Monthly Archives: June 2012

Dear Diary….

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Dear Diary:

I saw that floating carrot again, today. This time it was just barely out of reach! Next time…I’m sure I’ll get it!

Sincerely,

Ellie J. Aston

PS: I’m back on the pill again, and that means less time stressing over PMS and more time to stress over the important things in life. Like work. Score one for efficiency! I am sooooo getting that promotion!

PPS: I’m on a new pill for anxiety (it’s Alprazollo or Alprazallom — anyway, it’s Xanax) so no more panic attacks during the bi-weekly meetings. Again, score another for efficiency! =D

PPPS: Oh, also, work just hired four new interns — all Paki’s! What the fluff?! Do you think they’re trying to outsource us?

PPPPS: So it turns out the Xanax makes me really drowsy. Fortunately for me, my doctor also has me on these new diet pills, and they totally work! I mean, they boost energy levels, increase concentration, they’re like some kind of wonder drug! God, these are so effective, I’m surprised they aren’t illegal!

PPPPPS: Alright, that last post-post-post script entry has me worried now, and I’ve been up all night thinking about it. What if I do lose my job to these….these…..immigrants? Do you think they’re even here legally? They barely even speak English! I just finished the last ten of my Xanax — what am I going to do?

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

 

 

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This Is How You Facebook

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[click the image to enlarge]

Folks, for those of you who don’t already know (which is pretty much everyone), my parents have always been something of a pair of conspiracy nuts. And being reared by such nuts has definitely been a pain in my ass. Needless to say, it’s had quite the impact on me over the years. But yesterday I finally crossed over that threshold: that special moment that one always hears stories about, dreams about, yet for many of us, always remains just out of reach.

I’m talking about that moment where I can actually say, “I really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to do it again!” (Girls….you know what I’m talking about. Boys….you probably won’t ever admit it, but you secretly do too!) Because this afternoon, it all came to a head, shortly before it resulted in a premature climax. What can I say? It was my first time!

At any rate, as most of you aren’t yet privy to my Facebook—and probably won’t ever be. What? I like my privacy!—I decided that experience was worth sharing with you all here, today.

So go ahead. Take a peak. And enjoy being voyeurs for a day! And just think, my friends on Facebook get to watch me bare all like this everyday! Jealous? Don’t be. It’s awkward for them, too!

 

Excuses….

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Many of us have made the mistake of believing that just because we have  discovered that there is a possibility (a plausible theory) that explains why we are the way we are, this somehow validates us, as if it were true.

The truth is, plausibility is not tantamount to empirical evidence. Maybe we are and we aren’t born that way. But to act as if a plausibility is true is, consequently, fallacious. So while a theory may have come about through scientific means, citing it as if it were empirical evidence is not scientific at all. Yet this is the same fallacy we find in those following organised religion.

To put it plainly: It’s nothing more than hope rolled up into a tangled ball of a faith that either cannot be proved, or we do not want to be proven. Because, in the end, we’re not searching for answers, we’re searching for excuses. But my words alone won’t keep you from searching, nonetheless. That’s how you came across my blog in first place — isn’t it?

So as long as you are going to be searching for a rhyme or a reason that explains why you are the why you are, perhaps you can take a bit advice with you before you go:  For every answer, every explanation that you come across in your search, take them all (or at least most of them) with a grain of salt. But in the meanwhile, ask yourself this: Do I really need to come up with an explanation to be myself? To excuse myself? Or what will it take for me to just be?

Sometimes it’s when you stop looking that the answer reveals itself.

(this article is in response to those of within LGBT community who cite various theories for why we may be born this way, yet treat them as fact)

See also:

https://tsvandenberg.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/jadis-argiope-on-the-topic-of-sexuality

https://tsvandenberg.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/je-crois/

Je Crois….

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This blog was published in early 2011. I’ve updated and corrected many redundancies, misspellings, grammatical and syntactical errors. Many paragraphs were moved, while others deleted. It is for this reason that WordPress has seen fit to publish this as a new blog. It is not. But I hope you will appreciate it, all the same.

