Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 13

     When Derrick wen to see Jonah, it was really to check on his whereabouts. As soon as the two parted Derrick went to Jonah’s house. Hailey didn’t get the door open enough to see who it was before Derrick kicked it in. She was panicked and crying. Derrick was smiling as he pummeled her. He attacked her savagely. Somehow he blamed her for everything. His incarceration, his terrible life, his rage, were all her fault and he needed to rectify the situation. He would torture her as he felt tortured, but he was not angry.
     The baby screamed uncontrollably as Derrick first attacked her mother then destroyed the house in which she lived. He broke anything that had any value. He put holes in the walls.
     When he grabbed the baby, Hailey begged him to leave her alone. She could not stand. Only her outstretched hand was able to plead with Derrick. Sociopaths have a convoluted sense of right and wrong. He saw himself as completely justified. The idea of consequences never crossed his mind.
      He laughed as he held the child. “It’s my baby now. You had yours. Now I get mine. Tell my brother if I see him he gets double.”
     Jonah did not suspect anything as he walked home from work. He was in a good mood. He didn’t know what to tell Hailey about seeing Derrick or how she would react, but for once he could think about his family and not be filled with dread.
     As soon as he walked through the front door he knew what had happened. He found Hailey in the dark, crawling on the floor. He held her in his arms and tried to wipe the blood from her face. His heart broke looking at her. She kept calling for her baby.
     Jonah placed a pillow under her head and ran next door to ask them to call the police. Then he took off to find Derrick. He knew where he would be.
     Jonah was a large man. He stood over six feet tall and weighed about 220 and would be intimidating if he wasn’t so docile. As he ran through the streets towards his childhood home a fury coursed through his veins. Derrick was much shorter and skinnier, but was able to take advantage of his slower brother and had tormented him. Jonah never fought back. All Jonah wanted was the child, but he was prepared to kill Derrick if he needed to.
     When he walked in the unlocked door he saw Judy holding her sobbing grandchild and Derrick doing lines of drugs off the table.
     Judy looked at him, red faced and trembling as he stood before her, and sneered, “What do you want?”
     He could barely speak the word, “Baby.”
     “It’s my baby now.” She squeezed the child, which caused her to cry even louder. “Derrick’s the father and not you. This is my grandbaby.”
     “You can’t do this.”
     “I did it.” She tapped Derrick on the shoulder. He had not even looked up from the drugs before him. “We did it.”
     “You don’t get to have it all. You think you’re better than us.” Judy’s eyes stared right through Jonah. “You are us. You always kept to yourself. You never wanted to have anything to do with your mother and your brother. We loved you. The first chance you got you ran away. You abandoned us.”
     Judy could not grasp the irony of her statements. She wholeheartedly believed every word she said. Jonah's arms were outstretched to the child who was reaching back to him. Derrick snapped out of his stupor and jumped up.
     “You should have stayed away, Bro.” He said has he stepped towards his brother with his fist pulled back and ready to strike.
     Jonah dropped him with a single punch to the jaw and Derrick crumpled in pile on the floor.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 12

     While he claimed to be a new man, Derrick began using again as soon as he got home. Judy scrounged up every penny she had to throw him a party. It was for two people. Judy talked for days, she was so strung out. She recounted every day since Derrick left back to him. She had been so alone.
     Derrick was too blissed out to really care or listen. Every now and then he would jump up unexpectedly, scream at the top of his lungs, and break something. The he would laugh maniacally and sit back down as if nothing had happened. The only time he paid attention was when Judy talked about Jonah and Hailey and the baby. This meant something to him.
     Judy knew what buttons to push. Before Derrick left to see Jonah at the store she told him, “You have got a lot of anger in you, boy. You need to put that anger to good use. You have got to let it out or it will ruin you.”
     As they embraced in the doorway she whispered in his ear, “Make your mother proud.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 11

