Rethinking Internet Games

Thursday, July 9th, 2015 -( 18°C / 64°F & Clear & Sunny @ 10:30 am in Atlantic Canada )-

— I’ve been rethinking the value and potential of internet games. Role playing games especially. First Person Shooters never did float my boat.

Cute blond in modest apparel.

Elise, one of the ‘builder’ characters in our game world.

— Back in 1987 or 8, I got my first look at interactive text-based games on GEnie. A close friend was raving about a game she was playing and wanted to show me what it was all about. She went through the process of showing me how to ‘roll’ a character and pick his or her stats, occupation or ‘class’ in a fantasy world that in a text game was entirely in your imagination. Her character popped into that world and an ice hole player with a strong character came along and killed her brand new character with two punches. She was logged out, she didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of the ice hole ( or Troll, as we call them in discussion groups etc, the morons who just want to jump in and stir up trouble and try to make everybody feel like a third or fourth class citizen in a universe ruled by ice holes and jerks who want to dance around and sing ‘I’m number one- you ain’t doo doo-‘.) My friend groaned, “They’re not supposed to do that, they know they’re not supposed to do that. I just might report him, get him barred from the game.” I wasn’t impressed with on-line gaming after that.

— A couple years later, after I had moved back closer to my parents, with my father ailing, then wheel-chair bound – my mother at her wits end from trying to deal with that, and my father’s always abrasive personality – He watched ‘all in the family’ that he called the Archie Bunker Show, and took notes – mental notes – and picked up a lot of put down words and nasty things to call people to their faces and thought that was cool. The same friend who had tried to interest me in playing on-line computer games – when they cost six bucks an hour to play in ‘other than prime time’ – they cost 18 bucks an hour during prime time – drove 250 miles from an inland university town to be around friendly people and interact with somebody she knew wouldn’t try to humiliate her or in any way make her feel uncomfortable about herself in a world where even good-looking young women like her can feel like they’d been born with targets on their hearts and souls and minds, and clouds over their heads radiating “Humiliate me- Make me more miserable than I already am – PLEASE!”

— I don’t think I should go into an explanation that we’d both come from – ‘not quite fully functional’ – families, had one parent each who was at least border line alcoholic – and relatives who would go way out of their way to make us feel less than human any chance they got. But I should say that she was at least as intelligent, imaginative, sensitive and creative as I am, I was really impressed by the way she could sit down, sigh, wrinkle her forehead and gasp through several worried looks as she thought her way through something, gasp or sigh one more time, write out an outline, smile, then go sit down at her computer and write a work of fiction with engaging, believable and likeable characters, follow that outline and get it done. All the time I’d be writing my brains out, not having any idea where my characters were leading me, and having no clue at all whether anybody else in creation would ever want to spend time reading about my characters and the crazy situations they got themselves into.

— And while she was in my old home town, she asked if she could use my computer to check her email a couple of times and came back with an “Oh shit!” To which, of course I replied, “What’s the matter?” And she said, “Roxy’s gonna have her baby tonight and since I’m one of the characters who can’t attack or be attacked by other player’s characters I’m supposed to be there and be on guard against things that go bump in the night-” -or something quite close to that. After I said, “Huh?” She replied, “Oh- this is Dragons Gate- the new game I told you about a couple of times, the one that is so much more fun than that other one I was playing.”

— I think I felt like Steve McQueen in a movie I once saw, who has just heard an explanation for something that could never make any sense to anyone, but he nodded, and said, “Okay, I’ll do it-” And I nodded and said, “I have a modem- you know your account stuff and your password?”

— And my friend was in seventh heaven, I never saw her so animated and full of bliss and ready to party- I mean, she was like a kid at her own birthday party. We got set up with her at my clunky old apple IIe – she was used to a less clunky Mac- and I sat back, somewhat puzzled and a little bit amazed at her transformation, maybe a little bit bedazzled by the power of a computer game.

— I showed her how to start recording everything that happened onto my ridiculous $795.00 – ten megabyte hard drive. She was as animated as a lot of university students might be, if they were watching a really good movie with a room full of friends, maybe slurping down legal or illegal beverages and forgetting their inhibitions bouncing up and down in the chair and going ‘hoot hoot!’ as she typed faster than I ever could.

— She laughed and blushed and beamed and tried to explain everything about every character who was there for this on-line gaming event. She had anecdotes about every character, and each character’s player. She’d been in touch with all of them, some of them over the phone. I think she’d even met one or two in person. And then they got into wandering around the virtual landscape that was all in our imaginations, trying to find just the right spot for Roxy to do her birthing dance. – Roxy’s player was one of the artists who -worked for the brat- behind the scenes at “The Simpsons” and she was fun. She had two other characters who were quite busy in the game and you never could have guessed she played all three. So Roxy found a nice tree or pole to hold on to and do her dance with my friend’s Forest Elf character standing guard and then – “Wooosh!” -A dark cloud, something from a spell came over everything. Nobody could see anything at all – but they could hear Roxy’s voice calling frantically as an impression of dark wings flapped and her voice got further and further away- and when the darkness lifted, Roxy was gone. Everybody there, and in a very short time it seemed that everybody who was playing the game that night, became involved in running all around the known game world, looking for Roxy, Yelling her name- wondering what happened to her. They found her, wounded and delirious in a darkened alley near the centre of town – and no longer pregnant. It felt to me like I’d fallen into a very engaging world where the players drove the story lines and suddenly, the potential here had no limits.

