New Ventures

Greetings fans! In case you don’t follow me on Patreon, I thought I would share that my fiance, Ryan, and I are doing a podcast! It’s largely comedic, with thought provoking analysis and suggested reading and research. It’s a learning process as we are new at this, but we’re excited to try something different.

Episode 1

Episode 2

 

 

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Never Ever Ever Stop Learning

Read the title.

Because it says a lot about our culture. This statement has to be shared over and over again, because its important. Yet it seems to fall on deaf ears, or is dropped, shattered on the floor like an old glass no one really cared for.

The catch is that we’re wired to never stop learning. We take in daily information that assists with our survival and well-being, we have to. We have evolved to continue to take in and process data. We, as mere mortal humans, take in the information and connect it with a million other pieces of information that we know. Making this endless web of knowledge linking to knowledge and knowledge creating ideas and perspectives and developing our world views.

Of course the other side of this is that we can often be wrong about our world views. We end up with skewed views and mis-information. Which often means we have to re-learn in order to be correct. Or, sadly, we stubbornly stick to our misunderstandings like a mule refusing to move for a train.

The train is truth, the mule is stubbornness….I think that makes sense?

My point is, we’re all wrong on a regular basis, and we owe the world, our friends, our neighbors, and the planet to continue to learn and adjust.

Maybe the better analogy is that we should adjust our sails as the wind changes. This doesn’t mean that we remove the sail and start over, it means that we move as things change. We take on new winds to our benefit….Ahem….meaning we learn how things are and we adjust.

Because the reality is, if we continue to be stubborn and not move, or not learn, is that we get run over or knocked away. We end up on an island we never wanted to be on, or smashed by a train.

So, I challenge all of you to look at your world, and look at how you think, and question it. Ask yourself, “am I right in this?” “Do I know what I am talking about?” and from there go and question it.

I’ll share my own example:

I stubbornly (I know….) believe in my own memory as being accurate for many things that have happened, in say just the last 8 years. The reality, as I am slowly remembering, is that the brain is terrible faulty when it comes to memory. Therefore, my memories are only about 60% accurate to what actually happened. Say the time I got confused and stranded by the bus schedules in Scotland, two days in a row. I REMEMBER not being able to get the right information, the reality is probably along the lines of not reading the schedules correctly, or asking the right questions.

Other things that have come up:

“cats eat grass to puke” the reality and probably more scientific answer is that cats like grass for digestion and cleaning their teeth.

“Sally Hemings was Thomas Jefferson’s mistress” well the term mistress is problematic when someone is owned by the other and about 14 years of age when their owner begins a relationship with them. Meaning: Sally Hemings was forced to have a sexual relationship and children with the man that legally owned her. That man was a founding father and president of the United States.

This brings up a lot of subjects, which I’ll address in another post, but the point is, we have to think about how we talk, feel, interact, react and share the world. We have to acknowledge our mistakes, and we have to learn new data.

This makes the world a better place and it means that we can be better beings to and with one another.  We have to move out of this post-truth funk and fully acknowledge the importance of truth, knowledge, education and experts. Oh my lord, we must listen to and acknowledge experts.

Again, stay tuned for more….until next time, keep learning.

American Crime- You need to be watching.

American Crime is a series that delves into the complex world that exists in criminality in our country.  The first season analyzed the O.J. Simpson trial and this season examines the world of American slavery.

Slavery, yes. Because it’s important to understand that though slavery is technically illegal, it very much still exists. Slavery is still a crime in which people are forced into many forms of labor, sexual acts or a variety of things. It can be a housekeeper, tomato picker, prostitute, massage parlor worker or a variety of other things.

These problems often come out of extreme poverty and individuals seeking out something or anything better than what their current circumstances allow. Immigrants, often undocumented, come to the United States for jobs that pay 5 or 10 times what they make in their native country.

The brilliance of American Crime is that it analyzing exactly how millions are sucked into situations where they are forced into labor and abuse with little to no pay. These individuals are bribed or forced to stay in their slave-like situation and though people may not be property or “owned” individuals are treated like disposable property.

This season of American Crime looks at the connection between industry and market demands that drive agricultural-based abuses. Such as the tomato farmers hiring as cheap as possible labor in order to sell produce. These things have actually happened, in situations similar to, if not worse than, those depicted in American Crime.

I look forward to seeing where the show goes, and I hope its existence shines more light on what cheap food actually means for everyone.

My Diploma Hangs on the Wall

My diploma hangs on the wall

It’s best friend by it’s side

One has a $60,000 price tag

The other $40,000

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

Expensive as they are.

 

They have a lot of memories attached

Memories of fun and learning

Memories of personal growth

There is travel mixed in there

and summers abroad.

