Losing my religion

 

I guess I wouldn’t say I lost it, so much as I shed it.

Like most white Americans, I was born into christianity. My dad was never what you would call steadfast, or devout, but he claimed to be a Christian and as far as I know, still does. My mother on the other hand, was a christian fundamentalist, through and through. She was fanatic about her faith, and tried to instill that fanaticism in my brother and I. When we were little, it worked. It was easy. Why wouldn’t it be? We were little kids and we believed anything our mother told us.

We grew up right in the thick of the satanic panic, and man, that shit had me and my brother terrified. I can remember, very clearly, the fear that any talk about “the devil” invoked at the time. We were afraid of everything. Cartoons, toys, movies, games, you name it. It all had the power of satan behind it.

When mom told us the smurfs were satanic because there was magic in the show, we believed her and we became afraid of the smurfs. When she told us He-man was satanic, the same went there, enough that when I would see a He-man toy at a friend’s house, I would be afraid to touch it or even be near it. The same went for Dungeons and Dragons (kind of a given), rock music, MTV, you name it. If someone at church, or on the 700 club, said something was satanic, my mother was all over it, and it was banned from the household.

My brother and I saw the movie “E.T” in the theater when we were kids, and of course we loved it. We had the books, the toys, the story cassettes, the stuffed animals, the posters, the t-shirts… E.T. was huge to us. Then one day, I believe in the third grade, it all just went away. I never saw what happened to it all but the murmur about the church was that it had all been burned.

When I was four or five years old, we lived in a little trailer park on the outskirts of Casper, Wyoming. My parents had somehow decided to take in a foster child. She was a teenager and her name was Claudia. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a permanent situation or if she was just staying with us for a while, but the situation was volatile right from the start. Somehow, my mother had become convinced that Claudia was practicing witchcraft. My mom claimed to have seen a demon in the living room, and that Claudia had made the vacuum cleaner move on it’s own. Again, being a small child, I believed all of this without question. I would go on to repeat the stories my mother told me about Claudia, to my friends growing up.

At some point, Claudia packed up her things and ran away in the middle of the night. I never did find out what happened to her. Looking back, I feel sorry for her. I have no idea what kind of family situation she came from, or how she ended up in foster care, but to get dropped into our family… that had to be awful. I haven’t thought about her since I was a kid.

The rest of my childhood, up until high school, was a parade of incidents like this. Not knowing anything any different, I never really thought much about it all. It was the world I knew. Demons, witches and satanists were every where. The devil was constantly trying to influence us, and he had followers sacrificing kids, and raping babies in day care center basements, in his name. God was around, but you had to spend a lot of time looking for him.

The turning point for me started in high school. I got a job, a car, and started making friends and having a life away from the church, something that didn’t go unnoticed by my mother, and by the church. It wasn’t as if my friends and I sat around picking apart christianity, quite the opposite in fact. My friends all thought of themselves as christians. The difference was that their christianity was not the focal point of their lives. It was peripheral. It was something they believed, but that belief did not occupy every waking moment of their lives.

This did create enough distance for me to start seeing things just a little bit differently. I had time to start actively contemplating some of the things in the bible that just didn’t add up, and to take a step back and actually, critically think about some of the things I was being taught in church and at youth group. I started to notice patterns of behavior in the church that bothered me. I remember standing in the church one day after a sermon, looking around the room and listening to what people were saying about homosexuality, and thinking to myself “This is not love, this is hatred disguised as love, and no one here can tell the difference”.

Pretty soon I was asking who Adam and Eve’s children married, if there were no other people around. I wanted to know how we knew that so many other civilizations existed in the world, at the time of “the flood”, and yet they were not wiped out, and apparently failed to even notice the raining for forty days and forty nights, and the subsequent flooding. Egypt was a perfect example. They kept impeccable records of everything they did, and yet somehow this flood is never mentioned, and their civilization was untouched by it.

I had a lot of questions. The answers were usually something along the lines of “I don’t know, but god does”, an answer which somehow satisfied everyone else in the room, all of whom were more than happy with the non-answer, and who felt comfortable with the idea that god knowing the answer was good enough. It wasn’t good enough for me though. Eventually my questions were brought to my parents’ attention, and what I was told by them and the church elders, was that I should spend more time meditating on god’s word, and less time asking questions. They didn’t put it like that, of course, but that’s what they were saying.

