I found it in Tortola of the British virgin islands. I expected something cooler and harder to find.
About this blog
The deafening howls of a lost Dawg...
Entries in this blog
This was on the television in the cabin of a cruise ship that I was on. I wonder how often they have to reboot the ship?
It only took 3 seconds to sneak this snapshot when the employee turned around at my car rental counter in las Vegas. You gotta love passwords on post-it notes.
Taken while crossing the street down in Brooklyn. I stood there for 6 hours before finally giving up and going the long way around the block.
That being said, I have been finding it difficult to trust after being used and mistreated in a previous relationship. It is a fine line between holding up standards in what I expect in a girlfriend and how much I hold myself back. This past abuse has turned me a bit jaded. I want to trust. I want to be trusted. I am not sure if I know how to do that.
I am also a hacker, which means I am distrustful by nature. I question everything. So when someone says something to me, I always take it with a grain of salt. That makes it difficult to trust it when someone pays me a compliment, or does extend themself to me. Everyone that I have ever trusted has eventually let me down (except for my mother who is the only person in all of existence that I trust explicitly).
Luckily, one thing that I do have that helps is a Southern upbringing. I grew up in a world where people trust each other in general. It is very easy for me to trust people for small things. I loan friends money all the time. I take risks to help people...even strangers. I give my time, my knowledge, my advice, and anything that I can. These are easy for me because I want to help people an I like helping people and I like it when people trust me because it means that I can probably trust them. Because of that belief system and way of life, I always give everyone a chance when I first meet them. That comes very easy to me. But that is not the trust that I am talking about here. That is a different type of trust. I always give people people a chance to earn my trust at those types of things. When it comes to my heart and my soul...that is a lot harder and that is the root of this whole conundrum.
I still believe that you have to be willing to trust and you have to have someone who is willing to trust you as well. This is very difficult for me these days and I have to keep reminding myself to trust people. If you don't give people a chance to come into your life...they never will. This puts me in a delicate balancing act...
I have to somehow try to balance these two seemingly incompatible worlds: The world of hurt...and the world of hope.
I have been talking to a very nice young lady recently and she has actually been pretty awesome. Most that I have talked to have been mental, boring, or disinterested in me. Even though we have only gone out a couple of times, I think this one is different. WE laugh and cuss and make the same silly jokes. We like to torture each other with mixed messages. We both have similar pasts. Last night, I spent the entire night until 5 AM texting and talking with her on the phone. I haven't actually gotten along with anyone like this in a while and it is a scary thing to me. Especially since this is exactly how that last abusive relationship started. I don't want to trust too much and potentially be hurt again but I also don't want to miss out on a great woman because I was unable to open myself up and trust again. I am putting my heart on the line again and hoping that it is the right thing to do. I hope I am doing the right thing.
This shit is HARD!!!! I FAIL at dating.
There has to be one other person out there who I can trust isn't there?
The big difference was that San Francisco just had so much...character. It was just a city with such great history and personality. I would even say more than NYC! It had a great chinatown, but also a j-town (Japan town), and many other cultures represented as well. This place, more than any that I have seen in the United States, best represents our "melting pot" and acceptance of many different cultures. All cultures have their own identity and place where they can really express themselves but at the same time, people were mixed and living together in unison. No one was restricted or forced into a particular area. No one was looked down upon. No one was treated differently. This is what America is all about.
Here are a few pictures that I took, but I definitely want to go back and do a few more touristy things.
Just TRY to sleep now...
I know that when you have such reverence and high expectations for someone, that you are setting yourself up for a fall, but I don't think that is the reason that the concert was disappointing. It was disappointing because Aretha just didn't seem to be into being there in the first place. She wasn't "into" the whole thing. Maybe because this was at Universal Studios and not at a fancy/expensive venue. Maybe she was sick. Maybe she is just tired of touring. It might even be a combination of all of these reasons. After performing for about an hour and a half (no complaints there) she left the stage without singing "Respect" which is, as everyone knows, the classic Aretha song. She pulled the classic, leave the stage move and everyone thought that she would come right back out for an encore to do that one last song. The crowd was chanting and everything and the band was still sitting there as though they were also waiting for her...but she never came back out. Slowly, the band started packing up one by one but they also seemed confused. Eventually, they brought up the lights and everyone headed home but the whole thing was just strange. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if she saves that big song for the expensive concerts and not the large venues.
