LSD Still Awesome

Effects of LSD 100% Positive in New Swiss Study, LSD Still Awesome.

This is a little article a friend posted the other day to facebook that sparked my interest, but I wasn’t going to write about it until the other day when a friend of mine told me “%80 of drug users are assholes”. He had known that I was a big fan of psychedelics and for this last year or so that I’ve known him, has never mentioned his distaste for people like me. It seemed strange considering how often we hang out.

So naturally I asked, “So am I one of the assholes then or am I one of the exceptions?” but instead of addressing the question he just said, “way to make it all about you, Kalin.” But that seems like a reasonable question. If I were to say that %80 of Christians are assholes (which I don’t believe despite how deeply atheist I am) I think it would be reasonable for my Christian friends to want to know if I see them as one of the exceptions. I asked him again and he still refused to answer, making me think that perhaps he does see me as an asshole and has some other reason for hanging out with me. (Edit: It has come to my attention that I was a little harsh here. He did in fact answer by saying “I wouldn’t be friends with you if I thought you were an asshole,” but it didn’t really register at the time and it somehow didn’t feel like an answer since I was surprisingly emotional at this point in the conversation. But since I don’t want to get in the habit of agonizing over old blog posts, I’m not going to change anything in this post, but I will say that since then, he’s made it clear that he supports legalization of drugs in general, which is what really matters to me.)

Then the subject changed and we started talking about whether or not a bystander has an obligation to help someone in need. He told me that if he saw someone dying and had the opportunity to help, that he probably would not. It made me ask myself how he might define the term ‘asshole’.

He believes that people in our society are far too concerned about death, that there are actually worse things, that our obsession with preventing death prevents us from enjoying life and that death is something that we need to accept as a part of life. (Okay, he didn’t actually say all that but I needed to expand on his statement a little so people could understand where he’s coming from.)

So I said, “I completely agree, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to use that as an excuse to just stand by and watch someone die.”

“It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason. That’s why I wouldn’t save someone from drowning.”

Ironically I was right in the middle of writing a true story about something that had happened to a friend of mine, where he was punished rather harshly for smoking marijuana. I had been in complete support of his punishment, but years later realized that I did not have any problem whatsoever with marijuana and that my desire to see him punished resulted from nothing more than a sadistic desire to see someone suffer.

But the reason I figured that out about myself was because I took psychedelics and spent the time to focus on learning about myself and my past. My friend, of course, has never tried any of these drugs that he has such a problem with. However, he has told me that he’s had sexual fantasies involving death. I can’t fault him for that, but what I do have a problem with is that he is not connecting with his own thoughts and feelings enough, that he’s not honest with himself about it. Instead, he allows this sadism to bleed into his real-world opinions and then denies it to himself. His decision to not help someone who is dying has nothing to do with helping society to understand death, and instead is motivated by a simple desire to watch people die.

So I certainly can’t fault him for having sadistic fantasies because most of us become sadistic at some point in our lives, but people need to be aware of how those fantasies affect the real world.

So I guess I wandered off on a tangent there. My original subject was supposed to be about psychedelics and how much they mean to me because they helped me to get to know myself, to recognize my sadistic tendencies so that I could manage them, but more importantly, to help me recognize all the good parts of me and embrace them and to see those things in others. I don’t think I can even begin to describe the benefits that psychedelics have had for me but it annoys me that people claim they are so dangerous and horrible and give examples of people doing terribly irresponsible things with them. This is like judging automobiles based on drunk people who don’t wear their seat-belt. (But don’t get me wrong. I still think automobiles are bad, but that’s more because they are destroying our planet than because they kill people.) Of course things are going to go wrong with anything this powerful. That does not give society the right to take it away from those of us who can benefit from it, particularly when that benefit involves profound life-changing experiences that make you a better person, help you to understand your life and your place in the world,ol and at least in my case, can allow you to put an end to chronic depression.

As the article states, it’s not a good idea to take them without researching them and ensuring you have a safe, positive setting. I would also add the need to be extremely careful about mixing them with prescription drugs, particularly antidepressants.

So anyway, I guess I’ll conclude this rambling blog post by saying that yes, I am pro-psychedelic and I’m not ashamed to say it.

Designing for Profit

I wrote this years ago. Probably never gonna finish it so I’ll just post it here because it does make a good point about the effects of capitalism.

Today I heard someone talking about a study detailing the specific processes that cause a person to become psychologically addicted and how they relate to video games and specifically World of Warcraft. I’m not sure on the details. I’m sure it has to do with a steady and rhythmic reward process like gaining xp and repetetive actions that are made to feel important. Perhaps it’s related to an implied promise of great fun and adventure to come if you could just kill enough boars or the constant illusion of accomplishment. There’s something about those kind of games that just isn’t fun, and yet is so hard to tear yourself away from.

This is another reason for me choosing anarchism so it caught my attention that someone mentioned the fact that video games these days simply are not designed to be fun. They are designed to be addictive and time-consuming. The subscription based games obviously use this model because they want people to keep paying month after month, but even the design of standard console games are geared less toward fun and more toward getting people to keep playing so they can’t simply rent the game once or trade away their discs. This is all in the name of profit at the expense of people’s time that they could be spending actually doing something.