It wasn’t just the unanswered questions, it was my increasing awareness that all of these people, not just in my church but every other church I had dealings with, were incredibly judgmental. They were spiteful, and hateful, and yet utterly convinced that they were the exact opposite of all of those things. By the time I hit college, what was left of my faith was hanging by a thread. The only thing that kept me calling myself a christian, was fear of the unknown. Christianity was all I had known, all my life.

I was twenty five when I was finally comfortable saying out loud that I was not a christian. Nothing monumental happened that lead up to this, just more little experiences. Lots of little life lessons that showed more and more, that everything I’d learned growing up, was wrong. Not simply factually incorrect, but often morally wrong, and even harmful. I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.

To say that I have some lingering anger at christianity doesn’t really describe it. Yes, I am angry. It’s an internal struggle that I deal with every day. I’ll admit that when I learn that someone is a christian, it colors my view of them immediately, and they have to work harder to earn my respect. I know this is wrong. It’s difficult to shake.

The de-conversion process was mostly about learning to recognize old behaviors, and eventually to see them coming so that I could choose to behave differently. Things like attributing every good event to god, and whispering a prayer of thanks under my breath, or a prayer of forgiveness when I did something I thought I shouldn’t have been doing.

It took a while to shake attitudes toward women who behaved, or dressed in ways that the church taught me were unacceptable. It became this game of asking myself why I felt the way I did about certain things, and boiling it down to one simple question.

Is a behavior harmful?

That simple question became the litmus test by which I judged everything I did, and everything I saw other people doing. If I couldn’t find some harm in an action or behavior, then I could begin to see it differently, and think about it more critically. This was quite different from what I’d grown up with, which was simply “because god” or “because the bible”. It took years to change my thinking. I still look back at old behaviors, I look at the way I judged people, and I feel utterly foolish, even ashamed sometimes.

I’m now forty-one years old. I no longer look at anything through the lens of christianity. I also no longer have to consciously play that mental tug of war with my old, christian beliefs. I don’t live in constant fear of the devil and satanists anymore. I no longer spend all of my time wondering what god thinks of what I’m doing at any given moment. In general, I think I’m a much happier person, and to be honest, much less of a judgmental ass.

I’ve been coming back to this post every day for about a week now, and I can’t seem to come up with a good way to gracefully close this post. So here is a shot of Laure from a recent photo shoot. 🙂

 

 

Remembering the ex

I remember the last time I saw my ex-wife. It was eight years ago. We met for lunch at a yuppy bar on the north end of downtown, called The Iron Horse. I hadn’t been a fan of this bar since they changed locations, and their entire look and feel. It had gone from a nice, calm, hang out and chit-chat type of bar, to the kind of place where rich, stuffy assholes make business deals, and do lines of coke in the bathroom. The place did have a decent lunch menu though. I remember I ate a chicken sandwich and fries. I don’t remember what Cindy had.

She’d emailed me a while before hand because she was selling her car, and my name was on the loan, so she needed my signature.

After our divorce, we’d maintained a friendly relationship. We didn’t hang out, we barely talked, but when we did talk, things were amicable enough. During this lunch though, I had something of a revelation:

I found her incredibly annoying.

I forget what it was she was blathering on about as I realized this. I was fully aware, sitting across that table from her, that she was saying something, and giggling, and I was no longer listening. Instead, I was wondering if she had always been this annoying. Yes, I decided. Yes, she had. I just never noticed before. Why had I not noticed this before? Maybe for the same reason I believed a lot of her lies over the years. I just wanted things to be good, so that’s how I saw them.

She grew quiet, which finally snapped me out of my daze. I suddenly just wanted to end the lunch and leave.

“Why didn’t you try to work on us, after I left?” She asked me, breaking the lull in the conversation. “You just stopped talking to me.”

This was the case. She moved out, into a little basement apartment across town. We didn’t talk until she contacted me a few months later, about getting on with the divorce proceedings, which I initially refused to pay for, since this whole mess was her doing. In the end, I relented, just to get it over with.

I thought it an odd question. It had never even occurred to me to try and save our marriage after she moved out. The question typified just how self centered and ignorant she was, and had always been. Once she’d walked out the front door of our little apartment for the last time, I knew we were done. I washed my hands of her. The first thing I did, the first weekend after she left, was go out to a bar, pick up some cute, little hippy chick, and spend a good portion of the night having sex in what used to be our bedroom.

