Categories
Journal

COVID 19 – 8th Update

It is 3:56 on Tuesday afternoon. I’m in the 5th month of rarely leaving my house. I cannot say it has affected me greatly as I’m used to working from home and there are plenty of activities that can be done without going outside.

The past five months have slid by as though I’m in a daze. Almost half a year gone! For me, I’m still busy with work and have occupied my time with various projects I’ve mentioned previously. The latest project was buying a new server and installing my blogs on it. I’m still elated that I was able to move the blogs to the new server without trouble. It was a bit scary as my blogs are one of my greatest treasures and it was possible that my pictures wouldn’t match up with the right posts anymore but all is well.

One thing I’ve learned in this quarantine is that I like to stay active. What causes me some stress is determining what activity I should do in my free time. Should I read a book, play video games, workout, garden, or find some other project. My mind is always stuck in high gear and it is very hard for me to relax completely. My mind races from one thing to the next and I supposed that is due to my job and always having to be “on” all the time. I don’t think I’d be in a great mental state if it wasn’t thanks to the workouts in my home gym, meditation and preparing for the future.

The other thing that causes stress is things have not gotten better in terms of COVID. We’re seeing spikes again and this bodes very poorly for any travel recovery. I’m wondering if I’ll be furloughed if things continue to deteriorate. I’m safer than most due to the nature of my work in the industry but even that cannot hold out forever if travel does not resume.

As for the world overall we’re in uncharted territory. There will be many defaults in loans, people kicked out of their homes, breakups of marriages and so on. I wonder what the situation is like in homes across America. Given that our society has always prized work over a home life I’m sure the quarantine has been terrible for many families. Gone are the days when Mom and Dad trot off to work, dump the kids off at school and nobody has to see each other until after 3:00 PM. Now everyone is around all the time and I’m sure many households do not deal well with that. What will happen when things open back up. When will things open back up?

We’ve just been put on basic lock down here in California. No trips for us this summer and given the situation next year might be in doubt as well.

I had a thought to create a haiku or poem today. I swear I felt a little pressure on my chest this afternoon as though I couldn’t get a full breath. I had also felt poorly last night. This worried me for about an hour and during that time I saw a notice on my phone to take advantage of a great deal from Amazon. I had to chuckle as that is typical America. There is disease and death all around yet commerce and consumption still reigns supreme.

I am short of breath
Is it soon my time to go?
PCs 50% off

During this time I’m full of energy in the morning and can accomplish anything. By 3:00 PM all the energy is spent and I have no motivation to do any of my favorite activities. It is at this time I have to make myself do something or I’ll just sit in a chair and look at my phone.

Speaking of the phone I finally put Facebook away. I find that it brings me no joy at all. I no longer feel any desire to keep a connection with all my various acquaintances. It seems more like work liking every post out of a sense of duty due to old friendships. Just let it go and be more in the moment.

I’ve been stuck home for too long. I miss trips to San Jose for work. I really miss my annual Japan and Ohio trip. It is another day spent mostly in my shed in the backyard. Aside from working out and meditation there is no more self medications which are effective. Alcohol makes me lethargic the next day, gaming produces no dopamines and I’ve already completed my major projects. Weekends are just more time spent in the house and not something that gets me excited anymore. I wish I had a pool or at least a steam bath.

But I really cannot complain. I have a beautiful view, I have a home gym and plenty of electronic entertainment. Now where is my motivation. It has been lost in 5 months of self quarantine.

Categories
Politics

LTMD – The State of the USA

Dear Descendants,

I thought it might be interesting for you to hear my thoughts on these very dark times in the history of the USA. You’ll be reading about these times in the history books and so I wanted to give you my perspective.

To start, let me say that I do not like either party and my official voter status is NPP (No Party Preference). America is a country where the ability to think critically when it comes especially to government or religion is in very short supply. The choices in these realms must always be binary: black and white, right and wrong, good vs. evil, America vs. Russia (then terrorists then China), Democrat vs. Republican. Honest debate and the ability to see both positive and negative aspects to everything seems to be a thing of the past for the average American.

