I didn’t edit this or even reread it. Here is my impulsive first reaction to this edition of Shooting of the Day.
I still remember the first time I heard a news story of a shooting. It was at a Luby’s in Texas when I was very young. I don’t remember the year and I don’t care to look it up. I was very young. I heard the story of a man barging into the restaurant and killing people with a shotgun. I had shot a shotgun at that point in my life. I knew how shocking the blast was when one was fired. The next several times I was in a restaurant I remember thinking “what if someone just came in now and starting shooting us all?”. What a horrible thing for a child to sit in fear of while having dinner out with their family.
As awful as that is, what is far worse is that I stopped worrying about it. You can’t actively fear something very long. I just accepted the reality and became numb to it. I remember a kid bringing a pistol to school in elementary school. It was Texas after all. I have been in multiple situations where gunfire broke out. An absolute angel of a human was taken at a high school desert party close to prom my senior year. Then soon thereafter Columbine happened. An athlete on the track team was in her freshman year when she learned the coach who helped her become a collegiate athlete was shot to death back at the school she had just graduated from. She realized that she would have been at school that day had she been 1 year younger.
Since then it is just commonplace for these incidents to occur. I can’t remember a significant number of details about any of them anymore. I absolutely fucking refuse to learn anymore of these cretins names.
Guns exist and America has a massive fetish for them. There are 120 guns for every person in the United States and we are a massive outlier in terms of how many children get murdered at school per month. There has also been zero effort to do anything about it at any time whatsoever. How much longer is this going to be the reality in the self proclaimed Land of Liberty?
The history of the United States from the year 2000 and on is going to be a time where the entire country was notified of fruequent incidents where children were murdered at school and responded with complete inaction. One side argueing passionately in defense of the guns. The other side aquiescing under the weight of a coalition. An association of people comfortable with chldren dying whilst being educated as the cost of freedom.
There have been bills presented for decades that would enact reasonable measures allowing the fagile men in this country to keep their phallic pride sticks while building and improving a system based on responsibility and accountability. I do not see an argument for being against reasonable systems of responsibility and accountability.
So what is reasonable? I would prefer it be whatever level keeps people alive while there are at school, places of worship, and grocery stores. Is that not reasonable? How is that not the most reasonable standard to live up to? What kind of psychopath wants to keep the boundary more narrow than that?
One of the saddest bars I have had to lower my entire life is how much a have to accept that guns are just a thing where I live. People are going to die everyday doing mundane things because our standards of responsibility and accountability are so low.
Guns will evolve away eventually. American kids already know we are the only country with this problem. They already know the cost. They are not going to accept a society in which sending their children to school is to risk them being in the next American Shooting of the Day.
In the grand scheme of things is becomes clear that life is meaningless and makes no sense. I also find it a such a relief to know this. Does that sound weird? Why? Does it sound discomforting? Why?
What comfort comes from believing life has some mysterious meaning? Think of all that implies. That the whole point of all of this is a mystery yet unsolved. Everyone who has passed away what?… failed the test? What would happen when we figured it out?
I think we are free to give life the meaning it gives us room to make. There is so much out of our control but we are not what happens to us. We are what we choose to do in the moment. The adventures we seek and the stories we live are everything. Spending time with loved ones and like minded people. Petting a strangers dog at the beach. Watching a sunset listening to waves crash into sand. These moments are not the meaning of life, but they sure do give life meaning.
It is a bit surreal to see a country celebrating Mother’s Day when the powers that be are still attempting to keep women subjugated. We have come farther in securing the rights of pets and passwords than we have the humans that bear children. If you have a good mother celebrate her. The cards were stacked against her. If you have a shitty mother, I am very sorry. You owe them nothing and I wish you peace. Hopefully someday soon we will have a Mother’s Day celebrating the idea of motherhood and appropriately honoring those who bring life.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music.”
A vibrant woman was consulting a client on the boardwalk today. She wore a whimsical hat and had organic shapes painted on her face in bright green with black accents. Her sign said “medicine woman”. She had a paying client with her and they were deep in conversation. My first impulsive thought was to classifythe interaction as a sucker being taken by a fraudster. I did not like that thought, so I thought more.
I observed them only for a short time but the interaction seemed very positive. Who gives a shit what this medicine woman advertises herself as? I didn’t see any potions for sale or anything that spoke of danger. If that client left the interaction happier or uplifted in any way why object? What possible reason could I have to interfere with that? Even having the audacity to classify the interaction in a negative way was silly. Who tha fuck am I to have an opinion on it? Nothing about it seemed negative. The client may have just needed an ear from someone who wouldn’t judge. There was nothing to signal the need for intolerance in any way. There so rarely is.
Venice is the pinnacle of tolerance and acceptance. It blows my mind how broad the range of the alternative lifestyles represented. Just a moment’s walk further there was a group of men who come out and shout the bible aggressively at passers-by, and encourage people to come up and question/confront them. Then they rage recite bible verses. Something for everyone I guess. Again it is not my place to understand or have an opinion, but I love how much it proves that a diversity of people can struggle together and make a fantastic community.
Why doesn’t weird stuff seem weird for very long? How did we come to have such high expectations for the advancement of technology that when it arrives it goes from woah to meh overnight.? Just having a smart device that answers questions when asked should be enough to break reality. But it’s not. Rockets land vertically on robot boats at sea and in a world with no shortage of mass panic over nonsense, we do not question reality when it seems to flex and bend too far.
“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy)
I love me some Bertrand Russell. One of my favorite philosophers for both his eloquence and his prescience. He was a futurist, which is something I consider myself. A futurist is someone who uses the progression rates of technology to make predictions about upcoming realities. For example, video games have made an observable progression over a certain amount of time. Over time it is impossible that this progression will discontinue. There will be new video game consoles released over time and these will be improved upon sans for the collapse of society. It makes for fun thought experiments.
My book opens with a magnificent quote of his.
But did you notice something about the phrasing? Almost all quotable quotes from the past are phrased this way. “He” this and “he” that. It is subtle but significant. When I share quotes originally written in archaic language I simply transition the pronouns. This simple change instantly includes the other half of the human population and changes the context in no way. If the quote read “A stupid person’s report of what a clever person says is never accurate, because they unconsciously translate what they hear into something they can understand.” Is anything lost? Diminished? Not in any way.
When the War of Independence erupted in 1775 many women enlisted to fight alongside the men. Deborah Sampson, just 21 years old when enlisted, was shot in the groin and dug the musket ball out herself with a penknife, and sewed her own wound shut. It is far from unreasonable to demand inclusive language.
These pics are from last night. The sunset got snuffed out by clouds today. It was a beautiful morning and most of the day. Just the golden hour suffered the wrath of the elements. Hopefully some pretty pics tomorrow.
“Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
No two people look at the world the same way, because no two people can. It makes each conscious experience unique and I believe it is what makes all of this so special. The gift of isolated experience is a source of great richness for me. It allows me to be patient with others as well as myself.
Rituals can also increase the richness of life. Today happens to be Easter. Large swaths of the globe are hunting for hidden eggs, sharing baskets of candy, and celebrating a significant moment for their religion. Personally, I find any excuse to celebrate acceptable. I come from a family that celebrates Easter and I have countless fantastic memories of the day.
Ramadan is currently being observed by many. I met a new friend recently who is currently observing the tradition of fasting during daylight hours. I learned it is an expression of empathy towards those with little or going without. It is an act of discipline, and acts of discipline build character.
I am making efforts to not only expand my scope of reality but to approach all situations acknowledging the extreme limitations of my awareness.
Lemme try to explain this situation above. At the graffiti park today there was a marching band of sorts. I showed up just as they stopped playing but the crowd cheered with great enthusiasm. On the left side there are a few people on stilts. Yes, you read that right. Nobody was paying much mind to them, but the stilts were all light up and wild-looking, and they were on beach sand. I found it deliciously odd and very impressive.
Springtime is celebrated in many ways around the world but the general theme is based on the symbolism of the planting season. Fertility and hopes of abundance. I wish this for all of you.
.” Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.
Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
So much going on that I am excited to share. Until the time I can share it all comes I’m just going to say it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer at the beach. People are out and about. Muscle beach and the basketball courts are hoppin. The street vendors seem to be doing well. Lots of smiles on the boardwalk. I love it.
“Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.”
The bike path was busy and in the above pic, to the right of the volleyball net you can see the giant drum circle that celebrates the setting sun on the weekends. Below what you can barely make out if you squint is a DJ setup with loud ass speakers booming and a growing crowd dancing. Hours later this evening as I write this I can still hear it through the window. Spring break vibes.
You can see the wind blowing the palm treetops pretty hard but it didn’t stop this crowd.
There’s a metaphor there I am certain of it.
“If I only knew then what I knew now” is a pet peeve of mine. I hate this saying. If you knew then what you knew now you would have still had to go through whatever lesson you went through to gain the realizations necessary to say “if I only knew then what I knew now”. It doesn’t work that way. It may sound a little dark to just make peace with and accept harsh realities. Good times don’t last forever. Nor do easy times. But we don’t tell stories of easy times. Not interesting ones at least.
Learn to fall and I am so serious. I encourage everyone to always be comfortable falling. If you are in no condition to fall go to a place with a foam pit. Fall in. Then little by little progress to being able to fall to the ground. I know it sounds silly but it builds something important. You will decrease your risk of injury tremendously and have a lot of fun doing it. Everyone should be able to fall on their backs on a trampoline and bounce back to their feet. Please try it.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable”
All attempts to predict the future were born from attempts to predict the weather.
It was crazy windy today. Beach wind attempts to put fine beach sand through your body. It gets in the eyes and the everywhere else. I did not even attempt a sunset picture. I just watched safe from behind glass. In the moment, as is often said.
The beach is a different beach after a windy day. There are metaphors to be mined here. The beautiful days bring the biggest crowds. Not all people are fully aboard the Save the Planet train and the beach gets trashed constantly. Community cleanups are common but unless you follow right behind them any walk along the waterline is going to see bottles and caps and chip bags and all sorts of shit. But in the morning the beach looks wild. I will try to get pictures in the morning. It is easy to forget that the millions of divots in the sand are ALL feetprint. Tomorrow morning the beach will be smooth and wavy.
The windy days inject energy back into the system. Yes they stress my little vacum cleaner out but the reset is good for the beach. The ocean returns tons of trash to sender as well. Tomorrow morning the water line is going to be piled especially high with all sorts of garbage. Trash representing disrespect to the surrounding environment . But there will be a small army of people out there cleaning it up. A reminder there is still reason for hope and good in the world.
Everything goes in cycles. The most beautiful moments often emerge after the hardest. I find comfort in that during trying times. Now I have sand in my everywhere I have to attend to. Be well.
“Now, every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes.”
I love people. I think they are amazing and fascinating and strong and inspiring and well you get it.
Brain Melter Alert:
But some people are just downright baffling. Take Karl Friedrich Gauss.
While a young child in school his teacher asked the class to add up all of the numbers from 1 to 100. Meant to be an exercise in arithmetic as well as busy work for the students to give the teacher a reprieve. “5050” young Karl quickly answered ruining the teacher’s coffee break. How could he have possibly added up all of those numbers so quickly? Listen to this shit!
He imagined the numbers 1 through 100 split into 2 rows. The first row consisting of 1 through 50 in order, and the second being 51 through 100 in reverse. Yes, reverse. This put the number 1 over 100. 2 over 99. 3 over 98, etc. etc. Young Megamind then noticed that all of the numbers added up to 101 because of course he did. Since each of the 50 rows added up to 101 (50 x 101 = 5050). There you have it. How could any of us have missed it before? Am I right?
I do not understand the appeal of climbing up onto the breakwater rocks. People always do it. Lots of them get knocked onto the rocks when a random wave comes crashing in. I love it. Let me be clear I do not enjoy seeing people get hurt… when it is not their own damn fault. The risk is obvious here and they were volunteers, not victims. This poor fella waded through a high tide to get up there for that perfect sunset pic and was barely set when KABLOOM!!!! The pic is on my Instagram, the format won’t let me post it here. But here is a pretty pic of the breakwater anyway.
I see the most fascinating people every day. Every single human being alive today is a direct descendent of life itself. How could you not be amazed when you meet any person at all. Survivors of ALL OF HISTORY we are. What title could be more humbling or more encouraging? The worst things are always the result of fear. Suffering is rooted in fear like tsunamis are to earthquakes where a distant disruption causes widespread destruction.
Completely make peace with people being people. Some reflect love, some reflect pain, and all deserve love and patience. Darkness and disruption are inevitable but there is no value in suffering simply as a rehearsal for what may or may not come. I promise myself every tick of the clock I have any control over will be spent in loving kindness.
Last night when I parked my car for the evening there were signs saying “Special Tow Away Zone” advising to have cars moved by 6:30 am instead of the normal 8 o’clock deadline. This usually means construction or a movie crew. This turned out to be the latter. The costumes were vibrant colors in 70s style. I love living here. The other day I watched them film Creed III at the Venice Beach breakwater. The same place the iconic beach race between Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa took place. I was watching from the basketball court White Men Can’t Jump was filmed. I love this city.
Something about old oak trees. This tree has stood observant over this most odd city for who knows how long. Just chillin’. This off-leash dog park is surrounded by giant oaks. A family could have a comfortable picnic on each side of a single tree and not disrupt each other once.
I love this city. Have I mentioned that? I got to watch the sun dip beyond roofline in a magnificent light show, finish a great workout, and then get to the beach to watch the sun dip beyond the water’s edge.
Anyone familiar with the movie American History X will remember the opening scene at the Venice Beach basketball courts. It is a night scene. Just after sunset, my neighbor’s son challenged me to a game of basketball and since today was leg day and I have no regard for my recovery ability I accepted. Soon we were shooting hoops at night on the same courts such a brutal story began. There are still a lot of gangs, hate groups, and loads of people stuck in desperate situations with heads full of bad ideas and stained hearts. This was not the scene on the courts tonight. Tonight was good. We laughed and missed almost every shot in the poor light. Some people were lighting off bottle rockets while the wind whipped around the smells of all the delicious food being cooked by the nearby vendors.
For anyone who noticed I apologize for the extended absence, I was putting in long days on my first movie set. (To be expanded upon in detail in an upcoming long-form article). So please tell your friends and get excited. Flower of Battle is a wrap and I am back at the beach.
Walked outside and saw my neighbor longboarding down the pathway with a giant wing over his head. He saw my smile and stopped exclaiming “isn’t it cool?”. Fuck yes it’s cool. It was 6ft. across and had handles down the spine. He let me hold it to see the drag it was capable of. He said it had taken him all the way from the park to the Santa Monica Peir and back. The part that struck me was when he told me his favorite part of the wind powered (go green!) ride. “Everyone who saw it was smiling so big!”. I love people like that. The highlight of a BATWING POWERED SKATEBOARD ride along the oceanfront for this delightful soul was the smiles it put on peoples faces. Wholesome as fuck.
Isn’t it strange that you cannot just have super powers? It doesn’t work that way. If you have super powers you are either a “super” hero or a “super” villain. Neutrality is not an option. Anyone with superpowers who does not actively use them to help people becomes a villain by default. No different than if you could reach to save a drowning person and simply could not be bothered to do so. This is not the same for a super villain who chooses to not engage in villainous behavior. Simply not being villainous, in a way, puts the villain in the realm of “hero” simply by the harm they did not do. Weird right?
Time is another concept I have been wrestling with lately. What a cruel technology time is. The awareness of which illuminates the temporary nature of everything we are experiencing here. Every beginning comes with the acknowledgement of an end. Every sunrise the sun is tossed across the sky into the inevitability of a sunset. Every birth a death. Every delicious meal becomes a stinky poo. I guess it makes sense, but it sure is a heavy experience.
This reality is simply surfing the edge of memory and imagination. Nothing can be kept. Nothing can be held on to. We look around at the appearance of stillness as we rocket through infinity. We tell stories of “forever more” and “happily ever after” because it is so clearly impossible. We get the time that we get. We need to act like it.