Divided we fall


Some truths are more profound than others. This is exceptionally true about the saying ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. It is being demonstrated every day on a large scale in America today. Everyone has a problem with someone else. Unbridled vitriol is rampant.

It would be easy to blame this on social media, but social media only plays the part of facilitator. Behind every mean and hostile post is a person determined to exact some measure of satisfaction from bringing someone else down.

Then there’s music..

Music transcends barriers. It brings people together.

I find this contrast intriguing.

Related:

I recently went to the park to do some shooting and happened upon a wedding that was just ending. It was one of the most culturally diverse gathering of people that I’ve experienced..It was a beautiful thing. There is a politician running for office in my state that said ‘diversity is crap’. No sir, the only crap present are the words coming from your mouth. Diversity is the beauty of life..

One of THOSE days


I had a really shitty day yesterday. It actually started the night before as I was taking a shower before leaving to pick up my cousin at the train station. 

I really wasn’t in the mood for company to begin with. I caved because I had promised to hang out. So here I am in the shower trying to get ready in a hurry and I turned the water temperature up too high. Trust me there’s nothing quite like a high-pressure blast of scalding hot water on your genitals when you’re not expecting it. In my haste to recoil from this self-inflicted torture, I slipped and I could feel myself falling out of control. I managed to fall out of the tub onto the floor, grateful that I did not hit my head. The shower nozzle was spraying water everywhere. It was quite a mess but I consider myself lucky for not having broken anything.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. We decided we were going to the Bose outlet to check out some wireless speakers. On the way there I stopped at the car wash. A carwash used to be manned by about 10 guys. Now it is completely automatic where there’s only one guy that stands there helping you guide your car onto the conveyor. I took some slow-motion video from inside and at the end of the wash I got out and inspected the car. The passenger-side mirror was pushed in so I straighten that out, got back into the car and proceeded to the mall. Once I got to the mall we went to the men’s room. I drove to the other side of the mall by the Bose outlet, parked, and as I walked away from the car I patted myself to find my wallet. It wasn’t in my pocket, so I returned to the car thinking it was in the seat. When I saw the seat was empty, that rash of panic over to me as I realize that I hadn’t seen my wallet since I paid for the car wash. Immediately I backtracked all of my steps at the mall realizing that time was  of the essence. I kept hoping that I had dropped it in the parking lot and no one had noticed it. That search came up empty. I drove all the way back to the car wash, and of course it was not there. 

Resigned to defeat I stood there thinking how to recover from this disaster. As I was standing there pondering, I noticed that my rear passenger side indicator was hanging off of the car. I’m like holy shit can this day get any worse? I kept telling myself to be calm. Panic is pointless. I needed to think. I started taking an inventory of everything that was in my wallet. My bank card, drivers license, both car registrations, health insurance id, store cards and a little less than $100 cash. The only thing I had between me and insanity was a mantra that I kept repeating, everything is replaceable…everything is replaceable. 

My primary concern was making sure that no one could use my card for purchases or cash. After I calm down I was actually able to figure out how to freeze it using the app on my phone. I also then realized that I could still use my phone with Apple Pay should the need arise. So my secondary concern was my ID. Can’t drive around being black without ID. So I came home and started the quest to find the six points I will need to get another copy of my license. I can also get another copy of my registration while I am there, so it is inconvenient but not a total loss. I’m just hoping that some good Samaritan will find my wallet and turn it in, mail it or bring it back to me. I can’t do anything about my ID and stuff because it’s the holiday weekend. I also realized that it has been two years to the day that my iPhone was stolen from me. So I guess that Labor Day weekend is jinxed for me. I consider myself lucky really. These are just papers that can be replaced. I still have my life. I didn’t break my neck falling out of the shower. I guess I can consider myself ahead of the game. Now I guess I am going to find out if there is any hope for mankind if someone does the right thing and turns it in. 

*Update

I was literally searching my car again to be sure I hadn’t looked anywhere and suddenly someone comes up my driveway. A little Mexican guy with an envelope in his hand. He said he was returning my wallet he found it by Pep Boys which is near the car wash where I suspected I had dropped it. I thanked him I open the envelope to give him the cash inside but it was only a dollar left. So I thanked him again. I hate to be suspicious but I think maybe he took the cash because he couldn’t look me in the eye, but that’s all cool. I was going to give it to whoever returned it anyway. So verdict on humanity?