This Article is Not About Justin Bieber

This article is not about Justin Bieber but it is titled The Persecution of Justin Bieber. I just had to post this because I think it’s a simple and straightforward explanation of something I’ve long believed: that resisting arrest is a contrived charge, used by the police to persecute anyone who has normal human instincts. You should probably read that article first before this one, since I think it does a better job than I did here.

I have twice in my life had a police officer point a gun in my face. The first time I was being arrested for selling marijuana, but the police did not look like police. There were no lights or sirens or police cars and no uniformed officers or even anyone holding a badge. They simply looked like thugs in nice clothes, leaping out of the bushes and speeding their car in front of me to cut me off, running at me, screaming and pointing their guns at me. I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was being robbed by a rival drug dealer like I was in some gangster movie or something. Every instinct I had told me to fight back, but I knew I was outnumbered and outgunned. It wasn’t until after I was handcuffed that I had any idea that these were police. If I had followed my instincts and struggled, I would possibly be dead right now or would have faced the additional charge of resisting arrest, which would have made my situation a whole lot worse.

The second time a police officer pointed a gun at me, I had committed no crime and was merely walking home from a party. The officer stalked me for a couple blocks, focusing his spotlight on me, but ignoring my friendly waves. I personally believe this was a deliberate intimidation tactic. He jumped out, pointed a gun in my face and again, every human instinct I had told me I should fight back in any way I could. But my logical brain somehow stopped me from doing what every fiber of my being told me was the right thing to do.

People tell me that I have mild aspergers. That’s probably why I’m a web developer now, and why I seem to have this ability to separate my logical mind from my emotional so that I can usually make rational decisions in highly emotional situations. People often think that I don’t have emotions because of this, but in reality I have many very powerful emotions; I just don’t let them control my decisions, even in the short term.

If someone like me has such a difficult time resisting that basic, reptilian-brain instinct to protect yourself and submit to the men who you know are trying to destroy your life, then how can a normal person possibly resist the urge to pull their arm away from a cop when they are violently grabbed? The answer is, they can’t. It’s basic human psychology, a knee-jerk reaction, and the police bank on this to trump up charges and to help them destroy people’s lives more efficiently.

Kalinbooks redesign

So you may notice a new design to the site. I finally got rid of the old theme that I was using–it was a theme I thought was pretty good looking but I had modified it heavily and the original was developed before featured images and menus, so I finally decided to upgrade to WordPress’ own 2014 theme. It’s not perfect but I think it’s an improvement, for one, because it modifies itself for mobile use. I kinda like the way they did it, just moving things around based on window width.

So I’ve been debating over so many different aspects of link placement, what links should go where. I’ve got so many, I don’t know how anyone deals with a single-sidebar website. Should I list fiction above true stories? What all should I put in the About Kalinbooks page? Will people be confused by the fact that I have an anarchism page and an anarchism blog category? How do I portray the fact that I’m covering anarchism, atheism, web development, science fiction every once in a while BDSM and sex with a couple recipes thrown in for fun, without confusing the reader? How are people just looking for one subject supposed to find anything? Or is that not the best idea? Maybe I should put the overall site as a lower priority and focus on promoting individual articles and posts… in which case I would need to paying attention to promotion… blechh.

I read recently that to be a successful blogger you should spend %80 of your time promoting your blog and only %20 writing if you want to really make it. That seems so sad to me. We should have designed the internet and our social networks to bubble up the best content naturally. With all the bloggers focusing %80 of their time on promotion, they only have a fifth of the capacity to create quality blogs. So instead, I’ve just been focusing on the site all these years, telling myself that one day I’d start promoting it, when I have the time. I know no one’s really reading this site right now, but I’m sure that would change with some real work on promotion… because right now I do nearly none.

Judging Women and Fast Food

So I found a couple short pieces that I wrote years ago and forgot about, sitting in my documents folder collecting dust. I think I wanted to expand on them and then never got around to it. So here’s the first about judging women based on the content of their character:

People often say that porn and movies with gratuitous sex are degrading to women, and I don’t know if that’s inherently the case or not, but even if it were, isn’t it just as degrading to judge a woman by whether or not she shows off her body or by who she has sex with instead of judging her by her character, intelligence or ethics? Many individuals– often the religiously motivated– would like us to believe that a woman is less of a person if she chooses to celebrate her beauty or sexuality, and allow them to be judged by their sexual choices instead of by their contribution to society or their intelligence or ethics. And to make such a big deal out of the supposed degrading nature of sexuality unfairly removes attention from the truly degrading aspects of our society, like the woman who works overtime at the McDonald’s drive-thru but still has to pay a %7 fee to get a payday loan so she can feed her kids.

Very short, I know. I wrote that years before I started working in porn, by the way 🙂

And here’s another one about fast food, I mean, how can the big wigs running fast food joints actually feel good about themselves with the current rate of poverty and obesity.

Fast food essentially tricks the customer into thinking they are paying less by providing an environment where they feel okay about stiffing the waitress.

I guess neither of those was really an article, and they were pretty unrelated, but I squashed them both into this post anyway.

