May - June 2022 Posts


Some Good Rest - June 27th, 2022

I slept better this past weekend than I have in quite some time. It helps that I was busy and spent a good part of the day out in the heat on Saturday, but I noticed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night I fell asleep quickly and deeply. Was this just some random weekend when my body got it what it craved or did my curtailing of internet use actually pay off?

When I woke up this morning I didn't really think much about not using the internet after 9 PM. All three weekend evenings, I reached for my phone/laptop to do a little research on this or that after 9 PM, but I stopped myself. I picked up my Kobo, finished up one book and made some leeway on another and then I slept. I slept well. I just didn't really think the two things had any connection until this morning. I mean, I cannot express how good I slept this weekend. It has to be related, right?

I'm sure we've all seen the various blue light and cell phone useage before bed studies. I believe the general concensus is that using an electronic device with a blue light after bed disrupts your sleep, but I don't think I really accepted those results. My thought was the information on the screen was more engaging which allowed for your mind to ramp up, instead of ramping down and that is what actually disrupts your sleep. Then again, note, I'm not a scientist and this was just some random theory off the top of my head with no basis in reality.

After this weekend, I'm thinking that may there is something to do this after all. Obviously, three days is not a good sample but I'm curious to see how the rest of my week goes. I'll report back in later this week or next week with my results.


Millennium Thoughts Eps. 1-13 - June 27th, 2022

I've managed to make my way through the first thirteen episodes of Millennium. Thirteen was the magic number because that is the episode (Force Majeure) that fans tend to agree is when the show really takes off. Having finished it this past weekend, I can understand why they fill that way. The show abandoned it's Monster of the Week formula and laid the foundation for a larger story arc.

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of the episodes. I've discovered two great bloggers who've already done so: Millennium (Reviews), The Time is Near: Revisiting Millennium, and a wonderful podcast The Time is Now. But I do want to discuss a few thoughts on what I've seen thus far.

There is something cathartic about the Frank Black character. Personality wise, I have nothing in common with Frank, but there is something about the way he positions himself in the world that I both admire and feel comforted by. His big yellow house seems to be a beacon of peace in a world gone mad, and I can relate to that.

I feel most at peace inside my apartment, away from the craziness beyond the walls. There's something relaxing about the environment that I have way more control over than most and I see Frank feeling that exact way. He does his job efficently as possible, so he can return home, where he is at ease. He can share that space with his family and just be at peace, far away from the darkness of the outside world.

I find it interesting that this show was made in the 90's, a time when I felt the world was much more at peace than it is now. Was this simply because I was a child and was not an observant? As each year progresses, I find myself more inclined to stay inside away from an increasingly darker world.

If there is one thing that has connected me to Millennium it is the way the show handles darkness by positioning Frank as a single man, just trying to do good and make it by. He's seen the worse of humanity, and yet, he tries to smile and pretend the future is bright for his family. I, of course, haven't seen near the things that Frank has seen, but I feel like I've seen enough to make me want to just live as quietly, peacefully, and away from all the madness that I can. I struggle to find hope in the world today and I guess, seeing Frank wade in and out of the mess inspires me a bit to keep moving forward.

Not much else has happened in the first few episodes of Millennium. We see Frank's skills and have met some of the people he works with, but there hasn't been a whole lot to go on. I'm interested in seeing where the show goes and I'm truly enjoying it.


Too Much Information in a Day - June 24th, 2022

Several years ago, I was reading an interview with John Mayer in Rolling Stone that touched on his fascination with porn. He mentioned in the interview, "Before I make coffee, I’ve seen more butt holes than a proctologist does in a week."

Crude, yes, but it got me thinking. Maybe, I don't have the same surfing habits as John Mayer, but I consume just as much useless information in the morning that he does. Reading my RSS feed, making my rounds online, checking my email, texts, etc., my poor brain makes probably a hundred decisions before I walk through the doors at work on what data is useful and what is not, and like John Mayer, none of it is necessary. It's habitual and I got to imagine it's not healthy.

I spend a lot of time reflecting on the time I knew before the internet and/or when the internet was more of a tool rather than an entertainment device. In those days, when I woke up in the morning, I didn't immediately turn on the TV or radio. I didn't reach for a book. I just slowly woke up. I got ready in silence and thought about the day to to come or the night before. If I was feeling creative, I'd start outlining a story in my head and I'd consider writing it down once I had a few minutes.

