I know there’s probably no one out there to read this yet, but I figured why the hell not because there’s a few more ground rules I want to set down before I truly get started on this blog.
First of all, I’m pretty sure I’ve completed most of the technical stuff. All I have left to do is to figure out how to purchase SSL certification and change my password away from the automatically generated one I’ve been using since I purchased the domain. I’m sort of at a loss as to where I’m supposed to find SSL certification, mostly because I’m not sure if I want a free SSL or a dedicated one that I’ll have to pay money for. I may need to consult with my parents on this one.
As for the Dark Tower review, I’ve been a bit too busy lately to focus any attention on it. The technical stuff with the blog has been a major reason for this. Another big reason is that it’s that time at the end of the month where all the big streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are purging certain titles from their rosters, which means I’m trying to watch as many of the ones being deleted from my queue as I can before they expire at the end of the month. I don’t even know what’s leaving Netflix yet, since they usually warn me only a week ahead of time (i.e. the day after the time of this writing) as opposed to Hulu, which gives me a two week warning.
Still, Amazon says the Dark Tower movie is free to watch on their site if I sign up for a 14-day free trial, so that should be easy. True, it will probably mean supporting the eldritch monstrosity that Jeff Bezos built, but no worries. I’m sure Bernie will win the election and lay some long overdue ass-kicking on those capitalist pigs, right? Right!?
I’m a twenty-something New Yorker on the autism spectrum who has decided to take up blogging to make up for his inability actually to say what he thinks needs to be said. I have opinions have I, for one reason or another, do not feel comfortable expressing verbally. Also, for someone who has graduated from college with a Bachelor’s in creative writing, I don’t feel like I’ve done much writing as I would like since I left that broken mess America dares to call an education system in December of 2018. Well, aside from that fantasy novel I’ve been trying to develop for the last few years now. But we’ll talk more about that later.
For now, I’ll just say that I am simultaneously excited and terrified to be undertaking this journey. I’m excited because putting myself out there could potentially open up new opportunities for me. But I’m also terrified because, as someone on the autism spectrum, I have a natural paranoia about how people may react to what I have to say. Still, I’m a big believer in taking risks, even if I’m not exactly the most spontaneous person out there in my normal life. So, here I go, I guess.
First of all, let me tell you a little bit more about myself. I’m sort of on the border between the millennial and Generation Z divide. I was born in the mid-90s to a very normal, albeit conservative Christian family in northern New York. My life has been fairly unremarkable on the whole, with very little drama to speak of. Many of my problems have come more from my Asperger syndrome than not. I got through Pre-K down to college without any difficulties (outside of… shudder… math). My home life has been very stable, barring the usual spats with my siblings when I was younger. Besides the Asperger’s, I was a pretty normal young boy obsessed with normal young boy things like dinosaurs, classic rock, and action-adventure movies.
Basically, I’m here on Blogspot to make as much use as I can out of my creative writing degree, or at least feel like I am. There are quite a few subjects I’m interested in talking about on here. I’m not sure if I’m going to talk about all of them on just this blog or if I might make use of the two-website deal I got with the hosting company that made this blog possible in the first place. But I’ll figure that out later. Let’s talk about interests.
Arts and Entertainment
I know, big surprise, a creative writing major likes to talk about art. Well, maybe not talk, because I don’t have many friends, and my family’s tastes and mine barely overlap, but anyway…
I have a somewhat eclectic taste in music, film, television, literature, etc. My favorite genres are action-adventure, fantasy, science fiction, Western, and historical/war dramas. In music, my big three are country, rock, and metal, although I also like a little Celtic folk, new age, classical, and soundtrack music on the side.
My biggest love in the entertainment world right now, though, is definitely animation. I think the biggest reason I’ve been obsessed with this medium since high school is because, at least in my home country, animation has had this stigma for at least half a century that it is only a genre of children’s entertainment, which is really annoying, because animation, in both mine and many other’s opinions, has the ability to take stories in places where it is literally impossible for live-action entertainment to go. I do think that this “Animation Age Ghetto,” as TV Tropes calls it, is finally starting to die off, but I still think we have a long way to catch up to Japan as far as that is concerned.
