"If you've never stared off in the distance, then your life is a shame."

Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Before a One-Eyed Man was king

I’m certain he only spoke in riddles and addled tongue. The only thing they saw clearly were his lies, and his words were as mysterious as that which laid plainly before them but beyond their sight.

I’m certain he was deemed a heretic and insane. Willingly stepping up to be tied to the stake and lit aflame many times for their sake. Stoned and beaten, lashed and bruised. Only to step down and try again.

I’m certain he offered to lay down before them. Trampled by those he dreams to save, with the only result of his attempts streaming slowly down his cheeks. Because beneath them was were he belonged.

I’m certain he was scarred unnecessarily.

I’m certain, however hard they beat him, the harder he held them and told them it was alright.

I’m certain, eventually, those considered crazy by the world will stand their ground. So that when the world turns to face him, they will see the truth he holds, and weep for themselves. Only then will they follow him with blind trust with the same dedication that they ravaged him.

I'm certain it was at the cost of blood and pain.

In the land of the blind, even the one-eyed man must earn his kingdom.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Have You Ever Seen a Dream on Fire

When I was young I was convinced that I wanted to grow up to be a literary genius. People whose prose had survived over the decades with fervor like Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, Kurt Vonnegut or Ayn Rand. An artist of memorable talent and influence of the written word. My writing was once compared to Mark Twain and that was a bit of a playful punch to the shoulder leaning me toward that dream.

I once looked upon the distinguished ship of my dreams USS Wordsmith with great pride and a glimmer in my eye of the happy times I would have serving my fellow Humanity aboard it.

Now, after having watched the ship in awe over the years, I look upon that once magical vessel with disdain and a little pity at what it has become. On the main deck I see Stieg Larsson and Dr. Phil taking turns punching holes in the hull with a gold-plated axe and Stephanie Meyer, on her cell with a Hollywood publicist, turning the cannon toward the mast. All the while, inspired authors like Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk and J. K. Rowling are desperately trying to bail out water through the portholes (though to be honest Chuck isn’t trying very hard since it is obviously not going to work). The spirit of authors long gone look down in dismay as their sadness manifests in a gentle mist upon the rotting timbers. And the dread pirate fleet, led by the flagship Movie Industry, accompanied by a fearless cacophony heralding their arrival, approaches to overtake the poor vessel…forever. The pirates are much more heavily armed and have technology on their side. The once timeless and influential ship now waits for the inevitable as I sit on the dock watching.

I’m not the only one. We. Us. Sitting on the docks to observe the fall of a titan. Some shout in horror, some cheer, but most just stare silently. Like me. Sure, we all know the art of literature will never fully disappear but neither will the drowning broken husk of that ship when the pirates are done taking what they will have. It will always be there, underneath the surface. Years later someone may even plan an expedition and try to revive some of the lost relics of a bygone era when people read from paper. I feel myself jumping out of my skin to save that ship, my ship. The mission is suicide. Even success is questionable. So there I stand, ankle deep in the water, not even realizing that I’m crying until I look to see everyone is crying. They don’t realize it either. Even those that are cheering. They feel the death of an era approaching. An era of true literary greatness, proven on the page. Because they are timeless and powerful, not because they have the best sales.

I know digital books will keep the words alive, but the spirit won’t keep. It will just blend and sift along with the rest of the digital realm and homogenize into the collective. Another ghost in the machine. The consciousness of a once powerful entity wondering what they are feeling as they stare blankly at the wires and metal that compose it’s once fluid and natural structure. A consciousness that looks around to see uniform replicas of its own alien self. With such an easy and cost-effective replacement for the true spirit of literature, the market floods and the bodies of dedicated readers will float to the top as they suffocate on the billions of pages cutting them to ribbons in their search for words to keep them warm. Machines can provide information and fulfill a necessity. Literature can provide insight and fulfill a thirsty soul.

As I watch the razing of an ancient shrine, I know that this feeling is indelibly in my soul. I intend to pass along that sliver of glory to my children and grandchildren by way of a rugged old paperback which I hope they too will pass on to their own. That glory that I had kept in the deepest part of my soul from a time which I’m sure the world will not miss. You have to know it before you can miss it. You have to feel it before you can be hurt by its absence. Time and progress march on and sometimes things get left behind. Even if one of those things is that glory which was never meant to fade. That which made us human. That which reminded us what it truly meant to be human.

Regardless, I take some solace knowing that eventually these industries will be in turn overtaken by images and information directly inserted like a bullet in the brain. Take THAT Hollywood. Don’t get me wrong, I like movies, I just like books more.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fun with Fear and Other Children's Games

Run Track
Sixx A.M. - Life is Beautiful
Ready or not, here I come.

I can feel a lot more truth in the universe than I ever felt before. It might be my journey out here, it might just be natural. I'm not sure, but I like it. :D

Sometimes you just feel something so powerfully that it has to be right. Other things decay around you as the blossoming stellation engulfs the ashes and leaves the imprint on the inside of your eyelids. Every action thereafter feels justified by that emanating power. The energy of the right path drives you faster than you ever felt you could move. Your hands no longer tremble at the strange touch of the world around you. Instead it makes every sensation feel like a gift from destiny after it pets your head and tells you to run along and play.

Of course, situations will still form insurmountable hurdles, but Destiny still stands there smiling as the child before her stumbles and struggles to get around the fence keeping them from fulfillment. You look back with a disgruntled grimace and ask for help but, come on, you know this task is yours and yours alone. Have fun with it or it will bury you. Look around you and see for yourself how all the other kids are whimpering at the same challenges. You can do better than them but you need the right attitude.

After all, there is nothing quite like looking in the face of everything that keeps other people up at night and laughing your stupid little ass off. Nothing creeps Fear out more than someone laughing and looking right through to the heart of it.

Ironically Yours

Apparently, according to my Despair.com 2010 Calendar, today is Embrace your Geekiness Day.

I feel content in the knowledge that I have done so for quite some time now. :D Give a few cheers for Geeks everywhere. You know who you are. Flaunt it. ;D

Dreaming of Rebirth and American Dreamz

How crazy and confusing the world has got. They are memories I no longer see like others can see ice cream cones of summers gone. For me, it’s like watching a movie through an MRI. I can only feel it, I can only know it. The magnetic pull of a force beyond my control. My passion for life has been treading water and gasping in an endless sea for so long that it has arisen from that watery cocoon to be a tiny hurricane.

I have changed so much that you will never change me even if you could catch me. I emerge from my hibernation so often that I have reverted back into a tadpole which possesses an almost painful intellect. I emerge only to take one step on the staircase and begin the process again. Those content with their step laugh until I pass them and wave before I halt again. I’m not doing this for my health you know. Maybe my mental health, but not just my own. I have a mission for the greater good now.

I was told I have a gift and a curse called ‘the art of the pointed obsession.’ Most people lack the willingness to fully devote themselves to something and I have that in spades, but, like a compass in the hands of a curious boyscout, there are few times I can focus the needlepoint of my mind on subjects for too long. It’s not that I have no dedication, it’s that I can feel the truth in me saying to move on. I know I have found my true north, but my true north has not found me. So, between evolutionary phases and the tempered task of recollecting myself each time, I clear a bit more of the path leading to salvation. Because no one can even begin to hope that salvation will find you if you don’t make the road a clear one and meet it halfway.

I’d rather be the fish with the lip piercing than the one that swims with too much caution.
I’d rather be the kite in the tree than the one covered with dust under the toy chest.
I’d rather sing the song out of tune than hear it sung perfectly for a stranger.
I’d rather think you get the idea....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Too Busy/Too Bored

I am having trouble sleeping now that my impending escape from Afghanistan is drawing nearer. So here I am with nothing to do in my spare time. I caught myself watching an episode of Roswell. It made me a little too nostalgic so I stopped at the one. ahahahahahahah

I'm also realizing that I'm occupying too much of that time with Facebook chatting. My toes are getting pruney from the saliva of it's new home. I may even be training myself to have an even BIGGER mouth since I feel I might've put BOTH my feet in my mouth a few times.

Cest La'Vie. I have a BUNCH of new training I can do for personal skill sets I've always wanted, computer programming and foreign languages. Without my laptop though, I can't really plug the harddrive into anything. Balls.

Words of advice: Until we leave Afghanistan I SINCERELY suggest investing BIG money in hand sanitizer companies.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Consulting a Little Insanity for Advice

Run Track
Dave Brubeck – Take 5
Ready or not, here I come.

You can almost feel it. Coming off the wave of a laughing transience. A tinge of regret over a solid, cool blue optimism. Deep roots in an ocean all too familiar. A fluidity of inumerous waves merging, dissipating and slowly dribbling off into the collective. Only to have themselves emerge out the other side in a new and fantastic way.

Knock one away or keep one close, they all slide in and out of recognizable existence at one point or another. A cold undercurrent and a hot, sunkissed top wave bring warmth to each other. The blended perfection of ecological presence. The ebb and flow doesn’t know any better than they do but it all happens in a timely unity to create a beautiful chaos. An errant wind leaves the gentle brush strokes of some far away style gives each crescent that streak of individuality.

Cursing the tide without spite in hopes to touch the trees one might think a wave crazy. To think a wave anything but lucid makes madness of itself. The ocean has it’s ways and won’t be strayed, but waves missed the memo. They just do. What waves do. Can’t fault them for that.

So a few errant winds and a couple of wicked currents later some wave strays off to make a tsunami of life. No ill will or deviation intended. Just a natural cause and a natural reaction. Either because of one groove too late or one wrong flow and now that big bad wave, with such good intentions and such a crystal reflection, can’t find the ocean. Can’t find the shore neither. It might just be a tempting oasis teasing with a hallucination like a neon sign promising a profitable return on their investment. The gently whisked tender surface, punished and pushed oh so smoothly with delicate words, belies the once peaceful power of that crescent inner sanctum which bulges and twists at the winds mocking musings. Overexposed and running out of juice. Crash, leading to the inevitable return to the hustle and bustle of the dance known only from above, or, with no left, no right, no turn and definitely no tide, just keep moving up.

Trembling with every twitch and every push-pull tug-o-war that taps it’s toes, what’s a wave to do? What waves do. All that waves can really do. Find a tune and dance to it. Life gives you wind, be a kite. Maybe someday the ocean will look up at that abomination and laugh as loud as it laughs at it and itself. A wave of a smile is all it knows as it spins and dances its feet with the waves it has come to love. Maybe someday, those blissful, sparkling fluctuations of life and dreams that believe they know where they’re headed, they may look up. Maybe not. But that’s what makes the Big Mother cradling it all and holding it all together giggle and shake a little from time to time.

Because, when Truth, Death, Time, and Desire got nothing but lint in their pockets and the only ones left at the table are Faith and Destiny, it’s anyone’s game when Humanity’s sly hands are the ones greasing the deck. Humanity can be a slippery dealer when they think the cut makes a take, but those cardslingers they forget that this table has a nasty habit to skimp on the gratuity. And all too often forget that they can only hold the pot. They can’t touch it. Unless they put their own chips in front of them, take a seat, have a drink and learn the game.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

and the Sour Taste

I stood on the roof and felt, I mean actually FELT, the wind today. I realized it had been the first time in months that I thought about 'the Insights' and truly allowed myself to enjoy the beauty of my surroundings. I realized this country, though it has many good, heartful people in it, is so imbued with negativity that it is easy to get lost in it. It is easy to look at this place as a post-apocalyptic world where you need to make your personal survival the highest priority. I thought I was better than to allow myself to fall into that trap. I've done all that I can do to not walk the route of gossip and needless disdain that others use as a method of control or personal justification.

I have been lucky enough to meet a kindred spirit of sorts on that subject though. A co-worker who knows what it is to recognize a person for their faults, but also understand that they don't deserve to be hated or talked poorly about without reason. I think him and I might even stay in contact. I never thought I'd have 'an old war buddy' ahahhahahahahahahah

I've been reading a lot of articles about soldiers complaints out here, specifically those who train the Afghan soldiers. And after the SIGAR came out and pretty much said that when the coalition trainers aren't looking the Afghans pretty much just go off and do whatever they want. That's the only thing that makes me sad. Because I know a bunch of Afghans, whom I genuinely call friends, who will be looked upon in the same way. They will be bunched into that 'group', that nationality, and will be considered with the same derision.

After all this time of war and persecution, a huge portion of the population has just lost the will to do anything. And for those that understand the effects that large scale emotional transfer has it makes total sense that all the foreign troops are not usually inspired to have high spirits. Morale is a VERY important commodity out here, so that we can compensate for the drain we feel.  The media isn't helping either. I've seen a lot of demonizing of the Muslim culture and I can say honestly that it just isn't true. I've been told by some translators that they aren't even sure if the Taliban has read the Holy Quran much less see them as Muslim. I'm so sad that ANY Faith has been presecuted this much. There are few things that I respect as much as I respect a powerful Faith in something. For someone to take a faith and twist it to fit their means of controlling others, AND for those who oppose that person to in turn demonize the ENTIRE congregation of that faith, is one of the most evil things I can imagine.

I sincerely hope things turn around here becuase I really do think Afghanistan could once again become a glorious place.

On the other hand, before I came here I had never seen a fly that cleans itself more than it flies.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is back from the beyond

So...it's been a while Blog. How are you? How my dedicated readers? I have to say, after such a long absence with such a short beginning I'm VERY happy that I have some followers. I would love to thank you all publicly, which I will do privately...later. ahahahahahahah Also, the FBI probably thinks this trail went cold. I'm sure they stopped looking here by now so it should be safe to post again.

My absence is in part due to the work load of my job and the mental load of forcing thoughts of going home out of my head in order to KEEP working for the month I have left. THAT and the military has INSISTED that people write blogs about their experiences in Afghanistan. This made me want to NOT write anything. A bit counter-productive but it seemed like the logical turn of events in my eyes.

I haven't seen all the gore that people fear during my time out here but that doesn't mean I haven't grown more of a backbone then I've ever had in my life. It might just be a magical power that a warzone has...like Harry Potter with body armor and a camo wand. I have no scary situations with which to regale an audience, nor do I have scars to show my grandchildren with pride. I have about a month to go but looking at the statistical probability I don't think I'm jinxing anything.

Though being out here has left a few scars on my mind, which is really what staggers me. I'm still the fun-loving and playful 'T' everyone knows and EVERYONE loves. ;) But now world at which I look upon when I look at people is slightly different than it was before. That blind admiration with which I held humanity has walked into a world of light. I have seen all of the dealings out here up close and in person. I look around at the intelligent people around me and they seem to notice the same surface gleans that I do, but when I ask about the deeper issues and possible solutions they seem to glaze over and walk away. Normally this would cause me to sidle up to myself and just think on my own. But now I seem to have a partner in this journey, a book titled Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life. If you have ever wondered why someone does something you should read it as well. I mean EVER! ...ever.

So, now armed with a relative understanding on the workings of social dilemmas and peoples interactions with each other, I now see this disarray from the aerial perspective of the 'Eureka' moment and giggle to myself at how amazing it really is. The BIGGEST issue I see is also the easiest to fix. Some have already laughed me off, saying that the problem is centuries old and nation-wide and could never be solved so simply, but I genuinely think the principles of 'Broken Window' Theory will save Afghanistan. The idea is painfully simple. If a block is left in a dilapidated state eventually more trash will arrive along with grafitti. If nothing is done about it then more and more dilapidation will lead to destruction of property. All of this in turn leads to a higher crime rate. Broken Window Theory works on the principle that if you take care of the minor problems (like broken windows) the problem will fix itself starting backwards. The same premise in keeping your house clean when you have guests. If you have a clean house people will ask where your rubbish bin is, if not then they just toss it somewhere.

The point is, I think this would help for starters anyway, the country has been in perpetual war for three decades. What people DON'T see is what it was like BEFORE. Seeing photos of the 1950's Afghanistan BAFFLED me compared to what I saw out my window. (right now my computer won't let me upload them but I'll try again later) Looking at photos of Anywhere, U.S.A. and Kabul, Afghanistan you might not be able to tell the difference in the 50's and 60's. Honestly, it is a little difficult.

I sincerely believe that if the world was given even a BRIEF (speaking on a cosmic sense of time) moment of global consciousness simultaneously we could turn it all around and make this world a better place. The largest hurdle we have is our own self-interest (the opportunity to cheat and advance ourselves above others) outweighing the natural need to cooperate as a human race.

Sometimes it's hard to cry through the smile (as meek as it may be), but when I know exactly what the world could be and see those tiny moments (that seem inconsequential to others but rip my soul apart) of ignorance and pettiness that prevent the light of good in all of us from growing....I force myself to smile harder because I know that someday we will all see the truth and embrace our shared destinies...even me. All I can do is help them passively in what I feel is the right direction as we all stumble through the dark. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Seeing a brand new world

In this land plagued by blood and violence I have seen so much. I have seen what they don't show on the news because it's either too sad or too happy. The media seems only to be interested in anger and failure but I've seen so much more. I've seen a mother laying in the middle of a busy highway with her child playing within arms reach so that maybe a driver would stop and give them food or money. I've seen a girl, maybe three or four, hopping up to American Soldiers with a smile in her eyes at the hopes of candy. She had no shoes on her feet because her parents could not afford them. I've seen so much and it's only been a few months.

I've been in America for most of my life and being in Afghanistan has made me appreciate what we have in the States but has made me sad for the same reason. The Afghan people, though most don't have much, have a POWERFUL spirit about them. They are very strong of will and though devastation and fear surrounds them most still manage a smile. I can't imagine 90% of Americans being able to do the same in this kind of turmoil. We, as Americans, should appreciate our lives more, spend more time with their families, and pay more attention to the world. Sure, you might say 'I watch the news', but which news? How often? What do they say? What do others say?

I've seen a lot of angry press about Afghanistan and the international involvement, but when you look into the face of a person born in Afghanistan it's no longer about who is corrupt or whether they will try to hurt me. It is a person just like you or me. They may try to hurt me, but those innocent people who are not involved in this conflict want what we all want in our lives. And those innocent people cannot be forgotten while the world huddles over Afghanistan wondering what will happen next. Most of what they want is peace, respect, room to breath, and enough individual rights not to get bullied around by people of power. However, here most of the Afghan people are in such a position that makes some of the things they do seem unjust to people who have the basic necessities to survive. I'm not justfiying the horrible things done in the past or the horrible things that will happen in the future. I'm saying that most of these people are just trying to survive and make their lives better so do not judge them as a country, know them as an individual. Once you know them as an individual then you can decide how to feel about what that person has done.

Checkout this book that was recently published and let me know what you think. www.irinnews.org/pdf/Veil_of_Tears.pdf

 Sometimes we need to stop thinking like the person we were and step outside the little section of the world we carved out for ourselves. Sometimes we HAVE to so we can become the person we want to be. Just because you may have done things before doesn't mean you have to do them in the future. The Present is about retribution and evolution. In every second there is the opportunity to live a better life. Take those seconds and put them to good use, but make sure that your seconds don't take years away from someone else. And don't think that wherever you are that you don't have some effect on the people of Afghanistan, or any other country or person or animal, for that matter. We ALL have the ability to do SOMETHING no matter how small it may be. The question is, how determined are we, as a human race, to do anything for anyone else?

Step outside the box, the weathers fine.