Big Brother is Alive and Well

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Personal thoughts and opinions:

First, let me state that this is my “between chapters” post before moving on to chapter ten from the novel Time of Isolation. This term “Big Brother”, became known and popular from the novel “1984” by George Orwell. It projected a future where the government controlled all including everything in one’s personal life. And any of the news organizations, and such were also controlled by the same – sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it. In a sense this Orwellian society exists today in many of the communist nations. It began to rear its ugly head here in the  USA as the government placed the Constitution in the “unimportant and useless” category and decided that they knew better. Thusly burying their citizens in an unimaginable quagmire of new laws and regulations, to include the monitoring of the internet, phones, and any other electronic device to further control and restrict what the average citizen could do.

Now this sounds like I’m heading into this direction and will continue to talk about the government, but this isn’t true. This is about what Big Brother is and how it applies to today. And in reality to make such work it must be sold to the citizens as something positive – something they can’t live without. And here I saw this very thing happening as corporations pushed a product in such a way that I’m sure they sold millions of them. To the ones who purchased these coveted products I’m sure they never realized the can of worms or Pandora’s box, that they just opened.

Okay, what does Big Brother do? In the book he exists in every home, in every apartment, in other words everywhere,  and can never be shut down, or can one ever escape his watchful eye, making the secret police, the KGB, or any other state police system seem like a child’s game. In the book it meant there was no way to escape his watchful eyes or ears. And one never knew if they were under some investigation, or being watched. In many ways the movie Minority Report, shows the same dystopian society where every part of your life is tracked and recorded. And with the technology of today this is something that is easy to do. So this leads to the question: Have you helped make it easier to keep track of you and your family? If you have a smart phone, and most do now days, then the answer is yes. All smart phones have GPS which means the phone must know where it is otherwise it is useless – other than as a phone. And if this is the case, your location is known at any time.

Then this holiday season I began to see items advertised that moved all of this one step closer to “Big Brother”. So how many of you purchased these devices? You know, the ones that sit unobtrusively on a table and simply listens, then answers your questions?  Just an idle question you ask? Think about it. You’ve just let large corporations into your private home. And as the little device sits there innocently taking up space, it listens to everything that is said in your household. And for most of us it’s something we wouldn’t even consider. So in a positive light and with your eyes wide open you purchased “Big Brother”, and enthusiastically brought him into your home.

It is already known that without our knowledge that webcams can be remotely operated giving no sign that they are even on or being used. And because so much now goes through the internet, our computers, phones, and devices are always connected. Meaning that at any time any of these large corporations, and the government to be truthful, want to spy on you and what you are doing, our modern world makes it easy.

While much of what is available helps us in our daily busy lives, it’s the unintended consequences of all of this “help” or assistance that we need to be aware of. Like those viruses, and spyware that we have software to protect us from, we need to be more aware of the consequences of all of these convenient devices and the negative effects they can produce. Think, Enemy of the State, where technology is used against a citizen, (Yes it’s a little over the top).

Remember that we don’t lose our freedoms or privacy in large chunks. It’s always small bits and pieces until we look back and realize that it’s all gone, and there’s no way of going back. Because, in this world, what we lose is never returned. While this is just one person’s opinion, I hope that if nothing else, it makes you think. God Bless, and have a great week! (


A Time of Change

Personal opinion:

At least that’s what is supposed to happen every four years in the USA. A time when a new president is voted into office and one-third of the senate rolls over. It is also a time where many local issues find their way onto the ballots, including such things as tax increases that must be put before the people before such can be implemented. Unfortunately the political machine in this country has become so huge, and has been on “the take” for so long that what we see is cronyism in the Nth degree. So whoever ends up in the presidency or has ended their time there it is “no change and business as usual”. And with corruption running rampant in Washington D. C. it is of no surprise that the laws of the land are ignored – namely the U S Constitution.

I doubt that one could find too many politicians anywhere, (here and in the world) who could be considered honest, and aren’t “on the take”, lining their own pockets at the cost of their citizens. We see nonexistent borders, (here in the USA) that are more porous than a sieve. And a government that makes sure these illegal immigrants have all the rights of citizens including the right to vote. They support them with welfare, SSI, Social Security, and cater to their wants and needs over the rights of their citizens. In fact it has been shown that if you add up all the freebies these illegals receive they’d have a salary of over $30 an hour, while most Americans struggle to pay their monthly bills.

We see laws passed that are completely against the Constitution. Such things as Obama Care – A Ponzi scheme so huge that it is killing this country. A President, who is more of a dictator, who has far exceeded the limitations of his office, changing laws and bills when they come to his desk, because they weren’t the way he wanted them to be. Where, and by the Constitution, he must either sign the bill into law or reject and send it back. We have seen the office of the presidency used to illegally sell weapons to the Mexican cartels, with this attempt to undermine the second amendment, and so many other illegal activities and dealings that are far too numerous to list here. Enough that if the congress did what they were supposed to do, in other words their job, then he would be impeached and in jail for his crimes. This president’s actions make Watergate look like a walk in the park on a quiet Sunday afternoon in comparison. And with the Watergate scandal the president resigned! If we were to compare what we are seeing to any of the communist countries existing now or in the past we would truly see very little difference, as regulations and restrictions continue to rise.

Of course I cannot leave the media out of this since they have more power to influence the outcome of any of these elections, and they take special care to ensure their chosen candidate is the one who is elected. Since most major news services are owned by large corporations or international conglomerates, they have a desire to have candidates and elected officials who are favorable to their way of thinking in office. It only makes sense, to them, to be sure that what is presented to the public favors their choice, and defames the challenger, so they can keep the status quo. What ever happened to reporting the news and facts honestly? Whatever happened to answering the basic questions to get to those facts? You know “who, what, where, when, why”, things like that. Now it’s, “Let’s see how we can spin this so that we can get the maximum benefit out of this and to hell with the truth.” Pravda is probably more honest.

You know, I wonder what the different governments, (city, county, state, and federal) do with those taxes they ask for every time there’s an election? There’s always a demand for the educational system, for some special project, or because they need to cover this or that special program or debt. All of us must live within our means, within the monies we have available, or face bankruptcy. Yet our government, whether it is local, county, state or federal, cannot seem to do this. It is time we, as citizens, reject any and all tax increases. I truthfully haven’t seen a raise in my personal income, and must live on what I bring home even though prices continue to rise, causing the “belt” to be tightened. Our numerous governments must do the same and quit asking or demanding more. Soon it will simply be this: “How much do you earn? Send it!”