A Lesson Learned


So, yesterday I went to South River Walk Park, one of my favorite places, to do some shooting. It was a particularly cloudy which can make for awesome sunsets. I took a few shots of my surroundings, as I always do, and proceeded to get in the car. I was approached by this young Hispanic kid. He was tapping on the window, so I rolled it down a bit to see what he wanted. He asked me what I was filming and why was I taking pictures of him. So I told him I wasn’t, just taking landscape shots and that I never take pictures of peoples faces unless I ask. He was insistent that I had taken his picture. As we talked, his friend came over. I didn’t feel particularly threatened but cautious. This kid didn’t look like he could take a punch and seemed to be obsessed over having his photo taken. He walked to the front and started taking pictures of my plates saying he was gonna call the cops. So I got annoyed and got out of the car to show him the pictures, which I did. He wasn’t satisfied that I hadn’t switched cards and at this point I was done being nice. I realized that I had turned my back on the other guy and I turned around to see where he was. He was nowhere to be seen. So I get in the car and I realized that my phone was gone. I corned the other guy with the car and asked him where his friend was. He of course claimed he didn’t know anything. At this point I sized up the situation. I don’t know where his friend is..I could beat him to a pulp but he doesn’t have anything. I could grab him but I had no phone to call for help, so I went to the next corner and flagged down a guy to use his phone. Mind you, on the way there, I passed 3 patrol vans right around the corner, so says I, they shouldn’t take long to get here. WRONG. I stood there for another 30 mins then it started raining, so I get in the car. A police van, went right past me so I tried flashing them but they kept going. So, I left.

This park is in Trenton at the edge of a cemetery and a few modern condos BUT up the block, the neighborhood changes character. It’s the hood. Very dilapidated..lot’s of poverty and crime, so you can’t just Sally around. And here I am driving the jag as the sun sets like come take it. So my plan was to go home, switch cars, get my iPad to locate it and take my equalizer with me..along with a hammer. During all this, I made phone calls to ATT and a buddy of mine, by accident actually, but it was a good thing. He talked me down. I went this morning to the last known location and sitting there made me realize that this was an act of futility. I went to the police station to file a claim (tried that last night but they never called back).

So what did I learn?
The police are pathetic. When I was at the station the desk officer didn’t even have a form to file the complaint. She tore a sheet of paper to get my info. Let that soak in..a piece of ripped paper.

That part of Trenton is wow. If I didn’t grow up in the hood, there’s no way I would even get out of my car around there.

It’s not worth it. I could have killed either of them, or been killed over a phone.

A hammer is the weapon of choice for people that go after phone thieves. (I discovered this in my Google search of these incidents)

I’ve gotten better with my temper.

Trying to use a Blackberry as a navigator is not the move if you’re driving through really bad neighborhoods

Get insurance..(I thought I had but no)

Photography can be hazardous

Big boys don’t cry…men do


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From the beginning, men are taught to suppress their emotions.  This is partially due to genetics, specifically survival of the species.  Women are conditioned to seek out alpha Males.  Alpha Males were good for hunting and thereby good providers for their offspring.  Aggression, strength, speed and agility are characteristics that make good hunters.  Women are generally more interested in that type of male.  This is why women are more attracted to athletes and also explains why we as a society place so much emphasis on sports.

A good hunter knows how to kill.  To be able to kill requires repression of empathy.  You can’t be squeamish if you are expected to kill in living creature.  This also puts men at conflict with their emotions.  They become obstacles.  Being emotional is considered a weakness, something children do.  Think of how many times you’ve heard or seen someone chastising a little boy saying big boys don’t cry.

All throughout our puberty the emphasis is placed on suppressing your feelings.  We are taught not to cry when disappointed.  Not to react to rejection.  Not to show fear. The problem with this is that these emotions are real and can be intense. This causes men to be at conflict with themselves internally. The body changes chemically, hormones fluctuate rapidly. This is manifest as extreme mood swings and often insecurity.

Irresponsibility and risk taking typically occur during the pubic phase.  The focus is on being a leader not a follower so as to be recognized. To stand out among your peers. You should make your own rules, so existing rules are meant to be broken or subject to your approval. This is the root cause of juvenile delinquency. There is however a flip side to this behavior called “pack mentality”.  Going back to the hunter concept, much like a pack of dogs, hunting in a group yields greater success.  The group becomes a surrogate projection of the individual. As a group, the ideas is to have more power and more control.  This is also the reason behind why you will hear a man refer to his favorite team as “we”.

Biologically, men are driven to procreate, to father as many offspring as he can to ensure that his genetic code survives. This is why when men have sex with a female, they continue to look for other females. Monogamy is a cultural concept which is in direct conflict with this urge. This is not an endorsement of that behavior, just an explanation of its root cause. Women are the caregivers, the nurturers. They are programmed to care for their young. To that end, maintaining a relationship with a strong protective male, increases the odds that their children will be safe, which is why women tend to be more driven to a monogamous relationship once children are involved.

This brings in focus the overall problem that we as a society have in relationships.  Biology vs. culture.  Our behaviors are programmed.  Our cultural behaviors are taught.  Women have difficulty understanding men simply because they are programmed differently. This is also true in reverse.

Men live longer now than they were genetically designed.  After the peak age of 30, the testosterone levels in men starts to decrease.  This introduces a whole host of complications.  Men find themselves in new territory emotionally and physically.  The lower testosterone level makes men less aggressive and more vulnerable to emotions that they are not prepared to handle on that level of intensity. Combined with cultural expectations, this period can be the most difficult for men. This is also the driving factor behind the male “mid-life crisis”.

