The Ancient One: Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.

Dr. Stephen Strange: Which is?

The Ancient One: It’s not about you.

 

  • That exchange from the Doctor Strange movie keeps coming back to me.  Kind of hits a point most people keep missing and refuse to acknowledge when it smacks them in the face.
  • Taking a bit of break from Overwatch, playing a bit more Skyrim.  Put off working on my PS4.  I think I’ll try to play Overwatch more when I know people I actually know are playing.  Haven’t played very much as the new character, interesting power set though.
  • Came across an article last week that really got me thinking.  It was essentially discussing how difficult it is to study relationship without showing a bias towards monogamy.  The basic conclusion was that we are conditioned into believing that all relationships should strive towards a monogamous male-female set up and that’s the ideal.  That conditioning also makes it less likely for an unbiased study of relationships.  It just made a lot of really good points about how much of what take to be our cultural ideals are in fact things we’re conditioned into rather than what we determine are best for ourselves.  Not saying that everybody should go try a polyamorous lifestyle, but it does help to remind people to not take everything at face value.
  • I’ve written in the past about Tomi Lahren, mostly stating that I find her to have a limited understanding of the topics she discusses and more parrots her talking points than anything else.  Apparently she lost her job at the Blaze over the abortion comments she made on the View.  Glenn Beck has responded with some criticism of her remarks, citing a lack of intellectual honesty on Lahren’s part.  While I don’t necessarily disagree with Glenn Beck on that, but her comments were on par with her statements on a number of other issues and did not yield a response.  Why was this the line that she shouldn’t have crossed?
  • I’ve really avoided writing about abortion.  I don’t think nearly enough women have been a part of that conversation and that needs to change.  To a certain extent, I do think we need to reevaluate it from a modern viewpoint.  I do think the moral and religious arguments against abortion are too deeply rooted in a time where life expectancy was considerably shorter than it was today and the infant mortality rate was much higher.  With that in mind, it is important to acknowledge that there are more people alive now than ever before and they are living longer–to the point where we struggle to feed the people already living.  On that thought, I do think it is somewhat irresponsible to bring a baby into the world if it is not likely to have the opportunities we all deserve at birth.  I have also heard the argument that Roe v. Wade resulted in lower crime rates as there were fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer children at risk to get involved in crime due to growing up in a disadvantaged situation.  However, the choice is not society’s to make.  It should be between the parents and their doctors.
  • Finish today’s post on something a bit more… fun.  Starting to rearrange some things to facilitate more drawing.  I’ve been slacking, but hopefully that will be remedied soon.  Have been doing a bit of a series of drawings that I post on Instagram, calling them the “Pretending to be working” series.  It gets the stuff going at least.
  • Made tacos with Bison meat.  It was good.  I should make Tacos more often.

Been playing a lot of Overwatch.  Making it a goal to play at least one hour as each character.  That could take awhile.

  • Started getting serious again with the Order of the Dragon stuff.  Drawing it out in pencil, rather than on the computer.  I just like the feel of it better.  Going to try to do more of a hybrid workflow.  The mix has worked well in other projects, I’m hoping for the same here.  I always found a more hybrid approach more appealing, as there are some details that I can get better in pencil and some I can get better digitally.  If I have what I consider to be a healthy start, I might start posting new pages in the next week or two.  That’s kinda dependent on me stopping with Overwatch long enough.
  • Still giving some thought to bringing back Chlorine and Acid in some form, just want to make sure I get it right.  One of my main goals with that–and in writing here–is to get some more self-evaluation going.  I might be too open and honest at times, but there is a goal at work.  Try to share the ideas that will help people grow.  I feel like that I failed that in the first go around, but I wonder if a more focused attempt might work for the comic.
  • So I heard there will be Star Wars: Rebels Season Four.  Is there enough story left to tell?  I mean, I feel like the storylines for each character are wrapping up now–we got the freaking Obi-Wan and Maul showdown coming up–and the Rebel Alliance has essentially been formed.  I just have to wonder if there is going to be enough story to tell and if it is really going to justify a fourth season.
  • So I live the next town over from Middlebury, where there were protests recently about Charles Murray’s speaking engagement and a professor was injured in the course of events.  I am honestly not that familiar with his views, but those I am aware of are ones I don’t necessarily agree with.  I get the impression that his beliefs influence his research and potentially skew it.  Not to fault having beliefs, but there are times when beliefs can interfere with your ability to observe, think and develop ideas.  I would personally prefer to see people challenge his ideas than resort to violence, but I can understand the strong feelings.
  • Freedom of Speech should be about ideas, but do when certain individuals aren’t really bringing ideas, should they be entitled to a platform?  Is Murray really bringing ideas to the table?  Was Milo Yiannopoulos anything more than an exploited and troubled individual?  (Not to dismiss anything he said, but I do think there are some real personal issues at work there)

One thing I find myself thinking about more lately is problem solving.  In particular, the desire and preference for the fast solution or the “Quick Fix.”  This has been something I’ve noticed at work lately, as there has been a lot more… micromanaging in the cheese production process.  I won’t get very technical or detailed about it, but there has been a lot of small adjustments that might solve one problem, but in the end only create two or three more.