New Sci-Fi – The Day She Started Counting

Today I released a new story called The Day She Started Counting, an EVE Online fan-fiction piece about a little girl in the Amarrian Empire who murders a police officer in an attempt to protect her father’s illegal hobby of assisting runaway slaves. I wrote this around 2010 I think and it’s one of my favorite fiction pieces that I’ve ever written. The editor of EON magazine told me that he would find a way to put this in the magazine even though it was twice their maximum length. His only complaint was the title: I Killed Him, Daddy. I hated that title too and totally agreed that it needed to change before we could publish it. I eventually realized The Day She Started Counting was a much better title. I hope that’s not why they never got around to publishing it, but now the magazine is out of business so I’m finally just going to post it here.

This is another one of those stories that depicts criminals as heroes. It’s funny just how common that is in books, movies and TV, and even when they’re anti-heroes like Walter White, we still identify with and root for their success. I find that so strange about our society. But the moment these same kind of criminals appear in real society, we suddenly hate them and want them to suffer and refuse to admit that they may have had real human reasons for committing their crimes. I mean, how many people really wanted to see Walter White thrown in prison and his family’s future destroyed? But that’s exactly what most people wish for when those exact same people exist in our real-world society… unless… of course, that criminal in the real world is someone we know personally. Nobody ever sees their own friends and family as being criminals. We look right through their crimes and we make excuses for them in the same way we do criminal characters in fiction stories. It’s only with the people we don’t know that we can be cold-hearted and genuinely support our criminal justice system.

Now, The Day She Stared Counting is about people rescuing slaves. Sure, they’re criminals, spitting in the face of their culture and established social order, willing to murder for their beliefs, but I think most people would read this and understand where they’re coming from and tell me these characters are different because they’re trying to rescue slaves, and nobody can support slavery.

Except that most Americans do support slavery. Most of us would never stand for the American version of the characters in this story. Our criminals in penitentiaries are basically used as slave labor these days. Would anyone really support someone who went to break them out, murdering a couple of police officers along the way, even if they were only releasing the non-violent criminals? No, we would hate them just as much as the Amarrian society hates my characters regardless of what we claim we believe about slavery.

And everyone knows that child slaves are being used over seas to produce much of our clothes, toys, nearly all our cell phones and God knows what else. Sure, we all say we’re opposed to slavery and are ashamed that we used to have slaves in this country, but the moment we have to pay a little more for our electronics, we forget all about that. Imagine if some corporate big-wig at Nike or The Gap were murdered in an attempt to stop those companies from keeping slaves in their manufacturing. Only the anarchists could stand for something like that because we’re so ingrained in our society’s distorted view of right and wrong and cause and effect. We’re only capable of seeing our own lives, our own wants and desires. We know logically that other people are suffering, and we claim to care about them, but we have no real empathy, so the moment we have to suffer in any way for their cause, all of a sudden we consider them monsters.

So it’s funny how fiction writers can get away with some really outlandish messages sometimes. I once saw an episode of The Drew Carey Show… at least I think that’s what it was. It was one of the only episodes of that show I ever saw, but it was a story of how he had sex in his early teens with a teacher, but he spent much of the episode talking about how much the experience had helped him socially and had actually been a significant benefit to his life. I could not understand how he could get away with so blatantly portraying child molestation in a positive light on network television. It’s strange how if you come out and say a message like this, it would be found horribly offensive by society, but if you bury it within characters that those same people can get to know, all of a sudden it’s acceptable and they will make whatever excuses they can to still see that character as being fundamentally different from the very same people in the real-world.

I think that’s one reason I love writing fiction. You tell lies in order to get to the truth. It allows people to get out of their own perspective and see things from a new perspective. The problem is that it’s so rare for people to carry that perspective over into the real world, to recognize that Han Solo and Luke Skywalker are terrorists, and that the real-world terrorists have reasons and justifications just as the Rebel Alliance had. We need to learn to make that connection, but I think in our modern society, we are so quick to get offended by things, so quick to deem someone as a horrible monster for the things they say, that we separate the moral values of our fictional world from our real world, and build a wall between them, when in reality, the lives of people and the development of our societies of our fictional stories work just the same as our real-world ones.

Finally Re-posting The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Distribution

After all these years I finally got back to posting this. The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Distribution. I wrote this sometime around 2002, maybe shortly before or during the time I was going to school for web development. I didn’t really want to write it at first, but I had a website called Get To Know a Marijuana Dealer that’s point was to show that drug dealers are people too, to humanize us and help people understand that we aren’t these evil monsters that we’re depicted as in the media, that we sell drugs because we believe people should have the right to make their own decisions and do with their own bodies as they choose, or in my case, because we believe some of these drugs are amazing substances that can have tremendously positive impacts on society. I started dealing marijuana because it was something I believed in, something that made me feel like I was making a difference, contributing to society, fighting back against the tyranny of government and society that is driving our suicide and chronic depression rates to all-time highs.

I quit in 2007 because it was just too much work for too little payout, because my web development career took off and I stared making so much more money than I ever could selling weed, but mostly because I moved to a new city and just didn’t have the customers anymore. I miss selling pot. I really do. I felt like I was actually doing something with my life. Now all I do is write code for websites.