The two candidates, this time around, have widened the gulf and division among the citizens, (Not that the existing president hasn’t done the same, because he has) as we look at a non-politician on one side, and a die-hard politician on the other. And while I could give my opinion and the reasons why, I’m not here to start a wildfire, which would be the result. I can only  say this: If the election goes one way we, as a people, as a nation, will have lost, and this nation will be on its way to obscurity, suppression, and the unavailability of goods and services. Our individual freedoms will become no more than tendrils of smoke vanishing into thin air of a cold December morning. Suppression will be on the rise, and that Constitution will be no more than pieces of paper with some words on them with no meaning.   We will lose everything our forefathers fought and died for. I believe that we are down to our final opportunity or chance of saving this republic and the U S Constitution. If it goes one way all our chances will have been used up and the existing corruption will rise to unprecedented levels and what this country was will be a distant and past memory where the ones living in this country will be saying, “Oh yeah, I remember when . . . when we had a chance, but we ignored it, and now there’s never going be a way of going back – ever.”

The sad thing is that this country, this nation, is the last one to embrace the principles of citizen rights, and at this time we are on a slippery slope that has predators at the bottom just waiting for the moment to take us down. I’ve heard, in the past, a statement that said that one can equate or compare life, and the world, to the game of football. In the game the object simply is to get the ball across the goal line, and because of this whoever has the ball becomes the target. And so it is in life. If you have that ball, everyone is after you. And this applies to nations also. And when you look at recent history it has been this country carrying the ball, and the way things have gone is the result of the rest wanting to bring us down, and become the ball carriers. And there are many within this nation whose only interest is to destroy what we have, and many of them are our elected officials. And while history may show that nations have been destroyed by forces outside, many times, before this happened, it was what preceded this destruction, a weakening within that led to the nation becoming vulnerable, and as a result became an easy target for invasion and being conquered. We are so very close to this time here.

So all of us in this country – this nation be careful. Be so very careful. Because it will be this time when future generations will look back and either say, “What were they thinking? They had a chance to save and keep their country, keep their nation great, but gave it away.” Or will they say. “Look it really was a close thing. It could have gone either way, but they stepped up to the challenge and saved their nation.” So which will it be? Will we lose it all, or will we wake up in time to save our nation from the fall that is closer than you think. And hold the vote counters accountable for it has been shown that corruption is high here. Let alone software that has been available for a long time that can go in and change the votes that have been cast to whatever the politicians want. (And if you think this last point is fictitious I can provide a link of  testimony before congress giving these facts before a congressional committee.) All of this is in yours and my hands. Do we go status quo and lose this nation, or do we find the courage to bring this nation back to its roots? God Bless! (


Blog Extra – July 4th, Looking Back

Personal Opinion and Thoughts:

It is July 4th, or what is known as the Fourth of July in the USA. The official date where the colonies declared independence from England 240 years in the past. First off I’m providing a link back to last year’s post, and stating that if anything it has gotten worse and not better. This is also an election year on a national level, and in many ways a critical one. In my  opinion we as a nation are fighting to remain a free country, and one who is governed by the laws of the land or what is called the Constitution of the United States of America. At this very moment it appears that the biggest law-breaker to these basic rights and laws is the government itself. Still let’s look back through the link to my thoughts last year:

If you are one who followed the link back, there really is little that I can add. It is the fervent hope from the common citizen that what we had can be found once again. And while the celebration of our independence is important, as we continue down the road we’re presently traveling it is a hollow celebration as the government continues to break the very laws of the land, and push us so ever closer to becoming the new USSR.

May America return to her roots and become what she once was. God Bless! (

The Dark Ages

Personal Opinion: I try to stay away from politics and what’s happening in this nation. It might seem like I’m ignoring the problems and conditions of this nation and the world, but I don’t see it that way. I’d rather sit back and look at the overall situation, avoiding the flash news that tries to influence the way I think, and the way I will decide some issue. Yet, when it becomes as it has, I finally must speak out, as I become more and more alarmed at the trends which I see are arising. I see this nation dying right out from under me and that scares me to death. If we go down where in this world can we go to find the freedoms that we had, (purposely past tense) here? I know of no other nation on this earth where I can go. After all, we are stuck here on this little planet with no escape at this time in our history. So as we begin the new year I present to you my personal thoughts, opinions, and views. And as the reader you have the right to agree, disagree, reject the writings as hogwash, or see what I see. For me, it is all I can do. Next week we will be back to the short story, The Hunt:

It appears that in this country we are entering the dark ages. In the recent past my wife pointed out to me that in the state of California they have recently passed a law stating that it is no longer required that anyone in high school pass an exit exam or anything similar. It basically stated, if you, as a student, show up, then you get a diploma. It doesn’t matter whether you sat on your behind and did nothing,  failed every class, and generally wasted everybody’s time, you were there so here’s your diploma.

What this stated to me was how much in control of this country the Socialists are. It has been stated that knowledge is power, so the axiom to this has to be, illiteracy allows one to be manipulated, and under control. This method was used throughout the dark ages of Europe where the supposed elite were educated while the common everyday citizen was illiterate. This allowed the Church, the aristocracies of the time, and the monarchies to dictate, and control all aspects of people’s lives. And when you look at the situation here in this country, at this time, it is easy to see similarities to those times.

Socialism and Communism is all about control, and we can see that plainly when we look at this present government. We have a president who has been more of a dictator, or king. If he doesn’t like the way a law is written that came to his desk, even though he had no power under the Constitution to change it, other than vetoing it, he will rewrite it and sign it into law. If laws have certain dates they are to go into effect, he changes it. Then he’s written laws and pushed them on the unsuspecting public, all well beyond the power of his office. And Congress does nothing.

And while I’m on the subject of Congress, did you know that they recently voted on a law that would allow a foreign power to come into this country, occupy it, and take all the weapons that the Second Amendment protects? It seems to me when we look at history that a nation was normally occupied by a foreign power when they lost a war. Yet, we have seen Congressmen willing to do just that, to turn over our sovereignty and freedoms, to circumvent our very laws so they can get their way. And what truly sucks was how close the vote really was. In the past such acts would be considered treason. But it seems, for now, that it’s business as usual. (U.N. resolution #2117) 46 of our senators voted to pass it.