Cindy left me for one of my best friends. One of my female best friends, I might add. She was a lesbian, something we both came to realize during our tumultuous, six year relationship. She was raised a good little christian girl, and had been fighting her sexuality for all of her adult life. Her marriage to me was part of that fight. In retrospect, the red flags were everywhere. Due to my own fundamentalist christian upbringing, I sprinted enthusiastically passed those flags, with the narrowest of tunnel vision, and a smile on my face.

During the last eighteen months of our marriage, they both lied to me repeatedly, to my face. For her to be sitting across that table from me, asking why I didn’t try to save our marriage after she left me, was clearly her trying to play the victim, again. She was actually trying to elicit sympathy from me.

“I tried for a year, before you left.” I said, very calmly. “I got us into marriage counseling, and you never took it seriously. I gave up Bailey, because you hated him, and I wanted to show you that you were more important.” Her smile faded when I mentioned Bailey, the Senegal parrot that I had raised from a tiny ball of fuzz. She quit looking at me, and just stared down at her hands in her lap.

I continued. “I put together that trip for our anniversary, trying to rekindle something with you, and you spent the whole time talking to Jackie on the phone. I showed you that I loved you, every day, and gave you every opportunity to reciprocate. You never did. You lost interest in me, and you were in love with someone else. You left our marriage long before you walked out the door. There was nothing to save.”

I didn’t yell it. There was no malice in my tone, no anger of any kind. I just said it all matter-of-factly, as I ate my chicken sandwich. I contemplated bringing up all the stories I’d heard from our mutual friends, lies that Cindy and Jackie had told them about me in an attempt to make me out to be the bad guy. But I didn’t, there was no point. Those friends came to me, and told me those things because they didn’t believe them. That had always been a small point of vindication for me.

“I’m sorry.” Cindy finally said.

I wasn’t sure exactly which thing she was apologizing for, and I didn’t really care. In the span of that lunch together, my opinion of her had plummeted even further, and I wondered how the hell I could have been as naive as I’d been all those years. I had reached a point years before that lunch, where I no longer needed an apology from her, or even an explanation. I had fully put it all behind me.

I don’t remember any details of the conversation after that. I’m pretty sure one of us changed the subject. At some point, I signed the paperwork, making sure it was actually what she said it was. We paid the bill, and we went our separate ways for the last time.

I have not heard from her since.

It wasn’t all bad, being married to her. We had our moments, and we were happy for a very brief period at the beginning of it all. I’m no longer angry about it. I am occasionally stupefied at how dumb I was back then, how willingly gullible I had to be to buy into the bullshit she fed me on numerous occasions. The anger though, it’s gone.

I’m happy now. Laure and I are very happy together. Thirteen years in and we still behave like we just met last month. It’s really good, and I’m grateful for it every day.

Not sure why I got to thinking about my ex today. I just did. So there you have it.

Here is Laure on the beach of our little island a few weeks ago.

 

Summer seems to finally be here

We had the first actual BBQ of the summer yesterday. We invited some friends over, several cakes were baked. Chicken, salmon, bratwurst, burgers, various types of rice, and some excellent pasta salad were prepared. Later on, Catan, and Cards Against Humanity were played. Pandora was being a real bitch, so Spotify provided the music.

We finally called it quits about 11:30 at night, on account of three of the friends having to drive an hour to get home. We offered to put them up in the spare bedroom but they were intent on sleeping in their own bed.

One of the attendees is from Australia, she was an absolute sweet heart, and I’m a little sad that we’ll likely never see her again, except perhaps on Facebook. Never the less, we made a friend. 🙂

The sprinkler company that I paid to supposedly winterize our sprinkler system last fall, fucked something up, and when I cranked on the water to the yard a few weeks ago, the pipe that feeds the yard is burst in at least two places.

The van needs a new radiator fan assembly which took some troubleshooting to narrow down. They’re ridiculously expensive, and you can’t simply replace one of the fans, you can only buy the set. Which is a load of horse shit. I keep forgetting to call the local scrap yards to see if they’ve got anything that’ll work.

I got the nerd cave all moved, which took nearly an entire weekend, but the new space downstairs is really great. I broke it in officially early yesterday afternoon, with a our third session of a game of Beyond The Supernatural. You can check that game out, and find the playlist for that series, below.

