Noise of the World


As I sat there with the headphones pressed into my ear holes and the mist of the waterfall drifting over my face, thoughts passing through my head.  These hikes to someplace have become quite regular for me.  Pack the dog up with some food and ensure my camera and phone batteries are charged.

And.

Headphones.

That’s my topic.  Or at least the springboard to my topic.

When I was a kid, we had to get those ones with the foam covers and that little wire shaped to hold them over our head.  They are, as most things, much better today.  Much more flexible.  Much better sound.  Much more prevalent.

Let’s face it.  Nobody has to lug around a Walkman.  Nobody has to create mix tapes.  Nobody has to haul around all this equipment.  Or a boombox on their shoulder.

Go to the store.  Walk around and notice how many people of various ages have headphones in.  Connected with wires or Bluetooth, all these people are walking around listening to music or books or news or podcasts or probably nothing at all.  Depends on their reason for having the headphones in.

Thoughts lead me to believe there are two reasons for headphones.

I figure that there’s a good chunk of people who are trying to let the noise in.

I’m guessing there’s a bigger percentage of people who are trying to keep the noise out.  They want to be oblivious to everything and everybody.

Is that guy in line at the grocery store really captivated by his Facebook feed?  Or is it simply his way of avoiding having to create small talk or be friendly to the cashier?  Does he think it makes him look important?

We see it everywhere.  People trying to avoid the noise of the world.  Sucking themselves into their own little shell.

I’ve known people who told me they do not actually have any music on when they wear headphones.  They do not receive any calls.  They just want to be left alone.

I’m not going to lie.  I keep my headphones in when I go the store.  If I’m already wearing them.  If I’m already out on a walk.  But I’m letting the noise in.  Nothing brings me greater piece.

But there is a part of me that realizes me doing this is also to keep the noise out.  I know this.

I hate all the noise.

Static.

White noise.

Ear hole clutter.

We live in a world where the neighbor no longer has to look through the kitchen blinds in order to find out what is going on.  Bewitched would have a whole new set of plots these days.

Your neighbor is announcing everything.  Your neighbor is blasting it on every social media and your neighbor does not care who reads or hears it.

We all have leashes electronically tied to us.  Everybody thinks they should be able to get a hold of you at anytime.  For any reason.  All the time.

I don’t need that noise.

All that static.

That constant invasion of gossip and garbage.

This isn’t progress.

I changed my phone number over a year ago.  Didn’t give it to many people.

No static at all.

I stepped back and simplified.  And I didn’t care who it offended.  I didn’t care who got upset.

I’ve been happy about it.

I finished my walk this afternoon.  Me and the dog.  Headphones in.  I’ve been finding so much new music lately.  My drug of choice.

I took pictures of the landscape around me.  I tried to change the settings for a fluid waterfall.  I guess I need I need a stabilizer.  Add it to my list.

I never heard when somebody walked behind me on the trail.

It’s okay.

I was at peace.

And I’m not sacrificing any of this peace.

No matter how upset somebody may get.

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Tired


When we first got this dog early last year, the major challenge was getting him to go outside.  He’s a pretty smart dog, so it didn’t take him long to figure out that is what he was supposed to do.

Communicating it to us was the next step.

So he would sit down facing the door and look back at us with his (literally) puppy dog eyes.  It was up to us to notice this message he was sending.

If we didn’t notice, he found a corner.  So I tried hard to notice.

He then moved into this tactic of getting our attention first.  He would get in my face or stand on my chest and start licking me in order to get my attention.  He would then go to the ottoman, sit down, and look back at me.

He would also do this while I was sleeping.  He would stand on my chest and lick me.  Wait for me to wake up.  And then go sit on the bed facing the door and look back at me.  I tried not to get mad, but this guy was waking me up.

I rarely get enough sleep.

I am positive I got frustrated more than once.

He would wake me up even if my wife was awake and watching television in the living room.

So, a few weeks ago, he took on a new tactic.

I generally sleep on my side, so this guy started coming up behind me and resting his head on my neck.  That’s it.  And he would leave it there until he knew I was awake.  He’s done this every night for weeks.

And then go to the end of the bed, face the door, and look back toward me.

My point?

None.

At.

All.

Except I found it a cute story.

And this dog is considerately smart.

And it ties to this song I currently have on heavy rotation.

Be good.

Jack Russell, the Leash, and the Hand That Holds It


Today I had to go online and buy another leash for my dog.

I bought the last leash a week ago.  I was determined to make this one last.  It seemed like it would.  I went to take Robbie out for a walk.  It’s my day off and I enjoy getting him out of the house.  So I got dressed and he got excited.

