What holds people back?

Take the right turn in Duke City and you can find anything.

The feeling of “living just enough for the city” as Stevie Wonder so elegantly phrased it is becoming more common in American cities.  Housing prices are soaring above wages and the gap between the working lower classes and the upper affluent classes is stark but opportunities remain.  There are always opportunities for the less fortunate, it just requires a little creativity.

I commute to my job on public transit and every day I see people who look as though they are going hard times – not well dresses, poor hygiene, a little spaced out (possibly on a foreign substance) – but they all seem to be able to scrape together enough money for a bus ticket.  What’s even more amazing is that most of these people have a smartphone in-hand with ear-buds or headphones on their heads.  Regardless of how my lower-class peers are able to afford these small luxuries, I don’t think they realize the kind of opportunities they can access with these devices alone.

A mobile phone can provide one with organizational tools for planning a day and recording other phone numbers for future reference (the start of any entrepreneurial endeavor) as well as grant you access to an internet connection via any public library or city-owned building.  Are most people even aware of the existence of public libraries these days?

I’m not the most entrepreneurial or business-minded person but I can still hold a job and keep hold of some money; it doesn’t take a lot of thought or effort.  What is holding so many people back?  Drugs, mental health, an inability to utilize money effectively, obsessive personalities combined with addictive (or even criminal) behaviors?  I genuinely want to know.

7-Ways-to-Stay-Motivated_v3-01-1

All I ever needed?

When you feel burnt out from your daily grind, a short vacation can be rejuvenating.  My train ride north two weeks was one such get-away.  On my way up to the quiet parcel in the middle of bum-fuck-nowhere New Mexico, my mind was shrouded in an eerie mist of negativity.  On my way back down south, I was much more content with myself.  It was just a weekend away from my city but it was just enough of a change of scenery to reboot my attitude.

There is a peculiar tranquility and a sweet serenity to these mountains.  I’m afraid the Southwest will always be my home.

5:00 AM thinking

 

I think I’m slowly becoming a morning person.  These early morning hours can provide one with some much needed personal time for self-reflection and internal preparation for the day ahead; early mornings also provide opportune moments for journaling.

Working two jobs is surprisingly doable, it’s all about the people with whom you’re working.  If you work with tolerable people that actually get shit done, you’ll find it satisfying to work alongside them.  I recommend communicating your boundaries with your boss immediately – DO NOT sacrifice your personal time to cover anyone’s shift.  Other shifts are not your responsibility and your personal time is sacred for your own mental health.

A Confession from an Autistic

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

I usually have two companions beside me: my shadow and my beating heart (and that’s not just a Green Day reference).  Solitude is in my individual nature and that can come with loneliness.  There are times when I want to make an attempt to connect with another person but I never know how to present myself in an introduction.

I’m not talking about starting a romance here (that’s a whole different game and one I’m not equipped to play).  I’m just talking about meeting new people and initiating friendships.  Simply talking to other people is difficult for me, approaching another person and starting a conversation is nerve-racking.  I’ve always felt disconnected from other humans as if everyone else was privy to a fantastic secret that I could not figure out and of which no one would inform me.  Then I retreat to my video games where I can play a hero (or an anti-hero depending on my mood).

I’m only just now (at age 28) beginning to come out of my shell and make stronger efforts to communicate with my peers.  I still feel like I’m wandering aimlessly but hopefully I can find some people just as lost as I am and we can be lost together.

 

You exist in this world so what are you going to do?

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

When it comes to beating depression, I think “faking it until you make it,” is a decent strategy.  Isolating yourself is the first instinct but that tends to amplify the negative feelings in your fucked up head (speaking from experience here).  It can be beneficial to force yourself into the world to remind yourself of your place in it.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with staying inside on your bad days but, when your bad days stretch out into bad weeks, then you have a problem.  For times like that, it’s good to have at least one friend with whom you can speak, someone you trust completely.