 

I’m also getting ready to resume our D&D game, which has been stalled since last summer. We decided that it would be easier to play on Roll20 for most of our sessions, and then meet in person every so often. It took some notes review, but I remembered where we were in Lost Mine Of Phandelver, and I’ve about got the game ready to play. We’ll be nailing down a date soon.

We’re also working out a camping trip with our good friends up in Kalispell, which I assume is fairly imminent.

Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy, so there hasn’t been any movement on the Teardrop in a few weeks. I’m hoping to resume that project this week.

Busy, busy, busy, but nice.

Your very own pile of shit

There is a pretty good chance that you’ve heard the term “maker” or “maker movement”, in the last ten years. The maker movement has been around for a few generations, under a lot of different names, but it’s seen a serious resurgence since the recession in ‘08 (us old cusses call it “ought eight”). Makers have become a thing for many reasons, partly because it’s just fun, but also out of necessity, since it’s much less expensive to build and modify your own stuff.

I got to thinking about this last night, standing in my garage, staring at a set of shelves built into the wall in the corner, which I refer to as “the pile of shit”. On these shelves is a bunch of bits and pieces of old, broken shit. I have to keep it under control, because the tendency is to keep hoarding stuff, and that can become a problem, especially if you’re married. It’s also kind of a pain in the ass to move with.

The pile of shit is a practice that I picked up from my grampa. My grandfather would have been ninety-one this year. He was a great guy, and a really good role model for me. I spent a lot of time puttering around in his garage with him. He taught me many invaluable lessons about self sufficiency, and tinkering with things to either improve them, or keep them running for years passed their normal life expectancy.

My grandparents lived through the great depression, during which, if you didn’t learn to re-purpose and repair things, you simply went without. I’m not just talking about mechanical stuff here, this applies to everything. My grampa repaired, re-purposed, and re-used everything, and my grandmother, my dad, and my aunts, NEVER went without. He was a damn genius when it came to fixing or improvising things around the house.

A perfect example of this is an old refrigerator that sits in my grandmother’s basement. I have no idea when they bought that fridge, but they owned it in 1964, when a nearby river overflowed, and flooded the entire town of Evergreen, Montana. I have seen photos of my grampa standing on his roof, with his little aluminum boat floating next to him. When the flood waters receded, grampa pulled all of the appliances out of the house, took them apart, dried them out, repaired them, and most of them continued to run for years. That fridge is the last of those appliances, and it’s in their basement, keeping soda ice cold, right now.

Granted, nobody builds things like that anymore. That fridge is a fucking tank. Regardless, it would not have run for as long as it has, if not for my grampa constantly tweaking and improving the thing. He’s been dead for almost twenty years, and that fridge is still humming right along.

Something else to think about here, is that nearly all American manufacturers have adopted a policy called obsolescence. People joke about it. They think it’s just an entertaining rumor, and that everything is just built shitty now-a-days. I’m sorry to say that obsolescence is a real thing, and it’s almost always a design consideration for most modern manufacturers.

Obsolescence is the practice of intentionally building things to stop working after a certain amount of time. The idea being that if you build a fridge that runs for sixty years, everyone who buys it isn’t going to buy another fridge for sixty years. Depending on your business model, this can be really bad for business. So in the early 1970’s, obsolescence was born. It took a while to catch on, but by the late 1980’s, it most certainly caught on. Unfortunately, it has resulted in today’s rampant throw-away culture, which has our land fills over flowing, our oceans and rivers and streams filling up with garbage, and it has the vast majority of us trained to needlessly buy, and re-buy, a lot of cheap shit.

Anyway, getting back to the pile of shit in my garage. I have repaired our stove, our dishwasher, our refrigerator, two of our toilets, and built and modified a bunch of random doohickeys around the house. Our family vehicle has reached that age where every few months, I’m out in the garage screwing with something on it. In such instances, when ever I need a part, the first thing I do is go out to the garage and dig through the pile of shit. It’s rare that I can’t find something that I can improvise to fix whatever it is that I’m working on. When the pile of shit fails me, I hit the local home resource center, which is one enormous pile of shit that the whole town contributes to. Buying new should be a last resort, but I get it. Some times you just have no choice, especially when dealing with complicated electronics. You would be surprised though, how often electronic components can be fixed if you spend enough time pestering people online for information.