— A couple months later I went to stay with her for a weekend. As we drove around on things no more complicated than me accompanying her on grocery shopping we talked about the game world and the different races the characters could be part of. I jokingly came up with a cat person character named Purcival Alleyscourge. She got a good chuckle, but then later, that evening, she deleted one of her characters that she’d become bored with and rolled up Purrcival Alleyscourge. She was surprised at some high ‘stats’ and chose the recommended ‘Class’ or occupation of ‘Thief’. Still later, when she was tired and I was still much too wide awake, she suggested I get on her computer and wander around the game world as Purrcival. I did. I encountered an evil NPC rogue who jumped out of nowhere and nearly beat Purrcival to death, yelled ‘help’ when a passerby wandered by and that character stepped in and saved Purrcy’s hide. I found out my friend secretly had two accounts, one based on the west coast, where she came from, and one on the east coast, where she was going to school. For the next couple weeks she let me sign in to one account while she was on the other, and we interacted. About a month later she asked me to house sit her apartment while she went to visit her parents for a week and I spent more time as Purrcival and after she came back east I went home and activated my own account at GEnie and rolled up a character or two, and she deleted Purrcival and I rolled him up on my account. Purrcival changed occupations, as some of the cat people he hung out with did not approve of thieves. He made good friends quickly, even fell in love with one character who proposed marriage to him. Since I could not afford to be playing the game during prime time at eighteen bucks an hour, I wrote stories about the characters. And when GEnie held a story writing contest to promote their money-making games, I submitted a couple and won a second and a third prize. The friends I made there back then were very creative types, many of them went on to become paid elders in the game and concocted some of the scenarios – plots that drove the game, one plotted and created a haunted house, wrote all the room descriptions, sent them to the game’s owners and they liked his ideas, ‘built’ the haunted house, and gave him a ‘position’- I’m not sure whether he immediately became one of the paid members of the staff, or got to play for free as long as he contributed designs and plots for scenarios.

— One of the fun things that would happen is when several of us would sign on as soon as the price dropped on the east coast and met in the town square and the ‘psychic’ characters would give those of us whose characters were not psychic the gift of ESP so we could communicate on the PSI channel and not drive the more serious gamers crazy. We could send messages directly from our character to theirs, or broadcast to anyone who had ESP in the game. I jokingly sent silly suggestions to the elders and, one night one of the elders contacted me through the ‘psi-net’ and asked what was happening tonight. I shrugged in real life and said, “Oh- it feels like grumble bunny from hell night around here- but I have to go- catchya later-” & after signing off, I got a call long distance from my friend who could barely contain her laughter, saying that the elders had whipped up a bunch of wimpy characters, with little or no ‘treasure’, called them ‘Grumble Bunnies’ and there was a mass invasion of the town square of these weird creatures whose annoying attacks would cause minor damage, nothing life threatening, but enough to encourage the players characters in the town square to clear the town square of the annoying grumble bunnies. I sent email to the game owners with suggested buildings, suggested new races, and got positive encouragement from the head owner, who said he was looking at giving me some kind of a ‘position’ that might be a free account or even a paid one. So I wandered all around the game, captured every description of every ‘room’ I could. When the elders asked for ‘sign painters’ to paint signs for a number of places around the town square I jumped in, sent them at least sixteen suggestions and was promised a really nifty in-game object with magical abilities attached to it. Then I got laid off from a job I had and couldn’t afford to play any more. And the owner told me that someone he’d given a free account to had ‘burned him’ by playing all the time and did not contribute half of what had been expected of him, so he, the owner, wasn’t going to be giving away any free accounts for a while.

— And now let me get to some kind of point here. Playing that game back then, when it was still in its early development stage, was fun and gave me insights into what kind of on-line games appealed to people. There were more or less two groups of players. There were the finesse players who wanted to develop characters who were unique and had definite personalities, quirks, idiosyncracies, tastes, and in general, gave that world a lot of character and culture. Characters gathered in the town square and told jokes, pretended to get drunk, enjoyed each other’s company- more than two couples I know of met in real life after playing in the game and got married. I know at least one couple is still married.

— Then there were the rabid hackers and slashers. The kind of players who enjoy first person shooters and want to kill everything and everyone in sight. The finesse players would spend hours, weeks, and months developing their characters and the hack and slash trolls would come along and attack and made life so miserable for my friends that they stopped playing that game.

— I remember complaining about something over the ‘Psi-net’ one evening and got the immediate response: “If this game is driving you nuts, why don’t you write your own game?” I was stunned. I started plotting and planning my own game. My rocky experience with employment had me either too exhausted to try to seriously get down and develop my own game or just broke enough so I couldn’t afford whatever new bit of software was required to put something together that anybody else would want to play.

— I wrote a text game in applesoft basic when the program limit was 32k- I could write a character rolling program, link it to an area with six ‘rooms’ give the characters healing skills to heal wounded npcs and sword fighting skills to defend themselves. I could link programs so the characters could go off and defend the world from maintenance robots that some evil genius had programmed to kill anything living, & when ‘killed’- the robots exploded and left something on the ground worth picking up, carrying to the local merchant program where their treasures were sold for silver and gold & and they could buy better weapons. If they wanted, they could go off into six-room wilderness area where they could search for herbs. Good herbs would improve their stats. Bad herbs would reduce them. They had to learn the difference. Or they could go to a one room area where they could become blacksmiths and hammer out weapons with random success, and keep their weapons or sell them to a merchant would appear each time they finished a weapon and offer them something for it. Silver or gold. My nephews, who were six and ten years old at the time loved it. They didn’t realize they were moving from program to program when they moved from one ‘area’ to another.

— Then I learned to program in “C” and instead of 32k programs linked together, I could write 1 Meg programs and link them together. The long version of the character rolling program was 5 programs long, but explained everything about each race they thought they wanted to roll.

