A Little Lesson on 5-14-3-18-25-16-20-9-15-14

For awhile now, I have been watching the ongoing case between Apple and The Department of Justice/FBI regarding encryption. If you are not familiar:

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion on Friday seeking to compel Apple Inc to comply with a judge’s order to unlock the encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, portraying the tech giant’s refusal as a “marketing strategy.”…

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the tech company’s help to access shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone by disabling some of its passcode protections. The company so far has pushed back and on Thursday won three extra days to respond to the order.

This has started a whirlwind of debate in the Federal Government and in Silicon Valley; however most consumers/users have no idea what the hell this is all about and why it is so important for them to be able to have encryption without having a “backdoor” built into it.

Now before we get into this, let me address this argument: “Well, if you ain’t got nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t be worried”.  My answer to this is that everyone has something that they do not want the general public or anyone else to know. If you truly “do not have anything to hide” and do not care who sees what then I invite you to remove all of the doors in your home (including the front & back doors), take down your curtains/blinds, leave your car unlocked, remove the passwords from everything that you own that requires a password or combination (phones, tablets, computers, locks, diaries…etc) and also, just leave your keys out on the table. Call your doctor(s) and have your medical records sent over (or just tell them that you want them released to the general public), print up all of your banking statements for public viewing (print up all of your credit card statements, too), and pull out your driver’s license and social security card and tape those to the front of the house. Oh, and be sure you do all of that for your spouse, and kids, too (Marriage license, your spouse’s weight, kids birth certificates, their report cards, their electronics need to be opened, too, don’t forget any of the kid’s journals/diaries/or poetry, all of their medical info, and all of their id cards, too) . Because I am sure they have don’t have anything to hide either, right? Not jumping up and doing this? Haven’t done it already? That’s because no one in their right mind will do any of this because everyone has something to “hide”.

OK, now that’s done. Let’s talk about two questions: What & Why?

What is encryption? 

Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. Unencrypted data is called plain text ; encrypted data is referred to as cipher text.

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/E/encryption.html

Basically, when you encrypt data it is unreadable. To decrypt it, you have to have a decryption key, usually a password, to read the data.

Why do I want to encrypt data? 

Encryption protects our data. It protects our data when it’s sitting on our computers and in data centers, and it protects it when it’s being transmitted around the Internet. It protects our conversations, whether video, voice, or text. It protects our privacy. It protects our anonymity. And sometimes, it protects our lives.

This protection is important for everyone. It’s easy to see how encryption protects journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists in authoritarian countries. But encryption protects the rest of us as well. It protects our data from criminals. It protects it from competitors, neighbors, and family members. It protects it from malicious attackers, and it protects it from accidents.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/06/why_we_encrypt.html

This was the most non-technical explanation that I could find.  Encryption protects us by protecting our data. When our financial files are sitting there in the bank’s data center, they are encrypted. When our doctor has all of our medical files digitalized, they are encrypted. Certain websites are encrypted to keep your browsing safe, and certain messenger apps are encrypted to keep your conversations private.  Your phone has the option to be encrypted or may come already encrypted so that if someone does try to crack into it, they will not be able to easily get to your data.

So, why is the government so against encryption?  Well, it isn’t. The Department of Justice and the FBI are. They want law enforcement to have a “back door” into encryption so they can capture terrorists and gather evidence without having to crack through encryption.  They want it so bad that they dug up and used a law from 1789 to get this case into a courtroom. Basically, they want Apple, Google, Microsoft, HTC, Lenovo, Samsung and every other manufacturer to make their jobs incredibly easy.

Despite how the FBI & DOJ feel about it, the Obama administration has already stated:

“…it is not possible to give American law enforcement and intelligence agencies access to that information without also creating an opening that China, Russia, cybercriminals and terrorists could exploit.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/us/politics/obama-wont-seek-access-to-encrypted-user-data.html?_r=0

Even the Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the  NSA is saying that encryption is “foundational to the future” and that’s coming from the man in charge of not only snooping on citizens, but also guarding every major infrastructure in the country!