Eventually I might make my way to watching a movie or checking my email, but there were buffers between these things. To watch a movie, I had to either take a chance with what was playing on TV or choose from my collection. If I wanted to check my email, I had to walk over to my computer, turn it on, wait for it too boot up, connect to the internet, and then login to my email.

Having to make an effort to use things, slowed me down and also made me consider whether or not it was worth it. Is it worth the four minute wait to check my emails? Or should I just check them the next time I login to browse or look up something? I really miss having this buffer between me and gratification, because I think my life was better for it.

For years, I've had this fantasy of using a desktop computer again. Having a defined computer space like I once did that wasn't as comfy as cuddling up in bed with my laptop or iPad. A place to use the computer like the tool that it is, instead of a place to continiously look for happiness and not find it. I haven't gotten there yet, but I'm ready to start taking some steps to accomplish it.

My first step is to cut down on computer time late at night. I've been doing pretty good with reading before bed once more, and I need to set a firm boundary. I believe 9 PM is going to be my cut off. No browsing, website work, or scrolling, just reading.

IF I can keep this up for a month, I may cut down on my time in the morning with the internet and then continue to make adjustments from there. But, for now, I gotta start small. I'm hoping this will help me complete some books I've begun as well and allow me to transition to sleep better.

We take in a lot of information everyday, way more than any generation before. It's no wonderful we are all strung out, confused, frustrated, and anxious. Our poor brains are just processing so much every single day. It's time I take back control and give my brain a rest. I'm very interested in seeing what effect this may have on my mental health if I can make this work.


Updates - June 24th, 2022

For quite some time, I've had this desire to create a small web communities where my friends and some friendly strangers could intermingle. We could chat about the day, post the type of stuff they post on Twitter, and celebrate fandoms and interests. Last year, I launched a message board in attempts at making this dream a reality and well, it didn't quite work out. I'm not sure many folks are wanting a small community like I do, nor do I think the extra work it goes into posting on the message board was worth it for most of them. So, the amount of posts were extremely limited and some friends made accounts but then just never showed up.

I was bummed. I'd been thinking about this for years and I really thought it would be a good idea. I mean, it's social media on a smaller scale with none of the politics and drama. But what can you do? Folks like convenience and not everyone has the same priorities that I do. So, I removed the message board and moved on.

Then when I launched this site, I decided to bring it back. I wanted to utilize it for some media posting as well as keeping track of site updates. I think it's important to help guide readers to new parts of a site, and I didn't want to clutter up my posts or the top of my page with updates. Again, I had high hopes that maybe the message board might take off in some way, but it landed with the same dud as the last time.

This week, I've been expirementing with new ways to provide readers with updates. I've experimented with Micro.blog, Tumblr, and Status.Cafe, the latter being arguably the best for the purpose I wanted. However, they were all flawed in ways and similar to the message board, they all relied on me being dependent on someone else to do something wihth the site, something I've been trying to avoid. So, I've decided to make an updates page. I'm going to keep it small and out of the way, but it'll be there if someone needs it. I'm going to post it down in the footer and unlink the message board. Problem solved.

A bigger update, worth mentioning in this post is a slight rebranding. You may have noticed the site has a new name and web address. I've decided to move on from Brandon's Journal and title this site Brandon Writes with a domain of BrandonWrites.xyz. I feel like it's a more fitting title since I don't do as much journaling on here like I once did. The domain BrandonsJournal.com will remain forwarding to this site for the time being but I always recommend updating your bookmarks.

Speaking of bookmarks, in the next few weeks, I plan on adding a Link Archive page to the Friends page. It's going to be a massive list of sites, blogs, and other things I find online and like to keep track of. This list will mainly be for my own use since it's various sites I like to visit on ocassion, but I think I'll make it public since there are lots of great sites that don't get near the love they deserve.

I'm also looking into adding a guest book. This is something I wouldn't be able to host myself, which violates what I want with the site, but I've always loved guest books so I'm considering it. I just need to find a minimalist, privacy friendly way to do it.

And finally, with the removal of the message board and no comments, I'm going to provide my email address if anyone would ever like to reach out. It's comments (@) brandonwrites (dot) xyz.

That's all for now. Thanks everybody for reading.


