Anniversary Edition

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Today marks the third year of my wife and I being married, and boy has the time flown by. We’ve been together since senior year of high school, and we’re 26 years old now with 3 beautiful children. The featured photo of this post is the first picture we ever took together, and we’ve come a very long way since that night.

Our first was born in 2011, we were only 20 years old. I’ll never say that it was easy, having kids so young. One tends to find themselves pretty lacking in friends and free time, especially having a kid at 20. Most people your age are going off to college or are partying all the time and don’t understand why you can’t really go out anymore. Some day they will, if they ever have kids of their own. Cadence is six now and going into first grade. Watching him grow has been the most amazing and challenging thing I’ve ever experienced. I love you, buddy.

Tenor was born in 2014, and adjusting to a second child wasn’t as big of a change as it was with Cadence. Of course, having a second child brings on its own challenges. It’s another mouth to feed, more sleepless nights, and the financial burden of course. We’ve never had jobs that paid very well. Being with my wife has taught me a lot about materialism. I used to think that money was everything, and making money was the only way to be happy. Certainly you need some money so you have somewhere to live, but beyond the support of existence, most of the things in life that are truly important are free.

Arietta Joan was born in May 2017 and has really brought about personal change in me. Having a daughter really has put a lot of things into perspective for me. When I first held her, I knew she had me wrapped around her finger. She’s just over a month old now, and already growing so fast. She can hold her head up, smiles, coos, and laughs already, and it melts my heart. Now Heather and I are outnumbered with pairs of hands and little ones to keep track of.

Finally, I owe a tremendous amount of love and thanks to my lovely wife, Heather. I couldn’t do this without her. She’s the most caring person I’ve ever met, which counteracts how callous I am sometimes. She brings me down to earth and keeps me level headed, mostly. She tolerates a lot from me, and I hope she knows I love her dearly.

These 4 are the most important people on the planet to me, and I’d do anything for them. They’re the glue that holds me together. I love you all so very much. More than I could ever express in writing.

Dad’s Journal : Entry I

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Reflection

Do you ever wonder about all the decisions that have brought you to this point in life? Am I making all the right decisions? If I could go back, would I change anything? These are questions nobody has the answers for but keep people like me awake. One thing that worries me the most is if I am parenting to the best of my ability.

I fear, above all, that am failing as a parent. I feel that I’ve been losing my temper more lately, mostly out of a hate of the I feel in a rut right now. It makes me feel awful when my family catches the brunt of my frustration. Especially the kids, because it’s obviously not their fault. And they have no concept of why Dad is always so unhappy and cranky. Lack of sleep, bad job, stress, and a case of common depression are all excuses Dad can offer in defense. Dad doesn’t want to be remembered as the asshole who ruined everyone’s days all the time.

I suppose this all fits in with today being Father’s Day. Dad doesn’t feel like he is living up to the standards he should be. Always sleeping and or angry. Daddy is sorry, I know you don’t understand right now. All I can do is apologize for always being cranky and promise you one day it will be different. Daddy promises that he is doing the best to make changes. Everything dad does is attempting to be the best he can be and make a great life for you. Dad feels like he is failing, and one day I hope you kids will see that all I ever wanted was to be the best dad in the world to you. Should you boys and your sister ever read this, know that I am sorry for all that I’ve done.

I love you more than I could ever express, even though it may not seem like it sometimes. Being a grownup is hard, and it’s even harder for a child to understand. Mostly us grownups just make it up as we go along. Watching you grow up is amazing, and seeing you three happy is the greatest feeling a Dad can ask for.

I’m sorry for being a hard-ass.

Love,

-Dad

Pseudoscience

The Science of Fooling Dumb People

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Pseudoscience is believing in things that claim to be scientific, in the absence of any scientific evidence. What is in us that drives this obsession with believing in things that make no logical sense? Dianetics, astrology, flat earthers, holocaust deniers: all of these are silly beliefs to hold and I cannot understand why anyone would. Is it a lack of education? Are people just trying to troll people by saying they think the earth is flat like a pizza? What are these people thinking? I’m going to look into Scientology specifically.

Scientology

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Scientologists believe some crazy shit, even for religious folks. Among many things, they believe humans are temporary form, inhabited by your infinite self – not solely unique among religions. A being named Xenu (pictured above), who was the dictator of the Galactic Federation, brought his kin to Earth – which was then named Teegeeack– 75 million years ago on what is essentially an airplane, killed them with hydrogen bombs and their thetans cause spiritual harm to human beings. You sign billion year contracts, guaranteeing that your future incarnations will also be indoctrinated into the Church of Scientology. This church robs people out of millions of dollars, and strings them along with nothing but more and more nonsense and secrecy, used to keep the carrot on the string so they keep spending more money to achieve the next OT (operating thetans) level.

They believe that humans evolved from clams, all psychiatrists are demons, and that any critic of Scientology can be harmed in defense of the church – also not uncommon among religious types. If an elite member of of the church misbehaves, they get taken to The Hole, a prison where it’s reported that you get all kinds of strange punishments. It has been reported that you may be forced to stand in a trash bin while being sprayed with water, cleaning toilets with toothbrushes, and sleeping on a cement floor with bugs all around.

And this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. All of these things were written by a man who wrote an insane amount of science fiction novels. We know this for a fact, and yet people choose to believe anything he’s written down as some sort of historical account of the universe. Leah Remini, among many others, have gotten out of the church and gone on a sort of crusade to bring light to what actually goes on in the church, especially the higher echelon. She reports missing people, and being held ‘captive’ after questioning things like Tom Cruise’s behavior.

If someone were brought up in this brain-washing church, I can understand why someone would have no other choice but to believe. Everyone in the church acts as a watch-guard to the other members, and must report any misbehavior. Similar to North Korea, this forces everyone to not want to step out of line, because all eyes are watching. It’s almost genius. But it’s the folks who choose to adopt Scientology late in life that confuse me.  What do people think before signing their soul away for a billion years?

Flat Earth Society

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Now this is another one that confuses me greatly. I’m nearly certain that a lot of folks claiming to believe that Earth is flat are just trolling people. I certainly hope that a decent number of folks who presumably have a high school  education would believe that we live on a large pizza-like object floating in space. They seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of physics, in thinking that all of the water would move to the ‘south’ end of the planet because of gravity. Flat Earthers also believe that there is some kind of giant ice wall in Antarctica, which marks the edge of the planet. How do these people explain how you could fly west in one direction continuously and land in the same spot? We don’t live on the face of a coin, folks. Why would we have time zones?

I think these people have demonstrated that they have no clue what they’re talking about. Of course the Earth seems flat because we have no sense of scale. As you travel along around the globe, of course it would appear flat, because we’re so small that we cannot see it. But when you fly in an airplane you can actually see the curvature of the Earth. They also claim that no photos of the whole earth have ever been taken, which is demonstrably untrue, but they refuse to accept any evidence to the contrary. Why are all of the continents not on the same plane in these photos?

What the hell, people?

It’s nearly impossible for me to wrap my head around how people believe these things. I don’t have the mental energy to commit to these thoughts any more. Are people really doing it just to annoy others?

Is it easier to just be dumb?

 

 

Sundays

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Sunday: the alleged day of rest, but is usually spent recovering from binge drinking due to the fact that Monday shall come once again. I’m just as guilty. A few months ago, I gave up drinking, because I realized I was pouring alcohol into my emotional problems. Not a healthy relationship with the substance. And that’s on me. I don’t preach to anyone to stop drinking, I just cannot stop drinking once that first drop of liquor touches my lips. If only marijuana was legal, society would be much better, I feel. It’s not like we live in a sober society anyway, so this ‘war on drugs’ is completely arbitrary. No news there, but it’s obvious that a lot of people don’t want to be sober all the time, and they want to escape reality. Is it because alcohol keeps you dumb?

I really wish I could locate a job that I really want to go to every day. I’ve always had a soft spot for writing, but it’s quite a lofty dream to hope to make any money at that. I just got my hands on a desk for my computer, finally. Now i’m sitting much more comfortably and not having constant back pains. Before this, my computer was set up on the main television in the living room, and I was hunching over the keyboard on the floor, or – sometimes- an upturned laundry basket. Not good on the spine, especially one with preexisting problems.

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My search for a better, more meaningful life continues on and on. I spend my Sundays like most: regretting the fact of what tomorrow is. Another day meaningless day wasted being unhappy with where we are. How do people do the same career for 50 years in a row? Am I just wired differently? Or have I just not found that one thing? The idea of doing a job for that long sounds like an absolute nightmare. Even something you enjoy grows old if you do it for 50 years. When is it acceptable to take a chance and try something new?

On Getting Healthy

I’ve been trying to quit smoking and get back into exercising lately, and man is it hard as hell. It’s no wonder parents put on weight. Between, work, spending time with the kids and spouse, it’s challenging to find time to exercise. I know, if you’ve got enough motivation, you can force yourself to get up earlier, or whatever, but working third shift like me and trying to get sleep in there sometime, makes it quite challenging.

I’ve managed to keep the smoking between 0 and 3 cigarettes a day, which I’m fairly proud of. As a pack-a-day (at least) smoker, this is a big adjustment. I’m keeping the cravings at bay with a vape rig, but it’s just not the same. I feel that a lot of non-smokers just don’t get that. There’s more to the habit than just the nicotine addiction.

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On that note, I did some exercise on the rowing machine this morning before taking my eldest boy off to his last day of kindergarten. I can’t believe he’s going into first grade already… where did all the time go? He’s gotten so big already, and I’m enjoying seeing him grow. I suppose he’ll be off to college in the blink of an eye. Does that feeling ever go away?

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Also, I began the high fat, low-carb keto diet this morning and so I’ll probably be keeping a daily diary of how the cycle of that goes. Eating no carbs and sugary sweets will be tough, I can tell already. But I’m determined to lose some extra fat, so I’ll be doing keto along with exercise at the gym and yoga at home. I went through a bulking up phase about a year ago, with heavy lifting, but I think I would like to cut back down to around 190lbs. I did some rowing this morning, as I said, and I think it might be my new favorite exercise. I’ll be tracking my calories and macros daily to endure the pounds begin to come off, and I’ll probably post daily as the effects of the keto diet kick in. I’m going to be eating lots of eggs, fish, and avocado.

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Randomness

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You wanna have a religious experience? Go out into the woods, and take what Terrence McKenna called a ‘heroic dose’.  Smoke weed and contemplate the universe. It’s humbling and everyone should do it. It puts us in our place in the cosmos. We’re on a floating rock, hurling through infinity and people want to argue about shirts.

Folks these days need to be humbled to existence. We’ve been “dulled by the anesthetic of familiarity” as Richard Dawkins says.

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Witness your child being born. Seeing my children for the first time changed my, all 3 times it’s happened. Incidentally, on average, I have a child for every 8.666 years of my life.

The world is full of such beauty which would seem designed, it is the result of billions of years of Darwinism. Of course the planet seems so perfect for our form of life because we’re here to contemplate it.

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Isn’t it about time we stop locking people in cages for having a fucking plant? If an adult is permitted – or required- to go die for his country, he should be permitted to smoke cannabis. The hippie in me says the government keeps it legal because weed changes the way you think. Alcohol keeps you dumb. Just ask that folks don’t get behind the wheel, as with every other substance that is legal which impairs people.

The fact that cannabis continues to be a Schedule 1 drug is absolutely absurd. ZERO medical uses? Quit fucking with us, government. I’m not going to claim that cannabis cures cancer or anything, but there’s no doubt that it helps cancer patients. The government doesn’t want it to be legal, because of the consciousness-raising effects.

Okay, I’ll take my tinfoil hat off now.

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Returning to the natural beauty of our planet, I’ve begun showing my son The Lord of the Rings films, of which I recently purchased the blu-ray extended edition boxset. Seeing all of the beautiful areas that are used to represent Middle Earth, but which actually exist is such a treat.

In watching these films again, I’m always amazed at Peter Jackson’s ability as a director, not to mention the hundreds of other people involved in production. If you’ve never seen the behind the scenes documentaries where you get to see the artists making all of the work from WETA, you definitely need to. It’s amazing.

We made it through the first half of Fellowship, and when asked what they thought my boys said “I like it, but it’s kind of really long!”  You have no idea, my boys.

Religion and Kids

“Religion teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not knowing.”
-Professor Richard Dawkins

It’s bullshit to force religion on your, or any, children. I recently had a lengthy discussion with a Jehovah’s witness, a 20 year old gentleman who seemed fairly sane and intelligent, but believes in the virgin birth, resurrection, and creationism. He also believes that Earth is approximately six thousand years old, and humans used to live to hundreds of years of age. When asked why he was a witness, he replied “My whole family does it.” Children can’t muster an intellectual defense against complex idea like religion. I spoke with the Jehovah’s witness for nearly two hours and he claims to have done research and come to the conclusion, despite the overwhelming evidence contrary to his beliefs, that he believes in miracles, the effectiveness of prayer, the whole package. Most of my questions as usual were met with the usual theist cop-out statements like “all the answers are in the bible”. Instead of being able to answer anything in a simple sentence, they avoid giving any concrete explanation. God moves in mysterious ways. Is it more likely that one man rose from the dead and was born of a virgin or that someone lied or was mistaken?

Using religion to strike fear into children, bribing with promises of heaven or blackmailing with threat of eternal punishment is not something a child needs to be haunted with. One wouldn’t look at a child and think that kid is a Republican. It sounds silly to even state in a hypothetical manner. So why is it acceptable to call a child a Catholic, Islamic or indeed, an atheist?

A child’s natural tendency is curiosity, and we should be encouraging that. They should to be taught to question everything. Everything they read, hear, and see. My wife and I are trying to instill this in our kids. If my kids grow up and want to join a faith, I’m not going to disown them. I would hope that they would have come to the conclusion to join a faith of their own free will, though, not because we forced them. This “I do it cuz that’s the way my daddy did it” mentality needs to stop. My kids will certainly have to put up with me grilling them with questions over why they chose to become religious.

The fact that the bible was written by peasants at a time when people were “even dumber than we are now” (David Cross) and translated and re-translated and edited by kings and people with agendas seems not to bother believers.

I have a real problem with “faith” because it is basically saying “I’m choosing to believe in things that go completely against established science”, and as a Get Out of Jail Free card for anything they have no logical answer for. Theists love to take advantage of gaps in knowledge in the scientific field as evidence in favor of God, claiming that since we can’t explain it now, therefore it cannot be explained, hence: God exists. These people know God exists with as much certainty as I’m sure fairies don’t. Presumably theists don’t believe in Zeus or Allah, so what’s wrong with taking it one god further?

There’s no denying that religion has some benefits. It offers a sense of community for those in need, charity, and claims to have all the answers. Which is comforting, I suppose, to people who are rightfully terrified by the infinite beauty and mystery of the universe. But that doesn’t make anything in any holy book true. And you do not need God to be a good person. People can be moral, compassionate, and charitable without the existence of a higher power. We’re capable of so much more, and don’t need God to do it.