 

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

Representative of education and time

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

that show my passage of time.

 

I even had them framed so that I am reminded

of all the hard work I’ve done

And of which I should be delighted.

 

Yet they hang there on the wall while I struggle to pay my bills.

 

They hang there on the wall while I try to keep my head up.

 

They hang there on the wall while I can’t pay my debt.

 

They hang there on the wall while I wait for my ship to come in.

 

The Cult of Bootstraps

I am a strong believer in personal work and development. I am living proof that determination can actually attain goals and do things. I’ve been able to achieve a lot in 25 years of living, and 26 brings more goals. Yet, there is also a wall that exists that many of us hit and only a few can crawl over. I’m banging my head on that wall right now.

The reality is that outside factors play largely into whether or not someone will succeed in the way they want. These outside factors come in many forms. They’re income-based, education based, socio-economic based. Sometimes it comes down to sexism or racism. And even though we all want to believe that we have to tap into some type of well-spring that will fix our lives the reality is out of our control.

One applies for jobs they really want, one is maybe perfectly qualified and ready for the commitment. Your write a stellar resume and provide great references and update your website and you pray for the job. Yet 70 people apply 50 are just as qualified as you but 5 are more qualified and have more experience. Guess who gets the interview? Guess who stands out. Probably not you.

It raises the point that for every job in a certain field there are possibly hundreds trying to break into the field. Add onto it a later retirement for most people, which isn’t opening up jobs like it once did, and less jobs to go around in many industries and one is stuck in a bubble of underemployment.

For people in the millennial generation our wages are low and our potential to move ahead is harder. We buy homes less, because we can’t afford them. We’re loaded down with student debt, buying into the idea that our education was worth it. We don’t have benefits with many jobs we have, and we are having a harder time breaking into the fields we went to school for. If we ever get there. Many of us are still slinging pizza and selling clothes at Kohl’s to try and make it.

Many of us that went to school for a try at the middle class are facing an existence that has had wages stagnate for our lives and that of our boomer and gen-x parents. Add on the great recession which knocked a lot of people out of careers and into a downward spiral and we have a hot mess.

While I admire the idea of creating happiness and creating wealth in little things it’s also important to understand the crunch that basic survival takes on those living it. So much of one’s energy is placed in how to pay all the bills and come out with enough to buy food. A lot of energy is placed on figuring out summer camps and how to afford it and stressing about credit scores and if one can ever get ahead.

The increments are tough too, we might get a new job and make more, but then we lose our medicaid or other benefits such as income-based rent. So one has to earn significantly more to make a difference permanently in their lives. If you live somewhere like Fort Collins it’s even harder to pull ahead as the cost of living and cost of rent is harder to afford. 

The reality is that every single person living in the lower class or lower middle class, is literally pulling themselves up every single day by their bootstraps, just to get out of bed. The reality is that it is often so hard to want to even be alive. I believe this feeds into the drug epidemic and why so many people rely on medications of various kinds.

Much of this is compounded by a lack of well-paying and benefit-heavy jobs. Which I also understand. When a business is trying to employ people but it lacks significant profit it’s hard to pay raises and insurance and taxes and vacation and everything else. Sometimes companies can’t even fathom employing people full time, or only employ a few people full time for these reasons.

So what do we do? As the gap between rich and poor grows so wide.

A few ideas that would help would be single-payer healthcare for everyone, education for everyone, improved high school education that is heavy on teaching valuable skills, more corporate taxation and oversight, and more programs to even the playing field. Of course this comes down to taxation and taxing either everyone equally, say 20%, or a higher tax rate for those that earn more.

Historically, the United States had it’s largest economic boom in the post WWII years as a result of higher taxation and more education with the G.I. Bill. We also held onto manufacturing jobs and “built” the United States and much of the world. While globalization has changed much of where we manufacture, we also have opportunities to create more equality and affluence. Perhaps those that worked on the oil rigs could be recruited to work with renewable energy sources?

Much of this starts as early as high school and is a goal of lifetime improvements and learning. It also has to be backed by money going to actually helping teachers and educators and not for-profit systems. We also could take a look at higher education and why the hell it has skyrocketed (administration costs) at such a horrifying rate.

While I respect the idea of self-improvement and fighting for what you want, there is also a lot to be said for the people that can’t afford to meet their basic needs. It’s expensive to survive and to have kids and when a family can barely pay their bills month to month, it’s hard to see where the next spa day and yoga retreat are coming to calm the mind.

There are little things every day that improve one’s mindset when facing hard odds, but at the end of the day we must ask if this is the continued existence we want and want for our children, or are we going to fight to make sure everyone has more opportunities?

Watch these for more information: