Extreme Technical Death Metal…On A Sunday Night

Hello dear reader(s)!

First and foremost, I would like to begin this post on this here blog-type-thing by stating that extreme technical death metal is not my favorite style of music.  That said however, as a musician I can respect much of it.  (Everything except the vocals on most bands, really.  Anyone can scream growl.)  So when my cousin messaged me a couple of weeks ago to attend a metal show on Sunday night (last night for those of you playing at home or in different time zones), I thought to myself, “Myself, what do you think?”

Well myself, what the hell?”  I replied to myself.

My stomach was hurting bad, since about 2 in the afternoon.  But because I wanted to hang out with my cousin, and do something a bit out of my comfort zone, I decided to push through.  Because it was a Sunday night, I knew I could avoid the crowds that one might normally encounter at a show, so the threat to my immune system would be minimal.  The crowd did not disappoint in that area.

The venue was what used to be The Underground, which for reasons you may have read in this here blog-type-thing in the past, is one of my favorite places in town.  It is now called PB&J’s.  The sound system, I believe is the same as it was, which is a serious issue.  I’m sure the sound guys were doing their best, but when every speaker is a giant woofer, precision gets lost under the heavy low-end.  This was certainly the case for the first act we witnessed (the second of the night), Transient Dawn.  (By the way, there is an established trance act with the same name, so they may want to change it.)  Which is a shame, because if their set didn’t sound like mud, they might have been my favorite.

They were the most original act up there, in a genre that I, quite frankly, think hasn’t been original in some time.  Too much of that music is composed of blast beats, with a stop thrown in here and there, before another blast beat.  The guitars on many of the acts are the same 4 drop-tuned chords (played really, really fast, so I will give them that), and then a screechy lead player doing nothing but scales that don’t even seem to fit the key, over the top of it.  This with unintelligible growl screaming dominating the rest.

Not Transient Dawn, however.  Yes, there was a blast beat in each of the songs that they played, but there was also a lot of technical drumming, with quality, original (for that genre) fills, and different patterns within the fast double bass and on the snare and toms.  However, I think I am the only person who realized that, because I watch drummers play.  Nobody could hear anything from the drummer except his two kick drums, because the sound was that muddy.  I can’t totally blame the sound system, because the other acts didn’t seem to have as much of a problem, so it is possible that the bass player was just turned up so loud, that there was no compensating on the board.  But it was all low-end noise.  That act had something that set them apart too, (gasp!) singing.  There was a male and female vocalist.  The female actually sang and then the guy would scream (less growl) words in a sort of duet fashion.  Again though, the low-end muddiness made the female almost impossible to hear.  Too bad, because I was legitimately impressed with the talent and originality I know I couldn’t hear.

The next act we saw (the third, Purification By Fire) was pretty good, but awfully typical of music of that genre.  Still though, their precision and breakdowns made it enjoyable.

It was the third act (the fourth of the night, for those of you keeping track…I’d tell you their name, but can’t read their logo on the flyer) that absolutely reminded me why I don’t usually go to these kinds of shows.  Hyper-aggressive and sloppy.  The screamer (because I can’t call him a vocalist in good conscience) yelled for everyone to, “Get the fuck up to the front!” right after the first song.  To which I felt compelled to shout back, “Give us a reason!”  They took forever to set up and sound check, for sloppy, uninspired music.  They rode the time slot they ended up with well though, and the crowd was peaking during their set, making them seem like they were doing a lot better than I thought they were.  The drummer and screamer particularly pissed me off, as there was nothing but badly done, wavering blast beats hitting each cymbal and with no meter.  They also played so long, that they pushed the evening’s headliner into playing about 4 or 5 songs before being done.

The 4th act we saw (5th of the night) didn’t even take the stage until after 11.  On a Sunday.  They are called Alterbeast.  Two words.  Technical precision.  These guys were so tight, it was like they had been playing together since they were in the womb.  The speed and technicality of their playing was amazing.  The lead guitar played leads that actually fit the music.  I only know this though, because I got so close to the stage as to just about ruin my remaining ear, so that I could hear the highs and mids a little better.  The muddy low ends were still there, although not nearly as bad.  The patterns within the beats, combined with the speed, is something that made me understand why hardcore fans of the genre feel the way they do about it.  However, they played about 4 or 5 songs for a half hour to about 20 people.  I don’t blame them for stopping early, but I bet they’re pissed at that sloppy second to last band.

All in all, I would say the best act was Alterbeast, though my favorite was Transient Dawn, because they had an originality I feel has been lacking in that genre for some time.  Alterbeast was tighter, but the scream growl was definitely something that I feel can only be done in small doses.

I am obviously biased though.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for real singing.

Happily, this marks the last time I will be going out at night until I go to Alaska.  Thank goodness, I’m tired.

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The Accidental Shaving

Hello dear reader(s)!

I didn’t think I would be able to post today, because I was supposed to go see my friends’ band play in a small town a couple of hours away.  But due to continued issues with The Beastess, you get to experience the wonder (As in, “I wonder why he keeps writing this crap?”) that is my blog-type-thing after all.

The Beastess
The Beastess

But I’m not here to write about the strange and upsetting things The Beastess is perpetrating on me.  Because then I would have to get into my theory that all the issues with the battery terminal (that is solved) somehow caused the switch in the door lock that turns the security system off (since my remotes are long since broken) to mess up, and so the security system will go off on the first attempt to start the car, preventing the car from starting, but when you turn the key in the door while the security system is going off, you can then shut if off and start the car.  So far.  At any rate, I don’t want to be in another town should that decide to stop working.

So now, for your education, entertainment, and enlightenment…I will tell you the story of the accidental shaving of my face.

It was a hot and dry day.  (Which is typical for this time of year, so that is really just fluff.)  It was a Thursday.  In fact, it was this last Thursday.  It was the day before yesterday.  I was working out a lot that day, and got tired of my hair sweat dripping into my eyes, so, as I occasionally do, I decided to shave it off.

Doesn’t sound accidental, does it?  Hang on, I’ll get to it.

So, in a break between exercising, I decided to shave my head and then shower, and then work out again.

I grab out my plastic hair catcher thingy, (technical term), and lay it over the sink.  For those of you who don’t know what a sink is…just kidding.  Hopefully you know what a sink is.

I grab my clippers, oil the blades.  Wipe it down.  (So as to avoid the mineral oil dripping onto my head.)  I then set the teeth to the lowest level, and turn them on.

I start on the right side of my head, beginning just below my little sideburns, and going up in a straight line to the crown.  I then move the clippers over just under the width of the clipper head, so basically above my ear, and repeat.  Then behind the ear, etc…  This is the order I shave my head in, and it has always been the order I shave my head in.  Once all the hair is shaved on the right side of my head, I move to the left.  (I think I like to get rid of the sides first, to see if I can rock the mohawk.)

Everything was going fine up until this point.

Suddenly, and all of a sudden, without warning, out of the blue, from out of nowhere…my cat decides it would be a good idea to come into the room of bath (also known as a bathroom, here in the States) and rub on my ankles.  Of course, because I love my cats, this elicits the automatic Must Pet Response in me, so of course, I bend down to pet my cat.

Dobson and Piedmont
Dobson and Piedmont

It was Dobson, the one on the left.  I blame him.

At the same time, the messenger notification on my phone goes off so I reach into my pocket for my phone as I am standing up.  I look down at the message and bring the clippers up toward the left side of my head at an angle that, unfortunately, cut right into the side of my goatee.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “But Josh, why not just be different and have only half a goatee?”

To that I can only respond with, “Because I go to great lengths to avoid looking like a crackhead.”

So my only choice, was to shave it off.  Which makes my face look more round (despite the fact I have actually lost a little excess fat lately) and also makes me look like I might be 12, were it not for the bags under my eyes.

Oh well, hair grows back.  I just hope it hurries up.  I don’t want them to take a look at my ID as I try to board the plane for my trip and tell me either…

A.  Children under 12 cannot fly unless accompanied by an adult.

Or…

B.  Sir, we are going to need you to come with these nice TSA and DHS employees so that can talk to you about where you obtained this driver’s license, what your plan is, and who you are working with.

For the record, this is a vacation, I swear!

Happy weekend to you all.

I Stand With Planned

Hello dear reader(s)!

I’m sure you are aware of the possible impending shutdown of the government (along with a likely drop in our credit rating, again…which will result in lasting economic damage) over the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood.  The controversy, is centered around the outrage from people who have seen heavily edited and doctored videos regarding the sale of fetal tissue.  Now, let me make this clear before you continue reading…I am staunchly pro-choice…but this post is not about abortion.  Well, not a lot anyway.

Planned Parenthood uses 3% of its budget for abortion services.  3%.  Chuck Todd (Republican shill who should not be allowed to use journalist within 150 feet of his name), recently said that Planned Parenthood claims it is 3% but others claim it is as high as 80%.  The problem, is that a real journalist would have then followed that with, “But those others are wrong, because the numbers are all subject to extensive audits and reporting requirements.”  Anybody who has ever worked for any non-profit knows just how stringent the audits are.  So, the number is 3%.  And that 3% isn’t 3% for abortions, it is 3% for abortion services.  Referrals, how to prepare, what to expect, and even the cons of a possible procedure.

I’m getting off track however.  This post is not about abortion.

What it is about is the sudden outrage of politicians who voted to make the use of fetal tissue for research legal.  The politicians who claim they didn’t understand the implications of what they were voting on.  (That, right there, should be enough to disqualify them if they were telling the truth.)  But they are not telling the truth.  Thanks to creative editing, these attack videos, years in the making, have outraged a conservative anti-abortion base and now they are cowing to them in hopes to retain power.  They didn’t care about it when they voted for it, and they don’t care about it now.

And why should they?  The fetal tissue saves lives.  Premature babies now have a greater chance than ever to survive.  Stem cell research is coming very close to outright curing many previously untreatable diseases.  Some cancers are already seeing the benefits of fetal tissue research.

Where are these politicians trying to shut-down In Vitro Clinics?  Many, many fertilized eggs are wasted in the hope that one will attach.  Yet Plan B remains controversial.  Sorry, I am getting off track again, this post was not about abortion.

I have used Planned Parenthood’s services (as a man) 3 times before.  3 different Planned Parenthood locations.  Let me tell you how they helped me.

The first, I was 16 years old.  I had my first serious girlfriend and we had been sexually active for about 6 months.  We had been using condoms, but one time, one of those condoms broke.  She was not pregnant.  I wanted her to get on the pill, but her mother was vehemently against it with the beliefs that if you play, you should pay.  (I guess that is what she knew.)  So there was no obtaining birth control from her doctor.  Planned Parenthood was the only option.  So we went.  She got an exam, and the pill.  And because we were both young and in school, with parents who disapproved, they used a sliding scale and the cost was so minimal, even I could afford it.

And that is what every single other person in the waiting room was there for.

The second time, I was a bit older, but going through a tough economic time, personally.  I walked in to grab the free condoms in the little paper bag.  There was a girl (and I say girl for a reason) who was in there crying.  There was a staff member, or volunteer (I don’t know, somebody official) telling her she would be okay, that it wasn’t her fault someone did that to her.  The woman was holding her hand and said, “But it looks like you aren’t pregnant so at least that is one less thing to worry about.”  Then she started telling her about help for rape victims.  I walked out with tears welling up in my eyes.

The third and final time, I went in, I was with my first wife and we were grasping at straws trying to figure out the cause of her depression and some other issues she was having.  It was suggested that her hormones may have been out of whack and to try birth control to regulate them.  So we went again to Planned Parenthood (no insurance) and got her birth control, which did not help her, but that had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood.  While there, a woman and her daughter were waiting for a cancer screening which I only know because the daughter kept repeating to her mom, “It won’t be cancer.”  Over and over again.  Also, 4 guys, who were just like me, came in for the paper bags of condoms.

So if you think Planned Parenthood is all about abortion, you are mistaken.  There is ample evidence to back this up, including many anecdotes like mine.  This isn’t even a women’s health issue…it is a public health issue.  Planned Parenthood has helped me, and the least that I can do is speak to my experiences with the organization in an attempt to help them.

Please write and call your Congressmen (I’d say, and Congresswomen, but chances are you don’t have any of those) and tell them not to attempt to defund an organization that is so beneficial to the general welfare of the people in this country.

Finally, a personal message to Congress.  You do not have the votes to override a veto.  You lost.  Shutting down the government because you can’t follow the Constitutional principles of checks and balances from the different branches is both sneaky and skirting the spirit of the law of the land.

Not to mention…people on things like Social Security have no choice but to live month-to-month.  If you withhold those payments for your political gamesmanship, you are threatening people’s very lives.  And what do you think happens when people legitimately believe their lives are under immediate threat?  Luckily, I have family and friends to fall back on should it come to that…but I am one of the lucky ones.  This is not a threat, because I’ll be alright.  But it is strong advice for you to tread very carefully about shutting down the government.

What’ve You Been Up To?

Hello dear reader(s)!

Last night, around 11, someone sent me a text that had me so angry I didn’t get much sleep, and when I did wake up I was in a rage so bad, that I had to workout and drum up until a couple of hours or so ago.  I hate posting when I’m that livid, because usually my posts come off too negative and annoying for my tastes.  So I just kept doing things, hoping that I could calm down enough to sit down.

Luckily, someone messaged me on the Book of Faces and helped me turn my scowl upside dowel.  (That’s how it goes, right?)

So now I get to write the post that I intended, in order to let you know a couple of amusing things that happened to me this week; and just what all I’ve been up to.  I figure this is important since my level of engagement in WordPressVille has been a little lacking lately.  I don’t remember where I left off, but will say that from whenever I left off until Tuesday evening I was either cleaning or planning my trip.

Tuesday evening:  I am going to meet a few friends for shawarma.  For those of you who do not know what shawarma is, think spicier gyro, with more herbs in the veggie portion.  For the area I live in, to even have a shawarma place is a big deal, let alone that place being pretty good.  We got our shawarma and walked to the river where we tried to eat our food (as it fell apart) and had good conversation.  I was also attacked by bees, but not stung.  They just wanted either my shawarma, or more likely, my Mexican Coke.

What is amusing about that?

Well nothing really, but I’m getting to it.

My friend didn’t know what Mexican Coke was.  She was really confused.  I tried explaining to her as we were waiting, but I guess she didn’t hear me.  (For those of you who don’t know what Mexican Coke is, think the Coke you used to drink before the corn lobby took over, which is how Mexico can have higher obesity rates than us, but lower instances of type II diabetes…in my opinion, as there are conflicting studies on that.)  I tried telling her it was just Coke with sugar instead of corn syrup, in a glass bottle as Josh intended, but she didn’t get it until the Coke was on the window.

But that isn’t the amusing part.  You see, I parked my car at a park a bit down the river and decided to walk to the shawarma place.  I figured the walk would take a lot longer than it did, but no, I got there in about 10 minutes, making me 40 minutes early.  So I stood across the street by the river and waited until I saw someone I recognized, or until someone recognized me.  About 20 minutes later, I met up with one of the group coming (so we still had about 20 minutes) and we decided to walk over and check the place out.  There used to be a popular diner upstairs from the shawarma place’s current location, so we walked in and looked, and then tried to walk upstairs to see if we could see the diner.  That door was locked.  So we went downstairs and waited outside for the remainder of the group.  And then it happened.

A guy, holding a manila envelope, walks up and says…direct quote, “Excuse me gentlemen, may I interest either of you in some wax or acid?”

Two things went through my mind at that point.

  1. This is the most polite drug dealer I’ve ever run into.
  2. What is wax?

So, after politely telling him, “No thank you.” while trying to stifle our laughter, I asked my friend if he knew what wax was either.  Neither of us did, so he Googled it.  In my never-ending quest to enlighten, educate, and entertain you, my dear reader(s), I will let you know that wax is apparently some sort of waxy like, hash by-product that is really high in THC.  Learn something new every day, I guess.  I’d feel old, but apparently, I look like the kind of guy who will purchase drugs from a random street dealer.

We had the shawarma, I dropped half of mine, dodged some bees, caught up with people I haven’t seen since high school, and we went out to have a drink at a nearby bar/restaurant and hung out there for a while.  All in all a good night.

Wednesday:  I did a bunch of shopping, (nothing amusing there), and then got that text last night that sent me into a rage today.

Today:  (Thursday here.)  Once I was calmed down, I realized after all the physical activity I did that I should eat something…fast.  So I got up and decided to start with a quick protein shake.  I had a clean shaker cup so I decided to use that instead of my blender.  I poured in the kefir, added my protein powder, put on the lid, shook it…and watched as the contents launched from the drinking hole I thought I had closed and onto my floor, appliances and curtains.  All that deep cleaning done earlier in the week?  Yeah, that was reversed.  I just got done mopping the floor (again) and cleaning off the other spill zones.  Yay me.

And yet still I am in a good mood.  Amazing how that can work, isn’t it?

So what all have you been up to?  Leave me a comment or if you have posted about it recently, leave me a link to your post so I don’t miss it on the reader.

The Frightened One

In your silence I can feel
Terrifying fear
I’m aware you doubt yourself
In letting people near

I don’t think we were prepared
For what things had in store
Both of us a little stung
From pain we’ve felt before

Yet somehow in the midst of fire
A connection formed
And over your defenses
I recklessly stormed

As I got in closer
I know you have pulled back
But I didn’t break those walls
So that I could attack

I know you are a goddess
Who always will survive
I’m not here to hurt you
But to take you alive

Yes you are a goddess
I’m not looking for a savior
I am just a warrior who
Shall fight to win your favor

War On Christianity

Hello dear reader(s)!

Have you heard about the war on Christianity?  I have a million and a half times, and yet, for some reason, I am still surrounded by and bombarded with institutional Christianity.  Somehow, despite this so-called “war”, every single community in the US I have ever been in allows Christians to practice their religions openly, and in some, they even encourage it.

The attacks on black churches were clearly attacks on the fact that they were black churches, as opposed to being battles in an invented war on Christianity.  Do Christians still get killed for being Christian?  Sure.  Just like Atheists get killed for being Atheist, Muslims get killed for being Muslim, Pagans get killed for being Pagan, and on, and on.  But make no mistake, there is no war on Christianity.  Not in the US, anyway.

What makes Christians think they are under attack when their religion dominates this nation like an opponent of the American football team I grew up watching?

I think I have an idea.  I’m just going to throw this out there, but I think a lot of so-called Christians aren’t actually Christians at all, but use it and hide behind it for their own agenda.  I also know people are very resistant to change, especially those indoctrinated with dogma and tradition.

I read an article after I got home this afternoon regarding a court case where a doctor is being sued for not wanting to perform a tubal ligation because it went against that doctor’s deeply held Catholic beliefs.  I really do not understand any of that.  #1.  Was there not an actual doctor, who believes in medicine and science capable of performing that operation?  #2.  Why would anyone want to be a doctor having such strict beliefs that are diametrically opposed to the field they are working in?  #3.  Does that doctor not treat people who eat meat on Fridays?  #4.  Why are people thinking they can pick and choose the passages in their texts to fit their own religion?

Nobody wants to take away this doctor’s right to believe what this doctor wants.  Any perceived war on Christianity is simply non-Christians and those Christians sympathetic to the plight of others who do not share their beliefs, desiring not to have someone elses beliefs forced upon them.

But, I have a compromise solution that I think will work out well.  Hear me out on this one, because it may just lead to more peace between sects as well as between secular and nonsecular people.

Here is the idea:  If your religious views are so deeply held that they prevent you from performing one of the regular functions of the job you want to pursue…find another fucking job.  How hard is that?  You are a pharmacist who does not want to sell contraceptives?  Fine.  Don’t be a fucking pharmacist.  This is the same reason I am not in the military.  This is why I don’t work in a slaughter-house.  This is why I am not a prostitute.  (Well, that and I don’t think the market is all that great.)  This is why I am not a preacher.  If my belief system (even as an Agnostic, we do have beliefs) goes against my job, I don’t do that job.  I’ll never work for a major bank.  I’ll never work in corrections.  I’ll never work for a tobacco company, oil company, or pesticide company.  (Although, I will likely unknowingly work for one of their affiliates.)  If your morals go against the job…don’t take on the fucking job.  Done.

Okay, let’s pretend that you’re a pharmacist and for some reason you failed to notice that part of the job would be selling birth control.  1.  You’d be an idiot.  2.  Advertise it.  All people in any profession with religious beliefs that prevent them from performing the usual and customary duties associated with said profession need to advertise that fact, before anyone wastes their time in an attempt to support them.  All insurance companies should be required to provide coverage to other providers (at in-network rates) anytime one is faced with a situation where someone is obviously in the wrong line of work.

If you are the only doctor in a certain radius, then you have to do the things you don’t want to do, or else fucking quit so someone else can take your place.

Believe what you want.  Do not prevent me from obtaining legal services that are usual and customary for your profession based on those beliefs.  Why should that be too much to ask?

Fly your idiotic Confederate flags, just don’t do it where laws are being made on public property.  Read your idiotic texts, just keep them out of public schools and government facilities.  Hate other people, just don’t take any steps to hurt those people.  Practice your beliefs, just don’t bill yourself as a doctor or other science based professional while you do.  And if, for some odd reason, you are in that conflicting situation, and want to refuse to do your job…then kindly send me to someone who can and will.

Gone are the days of only one lunch counter in a town…for the most part.  If you don’t like me, I don’t fucking like you.  I don’t want your Indiana pizza, or Colorado wedding cakes, or whatever the fuck else you think is so special that you can refuse it to people you do not think are worthy.  We have this thing called the internet now, with delivery services that bring you whatever you need.  If your tiny piece of shit business wants to choose its customers, have at it, just let people know up front so they can avoid you.  And then don’t whine to me when your place goes under.

On The Road Again

Hello dear reader(s)!

I am posting from a Starbucks on my phone this morning, so please excuse the typos and other phone-like infractions.

As I am completely committed to enjoying this life, I have made it a mission to get out more.  Yesterday I went on a hike, but more on that later.

Today I walked to the store, but decided to stop by Starbucks along the way.  Since I am reading and drinking my coffee, I figured now would be as good a time as any to post.

Depending on how tired my arms are from carrying the groceries, I might stop by a yard sale near my house.  I am completely open to seeing where things take me.  Too many things lately have taught me to be better about practicing what I preach.  To live life to its fullest without fear of judgement or consequences so long as you are doing everything you can not to hurt others.

I’ve said it for a while, ever since the cancer, but real logical fears have held me back.  But if there is anything I have learned lately, it is that anything can happen without expectation so why not just go for it.  Granted, I still don’t want to go BASE jumping or anything like that, but only because that kind of thing is not very fun for me.

I am not an adrenaline junky, but I will not shy away from anything I want to do, because of fear.  It is true, we do have nothing to fear but fear itself.

So yesterday I went on a group hike.  My first slightly strenuous (for a normal person) hike since I started getting sick.  And do you know what?  It was a blast.  I had fun, and met some cool people.

Do you know what else?  I fell.  Hard.  I have skinned up knees, a big fat bruise, and a bruised up elbow.  But it was funny!  I’m sure it would’ve been different had I been injured, but having to learn to walk again a few years back taught me how to fall properly.  Like skaters can fall a million times and be fine.  Sure there may be that one freak accident, but you could be walking below an air conditioner that falls out of a window and kills you too.  You could be driving on a dual carriageway (highways here) & be hit by an out of control plane from some airshow in the UK.  Anything can happen to anyone at any time.

How would you rather go out?  Commuting to work, cussing out the traffic, or doing something fun?  I know my answer.

So I fell.  And I laughed, and I got up and finished the hike.  It was the perfect metaphor for my life.  And it was a blast.  Tomorrow I am going on another easier, flatter hike.  Tuesday I have dinner plans with a group of friends.  Friday, I might go hang out with some friends from high school and one person who is now basically family thanks to Hannah.  Sunday, I am going to a metal show with my cousin.  Yes metal.  Because why not?

And on Wednesday the second, thanks to the absolutely unexpected and unasked for (in fact, I attempted to refuse), generosity of a few people and someone I only know from here…I am going to Alaska for nearly a week.

To say I’m excited about this all would be an understatement.  Of course, I still am sick.  I am still in the process of recovering or even stuck at this level in terms of my immune system.  I still need to take some days and nights to rest and recover.  I am still prevented from a lot of things.  I still have doctor’s appointment every week, (except when I am in Alaska) for the foreseeable future.  And I still need to avoid large crowds and anti-vaxxers, and their children.  I can’t be around sick people, and thanks to the shittiest worker’s protections, I can’t work because too many people show up to work sick, or with their kid’s illnesses all over them.

So I am limited, but not from everything.  I understand that now.  I understand some level of risk is not only acceptable but healthy.  And in that, I vow to do more living.

I won’t beat around the bush with people.  If they don’t like it, the people who matter will.  Oh sure, I’ll do the dance that is part of getting to know people (I know this sounds like I’m talking about dating, but it applies to any interaction.), but I won’t play games and will let my intentions be clear; whatever those may be in the particular case.

Take it from me.  Life is short.  You can prepare the best you can for the future, but remember not to get so caught up in a future that hasn’t happened that you forget to live.

Here are some pictures I took on my hike:

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Make it a great life.