Now, since I don’t have all day to write this I am going to place blame for the current state of affairs directly on Republicans. I was once a Republican because that is what you do when you go to business school. The party was hijacked by Trump and his rightly described “basket of deplorables.” Let’s take a look at their positions which for me, are the most deplorable:

Limiting the ability of Americans to vote

Our entire form of government revolves around the people and their ability to choose their own leaders. Part of the Republican strategy is to limit the ability of people to vote. Isn’t that something! We cannot win in a fair election so we’ll do everything we can to hijack the process. This is absolutely criminal and those that do it should be tried for treason.

Putting kids in cages

There is a crisis at the border with many unfortunate people trying to get into the country illegally. Yes, it is a problem and should be addressed. But it should be done so humanely and in line with the image America is supposed to protect. What have Republicans done? They have treated them like animals and put kids in cages. All the while they go to church where the main teaching is to love everyone. I cannot think of any greater hypocrisy. It is as if Jesus himself said, “Yes, love everyone, BUT, we must put those kids in cages.”

Republican Evangelicals are the most hypocritical of them all. They profess to love their Jesus but support Trump who is the epitome of everything that Jesus would detest. If I were you I would advise that you never listen to any Republican Evangelical as through their recent actions they are nothing but liars and hypocrites.

Destroying the image of America to the world

Growing up I was lead to believe that America fought for what was good and right in the world. True or not that was at least the image. Under Trump Republicans have completely destroyed all the soft power that has taken decades to build. America now does not have a leg to stand on when it comes to espousing Democracy, Human Rights, or pretty much anything else that brings the world together.

Republicans are selfish

We are currently in the middle of one of the greatest pandemics the world have ever seen. One action that would greatly help slow the spread of COVID is to simply wear a mask. Is this something even Republicans could handle? Of course not. For them it is all about individual liberty and if they want to spread disease then it is their right to do so. So what we are seeing is that we are not a country of unified citizens looking out for the common good but a collection of individuals looking after our own interests and screw everyone else. Yes, Republicans will celebrate Independence Day, waive the flag and drink their Bud light but they do so not in support of America but for support of themselves.

Black Lives Matter

The African American was enslaved in this country for hundreds of years and then subjected to terror, persecution and injustice right up to the present day. On the face of it, you would think a good country would take a serious look at what we can do to help our fellow citizens. Is this the path Republicans taken? Of course not! They are currently defending the flag and statues of the Confederate army whose main purpose was to keep slavery in place. The Confederacy lost folks. That flag and statues are an affront to our fellow citizens of color. Does this make any sense at all? NO it does not!! With current events America is forced to look itself in the mirror and realize the truth.

Could you imagine if the situation was reversed and it was African Americans who enslaved white people? What if it were African Americans who protected statues of leaders who had raped, tortured, beaten and terrorized whites for hundreds of years? How would white people feel? This is a moment in history where America is waking up, of getting better, the Republicans are once again on the wrong side of history and what is good.

This moment is a momentous one in the history of the USA. You will experience different issues and moments and so I’d like to give you advice. Learn languages and travel the world. Integrate as much as you can with other cultures and realize that everything you think you know may be wrong. Always choose the side that treats others kindly. No, you do not have to treat everyone with respect because in my time Republicans and the Republican Evangelical does not deserve respect. However, everyone is a living being and although their faults may be horrendous the path of love and kindness for the person is the correct one.

Who is spreading hate in my time? The Republicans are. Just listen to one podcast from an awful person called Rush Limbaugh. You know what Republicans did? They gave him one of the highest honors America can bestow. Read one day of the Twitter torrent put out by President Trump and if you have any sense at all will quickly see that he is a madman.

Let’s make a quick comparison. President Obama wanted healthcare for all, that was his main priority. What are the Republican priorities? Take away healthcare, defund education, basically do everything possible to ensure we’re not looking after the welfare of Americans as a whole. The only thing important to them is to ensure the rich get more money and to hold on to power no matter how damaging it is for the country as a whole.