-T.S. Vandenberg

I would like to propose to you a dream, my dream

You see, I dream of a world of true and total freedom. Where information is free, truth is not hidden, or exchanged for a hefty price, and knowledge of all things (both good and evil) is considered a sacred right.

I believe also that myths have their places, as do all half-truths. And that as long as we take them all with a grain of salt, the dangers of a little knowledge can be kept at bay.

I believe in music, literature, dance, art in all forms of expression. And that is what has led me here today.

Can you hear it? The quartz is singing!

I would go so far as to say that most of us probably don’t hold a whole truth (in all its dimensions) in our head for any given instance; or if we do, not for very long. We break it down and analyse it individually, which is where most of us go wrong. For you see, no one truth is wholly valid. On its own, it lacks context; the bigger picture, if you will. Truth is but a facet upon a greater gem of comprehension. To deny all others is to deny its complexity, its completeness. In that sense, it is inherently flawed and, for most purposes, worthless.

Where is all this going?

I’m taking about sexuality. And if you will bear with me a little longer, I would like to share a statement I made a couple of months back on Twitter.com via TwitLonger:

Why do they not yet see that as long as what we do is consensual and private, no one should have any say if we are gay or straight; prefer to jerk off to ourselves in the mirror (yes crossdressers, I know that’s what you’re up to); like to take it up the butt while going down on someone in a clown suit; are into extreme fisting porn; or doing it for money.

Fair is fair. This is our country too! And if the law doesn’t like it, the law can find another land to serve.

Because here sex isn’t just sex. Sex is a means of channeling a deeper part of ourselves. It’s how we unwind, it’s how we open up. And in some cases, it’s the only line of work that is being true to nature. Some of us are just born sexual creatures. Now why should they ever want to take that away from us?

I had posted this in response to some news I had been following and felt outraged enough to respond in kind. But my point was, and is, quite clear: Whether the conservatives or fundamentalists want to admit it, sex is, and always will be, an important aspect of our culture. And it’s just one facet that makes this gem of humanity so breathtaking.

Sexuality is not just a means of expression between two persons.

It is a means of expression, period. The very nature of it is full of so many complexities, the only way to describe it is art. Now, whether that art is kept private, or on exhibition [in pornography, for example] is strictly up to the artist. I would also like to point out that all men may not be destined to be painters, nor all women sculptors. And whether it is a part of you or not, it is no one’s place to say when or how you should express it. Given, you can teach almost anyone the mechanical and superficial details of it, but that does not mean their heart is in it; nor are they under any obligation perform.

The point is, no matter whether you are a performance artist, or a loving spouse, your body is your body, and no man or woman should ever have any say in what you do with it.

I’ll Have What She’s Having!

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This morsel was inspired by the contrasting flavours of science, religion, fundamentalism and all that yummy stuff. And while it may not contain those particular ingredients, it is strongly reminiscent of their respective essences. Please feel free to take as much as you want of it, or nothing at all. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if it’s not to your tastes. Bon appétit!


Let me ask you a question

How often do you question your faith? If you vote, how often do you question the facts quoted by the representative you elected? Your president? How about the science you were taught back in high school? College? How about the studies you just read in the Journal, Science? Nature?

Okay, so that was maybe seven questions, but you get the point

Most of us are probably skeptics of religion, if we’re leaning more toward agnostic; and science, if we’re more religious; of politics, if we’re rooting for the other team. But we really seldom question anything at all. We just disagree with it. And when we do question, we simply don’t want to know the answers enough to do the research ourselves, so our investigations often stop short of the truth. And thus, we satisfy ourselves with easy answers; the kind we give our own children. You know: those yellow-brick roads, leading to pre-determined conclusions. Conclusions that validate our positions, but seldom do them any merit.

And you know, as bad as it sounds

It’s not that we’re necessarily lazy or anything, it’s that these investigations simply take time too much of our time. I mean think about it: if we questioned every single fact that we were taught in school, we would never have learned anything because of the infinite questions of how? and why? filling all of our class time. So to make matters simple, we’ve learned to defer to a higher authority. We start by deferring to our parents and our teachers. Then to our pastors and politicians. To the doctors and researchers. In other words: to the professionals themselves. These are the shepherds that we have designated in our lives, and all we need to do is follow their lead. Is it any wonder that they often seem to have us by the throat?