— And every time I thought I had something worth showing somebody – The ‘industry’ raised the bar on me to just beyond my reach. One 3D world engine that would work on a Mac or a PC cost $138.00 to buy, and I could mess around with it, but I couldn’t get it to save anything that would consistently work when I tried to open it next time. That company announced their new and improved version, it went on sale for $250.00 when I couldn’t afford that much, and the next time I had two hundred and fifty bucks the price had gone up to $1,000.

— Another game engine was advertised on the web, I went and looked at it, viewed the video propaganda and noticed the price wasn’t listed anywhere. I sent email and a company executive asked me what my budget was like and wouldn’t answer my ‘how much does this cost?’ until I told him I’d been looking at the $1,000 program and he informed me that his company’s game engine cost six figures.

— Then a game engine in a ‘cloud’ came along, got my email address from somewhere and recruited me with a free account because they needed to know how many games could be developed in each server without blowing that server up and causing it to crash. I got busy creating my world, watched it change from my original idea into what their game engine could produce, and I was doing pretty well, until I reached a conclusion that the help I needed from other developers would not be  coming and I couldn’t go any further unless the universe dropped several thousand dollars in my lap.

Builder Character smiling down at us.

“Xyreana”, shown here, is the one builder character / Experiment with facial morphing etc. – who came through the process looking happy. She’s wearing a Bard woman’s bodice and a Wizard’s short skirt, so she looks like any lonely computer nerd’s vision of the woman he might meet in a game who will of course throw herself at him, take him as he is and demand nothing but wild and passionate love from him. But, because I still have to figure out how and why she came out so smilingly happy, I kept her around, anyway.

— And now, in the last couple weeks, the spiffy HP computer I bought specifically to develop the game, because it was fast, had a great graphics card and a poop load of RAM- started crashing whenever I was trying to do anything with graphics – the computer doesn’t care if I write my brains out in Open Office or Word Press – & I can surf ad nauseam, but as soon as I try to do anything that’s heavy into graphics the card has a melt down and the monitors go black and say they are receiving no signal. boom – crash – dead.

— But then, last night – Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning – on Coast to Coast AM they interviewed a guy named Gordon Asher Davidson, who talked about the battle between good and not so good aliens over the future of this planet, Earth – and his take – whether it is poetically true or actual fact-based – was quite uplifting. The evil idjits who have been trying to manipulate us for centuries, if not millenniae – who were responsible for 9-11-2001 and world war two and every divide and conquer manipulation including the re-writing of the Christian Bible to fit into the Romans’ view of how they wished to rule the world- etc. have been removed from power. They still have their human agents in place who are trying their damnedest to hit us with false flag operations, but have not been able to pull off anything really big since the twin towers attack which gave them the atmosphere of terror they wanted in order to convince good old Americans to gleefully surrender loads of constitutional rights and all that under the Homeland Security (Bull Chips!) Banner – And every day more and more of the dark minded bad guys’ shenanigans are being dragged into the light and pretty soon the banksters will be strung up by their private parts in public and stripped of their ill-gotten gains, with – for instance – all the money and resources and basically anything of value that the IMF is trying to steal from everybody, everywhere on the planet, will be going back to the people it was stolen from. The US Government will have to pay back everybody they fleeced with their student loan scams, Banksters will either wake up in jail or in an alternate reality, believing they’re still in control here, until the fruit of their labours turns that reality to a wasteland – Anybody who will not be able to stand the atmosphere of Love and Forgiveness, Peace, Love, Harmony, Evolutionary Giant Steps and all that, will just not be here. So of course somebody who’s been duped by the re-written parts of the Bible had to call up and accuse Gordon of being a liar and an agent of the devil because everybody knows, it will be the good Christians who will be raptured off the planet, not the evil ones who will wake up somewhere else and not know they’re not here, messing with us any more.

— Um, I didn’t get much sleep last night, after a short sleep and a curious dream that my mother fell asleep while my sister, Sharon, and I were doing something together for Mom’s benefit- And then I had to get up, thought about trying something a bit different with my spiffy graphics computer, watched it blow up and crash more quickly than ever, so I sighed and cleaned a little bit of clutter away while I was waiting for the spiffy computer to come back up from its self checking after a crash routines.

— I really felt good about the future. Everything that guy said was resonating as “True” and passing through my not quite perfect B.S. filter – and I went back and thought about everything I’d been trying to do with creating with the goal of running an MMO-RPG world that lived up to the highest of my pretty high standards –  which would mean that the hackers and slashers would have their own island where they could drive each other crazy, and wouldn’t have much fun in the areas where the finesse players wanted to hang out. I built the original game so my nephews could play something they were interested in and didn’t have to kill everything in sight to thrive and advance. I’d ‘created’ wounded Non-Player-Characters who would be nearly dead on a battlefield, where healing characters could come along, heal the wounded, get loads of experience, and when the wounded characters reached an acceptable (to them) level of health, they would sit up, thank the healer, and give them a random weapon or halfway valuable item that the healer could either keep or cash in next time they went to the market or came across a wandering merchant. Several players I talked to loved that idea. The couple of game owners I talked to didn’t want to be bothered, they said they would have to create a whole new class of NPC’s and that would be a pain in the butt. -B.S.-

— But as I thought more about my ideas for that game, the more I felt like I was contributing more to the light side of things than to the dark, and I began to remember the psychics I had met through my job as a video producer for a cable teevee outfit, and how they’d looked like they wanted to roll their eyes and get away from me when I told them I’d been trying to create my interactive computer game – and then they’d look astounded, like they were getting a message from somewhere and turn to me with a new light in their eyes and say, “Yes- that game of yours can be successful, but only if you stick to your original ideas and don’t let anybody talk you into doing it the old ‘tried and tested’ way, which would destroy your basic concept and drag that game down and contribute to the dark side of things.