I see this more and more in the news lately.  Take Trump’s Wall on the Mexican border.  Does it really solve anything?  Drugs are still going to come in.  A wall isn’t going to do a damn thing to stop that.  Most of the “criminals” are already well established here.  Undocumented workers?  They are what keep a lot of agricultural industry going.  They are the dishwashers.  I don’t see a lot of Americans lining up to do these jobs.  It might be a short term solution, but doesn’t it just create more problems and cost even more billions later on to maintain the wall?

I’m reminded of what Yoda said about the Dark Side being stronger–another case in which that puppet had more wisdom than most people–in Empire Strikes Back, when he said, “No, no, no.  Quicker, easier, more seductive.”  The point I see in that is that quick fix might seem easier and more seductive, but doesn’t it lead to more problems in the end?

In another life, with an ex, we had a couple of fish tanks.  Each had probably five or six fish and my ex had suggested we get more fish.  Personally, I was never really that interested in fish and we did struggle to keep them alive.  I told her this and she was a bit miffed.  I suggest the idea of getting a dog at that point, being something I had an interest in doing at the time.  She ignored the suggestion and brushed it off, and I didn’t really bring it up again.

As serious of a step as that would have been, there were a myriad of issues that needed to be solved.  We could have gotten a puppy.  We could have gotten ponies if it made her happy.  Or more fish.  But would it have done that?  It would have been the same deal with proposing.  Yes, we could have done it, but would it have made a difference if she didn’t want to deal with those other issues?  I mean, I lost count of the number of times I said, “we’ll talk when you’re ready” only to have her never really want to talk about anything.  In a lot of ways, her quick fix of breaking up saved me from dealing with her drama, but I doubt it really solved any of her problems.

In general, I do find that the quick fixes are more detrimental to the long term than people like to think.  One thing I’ve been doing more of lately is thinking about the long term.  Have the long term goals clear and defined.  My mother asked me the other day if I had “given up” on trying to be a writer.  Given up?  Fuck no.  Admittedly the mental toll of working nights has caught up to me and I’m a bit more sidetracked, but that’s temporary.  I’m thirty, I got plenty of time.  If I leave my current job, I want to make sure its a better situation, which is the only reason I’m still there.  I haven’t set up the better, long term situation.

Sometimes you just have to think about those odd little things…

  • Finished reading a biography of Nikola Tesla.  He was very complicated individual, struggled a lot because of his complexity.  A lot of what he theorized about has come to pass, so you can’t help but wonder what might have been.  Three day weekend coming up, so I might head over to the bookstore and pick up a couple more books.  Also right across the street from the cookware store, so the rice cooker might happen.  The books will probably be the priority.
  • I had a dentist appointment the other day.  Nothing terribly exciting, although I will admit that the hygienist scolding me for not flossing enough was a bit of a turn on.  Probably helped that it was relatively attractive female–relative if only because beauty is defined by our own perceptions.  The field of dentistry does seem ideally suited for some odd fetishes.
  • I feel like there have been a lot of little things building up to something lately.  Not sure what, not sure if I care.  I just see these odd little events that seem to be pointing in one direction or another.

Do you know what thinking is? It’s just a fancy word for changing your mind.

–The Doctor in Doctor Who “The Zygon Inversion”

 

  • Continuing with a previous post: Freedom of Speech.  I was thinking about the Bill Maher/Yiannopoulos interview and a point occurred to me.  I like to think that the whole point behind Freedom of Speech is the exchange of ideas.  Put forth new ideas that open people’s minds and get them thinking.  There’s a difference between trying to pick a fight and putting forth a new idea.  Ideas encourage thought and discussion.  Whenever I’ve tried to write seriously about any topic–guns, religion, relationships, politics, social issues, etc.–I’m really just trying to give people new ideas to think about.  I don’t necessarily overburden myself with a notion of being right or wrong.  And any of those ideas I usually think on more after I write about them and would be willing to have a discussion about.  I know that probably was never really possible for some people and probably never will be, but I wouldn’t mind discussion where possible.  Being challenged helps new ideas to form.
  • I’m pretty impressed that I’m holding steady at 175 pounds right now.  My diet and exercise routines seem to be working effectively enough and I’m ramping up the cardio lately.  Made it to 6.5 minutes on the elliptical machine.  Can’t wait to kayak and hike again.  I pretty much cut out cardio completely for the winter under the rational that I’m on my feet and running around for most of my eight hours at work every night so that should amount to something and I was trying to gain some significant weight.  Still not where I want to be in regards to sleep, but there’s always something to work on.
  • Trying to figure out how one is really supposed to celebrate President’s Day.  What is one supposed to do?
  • Lately, I’ve been giving more thought to bringing back Chlorine and Acid.  I almost did a special page about something that was going on at work, but events unfolded so it was unnecessary.  I feel like it is needed again.  Going to do some page layouts and maybe redraw some of the early pages.  Maybe even make some use of various reference pictures I took.

