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A Poke in the MindsEye
 
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Below are the 14 most recent journal entries recorded in apikuros' LiveJournal:

Monday, August 30th, 2010
9:01 pm
The Right to Bear Arms--Why Our Nation Required it and Why it's Still Valid
You hear a lot of people complaining about the second amendment being an antiquated right that does not apply to modern society, and, even if it was valid, it would only apply, Liberals and Progressives argue,  to a "well-regulated militia". There is an historical context that will inform the reader as to the mood of the embryonic nation-- the thirteen colonies-- when it comes to defense of the homeland and the home. That is, the concern was not so much external as it was internal. The great fear among many politicians and most of the public was the abuse of power by government, including our own.

The political sentiments of the colonies during the time of the revolution and subsequent periods was essentially British and British history is the key to understanding America's insistence on the right to bear arms.    England, during the time when the overseas colonies were being settled, was a parliamentary monarchy.   Around 1625 Charles I over-rode Parliament and extorted loans to fund wars.  When the troops returned, instead of disbanding them (because they required taxes on an overburdened populace to fund them), the King kept them as a standing army and to add insult to injury, he billeted them at the homes of those who had opposed his designs on power.  You can now understand why the 3rd Amendment of the Bill of Rights was written to reflect these fears: "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.".   This amendment applied to our democratic republic, not the British Monarchy, because, the well reasoned and often borne out fear was, as long as the government has power through the use of guns, it can and will abuse that power.  This attitude, then, is key to understanding the Second Amendment.

The continuing tension between Parliament and Charles I resulted in a civil war around the mid-1600's during which Oliver Cromwell came to command the Parliament's forces.  Cromwell was victorious.  Interestingly, had Parliament honored the commitment to pay the troops before disbanding the Army, history might have been less bloody.  But Parliament reneged, the troops rebelled and civil war commenced. Once again Cromwell prevailed after which Parliament was purged and Charles beheaded.   Another lesson to learn here:  You are at risk if you think you can abuse people under arms.  As Mao noted, "power grows out of the barrel of a gun."  Cromwell installed his own Parliament but eventually took total power as "Lord Protector."


Cromwell died but English political turmoil continued with a succession of monarchies.  Finally, William and Mary were brought on board after agreeing to a formal declaration that allowed Parliament to institute certain protections from a standing army, to include authorization for forces during peacetime falling to Parliament,  and insuring the "right to bear arms" for citizens.  The formative principle was a fear of a government that could muster forces.  This concern with the possible, indeed, probable abuse of power by armed forces and the people that controlled them followed the settlers of the colonies of the New World.  The concern about armies and police power held within the provinces and states of the colonies but especially for a central federal government.  Note here that the ability to use force of arms against the people of the colonies included the state militias under control of a governor, as exemplified by Shay's rebellion in Massachusetts.  Shay and his followers demanded redress of grievances by a burdensome government and courts.  His own militia faced off against the State militia and prevailed once but eventually faltered.  Still, the armed rebellion had its effect and the grievances addressed.  Without an armed citizenry, confiscation of land and poor houses for the citizens would have resulted en mass.

Here, we begin to understand the Second Amendment:  "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."   The militia referred to is not the National Guard (under both state and federal control) that gun-control advocates would have us believe.  It is a separate militia of the people and the freedom being secured is not from a foreign government but historically our own government.  Now, most states don't have separate militias apart from the National Guard.  And, thankfully, militias are currently not considered necessary, although Arizona, Texas and other states fighting with the federal government over immigration might disagree. Those aforementioned states and those that allow marijuana to be used by their citizens find themselves at odds with the federal government as well as, often enough, their own law enforcers.  However, should the differences between the People and the Government reach a critical state, one can believe that a well-regulated militia would be formed.  Some may feel that our government would never become abusive to the extent that a revolt by citizens would be necessary.  But history has not been kind to such romantic notions about the likelihood of government to abuse its power.  Even democracies will use force under a belief that it is for the common good.  And those who rule--the politicians, the lobbyists, the intelligentsia--are typically and woefully out of touch with the average citizen.

Well, if a militia becomes necessary, and in the realm of possibilities, this certainly might be the case, how effective would it be if the citizens had no arms or weapons.  The idea is that a well-regulated, armed militia would not even need to be formed--just the impetus to form one would have the politicians sitting straight up and listening, but only if there were an effective threat that the citizens had recourse to arms. Otherwise, a snicker, a laugh and business as usual.  Consequently, the right to bear arms is in effect an important safeguard, built into the Constitution via the Bill of Rights so the people, the citizens, if and when it becomes necessary, can organize a potent mechanism to redress grievances secondary to abuse and usurpation of rights.





 
Saturday, August 14th, 2010
1:28 pm
Interesting Dwellings in Maine
 My time in Maine this year is winding down. In the time remaining I have embarked on a new activity involving photography. I just received a Fuji mini SLR, with which I hope to take some better photos. I plan to take 3 types of photos, each of which will have it's own album: Wildlife photos as a matter of course; Photos of People I know and meet; and pictures of the dwelling in Maine, which are often interesting in one way or another.

The first of these falls into the category of micro-dwelling--a phenomenon that is receiving some press among sustainability activist, architects, conservation folks, etc. Some folks have these tiny one room (with a loft, perhaps) houses that are inexpensive to build, maintain, and heat/cool. Maine is ahead of the curve on this and has had these small canps and living quarters forever, I guess. Most are not resplendant or as tidy as the stuff you see on the Home and Garden channel; they are utilitarian, basic, and humble. Some are seasonal dwellings but others are permanent residences.

The first of these is a camp, I believe. It sits on a grassy lot off a main road. There is a small camper elsewhere on the lot. I seem to remember a TV antenna atop this little shack.I figure it is about 90 square feet. The antenna would be superfluous these days with digital signals, so I can see why it would have been removed. The grass is kept neatly trimmed, so I know the property is active.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
5:51 pm
Barry Kirkey Internet Radio Interview about my Son

The Internet Radio Interview:
The Background--
I was genuinely pleased and proud that my youngest son, my second of two, won the "Pickup Artist 2008 VH1" reality contest. I had been concerned over the years that he had not managed, to my knowledge, to hook up with girls. My other boy, now married for almost three weeks, had done relatively well in that area. Simeon was one of those kids who liked school and excelled scholastically. When he was really young he seemed to reject the conventions of his peers and did his own thing. He got picked on some but from what I could tell he handled himself pretty well. In high school he started trying to fit in more but it was difficult, I am sure, to integrate socially when you had not participated in all those subtle social interactions throughout the earlier years. He tried to make up for it by going out for a variety of sports, at which he was pretty game but never really an excellent athlete. There were no girlfriends in high school.

In college Simeon joined a fraternity with the ulterior motive that frats make it easy to meet girls. I guess he had some female friends but not any romantic ones of any note. Off he went from college to Israel where he might have gone also in the hope of meeting a girl to make his own. He finally ended up in California, his original destination, in the hope of breaking into the film industry in some capacity. The job he got though was an assistant manager at Walgreen’s--something he hated. After a couple of years, he cashed in his 401k and went off to India for almost half a year. There he bummed around, shot photos, went to yoga and other exotic classes. I do not expect that there were any romantic saliences, though it sounds like he met a lot of folks there.

 

Act I

Fade out and fade in several years later and a curious message to us, his parents, not to try to contact him for a couple of months. Mystery!...
It turned out that he had applied for and was accepted--1 of 9 out of 5000 applicants--to be a contestant on the second season of a show called "The Pickup Artist". Each week a contestant was eliminated. But, the idea of the show is to train people to pick up girls using a method developed by the show’s host--he dubs himself "Mystery". I watched episode after episode, with some nail biting and embarrassment as Simeon matured and developed his skills. All of the contestants made great progress from the dismal and painful attempts and approaches of the first episode. Simeon did not look as good as some of the other contestants and he appeared "hyper" in some of the earlier shows both in the pickup venues and the at-home scenes. But, he got better and better at internalizing the training and wonder-of-wonders he was picking up really good looking women and kissing them on camera within minutes after meeting them. Is this my Simmy. It is!

Well, as luck would have it, Simmy became THE Pickup Artist.  He won and with winning he could discard his past persona and in a swoosh become a genuinely different person.  Such instantaneous changes are rare and amazing.  Simmy is now more confident and self assured, more relaxed and content. 

With his win he also got the prize money, some 50,000 dollars (perhaps 30 thou after taxes).  Winning the money also was a big relief for me and the wife--or, at least we so thought.  My wife had blasted Simmy when we got another of those non-payment notices from Sallie Mae--his student loan holder.  We had gotten these all too often since Sim graduated from college.  He had often deferred the very large loan which made it grow with interest at a rate far exceeding inflation and he had not been very concerned about taking care of the loan or of informing us when the loan payment was late.  He would say that he thought that the deferment ended later or he forgot or whatever.  This had been and continued to be an issue between us.  After another one of these letters, my wife called Sim.  She was very upset and he told her not to worry because he planned on winning the contest.  My wife understood that he would use the money to pay off a major portion of
the loan immediately--big relief for us.

 

Act II

Well, he did win. I called him sometime after the final episode.  I congratulated him.  I was proud.  I saw in his blogs that he planned to travel and send his buddy on a trip as well. I asked him about paying off the loan (to include an offer of dollar for dollar assistance).  He got angry and said that he never promised to use the money to pay off the loan.  He also angrily accused me of only being interested in the money which in turn pissed me off as most of the loan was a result of poor decisions coupled with lassitude towards working while in school.

 

Act III

I felt somewhat vindictive at my ungrateful brat of a son.  What to do?  I didn't want to really hurt him but I did want to do something--perhaps in a puckish kind of way.  What I decided is to try to flesh out his "nice guy" image in a blog, to include some of the less admirable parts of his personality, especially as related to his relationship with his parents over the student loan.  I also figured that I would include some of his background as a matter of interest and as counterpoint to the too-desperate image laid out by the shows producers of what the contestants were like.

