to respond to with anything but silence, sorrow, patience, humility, wonder perhaps, and grief.  We are made to grieve over certain things, not to rejoice over them, in this life at least.  There is a time for everything.

Bad things drive us to face the truth.  Bad things show us that we are weak, powerless really, and undeserving.  This is the truth about us.  How many of us think we're smart and capable?  Every one of us that thinks so is wrong, and look, it's not like any one of us is really all that different from the next -- we're equally lost, equally blind, equally helpless, equally fallen and broken.

(This isn't finished, nor is it likely that it will be.  Just some thoughts, fragments.)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 07:22:26 PM by rick957 »

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #36 on: July 05, 2012, 04:05:46 PM »
17.  Oh the irony.

If you have a blog at Elliquiy, or if you have any opinion on this, let me know.  I'm really convinced that it's very possible that no one looks at these blogs, or no one reads them, at least.  I'm not whining about it; there are reasons why I like the idea of not being read at all, although I would prefer to be read, of course.  Regardless, I really think it's very possible that all the hits to the "view" count are just searchbots.  Another possibility:  non-members of Elliquiy, people skimming over the site before joining.  Presumably such people won't bother to read much, even if they do open a blog. 

(Yes I know of and I've been delighted and humbled to hear from several people who have read parts or all of this blog.  I'm so happy any time any of you turns up, because you're all so friendly and stuff.  :)  Still, I confess, I'm such a cynic and so down on myself in general that I assume even those of you who have stopped by here either didn't read everything or didn't read it all closely.  The stuff in this blog is far from well-written, I know, so I don't think it would hold anyone's interest enough to convince anyone to read it all closely.  My guess is that at least one or two people skim each post that I make, maybe read parts that jump out to them for some reason, and then go elsewhere.  And that's fine with me; that's what I would do, if I were looking at this blog.)

Presumably no one who sees long paragraphs in any thread at Elliquiy bothers to read them closely, because most of the long paragraphs in any thread at Elliquiy -- including especially all the long paragraphs written by me -- aren't very entertaining or interesting to read.  That's okay of course.  And of course there are many many exceptions, but that's a safe rule, I think.  Yeah, I'm a cynical pessimist fuck; you found me out.  ;)

I think it's fascinating and mystifying that people who post things in threads at Elliquiy either don't know or don't care how many people ever bother to read what they've written.  Heh, I've heard people confess to not bothering to read posts written by their partners in one-on-one RP scenes.  hehehe  That cracks me up.

This blog entry isn't an appeal for pity or something.  Sure, I'd like to know more people read any parts of this blog, but obviously it's not a huge deal to me either way, because I've been assuming all along that few if any people were reading any of this.  I've got good personal reasons to write these posts even if no one ever sees them, and I figure that's a good attitude to have if you're going to start a blog at a place with a blog section that makes up only a tiny and largely-overlooked corner of the site.  I knew what I was getting into when I started this blog, and it's been a hell of a lot of fun, frankly, however narcissistic that makes me sound.  :)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 04:12:10 PM by rick957 »

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Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #37 on: July 05, 2012, 04:20:43 PM »
17.  Oh the irony.

I think it's fascinating and mystifying that people who post things in threads at Elliquiy either don't know or don't care how many people ever bother to read what they've written.  Heh, I've heard people confess to not bothering to read posts written by their partners in one-on-one RP scenes.  hehehe  That cracks me up.

Protip:  Those people generally don't stay in their partners' good graces for very long.  ;D

I don't obsess about post-hits, but I find it encouraging when it does go up.  Maybe I was dismissed.  Maybe I made someone stop and think.  Or smile.  Or even laugh.  Maybe I left them spluttering like a big-mouthed bass on the end of a dock before they flipped me the - tail - and swam off.  Maybe I only diverted a searchbot for a microsecond.

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2012, 05:24:07 PM »
Oniya, I can't believe that none of the not-nice stuff I've said in this blog has yet driven you away from it entirely.  You have perseverance with things, don't you?  ;)

Your post above is strangely poetic in quality.  That's just awfully well-put, IMO.

Quote
I don't obsess about post-hits, but I find it encouraging when it does go up. 

I feel this way too, really, although it might seem otherwise because I keep bringing the topic up.







