Ignorance and Faith

Ignorance and faith are a powerful combination.  It is what is keeping most of this country from worrying and rioting over the debt ceiling debate, which must be solved by Tuesday or their will be dire consequences.  Hell, there's actually been consequences already and more are sure to come regardless of whether or not an agreement is reached, but people haven't seemed to notice.

I bet our leaders are real glad this isn't Greece or the masses would be at their doors demanding their heads ... and they should be.

As of this writing, the stock market has seen a six day sell off.  Earlier in the week Wall Street's movers and shakers were saying "don't worry," and I was saying that when that was said was the time to worry, and investors did.  Six days of pulling money out of the stock market because they fear Washington won't reach an agreement.  Others are confident a deal will be reached.  Why they are this confident is unknown. What they base this on other than ignorance and fear is also unknown.  But let's pretend for a moment a deal is reached (and one may be, but I see no solid evidence of that happening and neither do investors), in some ways it really doesn't matter.

If a deal is reached by Tuesday, America gets to keep paying its bills.  Forty percent of its bills are paid for by credit, so that 40% will be solid.  In other words, your grandmother keeps getting her Social Security checks, the VA doesn't shut down, soldiers will get paid, doctors who accept Medicaid will be reimbursed.  If a deal isn't reached, all of those things are up in the air and more.  But if a deal is reached, the stock market has already declined, a slowly growing economy is growing even more slowly, and it looks like America's credit rating will still take a hit because the people elected (mainly Tea Party Parrots whose negotiating skills are learned directly from children, and Republicans who let their closet racism get in the way) decided to play bullshit games with something the rest of the world finds very important, particularly one of our biggest lenders, China.  If the credit rating is lowered, interests rates go up.  That only really effects people who have things like credit cards, or are buying a house, or sending a kid to college, or are borrowing money.

Ignorance and faith are keeping people from storming the gates, but they aren't keeping people from pulling their investments and buying gold and silver.  Maybe when their credit cards skyrocket and their retirement disappears they'll care, but by then it will be too late, and those people who said everything will work out (they were so sure) will say, "What the fuck happened?"  The writing is on the wall, and if the debt ceiling is raised for a short six-month term, we're going to face this all over again in an election period.  If things are this difficult now, imagine how bad they will be then.

California, in a rare step of forward thinking, has borrowed five billion plus dollars to offset the financial crisis that will arise if the government defaults.  California rarely does anything on time or with long term planning.  This time, however, it has, and it could save our schools from closure and those on Medi-Cal from being denied services.  I have not seen reports of other states doing this.  Maybe they are part of the group that believes all will be well come August 3, the day after an agreement must be reached.

I don't have a crystal ball to see into the future.  I know the debt ceiling debate has never reached this point before.  I don't expect the leaders to make everything all right because I don't have faith in them.  I'm also not ignoring this very important subject.  I've been watching it like a hawk because it will effect my life.  I'll leave ignorance and faith to the ignorant and delusional.  When the banks limit your withdrawals and your credit card bills suddenly take 200 years to pay off, you can get mad.  In the meantime, though, continue watching reality TV.  That "reality" seems much better than what is playing out in Washington.


More Sabotage in the American Workplace

United Continental (which still operates as two separate companies at the moment) is experiencing a sickout right now due to what some would say is a labor dispute.  More power to those pilots.

Sickouts, work slowdowns, strikes, following orders exactly as written -- they are all things workers (mostly unionized since it's easier to get the word out) do to protest working conditions.  Some steal from their jobs, blackmail or destroy important paperwork.  There are thousands of ways one can disrupt work as usual, and each is unique to the job at hand.  Strikes and mass actions are usually a last resort, whereas individual activism is typically an ongoing process.

The sickout at the individual airlines of United Continental is disrupting a small number of flights, which makes me think it is more of a warning than a mass action ... for now.  It could be the sign of something bigger.  It should be taken seriously.  For those concerned with labor issues, pick another airline to use as long as this is in action, and let United Continental know why you are doing so.

These two airlines together have almost 10,000 pilots.  They do close to 6,000 flights a day.  If United does what it did two years ago, it will go to a judge to force these pilots to go back to work.  United won on appeal.  Imagine a judge forcing you to work.  How would you react?  If that were to happen again, staying away from United Continental would be even more important, though if you were forced to fly it for one reason or another, you could do your best to disrupt business as usual.

The vacation season is here, and I'm sure United Continental is well aware of how this could blossom into a widespread sickout at but a moment's notice.  The company shouldn't be heading to court, though.  It should be heading to the negotiation table.  If workers are willing to risk their income and defy a court, don't you think the prudent business person would hear them out?  They often don't, however, and that's why sabotage will continue to exist.  If you're a flyer who supports the company, I hope you feel safe flying in those planes.  At least the mechanics are happy with their jobs, right?


Bring on the Meat Show

This week I took a trip to Hell.  Actually, I went to Garberville for my job.  It was not the best day of my life.

I figured the trip would cause my back to flare up, but I didn't expect it to be as bad as it was.  By the time I made it back to work on Wednesday, I was in so much pain I could barely see straight.  I even left work early because of it.  Those who know me understand that is something I almost never do.