I put his new leash on him and we went out to the garage where I put on my socks and shoes.  In the few minutes I spent putting on my shoes and reading my twitter feed, he went to work.

We started walking and within ten minutes, the frayed part of the leash broke and he was running free.

I know I can’t allow him time to gnaw on the leash.  I know this.

It’s my fault.  I know what he’s going to do.

We’ve been through a few of leashes.  Each time I get a different one hoping it will work out.  It’s not the leash.  It’s not the dog.  It’s me allowing him to gnaw on the leash.


We’ve had around a week to think about what happened in the election last week.  There may be what seems like a slight nationwide hangover regarding what happened.

Clinton blamed Comey’s announcement as the reason she lost.

Many supporters blamed Jill Stein and the tiny percentage of votes she took.  Wouldn’t have changed much of the map.  Wouldn’t have allowed Clinton the victory.

Clinton surrogate Rachel Maddow suggested that it was all the third party candidates.  She outlined exactly how many votes were needed from Stein and Johnson in different states in order to win.

So many people tried to blame the Russians.  Some tried to blame wikileaks.  Some tried to blame social networking.

Of course there is the flip side of the argument in which progressives argue that had the DNC actually engaged the their people and allowed for democracy to happen, then party would have been going in the direction they wanted and their hand would not have been forced.  Maybe Sanders would have won.

Honestly, and I’ve been writing about this for months, Clinton was so unlikable and she was viewed as part of the problem.  She lost because she is Clinton and nearly 48% of the population stayed home instead of voting for either her or Trump.

The fact is that it’s been 32 years since the last time we voted an entertainer into the Presidential office.  It’s been 36 years since Reagan was originally voted in.  Reagan was a game changer in the thinking of this country. He started much of the trickle down economy that has never really gone away.  He started deregulation and that has only increased since Reagan left office.  Bill Clinton continued this way of thinking.  W increased it.  Obama has maintained it.

Entertainers shouldn’t get involved in politics.  I’m watching you, Clooney.

I started this by talking about my dog.  How he keeps tearing up his leashes.  Who is to blame when it snaps?

My dog is part Jack Russell.  I know what this brings.

So let’s think of it in these terms.

The American population may very well be the Jack Russell in my metaphor.  We need to be entertained.  We have a short attention span.  Often we will do things that are bad for us.  We will run in the wrong direction.  We will engage in activities that are bad.

Pet Rock.
Macarena.Disco.
Kardashians.
The Apprentice.

Think of the leash as the legislation.  The leash is the laws that keep us from running off and engaging in activities which are bad for us.  Every Jack Russell should not be set free.  They need a leash even if they think they will be okay without one.  They at least need a high fence.

But if we aren’t careful and allow the laws to sit there next to our Jack Russell teeth, we will try to break it apart.

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And then there is the government.  The government is the hand which holds the leash.  It provides the leash.  It may even throw us a ball.  It may provide us with a longer leash sometimes and a shorter one others.  It may hold the population tightly or loosely.

Will the government allow us a long walk and exercise?  Or will it only take us out to urinate and drop a Cruz?

Sometimes I take Robbie out.  Sometimes my wife does.  Occasionally one of my kids will.  Here’s what I know, he needs exercise and walks and interaction.  Any good government should allow for that.  And my Jack Russell tells me that he needs it.

Let’s bottom line this.  For 36 years the population has seen the leashes of the Jack Russell get shorter and limitations placed.  Less exercise and more pet rocks.  More dogs are in the pound than ever before.  We see the big corporate dogs get completely unleashed.  Regardless of who is holding the leash, this has been the constant.

It’s the economy.

There’s a freedom that the population asks for.  And every two years we get to ask for a new hand to hold us and direct us.

I need to finish this metaphor.  I need to finish this whole thing.  I’ve had time to think about why what happened happened.

This Jack Russell has been chewing through the leash for years now.  They’ve been looking for a different direction.  They’ve seen the corporate German Shepherds at the bigger dog park roam free.  The smaller Jack Russells have been sent to dogfights they have no interest in.

When my dog wants to go in a certain direction, he pulls and tugs.  If I don’t want to go that direction he won’t be happy.  I can’t let him go anywhere he wants every single time, but the population I’m collectively calling a Jack Russell has been pulling and tugging for years now.  Sometimes I can convince my dog to go in a different direction if I offer him treats or speak in a certain tone.  Not every time.  The Jack Russell is tired of being moved right regardless of who is holding the leash.

America chewed through the leash again.  With Obama’s help, it seemed as if Clinton had a firm group on the leash that controlled America, but Clinton was left holding on to the limp end of the leash.