— So, If the light side of things, the Freedom of Choice and the aliens in the Federation of Light – or whatever – want to help me with this, they know where I am. And if this is something that angels of light and all those agents of God who want to help us silly humans manifest Heaven on Earth – believe is worth completing – a wonderful new computer or a spiffy new (working) video card will almost magically appear here in my slowly becoming uncluttered office.

🙂 — 🙂

~~~~~Jim

 

Both Sides of the Rainbow

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 -( 10°C / 50°F – Sunny & bright with last night’s rain drops evaporating from the fences in our little corner of Atlantic Canada @ 7:00 am )-

— Big news yesterday – The U.S Supreme Court’s decision made gay marriages legal all over the U.S.A.  It’s about time. -No, it’s way past time. Way past time that a critical mass of us saw past the brain-freezing labels and recognized the living, breathing, feeling, loving human beings that some people who want to maintain their delusional power over us have been doing their damnedest to convince us were God-hating monsters, or at the very least, mind numbing statistics.

— I believe I was about twenty one years old when one of my friends sat in my car as I was driving him somewhere and painfully unburdened himself of the fact that he’d realized he was gay. I went into shock. My first reaction was to wonder how the hell I would ever be able to relate to him again. Yup, the rock and roll soundtrack of my life and times was singing, “Oh, my mind keeps going through them changes-” and I spent two or three days with all sorts of thoughts and feelings spinning around and my whole world view went on a roller coaster ride. Then, somehow, I woke up one morning and realized that the universe was still an unimagineably beautiful place. Cool morning breezes could still raise my spirits without warning. My friend had not grown horns and a tail and begun spitting deadly acid or breathing fire on everything that mattered to me. He was still the same person I had grown to like, who could read something I wrote and tell me why it stunk, or just smile and say, “It’s times like this when I know why you’re my favourite writer-” and make me feel like my life actually meant something positive to this world. And basically, maybe most importantly, I knew who I was, and who I lusted after, I knew he wasn’t about to hit me on the head with something and rape me while I was helpless, and I knew I wasn’t going to catch his condition from him. The next time I saw him neither one of us had to spend more than the first minute or two worried that our friendship had imploded. He told me that he chose to ‘come out’ to me first, because he was pretty sure I wouldn’t snap into a psychotic frenzy and kick the living cement out of him or unleash my lightning wit and rip his struggling self-esteem to bits of smouldering cinders with a few deadly words. And he was just the first.

— When I was revamping the web site for friends in the Connecticut Green Party, one ‘heterosexual as all hell’ type activist invited members of a group called “Love makes a family” to one of the local meetings. A couple very normal looking- maybe more attractive than ‘average’- women with no obvious neurotic fear of admitting who they were told us they were lobbying to get the Connecticut Legislature to make it a law that gay and lesbian couples could adopt children, or ‘win’ the custody of children that were biologically theirs from a heterosexual marriage. The green party guy who had invited them to speak to us was a typically messed up victim of PTSD and the US Armed Services, and the VA hospital ‘system’, and his politics were left leaning and he was an outspoken activist for all kinds of human rights, and he was stunned almost speechless when, at the next local meeting, the executive board like members of the green party announced that they had decided that they didn’t want to be seen as hitching their wagon to such a possibly unpopular cause. He gasped, stared at the floor for the rest of the meeting and later looked at me and said, “Well- I actually thought that would be a no-brainer- Ya know – with everything this party stands for-?” and walked away shaking his head and talking to himself.

— And then, we’ll jump forward in time. I had a few health issues, my father, who’d been so healthy as a child that he thought we were faking it when we came down with the measles for crying out loud- who’d been suffering so badly with asthma that he probably developed as a fireman when he pulled dead kids out of burning buildings and dead workers out of toxic chemical pools at the local factory that made brake shoes and donated landfill that the town happily accepted and then bragged that they had the only ‘fire-proof’ streets they knew of- began going downhill faster and faster, his doctors couldn’t take him down off his steroids to give his body the break it needed, and after twenty years of this his heart started failing. He had two heart attacks in three years. The first one earned him a pace maker. The second one killed him. (No, he wasn’t gay, he admitted there was a time when he thought that I might be- which would have shocked the bleep out of me if he’d said anything at the time. He did joke every once in a while that, no, he didn’t want to have anything to do any ‘Homoes’ – and grinned, “Thursday is my day for guys-” ) But after his death, and a couple other shocking deaths. -And a couple of world-view rattling ‘events’ like the attack on the twin towers, which happened fifty miles from my parents’ home, and then the mounting evidence that ‘nine-eleven’ might not have been caused solely by jets flown by terrorists who probably could never have steered the damned jets that accurately at that speed – and then more news about the Oklahoma City, Murrah Federal Building, bombing, where a close family friend’s father’s job took him in and out of that building all day, most days and we held our breath as she kept trying to get through to anybody in Oklahoma City to find out if her father was still alive- or in the hospital with life threatening injuries, or what?