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Both major political parties have been infiltrated heavily with the Socialist Doctrine, and like two sides of the same coin it doesn’t matter which side you see, it still is the same coin. So whether you elect a Democrat, or elect a Republican, you get the same. What they say during their campaigns to get elected means nothing, and when they are elected into office, nothing changes except a furthering of distance from the laws of this land leaving them behind to do as they please – in other words, the Constitution of this United States of America.

We’ve seen unbelievable budgets being passed that puts this country further behind in its debt obligations, and no desire from any to stop this insanity. We see the government support illegal immigration into this country by giving them everything they need to live here. It’s no wonder Social Security is broke when the government gives freely, to these illegals, our hard-earned money. If you add the benefits together that they receive and translate it to an hourly wage it would equal to a wage of over $30 an hour. Free schooling, free medical, free meals at the schools for their children, welfare and housing, SSI,  and yes your social security benefits – none of which they deserve. By our very laws, which our government are required to enforce yet ignore, these illegals are to be deported and returned to their countries of origin. Instead they are given all these freebies including such things as driver licenses, voting rights, (really?), WIC, food stamps, and so much more that we hard-working Americans cannot get.

With these trends it is only a matter of time when the whole mess implodes, and the darkness that we are beginning to see will spread and cover this whole nation leaving it as dark as a starless, moonless night. Making this once powerful country no more than a third world welfare state having to depend on the rest of the world for support – at least the parts of this nation that will survive this quagmire. And if you think that any of this will not happen, then you haven’t studied your history or know that history has a tendency to repeat.

Solutions? Personally I have none. With a lawless government in control, (And I mean this because of the failure of our government to follow the laws of the Constitution.) who can stand against them? Is this so different from the USSR at its height, or Germany during the Hitler era? I’d say overall that the answer is a simple no. And not only has the government become Socialist, but the same has infiltrated our schools and are bringing up our next generation to be this way and expect to be governed this way.

One of the goals of such organizations is to eliminate religion, and you can see the attacks made presently against the predominant religion of this country, Christianity. Again the Socialists and Communists know that atheism and making the government the predominant religion brings the people further under their control. The Catholic Church, during the dark ages, knew this well, and used its considerable power to maintain control, not only over the people, but the monarchies of the time. The overall goal here is to make the government the only place any can turn to for anything, making those in control the elite. Total Power Corrupts Totally.

Can any of this be stopped at this late date? Again, I don’t know, but one thing for sure we cannot depend on the two major parties to bring about the required change. Maybe this is why the one person who is outside of the political machines has been doing so well in the polls. Still we see the goal of the parties is to place their chosen in the coveted position. We do not need two families, (no different from the old monarchies in reality) controlling the office of the president.

We are coming closer and closer to the time when there will be only one candidate presented for office. If you do no believe this look to the Democratic party and see who they are presenting. A known Socialist, and a second, and that’s all. How long will it be until even two will be considered too many?

Then we have this, (I’ll be providing a link): Here is an attack on the First Amendment and the rights it grants the citizens of this country. Losing this right would mean that if you disagreed with what the government was doing and spoke out you could be arrested and put into jail as a political prisoner with no recourse, and probably no speedy trial. And while it wasn’t a serious attempt, it shows the ignorance of the American People and especially college students. Again it would be pushing this nation closer to the old USSR.

This was followed by the announcement that the DHA was looking at several states with the possibility of invalidating their government issued ID’s, (Driver licenses, State issued IDs,  and such) as invalid for travel requiring passports to move between states. Passports? Really? Are we Europe where there are many countries and each autonomous to the other, or are we the United States of America where traveling between states without papers is one of the freedoms we enjoy? Yet, if this comes about we are looking at a further loss of freedoms, and coming oh so much closer to further control by the government, since this, once again, is coming from the Federal Government, and is pushing us further away from the vision of the founding fathers, and definitely would be outside of the Constitution.  And while they push, “It’s for the safety of our air travelers”, we become more under the control of this government.

Again, as I have stated throughout this post, I have no answers, or ideas as to how to turn this around back to the way this nation is supposed to be governed. The last really strong leader who believed in the Constitution and the people was Ronald Regan. An actor who became governor of California, (and we won’t even discuss what’s happened to California) and who then served two terms as President of this United States of America. All I can do, through what I see, and of course, present this as personal opinion, since it is, and let you, the reader, decide. Let you, the reader, check out the facts and see if what I’m stating is accurate. Because in the end one cannot bring change. One still can bring forth ideas, show facts, and begin the processes of returning this nation to its roots, back to sanity, and away from the lawlessness this Federal Government has shown. But in the end is takes all of us.


4th of July – Just Another Day

Personal thoughts and comments:

Or so it seems. And if any truly want to be honest it is just that – another day. We’ve, in our personal lives seen many of them pass us by, and as long as time has been recorded, as we presently do, there seems to be piles of those past days. Yet, over two hundred years ago an event took place that would change and influence world history. When it happened the odds of success were, well, highly against the ones trying to start what became known as the great experiment.

The “colonies”, as they were known, were weak and divided, and yet they defied one of the most powerful nations on earth at that time. Declaring to the world that the oppression, and the lack of representation would no longer be tolerated. They attempted to come to a peaceful settlement with the King and the Houses of England, but continued to get nothing for all their efforts. Eventually, as all things do, it reached the breaking point, and with some trepidation, they crafted the Declaration of Independence, and broke away from England.

Unless one really studies this time in history, it can appear that from their time to now, the road traveled seemed to be simple and easy. Yet, if this is the view it is far from the truth. At no time during the war was there a guarantee of success. In fact the rag-tag army of America was defeated in almost every battle they fought against the British. The new nation was broke, the government created had no real power, and the army that fought this war had nothing to fight with, and was replaced often with new recruits. Meaning there was no trained army to repel the British, and their hired guns the Prussians.

With the appeal to France for help (France and Brittain was continually at each other’s throat), there was a good possibility that this would fail, since the French wanted nothing to do with Brittain, but at the same time wanted a piece of the action. England ruled the seas, and their armies kept their many colonies throughout the world under their control. England truly was a world power and dominant. So unless the Americans could provide some guarantees France would stay on the sidelines.