In summary, we are in a constant battle between our biology and our culture.  Society places great restrictions on the ability of men to express their emotions but as time passes, this will ultimately change.

Can’t always be nice


It’s 1:11 AM and I can’t sleep. I’ve been on Twitter for a while and that it’s not working so I decided to post a blog. For some reason, I remembered this situation that I am going to share with you. A few years ago I was at work in the office. It’s a remote site that is rented space in a larger building. Because of this you have a mixed bag of people working there. This office was purely designed for people who live in the area. The reason I’m stressing that is because of where I live. We have a substantial Indian community in this area. By Indian I mean actual Indians from India. There were a few working in this office. I would only go there may be once or twice a week. The remaining time I would work from home. Anyway, there was an Indian woman working there that I would see occasionally in passing. Her desk was behind mine so when she would go to the pantry or elevator or what ever, she would pass my desk. Occasionally we would make eye contact and being the polite person that I am, I would say hello. Initially she would barely respond. I really thought nothing of it and maybe she was not a social person. As time went on I would see her more frequently. Each time I would make some sort of attempt to be social. Never disrespectful in any shape form or fashion. This went on for close to a year before this particular incident occurred that I am about to share with you. One day, as would happen on any other day, she was walking past my desk. I said hello and she said hello and smiled. I was taken aback actually because she never smiled. As fate would have it, not much longer after this, we ran into each other in the pantry. The pantry is a very small area so it kind of forces uncomfortable closeness. I was standing in the entrance waiting for her to finish using the coffee machine. Thinking I needed to break the awkward silence, I made a remark to her that it was nice to see her smile for a change. She gave off this vibe that made me feel like I was pressuring her into something that she was extremely uncomfortable with. So I just kept my mouth shut and waited until she left before using the machine. I thought nothing more of it than just her being her. Later that day I received an email from her. I thought to myself, this is odd. To my shock the email essentially stated that I made her uncomfortable and that she felt insulted. She mentioned something about cultural differences and some other stuff. But the essence of the email was to fuck off and leave her alone. I had a mixed blend of emotional responses to that email. My first was who the fuck do you think you are? The second was what could I have possibly done to evoke such a response? I literally searched my mind for every instance of us speaking and could not find one time where I was rude or out of bounds. My reply was short and simple, I am sorry that you were offended it will not happen again. Mind you, I felt like she was fucking crazy, but being it was in the workplace I had to handle this situation diplomatically. I mentioned this encounter with a friend of mine and their response was that in certain Indian cultures interaction with a woman is frowned upon unless she is a family member or a spouse. My response to that was, she’s in the fucking US. Here we speak to people out of common courtesy. If you can’t deal with that then I suggest you stay wherever the fuck you come from. That statement may sound racist, but I don’t think that’s it at all. If I were in her country I would respect their culture just like I would expect her to respect our culture. If the simple act of saying hello to someone is considered an egregious act then I think you need to live in a fucking cave.

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Gossip


gos·sip

–noun

1.

idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others: the endless gossip about Hollywood stars.
2.

light, familiar talk or writing.
3.

Also, gos·sip·er, gos·sip·per. a person given to tattling or idletalk.
4. Chiefly British Dialect . a godparent.
5. Archaic . a friend, especially a woman.
Ok, so today’s topic is gossip, hereafter also referred to as bullshit.
It amazes me that in this age of digital information, that it takes so little still to convince a person of a flat out bullshit lie. What’s even more amazing is that some people have built careers off of it. You can convince a certain number of people of a total fabrication with no evidence whatsoever and they will repeat it to other people as if they had solid proof or if they were fucking there. I normally pay this shit no mind, because frankly I don’t care about someone else’s life, but I had an incident that hit close to home and it’s got me ready to break a toe on someone’s ass.
You have these websites, like mediatakeout.com, that put up nothing but pure crap. The person of average intelligence can look at it and go, thats bs, doesn’t prove anything, but sure as shit stinks, look down the list and you will find that theres a few people that take that stuff as gospel. They even add their 2 cents in.
What’s up with that? How is it that people pass judgement on another persons life without even meeting the person?? That site is an embarrassment to intellect. Its like some shit put together by a 6th grader. I’m waiting for the day they get sued out of existence. There’s those kind and then there’s the other flavor. The one’s that put up pics of people and just launch venom at them. The site, thedirty.com is such a site. You have these bunch of pathetic losers, that call themselves the army, putting up pics of people and just tossing all kinds of bullshit up. (Dirty Army, ha..more like the Dildo Army)
The spend their time putting up lies and bullshit on people. It’s easy to do that shit anonymously. There’s a word for that, pussification. I’d dare anyone of them to post a pic of themselves with their real name and take the kind of abuse they dish out. They have no consideration for the damage they do to other people’s lives.
It just an attempt to bring them down to the sewers along with themselves.