     Jonah was standing alone at the foot of the checkout line when Derrick approached him. He did not smile upon seeing his brother for the first time in three years. Jonah gave little of himself away. He had the same placid expression he always carried, but his eyes did light up.
     “Hey bro, I’m back!” Derrick gave his brother a quick hug.
     Jonah did not know how to react. Derrick had never hugged him before. It confused him.
     “It’s been a long time.” Derrick tried to express sincerity. “I’ve done a lot of thinking bro. I’ve had the time to do it. I just want you to know that I’m sorry if I was ever mean to you. I don’t know who that guy was. I’ve changed. I’m a new man. I came to tell you that I’m here for you.”
     “You don’t say much. That hasn’t changed. How are you doing?”
      “I hear you're doing great! You got a job. Everybody likes you. You’re married and you have a kid.” He grabbed Jonah’s fingers firmly. “Look, you have a ring on your finger!”
     Jonah pulled back his hand. “It’s nice, bro! Is it gold?”
     “I don’t know.”
     “It looks like gold to me.” Jonah was becoming anxious. Derrick decided to wrap things up. “I know you’re working and I don’t want to take up too much of your time it’s just that I want us to be a family again. I’m staying with mom. You should come for a visit. I’m sure she’d like to see you.”
     “I should come over to your house too. I’d love to see my niece.”
     Jonah felt all the air sucked out of his body. He did not make a sound and there was an awkward silence between the two.
     Derrick laughed it off. “We’ll do that sometime. Nice to see you, bro. You haven’t changed a bit.”
     With that, Derrick was gone. Jonah did not know what to make of the encounter. In some part of his mind though there may have been a glimmer of optimism.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 10

     In the three years Derrick was incarcerated Jonah did not visit him once. Judy went once a month. At first, their conversations were of the typical sort. There was plenty of I miss yous and hope you’re alrights. Eventually, as Judy’s madness became more pronounced, Jonah was all she talked about.
     Derrick didn’t care about Jonah or Hailey or the baby, at least not at first. He had his own problems. He missed out on early release because of frequent fighting. His impulsive behavior was a liability in prison. He spent much of his time in isolation.
     Soon enough, Judy’s ranting began to take root. When the only person you talk to has only one message that they repeat over and over it soon becomes brainwashing. By the time he was released, Derrick was as obsessed she was. The only difference was that he knew how to hide his envy when he needed to.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 9

     Hailey and Jonah were married shortly before the baby was born and Hailey’s grandmother died soon thereafter. She lived long enough to see the circle of life complete and left in peace. Jonah worked full time as a bagger at the local grocery store and was well liked by everyone. The pay was not good, but Hailey’s grandmother had left her the house so they did not have many expenses. They were the perfect example of a young couple, happy and in love.
     Jonah never questioned whether he was the father to their little girl and he was listed as the father on the birth certificate. Though the timing of the birth may have suggested otherwise, it was something neither he nor Hailey cared about. The prospect of seeing Derrick again, or that he would even care, never crossed their minds.
     Judy cared. Her life spiraled out of control after Derrick got locked up, not that it was so great before he left. She no longer had anyone to confide in. Paranoia began to tear at her psyche. She thought people were following her. She heard voices. She became bitter.
     She and Jonah rarely ever spoke, but she was aware of the life he was leading. She was filled with envy. She felt Jonah’s quaint life of domesticity was one that he had stolen from Derrick. The son she didn’t care about was living the life she wanted for the son she loved. The idea that Jonah should raise Derrick’s child as his own infuriated her. Jonah was a usurper.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 8

     Hailey’s grandmother knocked on the door to Jonah’s house for several minutes. She could hear noise coming from inside, but there was no response. Eventually, she decided to try the door knob and with that the door flew open and Judy was standing before her. She introduced herself and Judy let her inside.
     Judy was a mess. Her hair was clumped and unkempt. Makeup that had been on her face for days was smudged and streaking. Her clothes looked as if she had been sleeping in them, but she had really been up for days.
     The house was no better. There were scorched marks on the walls and places on the floor where the carpet had been pulled up. It was cluttered and filthy. Hailey’s grandmother was shocked. She had to pull herself together to talk about the matter at hand.
     “I am here about Jonah.”
     Judy took a moment to shake her head and clear her thoughts. “What has he done?”
     “He hasn’t done anything, not really.” She wanted to ease Judy into the news she had. “He has been staying with us for a while. Both Hailey and I are very fond of Jonah. In fact, I believe Hailey and Jonah are in love.”
     Judy’s face was emotionless like someone was reading her the phone book.
     “As sometimes happens…” She paused for a minute then blurted it out. “I think Hailey is pregnant.”
     Once Judy realized what she was being told, her eyes lit up and she started to snicker. Judy cackled, “Your Hailey is pregnant and you think my Jonah is the father? Hailey may be pregnant, but Jonah is not the daddy.” Hailey’s grandmother was taken aback. “Derrick is the father.”
     “Who is Derrick?” She asked.
     “That’s my other boy. Look, if you want some money he’s going to be in prison for the next couple of years so Hailey is on her own. Hell, he probably won’t be much of a provider when he gets out.” Judy was tickled and could not hide it.
     Hailey’s grandmother knew there was something wrong with Judy and did not know what to believe coming out of her mouth.
     “Hailey and Jonah want to be together.”
     “If Jonah wants his brother’s sloppy seconds I’m sure Derrick doesn’t mind. He can have her.”
     She was appalled by Judy’s coarseness. “I want Jonah to stay with us.”
     “Keep him. I don’t care.” She didn’t. “I he wants his stuff though, tell him I sold it or it got stolen. Make something up. There’s nothing for him here.”
     As far as Hailey’s grandmother was concerned it was the only thing Judy said that made sense. During the walk home her face was so red with anger that her cheeks burnt to the touch.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 7

