Birthday Update!

Yessir, it’s my birthday today! As of today I have been on this planet a full quarter century. 25 years, my friends! But you don’t care about that I imagine. You probably want to know where the hell I’ve been the past month.

There’s been quite a few things hampering my writing muscle these past few months. For one thing, I’m having a bit of trouble fitting much writing time into my work schedule. It has become rather painfully clear to me how pitifully underdeveloped my time management skills are. Indeed, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time on YouTube as of late, perhaps more than I should.

Of course, writer’s block has had a lot to do with it as well. I decided that the next post I was going to do after the Midsommar review was a post detailing all the reasons why Donald J. Trump is the worst president in the history of the United States. However, I found myself at a loss as to how to approach it. Like, how many of his sins should I include? Which ones should I focus on? The sexual assaults? The defrauding of charities? The attacks on journalists? The naked racism of some of his statements? His comforting of white supremacists? His complete unwillingness to confront Russia over the election meddling? There were times when I even considered scrapping the Politics category on this blog entirely, mostly because the research that would be required for it seemed daunting.

I eventually decided to retool that piece into a simple overview of my political beliefs, specifically how my libertarian socialist ideology differs from the authoritarian socialism of the Soviet Union and how I believe that anarchism is the only way forward as capitalism slowly starts to collapse under its own weight.

I also want to write a piece detailing my religious beliefs, which have sort of become an amalgamation of several different spiritual traditions (i.e. Gnostic Christian direct revelation, pagan naturalism, Hindu reincarnation, etc.). After that, I’ve kicking around several ideas for “debunking” posts, talking about conservative myths about climate change and gun control for the Politics category, as well as some debunking conspiracies surrounding JFK’s assassination and 9/11 Truther beliefs. I also want to do some about supernatural topics, probably including ghosts.

Some other ideas for posts that I currently have include a review of the two recent movies adapting Stephen King’s It, comparing them to the book in the same spirit as my Dark Tower review. Another is inspired by a book I recently read called Evil: A Guide for the Perplexed. This book outlined several philosophical arguments, both secular and non-secular, for why evil exists in this world, and I thought it might be fun to rank them by which ones I think make the most sense.

In addition to all of that, I recently ordered a book about how to market my blog on social media, so I may be occupying myself over the next figuring out how Twitter and Pinterest can help my blog. I’m still hoping to get a DeviantArt page started for my fiction writing as well, so keep an eye out for that.

And that’s all I have to say about that, ladies and gentlemen. Until next time, take care.

And remember to wash your damn hands until COVID-19 stops being a thing!

A Much Belated Update

Not that it matters much with the lack of traffic here so far, but what the hell…

So, the world has kind of lost it’s shit since I last posted on here. Trump made probably the biggest mistake in his entire presidency…

And considering his track record, that’s really saying something.

He dismissed a coming epidemic as a hoax for months while it continued to encroach on our country. And so when it finally hit us in mid-March, we were forced to close our businesses and tank our economy so that the coronavirus didn’t infect more people than it already had. Hell, I even lost my job at the local hardware store because the proprieter wasn’t making enough income to pay me. So now here I sit like a bump on a pickle, as more rustic circles might say.

So why haven’t I been working on the blog more? Actually I have. Unfortunately, it has mostly been behind the scenes technical stuff. Yeah, remember when I said that most of the technical stuff had been taken care of in the last update? I was too optimistic. For one thing, it was a lot harder to get SSL certification than I anticipated. And even how that I have got it, the address bar for the blog proper still isn’t showing a padlock, so I have to figure that out.

Also, my site health tab keeps going back and forth on whether or not my site can be found on search engines. I’ve had it analyzed by Ryte.com, and it’s given me warnings about internal no-follow links, internal temporary redirects, duplicate content, and other things like that, so I have to figure out how to fix that stuff as well.

In the meantime, though, I still want to at least try to get some more writing done on the site. My main goal right now is put at least one entry in the other categories besides Art and Entertainment. I know that for Politics I want to start with a post further explaining my current political beliefs and how I came to them. I also may be doing posts outlining all the reasons I hate President Trump in another post, so you might look out for that. I don’t really have any solid plans for the Supernatural and Religion and Spirituality categories yet. I would like to talk more about my personal spiritual beliefs, although considering that those beliefs are playing a big part in shaping The Divine Conspiracy.

Of course, any discussion of my own fantasy epic will be going under the Personal Stuff category. You can definitely expect a post expanding on the basic premise of the story I’m writing, as well as maybe some elaboration on the characters and what they will go through. I also want to do a post talking about how being on the autism spectrum has affected me personally, and maybe also do a post debunking common myths and misconceptions about ASD.

I have definitely decided that building a second website with the two-domain purchase InMotion gave me is out of the question considering how much of a hassle creating this website has been. So I intend to make a DeviantArt account sometime in the near future to post my fiction work. I also need to expand my social media presence so I can promote this site more. I already have a Pinterest account, though I have yet to figure out how to promote the site there.

The only other social media site I’m willing risk joining is Twitter. Yes, I’m aware of the hate mobs and that Jack Dorsey does not seem concerned in the least that the alt-right is slowly hijacking certain parts of it. As far as I know, however, it doesn’t collect data on its user, at least not to the extent that Facebook does. And it doesn’t run political ads, meaning Russian bots can’t use it in the same way they use Facebook.

Before I do all that though, I need to figure out all the technical stuff so that my site is as healthy as it can be, even as the rest of the world sickens around me. I still plan to post weekly, and I still wish to try for a Saturday or Sunday deadline. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for this site.

Till next time, friends.

A Quick Update

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 warning you, Vlad, don’t fuck this up for us!

Let Me Introduce Myself

Pictured: me, introducing myself

Hello, Internet.

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.

  1. 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.

Oh, Jeff Bezos, why do you have to be such a money-grubbing asswipe?

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…”

…who knew this guy’s cousin

Nowadays, I am a bit more skeptical about such fantastical claims as lake monsters and government cover-ups of UFO activity…

Seriously, Loch Ness is only 22 square miles. Why is finding Nessie this difficult?

…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.

Except maybe the part about the evil lion-snake god thing. At least on a literal level.

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…

5. Politics

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.

Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A Russian spy, a sexual predator, and a billionaire walk into a bar…

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.

And no wonder! Just look at these filthy devil-worshiping heathens! Those Popsicles are dyed with the blood of Christians!

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!

Also, if you live in Kentucky, please, please, PLEASE vote for Amy McGrath instead of this obstructionist asshole.

In Conclusion

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…

Although reading all eight books took me 4 1/2 months the first time, so fuck that!

…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.