Finishing Up - June 23rd, 2022

Recently, I've begun a rewatch of Battlestar Galactica with my wife. In one of the first episodes, there is a scene where Commander Adama mentions how he's never finished reading his favorite book. He always gets to the end and just starts over, that way it never ends. It made me chuckle, because I've had the habit of doing the same thing.

For years, I'd fall in love with a television show but then stop just short of the final episode. I never had to mourn the conclusion of the story and there was some comfort in knowing I still had an undiscovered part of the story to unfold.

I've gotten better about it, thanks in part of how many discussions I have about TV shows I watch. I tend to watch some of them at the same time as friends, so I'm compelled to finish it just so we can conclude our discussion. I believe that experiencing the show, even though text messages, with someone else has made it easier for me to accept the conclusion.

But as I write this, I find myself staring down the final episodes of several series that I thoroughly enjoy, all of them old sitcoms I watch by myself. Shows that I've connected with and even use to boost my mood from time-to-time. Luckily, sitcoms are almost endlessly rewatchable and I know this won't be the last time I'm watching any of them, but it is sad knowing that I have four shows with less than ten episodes left. Shows that won't be getting revivals nor have a great finale. It'll be the end of new material for these shows.

I have some mixed feelings about this. For one, I realize that there are plenty of new shows to discover/finish up watching. Removing these shows from the queue will aid tremendously in experiencing other shows that I may love just as much.

But I also have profound sadness. I tend to get attached to families in sitcoms, because I guess they have what I've always wanted. That togetherness and connectivity just doesn't exist in my family and so I live vicariously through the TV at times. So, it can be a little difficult to move on from them at times.

Then there is the element of time. Wings is one of the shows I'm almost done with. I started watching Wings back in the early 90's. Most of the time it was reruns on USA, but it was a show I caught often and really enjoyed. A few years ago, I began watching Wings from the beginning and as I reach the end, it feels like the conclusion of thirty years of watching, and not just three. I know it's not necessarily logical since I can always go back and watch my DVDs or stream it on Paramount+ but it still feels like the end of something that has been in my life for a very, very long time.

It seems a bit irrational to feel this way about TV shows, but it was nice to hear a Commander Adama say something similar about his favorite book. I think at times, we discount how important good entertainment can be or what a large part it plays in our life. It's often used for numbing, comforting, entertaining, inspiring, provoking thought, and I guess when you take all that into consideration it makes sense why we become so attached.


Bloggers on Patreon - June 21st, 2022

I've contributed to several Patreon accounts over the years, mostly relating to podcasts. Recently, I found a link to an account that offered essays and journals entries behind the paywall. I wasn't sure what to make of this. This writer wasn't a published author or even a popular online blogger, it was just someone who wrote for fun. She had put together some self-published books and wanted to discuss her fascination with a 90's TV show that interested me.

A handful of her essays were made free and after reading the first one, which mentioned an exploration of the before mentioned TV show and it's similarities with our modern society, I was intrigued to read more. I couldn't quite tell if the rest were behind the pay wall, but for a $1.50 I decided to take the leap.

It's strange paying for online writing in such a way. These posts were essentially the type of thing that people give away for free on blogs. The author valued her writing more than free, and well... I guess I couldn't blame her. $1.50 is a very reasonable amount and way cheaper than a magazine or novel. I'd be okay with paying a lot of the bloggers I enjoy $1.50 a month.

Once I subscribed, I noticed the hinted at article was not posted yet and it had been almost a month. I sent a quick message over and she apologized and promised it would be out within the week. A couple of days later, it was posted and I found this satisfying.

Blogging/writing online a lot of the time feels like you are talking into a void. Sure, the comments help, but for some reason I guess I felt heard. Maybe it's because I was paying for the opportunity to feel heard. Did I elevate the importance of her writing as well as my comment by paying? Did her actual response and follow through make me feel appreciated? Would I have felt this way had she had several hundred or thousand followers where my voice was more likely to be lost in the masses?

I think what impressed me the most about this interaction was that it felt a little bit like the small internet that once was. Folks who created and weren't trying to sale something, and micro-communities that popped up because of it. It's quite rewarding and even invigorating to participate in such a community. I'm almost nostalgic already for that short time period when the pandemic first started, and folks turned to blogging and creating. For a few months there, it was wonderful to see so many new and old voices discussing their lives, struggles, and fears. Of course, as the world opened back up, those blogs were mostly abandoned and now it's just us hobbyists who continue to write.