- And we found out that -One- nurses in Oklahoma City had treated burn victims, -US Armed Services special forces guys- who had gone into the Murrah Building and removed remote control detonators that hadn’t gone off like they were supposed to, and a few of those did go off, in the soldiers’ hands- And -Two- the US Air Force did a lot of testing with Fertilizer bombs like the one that was supposed to have blown that building apart, and discovered that a fertilizer bomb in a truck out in front of a building could not possibly do the kind of damage that had we saw- And one guy said that Timothy McVeigh, the self-confessed bomber, might not actually have been executed to death. The guy said McVeigh was convinced that his ‘execution’ would be a show, that he’d be revived later and shipped off to somewhere where he would continue to work in covert operations with a real celebrity status and enjoy the hell out of the rest of his life free to blow things up and kill lots of people for fun and profit. — & I have a cousin who lives in Littleton, Colorado, whose two step daughters were high school aged and matched the names of two friends that one hysterical young woman in the first reports we got was screaming might be still inside the school and might be dead- she didn’t know. — We did get through to my cousin right away that day, we got the news almost as fast as they did out there. And the two step daughters went to the other high school in town. — And now there’s speculation that some potential mass killers are given psycho active drugs and deliberately manipulated into their rampages by ‘rogue elements’ connected with government security agencies that want total control over us, and have been working on it since they brought Nazi scientists and devious fascist puppet master types into this ‘great country of ours’ after we ‘won’ world war two. I can’t say that the last ‘scenario’ is as plausible as insiders bringing down the twin towers and blaming it on inept terrorists, and the buildings falling straight down in a manner that seemed impossible – And how about that other building? And where the hell is the evidence that they shipped out of town in a big hurry, and why did they do that, instead of standing there with the ‘smouldering’ gun type evidence? And I can believe that a truck full of fertilizer bombs couldn’t possibly blow the hell out of a building it was parked next to- And the point of this paragraph has nothing to do with equal marriage rights for all – I just want to let you know that the last twenty years rattled my soul with all the power of a psychic atomic bomb going off inside my head.

— But I found Love. Real Love. With a real live human woman, and went through all the hell of becoming a permanent resident and then citizen of Canada to be with her. Compared to the other doo doo I’d been through, the hoops I had to jump through and the -every time we turn around, they want more money, while they won’t let me work, in fact, if they catch me working- they’ll deport me- compared to the conspiracies bringing down buildings and getting draconian laws passed with my freedom loving countrymen not only surrendering their freedom and privacy, but accusing anybody who squawked, or complained that something was not quite above board with that- of being a bleep bleeped terrorist sympathiser – hey, the hoops I had to jump through to live in Canada were a piece of cake.

— But-! The wild and crazy love of my life needed a medical test that needed a trip to a special office in Toronto. And I went with her for moral support- While we were sitting together in the waiting room, waiting for her turn, we were approached by someone we thought had to be another patient, who looked like she could have been either homeless or one step away from something like that. She looked at us and asked, “Are you Christian?” -Trying not to wince, and having a ‘thing’ about telling the truth- I said, “Yes.” This woman nodded and said she was part of some church and she just wanted us to know that all good Christians should be worried that if ‘they’ made gay marriages legal, then the devil will win, we knew that- didn’t we? – But her church was having a campaign and wanted to invite as many good devil hating Christians to come to their meetings as they could – (and she didn’t say a word about trying to get us to voluntarily give up lots of whatever income we might have, but I could imagine that would happen if we’d ever been stupid enough to go to any of their meetings) and she smiled and told us, that (then U.S. President) George W Bush was going to save us, he was on ‘our side’, but they still need as many good Christians to come along and make our voices heard- and she kept smiling a very weird smile, and kept nodding her head, and I got the really creepy feeling that she might have been an actual marionette, with some even creepier ‘individual’ pulling her strings, and the animatronics guys had almost made her look perfectly human and perfectly reasonable.

——— And now, today, with lots of people around the world believing that the U.S. Supreme Court has just made a giant step forward toward world sanity- I can’t get the image of that poor woman out of my mind. Propaganda specialists had worked overtime to convince her that fire-breathing devils would jump up out of the ground and run around stabbing people with pitchforks if ‘the free world’ ever allowed gay marriages to become legal.

——— And that’s just one more weapon in ‘their’ divide and conquer bag of tricks.

— I remember hearing about the ‘Tribulations’ that evangelicals screamed were coming at us. There would be wars and rumors of wars. Best friends would be turning on each other. There’d be earthquakes and starvation and people dying of thirst everywhere. I just never thought that any U.S. Government agency, or its -plausible deniability- ‘rogue agents’ would be behind it.

— So- now what? A lot of good people are celebrating. They have a right to. They’ve always had that God-given right. Now their government agrees with that. But I’m wondering about the poor, manipulated, terrified people whose only ‘crime’ is that they believed what their preachers told them- Are these poor people sitting in a corner? Shaking in their boots? -Terrified, and ready to jump when the wrong person gets up with the wrong message and tries to move them to some kind of insane action?

— How many ‘other shoes are about to drop’?

— Sigh.

— Very soon after I came to Canada, originally as a visitor, my friends in the ‘states’ began telling me that I was in the right place, that things down there were getting crazier all the time. The last couple times we went down there on a visit, we could feel the tension mounting almost as soon as we crossed the border. We have spiritual friends who tell us they can’t watch television news any more if they want to hang onto any measure of peace of mind.

— And in other news, yesterday. They reported that ISIS (which began as a puppet group/spin-off of Al-Qaeda, which was created and guided by the US Central Intelligence Agency —) was probably behind three suicide bombing attacks on three continents. I later thought that maybe I’d missed something because two of those attacks took place in Africa. Maybe somebody blew something up in Asia? or Somewhere else?

——— But at least I can feel good for the people I know and care about who are waving rainbow flags and enjoying a bright moment right now.

———And I’m wondering just how big a stick Teddy Roosevelt would think I should carry around with me.

~~~~~ Jim

 

The University of Dreams

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 -( 11°C / 52°F & ‘overcast’/ kind of grey outside – promising rain? @ 6:10 am in our little corner of this planet, in Atlantic Canada )-

"Alaskan Bush People"

Billy & Ami Brown -center- and family, are the ‘stars’ of a ‘reality’ teevee show on the Discovery Channel.