So, when it comes to building backdoors in encryption, you have the private sector saying it’s a bad idea, you have the president saying it’s a bad idea, you have the NSA saying it’s a bad idea. Why though? Isn’t catching terrorists and criminals a great idea? Well, yeah, but this is just a horrible way of doing it.

Let’s say a law passes that you have to leave your house’s back door unlocked or having a lock on your back door is illegal. This is so that the police can enter your home more easily if there is an emergency or if there is probable cause to enter your home (like a suspected burglar or something). So, it is now common knowledge that every home in America has an unlocked back door. Do you honestly think that every thief, vandal, and just plain bad person is not going to take advantage of this? Are you going to feel secure knowing that your house has a way for someone to get in easily? This is exactly what can (and probably will) happen if the FBI/DOJ gets its way. Simply because this now creates an exploit in encryption that will constantly have to be patched and updated to keep out malicious “hackers” from all over the globe.

The point is encryption is good, and you should do it.

Now onto a different story regarding the whole Apple vs. the DoJ/FBI thing.

We don’t have to worry about the case of Apple vs. the DoJ/FBI anymore, because it was dropped earlier this month!

The Justice Department withdrew its legal action against Apple…earlier this month…

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/03/28/apple-justice-department-farook/82354040/

Yep, the FBI had motioned to delay the proceedings and then the case was dropped. Why? Because the FBI hired a “3rd Party” and they cracked into the iPhone with no assistance from Apple.  So, now the FBI has the data from the phone from the San Bernardino shooter and Apple is off the hook (for now).

That 3rd party is a company called Cellebrite, now they say that they are a mobile forensics company for law enforcement, the military and all of these other exciting sounding things; however I know them for this:

cellebrite

This is a Cellebrite Touch, most Radio Shack’s, Best Buy’s and Mom & Pop’s cellphone retailers have them. (I know because I used to troubleshoot them when I did support for Radio Shack.) They copy your contacts, pictures, and other information from your  old or broken phone to your new or replacement phone. This is the type of “forensic technology” that it took to break into the iPhone 5c that the FBI couldn’t figure out. Now I am not saying it was this exact machine, but it’s from the same company that makes them. It’s like announcing that an encrypted super-computer has been cracked by the people that make the cash registers at Wendy’s. But, those guys at Cellebrite must be doing something right.

Now, you are probably thinking: “Wait, encryption can be broken? Wait? Then why encrypt stuff?” Because breaking encryption is VERY VERY DIFFICULT. It took the FBI and an Israeli forensics company  almost 5 months to crack into this phone. That’s a Government Agency and a Forensics Corporation. Do you think some “hacker” would have the same capability or patience? My answer is probably not. Some encryption can take months, some can take years, some can take decades and, depending on your phone, by the time you notice your phone is missing, or get a replacement, you can remote wipe and clear all of your data from the phone. So, the person that has taken/found your device gets nothing and once the phone is reported lost/stolen, the IMEI number cannot be activated again.

So, encrypt your mobile devices and learn how to enable remote control of your device in case something does happen to it.

Thanks for reading.

 

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03302016: A Blog Post Into the Future!

Today Snapchat updated its chat feature to blend text, audio & video note, MMS and now audio and video calling all into one chat application. Basically, almost anyway a human can communicate is in this update.

Why the fuck am I talking about Snapchat?

Great Question. I will answer it in a bit.

During the 80’s & 90’s  there were things that we all saw in EVERY Sci-Fi/Space Fantasy film or TV show out there. (A lot of kids aren’t going to have this kind of wonder like those of us that grew up during those decades had) We always wanted to see these things in the future:

  1. Flatscreen/In-wall TVs
  2. Video Phones
  3. Androids/Robots/A.I.
  4. Home Computers (That you can talk to)
  5. “Star Trek” Communicators
  6. Star Trek:TNG Data Pads/Star Trek Tricorders
  7. Lightsabers
  8. Hoverboards
  9. Space Travel/Exploration
  10. Flying Cars
  11. Teleporters
  12. laser guns/phasers

Now we HAVE a lot of these. We have flatscreen TVs on the wall, we have home automation (or “The Internet of Things”) that can react to voice command, we have home computers that you can talk to (If you have Windows 10, or some software), we have robots everywhere (roombas, drones, autonomous lawnmowers and all kinds of stuff in Japan),  and we have A.I. all over the place (Google Now, Cortana, Amazon Echo/Alexa and even Siri) that can perform various tasks for us.

The first flip phone  ever created was modeled after the “Star Trek” communicator by Motorola and it was called the StarTAC . We have the datapads the we saw in multiple sci-fi flicks but mainly accredit “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, we call them tablets. Our tablets and our phones can do a lot of the crap kind of like tricorders and they have A.I. in them as well. Hell, the Google Nexus line is even an homage to “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (or “Bladerunner”, depending how you want to look at it) with the Nexus 5, 6, 7 and so on. Plus, any of our TV’s, Computers, or mobile devices can become the most awesome thing that ever was in the sci-fi world: The Video Phone!

VaderChamber

Well, it wasn’t so awesome for this guy. 

Which brings me to why I mentioned Snapchat. I now have 2 or 3 apps on my device that allows me to make a video call to anyone and I know that my friends have at least one of these same apps because they are on my contacts list in the same app. So, what after 10 – 20 years of waiting and wishing, why are we not using this technology that we thought would be so fucking awesome? Why are we not video calling each other like crazy?

The answer: We are fucking lazy.

2701447

It’s more convenient to text our friends than to take the time to call them, much less VIDEO CALL them. Now, granted with apps like WhatsApp and Telegram you can chat with all of your friends at once and send pictures, voice clips, video clips (I think?), .GIFs and stickers, but it’s still just text. I did the same thing in the 90’s with AOL. Now I am just doing it with a computer in my pocket. Which, yeah is kind of cool, and definitely faster than 56k; however it’s still somewhat antiquated and not the future that we all dreamed of when we were kids watching Buck Rogers, Knight Rider, and , hell, even Spaceballs!

tumblr_n6s2rlWR3a1slgex0o1_500

Maybe it’s just me and my group of friends. Maybe you and your group of friends video chat the shit out of each other, but I am willing to bet that you just text, group MMS, use a message app, or something other than video call. I could be wrong.

However, I can just remember my grandmother would start her day out by making coffee and cooking breakfast. Then once everyone was fed and out of her hair she would sit down with the phone and go through her phone book. She would call people that she hadn’t spoken to in awhile and she would do this for a few hours every day. She made the time for people that she cared about daily. Now, for the sake of transparency, my grandmother was bipolar and unmedicated. She could have been calling people just to bug the shit out of them; however I remember that those calls seemed awfully long and were usually pleasant, but who has that kind of time now days?

I guess what I am getting at is that we have all of this dreamed of technology  and it’s like we don’t use it. It’s like it’s finally here and we are just like “Oh, ok…that’s nice.” and we are not as psyched like we were just 10-20 years ago.

The future is now, and we are just not that fucking excited about it.

 

 

H2Oboat Down: The Sequel to Rabbit Trails

After I wrote the post “Rabbit Trails“, I spoke with my wife about the whole Asperger’s thing. I got kind of emotional as I told her about the whole thing and just looked at me and said:

“You are getting worked up over a test you took over the Internet.”

Now, she didn’t blow off the whole thing or minimize my feelings, what she did was put things in perspective. While, yes these tests were from psychology sites, and yes they were the same test that a psychologist uses to gage EQ; I am not a psychologist and this is not a diagnosis. She also pointed out that a lot of people with Asperger’s don’t function as well as I do (not like I am bragging) and that I may be mistaking my anxiety and my bipolar mixing together as Asperger’s; however I still plan on talking to my therapist to get his feedback and possibly to my psychiatrist that I meet for the first time next week.

So, right now I have what I am calling Schrodinger’s Asperger’s Syndrome because I may and may not have it at the same time and will not know of either outcome until I see a professional (and not just look shit up on the Internet).

However, I am still bipolar, riddled with anxiety and have OCD.

So, at least I have that going for me.

(*Sidenote: The animated movie of Watership Down is the material that childhood nightmares are made of. That is not a fucking kids movie.)

Rabbit Trails

I posted the other day in my random ass post about re-watching some documentaries that I watched when i was first diagnosed as being bipolar. I was thinking of doing a post regarding being bipolar and my experiences with it; however I am not. This entire blog is that exact thing. My experiences with my mental health issues. So, I was going to start a post about how people with bipolar disorder are truly handicapped in the workforce.

While I was researching this topic I stumbled upon something completely different.

Now, it is true that people with bipolar disorder have it a little more rough in the workforce:

…a study funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found. Each U.S. worker with bipolar disorder averaged 65.5 lost workdays in a year…

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2006/bipolar-disorder-exacts-twice-depressions-toll-in-workplace-productivity-lags-even-after-mood-lifts.shtml

There was another site that offered all kinds of facts and numbers, but they summed it up with:

The studies found in the literature search focused on work impairment expressed as long-term unemployment, occupational functioning, absenteeism because of emotional problems and somatic complaints, and poor work performance. Each of the parameters was observed more often among patients with bipolar disorder, even when compared with people with other types of mental illness.

I wanted to couple this information in with the fact that people may also have issues with their emotional IQ and their Empathy Quotient that may factor in with their mental health issues, and by reviewing my own EIQ and EQ, I stumbled onto something that kind of has me worried.

Before we get to that part:

Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior…Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence

———————————————

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include 3 skills:

1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;

2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;

3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/emotional-intelligence

 

Your Empathy Quotient is a bit different:

The Empathy Quotient, often abbreviated as EQ is a psychological self-assessment questionnaire measuring empathy levels in an individual. Its predominate clinical use is as a screening tool for Autism Spectrum Disorders in adults

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy_Quotient

If you want to take the test and evaluate yourself; then just go here .

When I re-took the emotional-IQ and did the evaluation for the EQ, I kind of expected below average results; however I didn’t expect for my Emotional IQ to be a 68 which is fairly low and my Empathy Quotient to be a 21 (which is common with people with Asperger’s or Autism).

So, now that I see these numbers, I am starting to wonder: Was I misdiagnosed 9 years ago? Do I have Asperger’s and not bipolar disorder? Or maybe I have both?

Now I am sitting here and wondering how do I get tested? What if I do have Asperger’s?

I have made a list and I will be talking to my therapist about this in our next session and see where we need to go with it. If I need to I have my first appointment with my shrink’s PA that takes my insurance coming up and I can talk to him about it then, too.

Until then, I will just be here. Descending further into madness.

 

 

Regarding Easter:

Happy Easter!

That’s correct, your eyes didn’t deceive you.

I wished you a Happy Easter.

Most people don’t think anything of this, unless they know you’re an atheist. Then people tend to shit bricks. Yeah, I am not some boring bastard that abhors the holidays because I don’t believe that there is any form of almighty being that tucks us in at night and nordo I believe in the resurrection of Christ, the g-ddess Eastra (where we get the name Easter from) or any of the other spring g-ddesses that had a festival at this time of year, or the Greek g-d Phanes emerging from the cosmic egg during the “moveable feast” that is Easter. I do like spending time with family, watching kids hunt down brightly colored eggs like it was The Hunger Games, and just having a good time with people that I love.

Yes, I sleep in and miss out on the Easter Sunday church service. That should be a given.

Plus, there is one thing that only happens around Easter that I wait for all year. It’s one of my favorite times of the year due to this one thing:

Cadbury Eggs.

Made In Chelsea star Louise Thompson recreates American Beauty for Cadbury Creme Eggs advertising campaign - 28 Jan 2013

I would totally be telling this lady to get away from my Cadbury Eggs.

I have been in love with these little bastards since I was a child. I have made myself literally sick by eating too many of them (Or accepting the challenge from my cousin to see who could eat the most of them). They are like little ovals of chocolate covered heroine. I don’t know what it is about them, but I know if I ever moved to the UK that I would be dead within a week (or less) from a Cadbury Egg overdose. I am already planning to hit the local pharmacies (which is ALWAYS the best place to get holiday candy) tomorrow or Monday and buy the suckers out.

So, if I don’t post anything for awhile it’s because I have gone into some type of insulin shock from eating shit-loads of these delicious addictive once a year treats that I can’t get enough of or I am still eating these delicious addictive once a year treats that I can’t get enough of.

Unless the wife stops me from my self-destructive chocolate egg onslaught, which there is a good chance of.

Until then, be sure to always look on the bright side of life.

 

Completely Random. Seriously, I have no idea.

I am still a bit under the weather with this whole bronchitis thing and I have to sit still for 30 minutes, 3-4 times a day, and do a nebulizer treatment to help open up my airways and clear out all of the crap that is in my lungs. So, to entertain myself, I decided to revisit some old documentaries that helped me understand my diagnosis of being bipolar. I rewatched “Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive” and “Up/Down”.  It was good to see these films again and get a little perspective of where I was almost 10 years ago when I first saw them, and then the present.  I see that I am WAY more balanced than I was and I do have a clearer understanding of my condition.

I was going to come up with some kind of awesome post regarding some of the things in those two films; however I didn’t and the moment has escaped me.

They are both on YouTube, go check them out if you have never seen them.

Because the breathing treatments I do contain albuterol, I am wired all damned day. Basically, one breathing treatment gets me clear airways and mild hypo-mania. Again, I am doing 3-4 of these a day; so I am getting about 30-50 GREAT IDEAS for posts about every 45 minutes. I am also taking cold and sinus medicine along with a non-drowsy antihistamine (basically, more uppers).  Oh, and did I mention that I drink about 3 cups of coffee in the morning?

Yeah, I am full of ideas right now. (I also cleaned the kitchen and made breakfast)

I went out tonight, inhaler in hand for any emergencies, and spent some time with friends. We sat about and talked. At one point, like any group does, multiple conversations start happening. My wife and my friends wife were talking about something, my buddy and his wife were setting up beer pong and cooking dinner. Me and two of my other good friends were talking about MySQL vs. Microsoft SQL Studio. Eventually, my buddy the cook and the wives went to g have a smoke leaving “just us 3 nerds” there. So, of course we get on the topic of religion. Not to make this sound like a bad “walks into a bar” joke but the 3 of us are:

Me: Gnostic Atheist

Friend A: Brought up Christian, now somewhat unaffiliated

Friend B: Non-Practicing, only Kosher on the high-holidays Jew

This started because Friend A mentioned the Matt Dillahunty videos that I had been watching and wanted to know more about them, Friend B didn’t know what Friend A was talking about so I explained the whole thing to both of them. This brought up a discussion about the bible and it’s shaky authenticity. About the time we are really getting into it, the rest of the crew comes back in. We are continuing our discussion, which has now gone to how Jesus may have just been a legend and how by Jewish birth-right he wouldn’t have been an actual Jew. Needless to say one of the wives isn’t very comfortable with this conversation AT ALL. She was brought up in a very, VERY strict religious Christian home and this type of conversation wasn’t something that you even thought about. So, she is trying to derail it and change the topic.

It wasn’t working.

However, Friend B had to run next door to check on his wife and kid so, the topic got changed somehow.

I just find it sad that, people get free from the environment of having religion shoved down their throat & up their ass, yet it still has an effect on them. They don’t even practice that same religion, maybe don’t even believe it, but when you talk about it they still get so uncomfortable that they feel the need to force a change of topic. Mind you, she wasn’t rude. I am not mad at her. I just feel sad that she is still indoctrinated to the point where talking about religion, faith, or Jesus in a critical way or even examining the topic makes her uncomfortable.

When Friend B came back we then started talking about religion again; however not quite in the same vein. He wanted us to come over for Passover. My buddy that likes to cook is making kosher Gyros. So, I have no idea what I am doing for Easter, but I have plans for Passover.

Mazel Tov!

I had about 30 other great things that I wanted to post, but I cannot remember them now. So, I will just leave these random little thoughts here and if anything else pops up, I will just create another post of just random crap.

Bronchitis and the Burden of Proof

So, I have been sick for the past few days, but I am on the mend. Bronchitis is a bitch & takes a lot out of you. Apparently, breathing is important.

Who knew?

While I was sick and laid up, I was watching a few shows and I found a Youtube series by Matt Dillahunty called “The Atheist Debates”; however they are not debates but a webseries on different topics and discussions. The one (Well, one of the ones)  that caught my attention was on the subject of the burden of proof.

Now, I don’t get into a lot of debates with people, but when I do I like to be on my toes. I never studied debate in school, but I am pretty quick witted so I just usually rely on that. After listening to this lesson though, I am now amazed at what I have learned.

Basically, the video goes over the burden of proof and establishing a default position. The biggest thing that I learned is that the burden of proof is not a decision making tool, but the framework that the default position is established on a claim between two or more propositions. Every claim has a burden of proof and the default position should be disbelief; however disbelief doesn’t mean that you believe the opposite of the claim.

Basically think of it like this:

Claim: Red is the most awesome color ever

Default Position: Disbelief – You may think a different color is better, you may hate all colors or you may just not have a favorite, but you want to hear this guy out first.

(Just remember, the more complicated the proposition, the higher the burden of proof.)

One thing that struck me as odd was that to find a default position you have to find a True Dichotomy.  This means the whole true/false statement is out. It’s wrong. Instead of true/false, a better way of thinking is True/Not True.

Example: I do believe in Santa Claus / I do not believe in Santa Claus

To me this just clarifies things much more and creates a stronger personal position that the true/false binaries that I have always used. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

The other thing that he goes into was rejecting both propositions. He uses an example of a jar of gumballs and that the 2 propositions are:

1: the number of gumballs is even

2: the number of gumballs is odd

Well, both can be true and neither can be a default position. So, both propositions can (and probably should) be rejected because it would be impossible to know without more information. He gives another example about this with a cop hiding around a corner, and again, because burden of proof is not a decision making tool,  both propositions of the cop being there and not being there are plausible and can be rejected. At this point you would just be guessing without further information.

What has to be established is a Null Hypothesis. This is a default position between propositions because it usually accepted as the most rational and true. To be considered a Null Hypothesis the hypothesis:

  • cannot proven or be confirmed
  • can be proven false by another competing hypothesis that is more reasonably true.
  • Generally accepted as true.

Example (one of the ones he gives): Null Hypothesis: Chipmunks Do Not Come From Another Dimension.

Accepted as Null Hypothesis because of the evidence of the chipmunk in the evolutionary model. Cannot be confirmed that another chipmunk dimension exists, but the evidence supports this as the default position due to competing hypothesis based on the theory of evolution.

The Null Hypothesis is a default position because we do not have evidence or any good reason to believe otherwise as of yet.

What I took away from this is something that I have always held as true and I now have a more knowledgeable way of seeing it and using it on the occasion that I do find myself talking religion with someone. The burden of proof is not on the disbeliever, it is on the believer. G-d could present himself at anytime and prove themselves as real, it would require exhaustive knowledge to provide a competing hypothesis to prove false, and there is not a good reason to believe in it, yet (if ever). Therefore, theism cannot be a null hypothesis or a default position. So, if someone asks you why don’t you believe in g-d? Reject that argument as illogical, because the burden of proof is not on you but on them.