It took me a month or so to get all these 40 pages set up and posted, mostly because I always have something going on around me. I spent 13 years living alone, and I finally decided to get a roommate again just two years ago and I still haven’t completely adjusted to all the activity around me. It’s very hard for me to write when other people are in the room with me so I let this website and my other writings go to waste in trade for all the extra activity. Anyway, on the few occasions when I was working on these pages, I found them bringing back memories, some pleasant, like that feeling like I was a rebel, fighting for a better society, knowing that my efforts would eventually help bring about legalization and a freer community for the future. But it also brought back a lot of unhappy memories about dealing with the police, and the pain of all those lies they told me and all that ignorance I had about how police behave. I believe the most important thing anarchists can do to convince people that police are not the good guys, is to simply tell it like it is, to give facts about how police actually do what they do, and what it actually does to people when they do it.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a good job of communicating the psychological effects of the things the police did to me… like how devastating it was for me to find out that they systematically, and without any show of remorse, lied about everything they possibly could to manipulate me into giving up my friends and then tried to manipulate my friends into killing me, all the while insisting they were my friends and were trying to help me, then having so many people assume that I’m the bad guy because I did something illegal, even when many of them didn’t believe it should be illegal. But it’s funny that even after they tried to destroy my life and get me killed, the truly traumatic thing that they did to me happened in a completely unrelated situation, where I was walking home from a Halloween party because I knew it was illegal to ride a bicycle after drinking, and I was mistaken for someone who had stolen a DVD player. I describe this event in Chapter 24, Dealing with Cops. The officer pointed a gun directly in my face, treated me like an animal, then when he found out I wasn’t the guy he was looking for, didn’t even have the common decency to say he was sorry.

I don’t think many people truly understand what this can do to a person and what it feels like to have all of society supporting the people who did this to you.

A DVD player. That’s what I remember anyway. They were willing to kill me over a DVD player, a DVD player that I didn’t even steal. That cop is considered a hero for this. For the rest of my life I will have to live with the fact that my entire life is worth less than a DVD player. I will have to know that everyone who supports the police, sometimes my own friends and family, would rather have seen me with a bullet through my head, brains splattered across the pavement than they would live in a world where their DVD player might get stolen.

I think I may have thought about this event every day for the last decade and yet, in that chapter, I just kind of glazed over all the important emotional aspects of that story. I didn’t mention the part where the trauma caused me to black out for the remainder of my walk home or how I wasn’t capable of laughing for a couple days afterward. I guess I was too proud to admit to that kind of thing. Even now I still see that gun bearing down on me and that trigger finger twitching and some days I can’t for the life of me get it out of my head. At least when I got arrested for marijuana and the police tried to get someone to beat me to death, at least I had known beforehand that I was playing with fire and for some reason that was not nearly as traumatizing.

I had this overwhelming urge to fight back that night I was mistaken for a DVD player thief because I thought for sure the officer was going to kill me regardless of what I did, considering the rage and hatred I saw in his eyes, and the fact that he had stalked me for a couple blocks before finally confronting me, and the fact that I was running an anarchist website, but I fought back against those instincts and did what he told me to do. If I did not have the emotional control of someone as deeply logical as myself, I would easily have been dead. I think many of my friends in that exact same situation would have been shot to death simply for not having immediate control over all that sudden adrenaline.

But normal people who have not experienced this, they just don’t understand what it’s like, and just blindly assume that the police are always doing good in our society, and that everyone they hurt… well, we must have somehow deserved it.

And I think most people who have had experiences with cops have some kind of long-term emotional trauma. That’s kind of the whole point. If these experiences weren’t traumatizing, they wouldn’t be very good crime deterrents. It’s just that the trauma is frequently manifested in different ways, such as self-loathing, anger, or actually giving in to this idea that you’re a horrible person who deserves to suffer or that your whole life really is worth less than whatever it was that cop was willing to shoot you over, or a blanket hatred of society. If we really want to make a difference, we need to be open and honest about what happens in our minds after we are arrested or go through an experience with the police so that people can see how counter-productive they are to a peaceful society. I guess I’m as guilty as anyone of that.

That’s how I feel now, but I guess when I wrote this book I was thinking more along the lines of fighting back by selling more weed and engaging in civil disobedience.

Happiness Is A Choice

This Is Scientific Proof That Happiness Is A Choice.

This is an article I found that sparked my thinking about this concept. I don’t like the idea of ‘proof’ since I don’t think there is such a thing as proof since there is always the chance something in our reasoning is incorrect and I think it’s dangerous to think of things in absolutes like that. However, I do truly believe that happiness is a choice. Furthermore I believe many other things in life that people believe they are stuck with are also choices. I know that’s an offensive thing to say but I don’t say it because I want to hurt the feelings of people with chronic depression, attention-deficit disorder, insomnia or members of the gay community, but I say this to empower people. I do not understand why so many people take so much comfort in this idea that they are helpless to change who they are…

…well, I heard a theory once. I believe her name was Carolynn Myss or something like that–but I may be confusing her with someone else, but I rented this video of a speech she gave about people hanging onto their pain and emotional and physical injuries. She described this concept of “social currency”, the idea that people hold onto their problems in order to gain that sympathy that they crave from society, that they make subconscious choices that undermine their attempts to heal so they can prove that they are helpless, that they are just a victim, to gain that sympathy from people and to feel comfortable in their place in life.

I see overweight people with unhealthy lifestyles who fall and hurt themselves, get headaches and regularly feel ill and tired, then wonder why they have such bad luck and imply that they are somehow cursed instead of admitting that their unhealthy lifestyle is affecting their health. They get offended when people don’t show sympathy or recommend changes they could make to improve their health. It’s so simple to drink enough water or balance your protein intake yet they refuse to do it and roll their eyes when someone suggests that one thing affects another, just insistent that they are powerless.