I proceeded to blog away and provided a title that would show up on searches for his name.  It worked.  I received an email from the Barry Kirkey internet radio show inviting me for an interview as "Simeon's Dad". Simeon had flaked out on a scheduled interview and the host was pretty mad.  Searching around he or his staff found my blog.  Apparently others had read the blog and my information was being discussed in the various forums.  I researched the show and found the episode archive that had Simeon flake on them.  The show seemed to be kind of a Howard Stern for younger listeners with a particular emphasis on the pickup scene.  I agreed to the interview.

While this is all happening, my other son, Alex, had gotten engaged and was due to marry his fiance at he end of March, about a week after the scheduled interview. I had heard nothing from Simeon in quite a while, although I knew he was going to be coming for the wedding--on the day of the interview it turned out.  Then...a call from Simeon.  He asked me to take down or amend my blogs.  It turned out that he was trying to leverage his fame by starting to offer services to train people in the art of pickup.  My blogs, according to him, showed up pretty high in the products of a search on his name and the discussions in the forums made him look bad.   I agreed and privatized some of the blogs and amended the public one.  I told him about the interview.  He said that the reason he did not do the interview was because he had been told that they would amuse themselves at his expense and he would look bad. He was warned not to do the interview and he asked me not to do it as well.

One of the differences between me and Simmy is that I have this core belief in a kind of behavioral code of honor.  I had told that the show that I would do this interview and this was kind of a commitment that I felt obligated to uphold.  I guess these notions of keeping one's word are not appreciated very much by the current generation.  More's the pity.  Anyway, after mulling it over I emailed Sim and told him that I decided to go ahead with the interview but I would not make it something that was going to be a problem for him.  I invited him to discuss it with me but he never did. 

The Interview went off as planned. I received a phone call and we spoke for about 20 minutes. In the preparatory phone call I had mentioned what Sim had said about ridicule and mocking and was told that such occurred only for those who were ingenuous or otherwise subjected themselves to it by their behavior. After a recap of my blog by Barry, I added some detail on Simeon's background as not being so nerdy, his academics, his going out for sports. I was asked about how Simmy took the blog and told him about his problems on the forum and his request for toning it down, which I acceded to. He felt that Simmy would be really pissed at me saying that he would be angry if his dad did a blog like mine. He asked when I saw Simmy last (about two years) and when I talked with him. The answer really surprised him because I told him “a couple of hours ago”. I thought I could hear his jaw drop. This definitely would not be a tell-all condemnation of by a parent...and it wasn't. I noted that Simmy would be flying in that evening and that I had invited him to listen in to the interview if he could get in early enough.

 

Barry felt that Simmy should get out of the pickup game as it turned people into very shallow beings. He gave himself—an ex-pickup artist—as an example. I countered that Simmy possessed some narcissistic traits (though not at a pathological level) and that this dovetailed nicely with being a pickup artist. In fact, I related that there was a recent report that reality show contestants were the most narcissistic of any of those in the media. I guess it takes that to subject yourself to what these shows entail. I don't know if I mentioned that Simeon was going to make a movie—a low budget Indy—this summer. I believe I did mention that he has a website where he advertises his services to train others in the pickup arts. I talked about his skill as a writer and the “spec” script he had done on the “family guy” which I found, to my surprise, to be hilarious and spot on for each of the character's voices. My intention was actually to promote Simeon and the only problem part of the interview was at the end where I was going on about something and unbeknownst to me Barry was going “da-da-da-da....” on a voiceover—his way of telling his audience that I was rambling. Perhaps, I was. Anyway, he apologized for that off microphone, but said he had to do it as part of the way his show worked. He, at the end, asked if wanted to advertise my blog, but I said that I did it pretty much for myself and a few others, but he did let me advertise Simeons website at Simeonmoses.com and invited Simmy to do the show if he wanted. So it was: My 20 minutes of fame.

 

Epilogue

Simeon told me a few days later the show had produced an increase in hits on his website http://www.simeonmoses.com.

Sunday, January 4th, 2009
10:40 pm
The Cold and the Beautiful--Reflections on the Pickup Artist
A memory bubbled up out of nowhere.  My son Simeon has once described his wishes on an internet profile or something like that.  He said, in a rueful way, as I recall, that he just wanted to be special.  That was his goal in life.  Strange, I thought at the time; It's  one thing to want to achieve something, and that would make you special, but, as a goal in and of itself, well, that's just narcissistic.  You become "special"  if you have some deserving qualifier, not by wishing it.   Why special, what special?  What is missing in your life that makes you want to be categorized as special?  Is it some feeling of inferiority?  Is it the feeling that normal life would be boring unless you had the notoriety that comes with being special? 

Dang it all, wouldn't you know it, he actually went and did it.  Suprise!  He is now VH1's pickup artist of the year.  He hangs out with media and literary figures.  His appearance and dress and behavior and confidence have changed.  He now has all the women he can shake a stick (or somethng that rhymes with stick) at.  He will be touring and presenting at seminars.  From now on, even if further success eludes him, he can bestow the title on himself and the title is permanent.

And yet, though this memory of his wish to be special resulted in the interesting conclusion that he had done it, he in fact became special, I found myself thinking that his fame may not benefit him in the long run.  Somewhere along the line, I feel, there was a pulling back of empathy and sentimentality.    I hope, as with my other kid, that as the years pass, there will be a renewal and a yearning for family ties.