I went home, threw up, took a pill (also something I almost never do), did a super hot soak that boiled me like a lobster, then used a heating pad for quite some time.  I did nothing that night.  For me to do nothing, well, that's a big deal.  My manuscripts don't edit themselves, and I don't have a maid come clean the house.

The pain is still there, and probably will be for another day or two.  On Thursday after work (yes, I went back -- see, I never stay home due to pain) I started doing some massive edits on the cannibal manuscript.  Maybe it's because of the pain and the medicine that is in my system, but I got somewhat meaner with the entire thing.  I also realized how nasty the original work happens to be.  It is written to be like an early '70s exploitation/horror film where nothing good ever happens, and it definitely comes out that way.  For all the people asking me about this, I hope you won't be disappointed.  I also hope you'll understand that while this came from my mind, your children are still safe around me.  They won't be eaten.  I promise.

I described a scene to Girl on our morning break.  A scene I actually did a lot of research on.  I had to learn how people used to tan hides, and I found out some pretty interesting things.  In writing the scene, I added my own little twist (you will know it when you read it, and if you've read the first draft it is still there).  It got the reaction I thought it would, which was of surprised disgust, but I thought, "What if she didn't know me and read that?"  I think she would seriously question the mind of someone who could write such a thing.

Melinda, a short story I like, but that is tame for me, has generated a few sales on Amazon.  It's also gotten me a few e-mails from men who have this fetish for starving women to death.  These are poorly-written e-mails (I think both are from Britain, too) most likely written by men still living at home with mom and secretly masturbating to anorexia porn in the wee hours of the morning.  The e-mails aren't disturbing.  They are actually quite polite.  They just want to know if I have anymore stories like that one.  I don't.  It isn't a topic I write about on a regular basis.  What I find odd, besides that fetish, is that readers may think I have some kind of fetish myself for starvation.  I don't; it's a story.  When it comes to cannibalism, however, I am fascinated with it, and that along with my love of horror movies from the '70s and '80s caused me to write this manuscript as a way to "let the love flow" as it were.  (And before someone asks, no I am not a cannibal.)

Cannibalism is a social taboo in most cultures.  Our's included.  (I do find it oddly funny and disturbing, however, that when Dahmer was finally stopped, a lot of people I knew were more disturbed by his homosexual serial killing than his cannibalism.  It shows how backwards our society really is.  He wasn't a cannibal who was homosexual.  He was a homosexual cannibal.)  When it occurs throughout the world it is either social (as in tribes), psychological (as in Dahmer) or due to survival (as in the Donner Party).  It is one thing humans do that still manages to shock and disgust, even in this world where videos of girls eating vomited feces and men squatting on jars that break in their rectums inspire t-shirts.  The eating of another person reminds us that while we love computers, the lottery and Harry Potter, we are still animals and to some of us we are food.  Rape is a horrible crime that fills people with fear.  The thought of being captured and eaten?  That fills you with dread.

Once I publish the manuscript, I will probably go into great detail on my book blog about what inspired certain scenes and why I wrote what I did.  In the end, however, unlike Melinda, this manuscript comes from a place of child-like fascination with an act that causes most people to throw up in their mouths a bit. It doesn't come from a dark place like the one I'm currently writing a first draft on.  It comes from that same place that thinks looking into your backyard at one a.m. and seeing a clown is terrifying (this is a vivid childhood memory of mine, and he let firecrackers -- more on that sometime later), a place where remote places in the mountains inspire fear and imagination.  Melinda was just an idea.  The cannibal manuscript is a theme that runs through my life.  (When I finished the first draft I got John Lopez of Carl Hanes Tattoo to do a tattoo of a teeth bracelet around my wrist in celebration.  I also have a section on my book shelf dedicated to cannibalism, and one of my favorite movies of all time is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  So, yeah, this isn't a one-time idea that I ran with and wrote about.  This is something I've studied for years.)  Because of that, I think the tale comes across as more terrifying.  In some spots I am absolutely gleeful (such as the tanning scene) with the perversity and violence.  Of course, that's just my take.  I'll let the readers decide.

I can only imagine what e-mails I'll get in after it gets published.

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Full Moon Over a Dead Earth

Last night.  Humboldt County.  In a recliner.  Open window with the sounds of people enjoying the evening filtering in.  Heating pad burning a hole through my back.  Flesh and Blood Compendium being read.  I caught it out of the corner of my eye.  So bright, so big that at first I thought I was hallucinating.

A beautiful full moon.

Clouds sometimes obscured it.  So much so that while on the phone with Girl I mentioned that, again, I thought maybe I had hallucinated it.  It's a rare day when I take pain meds, so they have quite an effect on me.  I get a little ... loopy.

I wasn't imagining it, though.  It wasn't some sort of CGI (Cerebral Generated Image).  It was a full-on, larger than life moon.  The kind of thing our knuckle-dragging ancestors would've worshipped when not splitting skulls and breeding.  It was one of those wonders of "nature" that puts me in awe, like silicone drops on a bed of water on a vibrating table or the ocean.

