7-Day Update

It’s been 7 days since I decided to make some life changes, particularly concerning my nutrition. Basically, I wanted to try to make all my food from bulk or produce, and keep it vegan. I also planned on cutting down on my beer intake, which would hopefully help with other good habits like exercising, writing, reading, etc. The results were pretty good, but not ideal. I did learn a few things along the way.

Organization – I found organizing my goals into a spreadsheet that I keep open on my computer really helped. It was the first thing I saw in the morning and last thing I saw before going to bed. Just having it as a tab open on my browser was a constant reminder to be more productive instead of watching a bunch of stuff on Netflix. There is a screenshot below. The upper goals are what I was working on this week and what my original goal was, the lower goals are things I plan on introducing soon and include music, foreign language, specific exercises that I hate (like working abs), artistic stuff, coding, etc.

Screenshot 2015-01-21 at 11.41.23

Nutrition – Attempting to eliminate packaging and other waste from my food purchases went pretty well. All my meals (except for one drunken pizza order) were made from bulk purchased foods or produce. I did use some materials that I had around the house that did not fall into those categories though, and that could cause problems in the future. A lot of the recipes I love call for coconut milk and vegetable broth so I will need to find a way to make those myself or replace them in the recipe if I want to push this further. Eating vegan was really easy when I cooked, but I do have a habit of accepting free food when it is available even if it isn’t vegan. I did have a ton of fun making my own bread and my own almond milk, which is something I want to keep doing. There is something rewarding about creating instead of purchasing… and those skills will be helpful when the zombie apocalypse shuts down the world. Trust me, when that happens you want me on your team. Not only am I good with a gun but I know how to repair bicycles, bake bread, grow mushrooms, build shelter, teach sex positions, and mediate a quarrel between lovers.

Beer – Cutting beer out of my life is not going to happen. I do love the taste of beer and the bonding that comes from exploring new brews. It isn’t about the alcohol, but it is a part of my life. So, instead of trying to cut it out I am going to be much more moderate with it. If you look at my chart you can see that I basically fucked up all my goals on the day I went to the hot springs and got wasted. I think it is reasonable to keep my heavier drinking to when I am out sinning with friends (we all need a day or so of sin each week) and keep my other beer experiences to tastings.

Overall, I’m happy with how things turned out. I am going to keep pressing on and find new ways to put things into my life that I want to learn. If you aren’t growing, you are dying… and I plan on living forever so I gotta keep moving.

“N” – A Short Story (Part 2)

The following is second part of a story based on a dream I have had a few times recently. It is a rough draft and it has been a LONG time since I wrote anything fiction. I’d love for thoughts, feedback on clarity, grammar, or content. I think there will be three parts.

All around was silence and ice. Ortus could barely comprehend what had just happened. The blood on the ground was starting to cool and turning into a gel, the ice showed no sign of melting, scratches, or in any way registering the crowd that used to be here. The only thing Ortus knew was that it wasn’t safe to stay here. It was time to figure out a way to leave.

There was no way to figure out how to get back to the entrance so Ortus began to just explore at random. Occasionally another person would walk by and smile, but the smiles had sadness and fear behind them. The facade had come off and many of the people had abandoned all hope. All Ortus could do was pay attention and formulate a plan.

During this time wandering (hours? days? weeks?) Ortus came upon a darkened room that clearly had people moving about in it. No details could be seen but the movement seemed unnatural. It was spastic, flinching, and hard to track. Ortus proceeded in cautiously.

The only light was the open door behind Ortus, here the walls did not glow with that calming blue light. All along the walls were people in straight jackets mumbling and struggling. It wasn’t simply a dark room, it was a dark cavern that went on into eternity. Thousands or tens of thousands people of all shapes and sizes lined the walls flinching in their insanity. None of them seemed to notice Ortus’ presence.

As Ortus approached one thing became very clear, they were all saying the same thing. The sound of their voices in unison seemed to echo and amplify throughout the room.

We are one… We are none… The only difference is N…
The difference is N…
We are one… We are none… The only difference is inside…
The difference is In…

Then they all looked at Ortus and began beating their heads against the wall. The chant got louder and louder as they tried to block the entrance. Ortus ran.

Down the halls, making random turns, not stopping until there was no more air to breath. But eventually Ortus rose and the plan to escape became the only thing that mattered. So the wandering continued until Ortus collapsed.

Collapsed. And slept.

I’ve always loved my golden hair. It is the one thing about my body that I really feel comfortable about. My breasts, my hips, my legs are all pretty standard, but my long golden hair is beautiful. Even as I sit on this boat, with the wind whipping around, I should be anxious about arriving in a new country but all I can think about is my hair. I wonder if American’s will like it?

“Ortus! Ortus! Wake up! It is time for the Titling! It’s me, Geni! Wake up!”

Ortus woke up to Gen screaming and shaking. Around Geni’s neck was a silver pendent that said “Miner” and on his hips on his back was a number of tools including a pick ax, heavy duty gloves, and rope. His small stature was clearly primarily lean muscle and emotions seemed forced.

Ortus finally became conscious enough to realize what was happening and began to stand. Gen pulled and tugged and lead them both through the caverns. Ortus remembered the plan to escape and began to memorize the route. One left, two rights, one left, straight for 75 steps, and there is the hole to the surface in front with sunlight shining through.

The two eventually arrived at the red cavern just as the ceremony began. As the new titles were handled Ortus looked around, to the left was the newest arrival looking scared and confused. Finally Ortus’ name was called to the stage, the only Title unclaimed was Washer and it was given to Ortus. With it came rags, cleaner, and a knowledge of where to go and what to do.

And so the cycle continued for months, years, or decades. Ortus played all the roles and waited until one provided the tools and opportunity for escape. Finally the day came and the Miner pendent and tools became his. Escape could now happen.

Huckabee, Bisexuality, and the End of Western Civilization

This first appeared at Can’t Steer Queer, a new project that I’ll be writing for occasionally.

Mike Huckabee is afraid that marriage equality will lead to bisexuals marrying multiple partners. And you know what? He is right in some respects. Marriage equality will likely lead to a reevaluation of what marriage is at the government level and people will begin to realize that limiting it to two people is arbitrary and unnecessary. This isn’t because of bisexuals though, and it is important for us to combat the bisexual stereotypes that Huckabee is reinforcing.

Being bisexual does not preclude someone from monogamy. There is no reason to believe that a bisexual person, by their nature of being attracted to both sexes, are any more polyamorous than monosexuals. A bisexual is just as capable of resisting the temptation to cheat as someone somewhere else on the sexual orientation spectrum. Sexual orientation and relationship orientation are not the same thing and many bisexuals identify as being heteroromantic or homoromantic, meaning they only desire romance or relationships with one gender.

The bigger question isn’t whether bisexuals will lead to legal polyamory, it is what is wrong with recognizing legal polyamory? We are heading that way but it isn’t a never-ending “slippery slope”. It actually stops at legal polyamory because that is simply allowing all consenting adults to arrange their romantic relationships as they see fit with equal rights. It is individualism at its finest as every person will be able to design relationships with consenting adults in a way where everyone can thrive. This won’t lead to people marrying animals, children, or inanimate objects, none of which can consent.

This will certainly make the legal system more complicated, but we shouldn’t reject people’s rights simply for convenience. Huckabee’s worry that this will somehow destroy society is really a great peek into how his type of conservative actually thinks. To people like Huckabee the government’s role isn’t to protect rights or obey the Constitution, it is to provide a stable society based around his interpretation of Judeo-Christian values. To him, progress should never happen because we can’t make changes without the proper data. Data that can never be collected without some experimentation. It also shows how fragile he seems to view society and his own marriage if allowing around 3% of the population to marry would somehow disrupt society so much as to bring about it’s downfall.

Conservatives have at least one strong way to end marriage equality, get the government out of marriage. This can simply be down by turning all marriages into “civil unions” and keeping the rights and protections intact. If the word marriage is sacred to someone then they should remove the state entirely but attempting “separate but equal” won’t work practically and is a failing tactic. If you want to be married then have a religious ceremony, but if you want your contract to be honored by the government then have a civil union.

Despite all the terrible stereotypes and fear-mongering there is a silver lining in Huckabee’s statement, he actually acknowledges that bisexuals exist. This may seem small but bi-erasure is something that has existed for a long time as bisexuals were viewed as only experimenting or homosexuals who were not comfortable completely coming out of the closet. If a conservative can admit bisexuals exist, and even admit that marriage equality may not be that big of a deal, then I count this misinformed statement as a partial victory.

“N” – A Short Story (Part 1)

The following is based on a dream I have had a few times recently. It is a rough draft and it has been a LONG time since I wrote anything fiction. I’d love for thoughts, feedback on clarity, grammar, or content. I think there will be three parts.

What. The. Fuck.

That was all Ortus could think while looking around There was nothing but snow in all directions, snow and dark grey skies. No memory of arriving here. No noticeable wounds. Just snow and clouds, with a slight chill breaking the clothing layers.

“Oh well, I’ve always been rational. Staying here gets me nothing, I might as well get moving,” Ortus said out loud. Though for a moment Ortus wondered about the accuracy of that statement because there was no memory of a past personality or traits. Rational? Irrational? Quick to angry? Always calm? It was all unknown.

So Ortus picked a direction and just started walking and after a few minutes (hours? days? months? years?) a hole in the snow appeared on the horizon. It came more quickly than it should have but the sounds of laughter and flickers of firelight coming from the hole were too inviting to pass up. Ortus jumped in and slid down the hole into the cavern below.

The slide was quick and easy and Ortus was soon looking around a bright ice cavern. There was no obvious source of light but the ice itself seemed to pulse and flow with a faded blue light. Moments passed as Ortus looked around the room and took count of the hallways that seemed to branch off en every direction. 13 tunnels in total, and out of the center one the sound of footsteps echoed in approach.

A young girl appeared, no more than 10 years old. She had a bright smile on her face and seemed to be skipping more than running. There was joy and the lights eminating from the walls seemed to get brighter as she approached. Her clothing was simple and appeared homemade, bland but loved. The only exception was a gold pendent chained around her neck that simply said “GREETER”.

“Hello new friend! Welcome to Cer, my name is Geni. I will be your guide for a bit, but first we must hurry. The Titling is about to start.” the girl said. Without waiting for a response she grabbed Ortus’ hand and began pulling through the central hallway from where she arrived.

Ortus complied, for what else could be done?

After many twists and turns through hallways Ortus and Geni arrived in a large cavern. The dome overhead seemed to reach far above the surface of the earth but all around was ice with no sign of the outside world. At the peak of the dome the light under the ice was brighter and seemed to spread it’s glow through veins around the dome. Within the room were hundreds (thousands?) of people, all dressed differently with a variety of tools in packs and on belts. They each had pendent on a chain around their neck, some were gold, stone, silver, wooden, and even one that seemed diamond.

Ortus tried to read them all but there were just too many, but a few could be read: Baker, Blacksmith, Warrior, Nurse, Shaman. No person had the same pendent as another and the clothing and tools each person seemed to match the profession on the pendent.

After a few moments the crowd seemed to hush on their own and a voice echoed above the rest. A man dressed in bright robes stepped onto a platform in the center of the dome. His pendent seemed to glow a deep red that contrasted painfully with the blue glow of the dome.

“Welcome family! Today is the Titling!” the man said in a deep voice. The crowd erupted in applause and hugs. Once the crowd calmed a moment the man smiled a half-smile and pointed straight at Ortus. “And please welcome our newest family member, Ortus!”

The crowd erupted and cheered again.

There was little time for shock or confusion. Soon Ortus was pulled up the the platform by two large people, Soldier and Builder. The man on stage smiled again and began to speak. His pendent said Leader.

“Today is the day where we share responsbility and see the world in all shoes. This ceremony is sacred. As you all know, I will call you each up here for a new Title. Remember not to choose a Title that you have had already. We will start with those who have been here the longest, except for the person who has become the Terminal, we will honor them last.” Then, looking at Ortus, “You, my new friend, will not have a Title this time. Instead after the ceremony use the time to wander, rest, and familiarize yourself with the duties so that you can choose wisely in the future…. So, let’s get started!”

The crowd cheered.

One by one the man called up people and they choose a new job, but there were no repeats. One baker. One butcher. One accountant. One nurse. One laborer. One Doctor. Even a new Leader as a middle-aged woman took the red pendent from the man and he left the stage.

And on and on it went until every person had a new Title. Once complete the new Leader calmed the crowd and waved for a elderly woman from the crowd to come up. She complied, but had no heart in it. There was no joy in her eyes.

“And now we honor the Terminal” Leader said. “She has performed all the duties she can. She is a hero!”

The crowd cheered.

“And so it is time for you to move on”

As the words left his lips the woman let out a scream and started thrashing around. The newly appointed Nurse and Doctor grabbed her and pinned her to the ground. She struggled until the Guard got control of her. They put a straight jacket on her but she continued to struggle. It was no use though and she resigned herself to banging her head against the ice floor until her blood sprayed into the crowd, adding color to the pale world.

“WE ARE ONE! WE ARE NONE!” She screamed as they carried her down a tunnel, her voice echoed until she was out of range.

“Well, time to go about our duties… see you next Titling!” The new Leader said. The crowd dispersed and soon Ortus was alone.

A Week of Nutritional Changes

After taking a few days to think about it I have decided to try changing my diet a bit for seven days, I don’t think I could go a full 30 (at least not without this trial period). This change will be a combination of many of my goals, including eating healthier, minimizing my trash impact, and learning to cook more things. It also may encourage me to exercise and write more.

So, the changes are simply this. All my purchases for the next week will be bulk foods (meaning no trash). Instead of buying prepared stuff from work I will be cooking my meals and not eating anything processed. My breakfasts will mostly be granola, oatmeal, fruits, and shakes, while my other meals will probably be a lot of soups, stews, chili, and bowls. I will also be cutting out alcohol except when I go to a brewery tomorrow for a food drive.

Hopefully the fresh food and lack of alcohol will have me feeling even healthier and more motivated to learn, write, create, and work-out more. I think it will also save me money, though it will take more planning and preparation ahead of time. I will still use some of the food I have around the house that I’ve already purchased but will try to minimize that and stick with fresh stuff. If this works out I hope to implement a lot of it into my life long-term by drinking in more moderation and eating home-cooked fresh stuff as much as possible.

30 Day Update

Well, I’ve been trying to make some life changes for the last 30 days or so. I’m not sure exactly how many days it has been, which probably tells you how well it is going. I basically sucked at writing daily, between work and life I just didn’t make the time that I needed to, but I’m going to keep trying. I am going to scale back my goal to 2-3 blog posts a week and I’m going to start bringing my computer to work because I tend to get a lot of alone time with my thoughts at work while stocking. It just makes sense to have my computer on me, if I want to really get into writing and make it a big part of my life I need to have my artistic tools available as often as possible. Hopefully I can get some more constructive posts out with this new approach.

The one goal that I’ve done a pretty good job sticking with is limiting my coffee to only a couple cups in the morning. It seems like it is much easier for me to cut things out of my life that are harmful than it is for me to add good habits. I have started minimizing my trash by purchasing my breakfast cereal in bulk and switching over to a french press with bulk coffee. The major step is going to be cooking from home more and only cooking with bulk foods and produce. A positive side effect will be that this is likely healthier and really easy to continue towards veganism.

So, I guess that is what I am going to work on for the next 30 days or so. I’ll try to write more consistently, keep coffee low, minimize trash, cook more, and try to be vegan. Hmm, those aren’t very specific… okay, I’ll think up something to add that is very specific. Maybe reading for at least an hour a day (Zeus knows I need to get through the 15ish books I have before I leave Missoula), meditating daily, or actively doing some sex/psychology research and classes. I just need to figure out a system to make it happen like using my phone timer or not allowing myself to drink beer or watch Netflix/Hulu until I accomplish it.