I’ve found it helpful to think about depression, not as a typical disease, but rather as an affliction, a condition for which there is no cure.  Depression is something with which a person must learn to co-exist.  As explained by evolution, you adapt or you die.  Adapt yourself to the circumstances that form around you and exercise your own independence whenever possible.  THAT is the key to “beating” depression – accept the circumstances of your life (which you did not choose from the start) and categorize your life between the positive and the negative, the productive and the detrimental.  Analyze what you have in front of you and use whatever is at your disposal to improve your situation.

Life sucks but you’re alive, so what are you going to do?

Mueller Report Out (but not public), Upwards of $30 million likely Wasted, and the Democrats are STILL IDIOTS

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

“Russia!  Russia!  Russia!”

^ That is what the “resistance” Democrats have been yelling incessantly for the past two years.  Many people continue to chant that slogan even after Robert Mueller’s special investigation is ending with an announcement for no more indictements.

I think Mueller’s investigation was poorly focused from the start, the Democratic Party should have pushed for an investigation into President Donald Trump’s business ties for potential conflicts of interest.  The fact that the president has not completely disconnected from his business interests as well as the fact that he uses his own properties for government purposes is suspect.

The Democrats could have been much more strategic over the past two years as an opposition party but they were blinded themselves by holding onto a grudge, bitter from the 2016 presidential election blaming everyone and everything but themselves as well as grasping at straws to point more fingers at President Trump.

If the fucking Democrats had not rigged their own primary for their precious Clinton, they probably would have won the damn election.  As it turned out, the voters don’t like to be fucked over without consent.

If the Democratic Party doesn’t clean up its act, I think President Trump may win a second term next year.

 

NM’s HB31 Amended to Protect Tips; Understandable but Flawed

House Bill 31, the “Phased-In Minimum Wage Increase,” has been amended to protect earned tips of restaurant servers.

The amendment reads:

“From the effective date of this 2019 act until July 1, 2022, an employer may pay a lower cash minimum wage rate pursuant to Subsection D of this section only if the employer can establish that for each week that an employee who customarily and regularly receives more than thirty dollars ($30.00) a month in tips works, the sum of the employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cashwage is not less than the minimum wage rate as provided inSubsection A of this section (NM Representative Miguel Garcia, NM Legislature, 2019).”

I think it’s logical for restaurant servers to react defensively to this bill as it was originally written but I think that reaction is based in an understanding that helps their employers take advantage of them.  As I’ve stated in previous postings here, a tip from a customer in any industry is not mandatory.  Even if a server demands a tip, the customer is not legal bound to provide one.  It is simply an expression of good faith on the part of the consumer toward the business worker.  I don’t believe that any worker’s pay check should be contingent upon the potential good faith of particular consumers.  All of the responsibility of worker pay should be on the business.  A separate “serving wage” for food servers creates a minimum wage double standard between the food service industry and every other industry and it is exploited by businesses whose bottom line is higher profits.

“You have the possibility for more money through tips so I’m going to pay you less than the standard minimum for every other industry.”

^ That is the logic behind this double standard, it essentially outsources responsibility to the workers themselves forcing them to become entertainers as well as food servers, begging for tips because they get paid less than other workers.

Customers in any food establishment should not be expected to supplement the wages of the servers and they definitely should not be guilt-tripped into giving a larger tip out of sympathy.  Businesses should pay food servers the same minimum wage as every other industry as well as let servers keep all the tips they earn from customers.

Apex Legends bashes through a wall into the battle royale genre.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

There is a new battle royale game available that blows Fortnite out of the water.  With over ten million players in its first week upon launch, Apex Legends is geared to compete in the rising gaming genre that pits players in an arena-style map to fight to the death.

Did I mention that the game is free to download? 🙂

One reason that I prefer Apex Legends to Fortnite is the greater details in the gameplay.  Fortnite‘s cartoonish asthetic gives it an immature and child-like feel, limiting my suspension of disbelief in the fictional world.  That child-like feel combined with the fact that there are no unique characters in the canon makes the environment too superficial.  It’s true that Fortnite players can customize their appearance through the purchasing of various skins but it is purely for aesthetic purposes.  Apex Legends players have a choice of a select group of characters to play in the map and each character has unique abilites to use in combat.  The characters not only add variability to the gameplay but also add to the lore of the story.

You can decide for yourself which character is best for your style of gameplay but here’s a subjective guide of the characters from YouTube user “ImMarksman.”

Another reason why Apex Legends is superior to Fortnite is the more intricate map.  The little details in the terrain (more rocks to use for cover, more ledges to climb up on for a better view, the various paths you can take from one end of the map the another, etc.) make all the difference in the battle royale genre, a genre that is inherently limited by a set map that gets smaller the longer you play.

 

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Image Source: <https://venturebeat.com/2019/02/04/apex-legends-hands-on-gameplay-videos-highlight-fresh-battle-royale-tactics/>.

 

An unfortunate down-side to Apex Legends is that the game currently has no solo mode, you are forced to play in a team of three players.  That specific caveat would not be a  problem if more players would speak to each other cooperatively over the built-in voice chat.  In most matches, you’ll find players (like myself) wandering off on their own and not even attempting to coordinate with each other.  Those more solitary players would prefer a solo mode.

Despite the forced team play, Apex Legends is fantastic for newcomers and veterans alike, it has a beautifully designed map with detailed twists and turns that make for endless possibilities for potential strategies with rumors of more maps in the works from creator Respawn Entertainment.  I recommend this game to anyone craving some mindless competition while still looking for some decent world-building.

The “State of the Union” is shit.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

Do we really need a televised “State of the Union” address?

At the beginning of every year, Americans choose whether or not tune into the “State of the Union” address delivered by the current president, whom is treated like royalty with grandstanding applause at his every vague word. The past five presidents can sum up one S.O.T.U. in one sentence: the state of the union is shit. Of course, a politician has to keep up a facade for the American public so no one becomes too alarmed.

President Donald Trump’s latest S.O.T.U. address last night was particularly useless because it’s President Trump – an excessively selfish, misogynistic, corporatist, baffoon who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Does this guy really understand the current state of our democratic-republic?

Trump-grandstanding

IMAGE SOURCE: Fox News, <https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/liz-peek-state-of-the-union-speech-showcases-talent-of-trump-on-the-stump>, 2019.

The S.O.T.U. is a partisan sporting event for American politicians. Regardless of who is the President, the two parties with the most political market share use the event to throw miniscule rhetorical punches at each other, distracting the public with their charade of modern tribalism. All the while, their corporate puppet masters make back room deals to fuck over the average American with neo-liberal economics and an imperialist agenda. That’s what American politics has become: charades and back room deals.

President Trump campaigned on pseudo-populist rhetoric which was successful against an obvious corporatist who had been in politics her entire life and who’d flip-flopped on issues more times than anyone could count. Though, once in Office, Trump proved himself even more of a phony. He doesn’t care about working Americans given his cabinet picks (a former oil lobbyist for the position of Interior Secretary?), he only cares about his own ego.

I’m also a selfish person but I have no plans to run for a public office, I would hate that kind of job.

A look into history.

While the nation’s first two presidents felt it necessary to deliver a speech to the national Congress, President Thomas Jefferson disagreed with that assumption. President Jefferson believed a physical speech to Congress was not necessary and a public event idolizing the presidency seemed to monarchial, antithectical to the nation’s democratic ideal. Instead of a physical speech, President Jefferson simply wrote a letter to the Congress in which he laid out budget reports for his agenda (no grandstanding public appeals) and that tradition was followed until President Woodrow Wilson revived public addresses in 1913.

I think two inventions transformed political theatre in the negative during the 20th century: the radio and the television. Ultimately, the radio and the television (more so with television) placed more emphasis on public appearances and optics rather than the specifics of policies. Americans began turning to what a candidates looked like and what he appeared to do rather than what a candidate actually was, Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan are examples of this public obsession with appearances. Both Kennedy and Reagan were praised for their on-camera talents while their less favorable actions regarding policy stayed out of the spotlight.

How can Americans return to a policy-focused culture shying away from appearances and optics?