A werewolf moon.

No, I'm not a huge fan of werewolves.  I can see, however, how this can inspire such tales.  Me?  I like to think of it as a huge, cataract-laden eye looking over a dying planet.  Unblinking at the misery below it.  Where once it was worshipped, now it is just forgotten, a body to be landed upon from time to time if only to figure out a way to extract whatever resources we can from it.  A once majestic god above creatures who had no real working concept of fiction to a monument of failure in people who are nothing but fiction.

It was heady stuff for someone on medication who could barely text properly.

I'm sure quite a few other Humboldt residents saw it staring down on them.  The people in our county seem more in tune with nature than say the people of Los Angeles.  I'm sure there was more than one Humboldt County soul who thought something similar (after all, so many of us are medicated at any given time that it's amazing the drinking water isn't making us all zombies).  Then again, maybe nobody noticed.  Maybe they were all so wrapped up in the firing of the Eureka chief of police as a sure sign of Armageddon that they failed to take note of that eye in the sky.  Full moon over a dead Earth.  Kind of fitting.

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Why I Love Nightmares

I used to think I loved nightmares because of the story ideas they gave me.  Now, there were some nightmares I loathed, but for the most part I enjoyed them.  This, of course, led to a serious inner-debate titled, "If I Love Having Nightmares, Can They Be Called Nightmares?"  The answer was: Yes.  They could be nightmares, and I could enjoy the hell out of them.

Last night, that all changed.  Waking up, I had a new reason why I loved nightmares.  It had nothing to do with the story ideas.  Nothing.  Zip.  Nada.

I woke up feeling refreshed.  This is, sadly, not natural as of late. I woke up feeling absolutely giddy with happiness.  And it was all due to a dream I had been having.  What this dream was is of no interest to most people, so I will skip it.  It was wonderful, though.

And then real life sank in.  I realized the dream was a dream, and it wasn't reality.  These things I experienced in sleep were complete fabrications.  And that is why I love nightmares.

Good dreams, pleasant dreams -- they fool you.  Those moments of bliss are manufactured and are as mentally deflating as finding out those medical test results are worse than suspected.  They are the hot girl that flirts with you and then you find out it's because she had a bet with her friends.  Good dreams are a joke.  Nightmares don't lie.

Nightmares seemed designed by nature to scare you.  You don't want them to be real.  You want them to be gone.  When you wake up, you are relieved that what you experienced isn't real life.  You are thankful and grateful.  You are humbled.  Nightmares don't pretend to give you hope.  They don't flirt with you.  They assault you and make sure you know it.  Nightmares don't trick your soul.  Nightmares are the sharks of the subconscious.  I respect that.  I respect that a lot.  I don't respect the made up reality I went through this morning before waking up to face a lie.  How could I?

I used to not care when people said they loved having these good dreams that had nothing to do with real life.  I didn't care because I figured they were just dreams, and what harm was there in having them or even having the desire to have them?  Now I know these people are delusional.  They are being fooled, and they like it.  They are cashing in on a momentary bliss built on a foundation of clouds.  Better them than me.  I don't want that "reality."  I want the truth or something so terrifying it makes me thankful for the life I lead.  Anything else is unacceptable ... even if it produces a momentary bliss.


On the Road to Arcata ...

Yesterday morning.  Heading toward Arcata.  Highway 101, the main artery between the safe haven of Eureka and hippie-central Arcata.  Off to the side of the highway, parked like a silent sentinel, was a large white pick-up truck.  Nothing out of the ordinary ... except for the large black letters across the back of its cab.

"Show Me Your Tits."

Several inches high, as bold as its statement.  This driver, who was male, was encouraging other drivers (I'm assuming females, but he may like hefty guys for all I know) to expose those objects of many a man's affection.  It was crazy enough to work, I'm sure.  Much like the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise works.  Much like telling a woman exactly what she wants to hear.  I'm sure this has gotten this desperate driver more than one or two nipples.  It would be kind of cool if one woman decided to show him a little more.

She's a passenger.  Her girlfriend (not lesbians, but they've been known to make out with a little wine in them) is driving.  Her window is down.  The air feels good.  It's the beginning of summer.  They are on their way to Oregon.  They are in the left lane.  "Show Me Your Tits" pulls up and past.

"You see that?" her girlfriend asks.  "What the fuck?"

She laughs.  "Pull up next to him."

"Seriously?  You can't be -"

"Come on.  A quick flash.  What can it hurt?  He'll probably love it and go off the road or something."

"Yeah, when he starts jerking off."  But she pulls up next to him anyway.  Now they are both speeding.

She lifts her shirt and bra.  The driver's got a big smile.  He likes these.  If he ever got the chance to describe them to his friends he'd say "heft with just enough perk to make your mouth water."  He'll never get that chance, though.  That smile becomes a look of unpleasant surprise as he sees the handgun come up and the shirt come down.  Next thing he knows, his lower jaw is in chunks across his dash.  A large portion of his tongue explodes in a red mist, and the bullet sinks itself into the passenger door.  The force of the shot causes him to jerk the wheel and go off the shoulder.

"Hope you liked them!"

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