     Afterwards, Jonah spent less and less time at home. He was not even aware that Derrick had been arrested for burglary. A startled home owner had awoken to find him unplugging his home computer and shot him in the leg. Jonah visited him briefly in the hospital because his mother told him to, but he was not there for the trial.
     Jonah was staying with Hailey and her grandmother, who thought of Jonah as a son. She knew he was good for Hailey and that she cared for him deeply. She was not sure whether or not Hailey and Jonah were romantic, but was not opposed to the idea. She was very old and it was important to her that Hailey have trustworthy people in her life after she was gone.
     When Hailey began to show obvious signs of being pregnant she naturally assumed Jonah was the father. Before confronting the two of them she decided to talk to Jonah’s mother. She wanted to make sure they had the support they were going to need.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 6

     Hailey had no idea what she was agreeing to when she said yes. Jonah was speechless as Derrick showed Hailey how to smoke from his pipe. Afterwards she was stunned as if hit on the head.
     “See, you can make clouds too.” Jonah took some more for himself. “Do you like it?”
     She said nothing and looked as if she was trying to focus on some far away object she could not quite make out. Derrick took a moment to size her up then reached for her hand and walked towards his bedroom. She went willingly, docile, and stoned.
     A panic overtook Jonah, as if the worst possible thing he could imagine was happening right before his eyes. His hands shook and the nausea in the pit of his stomach swelled. He went outside, sat on the front step, and wept silently.
     Judy arrived home and saw Jonah outside. She saw that he was crying. She felt compelled to ask why but thought of it as a burden she did not want to deal with.
     “What’s wrong, Jonah?”
     He collected himself and replied, “Hailey.”
     “What’s wrong with Hailey?”
     “She’s with Derrick.”
     A glimmer of recognition crossed her face as she knew exactly what was going on and gave him a sly smile. “Well, if you wanted her you should have done something about it.” With that she brushed him aside and walked into the house.
     When Hailey opened the front door she was disheveled and confused. She did not say anything and Jonah did not ask her anything. He followed her all the way home, a step behind in single file. She never returned to Jonah’s house.