Either way, she is amazing. She is one of the few people that I put in my "gifted" category. She has a God-given gift that very few people on the planet have. Sure, lots of people can sing...and sing very well. But Aretha is on a whole different plane. No one on Earth can sing like her. She has complete control over her voice, incredible power, and the whole thing is effortless. she doesn't strain...she doesn't run out of breath. She just sings. When people say that someone can sing, Aretha Franklin epitomizes that. Aretha Franklin could sing the phone book and I would be mesmerized. I once saw her perform on some awards show (the grammys one year, don't remember when) when Pavarotti was supposed to sing an opera song but he was too sick and unable to perform. Aretha stepped in on extremely short notice (I heard only an hour to learn the song) and sang this amazing and beautiful opera song...in Italian! Are you kidding me? And I was watching...it was beautiful...just amazing. I mean, you think of Aretha as motown and soul, which is true. But this woman can sing everything.
A lot of people claim to be divas and call themselves Divas, but Aretha is the only Diva in my book. I think the word was invented for her since there is no other way to describe her greatness. If you ever get a chance to see her perform, do it. Despite the slight disappointment I mentioned earlier, I would see her again in a heartbeat.
Insert into shit_that_can_kill_me_on_accident_table values (‘iron man powered by oracle’);
Notice that he is accompanied in NYC by Spongebob but below, he seems to be joined by a broke-ass Mario and some ghetto Ninja Turtles. I know that it is hot in Las Vegas but put on the whole costume FFS! Elmo doesn’t wear jeans and a red t shirt! You’re not even trying!
Update by ntheory: Looks like he ended it all… sad.
A desperate cry for help
To ensure that it isn't too late, I have recently re--embraced my rights granted to me in the bill of rights (aka the preamble) of my constitution. Particularly, the second amendment. People who know me know that I am a big believer in the first amendment which, as every knows (or should know) is freedom of speech. I find it funny that many people support this 1st amendment, but they are against the second amendment. As the saying goes, the 1st amendment is so important, that the second amendment was made to guarantee it.
I think that a lot of people jump onto political party agenda bandwagons without realizing WHY this amendment exists. You have to have a grasp on the history of our country to get it. We left to form our new country to get away from a government that was repressive. We didn't want to be told what we could or could not say or think. We did not want to be forced into a certain particular religion or any religion for that matter. This is not the role of the government. These things were so important that they were written as the foundation to our constitution. Originally started as the "Constitution of Virginia" which was written in my home state, it was solid for 200+ years and I would argue, still solid to this day.
Today, in 2010, we have been witnessing a government that has been repressive to say the least. In my opinion, we have been losing our rights slowly but surely over the last 30+ years. The government has been taking over some of the most important institutions on our lives. They run things like our banking system (The Federal Reserve), our Housing industry (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac), our health care (which looks privatized, but permitted to only a few companies by the government. and who knows what will happen to it now), our transportation systems (Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation), and our communications (the Federal Communications Commission).
Look at those things. Now look at where all of the problems are in the United States right now. Do you see a pattern? The pattern is that WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!! I don't mind some socialization, it is not about that. I just don't trust this government to do it right. This government is screwing this country up so badly that I cannot even put it into words and we have sat by all of this time and let it happen. The sad thing is that 99.9% of us are still standing by and letting this happen because we are simply oblivious to the way things work. Americans are lazy, unmotivated, and uneducated and because of this apathy, those of us who see the truth are prisoners of our own government.
Not me. Fuck that.
Back to my second amendment rights... The second amendment is not just the right to bear arms. It is not some Warmongering mindset that America has been labeled with. We don't want guns because we a re a bunch of hellraisers. that is not what that amendment was written for. It wasn't for wars. It wasn't for hunting. It wasn't so that we could kill each other or become barbarians. Quite the opposite. Read these words carefully.
