I spend as much time thinking about a blog title as I do writing the blog, and constantly have to check myself to make sure I stay on topic. So, fuck the title, unless I actually have a topic, such as my last post. I’d also ask you to judge me easily on grammar, spelling and punctuation; especially commas. I have spent hours reading about commas trying to ensure I have the perfect sentence structure. I know I don’t get them all right, but I’m blogging, not editing. If you see an error, please point it out, but also keep in mind that this blog isn’t meant to showcase my technical prowess (as though I have some). If I can convince myself the details don’t matter, I’ll spend less time editing and more time creating content.

I realized that it’s been almost ten years since I registered www.sixfathomsdeep.com. I registered it with the intent to start a blog or personal website of some sort. I’m not sure if I even knew the word blog ten years ago. I certainly was a very different person, not a person I’d like to be around now. In fairness, I don’t like myself now, either, but for different reasons. A decade ago, I liked myself reasonably well, oddly enough.

The domain registration predates the period where everything went off the rails, but in hindsight, was a good indicator it was coming. I expect there were a lot of red flags to be thrown, but nobody was watching for them. Nobody I’m aware of, at least. Wanting a private, anonymous place to publish myself didn’t fit with the person I was, but I somehow knew I wanted it. I was still reasonably happily married, still satisfied I was on the right career path for the foreseeable future, on track to meet goals, had never dabbled in drugs, and still clung to a faint belief in the God of the Christian faith and that I was a still included in His master plan. I don’t know what tipped the scales, or if I could wind back the clock, would I hear an audible snap.

Don’t get me wrong, I was never really “right”, but my subconscious worked hard to make me seem that way. I have very early memories of feeling uncomfortable and highly stressed in situations where everyone around me was fine, even thriving. It reminds me of an excerpt from something I wrote a couple years back (If you are interested in who Jerry is, let me know, there’s more):

“The real pain I feel isn’t physical. This is where I think Jerry and I diverge slightly. He’s hardened for sure, and it might be in there somewhere, but I’ll never know. Everywhere I look, I see pain. I can’t recall exactly when I started to to tune into it, but it was in my 30s. It became increasingly difficult for me to ignore that I didn’t fit into the word around me. For years I just assumed I wasn’t working hard enough. From what I could see, everything made sense to the people around me. The almost intuitively knew what to do with their lives. Not that the majority of people I knew were particularly driven or focused, but they appeared to have a path. I didn’t see it, I assumed nobody else did. It never occurred to me that there was some internal compass, some primal instinct that I was missing.

As a kid I hated church and Sunday school. My mother tried diligently to get me there weekly. I have some memories of going to a United church, but at some young age my mother defected to the nazarene. I had a hard time understanding what I was being told while at church, but took it to be absolutely true. That made things a little harder still to calibrate what was around me. I recall as a child, my mother reading a bible stories to me before bed. My own NEV bible with a hand sewn denim jacket, complete with zipper, made lovingly by my mother. It had pockets inside for pens and paper and a cross embroidered on the front. I think I still have it somewhere.

I remember very little of the the stories other than “stoned to death” and “sawn asunder”. I would notice dear mom hesitated while reading those parts. I asked her about both those terms, and it still makes me bristle at how she awkwardly tried to explain the most brutal of tortures and executions as cartoonish memes. Well, they just throw rocks at you. Until you’re dead. How benign. It came from authority, and authority was not to be questioned, ergo, it was truth.

By the time I was in my mid teens, I was often too hungover to go to church. When I did go, I would sometimes ask questions in Sunday school. I maintained status as a role model student, but there were a few times where I drew stern stares from agitated teachers. I never pushed too hard, but I was genuinely confused, even upset, about what appeared to me to be striking hypocrisy and contradiction in the messages of love. Still, I believed it, somehow. Upon reflection, I concluded that my belief came not from the religious doctrine, rather it was from simply believing everyone else around me. I was gaslighted. Gaslit? In any case, when everyone around you believes something, especially as a child, you tend to believe whatever it is, however unlikely or unappealing.”

Well, I just *want* a gun, ok?

I just want to hear the truth from the gun loving NRA folks. Drop the tenuous arguments from the second amendment, personal freedom, protection of life and property and the batshit conspiracy that the government is coming to take your guns. Speak the truth and reach out on a level that I can relate to. You just want to have big, ridiculous, guns because you think they’re cool. They are fun to play with, they make loud noises and you can destroy things with them. I get that, I can relate to it somewhat, even have a certain respect for it.

We all love something irrational. The spectrum ranges from miniature spoons, model trains and comic books to giant 4×4 trucks, the newest smart-phones, and guns… even children (those of you that have them). That the latter are potentially more destructive, or at least deleterious, but no more sensible. I personally have a soft spot for anything with wheels, and the average automotive enthusiast probably owns a wheeled equivalent to an AR15. I think this is an important link to make, because if we all look at the owner of an assault rifle on a level that we can relate to, in that they own something that might have some stretch of a practical use (you could use it for hunting, target shooting or defending your property) yet is almost an unrecognizable departure from a practical tool of that purpose, we can all relate a little better.

No, nobody needs an assault rifle. Putting aside the killing potential for a moment, how is it any more ridiculous than that “thing” that you collect or are passionate about? The difference is that most of us don’t bother trying to convince anyone we “need” or have an enshrined right to own the salt and pepper shakers overrunning our home. Some of them are intricate, rare, or of historical significance, sure. They are nevertheless ridiculous to someone who collects stamps or eardrum shattering Harley Davidson motorcycles, or guns. In this context, we can appreciate that guns can be quite fascinating, also possessing the aforementioned qualities, and should easily understand why some folks would be obsessive collectors. Gun people aren’t that different from the rest of us, they have a passion for guns where we have passions for other superfluous items.

Reintroduce the deadly potential of the gun, and the picture changes. I don’t need to own a car that hits 200mph and gets 4mpg, it’s obscene. It’s ok that it’s obscene though, because it’s intended purpose is somewhat socially acceptable, in that it’s not designed to kill. A gun, when used as intended, can kill (I feel that’s a more impartial wording than “a gun is intended to kill”), although overwhelmingly that isn’t the case. So, when threatened with the possibility of having either of these taken away for, owners would have similar visceral reactions, no doubt. Objectively, we can see that there’s no need for the existence of either, and no owner really needs their beloved monstrosities. A bolt action rifle and minivan should suffice. I’m just trying to get you to reach a bit and make that connection to the gun owner on the level of collectors and avid enthusiasts, just like we all are. Are you with me so far?

Where the NRA directed defence against the very legitimate push for increased gun control has shot itself in the foot, is by alienating gun owners from the rest of us collectors and enthusiasts by dodging the truth of; they just want guns because they like them. Instead, we’re bombarded with nonsensical arguments of “need” and “right” that immediately cause the rest of us to be dismissive, and rightfully so. It’s true that nobody needs, nor should have an inalienable right to own, an assault rifle. Since few of the rest of us try to justify that we need ten thousand miniature spoons, it makes gun owners appear as a group that we can’t relate to.

I want to hear honest gun owners say something like “well, of course nobody needs a gun like this, but the craftsmanship and engineering are incredible, and there’s a huge adrenaline rush when you fire it. The smell of the gunpowder is a rush. I just think it’s really cool” or something similar. I expect owning and firing a powerful gun is much like participating in any other sport or hobby, with the potential to be quite rewarding. Would this slightly different approach (from both sides) solve anything, at all? Probably not. Most evidence points to getting rid of guns, specifically certain types, as a life saving decision. Having this deeper understanding wouldn’t change the hard facts. But might it not open up an entirely different dialogue in the matter? With a more honest edict from the gun lobby, and a more sympathetic response from the rest of us, is it possible we could more effectively come to a mutually satisfying compromise? Starting off with a disingenuous argument from gun owners is getting off on the wrong foot, and actually incites increased hyperbole from the anti-gun lobby, which further erodes productive discussion. Something needs to be done, but trying to convince me that you need an assault style rifle to dispatch vermin is not the place to start.

Previously written content

Since I don’t seem to be ready to turn up the burners on fresh writing, I thought I’d throw in some older content at random in an attempt to keep things interesting while I get my sea legs. This is only a couple years old, and it feels a little awkward reading it. I’ve been finding that; I find I’m not happy with my previous writing attempts after a bit of time passes. The implication might be that my writing is improving, but it also means that in a couple years I’ll look back on what I’m writing today with the same disappointment. It means I have a long way to go. In my defense, most of the previous content was hastily written, and never proofread or edited. Without further delay:

Then, I filled the tank on my gas guzzling monster for scant 40 cents a litre, less than a third of today. It’s interesting to me to hear people complain of the price of gas. They’ll pay near $2 for a half litre of drinking water in their console and nary bat an eye. When I squeeze the handle, I see death and destruction going into the tank. The monetary cost, although significant to me, rarely registers. On occasions where I go into the store to pay, I’ll often stare blankly when the cashier asks a random number. Uhh… sure. the red one, pump 5 I think, I’ll reply. I’m still thinking of who paid for the rest of the gas. In money, blood, misery and pollution. Bury a dinosaur on the other side of the world. Wait a few hundred thousand years, dig a hole, suck the monster out, turn it from tar into the clear, cool liquid gold we call gas. Ship it back around the world. Sell it for $1/l and see how long you are in business. Surely it’s clear these economics are folly? But wait, it works. And very well. Not only is it worthwhile enterprise, it’s one of the most profitable in history. That fuel you’re burning in your car is subsidized with utter destruction. You can’t see it, but I can.

It’s probably not what you’d expect to hear from a car loving hotshoe. Well, a lot has changed in 20 years, especially me. Hypocritically, I do still enjoy burning gas in water sports car or 4×4 I can get into, but not with the abandon I used to. I actually recall competing at local autoslalom, an event set up where just about anybody could compete in a timed, solo run through a pylon course set up in a parking lot, and thinking about what a waste of fuel it was. I think I took first in class that day.

Similarly, I’ll walk into a dollar store, and I see a garbage scow headed back across the sea to be disposed of in some wildly reckless manner. All that plastic, wire, printed circuit boards screw and nylon. All brought of the ground as the gasoline, refined, made into trinkets and junk in unsafe factories in the 3rd world. Again, our pleasure subsidized by the blood and earth of somewhere you don’t give a fuck about. All destined for the landfill after a few laughs or an hour of use. Again, I’ll still consume it. it’s the way here. What else can I do when I need an audio cable or a party favour? Most of the products purchased there are in the trash bin before the paper receipt has been recycled.

I’m sure it’s always been there, and I don’t know why it’s something that tuned in, rather than tuned out. I suppose nurture overtook nature on this account. It was only when my mind began to free itself of the ‘truth’ that the signals could become anything other than noise. It was there though, from the beginning. I recall, one of many occasions, being bullied at school. I was probably 8 or 9, and a couple of other kids were tormenting me in the hallway. One of the teachers asked me why I just stood there and let them do it, to which I responded that I was put here by god for the use of others.. Yes, I actually said that. I remember having difficulty processing the look of horror on her face. Evidence, for sure that I’ve always had a screw loose, my mom just did a good job keeping me straight.

I can’t know if it’s age, substance abuse, depression, awareness… why are these thoughts becoming the backdrop in my head? It’s nothing that everyone else doesn’t think about, or talk about, but for me it’s constant. To them, it’s the newspaper on the rack in the lobby, to me it’s the background music. It’s not a cue here and there, it’s like static hiss, like the radio waves coming from space that we listen in on using those giant radar dishes, in search of intelligent life. Ancient worlds, the very stars, signalling doom and destruction.. I suppose I can’t be sure that it’s not there for everyone, but as confused I was as a child, I remain. How do people tune it out?”

More preamble, yes I’m stalling

Prior to creating this blog, I felt it was important to have several topics at the ready so that I could start off with substantial content out of the gate. Finally, armed with a handful of easy ideas, I pulled the trigger and established sixfathomsdeep.com. I’ve been flirting with idea for a while, wanting to establish myself as a writer and launch, what I hope to be, a successful (or at least sustaining) writing career. Just like ten million other dreamers.

After publishing my introductory post, and stewing for a few days, I started on another draft. Part way through, the gravity of what I was envisioning took hold, and a wave of fear struck. I intend this to be the foundation for my writing, a tool to compile my thoughts for future use, an ongoing feed of my consciousness, to be shared and followed, hopefully, by you and many others. Although cliche, and predictable, this makes me feel vulnerable.

I’ve been writing on the internet for years, and have built reputations and small followings scattered across the web in numerous clusters here and there. I often participate in forums and groups anonymously, under a handful of alias or, occasionally, my real name. I’ve become fairly confident, and even competent, in making a unique impression wherever I appear, and so thought doing the same in a blog would be an intuitive progression of my practice. I’m discovering it’s, in fact, quite different. It feels like changing roles from that of a sniper, to a foot-soldier storming a beach.

Don’t worry, I won’t be using many military analogies. The comparison would probably make more sense if you’d known me previously from my earlier participation in other forums, and might become apparent if you follow me long enough here. Put another way, it’s easier to join an established community and strategically position yourself in a particular role, with a particular reputation, than it is to simply build it yourself, in a vacuum. Without a fulcrum, in the form of a topic or another mind, my scarred, but sturdy lever becomes impotent. There’s also the obvious exposure that comes from having nowhere to retreat; I have to come back here every day, no matter how badly I step in it. My words won’t ever become lost in stale topics or forgotten under buried reply threads.

This unexpected performance anxiety has caused me to over-think myself and second guess my posts. Without immediate feedback and a context in which to frame what I say, it’s much harder to hit the marks. I no longer know who is listening, and unlike before, I have to care. Establishing yourself as the resident asshole in a web forum is easy, and no matter how far you overstep the line of good taste, you still have an audience and probably will still win a few supporters. Here, you all have to like me, or I will be alone, but I don’t want to be likable. This puts me at great odds with my usual misanthropic, cynical thoughts. How do I get people I dislike openly, to follow and support me?

I need to find that answer. I’m hoping that as I force myself to write, the right words will come. In the meantime, I need to loosen up and convince myself that I give zero shits about becoming popular if I hope to remain true to the writing that’s made me popular in the past. I fully predict this to be awkward first, so be patient while I find my groove. Or just wait a while, and skip ahead several posts.

As a post-script, I’m going to try to make all my posts without editing and as little proofreading as possible in order to keep the content genuine, and I’m much less likely to scrap a post entirely if I don’t re-read it. Starting now…

Rent Me

Before I get too far into the ether, I’d like to let you know that my services are available for hire, for select projects. Rather than the standard elevator pitch, I’ll let my content do the talking. If you’re in need of a ghost writer, content contributor or even editing/proofreading, or something more sinister, contact me. Get me early, while you can still afford me.

How, and why, does one blog? What can you expect here?

The first two questions are teasers. I don’t know why, and as you’ll find out if you continue, I know even less about how. What can you expect here? In fairness I should at least take a run at answering that one. As time passes, much of what I think I know seems unsound, or even variable. I feel like I’ve wasted many hours and years learning that which has no meaning, and running from that which promises something more. I’ve decided, while I have the time, to simply write down everything I think that I know.

There is no theme, and this blog will lack any sense of cohesion or reason as a unit. Each entry will either be my best effort to relate a situation I’ve encountered, pitfalls, perhaps solutions. It might be a recipe. It might be a politically driven rant, an attempt at a technical article, something to do with a hobby, habit or vice. My hope that is that once I’ve completed my brain dump, I can be satisfied that I’m not going to take anything with me that some reader, somewhere, might be spared reinventing a wheel; which is often a painful and tragic misuse of time.

My inspirations for topics will essentially come from interactions I have with people in person or online, where I generally avoid engaging in conversation for the futility of it. Rather than rehash the same tired diatribe poorly for several people, I want to do it properly once, for nobody. I get so weary of explaining how to  make eggrolls in a toaster or how to find true happiness every time the question comes up, that I often rush through the procedure, ivariably making mistakes and certainly not letting my true genius shine through to the extent the topic deserves.

With that said, everything I will tell you will be the truth as best as I can convey it. I cannot write fiction, and will recount everything to the best of the abilities of my memory, with the understanding that memories are highly fallible and notoriously untrustworthy; like a good friend. This leads to some unsatisfying climaxes and unflattering portrayals of myself and others.

I hope you find something here that makes you feel. Whether it be satisfied, vindicated, angry, insulted, alone, stupid, aroused… anything. Living devoid of feeling is just existence, and isn’t worth continuing for its own sake. The rest is up to you.