Republicans, A Brief History

     Newt Gingrich, the most unlikely of candidates, has just won the South Carolina primary. As a man, he is vain, boastful, and arrogant. As a leader, he is overbearing, vengeful, and petty. As a husband and father, he sucks the big one. How could a man so flawed take the mantle of what once was the Grand Old Party. This seems as good a time as any to review how the Republicans got themselves in this sorry mess.
      It started with FDR. For the fifty years following the civil war, republicans owned the federal government and its three branches. What’s more, they were the populist choice and the voice of change for the people. They were the original liberals. Then the depression happened and they were at a loss for what to do. The rejection by the voters was so sudden and so complete that it damaged the party’s psyche.
     It felt personal and people tend to react to personal attacks in a personal manner. The goal within the party was to win, whatever the cost. It was no longer about doing what was right. It was about the reacquisition of power. They were determined to out patriot the democrats. They demonized democratic intentions. They partnered with whoever would support them. Southern democrats fearful of social change were welcome. Big business knew that they could buy or sell republican allegiance without consequence.  It worked, for a while.
     By the 60’s the democrats were back in charge, but Nixon brought with him a new list of enemies. The media, unions, and liberals became objects of derision. Nixon’s resignation should have caused some republican soul searching. Instead, it steeled the resolve of those who most craved a return to prominence.
     Reagan knew that his message was more important than his actions when it comes to politicking. He wrapped himself in family, the flag, and the working man. He accused the democrats of being spendthrifts and then increased the federal deficit ten-fold. He cut social services. He encouraged American companies to outsource their labor. He sold missiles to enemies and funded an illegal war. His recession was significantly more severe than his predecessors. He witnessed an explosion in crime. He was loved. He always stayed on message. Bush the first suffered because he did not and his honesty cost him.
     The one thing all republicans had in common up until this point is that for all their posturing they still understood the importance of working within the constitutional framework of the American government. They believed that good government was the best government and although each republican administration since Eisenhower had overseen inflation, recessions, and unprecedented growth within the government sector they did so with a belief that they were trying to do good things, however misguided they were. It was not the government they hated. It was the democrats. They would not dream of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
     By the time Newt Gingrich orchestrated his republican revolution, government itself became a subject of ire. It was as if destroying the one thing he hoped to obtain was the surest way to secure his prize. He incorporated fascist discipline to common rallying points. It nearly worked.
     Bush the second’s administration was afforded success based on circumstance. It was the incubation period for what has become the new Republican Party. The message, which had always been no more than a means, became the meaning itself as new members, galvanized by their own media outlets, failed the grasp the distinction between hyperbole and the truth. The Tea Party would happily destroy the entire social fabric of this nation because the very idea of its consequences are alien to them.
     The two greatest culprits in this debacle are Ayn Rand and moneyed self-interest. Ayn Rand was the philosopher, author, sociopath upon which most current republican philosophy is based. She espoused the concept of supermen ruling the world and that if left alone everything works itself out so it’s best to let the powerful do their own thing. She had a no government, best government philosophy. She was an anarchist for the rich.
     As for the wealthy, they want this world where they can do as they please. The gap between rich and poor is greater than it has been in a hundred years and the truly rich have little concept of the difficulties life presents the masses. Their only real concern is their own bottom line and the power they can control. They would privatize the air you breathe if they could. They are the bankroll and the voice of the party. They set the message and agenda. They are smart enough to know that they can do none of it without the support of the people so they have subverted the democratic process for their own gain. When 10,000 people stand on the white house lawn to complain that their taxes are too high it is because the wealthy put them there because it is they who do not want to pay their taxes.
     So, here is the Republican Party in 2012. It is a party of naked ambition, atop spurious principals, orchestrated by greed. Of course Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary. He may very well win the nomination. Let us hope he doesn’t win the election.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 5

     When Jonah and Hailey arrived at the house they found Derrick alone. Judy was busy pawning items Derrick had stolen the night before. He was in a miserable state, alone in the kitchen, smoking meth, talking to himself. Jonah and Hailey sat on the couch in the living room, took out their homework, and began to study.
     Derrick usually liked to tweak by himself, but he wanted company today and took his pipe with him to the living room and sat across from the two of them. He took a deep drag and blew out a large white puff of smoke.         
     “Look, a cloud! Oh, no. It’s gonna rain in here and get your books wet.” He knocked the book out of Jonah’s hand and began to laugh.
     Hailey smiled so he turned his attention to her. “He is so clumsy. Why do you have such a clumsy boyfriend?”
     “He’s not my boyfriend.” Her face turned red in embarrassment as she replied. “He’s Jonah.”
     “I know my own bro, yo. What do you know, bro? Hailey says she’s not your girlfriend.”
     Jonah stood up and tried to take Hailey with him. “Let’s go.” But, she was having fun. Derrick was inches away from her, staring with a big goofy smile that made her giggle.
     “I think that’s a no, bro. Hailey, does my brother know no?” He was caught in a loop. He reached out and touched her face. “Look, I got your nose.”
     Hailey let out a loud, wild laugh that made Derrick sit back in his chair. Jonah too sat back down, visibly agitated.
     Derrick reached for his pipe. He stared at it for a moment, as if trying to figure out what to do next. Then he leaned in again towards Hailey. “Do you want to make clouds?”
     “No!” Jonah blurted out. He had never been told to stay away from drugs. He certainly had not been told at home. It was instinctual. He had never been offered or asked to be a part of the things his mother and brother did. From what he had seen he should know enough to be afraid.
     “I didn’t ask you, bro. I asked Hailey.”

Friday, January 20, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 4

     By the time Jonah was a senior in high school Derrick had long since dropped out. When Judy discovered methamphetamine she introduced the drug to Derrick and he had become lost in a world of ever intensifying criminality. The addition of paranoia to his already reckless behavior made it impossible for him to function in the non-high world. He and Judy would spend days at a time awake, locked in their little house, simultaneously destroying it and putting it back together.
     If Jonah was afraid he never let on about it. He could always find a quiet place for himself. For Hailey though, he was frightened. She did not see the danger Derrick and Judy presented. She was too trusting. Jonah took pains to move her around the house to avoid them or leave with her if he could not.
     It was Hailey’s naiveté that precipitated the great tragedy about to unfold. She thought Derrick was funny. He always talked fast and made faces. She knew him as Jonah’s brother and she trusted Jonah more than anyone. That doesn’t mean she always listened to him.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 3

     Hailey was Jonah’s best friend. She lived a couple blocks away and was raised by her grandmother. Like Jonah, she was slow and they took many of the same classes together. From an early age they were inseparable. Each would follow the other around like there was a string attaching the two of them. As close as they were neither said much to the other. What they had was a shared experience.
     Hailey was attractive, blonde hair and blue eyes. There is no doubt that Jonah noticed her in that way, but unlike Derrick he was not impulsive and not articulate enough to express his intentions if he had been. She gave little of herself away and that further encouraged Jonah to keep his feelings to himself, but he did love her.

Stuff I Didn't Need To Know

     I mentioned in a Facebook post yesterday how american and chinese babies sound differently when they cry and how it's just one more thing I didn't need to know. I figured I should spend a moment going over some of the other useless information I have clogging up my brain. Conflict (a blog story) will continue this afternoon.
     Originally this post was called "Crap I Didn't Need To Know", but because it had the word crap in the title Facebook would not post it to the public. It went to my wall and you could only see it if you went there. When did crap become such a naughty word and exactly whose sensibilities are we trying to protect here? My grandmother doesn't read my blog. Even if she did, crap was her second favorite word in the english language after scotch. Whatever...

Algebra - Not once in my adult life have I been asked to figure for Y. Anyone who saw my freshman high school grades knew I was not going to do anything later in life that required more than the most basic math proficieny. This madness should have stopped after the first trimester.

Most History - Famous quote, "He who does not know the past is doomed to repeat it." I don't know who said it because it doesn't matter. Sure, some of it is interesting, but I do not forsee another crisis like the Hapsburg Succession coming around again so I have no need to avoid it. Then again, I doubt anyone would ask for my advice on geopolitical affairs anyways.

French - It's a soon to be dead language. In the future we will all speak a Chinese-English-Spanish hybrid called Espachenglish that will have 40 different words for burrito but none for overtime. Besides, I can't afford to go there.

Dissection - None of this was necessary. It was naked cruelty to ask any child to cut an animal open and dig around. Maybe, if you were planning to be a vet or a doctor. Otherwise, the only other purpose I can think of is to find out which of your peers was most likely to be a serial killer/sociopath. For God's sake, it was just gross. I threw up a little writing this.

Anything Kardashian - This goes for any and all fame whores who clog or lives with their semi reality based shows. I like big butts and I cannot lie (Thank you Sir Mix-a-lot), but the last thing I need is to hear some whiny overexposed rich people complain about the trivial bullshit that dominates their lives. It just makes the rest of us as shallow and vapid as they are by watching it. I threw up a little writing this.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 2

     As the boys navigated their teenage years Derrick became more and more unpredictable. By high school he had begun using drugs and drinking, sometimes with his mother, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. His penchant for violence cost him much more than he made. People avoided him. His wanton vandalism kept him in the constant gaze of school administrators and police. Judy always rushed to his defense and to the psychologist he was ordered to see he was honest when he claimed to have no idea why he did the things he did.
     Derrick took to crime before the age of ten, breaking into houses to see what was inside. Eventually, he began to loot these houses for drugs, money, alcohol, and anything of value. Jonah’s job was to watch for trouble, but it was not a partnership. Jonah was just used to doing what was asked of him. Judy knew what her son was up to and did not care so long as she got her cut. Derrick would display his bounty on the kitchen table and he and Judy would divide the proceeds.
     He began to notice girls early on. His temperament though was unpredictable and kindness would often turn to cruelty. He didn’t care how they cried because he knew there would always be someone else and there always was. A mother could have taught him the proper way to treat women, but Judy was as enamored of Derrick as the little girls he toyed with.
     Judy had become desperate in the face of her approaching middle age. No longer able to rely on her looks to secure the things she needed from men, she clung tighter and tighter to the sorry few foolish enough to stay. Eventually, they too would run and this made her lean even heavier on Derrick as her sole confidant. When she couldn’t dance, she waited tables, and when she lost that she looked for the easy dollar. Derrick was her protégé and partner.
     Jonah in turn had become more steady and self-reliant. He no longer needed to watch Judy and Derrick act out their pantomime of madness. He was content with himself. He could focus, which in many ways made up for his deficiencies. He did well in the school’s remedial programs. He was never late, always polite, and always gave his best effort. He was not outgoing, but he had friends.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 1