In short, the current crop of Republicans are selfish, greedy, hypocritical idiots who care nothing for anything or anyone but themselves.

I never thought I’d say this but I am now inclined to avoid any group of people vigorously waving the American flag. They are fascist, racists buffoons who may hurl insults at my family. There are places I will not take my family to in the USA under the current environment. I wouldn’t be surprised to see things worsen with Republicans trading their red MAGA hats for MAGA armbands and goosestepping around the block. Given the physical condition of most of Trump supporters I highly doubt they could goosestep around the block without running out of breath.

These are very sad times for America as a whole. If there is any God that has even a modicum of concern for the USA then Trump will lose the next election. If not, then God help us all.

But either way, it may be best to simply think of America as a business and not so much as a country. Republican or Democrat the value ever since the 60s or so has been around money and who can get the most of it, not in the welfare of the citizens. Don’t let this mentally stress you out, just take it for what it is, and consider yourself a Global Citizen, the way of identifying yourself only with the country of your birth should be something for the history books.

Categories
Internet

New Server!!

Today is a wonderful day!

After a decade of using the low end, entry model 212J Synology NAS I’ve finally splurged and gotten a state of the art server. I bought the 212J about a decade ago because I had always wanted to host my own blogs and thus not have to pay some company to host them for me. As I knew nothing about running a server, or even if I could do it I went with the cheapest option. Over the past decade I’ve taught myself and have come to rely on it as my blogs are not only a very important part of my life they are in-fact a recorded history of it. This is such a treasure to me and it was all hosted on a cheap server that could have failed at any moment.

The 212J was faithful although with updates threw some major fits in the past 10 years which could have destroyed my blogs. The most recent tantrum was in the past update where my CPU shot to 99% usage and made the NAS almost completely unusable. This was scary but with patience and a lot of tinkering I was able to figure it out. It was this however which convinced me to finally splurge for a new NAS as well as learn all the things I needed to know to ensure I had it set up like a pro and not an amateur. I had stumbled my way through a decade in getting it to work and had not realized that I was on the edge of a cliff once step away from seriously damaging my blogs.

In technical terms I did not understand RAID nor how to have a perfect backup of the blogs. I used SHR without data protection in the storage. I learned that the pros will always RAID configurations which means the data is always written immediately and simultaneously to two disks in case one fails. Then the other disk will immediately keep the data available until the bad disk is replaced. As I didn’t understand RAID or SHR I only had my blogs on one disk.

Now I did have backups of my blogs but they were not sufficient. I had simply exported the blog from WordPress as well as the content folder which kept the pictures. What I didn’t understand is I also needed a backup of the SQL database because it is that database that lets the blog know which posts to put that media in! Yes, I would still have my writing, and I would still have the pictures, but the blog wouldn’t know which pictures go with which posts. I had tried backing up my SQL before but would always get a timeout because of my slow server and there was a setting or two that was not correct.

With my new 920+ on the way I spent a week studying how RAID and SHR works, and consulted websites on how to ensure everything was set up perfectly. I owe a debt of gratitude to mariushosting.com for creating a site which easily explains everything along with pictures! Often websites will get directly into Terminal commands for the complicated things and the Terminal is pretty much only for the pros. Now I have WordPress in Raid 1 which is two drives mirroring each other all the time.

Simply getting a new blog is not why I’m pleased with myself however. I had been stressing for weeks over being able to transfer my blogs and actually getting them to work on the new server. Mind you I had spent a decade tinkering and often getting stuck for months and even over a year in the beginning. But all that tinkering as well as this past weeks study paid off. I was able to transfer everything over in about 6 hours. It took that long because I did get stuck a few times which I’ll explain. Warning, technical WordPress, SQL stuff ahead!