I guess this experience poses the question, "What is the value of a blog?" and "What price do we put on our writing?"


Millennium: The Pilot - June 17th, 2022

Last night, I watched the pilot for the 1996 television show Millennium. Created by Chris Carter, (The X-Files) Millennium was a television show about a former FBI profiler who can feel and see the darkness in serial killers. At the time, the show was the darkest show on network television, and this created some controversary that led to attempts to lighten the mood of the show and make it a bit less controversial. The show ran for three seasons before being cancelled. A wrap-up finale story aired as an episode of The X-Files and gave fans closure.

I remember hearing about Millennium back in the 90's and it really showed up on my radar about ten years ago when I decided it was time to watch The X-Files. And so, I've waited for it to show up somewhere streaming, but it never has. It's not been available for digital purchase either.

This past Wednesday, I had a few minutes to kill before my dentist appointment, so I ran into a nearby used bookstore. Seasons one and two of Millennium were there for $5.99 apiece. The DVDs are getting pricey now as physical media sales decline and there is no other legal option to watch this show. I decided now was the time to grab these DVDs and hopefully find the third season sometime down the road.

I'm trying to limit the television shows I'm watching at one time because there is just way too many going on that I want to watch. I didn't need to start Millennium right now, but after so many years of waiting, I decided I should at least watch the pilot. A quiet hour alone occurred last night, so I popped the DVD and settled in.

The first thing I noticed was the great set design. The darkness and vibe reminded me of Se7en, so when I learned that Chris Carter hired the set designer from Se7en I wasn't all that surprised. The music, acting, and cinematography were all great and the story itself was solid. It reminded me a lot of Hannibal in some ways, but less graphic.

The show is very dark and unrelenting. There is no real optimism to be found and the show paints the world as unforgiving and brutal. I'd almost describe it as having noir vibe in how it presents just how crummy everything is. It reminds me a lot of Se7en in that way, which was no doubt a major influence on this pilot.

When Millennium ended, I felt satisfied. It was good, not great, and I was afraid I had overhyped it in my head. I watched a little palette cleanser episode of The Middle before bed and then shut my eyes. It was around this time that Millennium started to hit me.

Darkness runs in my family. I come from a long line of alcoholics and drug abusers and while I abstain from my sort of mind-altering substances, I know my own battles with dark thoughts have led to me wishing there was an easy way out. I used to call it my shadow, because it seemed to follow me around, sometimes when it was the brightest outside the darkness remained just feet away.

It's very easy for me to get lost in the darkness. Life throws me a couple of bad blows and then I watch something that is hopeless and the next thing I know I'll spend the next month thinking about humanity is doomed and how I wish I wasn't here to deal with it.

I've learned that to keep this sort of mind consuming thoughts at bay, I need to watch what media I consume, study philosophy and religion, journal, avoid the news, eliminate negative people from my life, and reach out to a source of positivity when I'm feeling bad (could be a person or even a 90's sitcom.)

Does this mean my outlook on society is different? No, not really. Sadly, I struggle to find the good in people and I do prefer to live in my own comfortable bubble away from the drama and despair. But does that mean I don't empathize with it? Of course, not. I feel for people. I think it’s the empathy that makes it so hard for me to stomach. I struggle to accept a world that can be so cruel. I care too much and that is what causes the pain and it's easier for me to just walk away from it all.

And that is what brings me back to Millennium. Our main character, Frank Black (portrayed brilliantly by Lance Henriksen) knows the world is cruel. He knows how terrible it is and personally it affects him to a degree that no normal human being could ever understand. He sees, feels, and understands the minds of the most deranged individuals on Earth.

He uses these skills because he cares. He knows the world he lives in is falling apart, but he still tries. His priority is protecting his family, and one way he can do that is by helping stop dangerous people. Does putting away one bad guy make a huge difference in changing the world? Probably not. It might change the world for one or two potential victims or someone that is saved by his ability to channel the evil of the killer. Frank cares about humanity, even in a world that is doomed.

I had no idea I had connected with Millennium this much until it took over my thoughts and I began seeing parallels. There is something about the Frank Black character that feels relatable and possibly even inspiring. I’ll have to be careful with a show like Millennium because I can see exactly how it paints the world and well… it’s very similar to how I paint the world and that’s not always great for my mental health. But I look forward to exploring another wonderful creation from the mind of Chris Carter and hopefully I’ll have more to write about soon.