Corruption and graft existed in this world of chaos, and today we see that nothing has changed. The leaders of this brand new nation tried to keep it all under control, but failed miserably. The Continental Congress could considered more of a figurehead than a true government. And the leaders of this rebellion knew that if they failed that only death awaited them. Yet, they persevered.

In truth while July 4, 1776 is the official day, the document actually became available two days earlier, but we must remember that there were not the methods of communication or travel we are familiar with today, and it took time to bring the representatives together, and to edit and approve the document.

The war raged on for many years, and again in 1812 the British attacked this nation, after a declaration of war by America. (It is this second war with the British where America came close to losing again. Even the capital of the new nation was burned to the ground.) And in the end, through all those failures, eventually, and as stated “through providence”, the nation became independent – free do put together a new type of government, and new way of looking at governance, a totally different direction, or the great experiment. The result of this great experiment created the greatest nation this world has ever known.

Yet, those very critical documents known as the Constitution of the United States, the foundation that allowed this nation to become what it is today are in jeopardy, as they are being completely ignored by the very government tasked with upholding them. And as a result of this, this once great nation is heading for a fall. And when this fall does come to pass it will leave a dangerous vacuum in the world.

Whether she wanted it or not, America became the world leader or super power, and has also become the world’s police force. It has bailed out every nation on this planet. Provided needed supplies, and assistance wherever and whenever required. It has fought in foreign wars to free people of dictatorships, and yes, like all of us personally, made mistakes.

So for us who have the privilege of being born here, we must be diligent, and protect what those sacrifices from ancestors provided. If we do not, then, and in the end, we can only blame ourselves. And when the fall does come, it will be a surprise to many. And then it will be proclaimed, “Oh, how the mighty have fallen . . .”

Can our way of life, or this nation be saved at this late date? For that I have no answers, but if we continue along the pathways we are presently following the outcome is guaranteed. It is only “the when” that is left as an unknown. Enjoy, the many celebrations proclaiming the birth and beginnings of this nation. Take to heart the sacrifices made through time that allowed this nation to be strong. And understand that unless we change, go back to our beginnings, that soon, very soon, these celebrations will be hollow, and mean nothing at all. Because we will no longer be here as a nation, as a people.

God and his laws played prominently in the birth of this nation, and our government, the formation of all we see, and is the foundation for the way we have dealt with this world. Yet, everywhere one looks God is rejected and Christians, even here in this country are persecuted. We are no longer one nation under God, but what we are isn’t clear. Still Pride goes before the Fall. And I see very little difference in our politicians versus the royalty that existed in Europe during the dark ages. It has become two different worlds. And individual rights are being wiped away as unimportant – a keystone to the Constitution – with it being replaced with a Socialist doctrine of “Social Justice”.

At one time business owners had the right to refuse a customer. Now customers can come in, and if refused, destroy that business owner simply because he or she refused to serve them. This is not the country or nation I grew up in, but is the reality of today. The right of the individual is gone and has been replaced by this “social justice”, which simply means whatever the whim will be the law. And as this aspect continues to grow, more and more of the Constitution will be swept under the rug, and ignored. Until it becomes a piece of trash to dispose of, since it will have no meaning, no power. Leaving the one place in this world where any could come to seek freedom, to be gone forever.

So, enjoy the fireworks, the picnics, and the time together with friends and family. Celebrate the time when an oppressed people stood up against unjust acts against them. But understand that all they fought and died for can be swept away in an instant, allowing a great nation to die. And if this happens there will be no mercy from the rest of the world as they come in and fight over the corpse to make it their own.

Happy 4th! May it truly have meaning.

Published in: on July 4, 2015 at 7:10 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Thoughts About Gaming Mods

Okay, this again is my personal views on the subject, and for those who do not game, this refers to people putting together maps, changes, to the equipment, storylines, or alternate views, directions,  and so many other additions and/or corrections to an actual retail game. It means one, with a kit from the game company, can go in and change things around a bit, maybe making the game more to one’s personal liking. This also has a tendency to extend the life of such games, since there is so much more available from the gaming and modding communities to allow one to continue to play a favorite game.

Part of what this does is allow one to see how much work goes into the original game, the storyline, the script, and the alternate paths one can travel. Of course most modern games are linear, meaning they start at point “A”, and somewhere towards the end, end at point “B”. While the goal is to give the illusion of choice and direction, it usually isn’t there. And when it’s done right such restrictions aren’t noticed, but when wrong, can destroy a game right out of the gate, or box. Then you have sandbox games that really have no storyline per say, but give you an open unexplored world in which to explore, discover, and build into whatever you like or imagine (within the constraints of the game world, of course). And in a sense in-between these are the RPG’s which have some sandbox elements because the world is open, but at the same time has a major storyline, with many, many, many, side quests existing out in the gameworld. Generally these 2, sandbox, and RPG, don’t include kits, but this is more of a game company decision, as some do and some don’t.

With the modding kits, these game companies provide, it allows the everyday gamer, who is enthusiastic and wanting to try their hand at creating something, a method to do just that. Lately I’ve been playing some mods created for the old Fallout 3 game which is a hybrid of a RPG, and FPS, and has a huge modding community. (To see what I’m speaking about, here’s a link to a website that specializes in these mods.

For those who haven’t played this game (Fallout 3) or know anything about it, this is a Post-apocalyptic story dealing with the area in and around Washington DC approximately 200 years after the fictional event. It’s an alternate futuristic view and a different direction than true history. For example atomic power is used, or was used (before the war), including the automobiles that everybody owned. These autos appear to be closer in appearance and design to the cars that came out in the late 50’s and early 60’s. There were underground vaults built to house part of the population in case of an attack, which eventually came from China, destroying much of the world, leaving DC in ruins, and the world bathed in radioactivity. Your character emerges from the vault into this devastation, and find a surviving human element that has set up a primitive society. Your initial quest is to find your father who had left the vault years before. And from there you learn about this broken world, how to survive, and solve the large puzzle that is before you.