Current Mood: exanimate
Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
9:53 pm
Simeon Moses VH1 Pickup Artist of the Year 2008

So…my son Simeon, second-born of two, was the winner of a reality show:  VH1's the Pickup Artist 2008.  What do I make of the notoriety and in some cases, infamy, ascribed to someone who uses socio-biological sleight of hand to meet and romance girls and women on the quick.  This blog is my attempt to share my feelings and thoughts about this all from the point of view of a parent, as well as, to flesh out some of Simeon's background and how it fits to his triumph as a PUA.

Without doubt, I am glad for Simeon.  I watched the episodes with equal measures of pride and discomfort.   Here is Simmy, my child grown up (to a degree), at episode 1, baring for all to see an overly-energetic, disheveled, poorly dressed dude.  As the episodes progressed, Sim toned down the energy and nervousness in approaching the women.  To me, he looked a bit too overdone.  His pickup line seemed too scripted; his jacket (as some of his detractors on the message boards and blogs have noted) seemed a size or two too large for him.  His antics with the boa, shirtless next to Matt, became the butt of some talk shows.  Still, he learned the "Mystery" craft well and honestly acquitted himself better to the tasks and challenges and won the prize. 

What an irony!  Simeon, Mr. Socially Challenged Niceguy to his friends in real life and to his virtual friends and supporters in TV land, now a PUA.   Not only a PUA, THE PUA of the year!  And with that title, the notoriety and infamy of someone who is venal to a fault for the currency of conquest.   Pickup artists are accused of manipulation and tawdry behavior towards women.  They are not interested, it is said, in the person, only the "game", as Neil Strauss titled his book.  Is this my Simmy, pursuing hapless (though good looking) females and then dispensing with them?  All the women that the contestants had contact with on all the episodes signed waivers unknowingly and found themselves as pawns in a televised contest.  Was it fair doing that to them? Is there some sense of guilt or wrongdoing on the part of the producers and directors?  Does Simmy feel bad for them or for what he had to do—which included, by the way, outright lying in addition to lesser falsehoods.  Is Simmy the nice guy that everyone thought or was he nice by default and now, as an alpha male, he has reverted to Player sans Conscience?  I don't know the answer to that.  I wish him luck and more importantly happiness.   I hope that honesty and kindness and not pickupability are the future hallmarks of his persona.

Simeon has changed thanks to this experience.  Neither he nor any of the other contestants will be the same.   Fame itself is a cure for what ailed most of them.  Socially, they have moved to a higher plane that probably will allow them to forget and forgive their earlier selves.  I wish them luck as well.

Now for some biography according to Dad (which is to say that Sim may demur):  Simeon was a delightful kid for the most part, at least till he turned about 16.   The pre-adolescent Simeon was a very bright student, usually the top of his class in grade and middle school.  He had a knack for math.  He liked History.  He had a very good memory and absorbed things well. Physically, Sim was healthy but underweight for his height and probably still is.  Socially, Sim was not sensitive to peer norms.  We took this to be a result of his scholastic abilities and mindset.  It did not seem to us that Simeon cared to be part of the crowd and that he reached this decision knowing that the consequence would be a kind of ostracism.  He reacted stoically to some of the ribbing and abuse by others.   He chose not to dress to the latest fad or be the typically pugnacious male kid.  He understood, it seemed clear, that his future lay in academics and that is what he took his pleasure in.  There was only one element that concerned me and that was that no male should allow himself to be picked on, especially one-on-one, without fighting back.  This is a rite of passage and a natural part of being human.  As a youngster, Simeon did not seem to have it in him to develop the kind of anger needed to ferociously defend yourself.  But, he could get angry, and there was a stubborn streak that reveals itself in present day obstinacy.   Nonetheless, as I think back on it, I was very proud of him, not only because he was a good student, generally obedient and tractable, and dutiful when it came to his school obligations, but because the courage of his convictions to be his own man. 

In High School he started to change somewhat.  He saw himself as someone destined for the more elite academic track and worked hard taking honors and college courses, and he was involved in a variety of clubs and activities that would potentially look good to selective colleges.   His SATs were very good and he was accepted to attend Berkeley and Harvey Mudd colleges  (Though not MIT or Caltech) with his stated goal of being a Physicist.  But, I could not afford to assist him in attending those out of state and/or private schools and he ended up attending the University of Washington.  

In High School, Simeon also started trying to fit in.  At some point, probably hormonally generated, Simeon wanted to have more of a social life and respect by his age peers.  He went out for a number of sports, to include Tennis, Wrestling, and Swimming.   He was not a great athlete but he was game.  Girls, however, were not available to him.  He went the Greek Fraternity route, it would seem from some comments he made on the PUA show, because chicks were drawn to the frat houses and hook ups were more likely.  This, it seemed, was also not to be, and may have played a role on his psyche while at school.   Physics, after about 3 years of trying was not his cup of tea.    These Physics guys are the brightest of the bright and even very smart people often don't have what it takes to pass this most difficult program.  And Simeon may not have had his heart in it.  I had assessed Simmy while in High School using vocational interest surveys available to me as a vocational rehab counselor.  Based on the results and my own knowledge of his temperament, I tried to dissuade him from choosing Physics as a major.  He heatedly told me that I was wrong and did not know what I was talking about—typical teenager-dad dialogue. 

At about 16, my well-behaved, obedient delight of a child became obstreperous.  He became uncommunicative and distanced himself from us.  This is not unexpected or strange.  He was at this point a typical and normal teenager asserting his independence and eager to sever the apron strings.   Before he went off to college he tried to run away once.  This did not work out logistically and he came back and later went off to college without a hitch.  He would come home on occasion and we would visit him in Seattle once in awhile but for the most part he was off on his own.   The one area lacking in all this was a decided lack of warmth.  My other son, Alex, is not very demonstrative in this way, either, but sentimentality is present in subtle ways.  Not so, as far as I could tell, Simeon.  Is this a precursor to the ability to run game as a PUA? 

 In his junior year I quit my job and moved to Florida.  I worked for a while at a local community college and tried to get Simeon to transfer to Florida where, as a dependent of someone in the higher Ed system, he would get a free ride at a state school.  Simeon refused.  This is relevant to our current, sometimes strained relationship—a relationship complicated by a $45,000 (and growing) student loan which I am co-signed for and, (my wife informed me recently, though I am not quite sure how valid this is) lingering resentment at perceived favoritism for my other son.

The money is a point of contention between us.  My view is that Simeon should make it a priority to disabuse himself of this loan; Simeon seems to feel that he can just keep on deferring the loan ad infinitum until he "makes it"  (if he makes it?).    Since graduation, Simeon has embarked on several adventures and dabbled at a few occupations.  Upon graduation, with our monetary support he went to Israel and almost emigrated there, but a strike and an obnoxious bureaucracy put the kibosh on that idea.  We bought a ticket and Sim came to live with us for a while in Florida.  He was miserable and spent much of his time sleeping in his room.   He finally hit on the plan to be a financial planner for American Express.  This seemed fishy to us but we lent him money to pay them to train him.   It was in fact a very smelly con of a fish story that never panned out.

When Sim dropped Physics he switched to a Fine Arts major.  This necessitated a whole slew of new requirements which extended his stay in college by about two years—paid for by more loans.   I co-signed the loans reluctantly.   I was reluctant for several reasons: one, Simeon switched majors (at which time an I-told-you-this-was-not-your-cup-of tea is in order) to a field that was a warm-fuzzy one that did not bode well for securing a job that would pay off the loan; two, I felt obligated to help him towards a four-year stint at university, not a six-year one; and three, unlike most of the folks at his school, to include children of wealthy parents (and we were not), Simeon's contribution to his own education was miniscule.   Most of his peers worked throughout school at whatever they could get, but Simeon found it hard to denigrate himself to take most of the jobs available to him at the prevailing salaries that were offered. 

There may have been some depression that underlay some of this and I feel bad for him if this is true, but my perspective is that the loans are Simeon's and he should take responsibility and pay the fucking things off as fast as he can.  It is noteworthy that I had offered to pay for his schooling early on (when I had a better job and the money to do so) but Simeon insisted on taking out loans with his stated intention of getting a good job and paying the loans off quickly after graduation.   Instead, I, as co-signer, have been periodically getting these formal nasty grams from Sallie Mae that the loan has not been paid and I need to pay or suffer legal action.   Had I an inkling that I would have received even one of these letters, I never would have consented to be co-signer and the response by Simeon has been a kind of "well, what do you want from me, I don't have the money".    Of course, now, with the winnings of the show,  Simeon has somewhat of a windfall and can pay off a substantial portion of the loan.  I even offered a dollar-for-dollar assist.  My wife had told me that Simmy had indicated to her that, should he win, he would pay the loan off.  Instead, when I broached the subject, he denied telling her that and went off on me for "only being concerned about the loan".  I have not heard from him since although, until the PUA, we typically did not hear much from him.

I am proud of my son's accomplishment on the show and what it portends for his future life.  But I am also concerned about his utter lack of loyalty and responsibility to his parents and to his creditors.  This is a debt.  A Man, bold and underlined, pays his debts as a matter of honor and decency.  And, when those debts impinge on the parents and cause them worry and concern, it is doubly important to make a serious attempt at reducing those debts.   I say this with confirmation of everyone I've talked to about this.  Other family members, including Sim's brother; my eye doctor, my friends, casual acquaintances, are unanimous in decrying Simeon's behavior as various shades of despicable.  There have been suggestions of legal action to force payment and at some point we may have to look at these options.

So back to the Saga of Simeon:  After coming back from Israel and spending a few months in Florida with us, Simeon had a friend in California that offered to get him a job as an Assistant Manager in Walgreens and Simeon left for Calif-For-Ni-Ay and worked at Walgreens for a couple of years.   LA was where Simeon wanted to be anyway given aspirations of working in the film or TV industry as a scriptwriter or producer.  He had taken Summer Courses there for two summers—expensive, very expensive courses, which I did pay for.   Simeon hated working at Walgreens, but no opportunities presented themselves in the industry of his choice and while working at Walgreens, he pretty much was paying on his loan—Whew!   Finally, he could take it no more.   He quit his job, sold his car and took off for India, where he spent close to half a year traveling around in pajamas and assuming the moniker PJPOLO, the name of his then website and where he documented the many pictures and random musings about his journey.  After yoga, meditation, and many Indian miles under his belt, Simmy came back a vegetarian (tighten that belt a notch or two).  He spent a little time in Florida and then accompanied me to Maine where I had just purchased an old farmhouse to hide from Florida's humid summers.  I recall our time in Maine in the Summer of 2007 as generally pleasant and unproblematic.  I would have liked to see him write a little more, however.  After all, that is what aspiring writers do, I think.

From Maine it was back to Seattle, or thereabouts.  Notions of becoming a real estate agent while staying with a friend was Simeon's plan.  It did not work out and off to California he went.   This may be the period in his life that Simeon mentioned where he was homeless and living out of a vehicle.  I don't know.  He never mentioned it to us but it is heart rending to hear about it on a TV show—especially knowing that a phone call would have been all that was required to get help.   Still, I can sense that he was prideful and wanted to do this on his own and I guess that's alright, especially as he was able to eventually settle in.   In California, Simeon initally had difficulty finding a job but finally landed a job as bartender, which he seems to enjoy and appears to be good at.  Then a phone call from him—surprise!—"I will be out touch for a period of time.  Do not try to contact me."    Later, another call explaining that he was on a reality series—can't say anything about it.  The rest is History. 

It was a revelation to me that Simeon thought that we showed favoritism to his brother Alex.  When they were growing up, we sure did pay more attention to Alex, as he was the one that usually got punished for one thing or the other.  Alex did not have Simeon's academic flair and we struggled over certain issues.   Alex turned out to be good kid; he is a firefighter now and is going to paramedic school.  My wife said that Simeon once complained that we had more pictures of Alex and that showed favoritism.  I am not much of a picture taker but Simeon may be right, circumstantially.  My wife explained that we were more likely to be sucked into the photo album schemes at department store photography centers with a first-born, less so after that.  On the other hand, I kept a clown picture that third grader Simeon made in crayon on my office wall in the military and civilian jobs I had.   The symmetry of that picture looked as it could have drawn by a professional to look childlike.   Anyway, like most parents, I adore my kids in different ways, but equally.  I also pull equal chunks of my hair out in frustration when my kids have problems.  Simeon as a kid was a good hearted, good natured, gentle and cerebral soul.  What parent could not be proud of such a child?  I hope as an adult that he returns to those early roots.

As far as Simeon's personality on the PUA,  I was surprised at the hyperactivity.  He was not that way as a kid—overeager, sometimes, perhaps—but not the hyperkinetic, superenergetic person we saw in episode one.  Was it nervousness, was it acting out because of the camera, was it encouraged by the director to provide an identity to the contestants.  I think all three.    Simeon's brother tells me that when he calls him, Simeon has very little to say.  This is a far cry from the animated, glib, and garrulous Simeon we see on the set at the mansion.  As far as the banter and sometimes-goofy come on in earlier episodes, it does not jibe with the Simeon I observed when I visited with him in when he was living near Hollywood.  We were in a fast food restaurant when he spotted a girl with a Huskies (his Alma Mater) sweatshirt.  He struck up a conversation with her at the conclusion of which he calmly asked for her number.  He was not super-shy or geeky at all.  He may not have had that much success with women  (most of us are in that same category) but he (and most of the other contestants) are not the hapless and nerdy losers in that category that is being depicted by the shows hype.




Current Mood: contemplative
Sunday, September 14th, 2008
5:57 pm
Preparing for Migration back to Florida

I am coming to the end of my shift, the 4th 12  hour shift in a row.   I"ve had two calls these last 4 days.  I have had no repeat calls yet--each condition is a new one for me as an attending EMT.  It is like going through school again.  But, I am not complaining; rather, I still enjoy it.  And... the work is pretty easy, even for minimum wage.  I get to the station at 6 AM, often watching a sunrise over the hills and mountains of this area.  Lately there has been a lot of fog as the season gets colder.  At the station I lay on the couch for a few hours and catch up on sleep.   I arise to check my email and do the daily checks on the ambulances or the weekly inventory if it is due on a vehicle.  I usually eat lunch in town about a half mile away.  Back to the station, then, for more naps, web surfing or computer courses for EMS recertification.  Sometimes I work on my car or radio projects.  All this, of course, ends if there is a call which lasts 3 to 5 hours by the time I am done with the report.  The radio I carry alerts me to a pending call, I acknowledge and write down the details and get the ambulance out of the bay and wait for the on-call driver to scoot on over to the station.  They are usually there in under 5 minutes during which I look over the protocol for whatever the call is about.  The presenting complaint is not always what we are dispatched for (as was the case yesterday) but usually it is close.