So what does this mean?

It means that (Religious or Atheist, Conservative or Liberal, String Theory or The Standard Model) we all tend to listen to what anyone has to say unless it goes against our core beliefs or in some way contradicts our way of life. This is called cafeteria style faith, and we all do it. You see, in any other age, we would be less independent, and have hosts who would pre-select the various items on our proverbial plates. But since we are privileged to live in a modern age of free thinking (an age prone to the flattery of self-centered advertisements; of drive-thru’s, and endless buffets) we tend to patron only the systems that allow us to have it our own way. So we look around and assemble a plate of ideas that we feel is most palatable; most compatible with our own tastes. Much like matching the appropriate wine with our meal, or dessert with our entrée, we tend to match the right “facts” with our core beliefs. Now the fun part is when we start inviting guests over to join us at this same buffet and try playing host ourselves; expecting them to swallow the things that we find palatable; never considering  that they might have tastes all their own. Okay, so in case you didn’t get it, that last part was sarcasm.

The point is, we’re all the same, really

Because, while we may not share the same beliefs as everyone else, we’re still just consumers, dining in the same buffet, engaging in the same experience that we call life. So relax! Loosen a notch or two on your belt, and pick up a plate! Because there’s plenty of food for thought to go round!

And just remember

If you don’t like anyone trying to shove their stuff down your throat, don’t try to push yours down anyone else’s, either. Yes, that includes your kids. What? ….I’m just sayin! ;-P

Geekiest Blog Post Ever!

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So this morning I woke up thinking about Star Trek and how, if I were one its earlier writers, I would have written transporter scenarios very differently. Like a lot of my work, it’s rather grim. Still, I hope you can appreciate it.

 

“You understand that, by agreeing to this mission, you are agreeing upon a literal death sentence, from which there is no hope of going back?”
You hold your breath as you reply, “I do.”
“….And that the consequence of this mission will render your body nothing more than a hollow vessel, to be used by the Federation as it sees fit?”
You gasp a little as you confirm, “I do.”
“You understand that if you feel you cannot fulfill your obligation, now is the time to speak up, or forever hold your peace?”
As much as it goes against every fiber of your being, you abstain. Your silence is your confirmation.
“Very well then. Please raise your right hand and repeat after me….”

You knew what you were getting into. That once you swore in, there would be no going back.  And you were given every opportunity to opt out; not to say that you weren’t strongly persuaded otherwise. Naturally, you were offered various incentives. Not the least of which being a guarantee that your family would be well taken care of after you were gone. And now that you’ve agreed, you await your commander’s arrival, as you prepare to be briefed on the details of this critical mission.

You sit there in silence. You look around at what appears to be a soundproof conference room, filled with blank displays ready to deliver a presentation. The reality of it begins to set in. You feel your heart fill with dread. One of your superiors strums his fingers on the table, but you realise that sound is greatly muffled. Every second in this room hammers into your heart just how grave this mission really is. Suddenly the door slides open, and the commander enters.

After the briefing, you are escorted to a private cell, for the remainder of the day. There may be others joining you along this mission, but you are under orders not to discuss the mission, so this current state of isolation is to help ensure that you will not violate those orders. Meanwhile, you are offered the highest accommodations. You discover it’s not so much a cell, as it is a suite. You find your room filled with state of the art fixtures and appliances; a bed so comfortable, you feel practically weightless lying down on it. Just outside your room is balcony with holographic scenery. The view would be breathtaking, if only you had a solid breath to give away. As you look around, you find you have your own dining room and, lying upon the table, a classic menu, offering meals from the Fleet Admiral’s personal chef. There is also a luxurious day room, filled with elaborate, hand-made furniture, along with a vast selection of music, movies, video games, and pornography. For one night only, you will be living like a king. But you realise, it’s all for show. It’s really just meant to calm your nerves. Because after tonight, it will all be over. If this were any other time and place, you would be ecstatic; honored to enjoy such extravagance. But tonight, you aren’t hungry. Instead, you feel sick, as your stomach begins to flutter. And you know that, no matter hard you try, you will not be able to sleep this night — for these are your final hours. You almost feel that you’re already dead. (Almost. But just wait. That feeling will arrive, soon enough.)