— I watched two episodes of ‘Alaskan Bush People / Off The Grid’ last night on the discovery channel and thought, “hey, they’re my kind of people.” The program ‘follows’ the family of Billy and Ami Brown, who live on a wilderness island in southern Alaska. The episodes I saw last night were probably from the first year, Matt, the oldest son, was 32 years old, the youngest daughter was twelve years old. In those two episodes they had just built a real house, and were moving into it. The mother, Ami, had contacted an Alaskan Matchmaker – The two oldest sons went out hunting for deer and three other children in their twenties, took a boat ride three hours each way to meet another family and barter for egg laying chickens. The son who calls himself ‘Bear’ met someone and went on the first date he’d ever been on after talking with the woman on the phone and admitting he could count the times he’d talked on a phone on one hand. He kind of freaked his date out by climbing a tree and inviting her to join him. The brother who shot the deer goes by the name of ‘Bam Bam’. Yes they’re ‘quirky’, but my sister, my mother and a couple nephews live in North Pole, Alaska, I spent three months up there, and the Brown family look like people who would fit right in up there. I thought they came across as genuine.

— Overnight, I dreamed I was attending classes in a school for adult writers, & another adult writer wanted to go and have coffee somewhere and talk about writing. I woke up wanting to jump right into writing before I lost details of the dream et cetera.

— This morning I went looking for information about the television program, discovered that law enforcement types are going after them for something. The photo above is from that article, which I found at { Link —> } http://www.rantlifestyle.com/2014/10/23/stars-of-alaskan-bush-people-back-on-grid-after-grand-jury-indictment/. There is a bit of name calling and posturing by people in a blog responding to the short article linked above. I’m reserving judgment, and will be trying to connect with the article’s author on twitter when I finish here.

~~~~~ Jim

Children’s Rights

Children’s Bill Of Rights and Privileges?  — Rough Draft? —

— Um, should this be part one in a many part declaration? —

1. All Children should have the right not to be bullied, brow beaten, tortured or humiliated at school, anywhere in public and in the supposed safety and privacy of their own home. They should not face physical, psychological, emotional, social or any other form of harm at the hands of their classmates, teachers, parents, religious ‘leaders’, political groups, sports teams or organizations, coaches, or anyone else for that matter. This might be tough to enforce. Parents might always believe they have the right to punish their children and they might not realize that what they believe in is not right for their children, or that what might be perfectly good for one child might not be good at all for another. We have to bring personality theory and other extenuating factors into this. Like, what if Albert Einstein’s father had him beaten half to death every other day because the father wanted his son to be a good little military soldier and never have an original thought in his life?

~~~~~ Jim

Optimism will not be dashed by a little bit of Rain –

Friday, June 19, 2015 -( 12°C / 54°F & raining @ 8:09 am in our little corner of Atlantic Canada && I think today might be my ex-next door neighbor Kyle’s birthday, and maybe Rachel, who lived behind both of us’s birthday too? )-

Jassper in his younger days.

Jassper le Boof at the gate we put up to keep him from running downstairs and disturbing Domino in the place we lived in before we moved here. He was probably between six months and a year old in this photo, still a bit gangly. But he was practicing his sensitive look.

— Okay, it’s a rainy morning. The cat had a lot to complain about in fairly long sentences, something like, “Arra mungah rungah wungah muhng muh!” And if I ever figure out what that means, I’ll be the first to tell you.

— It took almost all afternoon yesterday to back up and update one instance of WordPress here. But I backed up one whole site in the process and it might take considerably less time to update the three or four others.

— And once again, the Troggs are singing in my head, they’ve gotten a couple verses I didn’t hear yesterday or the day before into the mix.

— Canada is moving toward a Federal election which will happen sometime between now and October 19th? Unlike the USA, they don’t always know when the next election might be up here, could be anything from a month to five years after the previous federal election. And the Prime Minister does not run separately from everybody else. The leader of the party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons becomes the Prime Minister. If the winning party does not have 51% plus seats in the House of Commons they will call that a Minority Government. They do not need to form coalition governments to achieve the 51% plus mark. But- If one party wins, say, 34% of the seats and two others win 30% each with maybe the Green Party and the Parti Quebequois and some Weird Obscure Party winning the remaining seats, the two parties that make up 60% of the seats between them can form a coalition government and ‘rule’ together until things fall apart and they dissolve Parliament and call an election in about 30 days from the day that Parliament dissolves. I thought this would be the case more often than not before I came up here, I believe that’s the model in many European countries — somebody has to form a coalition that includes 50% + 1 of the seats in any given Parliament or it’s back to the polling booths? Nope, not here. If the gang with 34% in the above example gets away with it, they form what is called a ‘Minority Government’ and they have to tip toe around their rivals and play nice or face a ‘No Confidence Vote’ and if they loose, it’s time to dissolve Parliament and set elections for 30 days or so. That’s pretty confusing for somebody who was used to seeing everyone in the House of Representatives And 1/3 of the Senate up for election every two years and the President and Vice President running on the same ticket together joining them every 4 years. Senators in the USA have 6 year terms with roughly a third of them running for re-election every two years.

— Okay, so if you’re not confused enough, let me go on here- In Canada, the Senate, which is supposedly the upper ‘House of Sober Thought’ if full of people who never ran for that office. Senators are appointed by the Prime Minister. So what they’ve got now is a highly partisan wrangling committee and screaming society with those aligned with the current Prime Minister fiercely clinging to party lines and trying to out shout and out manipulate the opposition. Right now there are quite a few Senators who were appointed by the ‘sitting’ Conservatives and several others who were appointed by the Liberals, who were in charge before the Conservatives began winning minority governments and then a majority government. Those Liberals have been disenfranchised by the current head of the Liberal Party. The Conservatives ran with ‘Getting Rid of the Senate’ as part of their platform for years, until they were in the majority, and then padded the Senate with as many ‘Yes Men & Women’ as they could, and the fit hit the shan and they’re trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. The New Democratic Party (‘NDP’) is now saying they should do away with the Senate altogether. The trouble is, all the Provinces would have to agree 100% with that idea and they’d have to rewrite at least part of the Constitution to do that.

— Some voices in Canadian Politix are saying that it might be more likely that they might somehow find a way to change the Senate, to try to get it back to being what it was supposed to be and what it might actually have been, sometime in the past, the upper house of sober second thought. I remember learning about checks and balances in high school and junior high school and I think I believe that a Senate that has to agree with a lower house to approve any bill that might make it into a law of the land is probably a much better idea than having a lower house full of puppets pushing everything through that the sitting Prime Minister wants and the Prime Minister smiling and claiming to the world that he has a mandate to push his agenda down the throats of everybody in ‘his’ (or her?) land- whether they voted for his party or not, whether that law is a good idea for the greater good of everybody involved, or as is happening these days with a micro-managing manipulative slimy ice hole as Prime Minister – serves the greater good of the 1% richest ice-holes in the land and pushes everybody else closer and closer to economic and social slavery.

— Schnarr!

— And of course there are a few details that I didn’t have time to add to this confusion, but you’re already rolling your eyes and thinking it would much more fun to go get drunk or high and find somebody to have a nice sexual encounter with, so I’ll end this here.

— Congratulations, you’ve made it through another one of my Posts here. [ Insert weird smiley face of your choice in this space, you deserve it. ]

~~~~~ Jim

 

Troggs and Neil Young are singing in my head

Thursday, 18 June, 2015 -( 24°C / 75°F – Sunny, breezy & almost cloudless in New Brunswick @ 5:25 pm )-

fupp head smiling

“Did Donald Trump pay actors $50 to cheer at this announcement?” &  Why didn’t he ask Neil Young for permission to use his song? Becasuse he’s an ice-hole and he thinks he can get around certain failure by going to the bean counting jerks who exploit creative people.

— I woke up with “Love is all around me” by the Troggs, echoing in my head –

— To tell ya the truth, this started echoing yesterday, when it was laced with dark irony, and it kind of saturated something in my brain, or mind, or whatever I have left in there. And it began to sound like a promise that good things can happen to good people if they can transmute their anger and other negative emotions.

— I was going to write this earlier, but we’re dealing with catastrophic b.s. on the web site front. & then we gotta update things manually to plug known security holes.

— But in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, many of us who had been through hellacious childhoods were heading into young adulthood with an energy and optimism that didn’t make sense to anybody, but we all wanted to celebrate the hell out of it. We knew we could change the world and we wanted to do exactly that- make this planet a place where decent, loving, friendly human beings would want to live and share their most harmonious visions of Heaven on Earth. We really did.

— And then the military industrial complex and the MK-Ultra ice-holes began sending shooters up Texas Towers and activating brainwashed ‘manchurian candidate’ like pawns to shoot down peaceniks like John Lennon, their rally call, “-If ya can’t beat ’em- kill ’em-”

— Our rallying cry? Hey, Neil Young came to our aid with “Ohio” and we should be able to insert new players in place of ‘Nixon’ there, like “Tin soldiers and Trump is coming – He thinks he is on a roll – This summer we’re seeing through him, eyes dead and an lifeless soul-”

— Steal our songs, you moron, and you’ll never find all the pieces of your mind when your Karma explodes in your face.

————— The Merry Old Philosopher rises from the ashes –

Light Moments

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 -( 20°C / 68°F @ 10:30am & Sunny & ‘clear’ in Atlantic Canada on what might be Paul McCartney’s Birthday )-

Sunset(?) photo taken from a cano

Photo taken from a canoe paddling somewhere in New Brunswick.

— It’s tough when you have to scroll past hundreds of bad news tweets to find something that doesn’t make you want to throw up or go into sugar shock.

— It’s funny how, after several days of feeling like the universe is under attack by mean spirited ice holes who want everybody to be totally demoralized and ready to submit to the rule of corporate fascists, you wake up feeling really good about life, in spite of everything that’s trying to convince you otherwise. But somehow, that happens.

— In writing fiction, or novels, or anything you’d like to gain and hold the attention of potential readers, especially in these days of short attention spans from G.M.O. poisoned ADD & ADHD- riddled readers, there’s a formula we’ve been told we need to follow:

— You need to start with a likeable character whose butt is caught in a bear trap. Your story is complete when you’ve told how that character does, or doesn’t – free their butt from that bear trap.

— Ingredients that you need to manipulate your audience with if you want to hold their attention include:

— Dark Moments, when it looks like there is no way this could possibly end well for anyone, and:

— Light Moments, when it looks like everything is falling into place nicely and there should be happy endings all around.

— Think about your life. How many light moments come after your darkest hours? For instance, when you thought you’d go ahead and end it all, but took one more drink before completing the act, passed out and woke up with a happy dog licking your face, or a good looking nurse taking your blood pressure?

— And not even your deepest, darkest, most cynical bits of nature can rob you from the pure joy of being alive in that moment?

— Yup, life definitely is worth living, and that wolf at your door might have just eaten the guy who went nuts and thought his life would be perfect if he took his gun and blew your head off?

— Weird, violent images are NOT us–,

~~~~~Jim

 

Disillusionment

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 -( 12°C /54°F @ 5:55 am with the sun trying to break through a hazy- not quite blue sky in Atlantic Canada )- Today would have been my Great Uncle Franklin’s Birthday.

