This past Thursday-Monday, I spent some time in Myrtle Beach. My family likes to take their RV to a campground there and they invited Brandy and I to come hang out at a cabin at the campgrounds. It was a fun weekend where I finally got to go to Medieval Times, something I wanted to do ever sine I was a child. I also got a chance to check out The Simpson’s 4-D Experience which was better than expected.
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
Author: Unknown Monk 1100 A.D.
Several months ago, I wrote a long, rant that ended with an excerpt from Douglas Adam’s So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish. I’ve deleted the rant, and decided to just leave this portion of the story here. I find it quite soothing at times.
His house was certainly peculiar, and since this was the first thing that Fenchurch and Arthur had encountered it would help to know what it was like.
It was like this: It was inside out.
Actually inside out, to the extent that they had had to park on the carpet.
All along what one would normally call the outer wall, which was decorated in a tasteful interior-designed pink, were bookshelves, also a couple of those odd three-legged tables with semicircular tops which stand in such a way as to suggest that someone just dropped the wall straight through them, and pictures which were clearly designed to soothe.
Where it got really odd was the roof.
It folded back on itself like something that M. C. Escher, had he been given to hard nights on the town, which it is no part of this narrative’s purpose to suggest was the case, though it is sometimes hard, looking at his pictures, particularly the one with all the awkward steps, not to wonder, might have dreamed up after having been on one, for the little chandeliers which should have been hanging inside were on the outside pointing up.
The sign above the front door read “Come Outside,” and so, nervously, they had.
Inside, of course, was where the Outside was. Rough brickwork, nicely done pointing, gutters in good repair, a garden path, a couple of small trees, some rooms leading off.
And the inner walls stretched down, folded curiously, and opened at the end as if, by and optical illusion which would have had M. C. Escher frowning and wondering how it was done, to enclose the Pacific Ocean itself.
“Hello,” said John Watson, Wonko the Sane.
Good, they thought to themselves, “hello” is something we can cope with.
“Hello,” they said, and all, surprisingly, was smiles.
. . . “Your wife,” said Arthur, looking around, “mentioned some toothpicks.” He said it with a hunted look, as if he was worried that she might suddenly leap out from behind a door and mention them again.
Wonko the Sane laughed. It was a light easy laugh, and sounded like one he had used a lot before and was happy with.
“Ah yes,” he said, “that’s to do with the day I finally realized that the world had gone totally mad and built the Asylum to put it in, poor thing, and hoped it would get better.”
This was the point at which Arthur began to feel a little nervous again.
“Here,” said Wonko the Sane, “we are outside the Asylum.” He pointed again at the rough brickwork, the pointing, and the gutters. “Go through that door” — he pointed at the first door through which they had originally entered — “and you go into the Asylum. I’ve tried to decorate it nicely to keep the inmates happy, but there’s very little one can do. I never go in there myself. If I ever am tempted, which these days I rarely am, I simply look at the sign written over the door and I shy away.”
“That one?” said Fenchurch, pointing, rather puzzled, at a blue plaque with some instructions written on it.
“Yes. They are the words that finally turned me into the hermit I have now become. It was quite sudden. I saw them, and I knew what I had to do.”
The sign read:
“Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.”
“It seemed to me,” said Wonko the Sane, “that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”
He gazed out at the Pacific again, as if daring it to rave and gibber at him, but it lay there calmly and played with the sandpipers.
One site I like to occasionally visit is the Angelfire Classic Member Directory. This site is a very simple collection of old school Anglefire websites from the 90’s and early 2000’s. The other day, I spent a hour browsing through one category and decided to collect some of the sites I enjoyed the most. They mostly reflect sites that I would have visited back in the day or still find interesting today.
I was walking our dog around 10:30 PM tonight and realized there is something different about the air. Maybe it’s the collective tension or uncertainty about what is to come, but you can definitely feel it as you walk around.
As a history buff, I used to wonder what it was like to live through some of the great moments in history. What was the atmosphere like during World War II or The Great Depression? How did people handle living during The Dust Bowl? I think those questions are what drew me to reading so many historical books over the years. I had a desire to get a glimpse into these moments in time.
By reading, you learn a lot about the hardships that people go through and how much priorities shift during the hard times. Suddenly your favorite sports team, that stupid family drama, and that guy who cut you off in traffic matter a lot less.
Recently, I’ve heard several members of my family turning to the government for answers. They absorb the news and watch the speeches and hear what they want to hear. That the government is going to save them. That this will all be okay. If history tells you anything about hard times its that the government never saves the people it serves, least of all in a day of “fake news,” spinning, and corporate sponsors.
That’s not to say that government can’t do any good, because I truly hope that they will. But I have very little faith they will do anything to truly help the people they serve and I am fearful for what the new normal will be once this is all over with.
So far my weekend is going well. Today, I watched some movies, played some video games, and just took it easy.
One of the movies I watched was The Wind, a Western/Horror film. I remember seeing the trailer last year, and was surprised to find it streaming on Showtime. I enjoyed watching it, and I think the movie was just what I needed.
With the uncertainty of everything going on right now, I need some examples of human beings overcoming hardships. The Wind was obviously a fictional story, but it reminded me of how people can overcome harsh environments like the Old West.
My fear for the future is less about the spread of the coronavirus and more about the collapsing of our economy. I don’t have a large family or a huge support network, so when trouble like this arises it concerns me. Having flirted with homelessness off and on a few times, I’ve always had a fear of not having someplace to stay. That fear has hung over me for years. But, recently, that fear as evaporated and I finally settled into a nice life that now is feeling threatened. My old survival techniques are kicking in and I’m just not sure what to make of it all. Do I over-prep and possibly rest easier, or do I just try and be calm and make adjustments at the last minute? Which of these decisions will actually bring me the most peace?
A few years ago, I sat down with my grandmother and asked her about our family history. I sat in her living room and listened to her go on and on about people I’d never heard of and stories I’d never heard before. She jokingly asked me if I was “pumping her for information before she died” and I smiled and said yes which made her laugh and she continued on.
One of my questions to her was how did my family react to The Great Depression. My grandmother was actually during in the Great Depression, so I just wondered if she knew how things went. She said she did, but unfortunately the answer wasn’t all that exciting. She said that nothing much changed. “We didn’t notice.” My family had always been poor and the collapsing of Wall Street was barely felt in the mountains of North Carolina. My family went on growing their own food, raising their own livestock, and sewing their own clothes. They traded items with neighbors and apparently my great-grandfather was known to say, “There is always someone who needs a fence painted” meaning there is always some sort of work out there.
I don’t live in the mountains, I don’t have a farm, and I don’t sew my own clothes, but I come from the type of people who did. I come from stubborn mountain folk who were good simple people and just knowing that makes me think that no matter what happens over the next few months, I’m going to be alright.
I have a four day weekend that begins today. Originally, I was supposed to accompany my fiancée to a business conference in Washington, DC but for obviously reasons that has been cancelled. So now I’m left with an extra-long weekend to do with how I please.
Since realizing that I need to make some conscious changes to the way I’m living, I’ve decided to put some of those in action this weekend. I want this weekend to be as drama-free as possible. So, I’m going to sidestep any family/relationship drama that comes my way and I’m going to focus on decluttering a bit and getting organized so that I feel a little more in control of my life.
I also plan on spending a little time outside, even if it’s just a few minutes on the swingasan on the porch. I need to sit and do very little. It will be good for me.
Another plan for this weekend is to stay off mindless internet stuff. I’ve already removed myself from all social media this year, but I still spend way too much time browsing reddit. So, I’m going to hide the reddit icon on my phone and hopefully keep my phone on the nightstand where its not within reach. Instead, I’ll supplement downtime with reading books, playing video games, or working on various projects around the house. Hopefully it’ll go as planned.
It’s funny how life works sometimes. You can find inspiration in the strangest of places.
Two years ago, my life started getting complicated. It all began with a leaking water heater and the chaos just never stopped. A lot of it’s my own fault. I forgot that I dictate how much certain stressors affect me and I can choose to remove myself from toxic relationships/conversation/situations. I’ve allowed the chaos around me to slowly seeping in and as a result I’ve noticed unhappiness beginning to grow.
I’ve always strived for a simple life. I don’t need much to be happy or content, and I don’t have delusions of grandeur. I just want a quiet, peaceful life.
So in context to the movie, the “peaceful life” line was simply a way for Galen to tell Orson that he didn’t want to make weapons of mass destruction and was looking for a more peaceful way to live. Obviously, I can’t relate to that since I’m not in the weapons business, but for whatever reason seeing that quote on some ridiculous meme really struck a chord. The frustration and exhaustion that I feel could be solved by a peaceful life. It’s all I’ve really wanted and seeing that woke me up to realize that I needed to make this a priority in my life.
When I decided to start up this journal, that meme was fresh in my mind and I could think of no better name. I obviously won’t always write about living a peaceful life, but I hope by branding this journal with that name it’ll inspire me to strive for a more peaceful life.
I don’t think I ever gave much thought to running out of toilet paper before last week. I guess, I should have noticed something was going on the week before when I bought a pack and the selection was already a little bare. I regret not going for the large pack now, but I think we are sitting right around nine rolls to go for the time being.
I’ve been looking for some more toilet paper, but I haven’t had much luck. We have several packages of wet wipes thanks to buying in bulk at Costco and we have a ton of paper towels, so I don’t think we are in trouble at least for a month or so. Still, I’d rest a little easier knowing I had a little more toilet paper in the house or at least that they shelves would have some on them in the near future.
2020 has not gotten off to the start that I had hoped it would. Most of my major life plans have been derailed and I’ve been thrown head first into family drama the entire time. For some, this is may be no big deal, but for me it is. My patience has run out. I’m not a man who values drama or enjoys watching the world around him burn. I just can’t keep living the way that I’m living.
Obviously, the news of the coronavirus has affected me as well. Uncertainly, fear, and a lack of faith have overcome me and despite all this I’m surprisingly calm. I’m not sure what to make of my reaction.
I’ve never been a person who has wanted great wealth or fame, I’m a simple man who wants to live a peaceful life and that is something I think is within my means. I’m sure I’ll complain and whine in my future posts, but I’m going to start working on creating the life that I want to life that values simplicity and ease.