There’s the good and bad in all of this. First, even with the provided kits, modding isn’t easy or simple. It takes time to learn, and time to apply what you learned before anything can come of it. Again some of these fan created mods are simply environmental changes, bug fixes, and maybe a better balancing (Referring to the use of force within a gameworld and the balance of weapons and such so one is not so overpowering that there isn’t anything that can counter. Balancing a gameworld is one of the critical steps in making a game right.), maybe fixes that removes stuttering, crashes to the desktop, or any number of other problems that makes an unplayable game playable. And it can change the rating of a game from “anybody can play”, to “adult only”, if this is a direction one is looking or wanting to go.

Still once the game has been played to the conclusion, the DLC’s (downloadable content) have been added and played, it is time to see what those modders have done, creating their own worlds, their own quests, and their own endings. It gives one a chance to see the variety of ideas and directions that go well beyond the original story. And many of these modders put their heart and soul into their work, plus a lot of their spare time to create their masterpieces. Most of the time it is an individual who does this, but other times friends or other modders come together, and put their time and effort into the mod. This gives you both the good and the bad. Most can come off a bit amateurish. And what I’m referring to here is not necessarily the world or map they’ve created, but the script, and in some cases, where they’ve tried, the voice acting, which can be a bit weak.

Yet, when it is done right it can be difficult to tell the difference between the actual retail game, and a community created mod. Again, as I stated above what is added isn’t necessarily a new quest, or a new area to explore, but could be something as simple as adding a companion to assist you. Even here you can run into the good and bad, and only by trying a number of these companion mods can you find the ones who seem to be fully fleshed out. An example of one of these companions would be Willow for the expansion game Fallout New Vegas. A game in the fallout universe but obviously in the area in and around Las Vegas. Willow is one of the most popular companion mods and when you use this mod you understand immediately. This companion mod has a depth rarely seen in such characters.

Still in all of this, one must start somewhere, and when I’m within this mod I’m presently playing, I keep hoping to see where it could go, to see it fulfill its potential. Maybe because I’m older, or maybe because I am a writer, I see things, directions promised, making me expect or anticipate more, only to be disappointed. Even with the rather large mod that I’m presently playing, it makes me wonder how the storyline could be so weak. It’s not that these modders didn’t try, because it’s obvious they did, and they put a lot of hard work, effort and love into it. Still, for me, the storyline ends up wanting on so many levels. From the actions the NPC’s (Non Playable Characters) are presenting, to the environment created, to the dialogue presented, which comes out simply as; us against them – a black and white view, that in the end left me with more questions as to why, than showing any closure or methods of working through the presented issues or problems. Plus the actions conflicted with the dialogue, not portraying an accurate picture of the game world, or the situation you, as the player, find yourself in.

No, I’m not going to reveal which mod this is because this would single them out and be totally unfair. I’m sure they are proud of their product, and in truth they have a right to be. But I suspect this shows why certain game companies remain successful. Because they have the resources, the understanding, and experience to know what makes a game work, and also the understanding that there could be a large following out there, and because of this provide the tools necessary to allow the community to make mods for their games. And I suspect they watch these modding sites and communities to find new talent which they might tap in the future.

Still, for me, this particular mod, again not for the map, because I love exploring these maps, these fictional worlds, became a disappointment. The storyline in the end was too simplistic, too black and white, there truly were no twists and turns, and a very linear direction that was predictable from the beginning. And part of why we read, play games, watch movies, or other entertainment is to read, watch or play into the surprises, those twists that were completely unexpected, but hinted. To watch a complicated storyline become clear and see the conclusion with the actors, be it that book, the big screen, or your gaming system. For these stories, and dialogues to be more in the direction of life, not that we will ever do things like Bruce Willis in his action movies, but those twists, those turns, those surprises is what we wait for because we do face this is our own lives.

In conclusion I will say overall it is enjoyable to add and play these mods, to give a little more life to an old favorite game. One I may have played through at least a half-dozen times, trying out the alternate paths, attempting to find those hidden areas, small surprises, and hidden gems I may have missed during my earlier explorations, or playing a different character where I can choose such. Eventually they do become old, and I move on to try my hand at another. And maybe, at times I look back nostalgically and think of going back, to play such one more time, revisiting it like an old friend I haven’t seen in years, and maybe look over those mods, hoping to find some of the depth, to explore other parts of the game world, and watch as they give the game a chance to feel new again.

* * *

I continue to write another short story which will be presented here in the near future. I suspect that it will begin to show up here in February. I’m approximately 2000 words from the conclusion of the first draft – the easy part. Then comes the editing and revising before it’s ready for prime time. As the sub-title of this blog states, you can never be sure what the subject of the post will be unless the post is part of a series. Have a great week, and may you be here next Saturday for the next one. God Bless! (

Published in: on January 24, 2015 at 7:44 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Liability to Asset

Many times the materials left from any conversion to another product as in manufacturing, mining, and such become liabilities and leave the owners scratching their heads as to what to do with the waste. It has been a problem since the beginning of time as mankind learned to work the very rocks and minerals to this present time where such work is now performed on a grand scale. Or what to do with the wastes that are generated from the manufacturing of goods and products that cost the manufacturers money to remove. Yet, with a little creative thinking what is stated below can be the result:

Sea Salt is the first to come to my mind. It is the waste left over from processing sea water to produce usable fresh water. If one really wants to think about it all salt has been deposited by the drying up of ancient seas. And even though the deposits are deep in the earth, and as in all things are of different qualities or grades, well, it’s all sea salt. Yet, we see, in advertising, the advantages of using “sea salt”. And products that use sea salt tout the fact that they are using the very same thing.

We can see the same thing happening within the diamond industry. Of course here we are a bit more diverse. And what I mean by that is the markets, which are dealing with natural verses artificial diamonds. Diamonds are rated on the 3 “C’s”. Color, cut, clarity, and sometimes a 4th known as craftsmanship. The natural flaws within a raw diamond stone determines the resulting gemstones that can be cut and marketed. As the color of the stone, blending towards the chocolate, the value had traditionally decreased, and many ending up in industrial applications. Since diamond is the hardest mineral discovered there are many uses for these less-than quality stones. Yet, in the recent past there has been an upsurge in the selling of the lessor colored stones, raising them from the lowly status that they’ve always known, to ones that can rival the blue-white stones in price and value. In other words, taking something that was of lesser value and making it more valuable. And when we are dealing with artificially grown stones it is becoming more difficult to tell the difference, raising the bar on the value of these artificial stones. Even though, in this case, at the present time, these artificial stones do have a lesser value overall.

