Michaeldgriffiths's Blog
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Jul
13

Sometimes, with our current presidency, we get so busy trying to keep up with how Trump is acting out Putin’s orders to destroy the country and plunge it into a dark chaos, we miss out on many of the less published events which occur on the sidelines. Yet fear not, for Back Page News is designed to make sure you don’t fall behind.

This Monday President Trump announced he had replaced the Bald Eagle as the National Symbol with a chicken. He is reported saying, “I like chicken, especially when it comes in a bucket.”

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The counsel of the World’s Absolute Dictators or W.A.D. sited Trump as a justification for their lifelong terms. Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud the king of Saudi Arabia was quoted saying, “I may enforce a Fascist Religious Dictatorship, but at least I’m consistent about it. With the USA one year they are rational and make sense, but then a few years later they have jumped aboard the crazy train. No one should have to be yanked back and forth like this, I’m sure my citizens enjoy their consistent abuse and lack of rights. At least they know where they stand which in their case is under a mountain of cloth, at their assigned jobs, or in jail.”

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In an effort to keep football players from taking a knee during the National Anthem, President Trump has replaced all the NFL’s playing fields with swimming pools. We’ve been told the rest of football’s rules will remain the same.

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On Wednesday, Costa Rica renamed itself the United Sections of America just to piss Trump off. Dozens of rednecks to become hospitalized after witnessing the Costa Ricans chanting USA.

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This Thursday. Trump banned the game Risk. When Hasbro asked for the reasoning behind this decision, Sarah Hukaluggee Sanders said, “The president refuses to allow any game on the market which doesn’t have the USA winning every time.”

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On Friday, Trump changed Independence Day from the 4th of July to the day of his inauguration. He reviewed his reason for doing so in a press conference by stating, “I’m pretty sure the world didn’t exist before I was born, so this seems right.”

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Alex of the Gods

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Jul
11

deadpool.jpg

Genre:  Super Hero

Produced by:  Disney

Released: 2018

Reviewer Rating:  4.5 Stars

Reviewer:  Michael D. Griffiths

 

 

 

Deadpool, is the name of the movie, the name of the main character, and both are damn funny. Without a doubt this is not only the funniest action movie of any genre I have seen in a long while, but this movie also packs more laughs than about 75% of the comedies I see.

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Deadpool runs into trouble and feels low, although this just makes his comedy even darker. After some soul searching, he decided to join the X-men, but even though this does not work out, it exposes him to his chance for redemption. This involves saving a young mutant, who is about to become a supervillain unless Deadpool can keep him from taking his first life.

The action tries to catch up with the comedy and does a great job. This movie is just plan fun. Deadpool often addresses the audience, with gives the movie an honest feel and probably has a chance to educate some of the viewers out there. Deadpool’s team of mutants, which he gathers from scratch, is awesome and some of the guest characters make things a lot of fun.

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Deadpool grows a little as a character, unless he is lying through the whole thing. But seriously, he does find a vein of purpose and more than a dash of hero and tries to fan those embers. You can not help but route for the guy even if he does seem to acquire a lot of collateral damage to humans along the way.

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This is just a fun enjoyable movie. Maybe it is not too serious, perhaps a bit childish, but why do we see movies anyway? The reason this one did not get the full 5 Stars was I found the motivation for the redemption a little weak, the whole back story felt like just a device to drag Deadpool along, so he did not just stay home and drink. Still, I am glad it did for it was a fun ride.

If you like hero movies, go see this and if you like comedies, you might be surprised to find a super hero movie will be the funniest movie you see this summer.

 

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deadpo

Jul
06

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  1. He had sex with a prostitute right after his wife gave birth.

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  1. He loves to scare and torture children.
  2. Never goes to church.
  3. Cares about money more than anything else.
  4. Grabs them by the pussy.
  5. Hates thy neighbor.
  6. Lies and cheats whenever possible.
  7. Wants to destroy the earth for profit.
  8. Wants to have sex with his daughter.

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10. Wait a second, Trump is God.

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Jun
28

Genre:  Fantasy

Publisher:  Xlibris

Published: 2016

Reviewer Rating:  3 Stars

Reviewer:  Michael D. Griffiths

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Oars of Olympus by Christopher Mac Lairn

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Oars of Olympus by Christopher Mac Lairn is a fantasy novel set in mythological Greece. The author mixes in history and facts, but this is more like Clash of the Titans than 300, which in case you were wondering, is a good thing. Falkron is a Celt who is exploring the Mediterranean in an age of Gods and monsters. He vaguely follows Theseus path, but in this world, Theseus existed and had already experienced his adventures. Like Theseus, Falkron has Poseidon as a patron.

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Early in the novel, Hades challenges Poseidon to a game and Poseidon chose Falkron as his hero. This means Falkron is going to be heading into trouble and facing everything Hades can throw his way in order to win the game with his brother.

I enjoyed how the author keeps things true to the older Greek myths and is not afraid to make the monsters fantastic as well as powerful. Falkron is a likeable hero and he really is a hero. His exploits would only have been topped by Hercules and Odysseus if he went up against the heroes of the Greek Mythos.

Falkron meets stalwart friends, get’s pleasure from the fairer sex, and drinks gallons of wine every night he’s not involved with combat.

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Downsides of this one includes the down times in the novel. At times it seemed like some game master showing off the city he made. “You know there is a library, you want to go check it out?” A book has to be spot on for me to care enough to explore a city in such detail. Things got repetitive with how awesome Falkron is. Falkrom has sex with the prettiest prostitute. Falkron beat the big guy in wrestling. Falkron can hold his breath for six minutes while he fights a giant squid. Also, although some of the fights were inspired, there was no real plot. Falkron just travels around some and weird things happen. If he stays in the same place, weird things happen. The end of the book is one last battle in some respect no different than his first battle. There were also some cheeky parts, which again if you are a huge writer you could get away with, but I do think we are there yet.

As stated, this book regains a lot of its credit by doing its best to recreate its own version of a traditional Greek Myth and in this respect, it does a good job. If he just had a back story and a climax, it could have really shined.

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Jun
26

Genre:  Superhero

Producer:  Disney

Released: 2018

Reviewer Rating:  4.5

Reviewer:  Michael D. Griffiths

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What can I say, I had to see this one. The Avengers was my favorite comic as a child. I really enjoyed what the team could pull off over the years. I love existence ending conflicts, so this was a must for me. I also need to check in on how Captain Anarchy is doing… opps America.

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But this movie had so many crossovers, it was hard to keep track. Teenaged Spiderman and the Guardians of the Galaxy are high on this list, but Doctor Strange flexes some serious power, perhaps the most of any of them. But my favorite Avengers are Cap, Scarlet Witch, and Vision.  The latter two play a huge rule in the movie, but again who doesn’t. Damn, if they had only asked the X-Men for help, things would have gone so different…

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Just in case you haven’t heard. There are six infinity stones. Thanos is looking for all six. If one were to gather all six, they have power over the universe. He feels if he kills half the universe it will cut down on the overpopulation problem. You can not argue with his logic, but it will also be the biggest mass slaying in the history of existence.

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The plot is simple. Thanos wants the stones, and everybody they can get, is out to stop him and hopefully save the universe. Let the show rock into action and it does. I should draw the line here. This is a great idea for a movie. I like it when they take things up a hundred notches. Sometimes seeing powerful beings fight for the whole universe, is just a great thing to witness. Writers who can challenge heroes of this stature deserve an extra credit. Many can write low fantasy, but earth ending apocalypse action which leaves such powerful figures struggling, this takes much more talent.

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Downsides with this one. How easy the heroes give up the stones would leave the writers of 24 cringing. The methods of acquiring them almost seemed to be an afterthought. Thanos is tough, but almost not tough enough in relationship to what he possesses.

Giving this one a 4.5 Stars. I just love fiction with so many characters and having them all in one place is coolness off the meter. If you like Marvel even a little, this is a must view.

Oh one more thing, screw Thanos!

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Jun
24

Genre:  Science Fiction Movie

Produced By: Disney

Released: 2018

Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer:  Michael D. Griffiths

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Solo A Star Wars Story

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I managed to get to my first summer blockbuster. I parked my car in a scrap of shade and rushed through the growing desert heat into the air conditioning. I got into the theater first and sat in the perfect seat.

I was happy this would be a stand-alone tale with a few tips of the hat to our old friend Han. Alden Ehrenreich, who played Han Solo, must have watched the old films well, for he got a lot of the mannerisms right. The writers and Ron Howard also did a great job keeping the Solo dialog consistent, which I appreciated.

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The plot revolves around Han Solo falling into the criminal world in order raise enough money to rescue his childhood girlfriend, only to discover she needs no rescuing from anything other than the underworld he himself will soon owe.

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Woody Harrelson delivers as usual and is one of the high points in the film. We also discover how Han became friends with Chewbacca and Lando, well with Lando, friend might be stretching it.

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Much as in the first released Star Wars film, Han has a choice between money and self-preservation or making a commitment to a higher morale standard. There is also an old Han Solo controversy driven home if you are quick enough to catch it.

This movie was enjoyable and will probably be a crown pleaser, but a few downsides snuck in with me. First, I know it’s a story, but really, his girlfriend trapped on a lonely loser world, and with the whole universe to explore, finds herself a high-ranking member of the crime cartel he is dealing with. Yeah, well I guess unrated events colliding in a universe with multiple planets still has to be about a one in a billion chance, but you can forgive the improbability because he does not have to waste screen time rescuing her, I guess. I also thought how he met Chewbacca was a little uninspired.

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Beside these downsides, if you love Star Wars this should give you a few smiles. They also gave a bit of a nod to Lovecraft with one of their beasts. One needs to watch out when exploring the deep reaches of space, you could run into an Old One.

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solo and chewy

Jun
22

Gathering the Top Ten Slogans Rejected by X-Box was a long a difficult process, but when the pale faced employees couldn’t figure out how to light their firewall, because they’d never gone camping, and kept trying to get the matches to work by clicking on them, we were able to sneak around them by surrounding ourselves with women all the men were too sacred to talk to. Once inside we had one of the IT guys give us everything we wanted in exchange for letting him take a selfie with Brittany.

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  1. Doing our part to lower teenaged pregnancies
  2. Making all races as nerdy as white teenagers
  3. Helping make fodder for the wealthiest .1
  4. Objectifying fake women to the point where men are do busy to objectify real women
  5. We teach your kids to kill so you don’t have to
  6. Your electricity bill might be up but think of all the money your saving on food, clothes, and toothpaste
  7. We’re almost better than drugs
  8. Now you can stare at a rectangle even longer
  9. It’s now easier than ever to ignore your children
  10. Your kids may be a hundred pounds overweight, but no generation had ever had stronger thumbs

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For more laughs, check this out

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Dak was a loner until he met his lover. But there is a problem, Erin is a Clone. Clones are illegal and it’s Dak job as Enforcer to hunt them Down.

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Jun
21

The first thought going through your mind could be, why desert and are there going to be more 7 Things I Learned about forests, lakes, grasslands, the winter wastes…  These others could come up, but there’s something special about the desert for me.  When younger, I had a choice, or at least a chance, to move into whatever environment I wanted, and I choose the desert.

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I’ve traveled through most of the areas in the American deserts, but one can never know any of them completely, the best of us are still just scratching the surface of the mysterious wonders they conceal. I’ve managed to get to the Serengeti and I’ve left footprints in the northern dunes of the Sahara.  I’m not trying to brag, I’m just proving I’ve been drawn to the desert for some time and have experienced more than a few.

And now I live in Tucson and its June. So here goes…

  1. Life will do anything to Survive

Yes, life seeks to make it through the harshest of circumstances in order to survive. Even when it means suffering, the most effort, and meager rewards, it never relents in its search to continue. Makes one wonder why some humans choose to take their own life, when even the roughest environments breed animals and humans who struggle against all odds to keep breathing.

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  1. The Environment Owes You Nothing

The desert doesn’t care if you live or die. If it does anything to help you, it is only by the purest luck you’re able to take advantage of it. If you screw up in the desert it will come down on you like a hammer. The heat doesn’t let up, there’s no mercy from the dry winds draining you of your precious moisture as soon as you enter its burning sands. Like the animals, if you’re going to survive in the desert it is up to you and don’t expect it to be easy.

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  1. How to Prepare

I once walked 32 miles in the desert stretching into Escalante Staircase in June—not an easy or perhaps sane feat. Knowing what I needed, or at least what would help me to survive, was the only thing which allowed me to endure the relentless sun. The cold isn’t the same. Err, put more clothes on and wear boots with a good grip. In the desert, things need to be the right color (white), you need the right supplies (at least a gallon per person and salty high energy foods), right footwear (Snake and cactus proof is more important than style), and gear (hat, sunscreen-if you’re lucky, Leatherman for pulling out thorns, a backpack to carry it all in, and a great cooler to keep your beverages cold for when you make it back) Unlike in the cold, if you don’t have these things, you might not make it. You can’t build a water to keep cool, baby.

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  1. I Learned About Silence

In my experience, nothing embraces silence like the desert. You reach a stillness there. A sense of age touches you. With forests, for example, sights and sound abound and much of it is currently living or very recently dead. Not as much to draw the eye in the desert save long vistas of ancient stone. The quiet hits you and leads you into introspection.

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  1. It’s a Spiritual Place

Call it spirituality, self-reflection, or following Hermes, the desert allows one an inner focus which is not as readily found elsewhere. Alister Crowley called deserts the most mystic places on Earth. The dryness awakens your body to its most basic of needs. This becomes your baseline as the silence and the growing feeling of isolation takes hold.

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  1. Not to Expect Things to be Normal

I will give you a few examples of what I mean. The Grand Canyon is crowded with people from across the globe daily and can be a bit pricy too. Or you can drive down an old road in Utah and camp above the Colorado without anyone within miles of you for free. I found a place in northern Arizona with billion-dollar views better than almost anything I’ve ever walked through, and you can go there and camp all weekend and not see a soul. Canyonlands in Utah is one of the most rugged places on Earth, but with a little forethought you can hike there all day and then find a campsite at 8000 feet which is only 20 miles away. Normal human processes and assumptions about nature should be thrown away before you head out into the lands of heat.

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  1. How to be inventive and use everything.

Since resources are so limited, you must take advantage of anything you find, especially shade and water. Whether for drinking or cooling yourself down, water, what we take for granted most of the time, becomes the keystone to survival and on a lesser degree, enjoyment.  But it isn’t nature’s bounty where the story ends, you need to calculate what you have and how quickly your supplies should be used. Will it be worth it later if you wet your hair and shirt now? Can you make it another two miles if you don’t?

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The desert tests you like nothing else can. With care it can open your horizons, but carelessness will see you enter a world of blazing heat, thorns, and poison. Enter it at your own risk. Leave it enlightened and with the satisfaction of surviving a place few animals and men can tread.

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Alex of the Gods

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Dak was a loner until he met his lover. But there is a problem, Erin is a Clone. Clones are illegal and it’s Dak job as Enforcer to hunt them Down.

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Buttes

Jun
01

As I sit in my self-made campsite near the top of Arizona’s second highest peak, Mount Graham I see two choices spreading out before me. To my left the mountain stretches through the tall ponderosa lining its steep cliffs. A difficult journey into its mysterious shadowy depths awaits. To the right I can just make out the road which drops 6000 feet and would return me to the desert and the small town of Swift Trail Junction. Left or right, wilderness or civilization.

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What is more noble, the freedom of the wilds or the charity of civilization?

I already posted one WildernessPunk piece where I thank Trump for the one good thing he’s done for us, which is giving us a clear picture of the true percentage of people who can’t evolve past the asshole/idiot stage. (See One in Three, WildernessPunk for more details) I intend to take things further and really get down to the meat of human development and explore how easy/difficult it will be for humanity to save our planet.

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I used to firmly believe people could, if presented with the correct information, be able to change their minds. I often debated the preachers shouting out bible quotes on my college mall. I would argue with others until late in the night. I studied history and anthropology and thought, despite the horrors our world has seen, people were moving toward a better future. Like many liberal leaning folks, I’ve been heartened by the lessoning of racial injustice and the greater acceptance of the GBLTQ individuals.

Yes, things appeared to be improving, but now I also see the rise of neo fascists not just in the USA, but in many countries around the globe. I also realize one would have to be a fool to think the increasing populations of people expecting more with less to go around, mixing with a deteriorating environment, won’t be creating global situations ripe for this to grow worse.

So what’s going on?

How can things be improving overall for most of the world while simultaneously so many are embracing emotion based lies over facts and true problem solving? I have a theory and most people aren’t going to like it.

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There may be a deep and ingrained reason people are dividing and less able to come to an agreement than ever before and I’ll get to outlining this, but first I want to toss something else out there.

The USA. like most countries. is dividing into two camps. Really three with the third camp being both ends of a bell curve, either folks who have risen above such well-established rhetoric or are too dull witted or too involved with their personal crisis to care. But let’s move back to the publicized two. Most tend to call them, Right/Left, Liberal/Conservative, Red/Blue. I’m going to make it even simpler and label them Group A which = Red, Conservatives, Right etc… And group B which = Blue, Liberal, Left etc…

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Let’s discuss the basic values of these groups.

Group A

 

  • Belief in the truth of preindustrial dogmas
  • Government should be used to control others
  • The government should be used to control and use other countries and peoples
  • Their religion of choice should be the baseline used to determine how the government controls its civilians
  • When it comes to the military, the bigger the better
  • Some groups, religions, and races are not to be trusted and are mostly comprised of bad people.
  • The past was better
  • Some people and groups are out to get you, your family, and anything you have
  • Emotions and beliefs are more important than facts
  • Everyone has an equal chance in life and hard work is all it takes to reach your goals.
  • Wealth and power is the yardstick in which a person’s success is measured

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Group B

 

  • Overall, our culture is improving
  • The purpose of the government is to help people
  • Discrimination is wrong
  • All people are created equal
  • Happiness is the yardstick by which a person success is measured
  • Facts should drive decision making
  • One’s opinions should remain flexible and if presented with updated information be able to change
  • The government can be used to help increase economic equality
  • We can make the future better
  • Although we are all created equal, random ills/benefits and situations brought about by our culture give everyone a different circumstance which they must adjust to when seeking success

 

And what about Group C? I’m not going to go too far into this group here, but let’s just assume the more apathic due to being dull witted tend to fall in line with Group A, while those who attempt to evolve to a higher rational state still tend to have a soft spot for group B.

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I said I had a theory as to why these two groups can’t agree well and I’m not the only one. Although I do intend to take it a step further.

There has been more research going on in recent years as to why some people support Group A or Group B and the data being gathered increasingly points to this being caused by a physical aspect of brain development. Much as how we’re born either male or female, it appears we may also be born into Group A or B. A person’s choice on which group or lifestyle they chose may be determined before birth.

Not to get all Dungeons and Dragons or call up the paradigms created by English writer Michael Moorcock, these groups have also been associated with Law and Chaos. Group A is Lawful and seeks to keep things the same. The world is working for me, why change it? These are my beliefs why change them? My family went to church when I was growing up, so will my children.

Group B is Chaotic. If there is a way to make things better, we should figure it out, so we can improve. If I am presented with new facts which prove an assumption I had is wrong, then I should change my mind.

Alright gentle readers. I hope I wetted your appetite for more, but I also try to keep these articles under three pages, so I’m going to have to return with some factual data and research, which has been done to support the ideas I’m laying down for you here. I’ll also reveal my more advanced theory on the subject. Wow, what a cliffhanger. I hope you can handle it.

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Dionysus Neutral Space

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You can grab some of my fiction here, and I can promise you these people are on the Hero’s path.

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May
31

I’ll jump into to the Seven Things in a moment, but since this is, by definition, an article expanding on personal experience, I’ll give the reader just a quick update on my ability to speak on this subject.  First off, I should mention throughout the majority of my life, I haven’t spent much time alone. Certainly, I’ve been on solo hikes and road trips and spent quiet nights here and there just as most of us have. However, knowing after getting married and becoming a father at a young age, I then started a second marriage before my daughter had begun college, should prove I haven’t had much solo living.

Over two years ago this changed, and I found myself, not without friends, but without employment or housing. I still enjoyed my family and comrades but began my own journey into the wilds and solo survival camping. (See #WildernessPunk for more on this) Also, even when I reentered a more ‘civilized’ state, I found myself living alone for the first time in my life. I know this may seem strange, but for me the past two years were a new experience.

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Perhaps I’ll be outlining and exploring things many of you learned long ago, but there is also a chance my fresh look upon the subject could help illustrate concepts people living solo for longer periods of time have become so used to, they have overlooked their significance. Also, since I’m in love with the best girlfriend I’ve ever had, I better get this onto the page before the butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows I’m feeling cause me to forget some of these things. Just kidding, the point is to discover what works best for the real you, so you can use this data even when your life becomes more chaotic with the additions of a mate, children, and jobs.

