I'm interested in everything

Having spent nearly 15 years working for tech companies, I finally transitioned out of that industry late last year to be a stay at home dad.
Being a father and more aware of the world made it increasingly more difficult to do good work.
Without the specter of work looming over my existence I can concentrate on laughing, learning and enriching my life.
I'll update this to get into ways that being free and using my privilege to figure myself out.

I've written some words. Here they are

Shit to laugh at

Here's what I'm watching to learn more about

We went the opposite way when looking at properties to buy last August and took on a fixer upper. We also did a reverse migration and went from San Marcos, TX to Chicago. The pics are before and after project work in the home.

Sanyika Shakur

I’m a kid in New Braunfels, TX. To give you perspective, the high school mascot to one of the high schools there is a goddamn unicorn. It was a small town. I grew up middle class, and the biggest fear I had were the fucking roaches that would find their way in my parents house. Little did I know that 1500 miles away there was a brewing war that my teenage mind didn’t know anything about. One day before school a kid named Rey was listening to NWA and they blew my mind. Why in the hell would anyone have a song called Fuck the Police!During those days I started visiting Hastings in my hometown where I could see the newest CDs, magazines and novels. I happened to come across Do or Die by Leon Bing, a story about Sanyika Shakur formerly known as Kody Scott of the 8trey Gangster Crips. It was fascinating, terrifying and my first foray into understanding a different part of America. It’s not a fairytale. I believe that’s where I started to draw away from most things fiction unless it’s gritty and feels real. As in it’s not a formulaic show where there is a clear good and a clear bad. This is not a book review, instead, it’s acknowledging a human story that really encapsulates a long term drug war casualty.He was growing up in a tumultuous time in LA. A time where it’s black neighborhoods became rife with danger after cocaine started matriculating from the likes of Freeway Rick Ross (the real Rick Ross, not the other guy). Sanyika didn’t know who Danilo Blandon was, but he knew Tookie Williams. Unfortunately, for Sanyika it became difficult for him to shake the demons that he found as a child and into an adult as he recently passed.I have no judgement for this man. Thank you Sanyika for sharing your story and shedding light in the realest way. The kind of way that got NWA a threatening letter from the FBI for their song. The kind of way that’s uniquely American because it involves police, drugs, prison and our checkered past in race relations.

Imagine walking in a mall on a Sunday, somewhere in Texas. You’re there to chill and fuck off, maybe even eat at Luby’s for old times sake. Now, imagine 2 strung out junkies walking into the same mall as many other sober people are wont to do. They’re there to rob a jewlery store in the middle of the fucking day. They rob the place, and gun fire erupts, because those jagoffs encounter someone who has a conceal carry license. It’s the middle of the day and getting away is super difficult. The mall you’re in is right by the highway, but good luck - life sentence.The above happened to my parents, each in their 60’s, not prepared at all to deal with that shit. To these victims (mental victims), we say “tough shit”. You’re either prepared or not, in the wrong place or lucky enough to not get rolled up in it. I still have text messages from my mom from that day. Feeling helpless only skims the surface on how it felt reading that from over 1000 miles away.So, after much contemplation and in consideration of the state of America I think a reasonable person can conclude that gun violence, no matter how sensationalized by the media, is immutable from everyone living within our borders. This is a fact that we cannot escape. I had a friend who made me realize that carrying firearms in America is in our America’s DNA. To change that would be a new America - this will not happen.A country with more weapons than people (393MM vs 328MM) and states enacting ever loosening laws encouraging being armed (ie Texas recent passing of “constitutional carry”) those of us who don’t own or wish to own need to understand how to use and become armed. Or, one needs to increase their de-escalation and evasion game to be prepared to be around other potentially armed people. No matter how you twist it, whether we look at mental illness, “white terrorists - here and here” or Chicago statistics with so many armed people there’s bound to be some asshole with an axe to grind or someone who snaps. Sprinkle in some defunding of police and more assholes start to appear - TX and MNWhile I would argue that with so many weapons in the US, the “loose” interpretation of the 2nd amendment impedes my constitutional right to, “...Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” I am not a constitutional scholar. At least smokers have been discriminated against and taxed the hell out of. We all need to be focused on running, hiding and fighting as a last resort.I have been a part of 2 “trainings” over those actions - one at a university and the other at an old job. They were terrible. The university training lasted 7 minutes and was led by the professor. Incidentally, the professor barely knew what to do. The other was a conference call led by FBI agents over a phone line and reminded me of this video. They can’t even be called trainings. However, that was those organizations' answer and barely “there” solution to a potential problem. Incidentally, that old work place of mine ended up having an incident where an individual took his life right outside the downtown office and against their window. Luckily, he was focused on only hurting himself. Not the unarmed "attendants" or the workers inside the building.As I’ve read before and most recently had it repeatedly bashed into my skull - no one is coming, no one cares. This is what we’re left with. We do need to act accordingly, and this is unfortunate. This is rugged individualism. This is our healthy mistrust of our government. This is the American way.

Manning Up, 2021 Edition

Josh Hawley, the congressman from MO, was quoted as saying, “that we have a crisis of American men.” He then had another tidbit, “Responsibility is one of God’s greatest gifst to mankind, and men must be held responsible for their actions…” And this is my favorite, further in the quote, “...more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness and pornography and video games.”Can we all assume that Hawley doesn’t enjoy blowjobs, especially the kind one expects from a porn actor? I digress.Considering I’m a foremost expert in manhood, particularly because I’m a man and a father of 3 (2 boys), I want to understand his rambling statement. An analysis through my eyes on the ground as I watch young men grow up in front of me. In spite of all the challenges young men still have a lot going for them. I can say with confidence the notion that “men are the problem” doesn’t find itself in the inner city. The pages of Vogue where Styles graced the cover dressed in a dress doesn’t make its way into any of the circles I run in. Styles wrote a song about the female orgasm. Maybe he likes the D and the P?Further, it’s obvious there are just going to be more gay people and males are going to experiment because they can these days. That’s how the internet works. Make no mistake, we still need savages. Manly men who run through walls because their coach or commander told them to. We also need warrior poets who can write haikus and shoot their way through the enemy.The only good thing about Hawley is he’s a good looking man. After that, he’s an empty suit, but I do agree with the handsome devil on some points. The fact is, technology is so ubiquitous with modern life that tearing people away from those mini computers in their pockets is pretty difficult. He also laid some blame on college campuses, and I agree with that point as well.It’s a good thing that we’re in the midst of declining enrollment and for males it’s a bigger event. It’s a precipitous drop that we’ll feel for at least a decade. Where do we go to get people interested when they’re not enrolling in an institution of higher learning interested? They need options.The scale at which the government can act requires an intervention at the federal level. The only good thing politicians can do is to nationalize Brazilian jiu-jitsu and get EVERYONE training. I. Am. Serious.Kids getting picked on at school because some jagoff is bigger than them would be a lot less likely when the bully is getting choked out or immobilized. You’ve got a fucked up home life, but you train. You do it right, and you’ll have therapy AND get applauded for it. Guess what? Non-binary folks can train too. The better point from a “conservative” or anyone for that matter is that people are lazy and aren’t moving around, and if we want we can get into the more insidious conspiracy and that’s acting like the vaccines are THE savior. Except we won’t, because it’s not the right time.
The pandemic has exacerbated already fragile institutions, perhaps breaking some during the last 20 months or so:
Media Trust
Government trust
Social Media Company Trust
Trusting someone on the “other side”
Men just don’t need to be part of the already crowded field of shit.

Pandemic Steam

The last 2.5 years have upended my life in ways that I’m only beginning to take full stock of as I have seen the complete reimagining of my life and career that’s still being worked through. On the flip side, the speed at which our nation has devolved has been astonishing, and I bet that’s not lost on a lot of folks' minds. There are open discussions happening right now over whether the US is on a path to war internationally and internally.Meanwhile, as I look out at the pantheon of relationships there are numerous skeletons of long term couples laid in the ground. That’s not to mention folks who have lost close personal friendships and (or) family relationships. Unfortunately, I have lost 2 of these types of relationships during this time, and have watched the disintegration of similar relationships to people close to me.Most importantly, people who I’ve known from afar, family members and (or) individuals I have actually broken bread with:
David E (TX)
Josefina U (TX)
David B (NY)
Roy H (TX)
Joey H (IL)
Gary H (MO)
Shirley W (TX)
Watching the calamity unfold has taken a pretty heavy toll on myself, and I’m always looking for ways to alleviate the feelings of doom.Here are some ways I’ve done so. Maybe some will help you:
Learning - Carpetentry/woodowrking (getting my Jesus on)
Lifting weights - kettlebells all day fuckers
Inventing shit - I would tell you more but I would have to kill you.
Reading - currently reading Hate Inc (M Taibbi)
Listening to music - here is my spotify playlist: PowerSongs
…and the best Instagram profile for heart moving shit shit: @goodnewsdog &
for very inappropriate shit: YMH Studios
The whole goal of the above activities is to elicit emotion: crying, laughing, breathlessness and bobbing my head while the kids shake their booties.What are some ways you’re blowing off steam?

Views on Police

The more I learn about how police conduct “routine” stops the more I realize this is where the disconnect is for many folks whose perspective is filled with the media coverage relating to issues of police brutality and of inherent racism. The problem lies in biases.As human as police are - their actions are many times super malleable in approaching subjects depending on what got them to the scene. For example, maybe a retired officer called 911, or an off duty officer said they’re in danger to dispatch. If you can imagine, this puts any backup on HIGH alert.Many many times, issues of: 1st, 4th and 5th amendment rights are routinely violated by police and it happens because most people are unaware they should shut the fuck up.
See here for more info:
Shut. The. Fuck.Up.
If we’re ever going to fight, it needs to be through the law and involing you're right to stay silent This is our only true way of hitting back. If you assault an officer, depending on the severity, you’re going to jail and (or) prison. Most folks don’t want this kind of bad day.Depending on the state you're driving in, it’s important to know which states require you to present ID upon a request. They’re known as “Stop and ID Statutes”:
Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin
Police "may demand" identifying information
It’s dehumanizing. It elicits autonomous responses that many police interpret as “nervousness”. However, to preserve our own personal and familial relationships it'll allow us to live to fight another day.

Incomprehensible Event, Comprehensible Action
I’m writing this fresh off the announcement of a mass shooting. This will be the 6th mass shooting in under 2 weeks across the US:
Chicago, IL x 3 (hospital, downtown, Back of the Yards)
Laguna Woods, CA (place of worship)
Buffalo, NY (grocery store)
Uvalde, TX (elementary school)
I cannot continue to keep track in any meaningful way, because as the year progresses my memory will likely mash it together with other memories of similar incidents. Many people are numb. I think even more people will say something to the effect of, “I’m not surprised,” as I have done before under my breath.I’ve written before how it has finally convinced me that I need to arm myself. “Better to be judged by a box of 12 people and not carried out in a casket..” Or something to that effect. Ammosexuals will continue to triple down on wanting to own firearms and munitions, while gun control advocates will make the same tired statements. Worse yet, we’re likely to see a sweep of GOP wins in the upcoming midterms and the presidency. States like TX will likely go even further in loosening restrictions on people’s ability to carry - see the Constitutional Carry legislation recently passed. This is pure speculation, but the kid who did this was 18yo (he’s dead now) and it would’ve been perfectly legal for him to have acquired his weapon legally barring a felony on his record. <-To be continued on this one…This quote from an educator on the book of faces, really hit home, “We are trying to teach children social/emotional skills and are met with politicians that want to make it harder for us to provide those services in the schools. It’s time for the pro-gun party to do some real soul searching. You can’t not fund preventative solutions and argue for no gun reform.”I cannot help but connect the dots on the upcoming overturning of RvW, which likely hit stateside sometime in late summer/early fall. We are virtually guaranteeing future generations of severely damaged individuals, likely male, who will take their frustrations out on unsuspecting classmates. Of the 6 incidents above, 5 were carried out by young men under 20!I wish there was good news here, but I truly do not think there is, at least not in the near future. I don’t wish for miracles. There’s no one coming to save us.

Since Uvalde
It’s now been over a week since the Uvalde shooting, and after a couple days of cover up from the state police, we’re now hearing reports that Uvalde local police are no longer cooperating with state authorities.
It’s safe to say the police really shit the bed. It has turned Gov Abbott against them. Why, you might ask, and if you’re not googling? It’s because the local police chief waited 50 FUCKING minutes before doing anything. A Border Patrol officer went on his own, off duty, and without any gear to do what he could - having a wife and child at the school.Meanwhile, the unholiest of recent jagoffs had time to KILL more children. He had time to kill a little girl who had made a 911 call and WAS ALIVE.As time has passed, the details that are coming to light over where police fucked up in Uvalde has led me to several articles after hearing my favorite news anchors casually mention the police will likely not face criminal consequences, because police are not required to protect the public. In fact…The only time they’re required to protect you is if you’re in custody. There are 2 main SCOTUS decisions that are applicable here, The Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005) & Deshaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (1989). That is all I’m going to delve into regarding these decisions. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to look those up.We are a nation that values “freedoms” over people’s lives. Whether it is a wannabe in the streets of Chicago, a malcontent teen sociopath who thinks the great replacement of white folks in the US is really happening, or a malcontent teen sociopath freshly 18 and freshly armed with his new right to purchase assault rifles.