The following morning you awaken to the clumsy boots of the security personnel who will escort you from here. You don’t how, but you figure they must have either gassed you, or reduced the oxygen supply to your room to make you fall asleep; not that you feel refreshed.  The flutters begin to resume, as you are sternly directed to hurry up and get dressed. The whole matter is impersonal, but you realise it has to be, under the circumstances.

As soon as you are ready, you are directed to climb into the vehicle that will drive you down to the transporter room. Wherever you’re departing from, it will naturally be isolated from the rest of the ship (or, if you are on a world, far away from the general population), so as to reduce the risk of contamination. Upon arrival the security chief unlocks the portal, and instructs you to enter and walk toward the center of the room. Yet only you — and those others selected for your party, if any — will enter. Inside, you will find the  room to be a dark, great, hollow chamber; filled with various large, ominous, dimly lit instruments along the walls. This whole place is cold, and sterile. And while you can’t smell anything really, it somehow reeks of death and decay. And as soon as the portal seals behind you, it really hits you: you are truly abandoned, along with the echoes of this chamber. Meanwhile, you will have to wait about five minutes for your former escorts to ride a safe distance before they give the okay to engage this menacing machine.

You look around, studying the place; not that it will do you any good. There is no escaping now. Just waiting. And you know it won’t be long. You wish you could find words for the anticipation you’re feeling now, but words have escaped you in this final hour. You don’t know what to do. Should you stand or pace, or sit down, or try to find some peace in the last moments you have here? If only you could relax! You wish you had the courage to face this with a Zen-like serenity, but all you want to do right now is jump out of your skin; you are so afraid!

Far away, the transporter team initiates the countdown and the room   suddenly fills with an intense, eye-scalding light — even with your eyes firmly closed —  as the floor drops out from under you; your body, suspended in air. At once, your heart begins to convulse, and then suddenly seize, as you go into cardiac arrest. Your muscles begin clench, forcing your body into an involuntary foetal position. You then begin to feel as though your flesh were being stripped away from your body, layer after layer; cooking you from within, with greater intensity in each passing millisecond. Time seems to stand still for an eternity, yet the pain is unyielding. Meanwhile, the most nauseating sound reverberates within your skull and every bone in your body. And then epiphany shrouds you as you realise: This is really how I die. That thought only lasts for a fleeting instant as your entire body succumbs to the awesome event of nuclear fission. Suddenly, your atoms begin to erupt, one after another; yet the energy remains contained where your body was suspended. The walls of the chamber then begin to close inward, as your energy is absorbed into electromagnetic coils. It is then routed, and directed through a transmitter which will send your energy to a predetermined receiving station.

Later, your transmission will be received and decrypted, and your effigy reconstituted in a fusion chamber. Immediately up arrival, a team dressed in HazMat gear will rush to apply defibrillators and adrenaline shots to your rendition, and attempt to revive it; but yours is a death that can never be reversed. Still, your effigy will carry out whatever mission you signed up for, and make your world proud. If only they knew.

Neither your family or world can ever know, of course. All will remain classified. If anyone knew what it meant to be transported, there would surely be resistance; mass protests. World Congresses around the galaxy would be petitioned to end this brutal practice! It would be regarded as cruel, inhumane, and unnatural. Many would deem yours (and those like yours) abominations, and rightly so. For yours will be nothing more than a cold, lifeless, imitation. Devoid of all passion or ambition. But it will always be aware of the emptiness within. It will become apathetic, yet discontent. Always wanting what was taken from it, never to be reclaimed. To have signed those orders, and sworn yourself over, was to sign away that which truly made you human — your soul! You knew that, but you didn’t really know. And now it’s too late.

