How did we get to Trump? - The Abridged Edition

The following essay is from a Quora comment that I made in response to this honest question:

But I still think it is strange what has happened to the USA. It used to be the country that got together to solve any kind of problem or public need. You had the entire country to have paved roads and everybody had cars way ahead of us even so with electricity and telephones. You invented the Internet. But now it looks like every community expects somebody else “big corporations” to come and sort all problems out. What changed so that the US stopped to be a “let us get together and solve this shit!”. I am by no means complaining to you I just don't get it. It is like the public is afraid of starting or wanting changes. - Kjell (2019)

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There are a lot of Americans who feel the same way, Kjell. It’s not wrong that you’re confused.

Anime and video games don't make people psychotic

Western societal ideals have always been broken when it comes to animated content. First, there is the core element that states when you are no longer a child you leave childish things behind and grow up. Adults aren't supposed to like the same things when they were children. Kids drink juice boxes. Adults drink coffee. Kids watch cartoons. Adults watch TV dramas. It's not okay to retain your childhood because that means you aren't responsible. This infects the entire scope of western animation production because it is a core principle that we perpetuate. If you liked Toy Story when you were a kid, it's only valid to look back on it with nostalgia as an adult or share it with your kids. Watching it alone, however, is deviant. Cartoons, after all, are for kids.

Adult animation is an alien concept to much of Western Society.

I'm not a maker. I'm a creator.

I had an epiphany this morning.

Yes, I was really, really good in wood shop, and I'm good with my hands when I care to be (I.e., automotive work), but I'm not a maker. I don't seek out opportunities to build things with my hands.

I build them with my mind.

Sadly, I'm not great at that, either. Okay, I AM great at it, but I'm not great at getting to it... doing it... making time for it... finishing it. Delivering it. I took a creative writing workshop last year and everyone in that class loved what I wrote. They chattered about it and begged me to write more (Disclosure: I wasn't the only one in the class getting that treatment). Despite that glowing response, I dropped out before the end, before I had to turn in what would have been that classes magnum opus.

To be clear, I dropped out of school altogether, but I rationalized it with losing my first new job in four years because of an insane person who, by any reasonable standard, should not be in control of a company. I needed to focus on driving Lyft full-time again and not the school thing, but that's a tale for another article.

I think all of these conclusions I have arrived at are pointing me in a single, uncomplicated direction; be the creator I am.

So, I'm going to start with a bumper sticker...

The Single Worst Job I've Ever Had

NOTE: I started writing this earlier this year when I was fired from my first new job in four years after four months. I just got the to the point where I didn't care to tell the tale any more, but now, some months later and more depressed than ever, I wanted to post what I'd written, just to get it out there. I'm no angel. I'm nowhere near perfect. I make mistakes and sometimes I've been fired because it was the right thing to do, but not this time. This is simply a matter of a rich asshole who thinks he's all that an a bag of chips can treat people like shit and it will never touch him. Something similar happened in France a while ago. That didn't end well. -TCR

On July 14th of this year, I will turn 50. That's quite the milestone for anyone. I never felt that I wouldn't make it to the half Century mark, but it feels somewhat surreal now that I'm here. One thing that being 50 doesn't often involve, however, is the level of humiliation I was forced to undergo with a recent employer. Out of a sense of honor, I won't reveal any identifying details, but I feel it is necessary for me to get this out of my system. First, though, some context...

I've been writing professionally for about 20 years now. The breakdown is simple; over 100 books as technical editor or revisor. One book as the author. Two more as co-author. Since contract writing is all about the ebb and flow, I also consulted, personally and for other consultancies. I wrote documentation for myself and the small businesses I worked with. After the computer book publishing world dried up for tenured authors like myself, I went into corporate work where I did high-level consulting and traditional employment. I wrote documentation for all of those companies. In short, I'd say I have experience.

The hardest thing to do is the one thing you desire most

Since I was nine I've wanted to become a science fiction author. I wanted to create worlds and explore amazing things, and over the years that has grown into something not entirely unlike my childish fever-dream. Of course, now that I'm verging on fifty years old, I am now wholly in touch with my depression.

...Not that awareness makes anything better.

Said depression about everything in my life, with diminishingly few redemptive aspects that just makes me even more depressed, is significantly reductive. It saps every last bit of will out of my soul, no matter how fiery and passionate I am about a subject, like writing or social justice or racial equality or anything good and fair, and I just drive, play video games, and watch stuff. To do anything else, to create, to work hard to achieve a goal, dredges up all of those things that push me to crawl under a rock and just stop being me.

I don't know how to break out of that cycle. People will tell me they know, and some will even offer such advice free of charge, but the truth is I don't lack the knowledge. What I lack is the backbone to endure the pain long enough to reap the reward. I stopped smoking after 35 years. I did it in one day. I switched to vaping in 24 hours. No fuss. No muss. It worked because there was no pain. I'd collected enough information and just did it.

Beyond that, I don't know how to fix anything any more. But I can type. And so I will try. I will always question my words, the order I say them in, how readers will react to them, and second-guess myself at every turn, but I will try.

I will try to post one piece of anything length every day.

I hope it works.

The WDP Project: Validation of sources

In today's post (which was supposed to be posted yesterday), I will be discussing the WDP, a project I have started with the goal of fostering honesty in goverment by holding our elected officials accountable for the claims they make. -TCR

One of the biggest problems facing the We Demand Proof project is the selection of valid sources of proof that most people can agree on. While I'm generally not keen on pointing fingers, in this case I believe it's necessary. The blame lay almost entirely at the feet of CNN. Yes, the one and only CNN. The Cable News Network is single-handedly responsible for creating the 24-hour news cycle. While CNN did not create the panel of pundits, a very old staple of news programming, they have come to abuse it, a disease that has infected all other news networks and broadcast to the point where panels have almost entirely replaced actual reporting.

Field work, in essence, has become a tool to collect questions for panel discussions.

Interview with a woman named Larry | Short Fiction

I'm just going to write something directly out of my head, so we'll see how it goes. -TCR

I've always liked the name Larry. It feels old without being stuffy, and there's an inherent jocularity about it. When you hear that you'll be meeting with some dude named Larry it instills in you the idea that the interaction won't be dark or heavy. When I walked into the room to meet my particular Larry, however, things didn't go as expected.

My Larry was a woman and anything but jovial.

"Sit," she said, not looking up from her tablet. I sat.

Can I avoid using Facebook for The WDP?

In case you don't know, and there's no reason you should, the WDP is WeDemandProof.org, my new website that I hope will keep political feet to the fire when they make unsubstantiated claims.

The issue I am facing, among many, is whether to leverage the enormous potential audience available via Facebook, or just leave them out because they're evil.

I'm not against social networking. I'm just against all of the shit that we have recently discovered Facebook has been perpetrating for years now. I've closed my Facebook account (my 2nd after I closed my first account) permanently and have zero intention of ever going back, yet I recognize that Facebook is a rather enormous online resource that can reach millions of people. Part of what the WDP does is use social media to keep the claims made by our politicians in the zeitgeist so they can't just wiggle away from responsibility through the obscurity of time.

While the WDP is a social service intent on developing an ethic of honesty and truth telling among our elected officials, I also don't want to be a hypocrite and use a service that has been proven to remove privacy rights from millions of people around the world.

So, what should I do?

I'm committing to writing something every day

It takes roughly 30 days of doing the same thing over and over again to cement a pattern behavior into a habit that becomes so natural you cannot imagine getting through a day without engaging in said activity.

As a writer, I've been lax. I'm going to try to change that now, and I'm going to do that through writing every day.

Something. 

Anything.

It's not like I have nothing to write about. I'm a rideshare driver most of the time. I've started a website about a month ago that I think is important and I don't spend enough time working on. The site is called WeDemandProof.org, and despite the fact that I have been ruminating on this concept for a couple of years now and it's been live for about a month, I've done little with it aside from think more on it and share it with some of my riders, all of whom said it was a fantastic idea and it was about time. Simply put, I want the WDP to hold out leaders accountable for the claims they make by keeping those claims in the public eye and requesting that they furnish verifiable proof for said claims.

I develop ideas for that science fiction I've been dreaming about writing ever since I was nine.

While driving the other day, I spotted a plumbers truck and was reminded of Mario in the Nintendo video game series. Perhaps inspired by an unconscious recollection of the ghosts in those games, I wondered what fiction about a plumber who is also a paranormal problem solver might be like. Not scifi, but you get the idea. I've been pondering my Robot Series for years now, and have even written a few short stories about an EPIC robot named Toby. I use the idea of Toby as a foil for the suggestion that Artificial Intelligence would develop like humans and how the far more likely divergent evolutionary process of robotic intelligence would interact with humanity. I'll likely post them in the near future.

Regardless of what I end up doing, it was never my intent to be a rideshare driver at 50 years old, and I have been languishing in the simple, uncomplicated process of the work for two and a half years now. Then I heard about Anthony Bourdain having committed suicide and decided that I didn't want to die without having done something I wanted to do with my life.

That would suck.