Bloggers on Patreon - June 21st, 2022

I've contributed to several Patreon accounts over the years, mostly relating to podcasts. Recently, I found a link to an account that offered essays and journals entries behind the paywall. I wasn't sure what to make of this. This writer wasn't a published author or even a popular online blogger, it was just someone who wrote for fun. She had put together some self-published books and wanted to discuss her fascination with a 90's TV show that interested me.

A handful of her essays were made free and after reading the first one, which mentioned an exploration of the before mentioned TV show and it's similarities with our modern society, I was intrigued to read more. I couldn't quite tell if the rest were behind the pay wall, but for a $1.50 I decided to take the leap.

It's strange paying for online writing in such a way. These posts were essentially the type of thing that people give away for free on blogs. The author valued her writing more than free, and well... I guess I couldn't blame her. $1.50 is a very reasonable amount and way cheaper than a magazine or novel. I'd be okay with paying a lot of the bloggers I enjoy $1.50 a month.

Once I subscribed, I noticed the hinted at article was not posted yet and it had been almost a month. I sent a quick message over and she apologized and promised it would be out within the week. A couple of days later, it was posted and I found this satisfying.

Blogging/writing online a lot of the time feels like you are talking into a void. Sure, the comments help, but for some reason I guess I felt heard. Maybe it's because I was paying for the opportunity to feel heard. Did I elevate the importance of her writing as well as my comment by paying? Did her actual response and follow through make me feel appreciated? Would I have felt this way had she had several hundred or thousand followers where my voice was more likely to be lost in the masses?

I think what impressed me the most about this interaction was that it felt a little bit like the small internet that once was. Folks who created and weren't trying to sale something, and micro-communities that popped up because of it. It's quite rewarding and even invigorating to participate in such a community. I'm almost nostalgic already for that short time period when the pandemic first started, and folks turned to blogging and creating. For a few months there, it was wonderful to see so many new and old voices discussing their lives, struggles, and fears. Of course, as the world opened back up, those blogs were mostly abandoned and now it's just us hobbyists who continue to write.

I guess this experience poses the question, "What is the value of a blog?" and "What price do we put on our writing?"


Family Photos - June 16th, 2022

Both of my parents have attempted (and partially succeeded) in giving me hundreds of family photos. As they are both are getting up in age, they know I'm the only one in my family would might digitize these images and of course, there are a handful they want to share on Facebook.

At first, I jumped at this opportunity. I mean, this was a look into my childhood that I don't actually have. A way to archive my past and unlock those memories. But as I began working through the photos, scanning them, editing them, and so forth, I realized this was A LOT of work. And well... I started to question why I was doing this.

When I was in the third grade, I remember having a fire safety lesson and all of the students were asked what one item they would grab in the event of a fire. Our answered ranged from silly to serious, but the teachers in the classroom all agreed that they would grab the photo albums and that would be the most important item because it could not be replaced

I believe this imprinted on me at an early age that photos are extremely valuable. I'm personally great at deleting the photos I take, but physical photos my parents or grandparents took I struggle with. I mean, these were the moments they deemed important with their limited amount of film. Shouldn't I archive all of this?

The truth is, I don't have kids and most likely will not. My brother also will not have kids. My bloodline will end with us. There is nobody to archive these photos for. No generation that will care to see them. I will not share these memories or stories with anyone other than the internet where I occasionally utilize one or two of these photos, I run across to show off a retro toy or clothing item. So, is truly worthwhile for me to go out of my way to try and preserve hundreds (probably a thousand or two) photos armed with a flatbed scanner and my free time? I don't think so.


The Time I Have Left - June 15th, 2022

I spend quite a bit of a time lately thinking about how much time on this Earth I have left. Not in a morbid counting down the minutes to death type of way, but more of a is this worth of my time way. Entertainment plays a big part in this, as I ask myself frequently:

  • "Is this worth two valuable hours?"
  • "Should I watch something twice, when there is so much other stuff out there?"
  • "Is this the final time I'm going to watch this movie?"
  • Back in my younger days, when I didn't think about death nearly as much, I'd rewatch movies over and over again. I had nothing better to do and I thought it made me more a fan. Of course, that's not true and now I want to make sure I'm getting something out of each viewing that is helpful to my life vs. just watching for the sake of watching.

    I've discussed my thoughts about sports over the years, but I use this sort of mentality when thinking about sports. Is it worth my time to watch something for three to four hours where the outcome has a fifty percent change in disappointing me? Rarely is it worth my time.

    I've also noticed that what and how I write also plays into this timer slowly counting down to zero. At one time in my life, I'd hang onto memories or events just so I could relive them over and over again. Now, I do my best to write out any moments or feelings of nostalgia to both preserve them, but also experience them one last time before letting them slip from my mind. I do this a lot over at Middle-Aged Fat Kids where I spent most of my time talking about things I'm nostalgic for or pop culture I enjoy.

    Maybe I over think this all, but I remember reading this article in Men's Health twenty years ago. It was titled something along the lines of, "The 25 Things You Think About While Having a Heart Attack." The information was both comical but serious. I remember one line said, "Wow.. this linoleum flooring isn't so bad." But that article stuck with me, because I realized that one day I may be faced with those thoughts. I got to think about the way I lived, the things I did, and how much I enjoyed them. And so, I pivot. I keep reassessing and trying to make the best of my time, and make sure that every moment is worthwhile.


    Entertainment Disappointment - June 14th, 2022

    Lately, I've noticed that I'm more disappointed in entertainment than I am impressed. I'm not sure if it's the over marketing, but it seems like things rarely deliver.

    In regard to television I've consumed recently, it's been a series of disappointments. Whether it's AEW or Obi-Wan, nothing is quite hitting the marks for me. Are these shows not good or am I just not in a place to appreciate them right now? I'm not sure. I just know that I'd rather watch a 90's sitcom I've seen before than watch either one of them as of late.

    I hate to be negative when it comes to media, because I'm at the tail end of of that core 18-39 demographic and I also know were over encumbered with new stories across a wide spectrum of platforms. But taking a two hour story and stretching it across eight episodes doesn't do much for me, nor does terrible CGI that takes me out of the story, two items it seems most shows embrace as of late.

    The depressing tone so many shows and movies carry these days doesn't do much for me either. It's so exhausting watching the non-stop bleakness. I'm a huge Batman fan, but I turned off the latest film after thirty minutes because I honestly had no interest in squinting and watching a depressed, whiny Bruce Wayne for another two hours.

    It makes me wonder if I'm just going through something right now, or if I'm just frustrated from being burned so much. Every movie and show is hyped as the next best thing and then when it fails, everyone saves face and talks about how they knew it wasn't great or how they'll do better next time. This cycle is just exhausting.

    I will say, last year, I LOVED Spiderman, Scream, and Ghostbusters. Right now, I'm still incredibly engaged by Better Call Saul, The Mandalorian, and Resident Alien. There isn't much coming out that I'm looking forward to, but maybe that will change with some new announcements.

    The video game landscape isn't much better and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm just at a place where I need to go back in time and watch and play the things I love or look for some gems that I might have missed.

    Then again, maybe I'm just getting older. Maybe my priorities are shifting and maybe the value I once saw in certain things is wearing off.


    Masked Email - June 13th, 2022

    There's been some interesting discussion online lately regarding utilizing masked email/alias for email accounts. This is something I began using with Fastmail about a year ago and I've also dabbled with Apple's Hide My Email feature. Both processes work well, with Apple's being easier to implement, but much harder to manage. In fact, I allowed Apple to manage some of my passwords as well as used the Hide my Email, but ultimately this combination didn't work for me. I still use a PC at home and not having easy access to my information was not useful. So, I converted everything back over to KeePass and managing my own aliases on Fastmail.

    With that being said, my system is not perfect. In fact, it brings me a bit of anxiety. There are just so many different email addresses that are all random words and characters.

    I liked KevQ's process of utilizing his domain name for his various email addresses. It seems like that could simplify things a bit. Recently, I upgraded my Fastmail plan to accommodate my domain name, in fact, this website is hosted by Fastmail. So, this is something within my doing, but man would that take some time. I also don't know if I'd want @brandonsjournal.com as my email address.

    I've been trying to keep in mind a great Buddhist story that I've heard Ajahn Brahm tell quite a few times. You can find the complete story here, but I'll rob it off its effectiveness and summarize it for this post. I highly recommend you read the full version.

    A mouse keeps chewing a hole in a nun's robes, so she decides to get a cat to deal with the mouse. But now she needs to care for the cat, so gets a cow to provide milk for the cat. But a cow is a lot of work, so a young boy is loaned to her to care for the cow. So now, she must provide for the boy as well. The nun went from having just one problem: a mouse that would chew a hole in her robe, to having dozens of responsibilities and issues to deal with daily because she kept complicating her life try to fix problems.

    I try to keep this in mind, especially as of late, because I'm guilty of doing this. KeePass has worked out fantastic for me for a very long time. The moment I started trying to utilize different apps, it created more stress for me. Sure, it's nice to have Apple host everything and autofill, but it's not so nice to have to dig out my phone every time I need some random password while using my computer.

    I think we all realize that our current password system is broken but there is no clear fix. I think wrapping our head's around having an individual email address and password for everything is the only way to compartmentalize and protect ourselves. Sadly, there just isn't any easy way to accomplish this right now, which means most people will not devote any time to implementing it. And with no real consequences for any data breaches, the same problems we are experiencing now will continue in the future.


    I'm Done Fighting - June 1st, 2022

    In high school, I took my dad to the local comic book store with me on a Wednesday afternoon. Three guys were standing around in a heated discussion about The Sixth Sense. Hands were slapping the counter, voices were being raised, and it was embarrassing. My father never understood my interests and his agreement to accompany me into the comic book store came at the worst possible time. Instead of having a moment to share my passion and explain why comics were more than funny books, he got to witness a bunch of grown men acting like children in a pointless debate.

    At one time in my life, I enjoyed those same sorts of pointless arguments like the men were making that day in the comic store. But then those arguments grew tiresome and now, most arguments seem tiresome to me.

    I no longer have any interest in trying to convince anyone to do anything. I'll recommend a movie or TV show to a friend with similar interests, but I'm not wasting my time trying to sell it to someone. I just don't care that much. You think my favorite book is terrible? That's nice. Moving along.

    I'm not sure where this desire to argue over the most frivolous things originated at nor why it is accepted as normal. The things I witness people get heated over just blow my mind. Sports? Politics? Movies? Television shows? True crime documentaries? Really? Are these the hills we want to die on?

    I get defending your beliefs and values. There seems to be some substance in that sort of behavior, but actively arguing and feeling entitled to be crappy to someone else over something as silly as a sport score or casting choice in a movie seems ridiculous.

    A few years ago, I attended a local Carolina Hurricanes game. I was rooting for the Nashville Predators, a team I saw play a lot while living in Tennessee. I was wearing a Predators baseball cap at the time and after the game was over, I got harassed by a Hurricanes fan in the parking lot. It was so beyond absurd that I haven't attended a game since. I'm not a big enough of a hockey fan to argue with some guy in a parking lot after a game, especially over something as stupid as a score created by a bunch of millionaires who seemingly could care less what team they are playing for nor the fans.

    I struggle to comprehend what must go on in someone’s mind to compel them to approach someone else and just start attacking them. Is it really that serious? Will you even remember the score a week from now? Maybe I'm just lazy, but I do not have the energy for that.

    This all plays into why I desire a quiet life now. It's why I like my secluded part of the internet and hopefully one day, a more secluded spot in real life. I'm done fighting with people and have been done for many years now. I have less of a tolerance for it as I grow older, and I just don't see the point. Live your own life, like what you like, and let others like what they like. Life is so much easier this way.


    Content Worth Reading - May 31st, 2022

    When I thought about doing something different with this site, the first place I went to look for inspiration was Neocities. Neocities is a modern interpretation of Geocities, one of the largest Web 1.0 personal homepage hosts. There are many talented folks over at Neocities putting out some creative and quirky content, but in my personal opinion, there is a lot of flash and little substance. I guess, in a way, Neocities truly is like it's predecessor.

    There is a community on Neocities that preaches the do it yourself mentality when it comes to web design. They are fueled by their anger at big tech and the state of the internet, this sort of commentary can be found online in many of the niche and smaller communities. The issue that this particular group struggles with (as do many of the others) is they have nothing to say outside of, "The internet sucks now. Ads and tracking are terrible. It's better to self-host and do it yourself."

    Now, I don't disagree with that statement, but I can only read it so many times. Complaining about the internet isn't making a better internet. You need to show me. Give me great content on a static HTML website. Show me a reason to experiment with Gemini. Give me something to come back and read that doesn't consist of complaints.