It seems like when I was a kid we still had people in the gay community considering the idea that they had made a choice, saying “well, maybe when I was a little kid I just saw the way this society works and the way men and women treat each other and I saw the overpopulation and this static, plastic society we live in and I just decided I wanted something better for my life and it just stuck in my head and it became a part of me over time. I don’t know. It’s hard to tell.” But now they won’t even consider the idea, and anyone who suggests that there’s an element of choice in our sexuality is just an asshole, hate-monger republican. This attitude, I think, makes the whole situation worse for the gay community, increasing their sense of helplessness and increasing homophobia and decreasing individuals and society’s ability to understand their own sexuality.

Instead, I believe in choice. I was NOT born this way. When I was born my brain was unformed, as I heard in some documentary about childbirth. When we are born, our brains are simpler than just about any other mammal. Everything we are, everything that makes us human beings is formed after we are born, through our environment and our choices. Nothing is completely out of our control. You can show me scientific evidence of how wrong I am, because I’m sure there is lots, but all that will do is empower you to be powerless and meanwhile those of us who believe in choice, will be capable of figuring out ways around our problems, to deal with them, eliminate them, or turn them to our advantage.

When I was a kid I was very depressed, and granted, part of it was school. Just being trapped in a classroom every day without ever given an opportunity to feel like I was actually accomplishing anything or feel like I had a choice, that was much of what made me depressed, but the core of my depression came from me. I could have dealt with it if I’d had the courage to step outside of my comfort zone and be the person I wanted to be instead of embracing the idea that this was just who I was and I’d be depressed forever. I remember watching Herman’s Head and thinking that’s all I wanted out of life, was 500 channels on the TV and if I was lucky I could find a girlfriend who didn’t get mad at me for looking at porn. That was the extent of my ambitions. Today I have accomplished all of my childhood goals plus so much more.

When I was 18 I started smoking pot, and I don’t want to imply that marijuana cured my chronic depression but it did open pathways in my mind that allowed me to think about life and the universe in a totally different manner. It allowed me to accept the fact that I’m just a human of flesh and blood and that my life really isn’t worth a whole lot, which sounds depressing but in my situation it was freeing and empowering, knowing that if I had an accident and killed myself, it would not be a travesty. I started taking risks in life and started going out to enjoy myself. Instead of blindly following society’s standards I started selling weed and making friends, many of whom are still good friends today, putting an end to the loneliness that had plagued me my whole life.

I recall after I’d been in the drug community for maybe a year or so, around early 1998, and I broke up with my girlfriend for unrelated reasons and I had this night where my depression came back. It was really weird as I still did not have a solid understanding of how my mind worked. I don’t remember what exactly happened that night but I remember taking a large dose of mushrooms by myself, as I was still under the mistaken impression, inspired by my old DARE classes, that drugs just “make” you happy, like they can just kill the sadness the way ibuprofen kills physical pain. Of course, this is a dangerous fallacy but something many drug users fall into. So I took shrooms by myself and walked to the graveyard where I had happily tripped  with friends a few times before. It was a mile or two away and as I walked I became more and more depressed and dejected, thinking of how all of society hated me for being a drug user, how I had not yet become open about it with my family and of course about how I’d finally had to end it with my girlfriend who I cared about very deeply but just wasn’t sexually attracted to anymore.

I think that may have been the night when I started to really understand that pot and shrooms tend to act as enhancements to the feelings you already have and do not change your emotions. I tried and tried to get into the trip like I usually could when I was out with my friends. The more I tried to make myself happy, the more depressed I became. So I decided to just go the opposite, explore the depression and just become as miserable and unhappy as I possibly could, thinking that at the very least, in the future, I would be able to tell myself “well, at least it’s not as bad as that night I went to the graveyard by myself on shrooms”. It rapidly became a horrible experience and I remember sitting on someone’s tomb, smoking bowls, dwelling on my ex-girlfriend, dwelling on my lack of accomplishments in my high-school years, dwelling on how my writing wasn’t progressing as I’d hoped, and dwelling on how I’d decided to become one of the most hated members of society, a drug user and beginning drug dealer. I told myself how worthless I was, how everyone hated me for who I was, how politicians campaign on their desire to destroy my life because society blames people like me for all their problems. I felt like I’d sink into this pit of tears and horribleness but I was so angry at my mind, so angry at my depression that I just pushed harder, saying fine, if I’m gonna be depressed, I might as well go all the fucking way with it.

Then I hit a wall, a place where I found that could not get any worse, a place that started to finally make sense and it was something that could not be put into words, an understanding of how the human mind works, how our emotions drive us, how they were created through millions of years of randomness and evolution to serve certain purposes but were not specifically designed and don’t always make sense. I learned more about myself that night, high on shrooms, alone in a graveyard than I think I ever have on any night before or since.

And all that depression reformed itself into a thoughtfulness, a revelation that I wish I could put into words. What I was feeling ceased to be depression and became a new perspective and a desire to make a positive change in my life… but not the kind of change that society demanded of me, the kind of change I wanted for myself.