Sun behind clouds, Earth in Shadows

Before the Dawn

What do you do when you discover that virtually everything you were taught to believe in is a lie?

Your parents repeated the lies they were taught, and let you know the depth of their displeasure when you questioned them.

Your girlfriend had to leave home as soon as she could to escape a toxic, dysfunctional environment – and when a stalker tried to break into her ‘secure building’ and her apartment, the police she asked for help accused her of lying to them for attention, possibly trying to seduce a cop, and informed her that she should not be living on her own, she didn’t bother trying to explain that ‘home’ was killing her self-esteem and convincing her that it wasn’t realistic to go on believing that life was worth living. The police are not here to serve and protect you, they’re here to keep you in line and serve and protect the powerful.

Your government is not here to nurture, support and protect you, they’re here to exploit you. In the land of the free, it’s their job to strip away those freedoms one at a time. Their propaganda machines are working overtime to try to convince you to surrender your rights and freedoms ‘voluntarily’ while they ready their stormtroopers in case you don’t buy their line of bull chips.

Religion? Let’s go the ‘Western Route’ –

All True Religions come from the same Source, share the same Truth, understand the same Wisdom, are inspired by the same Love. The apparent divisions occur because the Divine Truth has to be translated into explanations that are limited by human languages, which conform to human cultures. Moses said, “Thou Shalt Not Kill!” Jesus explained that as, – “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” – If your heart and mind have been touched, purified, blessed and/or expanded- by the Divine- You know better than to want to kill anybody.

Moses gave Israel a system of moral, ethical and legal guidelines and told his people that if they lived within those guidelines, their society would thrive, grow and bloom and become an example for all. Then the money changers took over inside their temples and judges strained the laws through rationalized misunderstanding, greed and power lust disguised as ‘judgment’.

To misquote a Greek, “I have learned this from Philosophy, that I do out of choice what others do only out of fear of the Law.”

Christianity was hi-jacked by the Romans, they canonized a false prophet and re-wrote ‘The Word of God’ to suit their lack of divine wisdom and understanding.

So God sent The Prophet, Mohammed – God Bless Him Eternally – to try again and almost as soon as Mohammed left the material limitations of this world behind, small-minded men seized control and fought among themselves, ignored The Prophet’s instructions, and created factions which all claimed to preach the one true version of the Truth.

And all the above dramas and misunderstandings are playing themselves out to this day.

Argh- I could probably go on all day, and maybe continue for several more days.

But I need a bottom line here.

Everything we believed would make our lives worth living turns out to be a lie.

So now what do we do? Give up and maybe go out in a blind stupor, or get really pissed off and go out in a blaze of – inglorious furor? Nah, that won’t help.

Suicide doesn’t work, sorry, I’ve been to the other side and you don’t just stop being. You find yourself in an emotional amplifier and any little pain you ever caused another becomes worse than the Fundamentalists’ visions of hellfire and brimstone.

Is there a God?

There’s Something ‘Out There’ and “Inside You” that is pure Love and Guidance. The only thing that keeps it from reaching us is our own misunderstanding, fear, and guilt.

Yeah, yeah, but that doesn’t help at all, does it?

“If you try to stay on top of the water, you sink. If you try to sink, you float,” – Alan Watts.

There is a purpose behind the painful state of disillusionment. Some of us never learn. Some of us never had to. You have to realize that all your ‘human sensibilities’ can’t save you. But ‘Something Else’ can.

While the chaos of apparent hell is screaming at us from all sides at once we have to find a way to sit down and close our eyes and whisper, “Help!” and then listen until we hear whatever it is that ‘Our Higher Selves’ and ‘The Loving Spirit that Created all Universes’ is trying to tell us. You’ll know you’ve found it when it hits you. And then you have to sit there and embrace it, and figure out how to hold all the Love and Wisdom and Understanding you could almost happily drown in – hold it inside and feel it change the world around you, all by Itself.

——— Cryptically Yers,

~~~~~ Jim

 

Insight #20150616-?

Cat on the back of a couch, mon amour fou on her computer.

Moe supervising Cathi as she works on her laptop last night – a bit grainy, but it captured the moment well.

The richest guy on earth couldn’t afford to pay the least among us half of what he or she is worth to the mind and soul of the universe.

And the material universe is the smallest of three we can reach from here.

The material universe is the size of a basket compared to the hot air balloon sized Astral, or “Dream” universe – the home of all emotion-

And the Astral universe is again the size of a basket compared to the hot air balloon sized ‘Causal’ or ‘higher mind’ universe.

And we hear rumours that beyond the Causal universe there is something too mind boggling for humans to contemplate, which has been called the vast unmanifest realms of creation. But our senses are too dull, or too gross to be able to appreciate or touch what might be out there, or in there.

Dark Moments

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 -( 12°C / 53°F with cloudy skies and light rain @ 6:30 am in this little corner of Atlantic Canada )-

Storm clouds ahead.

Storm clouds ahead.

— The powers that be -those who believe they have a claim to power in this world-  Who belieive they own you -believe you owe them more than your life because they ‘allow you’ to exist in an area they believe is under their dominion- Are deluding themselves.

— The power that created you knows better.

— But, be prepared, because there will be moments when all of life appears to be lined up against you, and everything in this world seems to be stripping you of your sanity, your moral rights, your breath, your life itself.

— Don’t give up ( -Even if it appears that George R. R. Martin has killed off Jon Snow because he believes his vision of our reality would be better served if we concede that he knows better than anyone, who, in his imagination, should have the power of life and death over everything and everyone, in a world controlled by his sensibilities and vision of what we should embrace as our entertainment- In his quest to convince the money people that he’s a better story teller than God- )

— Schnarr

~~~~~ Jim