Clinton helped make the leash that was gnawed through.  She can blame everybody else in the world, but this Jack Russell was collectively tired and they tried to tell her so six months ago.  A firmer grip and patchwork reinforcements on to the leash was the wrong answer.

And she can blame everybody else in the world, but the fact is that nobody wanted her holding the leash anymore.  She needs to look in the mirror.  She needs to know this was her own doing.  She needs to know that when the Jack Russell wants to go a certain direction, you probably should have at least entertained it.

Because once something gets in a Jack Russell’s head, that dog is going to be even more determined to go if you hold the leash tighter.

For now, my fellow collective Jack Russell, stand tall.  Keep firm.  And don’t give in.  The new leash is already starting to fray.  Don’t go backwards.

Stand Tall Jack Russell

So I Voted


Today is a day off.

So I voted.

I think that Election Day should be a paid holiday every single time.  Especially for the General Election.  Leap Year.  It’s only fair.  Why make it so damn difficult?

I think that people should be registered to vote as soon as they turn 18.  No questions.  No reason to make people go through hoops in order to vote.

Hoops is not conducive to Democracy.

One cannot pretend to be Democratic and purge the vote.

Because voting laws are undemocratic.  Even if one is a felon, they should still get a vote.

I guess that was the point of the Crime Bill.  To leverage the vote toward the affluent and complacent.

The sun came out this morning.  I can’t remember when because the time changed on me.  Because we have strange rules on time as well.

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This state does not encourage voting in person.  They don’t want to staff for it.  But I have this strange suspicion that votes by mail are not counted.  Because winners are always announced day of.  I’ve never heard anybody say, we’ll have to wait until all votes are counted to determine the winner.

Never.

Because it’s sunday, it’s a religious day for many of the people.  Especially where I live.

So I plugged those earbuds deep into my ear holes and took the dog for a walk.  He helped me vote.

I heard the songs that I wanted to hear.

Who are you to wave your finger?
You must have been outta your head.
Eye hole deep in muddy waters.
You practically raised the dead.

Rob the grave to snow the cradle.
Then burn the evidence down.
Soapbox, house of cards and glass,
So don’t go tossin’ your stones around.

You must have been high.
You must have been high.
You must have been.

Foot in mouth and head up ass.
So whatcha talkin’ ’bout?
Difficult to dance ’round this one
‘Til you pull it out, boy!

You must have been so high.
You must have been so high.

Steal, borrow, refer, save your shady inference.
Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent.

Now you’re weeping shades of cozened indigo
Got lemon juice up in your eye!
When you pissed all over my black kettle
You must have been high, high

I don’t even know where to start, but this is definitely the song for this election cycle.

That song moved into Rage Against the Machine.  Guerilla Radio.

Transmission third world war third round
A decade of the weapon of sound above ground
No shelter if you’re lookin’ for shade
I lick shots at the brutal charade
As the polls close like a casket
On truth devoured
A Silent play in the shadow of power
A spectacle monopolized
The camera’s eyes on choice disguised
Was it cast for the mass who burn and toil?
Or for the vultures who thirst for blood and oil?
Yes a spectacle monopolized
They hold the reins and stole your eyes
Or the fistagons
The bullets and bombs
Who stuff the banks
Who staff the party ranks
More for Gore or the son of a drug lord
None of the above fuck it cut the cord

I’ve changed the words in my head.  I’m not sure which I prefer.

More for war or the son of a slumlord.

Or

More for banks or the son of a slumlord

Both work.

That ballot up there.  It was an attempt to cut the cord.

And since I had Robbie, I decided to take him for a walk.  Turning the corner from the drop box in front of the police station toward the trail, the view was great.

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So it goes.

The sun was coming out from behind the clearing clouds.  The temperatures are warm considering it is November.

And we walked.  I miss my walks.

Songs travelling from my ear buds into my brain.

I could quote Snooze Button by Snot.

More Rage Against the Machine.

System of a Down.

Greg Palast recently released a movie version of his book Best Democracy Money Can Buy.  Go to gregpalast.com to watch it for free until the election is over.

And as we got close to the river, Slip Away by Mad Season played.

Born of the water
Born of the flame
This life is a monster
Don’t you know it’s name
The house it is wooden
The house it is stone
The proud broken hearted
And close to the bone
Once you had a nightmare
And then it came to pass
Crazy sky in the morning
Green as the grass
Covering a grave

This song.  The vocals.  The solo by Mike McCready.  Solves everything.

I look at Twitter and see the vocalist for that song made a very rare tweet.

lanegantweet

He’s not wrong.  But that hardly solves the problem.

If Clowntown exists, I don’t want to visit.  I don’t get clowns.