I remember walking back from the graveyard after I had peaked and wondering what the hell had made me so depressed just a couple hours earlier. I saw the cars passing by and thought about the internal combustion engine and how spectacular it is that human beings could create something like that, how we could take charge over physics and our environment to benefit everyone (not that I think automobiles are such an awesome invention now. That’s just what I was thinking at the time.)

And I got back home and started listening to Weird Al Yankovic thinking that my life would never be the same, that I would never again feel that low, never again feel so helpless, feeling like I had finally, after all these years, made a conscious choice to take control of my mind and soul and that I finally had the power to be the person I want to be.

Anyway… I’ve been rambling. I wanted to talk about how people use this “born this way” attitude to justify being an asshole or being closed minded, saying “I can’t help it I’m a music snob” when they say hurtful things about your choice in music, just as an example, or in some cases, when they’re just a selfish asshole but instead I went off on my own little story. I keep wanting to remind my readers that I do not edit these posts any more. I just write and get my thoughts out without worrying about it, instead trying to have a free-flow of ideas, so as a result, shit like this happens.

But back to the point of the story: that you can’t just wake up and decide, “Okay, I’m gonna be happy today” and just make it happen. Maybe that’s what many people think we mean by “happiness is a choice”. But no, it’s much more complicated than that. Sometimes you need the courage to leap off that emotional cliff, the courage to give up everything you believe in and everything you think makes you you in exchange for the things you’ve always wanted but thought you didn’t deserve or otherwise could never have. You might argue that it was not my choice, that it was the shrooms and the weed that saved me, that my brain was simply missing whatever chemicals those drugs provided, but I do not believe that. I think those shrooms could have just as easily done harm, could have sent me in the opposite, unhealthy direction if I had chosen to allow that to happen… on the other hand, I don’t think I would have realized these things until many years later if I had not been experimenting with drugs.

So if you want to be happy, you have to get off your ass and do what you need to do to make it happen. Research the science behind happiness, explore your mind. Figure it out. Don’t just listen to Lady Gaga and tell yourself you were ‘born this way’ and give up. We all have it in us to change who we are and become better, happier people if we put forth the effort and make the decision to make it happen.

A different kind of love story

Some friends introduced me to this little video a number of years ago and I’ve been showing it to my friends ever since, but for some reason I never thought to do a blog post about it. When I first started showing it to people it was just about shock value for me. I liked to see their jaws drop and the disgust on people’s faces, but after a little while I found myself more comfortable with the things they were saying and I started showing this video to people, kind of as a test of how accepting and liberal they are. It seems I’ve seen a lot of liberals, or people who call themselves liberals, who say they support people’s right to be whoever they want to be and support sexual freedom, when really what they mean is that it’s okay to be gay or if you’re lucky, transgendered or maybe a few other sexual oddities that they may have been exposed to, but when they see something like this, all their liberalism goes out the window and we find that they are really only supporting the rights of the people they have been taught to support and don’t follow a fundamental philosophy of sexual and personal freedom. So this video, I have found, is a great test to see if someone is truly accepting of people’s differences, or if they are just going along with what is politically correct nowadays.

So watch this video, throw out your preconceptions about what is acceptable and what is not.

 

When I first started watching this, I was disgusted too, and I suppose I still am disgusted, but I should say that I am far, far more disgusted by sounding, which is something that makes me so sick that I won’t even discuss it here. If you want to know what that is, you can google it and find out about how it’s all the rage right now with the gay and alternative sexuality communities, and I’m sure you can find a whole list of safety and health concerns that can be rather serious. However, you may look it up and just shrug and say, “I don’t see what Kalin finds so disgusting”, as most people I run into cannot understand why I find sounding to be so disgusting and appalling. This is why we need to have a philosophy of allowing other people freedom, assuming they are consensual and don’t harm others, no matter how disgusted we are by them.

But these two have a real uphill battle for acceptance even though they’re really doing nothing wrong. As I’ve re-watched this video numerous times over the years, I’ve come to see this as a romantic tale much more than a shocking one. KingKaiju54 on YouTube says “Still a better love story than twilight.” and I would go ahead and agree except I don’t want to imply that I have anything against Twilight fans because we all should have a right to enjoy what we enjoy.

But beyond this, the more I watch this, the more I am impressed by the courage these two show. I know tons of people who hide their sexuality from family members, and frequently even their doctors. I completely understand not being flamboyant about your sexuality around people who just aren’t into it, but to hide it and lie about it I think is… well, I can’t call it cowardly because I know it really is difficult if you have closed minded family members… but I guess I should say it’s not the direction we should be taking and in most cases, it’s worth the difficulty and awkwardness of being open and having those conversations.

But these two jump right past that and go on a documentary show, without their faces blurred or voices altered, and stand up for their right to be who they want to be, knowing that they will probably be the object of more hate than most members of the gay community will. So yeah, I will say that these two have a level of courage that we should all look up to. I would show this video to my kids and tell them, you know, it might not be the best idea to go out and fuck horses, because there certainly are serious dangers, but if your heart is telling you to do something and it doesn’t interfere with other people’s ability to live their lives, then you should have the courage to follow your heart and you should have the courage to talk about it, be open about it, and remember that if people hate you for it, that’s their problem.

So yeah, I’ll admit that I think the couple in this video are courageous heroes worthy of our admiration.

 

“I don’t think it matters what you love. It could be a person. It could be a thing. As long as you love it totally, completely, and without judgement.”