You can probably expect me to try my hand at reviewing some of my favorite and least favorite pieces of entertainment. However, I may be somewhat limited in this regard since I’m not financially independent from my parents. For example, I have been interested in checking out the filmographies of what some might call more “arthouse” directors like Terrence Malick, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Ingmar Bergman, but their films are not readily available on the streaming sites my family currently uses (Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime). The latter does offer an app on their service based around the Criterion Collection, though that has gotten a few complaints from users saying that it needs the latest model of Firestick or something like that to work.
And that’s not including all the independent foreign animated features that I want to check out. Still, if one of the greatest dinosaur movies of all time taught us, “Life finds a way.”
2. Personal Stuff
This part covers stuff like my struggles with ASD, as well as my fiction writing. I may discuss how I’ve coped with my developmental disabilities and try to dismiss some myths that have been spread about people on the autism spectrum over the years.
I will also discuss my fiction writing projects, both past and present. I’m especially eager to discuss the biggest project I’m working on, a fantasy saga that I’ve tentatively titled The Divine Conspiracy. The story is an epic urban fantasy narrative centering on Peter Banks, an agent for a secret society that investigates paranormal phenomena, and his fraternal twin children, Ariel and Ronan, who inherited magical powers from their mother, a succubus who was sent from Hell to murder Peter but fell in love with him instead. After their mother is hunted down and murdered by the evil forces she abandoned, the twins decide to join the secret society, helping their father hunt down malignant supernatural entities while searching for answers about the true nature of their powers, trying to stop a new war between the forces of light and dark from destroying the world as we know it, and confronting temptation, existential dread, and questions about the nature of God, the Universe, and their own seemingly insignificant place in it.
I’ll try to keep you posted to see how that goes… that is if it doesn’t collapse under the weight of its own ambition first. My plan so far is to post my fiction writing to DeviantArt, but that could change at some point as well, so, as I said, I’ll keep you posted. Oh, and speaking of the paranormal…
3. The Supernatural
This category should be rather self-explanatory. One of my childhood obsessions was ghosts, cryptozoology, and other such urban legends. Basically, anything that may be the subject of stories that begin with, “Once I knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy…”
Nowadays, I am a bit more skeptical about such fantastical claims as lake monsters and government cover-ups of UFO activity…
…but I’m still not entirely convinced that all supernatural occurrences can be explained by mere misfires of the human brain or wayward woodland critters. Maybe it’s because I’m a pretty spiritual person, but I have a hard time believing that the material world we see before us is really all there is.
While I will be talking about paranormal phenomena in this category, I do wish to also shed some light on what the skeptics also have to say since I do feel like they are somewhat neglected by the often sensationalist media of our day and age.
4. Religion and Spirituality
Whereas I would refer to the paranormal phenomena in the previous category as micro-level, or physical, here is where we talk about the supernatural on a macro or metaphysical level. Well, technically the former can’t really be called physical since ghosts are (possibly) the souls of dead people who didn’t move on, and UFOs could be coming from completely different universes than ours that may not have the same type of matter as we do… never mind, I digress.
First of all, let me explain my personal beliefs. As I said above, I grew up in a Christian family. From roughly until college, I was a pretty orthodox Christian who went to church every Sunday (although my childhood obsession with dinosaurs pretty much destroyed any chance I had of becoming a creationist). While I still am a regular churchgoer, in all honesty, I only remain Christian inasmuch as I believe that Jesus was a divine messenger of God. This is mainly because, even though the people at my church are fairly good and honest, I became aware of things like the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and the right-wing fundamentalism eating away at my country’s liberties as I grew older.
I also became interested in how other religions worked as I grew older, and increasingly became skeptical that Christianity was the only true religion. These doubts only grew more strong as I looked up the various spiritualities grouped under the category of Western esotericism, like Hermeticism, Kabbalah, alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Neopaganism, and Gnosticism, an early form of Christian faith that is probably closest to the beliefs I have now.
If you are sitting there at your computer with a confused look on your face, don’t worry. Since Western esotericism is, by its very definition, esoteric, I will probably have a lot to say about that subject. I’ll also examine the more mainstream religions of our time like Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and others, maybe debunking myths about them here, talking about how they influenced my beliefs there, or talking about how my research into the esoteric influenced The Divine Conspiracy.
Before you say anything, I know talking about religion on the Internet is major flamebait. But wait until you see what I have to say about my final category…
Yes, yes, I know. I can hear you groaning from your own keyboards as I type this. But if there is one thing about autistic people like myself that is true above all others, it’s that we are slaves to our passions. And trust me, I’ve become extremely passionate about politics ever since this brain-dead fascist pig somehow failed his way upward into the White House.