  1. You want something done you can just do it

This may seem obvious to many, but our most simple desires become complex once others become involved. As I sit here on the peak of Mount Graham, it has occurred to me that, although I might have finite choices, I can do them in any manner I choose, focus on just one, or perhaps ignore others completely. Yet once roommates, children, and lovers become involved things get less simple. Something as basic as heading to the store because you forgot to get enough of your morning drink of preference could be a major issue if you’re caring for children or in a demanding relationship. Either you have to dress your children and maybe drive instead of walk or end up with a laundry list of things to get before you’re allowed to head out the door. On a happier note, a delightful relationship might leave you not wishing to leave your lover behind or waiting for them to be able to come with you.

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I know I might be stating the obvious, but just being able to hang a picture whenever or wherever you wish, make lunch at any time, or just grab a few things and head out to the mountains on a lark, can feel strange for a person who has been used to endless coordination for most of his life.

  1. You set your own Rhythm

Be it fast or slow, an early start or a late slumber, you can find your own eternal clock and pace. Hell, if nothing else this is good data to know. I think everyone should give themselves the freedom and time it takes to discover what your true rhythms are. How much sleep is best for you? How much exercise gets you feeling better, but doesn’t tire you out? It will be good to know later when you’re with someone or living with your children how far you might be branching from your real pace when you adjust to theirs.

  1. Discover your peak performance Levels

Do you work best in the morning or after you opened an ale? Can you work within a crowded public place or do you work faster when completely alone? Is silence good or will blasting tunes help you motivate? These are all things we need to know about ourselves and if you don’t it is time you figured it out. Sometimes living with ours deludes our true understanding of how we function best. I for instance write well with music blasting, television in the background hinders me, and I need silence to proofread (and as you can often tell, this still isn’t enough). Since, we all have things we need to be doing and goals we want to achieve, this knowledge is personal gold.

  1. I can understand my daily schedules and eating habits

Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook for and eat with others and will do so as much as possible, but again it is important to know your own body. For instance, I don’t really need a huge breakfast and would rather have a monster sized lunch. This doesn’t mean I can’t roll with what other people are doing, but one needs to be aware of their own body requirements. I can have more, but I shouldn’t have less if I can help it.

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Also similar to 3 above, one should try to determine what times of the day see you functioning with better efficiency. If you aren’t a morning person should you be planning a big presentation at 8am or should you go for a 2pm open? The answer is obvious. Know your peak performance times and hit them as much as possible.

  1. You can decide the best time to take breaks.

Whether it is hiking, working on the computer, or reading a book. You just stop when you want to stop without barely thinking about it. I’m not sure about you, but when I’m writing or working on almost any project, I have in front of me, it helps me to get up and move about every forty-five minutes. I stand up and pace around maybe grab some consumable and then sit back down. Many of my major inspirations happened when I am away from the task I seek to complete.

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  1. Your best way to Multi-Task

Many say Multi-Tasking slows down one’s productivity. Although, it is also said women are better at this than men. However, I’m not suggesting working on more than one project/task at a time but switching through those you need to work on periodically throughout the day. This way you get some of, say ten things done, instead of obsessing on only one. Again, knowledge of your own strengths and limitations without interruption lets one rise toward their maximum potential.

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  1. When to call it quits

We all have a breaking point. Whether it is putting the work aside for a movie before bed or heading downtown for a happy hour on the way home from work, we all need to throw in the towel.

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As Dionysus would say, Why seek to Achieve, if there is no Reward? Strive to Succeed, so then Pleasure can be Lord. When spending time with lovers, friends, and family, we often mold our needs with theirs and this is good, but it is also important to know what your true self is capable of and keep this in mind throughout all social situations. Lovers, Allies, and Family are all important and more often than not help us reach our goals in life, but it is still up to us to steer the ship until we have to take it into port.

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Keep at it and let your passions burn bright.

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Dak was a loner until he met his lover. But there is a problem, Erin is a Clone. Clones are illegal and it’s Dak job as Enforcer to hunt them Down.

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erin