The cleansing continues.  So many people on the trail today.  Each and every one can’t help but smile as they see my hyper dog.

He’s crazy.

We have an initiative in my state to stop Citizen’s United.  I don’t know what that will do, but it’s always worth a shot.

Because one of these candidates have done nothing but use that decision to her advantage.

There has been no discussion of climate change.  None of the state of the US economy.  There has been nothing of substance regarding money in politics.  Minimum wage.  Fracking.  Anything worth while.

Down to the water
Drawn to the flame
This life will leave you crippled
Don’t you know the game
Once you woke up choking
But then you held it down
Dry as the sand in the desert
Black as the clouds covering the sun

I really don’t have a point today.

So I voted.

I didn’t get a sticker.

In a black and white world, the choice is easy.

But this world isn’t black and white.  There’s always room for a little blue.

And I decided I wanted to use more pictures in my posts.

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My Dog Robbie Weighs in on Kaepernick


Colin Kaepernick decided he wasn’t going to stand during the National Anthem last night before his team played a football game.

I don’t like Kaepernick because he plays for the wrong team and it looks like an amateur took a Sharpie to his body.

But.

He said…

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.  To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

And I’m not going to argue with him.  I am personally opposed to the Anthem and to the Pledge.  They are very nationalist and socialist ideas.  I was opposed to my daughters taking part in the Pledge of Allegiance because somebody decided to not only treat country as if it was infallible, but throw in language about their god as if it really existed.

The 50s ruined everything.

But I’m not really supposed to comment on this issue.

My dog is half black.  When he has to go in his kennel, I tell him it’s his black half that gets him in there.  I think I’m hilarious.

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Racism exists.

Period.

So Robbie says that he’s a barking Michael Jackson song.

He’s black.  He’s white.

Robbie says he should be treated like any other dog on this earth.  Regardless of the fact he is part Jack Russell and people seem to have prejudice against his heritage.

Robbie says that this shouldn’t be a nation that relies on nationalism.  It should be a nation which relies on doing what’s right.  He told me that if people did what’s right instead of deflecting by pointing at the flag, then things would simply be right.

Robbie says Kaepernick has a right to take a stand.  The First Amendment guarantees it.

Robbie says that the Seahawks will crush the 49ers and Kaepernick this year.

My dog got off topic.

But Kaepernick does have the right.  And part of the problem we have in this nation is that people only grant those rights when they are convenient.

So Trump saying that Muslims should be banned from the country is okay.

Clinton taking money from major corporations as a way of dictating her policy is a right of free speech and is fine.  The Supreme Court said so in Citizen’s United.

An athlete protesting blind nationalism is okay as well.

My dog said so.

Sometimes… A Little Creativity Points are Needed


You, the random reader of this, may have never played The Sims back when it was fresh and new and original.

There was an aspect of working with your sim that you needed to keep it balanced to a certain extent.  All work and only earning money made your sim miserable, but it craved the money and success so it needed to work.

That balance could come by means of painting or playing a musical instrument or cooking or something else.

There was also exercise and social interaction and education and far too many things to try to keep up with at times.

I guess I was at that point this weekend.  My creativity points come by means of writing generally.  But I’m sick of the topics of the world.  So much divisiveness.  Something needs to change.

Sometimes I cook.

Today I pulled out my camera.

I’ve taken my camera and pointed at my daughter for her senior pictures this past year.  I thought they turned out pretty good.

I pointed it at Northern California last year and made some prints.

I pointed it at various baseball games last summer and created a calendar.

My best topic right now is my dog.  So I pulled out the camera took him to the river and dog park.  They are right next to each other and is an average Monday for me.  I let him splash around and get muddy and then let him dry off while chasing a ball at the park.

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He gets tired and that allows me a better night’s sleep.

I am writing this boring excrement as he sleeps on my lap.

Now I certainly don’t try to be one of those people who talk only about their dog.  But this guy is still pretty cute and also very demanding.  He takes up much of our time.

I enjoy sitting down and editing the photos.  My last prints were pretty good.  May not be what most people would want on their walls, but I think creativity points belong to the user.

Not you.

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Robbie103

As we walked from the river to the park, there was a group of children who were on the swings and kicking footballs and running around playing tag.  The thing about a puppy is that one can stop children from doing what they are doing.  Cold.

This sopping wet dog received the attention and affection of 20 children all at once and didn’t know what to do.  One kid said, he’s crazy.

Welcome to the club, dog.

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So here I am.  Creativity points attained.  I have to go five days without receiving any new ones now.  Way it works.

Remember, these aren’t for you.  They are for me.

And I get to put whatever I want here.

Every.  Single.  Time.

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