First I downloaded everything and was even able to download my SQL databases. I preferred to transfer manually as I was somewhat familiar with it, plugins rarely work perfectly for big projects like this and the amount of pictures was immense. I tried it myself at first, but kept getting an error that WordPress couldn’t connect to the database. That kept me stuck for a while but then I realized I shouldn’t be trying to do it with Maria 10 as I had used Maria 5 before. I had tried upgrading to Maria 10 before but could never get it to work. When I finally just used Maria 5 it worked. I’ll come back to this.

The next place I got stuck was in making a secure connection. I didn’t want Google telling visitors my site was un-secure and even worse stopping them with a warning to not proceed! I had transferred the certificates correctly and after a while realized I just needed to assign the right certificate to the right blog. That is to say not all blogs on one site’s certificate.

So I was able to get it working with Maria 5 but I was determined to get Maria 10 to work. The forums all told me it must be something to do with the settings in the WordPress config file but my database, user name and password were all correct. After much searching I was finally able to find the answer. It was like finding a nugget of gold after hours of coming up with nothing but dirt. The problem was that Maria 5 uses “localhost” in the db_host line. The forums were telling me to put in the actual internal IP which didn’t work. The nugget of gold was to put in “localhost” followed by a string I didn’t understand but it made Maria 10 work! I was overjoyed.

Since I’ve decided to dedicate two drives under Raid 1 to WordPress I needed more drives for everything else. I spent a little more and have two 1 TB drives arriving today. Then I’ll be able to install Note, Surveillance Station and also take a peak at all the other applications I’ve been thus far unable to use due to the limitations of my 212J

Today is a good day!

Categories
Culture Journal

Racial Unrest and other news

It is 8:49 AM on Sunday May 31st, 2020. I have asked myself many times this year if things could get any worse. I quit asking myself that question months ago yet things continue to get worse. At this point I’m wondering if we will see a bottom for a while or if things will simply continue to decline along a steady pace as the months and perhaps even years roll by?

I’m on the verge of deleting Facebook again. I would love to do this but again, doing so would mean losing contact with hundreds of people around the world forever. I’m tried of reading everyone’s opinions but I have to say it is fascinating how quickly people will forget teachings of love and respect and choose a side. I was very disappointed in the boomer generation adult when I myself because an adult and now I am equally, if not more-so disappointed in the adults of my own generation. Adults are supposed to be smart and have answers. I’m realizing adults are amazingly dumb and this is depressing.

As with many things in this blog this explanation is so my ancestors can have an accurate representation. As there are no like buttons nor room to comment I’m not interested in feedback. It would seem that around ninety percent of Americans will just parrot their choice of propaganda and I could just get that directly from the source if I were so inclined.

So what is happening and why?

It is because racism is deeply ingrained in American society. It is not something a sports star nor black president can cure although the media likes to think it can. Human beings on the overall are very tribal and it is very difficult to eliminate the instinct. Humans have always mixed but the tribal instinct remains. Take the Arab Moors conquering Spain over hundreds of years and now most Spanish have black hair and black eyes. You know what else Spaniards have? Ancient hatred for the Arabs even though Arab blood is in their veins. Let’s stick with Spain and look at Mexican society. The rulers are mostly white and at the bottom of the social order are the natives. You go up in social class depending on how much Spanish blood you have in your veins. These rulers then do not care much for the natives although native blood also runs in their veins.

Here in America racism courses strongly through American’s veins and although diluted much over the past century is still as strongly present and real as a Spaniard’s black eyes. African Americans started out in this country as slaves and have had a very hard road since due to this racism. Simply put, it has been much more difficult for them to build wealth and prosper due to racism. If racism could be removed completely I imagine society would be quite harmonious and everyone prospering. But no, the racism persists and injustice after injustice is perpetrated on African Americans. The current unrest is the direct result of a racist society.

Reading the news today I see white leaders telling people they are dishonoring the legacy of George Floyd by looting and rioting. Well, let’s state things clearly here. Both peaceful as well as violent protesting has occurred many times int the past but it rarely does anything. Just a few years ago the Occupy movement had people marching all over the place, holding rallies and lots of people speaking lots of words up on stage. Then it ended and nothing changed. I remember the L.A. riots in the news and seeing video of a man being pulled from his truck and almost killed. Guess what came of those riots? A damaged L.A. came out of them and not much else. So what will happen with these riots? There will be damage, people will get arrested and pepper sprayed, they will end, and nothing will have changed.

The only thing riots serve is to harden the opinions of those who already hold racist views. But I understand the need to protest and even those that want to break things. They live everyday under suspicion, in a society where the feeling of being an outcast is always there although to varying degrees depending on the environment, socioeconomic status, and mindset of the individuals. This is everyday life for them and something that those who do not experience it really cannot empathize with since they have no idea what it is like. However, let’s not pretend that all of the protesters motives are pure. There are more than a few who are thugs, to cause chaos and steal. You see these thugs looting stores. But then I ask myself what is the difference between them looting stores given the opportunity and white collar executives looting their customers (or anything that can be looted) given the opportunity? I remember Wells Fargo charging customers for accounts they didn’t want and then calling it “deepening the relationship.” Perhaps these looters are deepening their relationship with Best Buy? Taking for personal gain is the American way! This is also deeply ingrained in the DNA of this country. The only difference is the ones on top can get away with it whilst the ones on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder cannot.

Let’s also be honest about the police and George Floyd. This is where I do not understand why white leaders keep saying “the legacy of George Floyd.” He was drunk and trying to pass counterfeit bills. He was not a role model. But here is the catch. When was the last time a white cop killed a white person for stealing? Reading the news I can count three times just in the past few months when extreme injustice occurred based on racism. Arbery, Edmondson and now Floyd. This is that native racism with the only difference from the past is it can now be easily recorded and shared when in the past it could not.

Looking at my Facebook feed half have taken the side of police and half on the side of the protesters. None have written a post trying to understand both sides. This is the important point my ancestors. The truly intelligent can delve into and try to honestly understand the other side. This is not a talent that comes naturally and takes work. This also creates the ironic outcome where expecting to receive more answers you’re own viewpoints become less stable. The results in more reading, and the more you read the more questions you will have and it will continue forever. It can cause anxiety to never be steadfast in your own opinions, to never have an eternally correct answer. But it is also exhilarating!

You’ll soon see that those who are so sure of their answers are the ones that know the least. These are the ones who are the most vocal. In my own feed it is those who did not go to college and received C grades in high school that post the most and are absolutely sure of their own opinions. The Left side of the spectrum is smarter than the Right on the overall. But the Left is also blinded by their arrogance and smugness. They simply see the other side as dumb and that they must teach them. Well, the Right doesn’t want to be taught and hates the Liberals for it. The Right prefers tradition, the way things are and doesn’t want all this change. There is nothing inherently wrong in their opinion. They like sticking with their own group and do not want to be “sensitive” for every new snowflake issue that comes up. I remember myself hating how at OSU we were always taught to be “sensitive” to one thing or another. Exaggerating a wee bit it was like “Hey, this mess of a human wants to identify as a transsexual saucepan with a fetish for spoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but straightly bi-sexual on Wednesdays except on the weekends when she/he/we/it/us/they – please use whatever pronoun they would like – would just like to be known as asexual Bruce. For God’s sake’s man, you had to be sensitive to something new every other day and if you weren’t you were a neanderthal.

So yes, I can very easily see both sides here and seeing both sides is a mark of intelligence which we simply do not have enough of especially at the moment.

In other news I want to pick on religion a bit. The Orthodox Church in Greece uses the same spoon to dish out Communion. This means the same spoon goes in the mouths of the entire congregation!

Spoonful of disease

Contrary to what science says, the Greek Orthodox Church insists it is impossible for any disease — including the coronavirus — to be transmitted through Communion. “In the holy chalice, it isn’t bread and wine. It is the body and blood of Christ,” said the Rev. Georgios Milkas, a theologian in the northern city of Thessaloniki. “And there is not a shred of suspicion of transmitting this virus, this disease, as in the holy chalice there is the Son and the Word of God.”

It is quotes and beliefs like these that make me feel like Agent Smith from the Matrix.

I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.

There is so much dumb in the world. I used to think we could trust the adults. As an adult myself I can see that becoming an adult is no cure for stupidity. I used to think that we could trust the President. Well, then I learned a lot about historical presidents. I learned that in a drunken rage Nixon ordered the atom bomb to be dropped a few times. I recently learned that Clinton is up to his ears in sleaze. And with Trump, well, it is something new with him everyday isn’t it. I also used to trust priests. Then I learned how many they abused even in my own parish. I was equally amazed at the nonexistent reaction from the parents. Since they were all absorbed into the religion priests doing something wrong just doesn’t compute. They say something like “Oh, well, he was a bad apple.” They are mentally unable to understand that the entire barrel is bad. Religion owns them, they are in a mental cage from which they can never escape no matter how much evidence is given. Jesus himself could come down out of the sky and say “You know what, this was all a joke.” The faithful would momentarily be shocked, unable to move until the brain swung into action. No, this isn’t true, you’re the Devil in disguise! This my ancestors is how religion works. Almost everyone will be the same religion as their parents. Technology, science and human knowledge will increase. Over time many more may be able to escape the mental cage of religion due to this knowledge or it could swing in reverse. The knowledge may be too much for many to bear and so they will cling to the familiar, to “the answers.” Clinging to anything is more secure than drifting out there in the unknown and usually all alone. As for me, I revel in it.

But going back to the spoon, it makes one want to say the trite phrase “Are you serious??!” This is akin to people of rational mind saying hey, you’re dishing out a spoonful of disease!!! And the response is, “No, no, the magic bread will gloriously remove any impurity!” Not only is this absurd but the thing itself is absurd. The magic break and wine was changed into flesh and blood and people want to eat it! I believe this goes back to pre-human times when eating that which you’ve conquered makes you stronger. Hey, Jesus, I am going to eat you. Jesus commanded us to eat him!

WTF

I really am in the Matrix aren’t it? People cannot get along due to the color of skin, the President is threatening to “release the hounds” like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons and some guy named Jesus is telling people to eat him and billions obey. Many of them with the same spoon. In a global pandemic.

The change from 2019 to 2020 was also us entering into a new dimension, an absurd timeline where nothing makes sense. Oh, well, just like being adrift all alone with no solid answer to ground myself on I will appreciate the experience of living in such an absurd time. I will write in my blog and still appreciate the blooming flowers, a nice glass of wine (not blood) and the beautiful sunsets. As is often said in the Tale of Genji, “This would is uncertain and nothing is secure.”

My life is as short and insignificant as the morning dew on a wisteria leaf.” – MdC

I was going to end there but just opened up my news and The NYT has an article of a reporter being shot with the headline “I’ve been shot!” You know what, if you’re going to go into what resembles a war zone you should probably be better prepared and not expect special treatment because you’re the media. This reminds me of a highly uncoordinated girl being asked to do some sort of physical activity. If she is not completely supported through the entire activity she will fall down in very dramatic fashion for all to see. She is a girl that can do nothing for herself unless given so much special treatment that it is actually done for her. Likewise, if you’re going to go into a riot zone you better have someone prepared for it. Not some weak person who expects her media badge will shield her from all going on around her.

Categories
Journal

Check-in at 43

My 43rd birthday was on Tuesday. Writing that down and seeing the age leaves me in a state of awe. Forty three is not a young age to be and I marvel at how quickly life goes, especially as you age. How could I be 43 years old already?