The last couple of days I have had my fishing gear with me and I tried my luck at the lake in town.  The town center is only a couple of blocks square.  The restaraunts, general store, supermarket, bank, gas station, town office, and other businesses are all in this 4 block area, and so is the edge of the lake.  Yesterday. I caught a bluegill, yellow perch, and about a 15 inch pickerel.  Today, I went at 4 PM but  it was starting to drizzle and get a little cold.  I caught a nice 2 pound smallmouth after a couple of casts then went to the boat launch a half mile up the road and caught about a 17 inch pickerel on my first cast.  Because the rain was increasing I went back to base where I am writing this.  I will have the bass for dinner this evening.

On my days off I sleep alot.  I think it is probably healthy and helps you to relax if you can sleep at will.  Of couse it does not help in accomplishing all the chores I set for myself but as I am not subject to discipline, who cares!  I read some stuff in the manual for mental disorders that seemed to relate lack of sleep to dysthymia, a kind of ongoing depression with less severe acute symptoms.  Makes sense to me.  But oft-times my days off are occupied with shopping, training, or volunteering--such as the two shifts at the Springfield fire department food shack at the annual Springfield Fair, or, the day spent arranging for shipment of donated radios, or using the computer at the Calais base to develop a powerpoint presentation. 

Anyway, I gotta say, I am very relaxed and unstressed.  Maine is good for me.  I believe I will be able to convince my wife to quit her state job and commute back and forth with me next year.  I am already looking forward to  it and the folks at Downeast EMS have indicated that my position will be waiting for me.

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008
9:36 pm
Return from exodus
It has been 4 years since posting here.  I was doing something on Myspace or facebook and somehow an old livejournal entry showed up.  I was surprised that the account was still there.  I was just exploring some of my interest venues and I think this is actually a pretty good blogsite so I will start posting again.

Interestingly (or, depending how bored you are, maybe not), I was musing on my dog Trigger today. What an amazing animal she is:  so sleek and naturally muscled, elegant and graceful, when she crosses her front paws, ladylike,  or stretches languidly.

Shortly, I will start transferring blogs from other sites I have been journaling and will update the profile.
Monday, July 5th, 2004
8:35 pm
Uh Oh
I have had a computer and been on the internet almost from the beginning. Yet, I was pretty utilitarian about it. I did what I needed to do and went back to watching TV or whatever. Now, with the advent of blogging (and I am recent to it), I find myself increasingly addicted to sitting in from of the computer--reading, composing, flitting from site to community, to friends, but addicted.
Sunday, July 4th, 2004
10:36 pm
Change
I, if some of you have noticed, seem to be mesmerized or fixated with transcendancy, by which I mean change of self from one form to another. I guess it means that there are some things I wish were different. In fact, there are many things and actually some of those are things lost and I wish I could return to them: a little more pugnacity, the ready one liners, the immunity from criticism, the ease in making friendships.

I have always believed that change does come naturally, at least for some of us. I used to say that I could see transforming personality changes in myself every seven years. I would look at myself and sure enough, the rule of seven applied from grade school to probably my mid forties. This rule could be defined as follows: If you were to describe my personality and traits in writing, I would not be recognizable from period to period to an objective observer or reviewer. Some of these periods of change include an incredible naivette, much ignorance about much, and lack of social competence. It amazes me at times that I have progressed beyond these. Lots of people I know are the same from childhood to late adulthood. No change. Nice and stable but no adventure there. I have been stuck in my current persona for about 10 years but can feel the winds of change freshening (to fruition I hope).

But what I really wanted to address with this post is this notion I have about costs and gains, yins and yangs, as applied to civilized behavior and my belief that with the change of a few contingencies in our past lives, we could have crossed the line—walked on the wild side, as it were. Have you ever noticed that some folks that have very little in terms of assets are quite happy and satisfied with their lives. Those folks you see in the trailer parks on the “Cops” episodes, between arrests perhaps, smokin’ and jokin’ and laughing. They have little problem telling you what’s on their mind. They don’t have much but they don’t ask for much nor do they expect it. You know the rate of depression is less in poor and less developed societies. Suicide is almost non-existant. What does that tell us.

There is a certain admiration I have for the loyal gang member who does what he needs to do, gives or takes no quarter, and lives by rules of his (primary) group, not those imposed by a faceless and distant society. If that means committing crimes or hurting someone, if that means jail, so be it. There is a freedom and honesty to gang society, outlaw society, biker society. I don’t want to justify anti-social behaviors. I would just as soon exterminate many of these parasites. But they KNOW who they are and they are not compromising. They stand for no debasement or ridicule.

It is a kind of outing that can take place. Someone who finally accepts that they are clinically looney, let’s say, can now be really looney—say things, do things, act out. Like the mid-life crisis type who takes off on a quest, a journey where they can be born again because they are not known. What would my life today be like if I had stayed on those mean streets of my youth just a little longer. Is it possible that I could redevelop that “fuck it!” attitude and move on to the next stage?

Current Mood: calm
Thursday, July 1st, 2004
5:05 pm
Just an Entry
What is notable for me today, in the continuing saga of critter encounters, was this squirrel. I was approaching a tree and there is a squirrel at the vertex of two large branches dividing a trunk at about 2 feet from the ground. The squirrel is facing away from me and is kind of stretched out on the this tree. It's a good thing I wasn't a cat. I approached silently and was at arms length when it heard me, finally, and scattered up the tree.

I often sit at this console listening only to the drone of a TV or like now nothing at all. But I like to enter something in the "current music" section of a post. I do listen to a lot of music in the car which is where I spend most of the day at work. So I"ll just put down the music I liked the most for that day or something current if that is the case.

Current Mood: peaceful
Wednesday, June 30th, 2004
4:16 pm
'nother day older and deeper in shit
Countdown to freedom. 23 more days and back to retirement. Another day of critter adventures today: This morning 3 wood storks were on this guys lawn sipping rainwater from a can fed by a gutter. These guys were big as big as a great blue. I thought they would scatter when crossed the lawn to get to the back of the house where I needed to inspect a tree. They moved out of the way in that elegant way that long legged birds have, but they did not take off. So I walked to the back and as I circled the tree I see that they have followed me. Very strange. It reminds me of Solomon's Ring. Later in the day I saw what I could see were Ibis. I had seem many white ibis but these dark radiant, shimmering, and glossy--glossy ibis. Beautiful birds and a new listing for me.

Current Mood: listless
Friday, June 25th, 2004
5:46 pm
Steppin’ Over the Line
There was an article in a Psych magazine entitled “The Masks We Wear” positing that people are different in different situations. In most cases that doesn’t necessarily mean Jeckyl and Hyde different, but it could mean unrecognizable to the people who know him or her. Take the prim elementary school teacher caught flashing on camera at Mardis Gras; or, the office wallflower showing a gregarious side at a party; the personable accountant who is just a demonic, raving domestic tyrant at home. Of course, these are aspects of personality that already reside within the person. But sometimes people do transcend their personality to become someone other than who they were before—and the change is irrevocable. I call this “stepping over the line”.

There was this movie where Michael Douglas, beset with just one problem after another, finally has had enough and transmutes to an “I”m not gonna take any shit from anybody anymore” person, and damned if he doesn’t finally take control. He ends up shooting some people and getting shot at the end. But the sense I got was that, to him, the tradeoff was worth it. He was liberated, even if it was only for a short while. He would rather take a bullet than return to a victimizing society as meek and defeated.

There are people with secrets—mental illness, criminal tendencies—who, once the secret is out are free to be themselves. The dutiful housewife who, after 25 years of marriage, ups and leaves her husband. He who didn’t have a clue that there was anything wrong. And she, perhaps clueless in retrospect as well, now doing the things that SHE wants to do, going places, making waves.

I think there resides in each of us this control of personhood and perhaps unconsciously a person straining at the bit to release the inner self. I can envision a somber matronly type who would love to go skinny dipping, or the salt of the earth citizen that does not brake for the obnoxious driver that just cut him off—BAM! Or the regular church goer who attends because one is supposed to, saying to a pretentious and hypocritical minister at the height of the sermon, “Fuck you, you lyin’ scum bastard” and walking out. Or taking a baseball bat to any number of people or bureaucrats who deserve it. In each case, once acted upon, there is no return to a past life. But it may be worth it. I often think about stepping over that line. Maybe one day I will.

Current Mood: complacent
Saturday, June 19th, 2004
4:02 pm
Religion and Mental Health
I was reading a post in a community about a mob cornering and attacking an atheist. How Judeo-Christian-Moslem of them. How forgiving. How loving.

I don't understand. If you are a believer, then you have faith, right? If you have faith that your belief is correct, why are you so upset at people who don't share your view. Doesn't that mean that you really aren't so sure about your faith and thus react violently to others who openly doubt and may tempt you to further doubt.

I remember looking up some kind of psychosis in the DSM IV
(The manual used for diagnosing mental stuff) and thinking to myself this could be utilized to diagnose really religious people as pscychotic, what with fantasy, delusion, grandiosity, looking and reacting to a world that doesn't exist. I just found out that Freud, bless his heart, considered religiosity to be a neurosis. In reading some of the community posts of incidents reflectin so much animus and violence against non-believers, including violence against children, I really think this issue should be addressed as some kind of clinical deficiency, perhaps "Religion induced mainia with paranoid features"
Friday, June 18th, 2004
10:19 pm
Abjectness
Still experimenting with this blog stuff and am already embarrassed at what I see of my haphazard comments being added to my first community.

Anyway, Leonard Cohen is a great screening indicator. The people who like him share a kind of outcast mentality in my experience. Cohen the religious-themed apostate. Cohen the depressive. Cohen the mystic. Cohen the realist and cynic when it comes to the romantic and juvenile notions of love. I can picture him going to a singles bar and seeing the women as baboons framing their swollen red rumps and the men like bucks snorting and oblivious, both sexes genuflecting to everlasting love--Schmalz as pherenome.

Me and Leonard go way back. I liked "Suzanne" well enough but I really liked the imagery and imagination of songs covered by Judy Collins and Buffy St. Marie. It only got better over the years. And there a'int nothin like being melancholy while being reinforced with Leonard's dark and brooding pessimism. (Did you know that one trait of depression is listening to sad music?)

I have never met anyone in all my long years who is a Leonard Cohen fan or even knew of him. I reveled in my otherness and felt somewhat superior to the Philistines around me.

Current Mood: contemplative
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