If we were to go back to the 1800’s and the Nevada gold rush – yes I said gold rush, there was a lot of complaining about all that worthless blue rock that had to be mucked out of the mines to get access to the gold that had been discovered. It was such a nuisance that they were running out of room to dump the stuff. Out of curiosity, someone decided to see what this waste product was, and had it assayed. And to his shock it came back almost pure silver. And the Comstock lode became a reality. During that whole time the miners were throwing away a fortune in silver searching for the gold. So what was a liability – that worthless blue rock – became an asset when it was identified as silver.

In many ways it is Madison Avenue that has turned these liabilities around to assets by trying to find some way of unloading these items on an unsuspecting public – us. Because of their imagination, they can see applications or uses for these liabilities that weren’t apparent or obvious to the ones who had originally created the liability. Or someone who decided to think outside the box and take a chance and have something tested to see if there might be added value to something that had been treated as waste.

So as those new trends come forth, new products seem to arrive, maybe it is time to really look beyond that advertising. See where these items may have originated, and smile if you find out that it was something that the original creator couldn’t get rid of at all, costing them time and money to see it removed. Only to kick themselves later when that someone else had removed their entire stock of whatever it was, got paid to do it, then found a use in the marketplace for that very waste or liability.

I guess if we think about it we can come up with many examples of this: 55 gallon steel drums becoming, well, steel drums. Pet rocks – who could forget that fad (It’s all in the packaging, right?)? Even though this isn’t known everywhere yet, but there is a process where biological waste, things like the guts of food animals, and other such things are being converted into crude oil. And think of that shale that is impregnated with oil. Or the use of the matter left after harvesting that’s being converted into fuels. All of these items were waste products in the past taking up space and costing money to remove. I guess we can now add all of the recycling that we do because it has created its own industry that takes our waste and makes new products from it, instead of filling landfills. And there are so many more.

So as I think about this I wonder what the next major liability will be that will become an asset. Many times some of these attempts happen before the world is ready and it fails. An example of this would be those convertible laptops and tablets which are so popular now. If one wants to remember, this was tried probably 10 years ago and failed. So the lesson in all of this is probably just because an attempt to change a liability to an asset failed, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will fail in the future, or that there will be no other such successes.

* * *

Have a great week and I hope to see you here next Saturday. And who knows, maybe you will be the one who will discover the next asset coming from that liability.

Thoughts on History – A Personal View

Sometimes it takes some personal history to begin to see history as it may truly be. Unfortunately, because times and attitudes change, and the way things are seen by the common man and woman – let alone academia, this changes what is understood, in the present, leading to a very poor and inaccurate translation of the era that’s being viewed. Words  change, go out of favor, change their meaning and direction, the human consciousness shifts and changes, placing things that were in favor, out of favor. Tolerance becomes intolerance and visa versa, and so much more that changes the overall society, as a whole. It makes one wonder if there is anything from the past that can be interpreted accurately, let alone correctly?

We have to be careful, in our educational systems, to understand that many times, what is taught is being taught is being taught in such a way that it reflects an ideology, making points that isn’t necessary there, but will help carry their ( the ones behind the ideology) agenda. After all, if they can convince the youth that their views are correct then this same youth will carry these beliefs into their personal lives, and thusly that ideology. Unfortunately, it takes getting beyond school to begin to see the truth behind the lies, but that means that one must pursue personally, history on one’s own time. And in today’s world time is a rare commodity.

For example: How many of you know the Federal Reserve is a private bank? Most would believe that it is part of the government, but it isn’t. This, in many ways, makes no sense. After all, every government has the right to print their own currency, so why doesn’t ours? By using this existing system it means that our government must borrow money from a private bank to conduct business. Seems strange to me. And this means that the ones who control the monetary system, controls the government. Hmmm, maybe that explains some of what is happening.

Let’s look back in history to maybe understand this and at the time of Abraham Lincoln. He was possibly the only president who realized that this was a problem and decided that the US Government would begin to print their own money and refuse to allow the private banks to do so. Thusly, in a short time after he did this, we started seeing, in circulation, the green back dollar, as it was known. At this time when this came about it set the European bankers up in arms. After all, many of the countries in the old world had private banks controlling their monetary systems, and they wanted the same control over the US Government. But Lincoln refused, even with the pressure exerted by these international bankers.

There is a suggestion that they felt that if he couldn’t be convinced to change to their way of thinking that they might be able to have him removed. And here we can begin the conspiracy theories, with the idea that they began to plot his end. We know that the history books state that Booth was responsible for killing Lincoln, and if these foreign banks were involved they probably didn’t have to offer much to this zealot for him to carry out his threat. (The strange thing about this is the results if Lincoln had lived. Lincoln’s plan for the South was  much better than the Reconstructionist movement that basically destroyed the South.)

Once he was dead, then the banks began to pull this money, created by the government, off the market, reducing the amount of money in circulation, and by this reduction creating an artificial depression. This led later to the passing of the laws that put the Federal Reserve System in place. And all that money originally created by our government was pulled out of circulation and replaced by what we have now. Study history and learn why we have many of the problems we face today.

Another interesting fact lie in the wishes of our founders for elected representatives for federal office. First off it was to be a privilege and unpaid. There were no plans for the career politicians that we see today. In fact it was something that couldn’t be imagined at the time when the Constitution was being written. Yet, what do we have now? Career politicians who are well dug in as deep as the Japanese on the islands that they defended during WWII. This has led to deep corruption, favors being passed around the aisles, large organizations created strictly to woo these politicians, and they creating laws that allows them to vote for their own raises, besides other perks – none of this anticipated by the forefathers of this country. And we won’t get into how the senate was to be elected, which is so different from today. Yet, when one receives the lessons on history, US history, during the time of required education, none of this is ever mentioned – I wonder why?