     Jonah and Derrick were born thirteen months apart to Judy McInnis. The boys shared their mother’s last name because she was never sure who the fathers were. They lived in a small house on the outskirts of a small city in a neighborhood that may have been beautiful when it was new, but by now had become overgrown and neglected.
     Jonah was the oldest. Born with a thick batch of brown hair, he was large for his age, but docile and rarely ever cried. He would lie quietly in his crib watching Judy intently. Wherever she went his eyes would follow.
     Derrick was blonde, premature, and colicky. When he screamed it seemed to be as much out of anger as it was need. When he raged Judy would come running and as she tried to calm him down a bond formed between the two that did not exist with Jonah. Judy talked incessantly to Derrick while she carried him around. She shared every detail of her life with him and although he could not understand it explains why Derrick began speaking long before Jonah ever muttered a word.
     It was taken for granted that Jonah was slow and a doctor confirmed the suspicion before he attended his first day of school. He was not retarded, but try as he might he would always struggle to keep up with his peers. For his own benefit, he did not start school until a year after he was eligible so that he brother could attend with him and provide him the support he was deemed to need.
      Derrick, on the other hand, was sharp. Aggressive by nature and curious to a fault, he took pleasure out of blurring the lines of acceptable behavior. He would often con the other children of whatever he wanted and then once caught he reveled in the art of talking his way out of it. He bullied and swore on the playground all throughout grade school. Even Jonah was a target when there was no one else to harass. Although short and wire thin, Derrick was fearless. His classmates were wise to befriend him to avoid becoming victims themselves.
      Home was much of the same for the boys. Derrick was the center of attention, reciting his acts of guile while Judy ate up his exploits and at times seemed to encourage them. Jonah sat alone on the couch, silent. He did not read or play or watch television. He quietly observed the back and forth between Judy and Derrick as if it was some great drama unfolding before his eyes.
     For her part, Judy rarely spoke to Jonah except to tell him to get ready for school or dinner or bed. It was shameful, but Jonah never asked for much. Also, Derrick took up so much of her time. Then again, some effort should have been made, but that is in hindsight and in that moment Judy saw nothing wrong in how she raised her sons.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) Introduction

     I am enjoying this blog thing. It is an excellent vehicle for documenting my ideas and keeping track of my musings. I was thinking the other day, what more could I do with this? I decided to write a story, a long story, that I can share as I put it together.
      The plan is that each day I will write, a little or a lot, and link it to my facebook. I am calling the story Conflict. Each update will be numbered so if you miss one day you can always go back to where you left off. I have an outline, but I have no idea how long this is going to take.
     The main character is Jonah, a simple man without ulterior motives. The title for the story comes from the realization that once I came up with Jonah I had to have an obstacle for him to overcome. The conflict he faces is based in the relationship he has with his brother Derrick. Without giving too much away, the premise is a twist on the Cain and Able story.
     The first installment is tomorrow. Happy reading!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Deeper Things: The Meaning of Life

     It’s been a week since my last post. I have all these great subjects I want to cover, but this one I had a little trouble with. It is not that I was having some trouble defining what the meaning of life it is, rather it is because I did not want to come across as too scientific, too dry. Essentially, Deeper Things are supposed to be opinion pieces.
     The meaning of life is not what you think it is. We all fall prey to the romantic notions of nature. It is too easy to be captivated by her beauty. She fills up our senses, sight, smell, touch, and taste. We think she is here to love us and we are here to love her in return. Her true purpose is much less glamorous than that.
     The world consists of reactive and non-reactive elements. The goal of every reactive element is to become a non-reactive element either through bonding with other elements or atomic decay. This is the engine of life. Bonding elements create peptides that become amino acids that become proteins that become bacteria that create life as we know it.
     Everything is designed to harness and use the energy of these reactive elements to create a stable waste product. The goal of every creature is to eat, poop, and procreate. Procreation, at it’s most basic level, is cell division and the result of an abundance of food. The success of a species is based on it’s ability to exploit the resources around it and create more creatures like it.
     The romantic ideal that nature has a balance is a myth. All creatures, either plant or animal, are in a life and death struggle to conquer their environments, to pillage them of all their natural resources. Grasses in the field will rob the ground of sustenance and leave it fallow. Rabbits in Australia, without any reliable predators, ate all the grasses and breed themselves until they created a famine. It’s in the history books. Look it up.
     Evolution is about creating the perfect beast. Humans are just the latest design. While we idealize a life lived as hobbits in hillside furrows eating organic vegetables, we were built to make apple computers and drink soda out of aluminum cans. We may be smart enough to realize that our success as a species will lead to our eventual demise, but the die was cast the moment we stood upright. It is why we are here. It is why nature made us in the first place. It is the meaning of life.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Deeper Things: The Universe And Eveything In It

     Sometimes, I like to close my eyes and imagine that I can feel the spinning earth, a thousand miles an hour counter clockwise, hurtling through space. I am awed by the vastness of space and humbled in my own insignificance when compared to it. Scientific theory and conjecture can go a long ways towards explaining the universe, but in the end there is always one crucial question that mankind has no answer for. Why is any of it here?
     Why are there trees? Why is there dirt? Why are there stars in the night sky? The how is simple deductive reasoning. The what can be discerned from experimental observation. Why any of it exists in the first place is the mystery.
     Even the most scientific mind would be tempted to evoke the word God to explain the unexplainable, but that only leads to more questions. Even the creator of the universe is going to have his own creation story. How was God made? Trying to follow that line of logic is like following Alice down the rabbit hole.
     Our ability to think abstractly has allowed us to form insights on virtually everything. The big bang theory states that all matter at one time was compressed into a ball so small it could fit on the head of the pin and then do to some unexplained phenomenon became unstable and exploded forth creating everything we see then today. This is plausible enough. Life forms can evolve and exist on planets that meet a very specific set of criteria. It is undeniable. All matter consists of atoms containing basic components. This is scientific fact. We even have concepts (quantum mechanics, super string theory) that break down the universe to its very smallest pieces and explain what matter it is and how it works.
     It was while reading about anti-matter that I had an epiphany. There is so much anti-matter spread out through the vastness of space that is in exact and equal contrast to all existing matter. They are, in fact, two halves of the same coin and would cancel each other out if ever combined, thus creating a barren universe. It occurred to me that the secret of the universe may be that it exists as a juxtaposition to nothingness. As the concept of nothing is only understandable when compared to something then so the idea of existence is only made real by it’s opposite, non-existence. The answer to why is why not.
     It is no less baffling to say the stone under my foot is there because the idea of it not being there makes it a possibility, but it adds balance to the equation. The physical world is based upon the premise of balance, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is only a theory, but it is beginning to make sense to me.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Deeper Things: Intro

     It’s 2012 and according to the Mayan calendar the world is going to end in twelve months. I find it curious that they could predict an apocalypse a thousand years in the future and not the gringo invasion just around the corner. I’m not saying they’re wrong about our imminent demise, but if they had such great fortune telling skills the topic of whitey should have come up.
     Anyways, I figure this is as good a time as any to delve into some of the more serious subjects that rattle around inside my brain. As I mentioned in my first blog post, it’s not always going to be funny. No one is funny all the time. If they were they’d be insufferable. Two hours of Robin Williams stand up is fine. After week I’d be tonguing the inside of a light socket just to make it stop.
     The truth is, I am often overwhelmed by the big questions of life and how to make sense of it all. I am sure everyone else is too, but we know to keep some things to ourselves. We compartmentalize our core beliefs so we can get along in the world. You do not discuss the theory of quantum mechanics and its affect on creation mythology while standing in line at Starbucks. It is important to focus on the here and now when engaged in social discourse. Most philosophical conversations are ones that you are going to have with yourself. The guy in the tin foil hat standing on the sidewalk outside of Starbucks is someone who has not yet figured that out.
     Over the next few days I plan on addressing many of these issues in this blog. Each day I will tackle a different subject. I have been on this planet for awhile now and I think it is important that I write out what I have learned so far. My intention is not to preach or convert anyone to anything so try to not take offense. I just want to share. By the way, if you’re expecting some weird conspiratorial ramblings you will be disappointed. The CIA stopped infecting my brain waves years ago.