Also granted, is that I’ve been a tinkerer, under the tutelage of a master tinkerer (grampa) since I was a kid. So I’ve had a lot of time, and a lot of expert guidance, building up a skill set. I’m telling you though, don’t let a lack of skills or experience get in the way of trying to fix something. Believe me, most of the crap you buy at Walmart is not as complicated as it might seem, and the internet is an endless resource of information. Once you fix one thing, you’ll be proud of that thing, and you’ll feel more confident fixing another thing. Pretty soon, you’ll be staring at a thing that works just fine, thinking it would work better if it only had this one minor tweak. You’ll be standing in your kitchen and notice that your fridge is making a weird, whirring noise, and a day later you’re popping in a used compressor that you found at the local community pile of shit for $15. Eventually, you have a pile of shit in your garage, but you’re spending a hell of a lot less money on cheap shit at Walmart, and you have a house full of things you’ve fixed, that you can brag to your friends about.

You’ll find yourself standing in an aisle, looking at a new thing, getting a feel for how sturdy it is, and how fixable it might be if it stops working. You’ll either put it back on the shelf because it just feels too flimsy, or dropping it into your cart because you feel confident you can get it going again if it breaks.

Maybe the things you’ve fixed aren’t shiny anymore, and they probably don’t have all the latest gadgets and doohickeys, but they work. You fixed them, you saved your family money, and those things will be points of pride for you for a long time.

Seriously though, don’t shop at Walmart. They’re evil.

Fuck Walmart.

Disconnected

Monday, Laure and I got back from our annual Memorial day weekend with my family, at a little lake a few hours north of where we live. We went up on Wednesday, while the camp was still fairly empty. The rest of the usual Memorial weekend crowd began showing up on Friday afternoon.

It’s a bunch of old cabins, most of which were built back in the 1930’s and haven’t seen much improvement since. There is no TV, no internet access, and no cell service up there. Nothing to do but read, fish, eat, play board games, and nap.

It’s great. We look forward to it every year.

This year in particular though, coming back from there brought with it a sense of clarity. I’ve been glued to the internet, mostly twitter, for months. I’ve been trying desperately to strike a balance between staying informed, and letting politics occupy every waking moment of my life. It’s particularly difficult because with the jack-ass in chief we have now, there are new, and often frightening things going on every day. Literally, every single day, usually a few times a day. So much is at risk right now, I don’t even know where to start or how to begin enumerating it all.

I want to stay informed so that I can make phone calls, sign petitions, send emails, spread information, what ever I can do to help. The problem is that with this much coming at us all the time, there is no such thing as balance right now. On top of that, I’m having a difficult time seeing that anything I’m taking part in is really having any affect. It’s clear that Trump is digging his own hole, as I’d hoped he would when this all started, and soon he’ll be unable to dig out. I think that’s inevitable now. It’s just a matter of time.

Until then, we just have to deal with the barrage of shit getting thrown at us, and try to stay on top.

I thought about it all week, and decided to back off of it as much as I can. I’ve un-followed a shit ton of people on twitter and FB, to cut down on the politics that is hitting me every day. I’ve stayed subscribed to a few email news letters that have proven to be reliable, so at least I’ll know what’s going on, but I’m not going to live with it in my face every day.

If that means I’m less involved, I guess that’s how it has to be.

A few other things have become apparent to me, one is in regards to a man that used to be my best friend. I met him when we were both in grade school. From the fifth grade, up through my first year of college, I spent a LOT of time with this friend. We were the American ideal of two kids sharing the whole experience of growing up together.

I’ll say it again, we were best friends. We always had a great time when we were together. We confided in each other. We leaned on each other. We were interested in the same things and held a lot of the same views. Hell, this is the guy that introduced me to role playing games.

Things have changed though. He met someone, got married, and I felt myself moved to the back seat. Ok, that part isn’t that big of a deal. I get it. I got married too, life took me places I didn’t expect, and made it hard to maintain some friendships.  I always felt that the difference was that I was still trying. I emailed him every so often, sent texts, sent instant messages, tried to call… he had simply moved on. Every once in a while I would get a response, something half-hearted and noticeably distant, like he was responding out of a sense of obligation, and had nothing else to do that afternoon. Then we just quit talking, for about ten years.

We more or less reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. I say “more or less” because we “friended” each other, but that was it. The same pattern has continued. I’ve tried to start conversations, leave comments, post old photos of us together, and gotten nearly nothing out of him. He just isn’t interested.

Then, over the last few months, I started occasionally getting a bit more back, only in the form of rambling, disjointed rants in response to articles or opinions I post. They were the type of arguments that seemed to be purely for the sake of arguing, out of some desire to simply be contrary to anything I have to say. I get the impression that this is how he is with everyone, not just me.

This happened again today, and I don’t know if my week long disconnection provided me with a bit of clarity or what, but it suddenly occurred to me what has been going on.

I’ve changed. I’ve grown emotionally. My ideals have changed. My goals have changed. My values have changed, dramatically. I’m a different person than I was twenty years ago, and drastically different from that scared, self loathing, angry kid I was in grade school.

I can tell from his posts, and the few conversations we’ve managed recently, that he hasn’t changed at all. He’s exactly the same as he was when we were teenagers. What’s worse is that he seems utterly disinterested in trying to rekindle our friendship.

I once heard someone say that the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. I’m forty-one years old, and as I get older, I’m finding this to be more and more apt all the time. I think that need is what’s been driving me to cling to this idea of a friendship that he and I used to have. It occurred to me a few days ago that that friendship is long gone.

I’ve been thinking for a while that it’s time to do another Facebook friend purge, and I think that he is going to have to be on that list. I suspect that if I don’t email or text him, I’ll probably never hear from him again. It’s time to just let it go.

“You son of a bitch! How could you do this? Friendship is the only choice in life you can make that’s yours! You can’t choose your family! Goddamn it, I’ve had to face that! No man should be judged for whatever direction his dick goes! That’s like blaming a compass for pointing north, for Chrissake! Friendship is all we have. We chose each other. How could you fuck it up? How could you make us look so bad?”

 – Carlos in “Tequila Sunrise”

 

Possibly switching distros

I’ve been a Kubuntu user for years now, prior to that, I used SUSE, played around with Fedora, and actually started my open source OS adventure on FreeBSD.

FreeBSD was pretty limiting by itself, there just wasn’t much out there for it. There were compatibility packages you could install that would allow you to run RPMs, but after a while I wondered why I was bothering, and switched over to actual Linux. I played with Arch and Fedora, and this was seventeen or eighteen years ago, which meant that installing Linux could be a trial. I found both of these to be ridiculously complicated. SUSE was fantastic in comparison. I want to say it was version 6.something-or-other. I can’t remember for sure.

I stuck with SUSE up to 9.something, not long after Novell bought them. I didn’t like where things were going then, but I had fallen in love with the Kde desktop. So instead of going with standard Ubuntu, which was defaulting to Gnome at the time, I dove into Kubuntu, and I’ve been using that ever since.

I’ve had no major complaints about Kubuntu. It’s been great. My whole family uses it and has had no issues, other than my youngest complaining about one or two Steam games that are not Linux compatible.

I won’t go into detail about why I’m wanting to move away from Ubuntu all together, because I could probably go on for pages on the subject. For the last few years, Canonical has been moving Ubuntu in some directions that I’m not so sure I agree with. I love the convenience that Ubuntu offers, but I’ve become so comfortable with Linux over the years that that convenience is more a matter of time saving than technical difficulty. Let’s just sum it up and say that my reasons are mostly philosophical.

I’ve been occasionally exploring other options for a little over a year. Gnewsense looked attractive until I ran the LiveCD. It’s years behind, even with the latest release. Also, it’s releases come agonizingly slow. So that was a turn off for me right away.

I’ve had dealings with CentOS at my previous job, and I’ll just say “hell no”.

I looked at Arch and one of it’s derivatives, Antergos, about six months ago, and the install was still overly complicated and I ran into problems getting either of them to install on four year old hardware. If the install is tough, I’m not even going to bother.

After a few IRC conversations, and reading over various forums, I’m going to give straight up Debian a shot. I’ve been running the LiveCD at work and it’s similar enough to Kubuntu that I want to check it out a little more in depth. So I’m currently backing up my laptop, and when that’s finished, I’ll install Debian and see what I think after a few weeks.

I realize that Debian’s packages are not as current as it’s Ubuntu relatives, but I’m not too worried about that. I’m not afraid of compiling things from source if I have to, but the little research I’ve done has turned up plenty of ways to get Debian reasonably up to date.

On a semi related note, I’ve been wanting to get Laure in front of the camera for a Linux wallpaper shoot, but as busy as things have been, that’s been backburnered with a whole bunch of other things I am putting off until I finish the teardrop. So no photo to accompany this post.

 

May is a busy month for us

I’ve been pretty preoccupied with politics lately. It’s taken over my twitter feed, and it’s made me more active on Facebook than I have been in a long time. I’ve been signing petitions like a mad man lately, and making phone calls, and emailing representatives. I’m trying to find a balance between staying informed and letting it keep me perpetually pissed off all day long

Still working on that one. It might be time to do a politics purge again.

On a related note, my game time has taken a serious hit. Between the politicsing and working on the teardrop, there hasn’t been much time for gaming. I fired up Steam and played a few hours of DOD last night. Still a really kick ass game. A few weeks ago, one of my RPG groups verified that Roll20.net finally has their A/V issues sorted out, so last night I reinstated my account and I’m hoping to start playing at least one game a week. I’d really like to run some one shot games, on various systems, but the time just isn’t there. That may be more of a winter activity. I do have three active games right now and I’m playing about every other weekend.

The teardrop is coming along. It is progressing much slower than I hoped but I’m making slow, steady progress, and I still expect to have it done in plenty of time to be able to camp it this summer. I’ll give a proper update on that this weekend.

Heather is moving back in with us. Her teaching job did not pan out like she’d hoped, and the experience has been… unpleasant for her. So she’s in the process of selling her house and will be moving back in with us, probably some time in June. This means I’ll be moving the nerd cave, again. Fortunately, not into the garage. We’re playing a game of musical bedrooms in the house right now. CJ moved out when he went off to college, so Evan moved into his room. Shortly after that, Heather moved away, so I moved my nerd cave out of the garage and into her old room, which was originally the nerd cave. So now, Heather will be moving back into that room, and I’ll be moving the nerd cave downstairs, into Evan’s old room.

Make sense?

Laure and I spent a Saturday afternoon taping up and priming the nerd-cave-to-be, then a few days later I got two of the walls painted. Sometime in the next week or two, I’ll finish painting down there, and then start relocating all of my crap.

Evan’s birthday is next week, but we’re celebrating it this weekend, since the following weekend is Memorial day weekend, which is always spent at a lake about an hour north of here, with lots of family, food, music, board games, and napping.

It’s a busy month for us in general, right now.

Laure, in one of the cabins where we stay every Memorial day weekend.

Busy-ness, and my dog.

The time has really flown by these last few weeks.

I’ve been busy working on the teardrop during the weekends, and two or three evenings a week. I’m trying to keep from doing it every night so that I don’t get burnt out on it. Getting the side walls up feels like it’s taking forever and is getting a bit tedious, but I expected that. I think I’m just about done with them, barring any more unforeseen issues.

Laure and I are already making camping plans for this summer, and we got out and worked in the yard a bit this last Sunday. There is always a lot of clean up to do in the spring. We have some flowers ready to plant and we need to get those in the ground soon. Also, our raspberry bush has already started budding, which is pretty cool.

Lots of political developments. We’re seeing just how ridiculous the GOP is willing to let things get, and there is no sign of the ridiculous train slowing down any time soon. Even the possibility of nukes flying through the air doesn’t seem to encourage anyone to maybe step in and start taking some action. Although it does appear that most of what we’ve been seeing the last few weeks is just a lot of dick waving.

Missoula is coming to life again, spring seems to be driving people out doors more, which is always nice to see. I’m still not convinced that we’ve seen the last freeze of the year though. I’m afraid to turn on the water to our yard just yet.

That’s all for today. I have three half typed blog posts, mostly about my own life observations, but I’m not sure if I’ll get around to finishing one of them or not. We’ll see.

In the meantime, here is my dog.

Trump’s attack on Syria was yet another smoke screen

So as it turns out, this Syria attack was pointless to everyone but Trump.

Trump did not consult congress before ordering the attack, because he knew they would tell him it was a waste of time and resources. He did consult Putin though. Putin then notified President Assad, who began moving aircraft and personnel away from that air base, which explains why only six people were killed in a barrage of fifty-eight tomahawk missiles.

There is also the fact that Russia’s air defenses in Syria didn’t fire a single shot, or make any other attempt to take down those tomahawk missiles.

The damage to Syria’s military capabilities by this attack are minimal. The threat to Russia’s national security, also minimal. So this is not the start of WW3. In fact this was a completely ineffectual and militarily pointless attack.

However, what is everyone talking about this morning? Syria.

What isn’t everyone talking about this morning? The Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

So guess what the real reason for this attack was.

Go ahead. Guess.