-Norm Peterson, Cheers, final episode

These Four Walls

In 2011, I started writing a story about a woman living in a house who is being visited by demons every night and getting raped by them. This was inspired by a friend who was (and probably still is) having to live through this. After I wrote the first couple sections here, I wound up getting a roommate and my social life kind of exploded and I just haven’t had the time to come back. Now I’ve forgotten a lot of the mood that I wanted to portray with this. I still remember the actual events I was going to write out to conclude it but I can’t quite remember how I wanted it all to feel, so I decided not to return to this story.

However, yesterday I was looking through old drafts and found this and was surprised that I really like what I’ve done with it so far, so I figured I’d post what I have and finish it off with the outline I had in mind.

This story is kind of told from the perspective of the woman’s house. You still see inside the characters heads and you still have only one POV character at a time, but all the events of the story occur in the home and I think my plan was that in the end she would have some kind of communication with the house and it would help heal her of the delusions she was so convinced were real demons.

So here it is:

2011.

After midnight the demons would make contact and promise they were about to rape her. Most nights she would fight, her soul crying out in fury, but blocked deep in sleep. She would rise and walk to the living room to stand motionless for unknown periods of time, staring at Simon’s urn above the fireplace, blocking every other part of her mind. She would pray to wake, plead for morning, but remain, seemingly for hours, in a daze, aware she was dreaming and sleepwalking, but unable to do anything about it. She would awaken exhausted, sometimes on the couch in the living room, sometimes in the den, the porch swing, and occasionally, David’s old room.

Other nights it would prove too much and Susan would give up, prepare for the pain and humiliation, then wait for it. The spirits would invade her from the back of her mind, manipulating, distracting and tricking her with her own emotions. She would lie, half asleep, quietly sobbing, pleading with them to stop, but the more pain she felt the more they would laugh, the more they would tease, until finally, she had no choice but to bring them in, to ask them to get it over with, to sink into that helpless reality and accept that God had handed her soul to the demons for their pleasure.

They would refuse, telling her she had to beg for it. She had to want it. She had to need it. She had to fall into that pit of demonic desires and forgo everything good and pure, and allow her mind to become that of a slave. The spirits promised that someday the torture would prove too much for her, and she would fall, broken and sobbing to her knees, pleading for the revolting act that would provide that final release of acceptance at becoming a simple, degraded servant to the darkness that dwells at the bottom.

She would awaken terrified, exhausted, telling herself it wasn’t real, but forever thankful that she never took that final step. She would stagger to the kitchen, hit play on her husband’s video cassette, then sit at the computer in a daze to accept her gifts and tend her crops, pushing everything from her mind to think of nothing but gaining gold and experience on her farm.

Later in the day she would think about her nightmares. She would hear David screaming at her, attacking everything she cared about, telling her she was delusional, that all these experiences come ultimately from the church, from God, and the destructive conflicts that religion brings to the minds of believers. He told her the very thing she loved the most was a lie that had caused all the pain she was now experiencing. It was all just mental processes gone wrong, damaged and distorted from years of obsessive spirituality and prayer.

Perhaps there was no point to all this, there were no demons to blame, no angels to look toward. Perhaps all this was just her own thoughts. …and the rape… just her own blocked desires, buried through years of repression and an acceptable but unsatisfying marriage, from years of playing it safe, trying to be good, avoiding carnal pleasures, and for choosing sacrifice and devotion to God instead of embracing life. The torture could all be her own doing, all based on simple science and psychological processes.

But that demon was too horrible to be true.

——————————-

His father’s tortured screams echoed through his childhood home as David sat, rapping his fingers on the kitchen table. “Are you gonna play FarmVille all day, Mom?”

“I’ve just got to collect my gifts and harvest and visit some friends,” she replied absently, her eyes glued to the screen as though she needed to become one with the monitor.

“That’s gonna take you two hours. I thought we were gonna go out to eat.”

“I can make you grilled cheese and soup.”

He sighed. “No, I can make it myself. Don’t want you to lose out on any farming time.” He stood, but stopped to stare for a long moment at his father on the television in his hospital bed, his face contorted as he whimpered, burying his face in the pillow.

“Do you need anything?” Susan asked.

“Can I turn this off?”

“Why?”

David watched for another long moment. “I don’t like watching Dad dying. No wonder you see demons.”

“If I had a better video, I’d play that, but it never occurred to me that I’d lose him until he was lying there in the hospital. This is all I have of him.”

“Pictures,” David said.

“It’s 2011. I need more than pictures. I need to hear his voice.”

“But he’s in so much pain…”

“Yeah, but his voice still comforts me.” She glanced over her shoulder toward him. “Why do you need to criticize everything I do?”

“It’s just so… morbid. And I worry what this stuff might be doing to you.”

“Fine,” she replied. “You want to turn it off, then turn it off.”

“No,” he replied, stepping toward the refrigerator. “If you like it that much, I can deal… but…” he chuckled nervously. “Why can’t you watch Jeopardy like normal moms your age?”

“I’m not smart enough for Jeopardy.”

“Oh, don’t say that…”

“You know it’s true,” she replied. “I can be honest about it. You of all people should understand I don’t have the brain for that kind of thing. My mind is broken, like you always say.”