Here's a confession:  part of the reason I spend so much time doing shit at Elliquiy is because I'm lonely.  It's not the main reason, or even the secondary or tertiary reason, but it's in there somewhere.  I'll bet some people who frequent Elliquiy are not lonely in the slightest.  I'll bet many of them are, though.  Why do I bring this up now?  Oh I dunno, why not?  :)

I've been a lot lonelier, a hell of a lot lonelier, in certain periods in the past, compared to how I am these days.  Yeah, I've been real lonely now and then.  Not so much now though!  Thank God.  Being lonely sucks.







18.  Something I'm starting to learn.  Starting.

If you're trying really fucking hard to do something ...
to do anything ...
stop.

Really.  Just stop.  Now.  Sit down, crack open a beer.  And listen to this.

Most of the things you are meant to do in your life are things that will come easily to you.

Is that true?  Hmm.  Well, wouldn't it be pretty fucking sweet if that was true?

I believe it.  Today at least.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 05:34:13 PM by rick957 »

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2012, 10:28:52 PM »
20.  farther and farther out.  Grammar has left the building.  Took Coherence along too.  Just deal.  Hey, you don't hear the searchbots complaining, do you?  ;)

sometimes shit starts crawling out of my pores, man
worms run out of me and leave bits of knowledge like droppings in little trails behind them, then I go around and collect the shit and wonder what it's all about ...

Life teaches all of us certain things:  you have to believe in yourself; you have to take care of yourself.  Because if you don't do those things for yourself, nobody else is going to do them for you, and then you're up the creek.

We learn these lessons again and again every day of our lives; everything around us teaches us the same thing:  you have to take care of yourself, because it gets cold and harsh around here sometimes, and who the hell else is going to keep you warm?  What'll you do if a fuckin' tree comes through the roof?  Who are you gonna call?  You're the one that's got to sleep in the rain later on, under the open sky.  You think the roofer's going to come over and hold the umbrella for you?  Naw.

You're on your own, sucka.  Learn the lesson young and learn it well, if you know what's good for you.

so it goes, same for me as for you as for whoever

Now.  What if that's all backwards?  What if the thing you keep learning is a goddamn lie?

You're not on your own.

Go ahead, try and take care of yourself, and see where that gets you.  Okay, I know; nobody admits to fucking up.  "Never ever let them see you sweat," they say.  Man, I got rivers of salty water poppin' outta me like a fucking barrel that's about to explode.  Talk about sweat.

"If at first you don't succeed, try try again."  Remember the little train that could?  That's me and you, little Johnny, we'll get there if we just keep chuggin' along and never EVER give up.

No, here's a thought for you:  go ahead, right now, give the fuck up.  Didja ever notice how many geniuses and visionaries exit this life by sucking on the barrel of a gun that's in their own hands?  What if they all know something that the rest of us don't?  What if they're closer to the truth than the ones without the guns in their mouths?

Here's my personal favorite, because I'm a little sick in the head, you know:  IRON DISCIPLINE.  Be the hardest of the hard, tougher than tough, be a fucking MAN, man up, boy!  Get some!

All you need to do is believe in yourself, and you can do anything.  Do you think Kurt Cobain believed that one?  I'm telling you he didn't.  He knew better.  He was on the right fucking track, dammit!  He could see things you and I can't, won't ever.  Two power chords came out of his hands and broke the music business into pieces.  (That was the time before last; it recovered in between, you know.  Britney needed the backing.  What, you think she wrote any of that stuff herself?  heh)  girl can dance though, nothin' wrong with that ... mmm.

It's the exact same fucking thing for me as it is for you.  I've been a Christian for most of my life, but I might as well have started this morning.  I have to get out of bed, put my pants on one leg at a time, and put one foot in front of the other, same as you, and depend on myself.  What the hell else are you gonna do?  There's bills to pay, who else is gonna do it?

you gotta open your mind a little, man
try looking at it from both sides, upside, down on the upside
there's more to this world than is dreamed of in your philosophies

Here's what the non-Christian is asked to do:  stop trusting your eyes, stop trusting yourself.  (Listen, if your life is workin' for you, go the fuck for it, man, don't listen to any of my shit for a second.  He came for some of us, not all of us.  He came for me, that's for fucking sure ...)  (Did he come for you?)  (He said he did.  YMMV.)

Here's what the Christian is asked to do, every day:  stop trusting your eyes, stop trusting yourself.  You think that happens in a day or something?  You think that comes easy to anybody?  It's a fight that lasts until the breath stops coming out your lungs.  I'm sorry, Brother Christian, but the easy road you see before you isn't the one I see, and more power to you, to each his own.

I see blood on each and every page
and yeah, I also know what it's like to be 100% convinced that no one anywhere ever has felt as good as I do.  Felt that way a few hours back, and it wasn't just the drugs talking.  Sure it's not true, open your mind, man:  I'm just making a point, it's rhetoric.  Play along, you might learn something.  (Yeah right, from me?  ha, ha.)  You got eyes and wits, make sense of it, or don't.  Spoonfeeding is disrespect, spoonfeeding is dissin' you.  Don't stand for it.  IMO.

no more filtering, no more apologizing, no more hand-holding, no more hiding
heh that rhymed
my guitar is calling, and she's in charge around here; sorry.  :)  *waves buh-bye*

This one was "just for me," boys and girls.  Thanks for playing along.

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2012, 07:18:05 PM »
XX.  Think I had the number wrong last time.  Oh well.

Boy am I beat.  I just had another day that seemed like one of the best days of my life thus far.  I've had an astonishing number of such days over the past year or two.  It's really nice.  Everybody should have days like that, everybody deserves to.  No, wait; I take that back.  Nobody deserves to.  But if I get to have days like that, then everybody else should too.  IMO.  :)

I've been mildly stressed lately because I've made it a personal goal to sit down with each of my closest friends (there are three or four, not counting those I've lost touch with) and talk to them about important personal stuff that I don't usually talk to them about.  The stress is because I'm not at all confident that I'll be able to express myself well and get my points across.

As you know all too well by now, if you've read much of this blog, my religious beliefs are way more important to me than anything else in my life, and that's how I think it's supposed to be for everybody else too, even though most people don't feel that way.  I don't think my close friends know that view of mine or how much it matters to me, and that sucks.  If you can't be open with the people you care the most about in the whole freakin' world, then you can't feel terribly close to them, from what I can tell -- based on personal experience.  I love my closest friends to death but I guess I don't feel terribly close to them.  Nah, I don't.  Doesn't that suck?  Yeah it does.

Do you feel close to your friends?  Are you open with them about the things you care about the most?

It's funny to feel like you'd take a bullet for somebody even though you don't think they know you very well at all.  That's the boat I'm in.

I figured out that this blog is really for me to enjoy, and if anyone besides me enjoys it at all or gets anything out of it, that's just a bonus, not a goal of mine.  It sounds selfish and strange; I think it is selfish and strange, but in a good way.

There are a great many artists who feel that they create their art for themselves primarily, and sharing it with an audience is relatively unimportant to them, even if they do it anyway.  No, I don't consider this blog "art," but I've decided that the same dynamic applies here.  I think it will make the blog more honest and beneficial for me, at least.  Originally I planned on putting effort into writing stuff that I thought other people might enjoy reading, but now that I've decided against that, in a sense, this blog may become even less interesting to readers than it has been already.  Heh.  hehehe

« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 07:24:17 PM by rick957 »

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2012, 01:08:40 PM »
In spite of receiving kind comments from several readers, I'm still unconvinced that this blog has any particular value to anyone besides me.  The good news however is that I've already decided that it's been a great experience for me, so I'm not stopping yet.  :)



Updated the introductory post with a confession of laziness.  I'm so lazy that I've decided to stop numbering my blog entries because I don't feel like looking it up every time I start writing.  Pretty lazy, I know.  :)  It's summer, it's hot, go 'way.  ;)



Do you have a lot of the same thoughts over and over?  It sure looks like I do, based on the content of this blog.  What's up with that?  That's gotta be dull as shit to try to read through.  Oh well.  *shrugs, sighs*



I went a while there where I was posting somewhat frequently to Elliquiy's P & R section (Politics, Religions, and Other Controversies, sic) ... Then I decided to ban myself before anybody else beat me to it.  :)  I discovered that stuff I was saying wasn't well-received, which was to be expected, I guess, if you've looked through much of this blog and seen how odd and unpopular a lot of my beliefs and opinions are.  There's more to say about E's P & R section, and I might try to elaborate further, but not right now, because lazy, remember?  Yeah.



There are rare exceptions, but on the whole, people at Elliquiy are shockingly, astonishingly, unbelievably nice.  Why is that?  There's way more nice people around here than anyone has a right to reasonably expect.  It just ain't natural.  Vekseid and the mods past and present deserve as many pats on the back as possible for doing whatever they do to attract so many damn nice people to this site.  Just sayin'.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 07:24:57 PM by rick957 »

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Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2012, 01:58:32 PM »
Nice people have an effect on nice people sticking around.  It's recursive that way.  Nice people tend to be crowded out of overwhelmingly negative spaces, leaving them even more negative.

(Wow, something where entropy does decrease!)

Yeah, summer, hot, lazy.  ;)

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2012, 02:06:39 PM »
Yay!  One of my favorite nice Elliquiy peoples stops by.  :)

BTW Oniya, I saw something you wrote someplace at Elliquiy about physics or something, and I figured out your deep dark secret that you're way smarter than anybody else on the site.  ;)  Or it sounded that way at the time.  Heh.

Physicks iz cool.

Offline Shjade

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2012, 07:19:58 PM »
In spite of receiving kind comments from several readers, I'm still unconvinced that this blog has any particular value to anyone besides me.

Isn't that the goal of a blog, really? Sure, it's in a more public venue than the more traditional journal/diary, but I thought the intrinsic value was in the catharsis of expression in some external form, just the doing of it for the sake of having done it for yourself, rather than whatever public acclaim might result from people who agree with your musings or find them fascinating or whatever the response may be, if any.

Why would you need it to have value to anyone other than you?

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2012, 06:00:24 PM »
Blogs and Audiences or Lacks Thereofs

Hiya Shjade.  Sorry for the slowish response, I was savoring the appearance of a fresh comment.  ;) 

Of course you're right, there's no reason why a blog can't be written simply for the benefit of the author.  And I knew before starting this thing that most of the pleasure would be in simply writing it, since there's no guarantee of having either readers or commenters.  Also I've discovered that this has been a useful place to work out things in my head that matter to me and probably don't matter to anybody else, so it's definitely turned into a self-focused enterprise.

That's the short answer.  This being my blog, you also get a secondary and much-longer-than-necessary answer, which of course no one should feel obligated to read.  :)







The longer answer is that I have numerous personal reasons for thinking about who might read the stuff I've written and how they might respond to it.  Even though it's written mostly for me, I keep the idea of an audience in mind, and I suspect most bloggers must, to one extent or another, because their writing is viewable by others instead of sitting in a notebook in their closet or languishing on their hard drive. 

In fact I spent several years during my angsty teenagerhood doing just that, filling notebooks and text documents with angsty teenager-y laments and observations, so I'm well-acquainted with the practice of writing exclusively for oneself, or maybe for some future audience after you're dead and everyone figured out you were some genius whose angsty teenagerhood was worth reading about (yeah right, heh).

The mere possibility that another human might look at something I've written makes a huge difference to me, as I'm sure it must to at least a few others.  It makes me write a lot more cogently and carefully, for one thing, and that's a big benefit, because my general reason for being active at Elliquiy at all is to practice and improve my communication skills, in both literary and non-literary contexts.

And for me at least, there's even more to it than that ... There's the fact I mentioned a while back that part of the reason I frequent Elliquiy is for ersatz social interaction, being a slightly-more-lonesome person than I would prefer to be at the present time.  That's also why the comments in this blog are especially enjoyable to me, and I'm happy to engage in any back-and-forth discussion whenever the opportunity presents itself.  But again, I'm not counting on such interactions as a condition of doing the blog, and I don't see any online interaction as a real equivalent to offline socializing.

Finally, while mulling over how to answer your question (I mull over lots of things, it's not anything special, heh), it occurred to me that I'm especially interested in responses to this blog because I've been so freakishly and unexpectedly candid here about intensely personal topics and about religious topics, which I also consider intensely personal.  It's hardly a routine thing for me to expose my innermost thoughts to others in the way I have here; it's been many years since I had people in my life on a day-to-day basis whom I could share such personal stuff with.  I still have friends I share highly personal stuff with -- well, just one or two, really -- but they're all long-distance, seldom seen or heard from.

As to the religious stuff, also, I'm extremely personally preoccupied with the ramifications of my religious beliefs on other people besides me.  One of the wonderful things about believing that each person's beliefs are equally valid or are only applicable to that person is that whatever you believe wouldn't necessarily have big consequences for the other people you interact with, since you would assume that each other person has their own set of beliefs that are fine for them, and those needn't concern you either.  However much I bemoan this fact, the religious beliefs I have chosen claim to be true for everyone and therefore have consequences for everyone, including all the people I interact with.  So in that sense, I'm highly interested in hearing the responses of others to my religious beliefs, as expressed in this blog.  I assume most people won't agree with my religious beliefs, but each person will have their own reasons why, and many people have their own beliefs that are at odds with mine -- those are all things I'd love to hear about, from anyone willing to engage in a polite and respectful exchange of ideas.

So, in conclusion, it's not that kind of blog.  ;)  I mean, since I get to set my own rules here, I get to decide that this blog will be more focused on audience response and interaction than other blogs might be.  Cajoling or coercing such audience participation is an ongoing project for me, and each time somebody chimes in with a thought or two, I get a little warm fuzzy buzzy thing goin' on.  It's nice.  :)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 06:10:50 PM by rick957 »

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #46 on: July 12, 2012, 06:44:57 PM »
Briefly noted:  Music I've listened to in the last 24 hours

(I'm a giant music dork and have no idea why this blog isn't already full of me talking about music.  Here's a small effort in the direction of changing that.)

Johnny Cash, American Recordings II / Unchained and III / Solitary Man.  Think I got those titles right.  Cash's American Recordings are an absolute unbelievable gigantic treasure trove of glory.  Rick Rubin would be a god in my mind even if he'd never done anything other than make the American Recordings albums possible.  To be honest, I only know the first three albums really well; I've heard the fourth and like it but need to listen much more to it before figuring out what I think of it.  I own the box set and the other one that came out after but haven't heard those yet, although it's impossible to imagine that they aren't great too.
Style:  ultra-spare, fragile, manly acoustic country/folk
Kindred Spirits/RIYL:  Merle Haggard, Willie, Waylon; U2; Elvis; Dylan; Jeff Buckley; Damien Rice; O Brother Where Art Thou; the voice of God Almighty ;)

Ben Harper, The Will To Live.
  This guy's an odd duck; one of the only musicians, or people for that matter, that I know of besides me who has an affinity for both Christianity and marijuana.  hehehe  I've got maybe five of Ben Harper's albums but only know three or four well.  This album has completely astonished me because it has suddenly turned into a very important album for me, even though I never paid much attention to it before, even after hearing it many many times.  Repeated and careful listening can do that sometimes, especially if you're listening to an artist of real talent, because those artists have gifts that aren't always obvious in just one or even several listens.  I think it's a hallmark of huge artistic stature when it takes many many listens to discover all the greatness in a particular album, and parts of it surprise you and catch you off-guard even years after you first heard them.  This album is like that; I thought it was an uneven and unimportant part of his catalog, but lately I've decided it's a minor masterpiece and might become my favorite album of his.
Style:  tasty, crunchy funk-rock; ultra-spare, ultra-fragile acoustic ballads; gospel
Kindred Spirits/RIYL: Hendrix, classic rock, Blind Boys of Alabama; weed; Jeff Buckley; Joseph Arthur; Chris Whitley (what? who? heh)

The Police, Every Breath You Take: The Singles.
  I have and swear by the original version of this collection, which differs by at least one track from later rereleases.  Actually, there may be later greatest-hits compilations which superseded this collection, and if so, that can't possibly be a good thing.  This CD is so fucking brilliant that anyone who likes rock music at all should own it.  There isn't a bad song on it:  every one will insinuate itself into your mind and infect you with poppy deliciousness.  We all know Sting has been in the public eye long enough to make an ass out of himself many times over, even if you like some or all of his solo work, but look, the Police is a whole different thing altogether.  These recordings sound timeless (even though several came to epitomize 80s pop), completely fresh, and just as astonishing as they must have sounded when they first hit the airwaves.  These guys were real originals, melding their diverse influences into something totally new and unreplicated-since (even by Sting solo).  Highest possible recommendations.  :)
Style:  super-funky reggae-flavored pop-rock bliss
Kindred Spirits/RIYL:  The Cars, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Peter Gabriel, 80s pop and/or rock, U2, Bob Marley; jazz (complex instrumentation)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 09:59:58 PM by rick957 »

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Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #47 on: July 12, 2012, 06:47:18 PM »
I had noticed that absence.  Been listening to the latest from Men Without Hats recently.  I've never seen a band return so seamlessly after such a long hiatus.

Offline rick957Topic starter

Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2012, 06:56:24 PM »
@ Oniya

You mean the absence of me talking about music?  That's neat, if that's what you meant, although I'm amazed that you recall enough of my posts elsewhere to remember what a music dork I am.  :)  Or maybe you meant something else.

I confess, it's rather mindblowing to me to hear that Men Without Hats had a long career of any kind, much less that they're still around nowadays.  Some of my favorite bands (well one in particular, Midnight Oil, whom I've mentioned in this blog before) are known as one-hit wonders to most people but actually have gigantic and important catalogs comprising many many albums worth hearing. 

I do luuvvv "Safety Dance" and always have, great video too, but it's all that I know of theirs.  Tell me more if you feel like it (but you don't gotta, of course).


EDIT  (not addressed to anyone in particular) You might notice some words in bold italics for no apparent reason.  I just went through and highlighted the names of certain pop culture figures (mostly musicians) that matter a lot to me, and also highlighted some keywords referring to themes that matter a lot to me and therefore get talked about a lot in this blog.  Maybe that'll help a visitor or two to spot stuff that interests them?  It's a thought, anyway.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 07:39:18 PM by rick957 »

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Re: Rick's Blog. yeah wall o' text don't read it
« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2012, 07:57:42 PM »
Hey, your 'Music Lovers' post still gets hits from time to time.  ;)

I think one of the comments I saw that puts it best is: 'Love in the Age of War' is like meeting up with an old friend you haven't seen in 25 years, and picking up right where you left off. 

Safety Dance is, of course, the song everyone remembers from them, with a possible second being 'Pop Goes the World', which got a bit of rotation when MTV still played music.  To the best of my knowledge, they haven't had a studio album since 'Pop Goes the World', so it's hard to say if that's really a 'long' career.  Of course, Boston did the same sort of thing (to the record company's dismay).  Amazingly, Ivan's voice hasn't really changed all that much over time - despite having seen current pictures of him on the album art, I can listen to the songs and 'see' him in Safety Dance.  He doesn't do the high peaks as often, but when he does, he still does them well.

I heard about the new album from a Canadian DJ friend of mine (had to be a Canadian, right?), who posted [noembed]The Girl With the Silicon Eyes[/noembed] on his feed, prompting a quick and clandestine trip to the local music store - which as of last week still couldn't order it, and tried to tell me it probably wouldn't be out for 6 more months.  Thank you Amazon.  I was able to wave my non-imported copy in front of the FYE guy.

From the opening track 'Devil Come Round', you're back when New Wave was shiny, and keyboards were still called 'synthesizers'.  The lyrics have matured a bit, though.  'Head Above Water' could be about a parent letting a teenaged child out into the world, or about a couple breaking up in a 'wish it could have worked, but it didn't - good luck' sort of way.  'Close to the Sun' is another 'I still care about you, even if we have to part' song.  'Your Beautiful Heart' is the sort of song that wraps you up and keeps you going without being saccharine.  'This War' - if this song doesn't have the audiences joining in on the chorus, I'll eat my (non-existent ;D) hat.  'Live and Learn' is a song that I can see being put into a movie soundtrack where the lead is taking on the task that everyone says is impossible.  They haven't gone too serious, though.  'Love's Epiphany' calls to mind all those silly love poems that Lennon and McCartney were so fond of:  'I wrote you this poem/ by the light of the moon/ Roses are red/ and remind me of you.'

In short, the album is a good time packed into a 5" disk, and I'm now watching the nearby venues for any tour news.