The game is afoot.

  • I collect Magic Cards, but I haven’t really played since college.  Mostly I just put decks together.  I’ll buy a booster pack or holiday box or whatever and start seeing what cards go together.  I’m not even really up to speed on a lot of the new abilities–energy counters, etc.–that have been added in recent years.  I might try to sell a few decks at some point.  I really don’t need the two dozen or so decks I’m working on.  I mean, I might like to play a few of them (the Chandra one, the Elf Deck, the Vampire Deck, Red/White Angel Deck) but most of them are ones I don’t really need.
  • Going to start working on a series of Magic the Gathering drawings soon.  Already did a Chandra sketch card, planning to do some some of those.  Maybe something more complex.  Going to try to get back to page work in the near future.  Problem is I always want to do ten pages when I should do one.  And burn myself out.  I have no pacing whatsoever.  Working on that.
  • Officially done bulking.  Got up to 180 pounds.  Pretty pleased about that, although I did briefly hope to get up to 200 pounds.  Combination of factors got in the way, but 180 was the goal along.  My general plan is to cut down to 170 or so.  The biggest thing has just been trying to learn to work with my body, not against it.  The big issue is still sleep, but not much to be done about that for now.  Kind of a body and mind thing.
  • Tried a new pre-workout that somebody gave me a sample of.  Stuff called 5150.  I think I read that it has 8 different types of caffeine.  Very powerful stuff.  If anybody wants to try it, be warned: it is very intense.
  • Thinking about trying to make Meatballs or something different than I’ve been making.
  • I wrote the other day about my experiences growing up on the family farm and been pondering that a bit more.  Basically I’ve gained more insight into a lot of what unfolded regarded my family’s history in farming and it has given me some new avenues of thought.  I don’t deny those experiences did give me a more pessimistic view of farming–and also of opportunities I was presented with, but that’s a story for another year.  Trying not to get into what ifs, but I do believe there were opportunities I could have done a lot with.  And maybe new options will present themselves.  I’m always keeping an eye open.
  • I find myself pondering options and opportunities.  The average person will change careers seven times.  I have to wonder if in trying to create a stable workplace, do employers limit the ability of workers to find better options and opportunities.  I get paid $22 and some change an hour with good benefits where I work, but does that pay rate keep me from seriously considering a job where I might be happier?  Where I might have better opportunities for advancement and more flexibility to pursue other endeavors?  And does the effort to maintain a stable workplace keep employers from finding people who are potentially better fits?  Stability and comfort can be as much a hindrance as a help.

Another week.  I ordered a Deadpool mask.

  • Did a job interview a couple of weeks ago.  Thought it went pretty well, but it doesn’t look like I’m getting the job.  Oh well.  It was a local coffee company.  One of the things that stood out to me was the specification that applicants aren’t smokers.  I’ve speculated at various times that where I am currently might implement such a ban, especially after they reduced the areas where employees can go to smoke.  People leaving cigarette butts on the ground outside has always been a problem, and I even found one in a trash can in the area where we box cheese–likely left thrown their after someone went out for a smoke, just sitting right on top of the trash.  Given that some of the higher ups smoke and half the workforce smoke, it would likely be some time and effort before such a ban is implemented.
  • So I was at Home Depot the other day, looking into a number of ideas for projects.  Mostly just getting a vague idea of what type of gear I can or should get to do a lot of the projects I have in mind.  Big one I was drooling over was a table saw.  I’m thinking of building a few bookshelves and eventually a couple of desks–one for a computer and one for drawing.  More of a project for when I’ve got a house of my own situated. The desk might end up being built into a wall, so I’m planning on that being after the housing saga is close to its conclusion.
  • I was thinking about how other people working nights make relationships work.  A lot are married, but there are a few people who are still single.  Everybody is a little different, but I do think being in a relationship while working nights can be tricky.  It seems to require a high level of patience, understanding and commitment.  Part of the reason why I’m glad I remained single.  In the past I’ve pondered the usefulness of a rebound relationship and have tried to avoid getting into anything based in desperation.  People are fond of saying, “You’re 30, blah, blah, blah…”  but isn’t the point to not rush and form better long-term plans?
  • My father and uncle are in the process of getting a solar company to put panels on some of the farmland–the farm I grew up on until I was thirteen.  It has been controversial in a myriad of ways.  While I’m all for expanding solar panel usage, I do have some doubts about the situation.  My family and the surrounding neighbors aren’t necessarily… “progressive.”  Solar energy is something I’ve been very interested in though.  When I was a heartbeat away from farming, something I had thought about was seeing if it would be possible to use part of a field for some panels.  Nothing too elaborate.  At the time I was thinking that they were pretty heavy into dairy and it might not be a bad idea to diversify a little–solar energy, pigs, maybe bit more foodstuffs, lately I’m thinking about goats, etc.  Anyway, solar energy is a market I think there could be a lot of potential for.  I’m sure there will be a fair amount of excitement with the process my family has set into motion.
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