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

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.