    One of my favorite quotes is

    It's better to light a candle than complain about the dark.

    It's important for me going forward to avoid this sort of complaining about the state of the internet/world/society etc. and focus more on expressing myself, discussing interests, and so forth. And so, in my unofficial first rule to write by, I'm stating that I will Write Content Worth Reading. That doesn't mean every post is going to be overly produced, proof-read, and written to inspire, but I will restrict myself from barley coherent ranting about the internet and other topics that truly do no matter.


    Friends - May 26th, 2022

    I’ve been a huge fan of Links pages since the 90’s. When you find a site that you like and you feel connected with the person on the other side of the computer, it’s likely that you will share in some common interests. These shared interests are what makes Link pages so good. It’s like a recommendation of other things you may like based on someone who gets you, at least in some minor way.

    I’ve attempted to utilize Link pages in my various blogs over the years. I’m honestly not sure how successful they’ve been, but they are always a work in progress. Once I find a new blog or RSS feed I enjoy, I usually post it. Once a year, I’ll go back through and clean up any dead links and then just repost the same list of sites all over again.

    Earlier today, I started working on my Links page. I pulled up a couple of backup Links pages and began the process of transferring things over. Then I stopped myself. Here I was again, operating the same way I have online for years. I was doing the same emotionless behavior out of some form of obligation to sites that I may not even truly read anymore.

    So, I cleared them all off. I decided to start from scratch. I also decided I’m no longer calling it a Links page. The people I want to share and connect others to are Friends. Some in real life, others online, and some are just people I follow, but in my mind we are all connected. I’m sharing their writings because I believe they have something worthwhile to say.

    And so, I’m happy to announce the first entries for my Friends page are active. It will no doubt grow over the next several weeks and may even be categorized in some way, but for now I’ve begun with the people who’ve supported me over the years and followed my writing from place-to-place. In my attempt at creating something authentic, I want to say thank you to each and everyone of you. It means the world to me that you take time out of your busy lives to read my thoughts and share my ideas.


    Welcome to the Fringe - May 25th, 2022

    Several weeks ago, I stopped blogging. I knew it was time to grow and change things up, but every time I sat down to put my thoughts onto paper something didn’t feel right. The way I was communicating was no longer working and I needed to make a change.

    I began writing by hand and even published a few items on a hidden personal blog to tide me over until I found a solution for my blogging woes. I had to ask myself, ”What did I want to get out of writing?” and ”Is writing online still making me happy?”

    I realized that one issue that plagued me is I didn’t feel in control of my words. Relying on databases and products such as Wordpress had made me feel enslaved. I’m not knowledgeable enough to understand how to properly back up these databases or even extract my own writing, without creating a secondary file of just the writing. I don’t like that. I hate to give up my control to something or someone, because once you do that, they have power. I decided it was time to get back to my roots and be more self-sufficient.

    Taking inspiration from my own desire to live a more peaceful life and the pioneers who headed out West, I decided to take up residence on the fringe of the internet. I’m far away from the corporations, advertisers, and mainstream social media. I have a simple, small set up here that is completely self-sufficient. In exchange for this simple existence, I’ve had to give up some of the comforts of the modern web. As you’ll notice, there is no RSS feed nor an email list for this site. I’ve also intentionally limited graphics. My goal is to keep this site as small as possible, which will allow me to keep things simple.

    There are also no comments for my posts, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't love to hear from you. Feel free to visit me in my Message Board or on PixelFed or Mastodon.

    Due to my small footprint on the internet, I would advise you to bookmark this site if you are interested in future updates. You may also need to hit your F5 button or refresh the site from time-to-time. I plan to write weekly on a variety of subjects as well as sharing some of my favorite old writings. I’m designing this site so that while it may appear simple, it will contain a lot of information. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you’ll see an outline of some of the planned pages as well links to other places where I write.

    At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Well what is this site all about?” I apologize, I should have introduced myself first. My name is Brandon and this is my journal. Here you’ll find my thoughts on life, entertainment, philosophy, and so forth. So, I guess, it’s a site about everything. I understand this sort of site may not interest a lot of readers, but if you are looking for a real connection on the internet and a place to read about a real person who isn’t selling you something or telling you how to live your life, this journal is worth checking out. I’ve heard it been said that you should write the book that you want to read, well I’ve created the type of site that I would want to read. I hope you'll find some enjoyment here.


    Return to the Homepage