The key words here are "necessary to the security of a free state". You see, our forefathers knew that the government that they were escaping form had repressed them leaving no way to rebel and stand up once things had gotten too far. This amendment was written, and made number 2 on the list, because they realized how important it was that they did not allow that to happen again. This right allows us to bear arms not to protect ourselves against outsiders but for something much more important. It allows us to protect ourselves from our own government. All of the other reasons mentioned above are important also, but this was the true reason that it was written.
This is what I have chosen to do. I already had guns as a kid. When you live in the country, and in the South, you grow up around guns. But my guns were for mostly hunting. Now, I have purchased some guns for my own protection. Now before you thinking I am going into full kook mode, let me clarify one thing very clearly. I HOPE THAT I NEVER HAVE TO USE THESE GUNS!!! Sincerely. All of the stuff that I am talking about here is not part of some nut job columbine scheme nor am I going postal. what I am doing is simply exercising my rights as an American citizen before this right, like many others, gets taken away as well.
It is happening people. I don't understand why so many people are blind to it when it is right in front of your eyes. You have rights and if you don't use them, you may lose them. Luckily for me, I am using mine and as to paraphrase the true sentiment of what says in the subject of this post...
"You can have my RIGHTS when you pry them from my cold dead hands."
First of all, I don't owe anyone an explanation individually. But since there are a few people out there who wonder why I am pulling out of the public scene, I thought I would try to explain my reasons in the hopes that maybe a few people would understand. I do not have a problem sharing these reasons, but if you intend to attack me for them, you should stop reading now. I don't want to hear it.
Basically, I unplugged for 2 general reasons. Firstly, I pulled out for personal reasons. Secondly, I pulled out because hacking wasn't fun anymore. For those of you who are genuinely interested, I will gladly explain.
As far as personal things go, you have to understand that the word personal infers that I am, in fact, a "person". Somehow people think that hackers are all a bunch of punk kids who have no real life problems and run around without a care in the world. Hackers are people. I am a hacker, but I still love my country. I still love my family. I believe in God. I am not ashamed to admit any of these things, but somehow people lose sight of the fact that we are all real people with real lives. We have real hopes and real dreams. We face real triumphs and real tragedies. We find real love and face real heartbreak. Life changing events happen and hacking takes a backseat to real life. If you have ever heard my radio show, you would know that I have said this many times. I guess now you all know that I meant it. Never let the important things in your life take a backseat to anything.
In my real life, I have had some pretty big events happen lately. I have kept them private while continuing to work on numerous projects to help keep my mind off of things. My 82 year old grandmother recently moved down here to South Florida. She is the only grandparent that I have left and I love her dearly. I have been spending as much time as I could with her lately. For the most part, she is healthy for an 82 year old woman, and she is blessed to be well enough to enjoy life and live independently. Spending quality time with her is my number one priority above all else on this planet. I have been able to balance my time with her and all of the other things in my life fairly well until last month. I had another life changing event that altered my path. I was offered a job that requires me to move out of South Florida and I accepted it. It is a great opportunity for me doing something I love (programming) and using my education and my 15+ years of experience in the computer industry. It was an offer that I could not refuse. This is a very good thing and I am very happy with these changes in my life and my grandmother is happy for me as well.
The reality that I am left with, however, is that I will be physically packing my entire life and moving within a month or so. In that time period, I must sell my house and buy a new house. This means packing up everything I own and repairing my old house to sell it, which is what I have been doing since the beginning of July. As if that weren't enough, I am determined to start this new job on the right foot and really attack it with every fiber of my being. Some of you out there know how hard I work and how I give 337% on everything I do, whether it is writing "show novels" for BRR, researching material for an article, or editing HackTV. I take pride in everything I do. I was always taught that anything worth doing, is worth doing right. I want to do my very best at this new job and after my grandmother, I intend to focus the rest of my concentration on this new job.
All of these events just made me step back and realize that the balance had shifted temporarily. I could no longer juggle hacking and life. I needed to borrow from my "hacking time" to pay my "real life time" to help counter-balance the needs that I now faced. I started making plans to slowly pull out a few months ago as these changes became imminent. I made sure that the radio show would be taken care of months ago (around episode 80 to put it in perspective) and I started asking the guys in DDP to pick up some of the slack for me and carry me for a while. These guys are all so great, that not one...not a single one of them...hesitated to rescue me. I probably don't tell them enough how much I appreciate them. They are not only friends, but they are like brothers to me. I was willing to completely leave the hacking scene to concentrate on real life, but they made it possible for me to stick around...and want to stick around. This leads me to the other reason I unplugged...