I will end this with a helpful quote:

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, “F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

Ricky Gervais

 

 

 

 

 

If you can’t say something nice…

I was going through the multiverse that is Twitter when I saw that my friend Jamie had posted something on her site titled “AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MEANEST, NASTIEST MOMS ON THE INTERNET“.  I enjoy what she writes so I gave it a read and one line from her post hit me like a punch in the chest.

…and most of all, I want to cry for the mom that never will be, but had one particularly terrible commenter tell her that if God had wanted her to have children, he wouldn’t keep making her miscarry.

This hit me because I lived this. I actually went through what this sub-human dick wagon typed out on their keyboard to another person from behind their TCP/IP connection in the comfort of their couch, or other seating, like the spineless waste or air that they are.

But, back on topic.

Back in the day when I was still involved with the church and still felt called to ministry, my wife and I were trying to have a baby. For years we tried and we kept losing the pregnancy. Usually the miscarriage would happen in the first 2 weeks after my wife was late and/or we got that faint little line on the pregnancy test. We didn’t let it get to us (much) because we had faith that g-d would see to it and bless us with a beautiful, healthy child that everyone would adore when he saw fit. Finally after years of faint lines and early miscarriages, we had a solid line. I didn’t believe it, my wife didn’t believe it, so we went to the local drug store and bought every pregnancy test known to man. The wife drank a ton of water and pee’d all over everything we just spent an ass ton of money on. We lined all of the pregnancy tests up like a fleet of battleships on the coffee table and stared. Soon, we had lines, one said “pregnant” in digital text and I think one made a noise! Holy shit, I was going to be a Dad! However, we didn’t want to get too excited, we made an appointment with her OBGYN to do a blood test. A few days later:

We were confirmed that we were pregnant! She was about 2 months along and it was all of our dreams come true. Now, they said to wait until you are like 4  months along before you tell anyone, but fuck that WE TOLD EVERYONE! People lost their fucking minds! All of our friends were appointing themselves “Uncles” and “Aunties”. Parents were going to be grandparent and they were thrilled! Actual brothers and sister were going to be uncles & aunts. Cousins were going to have a new cousin! People were buying gifts for the baby, buying booze and cigars for the soon-to-be dad and it was all just amazing! Touchdown! We finally fucking did it! WE WERE HAVING A BABY!

About two weeks later my wife started spotting and having cramps. OBGYN said that can be normal, but if it get’s really bad to get to an ER ASAP. The bleeding and the cramps got worse into the night and we went to the closest ER. The doctor told us that things weren’t looking good for the baby and that if that a certain level of something went below X then the pregnancy was self-terminating. He prescribed some pills or something and said to come back in 48 hours to re-draw labs. The cramps got worse and there was more bleeding. We went back two days later and found out that we lost the baby. Now, we had to go home and wait for “the process” to finish. I went to get my wife her new prescriptions of pain killers and whatever else he prescribed.

We then had to tell everyone that they were not going to be grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, and that we were not going to have an adorable child for them to see and hold. I remember people immediately talking to us about g-d’s plan, and adoption, foster parenting, in vitro; hell I even contemplated buying a kid (no I am not joking). I still held onto g-d’s plan, and the scripture:

Matthew 7:8-11

8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

When we looked into in vitro the cost to success ratio was just not rational and our insurance only covered part of it and only so many attempts. We had friends that volunteered to be surrogates, but that wasn’t covered by our insurance. We looked into adoption, but as soon as mental illness was mentioned in both parents that conversation was over. We had a teenage family member get pregnant and she thought about giving the baby up for adoption. We talked to her about letting us have it and doing a private adoption, but the baby-daddy changed his mind and wanted to be a father. So, that option was closed (even though I had a plan to “make” him change his mind back. I was a bit manic at the time). We thought about fostering, but to get attached and then have these kids adopted out, moved around and taken away just wasn’t something we were interested in.  So, we gave up. After a year of keeping this bottled up and just keeping in with g-d’s plan, I had a plan to commit suicide and went into an in-patient facility. We were asked to write letters to what/who we were angry at and I wrote one to g-d. It was about 10 pages long. That’s when I first realized that there is no plan. That this scripture that I hung onto as truth, as a promise, was a lie. I had knocked, and the doors were slammed in my face. I had sought and found only sorrow. I had asked for years and received nothing but a cruel joke. I had been given a stone, and a snake and I was done with that shit.

It was that day that I decided to “kick the opium habit” and leave g-d, the church and false promises and hope behind me.

 

I too would want to cry for this person. This mother that will never be that has had to read this comment from some foolish, thoughtless, bible thumping cunt. I would cry and then I would get angry. Then I would be making a comment of my own that would probably not get approved by the moderator.

 

I feel sorry for this mother that will never be, because I am a dad that will never be and I get it.

 

 

 

Beware of Old Man Starkey

I had an old man moment today.

There was a knock at the door. So, I check the security camera and I see this kid at my door. I yell just a minute and put on pants. More knocking, more yelling, me yelling at dogs to get away from the door, and finally I open the door to one confused looking kid.

Now, before I go any further, let me describe my front door or better yet, what is on it.

I have this sign on a 8″x6″ card placed at eye level, printed in various fonts and colors and in bold. The only way to miss this sign is to:

  1. Be blind
  2. Completely ignore it
  3. Feel like an entitled shit and feel like signs don’t apply to you.

My sign reads:

No Soliciting (This is in 3″ bold print)

This includes religious solicitation. (This is in 1/2″ bold under it)

We are not interested in helping you win a trip by subscribing to magazines, we already have a security system (you’re on camera by the way), We are happy with our Cable/Internet provider, We know who we are voting for, We already have someone that mows the lawn, and We don’t want your menu or coupons on our door.

Seriously, We don’t Want Any. (1 ” bold)

EXCEPTION: If you are a child selling candy for school or camp or a Girl Scout selling cookies. Then ring the bell or knock, we will usually be making a purchase.

Now, for redundancy, I also have this door mat:

IMG_20150804_141436

So, this ballsy little bundle of America’s future asks me if I want my yard mowed; despite my sign and door mat. Now, I haven’t been able to get in touch with my regular lawn guy for a couple of weeks, so it may be this kid’s lucky day. I step outside to see this kids equipment. All he has is a push mower. I also notice that the ground is wet, it’s cloudy, and that it is currently drizzling. I ask how much and he shoots me a price of $15. I tell him that I need the yard mowed, but not today. It’s been raining and it’s probably going to start raining again soon, but come talk to me later about mowing the yard.

He looks at me all sad and says OK and I go back inside to continue to binge watch the new season of Daredevil. About half a episode later I hear a lawn mower. I saw that the kid was talking to the neighbors and maybe he was mowing their yard. Then I hear the mower REALLY close by my front door. I pause Netflix and go look outside. To my shock this little jerk is mowing the damn yard. Because I do not have a high emotional IQ, and I do not handle children well, I called the wife and ask her what I should do. She gives me some ideas and I form a game plan to go and gently confront this dim-witted  tween aged crotch fruit.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I am sick? Like spring allergies brought on a sinus infection sick? Yeah, so I feel like warmed over death served on steamed ass.

So, this kid of course is now the farthest point from the front door and I have to yell. I finally get his attention and ask him what is he doing?

Kid: **confused look**

ME: Remember when I said: “Not Today, it’s been raining and to check back some other time”?

Kid: **Confused Look Intensifies**

ME: Hello? Are you hearing me?

Kid: Yeah.

ME: **confused look**

Kid: So…you don’t want your yard mowed?

Me: **pinches bridge of nose** No. I already told you not today.

Kid: **drags lawn mower into street with sad look on his face**

So, now I have a half-mowed lawn and I doubt these little brain-dead jerk-offs are coming back. When my wife came home I told her this story and she then just looked at me and smiled and summed up the whole thing.

Baby, kids are stupid and don’t understand.

I thought about this and remembered that the human brain is in development until the age of 23. So, from this point forward when children that are not selling candy come to my door I will just refer them to the mat.

Just to keep it simple for their developing brains.