Regardless, I’ve settled in comfortably to midlife. I made all the right decisions and am now in a very good spot. I have a great family, we live in a beautiful and diverse place, and I really enjoy my job. There is a part of me however that is a little sad to be this age already and I think it helps to recognize that feeling. Luckily I’ve discovered a wonderful antidote which is to keep life interesting. This can be as simple as changing up a music playlist or discovering a new game to planning new international trips or rediscovering a passion such as language learning or the study of history. For me, learning more about the world and looking at international travel is particularly exciting. I can easily slip on my VR goggles and go almost anywhere in the world. I can open up Wikipedia or a new book and learn something I didn’t know before. Finally, I’m hoping to start getting away to a few international destinations here soon. The hurdles are young kids and that Japan always takes all the time and money every year. However, with flight benefits I’m sure I can get away here and there when they’re in Japan or bring them along. It is hard to convince the wife about doing anything like that though. Japanese don’t like to do things out of the regular routine and any suggestion is often met with an “Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhheh??”

I’m continuing my path towards a sort of introversion when it comes to social media and national news. Social media no longer brings any joy. I’ve seen all the pictures I need to for now, have no need to read any shared memes and certainly don’t want to hear their political opinions. I still find it amazing that some women will post picture after picture of themselves. Imagine explaining the state of social media to someone from the 80s or 90s. They would ask why someone would want to do that and wouldn’t their friends get a bit tired of pressing a “like” button all of the time? The answer is yes, and the world has gone off the rails.

Not only are people now posting picture after picture of themselves but also their children. These same people were especially reluctant to post pictures of their kids on the internet of 2001 due to a fear of pedophiles coming to get them! Now, it is a virtual flood of pictures that cannot be stopped. The quick hit of dopamine that the brain receives is too much to ignore for some people and they seek it day after day. Someone from the 80s/90s would also marvel at how outspoken people are on the internet. There is no modesty, no reservation, no filter on the internet. You’d be hard pressed to hear someone explain their political opinions back in high school, but these same people will repeat what they’ve heard on their propaganda channel of choice.

The news is also particularly depressing. In short, we have a narcissistic, crazy man as President whose cult of personality is very alluring to many. I personally think he is the perfect president for the selfish, shallow, me-first culture America has become. Obama said America was “exceptional.” Well, no, no we weren’t. We are just as decadent as any other country out there and this truth has manifested itself into the President. If a society is sick then the symptoms will eventually show and boy are they showing now. Trump is President with a lot of support. In normal times this would be absolutely shocking to any sane person. We’ve got race riots since the racism was always there but is now being recorded and shared to many viewers.

It seems to me that Obama was sort of a short term medicine for America while he was in office. He offered “hope and change.” Well, the medicine kept us all feeling good for a while, but it only helped with the symptoms and during this time the disease spread even more deeply into American society. You take the Obama medicine away and the disease rushes back stronger than ever. It is like COVID-19 is a perfect mirror to society and our current situation. The disease infecting American society has not only manifested itself in Trump but also in an actual virus of the likes we’ve never seen before.

Sticking with my metaphor of Trump being the result of American sickness I would say Democrats helped it along. The metaphor for Democrats would be a diet of fast food, cigarettes and alcohol. With all the news coming out and the connections Clinton had with Epstein and Maxwell such as traveling to Epstein’s Island and a possible affair with Maxwell I’m sure there is so much dirt there that we’ve just hit the tip of the ice burg. No wonder someone had Epstein killed. Epstein’s “suicide” is just as big of a lie as Iraq having mass destruction. It is simply another big cover up in a string of cover ups. American leaders plod along creating one mess after another and nobody really knows what the fuck they are doing but are having “fun” and lining their pockets while doing it.

And guess what type of situation we’re in now? We’ve got Biden, who also is a sleaze and lines not only his own pockets but that of his son. A Ukrainian Energy company? It is obvious he receives his paycheck for being Biden’s son. Where is the accountability these days? So although Trump is an abomination the Democrats are also to blame. Not that Hillary would take any of that blame of course. It is good the Clinton dirt is coming out and I look forward to the volumes of Trump dirt that will come out in 30 years or so. Or perhaps it won’t? At the rate we are going I imagine we could have a straight up dictator that half of the population loves.

Well, I’ve gotten off on a bit of a tangent. It is applicable though because it is hard to now have my mind filled with these thoughts. The world has become such a strange place that I want to cut myself off from national news and social media. I want to delve into international travel and study. As for America I’ve finally realized that there is no “team.” America is about individual profit and is a wonderful business. Just need to shed the lie that we were all part of a team and that is hard to do after having to Pledge Allegiance for most of my childhood.

At this age, a trickle of people around the same age that I once knew dying is starting to appear. It is like a few raindrops hitting the pavement when you know that over the next few years those raindrops will start to increase becoming a light, then heavy rain over the next two decades. Two people around the same age from my high school have died in the past month. Nobody from my class has died yet but I imagine the probability is high that at least one will in the next few years. That is very strange realization and hard to digest.

Other than death there are also divorces, family troubles and those who still haven’t found anyone. As far as I can tell, the divorces have been pretty tame compared to our own parent’s generation. It seemed like about half of my friend’s parents were divorced. Among my own generation it seems like the majority are holding together. Social media only tells one so much however so that number could be higher. There are also a number of pretty girls that I’ve known who are still single. I’ve often believed that being pretty is also a big curse. Pretty girls attract the bad guys and the girls always seem to fall for them. Pretty girls are also always looking for something better and so those that never “settle” often find themselves alone and often get a dog. I think the desire to love something is an intrinsic human need and a dog fits that role perfectly. On the overall dogs are better than people hands down so I understand this completely and my mentioning it is actually praise rather than a put-down.

As for the allure of wine and partying, I still like a good party but the price to pay for drinking alcohol has become too much at 43. I rarely drink beer and now even if I limit my intake of wine the sugars in it will not let me sleep. I hate that. Furthermore, alcohol affects my mood and I’m down for a couple of days after drinking. I don’t like that either. I’ve also been getting into really good shape so much prefer how that makes me feel than the feeling wine gives me for a few hours.

However, wine on a Friday evening while watching the sunset is also hard to turn down. Wine sets my mind free and removes the constraints set by routine thought patterns. My thoughts soar into wonderful directions under the influence of wine and I get some wonderful ideas that would otherwise not have occurred. Regardless the scales are tipping towards not drinking at all as again, there is a three day repayment for 4 hours of enjoyment and that is a heavy price to pay.

What else can I say about 43? I’m now even more of an official adult. I’m still waiting for that moment where I get my official adult card that comes with unlimited and perfect knowledge I thought all adults had when I was a kid. The more I learn the less I realize I know. However, I do feel as though I’ve got a handle on the adult world more than ever before and can point to a few specific examples.

  1. At work I deal with some very smart people at the top technology companies. I’ve become very comfortable doing this and am thoroughly confident in doing so. This comes from “deep confidence” I’ve gained from not only work experience and dealing with many different types of people over two decades but also from life and international experience.
  2. I finally have a confident handle on my finances. The stock market used to be something foreign to me but thanks to a vast array of new technology tools I can keep a pulse on the market as well as on many of the ways to invest my money. I feel so confident in this that not even the huge COVID-19 declines rattled me. There was a slight shiver maybe, but it was barely perceptible. My finances are sound and my only concern is the state of the economy in the coming years, although I’m still very much an optimist.
  3. The world – I’m starting to see much more clearly how the world works. The only constant is change and I’m in a much better mood if I just accept that things will be as they will be. Americans want to choose Trump, fine. Americans want to choose a bloody tyrant the next time, fine. That is they way of the world and through my international experiences I can always adapt and take my family with me. I have confidence in my ability to adapt and thus can release any mental anguish over things I cannot control. I’m reading The Tale of Genji written over 1000 years ago in Japan and one thing they say over and over is that “the world is uncertain.” We can plan and build safeguards and try to give ourselves a sense of security all we like, but the world will change according to its own rhythm and it is best to go along with it.

And that is my mindset on this 29th day of May in the year 2020.