The other reason is that no matter how hard I tried to keep it fun, hacking ceased being fun to me. Certainly, the real life things probably weighed into that, but it was more than that. Hacking was slowly losing its fun day by day over the past year or so anyway. There are a lot of great people in this community. There is no doubt of that. I have met several of them at different conferences. I have gotten heartwarming email from them that helped my regain some of my love of hacking. I have seen and heard a lot of great comments from people and I appreciate them all. I sincerely do. But I also got a lot of negative mail and read lots of negative comments from people as well. And they seemed to far outway the positive comments. I see the blog posts of people attacking me and insulting me. I hear the comments people make on conferences. I see the insulting messages people post in forums ( even in my *OWN DAMN FORUMS*) or put in their videos. What did I do to deserve this? I thought we were all on the same team?
Now it is easy for people to say "just ignore people like that". And actually, I am very, VERY good at ignoring people like that. I simply do not have time in my life for negative people in general. I do my very best to help out anyone who asks. But slowly, over time, they start to weigh on you. There are people out there who need help. They don't understand what hacking is. They just don't get it. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be helped. They may just need guidance. I have met people who were complete jerks when I first met them. They didn't know that they were being jerks because no one ever told them that they were doing the wrong things. I like to teach people the right things. But sometimes, you can't help those who don't want to be helped. Maybe I come across too strong. I guess that is my weakness, that I speak my mind. May that makes me arrogant, I don't know. Anyone who really knows me, knows that they can ask me for anything and they know I will do as much as humanly possibly to help them out. All I can do is the best that I can. Some days, that just isn't enough for some people.
Then there are other little things that make me feel bad. I get messages from people who are angry with me that I didn't answer their email. They don't understand that I get literally dozens of emails every day and I simply cannot answer them all. I wish I could, but I simply can't. Logistically, I started to feel that I was stretching myself to thin. When you are the type of person who wants to help EVERYBODY and you don't have time to GET TO everybody, it gets frustrating. And I do not have any "real life time" to borrow from anymore to do that. This is slightly frustrating, but since there is simply nothing that I can do about it (I can't alter the flow of time...yet), I have to suck it up and move on with life the best that I can.
The proverbial straw that broke the camels back, was really nothing big or overly frustrating so much as simply bad timing. I was trying my very best to do everything that I could to keep contributing to this community to the best of my ability and to keep putting out content and balance all of the things that I have been talking about and suddenly, I hit the wall. I had enough. Had I seen another random person making a bad comment, I probably could have ignored it. Had I seen yet another blog of someone talking about how much one of my projects or articles sucked, I would have brushed it off. If I had seen another ignorant "journalist" using me to sell his fear-laden articles, I would have laughed it off. Instead, what I saw was someone who I thought was a friend publicly humiliate me at the precise moment when I needed support. When I was at the end of my rope, no one was there to give me a boost. Instead, they kicked me right off.
Now, it is irrelevant to single anyone out, particularly because they probably didn't mean it to come across the way that it did. I understand that, and I don't blame them. But what it did was open my eyes. I realized the hard truth that while there are some great people out there, there are others that simply don't care about you one way or the other. It does not matter how much you give to them, they are never satisfied. They cannot enjoy anything without criticizing it. I don't know what personality trait this is, or if it is more or less prevalent in the hacker community, but I don't like it. I suddenly opened my eyes to the fact that every single thing I do is scrutinized. Here I thought that I was educating people with a radio show and having fun. I was being made fun of. I thought that I was entertaining people with a hacking television show. I was being insulted. I thought that I was providing useful services and projects that people inside (and outside) of the community could enjoy. They were simply being attacked. The thing that I didn't understand, and the thing that bothered me most, was that while all of these people were bitching and complaining about me, not a single person stood up and defended me. Not a SINGLE ONE. No posts of support. No posts defending false allegations. Nothing but silent acceptance.
This is not what the hacking spirit is all about and I don't want to be a part of it right now. It is a terrible feeling to suddenly realize that nobody cares enough to have your back.
I will never understand why some people seem to think that constantly complaining and being negative about everything can ever generate anything positive. All that you do is chase people away. New people need advice and information. Don't insult them, help them! Returning people are looking for another chance. Reach out to them, do not reinforce the negative image that caused them to leave in the first place. And the people that have managed to stay around for any length of time...just support them. You don't have to agree with them. You don't have to like them. But you will respect them. I do not need my ego stroked, nor do I need to hear a "thank you". I just don't think that I deserve the personal attacks, scrutiny and lack of common courtesy that I have been given.
So I do thank the people who have emailed me in recent weeks. I do appreciate that some people cared enough about my well being to email me and say a simple "thanks" or to offer their help and sympathy for my well being. I am honestly touched. You leave me with a great joy to know that there are some people in this community who are genuine and good hearted people. My fellow hackers...my fellow human beings. If I do come back, after some hiatus, it is because of people like you. I cannot list everyone, but you know who you are. I do have to single out my fellow DDP members (past, present, and future) for all of their support. I am proud of what they have accomplished..what we have accomplished. Thanks for keeping hacking fun. Thanks to Acidus, Decius, Elonka, rockit, droops, GIJoe, Dr^Zigman, LogosX, PixelFiend, xlogicx, austin, and Zearle. All of whom were always positive and supportive people to whom I give much deserved respect. And even with all of this, I still have not forgotten about decoder who is going through some pretty rough real life stuff as well. I am still thinking of you my friend. Trust me when I say that *I* have got *your* back.
I am still around, just no longer in the public eye. I have to stick with those people who I trust to be good people and stay away from the critics and the community that simply doesn't want me. I don't have time to be hated. I will continue to write. I will continue to keep making sites and starting projects and programming. The sites/forum/shows/projects/etc... will stick around as long as I can afford them. The DDP will still exist and grow. I will never stop hacking because I love it. If anything, I am able to dedicate more time to it because of this. I have a lot of great friends in this community. They are friends that hopefully will last my entire lifetime. I will never stop hacking. It is a part of me. It is what makes up who I am.
I am StankDawg.
I am a hacker.
The person that I am talking about is Shiloh Pepin who is probably better known as "the Mermaid girl". She is called this because she has a rare condition called Sirenomelia which causes her legs to be fused together. I am terrible at medical stuff and while that part is interesting to me, what I was more amazed at was this girls love of life and strength of character.
TLC is airing a documentary about the last 6 months of her life. Sadly, Shiloh passed away at the end of 2009.
Watching the troubles that this girl overcame on a daily basis and watching her do it with such strength and faith made me feel like a weak man. I even changed my signature in the forum to quote Shiloh, not out of sympathy, but out of respect for the wisdom of a 10 year old girl who was able to see the good side of life despite the bad things that had happened to her.
I got depressed and felt bad about myself over some crazy chick who dumped me without even so much as an apology and this girl has gone through more hardship in her life than I could even imagine. All of the things that I worry about like finances and relationships and other silly things are simply inconveniences. Money isn't important. Beauty isn't important. Power isn't important. Strength of character and integrity is what's important in life. After watching this girls life, I have a new conviction to be a stronger person.
Everyone reading this who whines about how hard their life is should take a good, long, hard look at themselves and where their life is going. You don't even know what it is like to truly struggle. I don't have a lot of sympathy for whiners who won't help themselves. I then get called an un-compassionate asshole for it. But can you look at this girl and still tell me that you have truly struggled in life? I can't and I am not afraid to admit that.
I made a small donation to her benefit fund to help build more handicap accessible playgrounds and I would encourage others, if they are able, to do the same. It is the least that I can do to thank you Shiloh.
A 10 year old girl showed me what real strength is all about.
If anyone has a chance to see this, make sure that you do. It may be a once in a lifetime type event.
into my intertubes, what the hell am I supposed to do?I still haven't forgiven you for Celine Dion or Shania Twain. If it weren't for
, Moka Only, and WordBurglar (who is a super chill guy IRL), I would think that you are musically challenged as a culture.