“I don’t say that. What I say is that we’re all imperfect products of evolution–”

“Here we go…”

“Our brains developed over millions of years of randomness, confusion, and animals bumping into each other. We’re never going to be perfect–we’re never even going to be rational–but we can find ways to deal with our minds the way they are if we have the courage to admit to ourselves how our lives really work.”

“It’s all about brains and chemistry to you.”

“We need to recognize that much before we can understand who we are and where we’re going as human beings.” He stared into the refrigerator. Nothing looked good. He wasn’t here to eat anyway.

He stood in silence for a long moment, listening to his father’s heavy, pained breathing, the background static of the video and the hum of the refrigerator.

“I like watching the video,” Susan said absently, followed by a long pause. “Maybe I can find a clue.”

“To why he was walking in the road?” David asked.

Another long pause. “Yeah.”

David slowly shut the refrigerator. “This isn’t Scooby Doo, Mom. Sometimes accidents happen. He just wasn’t thinking, wasn’t paying attention. It’s been three years. It doesn’t matter at this point.”

“I want to know.”

“I know you do.” He sat back at the table with a sigh and a scrape of the aluminum chair against the floor.

“I know you’re trying to find some way to blame it on our beliefs.”

David sighed as he stared at his mom’s back. She didn’t hate him. He knew that. She did, however, believe he might be sent from hell. Perhaps this was why she refused to look away from Farmville while in his presence. “I’m not trying to do that at all. Everyone makes mistakes, regardless of what they believe.”

“I feel like you’re always trying to pick away, to find something you can criticize about the church, like how you’re constantly blaming my nightmares on the church.”

“Yeah,” he replied. “And I stand by that one. That’s why I don’t get nightmares, because I don’t believe in the supernatural.”

“Hmm…”

“What do you think about going to see someone, like a professional?”

“I’ve talked to a lot of people about this.”

“At the church?”

“Yeah,” she replied.

“Well, I think it would be good for you to get an opinion from someone outside of the church.”

“Hmmm…” she replied.

“Did anyone ever come forward about the money?”

“The money?” she asked.

“The six hundred dollars they left on the porch?”

“No. I’m sure it was just someone from church trying to help out.”

“Yeah, probably.”

 

So I think so far you can see the woman has a son who is an atheist, and this is a point of contention between them. She’s addicted to FarmVille and a handful of other online games. (Retired women are now technically the largest demographic for video gaming, playing mostly facebook style casual games). She also has a video

In the next section I’m going to go back to about 2009 or so, and show the father befriending a few teenagers who are clearly trying to take advantage of him. He gives them money for something, twenty bucks here and there, telling him its for the church or something. We see that on some level he knows he’s being used, but he wants to believe so badly that these are good Christian kids and keeps giving them money, unbeknownst to his wife, who does not like them. Their lies become more and more outlandish, and each time, one part of his mind believes them and another part can clearly see they’re lies. At the same time, however, he has some very deep conversations with the kids about the meaning of life, God, the meaning of being good. I think there may have been a scene where the woman finds out he’s been giving them money and they have a fight about it, and the man talks about how important it is to give people the benefit of the doubt and have faith in the good within all humans, even if it’s hard to see sometimes.

But then one of the kids takes the religious manipulation a bit too far and tells the man that to prove your faith to God you should close your eyes and step blindly out into traffic. God will protect you, and you will prove yourself worthy… I don’t know, I had a plan on how to make all that sound plausible but can’t quite remember how I was gonna do it. The man doesn’t believe them and realizes they’re just messing with him, especially because the other kids are suddenly saying the guy is crazy… but over the next couple days, the man can’t get the words out of his head and in a moment of passionate prayer, the man decides to go for it, closing his eyes and stepping out into traffic in front of their house. Since the story is told from the house, all we hear is the screeching of the tires and a woman screaming for someone to call 911.

When the woman hears her husband is in the hospital and probably won’t make it, she realizes she has nothing to remember him by, pulls the old VHS camcorder out of the closet, not stopping to think her cell phone could probably get a better picture, and sets it up to record him, but he’s in so much pain that she never gets to hear his real voice. Of course, we don’t actually see the hospital room, and only the things that happen in the home. She watches the video over and over, thinking that it’s close enough to the real him, and in a weird way the video comforts her, at least on the surface, but in reality she’s watching him die over and over, which doesn’t help with the nightmares.

I think in the end she gives up and lets the demons overtake her instead of fighting them, and at the same time, allows herself to embrace her son’s perspective, which she views as a demon as well, but finds that the demons don’t feel nearly as demonic as she thought. I think her son’s perspective inspires her to think the house is the problem, like it’s haunted and she just needs to get out, which isn’t really the case, but at least she’s thinking in some kind of real-world cause and effect way, so she sort of merges her religion with her son’s perspective and it leaves it implying that she’s on the way to exorcising these demons. There was supposed to be something about the house itself subtly helping her along with this idea, but I can’t remember how I was going to do that.

There was also supposed to be a scene in the son’s childhood but I completely forgot what that was about. Also, shortly after the dad’s death, the kid who told him to do it, comes back and leaves the money on the porch.

I dunno… it woulda been cool if I’d finished it but the outline doesn’t do justice to the vision I had 🙂

KalinBooks.com is the ramblings of Kalin Ringkvist, a science fiction author with a passion for peace and freedom.