Your fate was a cruel one. For the moment you signed those orders, you knew you would never see your family ever again. Early on, when they first began human testing, they actually did try allowing them to return to their old lives and families; ignorant of the consequences. But then they found out the hard way. Naturally, there were cover-ups, false diagnoses, pay-offs as their renditions were recovered. The truth is, while it may look like you and act like you at first, it won’t be you. It’s sounds cliché, but it’s true: you really are one of a kind, and there is no substitute. It won’t be your mind, or your life; but it will think it is. Yet whatever you it is, it will decay, as it slowly begins to lose grip of reality. Your vessel will become homicidal at worst; suicidal at best. And its life expectancy won’t be much more than two years. Until then, it will be the Federation’s burden to keep. And they will squeeze as much out of it as they can — which won’t be much, after the first six months. Afterwards, it  will be little more than an invalid. Fortunately, the moment it is diagnosed with this syndrome, its diagnosing physicians and counselors will notify their commanders and recommend scheduling your effigy’s immediate dismal from service. In other words: it will be put to sleep.


And that’s how it ends. Not so storybook, now is it? The simple fact is, teleportation simply isn’t possible without killing the subject. It’s cruel. It’s heartless. But f
ortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way:

  • It’s called education
  • Awareness 
  • Write your congressmen 
  • Your mayor 
  • Your local pastor, even!

Rally your friends and family, your neighbors and pizza deliverymen! And petition to end this brutal practice right here and now!

The United Federation of Planets doesn’t want you to know their dirty little secret. But the secret’s out now, and it’s time to spread it. Make like the twenty-first century and wiki-leaks this already! Who knows how many lives are being lost under the false label of being “Killed In Action”? Lives you could be saving right now, if you only had the courage to shed light on this heartless practice!


Don’t delay! The time to act is now!

 

Disclaimer: This entire scenario is one-hundred-percent fiction, spewed forth from the mind of a seriously demented genius; if you choose to petition your congressmen, your mayor, or your pastor about the inherent evils in transporter technology, you. are. an idiot; the author takes no responsibility in whatever radical actions you may take, should you take this article seriously; void where prohibited; your results may vary; viewer discretion is advised.

If You Could Only Imagine

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The following is both a creative writing exercise, and a spiritual exploration; humouring a certain train of thought, sparked by recent events of unprecedented violence and chaos. Please, bear with me?

If you only had the eyes, every day it would startle and amaze you. It’s dazzling, and awe-filling: High above the world, cradling our special ball is the most amazing field encompassing all life upon it. Coursing through every living being, extending beyond our physical limits, every man and woman is a conduit for this magnificent field.

And the saddest, most tragic truth is, even with seven billion living people on this world, the field is weaker than ever. It’s fading. It’s dying. And very soon, it’s protection will be lost, and reality will ensue. Reality is very harsh, and cruel, and unyielding. Reality is a chaos that favours no one. And we have been protected from most of that chaos for so long. But no longer. The forces are overwhelming, like the deep pressures upon a submarine, they threaten to crush us in.

How is it that this could ever come to be? That our protection should not be stronger, yet weaker than ever? Because at one time, we knew that we were more than matter. That we were part of the sacred force of life itself. And that if enough of us were sincere, and had room enough in our hearts, and our spirits were strong, we could extend these protections as they cascaded throughout our people, amplifying our life force as we warded off the brunt of the agents of chaos.

And for so long, it worked. But over time, we had forgotten our ways. (We began to question why we did what we did; why we held on to the rules that we followed; the disciplines that we adhered to; yet either forgot or outright refused the answers.) We took for granted the protection from the abstract, and so became focused on the material. And now we are materialists, and live not for the benefit of us all, yet mostly for ourselves. And so we are divided in mind and spirit, and thus cut ourselves off from the protections of the sacred force.

Now, I wish I could say that the sky is falling. And if it only were, the vacuum of space would surely suck us out, and we’d be lost into oblivion. As it is, I am afraid will we have to face a fate far worse than that. For you see, Disease, famine, and discord will give fear a new meaning. Nightmares never before imagined will cross over into our realm, and haunt us in and out of our sleep. At one time, such things would have inspired writers to compose the greatest thrillers, but those arts will be abandoned under these times of duress.

For those who have already made peace with it, my advice to you is this: Try to open your minds and hearts and admire this phenomenon while you still can; that you may remember and appreciate it, years after it’s gone.

And for everyone else: Try to hang on?