At the risk of sounding like an unoriginal bastard with this Bill Hicks paraphrase, it’s not that I disagree with Trump’s policies or anything like that. It’s just that I think he’s the spawn of Satan sent to ruin everything that’s actually great about America to enrich himself and his billionaire cronies while leaving the rest of us to suffer and die, either by climate change, targeting by white supremacist skinheads, or from a hail of bullets in our schools because the NRA has convinced us that the right to bear arms extends to military-style assault rifles!
*takes a deep breath* Yeah, I’m just slightly to the left when it comes to these issues.
It wasn’t always this way, though. Like I said above, my family was and still is, politically conservative, and that definitely rubbed off on me during my high school years. There was even a time when I watched Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News every day at 5 until he left to form the Blaze. However, even during the days when I was farthest right, I still had a hard time with the right-wing views on abortion, LGBTQ+ issues, and the environment (even if I was on the climate change denial bandwagon a while).
By the time I graduated from college, I was calling myself a libertarian, mostly because while I believed in things like feminism, gay rights, and systemic racism in the law enforcement system, I still believed that these problems could still be solved within the parameters of free-market capitalism. However, I think in reality I was what author Robert Anton Wilson would call a “frightened anarchist,” because it wasn’t long before I discovered several left-wing channels on YouTube like Contrapoints, Innuendo Studios, Renegade Cut, and Philosophy Tube that advocated for an end to capitalism in favor of a more egalitarian leftist system. Still, it wasn’t until I read the book After Capitalism by Dada Mahesvarananda that I decided to become a libertarian socialist.
So yeah, if it hasn’t become clear to you by this point, let me state this as plainly as I can… I CANNOT FUCKING STAND DONALD J. TRUMP OR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!
I think they are only interested in obtaining as much power as they can for themselves by giving tax cuts to the rich, letting them hide as much money as they can in offshore tax havens while leaving next to nothing for the poor or middle class. That way, they can insulate themselves from the worst effects of the climate change they created while leaving us to fight for scraps of food in the barren hellscape they left behind for us. They insist that hard work alone determines how well you do in life, even as the capitalist system leaves minorities in squalor. Most rich people these days only become rich via inheritance.
They also tend to be fundamentalist Christians who I think are letting the world descend into war-torn chaos because they are convinced that Jesus’ second coming is imminent, so what’s the point of fixing our broken systems if our lord and savior is going to rapture us all to Heaven anyway? Well, except enforce apartheid in Israel because Muslims aren’t God’s chosen people.
I could go on and on about how much I hate what my country is becoming, but I think I’ve gone on long enough. I’ll end here by saying that I’ll be using this category to explain to people all the problems with both Donald Trump and the Republican Party, why the left doesn’t want to literally turn the United States into a carbon copy of the U.S.S.R., and, probably most important at the time I’m writing this, why you absolutely need to vote for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in the next election!
So, yeah, that’s what you can expect from this blog.
Like I said above, I’m a little bit scared to open myself up like this, especially since I’ve never told my family before this about my real feelings about Trump and conservatism as a whole. Still, I know I can’t keep it a secret forever, and I can’t let my fears get in the way of getting my feelings out there.
If you’re wondering what I’ll be writing about first on this blog, I may look through some of the papers I wrote for my writing classes in college and write pieces based on those. For example, I think I may start with a movie review I wrote for a magazine writing class comparing the 2017 film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower with the book series it was based on, explaining how, in my opinion, the film failed to capture the spirit of the books.
I’m not sure when I will be posting that, though, because 1) I would like to figure out how to see the film again before I rewrite the essay so I can be sure my criticisms are accurate…
…and 2) I still have a lot of technical stuff to do on my blog before it’s fully ready for action. I still have to upload plugins, purchase SSL certification, figure out how to set up a mailing list, Google Analytics, social media marketing, etc. Still, my aim is about one completed piece a week, posted every Saturday. Also, as you might be able to ascertain from some of the language I’ve used, especially in the more political parts of this writing, I’m not exactly shy about using profanity, so parents, be strongly cautioned!
It’s going be a lot of work, for sure, but still, I have a feeling it will all be worth it in the end.