And speaking of the forefathers, it is now, in the present time, that our text books in our school systems find ways to demonize these very people as the worst of the worst and then shift this praise to others who have not earned the right to this, because of the ones in control of our educational systems and it is to their advantage to do so – again pushing their agendas. For example; yes these few helped establish this country, but do you not realize that they were part of the problem? They were slave holders for heaven sake! Absolutely true as slave holders. Yet, at the time they were British subjects, and slavery had been around since the beginning of man, and if one wants to be honest for a moment, it is still here today. But, as British citizens (many forget this, after all they were Americans weren’t they? Well, weren’t they?) it was illegal to free a slave. And let’s be honest here once again – just who was it that sold these people into slavery in the first place? So by changing the emphasis we change history from the truth to whatever we want it to say. After all, take anything out of context and it is yours to control, to do with as you please.

Any way that we look at it, whether on purpose or by accident, the accounts of the past, as presented, will always be tainted with the existing society at the time that this past is interpreted. None of us will be able to say that we actually lived during those times in history, so we end up only seeing a small part, trying to understand it from a great distance, and mostly getting it wrong. Yet, we are stuck with those mistakes, and too many times take the results to be fact, only to find later that what had been revealed wasn’t close to the actual truth. And if there is one thing I’ve learned in my life is that truth is not necessarily the same to all, and that by manipulating the truth you can make it say anything you want it to. And if a lie is heard often enough it can be interpreted as the truth.

Let’s understand that history is rarely as presented. Even though it is taught in our educational systems as if it is fact. When we are learning these things, and we are using the text books that are required, we do not think that there may be a motive behind what we are learning, what we are studying, but unfortunately there is. If one wants to learn more, then one must step away from the “official text”, “the official line”, and discover for themselves what it truly was like, within the confines of the ones who are presenting the information. It is here that we must understand that even these others may not have it right and thusly we must come to our own conclusions, own ideas, and be willing to change them whenever there is something presented that could change our views, thoughts, and knowledge. Again, we must take all of these presentations – text books, studies, authors, speeches, seminars, and such – judge them against our own experience, and come to a consensus. Never accepting that all that is presented is the absolute truth. We must forever question otherwise be led freely in whatever direction the ones in charge want to take us.

Beliefs and Thoughts

Even though none of us necessarily think about it when we are reading an interesting novel that keeps us turning those pages, throughout that novel, through the actions and interactions of the characters, the author’s beliefs are there. Whether it is intentional or not, it is hardly surprising that it should be this way. All of us have a belief system in place, and our thoughts are based upon that foundation. Whether that foundation is based on something as solid as rock or as weak as sand, many times, has no bearing on those thoughts until something comes along to pull the proverbial rug out from under us. Leaving us to stop and ponder those revelations and possible changes. For some it doesn’t matter, they continue along as if nothing has happened. Pragmatic in their views and thoughts, thinking that the other one or ones who presented the facts that countered their beliefs had to be wrong. After all we all have those self-fulfilling, self indulging ideas that say we are right no matter what someone else may present. In other words, “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts”.

Yet if enough is presented, eventually we have to accept that those personal beliefs may have been accepted on faulty information, once realized then reevaluate and adjust those beliefs in a new direction. It’s never easy to admit that one is wrong, especially when we have been so adamant that we are right. At this point, because of our pride, many times we will think that, “Yes they are probably right, but I wasn’t wrong either.” Again, if any of us are that illusionary “normal”, then we all talk with ourselves continually on that mental plane, discussing our internal views, thoughts and ideas, as we work through those changes and our personal belief system.

We have to be strong enough to admit that there are many outside influences that do work either with or against our personal belief system. Of course many of us say, as I stated earlier, “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” After all it is easier to remain with what we know. Add to this mix experience and time and what at one time in your life seemed pretty black and white, becomes heavy shades of gray. And if you are willing to admit it you find that your beliefs have taken a hit and changed, sometime subtly and other times radically. That you are not (Even though we must live with ourselves each and every day, making it more difficult to see those personal changes.) the same person you were that so many years ago when naivety seemed to apply much too well to your person. Yes, time and experience has made me better at understanding my personal beliefs. And if you believe that then you really do not understand yourself or your motivations at all.

I think that mentally we are always questioning ourselves, second guessing, reevaluating, searching, and testing ourselves. Whether any of this actually does us any good I really don’t know. Although if one isn’t careful such can destroy our confidence in ourselves, our belief structure, with our thoughts leading to a negative impact on every aspect of us. Many times when we begin that negative spiral it takes us down roads that should not be traveled. Here we deal with the bad side of ourselves where our personal beliefs can be a destroyer, and continue to push us in directions that can have nothing but bad outcomes.

Many times we recognize this but seem powerless to stop all that negativity, leading many to deep depression. It is a personal belief system that has gone wrong. Unfortunately we can find much too much support for this thought process in the real world, reinforcing those very negative beliefs and thoughts. Destroying our confidence in ourselves to the point of questioning everything that we do. To shift gears a bit as this brought up this subject to me: In an abusive relationship we see that direction taken by the one who is abused. It leads on an ever downward spiraling road that eventually leaves the abused with no self-confidence at all, no belief in their own abilities – none at all.

Once this point is reached then the abused only lives through the approval of the abuser. The abuser now is their belief system and anything they do and say is fact, whether the statements are fiction or not. After all they are the ones in control. That is why so many times the abused will deny that they are abused even when witnessed by another. After all it is their fault (the abused) that such has happened. It must have been something that they personally had done to make it happen. With ones that have never faced this, it seems to be impossible to understand. After all if this is happening to you why not leave? If only it was that simple.

Many years ago I purchased a used item from a private seller. Here I found a wife who seemed different. I couldn’t explain it at the time, and unfortunately it was years later before I understood what I was seeing. She was an abused spouse. The signs were there, only I didn’t recognize them. Too many years had passed to be able to help as I was young at the time and they were older. By the time I had figured this out I suspect that both would have passed on. This abuse and subsequent change happens over a period of time. It leads to a slow degeneration of the abused belief system, their personal confidence in themselves, and their view of the world and personal relationships. I’ve often thought about this and think about these abused individuals. They’ve entered into what they believe is a happy healthy relationship only to be betrayed and destroyed. Living their lives in a hell that they cannot or do not know how to escape from.

By the time that it reaches the point that I witnessed above, they no longer have any personal beliefs and thoughts that aren’t first approved by the abuser. It reaches a point that they feel that they cannot live without this other, and everything must go through them – everything. After all they cannot do this on their own, and unfortunately this has too much truth at this point. They begin to lie to all their friends, and worst of all to themselves. They adjust their personal belief systems to match the abusers and accept that the abuse is a normal part of life. So when it happens in public, as the lies build over time, of course it really didn’t happen – no not really.

If one is new to this blog, one may ask, rightly so, how I could know anything about this subject. And until I met the woman who became my wife, it would have been a very valid question. I learned, over time, that she had just come of out a ten-year abusive relationship, and with many sessions, so to speak, the two of us worked through the damage done and eventually she healed from that devastating experience. Yet for me it was a learning experience. Part of my belief system felt that one’s life mate (husband or wife) was the equal to the other. That her strengths would help offset my weakness and visa versa. Yet, here before me was the evidence that this existed (abuse), something that I had never considered before. So I became more aware, and this was added to my personal experiences and to my personal beliefs. Unfortunately abuse is prevalent today and one of the many hidden shames that we face as a society.

Let’s be honest for a moment, and admit that there are many things in this world that can lead to disbelief, only to have those things proven to be true later. All of us have problems accepting these proofs because of the way our personal belief systems are. Many times it takes years before one is willing to admit that they were wrong and yes the other was right. Such is pride, such is ego, and both can extort a great cost on us. Other times it is ignorance that is the factor, such as the abuse described above. Yet, once that ignorance is erased, what we do with it is personal. We can add it to our personal beliefs or reject it. After all, these beliefs do not and many times are not based on fact or logic, and therein lies the problem. So as you read this, take the time to evaluate and really understand your personal beliefs and thoughts. Can you laugh when you learn how much is based a faulty information, or will you just ignore it anyway and continue as you are? In the end that’s your call. They say that knowledge is power. If that is so do you really have knowledge of the foundations of your beliefs? If not then the power lies with them not you. And until you decide to see them as they truly are nothing will change.

Emotions and Feelings

Almost every aspect of the human condition revolves around emotion, and if not emotion then the feelings that are generated by such. All of us ride the highs and lows throughout our lives. Fear, to joy, to sadness, to elation and everything that exists in-between is a part of each and every one of us. And as such, these emotions influence every aspect of our lives. It can push us to great heights, or it can freeze us into indecision and failure. It doesn’t matter what the mind says, postulates, rationalizes, the bottom line, those emotions and/or feelings can easily be the controlling factor – not our logic.

In psych classes and even the classes dealing with sociology, these aspects of our beings are discussed, dissected, and explained. Yet, even with the knowledge about the power that these emotions and feelings project we find that they still have a major influence over how we both act and react to situations. Whether this is something that is built into our DNA, the way we were raised within our families, a combination of both, or is just a part of who we are, this knowledge can allow one to understand what is happening, but not necessarily allow one to control it.

As a writer, examples of this would be the elation of finishing that first draft, and feeling proud that it is accomplished. Followed by feelings of dread as you realize that there is still a very long way to go before this becomes something that can be published and made available to the public. Then once this is accomplished you wait breathlessly for those reader reviews hoping for good ones, and at the same time realizing that there will always be readers who will hate what you’ve written. And because, at this point, all is unknown you are left with anticipation that those first few coming in will be good. If not, then it is easy to have your emotions and feelings come crashing down, making you feel inadequate, somewhat depressed and the thoughts, emotions, and feelings run rampant in your mind. This is usually followed by some personal bashing about what could have been or should have been.

Here is where you begin to question yourself, wondering, with all the effort and time that you’ve invested, if maybe you should just give up and move on to something else. After all, writing might not be your thing. The problem , one of many of course, with these emotions and feelings is that they can exert enough control over our lives that we can completely lose confidence in our abilities and we continue to beat ourselves up. Running, in our minds over and over again the same scenarios, and all the bad reasons as to why we don’t deserve this or that, and if only this had happened or maybe something hadn’t happened, so much could and would be different. In other words instead of a confidence builder they are confidence destroyers.

It could be on one of those days that you’ve come into your job happy and upbeat, and with a single word from either a boss or a customer find yourself down, confidence shattered, and the bright day become one of darkness. Why? After all are we  still that same person who just arrived at work feeling good about ourselves? Why can such drive us to such lows or even anger? Anger over some imagined or real slight that seems to have destroyed our fragile ego and apparently ruined our day.

In fact emotions and feelings can either strengthen our faith in ourselves, or put us in a place where we cannot trust ourselves in any situation. Such is the strength of emotion, such is the strength of feelings. In a movie “Remo Williams”, the mentor stated, when the protagonist found himself afraid, that fear was just a feeling. Stating I feel hungry, I feel tired, I feel afraid. Those darn emotions, those darn feelings which is running rampage over us. If we truly think about this we are not alone in this. If any of you have pet animals such as dogs and cats, then you’ve personally witnessed these emotions from your pets. You’ve seen their happy expressions, watched as they struck out in anger, and have seen the fear in their eyes, know when they want to play, or want to be left alone. They can say so much without a word.

Let’s be honest here. They (emotions and feelings) can lead to a fall when we become, as the old saying goes, “too big for our britches”. And we see this aspect way too much in this culture – especially in politics and Hollywood. It seems that here especially that ego, emotions, and feelings are paramount. And both (politicians and actors) are good at manipulating all three. Still, we must face the fact that even with our minds, our logic, that too many times, it is the emotions and feelings that do the controlling. And no matter how much we know and understand, we still, and most likely, always will, fall prey to their power over us.

It’s not that emotions and feelings are bad because they aren’t. Without such we wouldn’t feel compassion, love, the desire to help, where needed – all very important parts of our makeup. It is only when such is manipulated, when they drive us to the negative, to where they are out of control that we face deep problems. We all have our ups and downs. Without those changes we could never recognize any particular situation or emotion. It is only when they reach the extreme that they can lead to dangerous behavior, and sometimes self-destructing behavior to the point of suicide. So as it states in the Bible –  do all things in moderation.

So where are you on this rollercoaster of life? Do you recognize, in yourself, when these emotions and feeling are out of control? And if so, can you bring them back where they should be. Or must they run their course over a period of time before you once again feel normal – whatever that mythological normal is? After all I’m no different no matter how many years have passed. After all, like you, these emotions and feelings are an intimate part of me, and as in all things that are that close, they can inspire, or they can destroy. So really, where are you?

Published in: on February 8, 2014 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: