I got my ass kicked by travel. Then I got my ass kicked by the Rona. I sure as hell wish 2022 doesn’t kick all of our asses. Until then, this is the neglected year ending nasty FreeMatt in Review.
The Miserable Christmas Visits Many A Great Man
I discuss the fact that Christmas isn’t always the happy time of the year that “the industry” makes it out to be. I give historical examples and do my best to salvage the experience as I get older.
Interesting To Kids Subjects: Grain and Sugar Explosions
History gives me a great timeout from the depressing to show another depressing historical event; a grain explosion. I share with you a sugar refinery explosion and how I re-enacted a smaller scale of it.
Small Christmas Miracles: The Other Families
I thought I was alone when I wasn’t with my family but I found out that I had another family all along.
On F*cking, Or How You Should Get Over Yourself
To enjoy good sex, one must be worth enjoying. Also a requirement; one must enjoy the other person you are with. How I learned this? Learn more in this posting…
What Can Be Salvaged From The Denver Shootings…
It was a necessity for me to head off questions after Roman McClay shot and killed several people in Colorado. I read several volumes of his book and found takeaways. The loss of life of his victims and his estrangement in general are tragic to me. (I feel like that he had changed directions past his desire for vengeance, at one time wanting to use his energy to make more literary works and bringing others to nature).
The Unintended Bliss Connected To “Going Under”
I saw a semblance of peace when I let go and got choked during jiu jitsu. I tell you more in this posting.
I never got a chance to call myself a “jitz bro” or one of Eddie’s kids. I found jiu jitsu late in my life. I wasn’t huge on the karate McDojo phase when I was a kid. I tried jiujitsu at my local school when I was trying to find something to bring me closer to my community. I did find a larger pack of people I would call “family”. I also found some internal sense of peace.
I think that it was a stupid concept when I first heard of it. To find peace was to get over your own stupidity and your own mind’s noise. Jiu jitsu was a great system and a great “way” to be involved with. It was something to be focused on.
I had a desire to learn moves and to challenge myself. I wanted to learn what I was missing in wrestling. I was willing to learn where major mma fighters went wrong; sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. I was aware of the absolutes.
I watched people at our school struggle to sink in certain moves and submissions. We all would have great days where we could get in a good lock, or a shin splitter, or something equally as interesting. We could also have bad days when nothing worked.
Someone I had a high amount of respect for once told us that we wouldn’t understand the moves that we were trying to pull off unless we have experienced being on the other end of those moves. And the biggest one for me was the “rear naked choke” or rnc.
I had put someone in it and got them to tap. We worked on its finer adjustments and did it better afterward. I had someone slip me into one and it pushed me to tap. I understood the move but I didn’t know its farthest extents.
…Until I sat there and volunteered to have me sunk into it as easily as possible. I let someone I know pull off the rnc and it was interesting at best.
There wasn’t pain. The person who was behind me flexed their muscles and tightened up. I didn’t struggle. But I didn’t notice that I ended up on the floor. At least two people were yelling at me or asking me if I was okay.
To be honest with you, I barely noticed anything. There was a slight sense of calm that seemed to last longer than it did. There wasn’t pain. I would say that it was a blissful time out that I am not supposed to have that often.
(Others that I have spoke with have mentioned that they have had something close to this when they were using responsible amounts of certain psychedelics, hence the idea that I am not supposed to visit it often).
A smart person would say that it was the restriction of blood temporarily to certain parts of my brain would do this and it was a simple observation of my body’s survival functions. But it would be an unique experience anyway. I could say that I never experienced anything like that since then.
I was greatly saddened by the news that Lyndon McLeod took many lives in a few shootings at various locations in Denver Colorado. I enjoyed his work and at one time I had thought that he was turning the corner for certian things that would be more positive in nature, (starting a camp on his mountain property for men, more writing toward a therapeutic avenue, and finding peace). I was more than wrong.
The man I knew by Roman succumbed to the worst in his life. The demons and past history mishandled. I mourn what could have been. I also say prayers for those that lost their lives, I didn’t know them or their involvement, but I do my best to steer away from violence, encouraging violence.
I am doing a different tack than what other people have been forced to do. I previously quoted Roman’s work in a few of my postings. I do not wish to retract or take them down like many more established people have been forced to do. I will share mine again below with additional commentary, though.
I want you to understand why you might feel poorly or dark. Please find a better avenue or outlet for it other than shoot outs. I struggle with things in my life and found positive outlets for them.
Although it looks as if it aged poorly, I must reiterate that you can choose peaceful and/or more creative usages from your end of life. This is not only about Roman but about many of us.
The media holds a heavy hand still. It would take a lot more to see its failure. Roman was right about a level of dishonesty but it was more than tragic in that it would take carrying out violent plans/his own death to prove him right.
I do not know if Roman felt as if his life was losing purpose but in other men’s lives men have came to drastic ends when they felt no other options. I still worry about the mental health of many because of the lack of point of many jobs. (The soulless nature of many jobs has shown why there are deficits of those willing to do those jobs, people just leaving the workforce altogether).
I stick with the warning that if the courts leave people unfulfilled or unsatisfied, many will find justice in ways that pre-date our courts. I feel that people often act without an ethical framework, knowing that they can win in the courts. (or at least knowing that illegal businesses/gray area businesses don’t have a legal outlet).
I had seen this personally with a prominent member of a nearby community that skirted assault charges. I do not encourage violence but I do encourage a long term enveloping strategy to “starve” people.
I had also been in the jury pool for a guy that shot someone over a bad drug deal. The guy didn’t have a small claims court or “arbitrarial” type body to petition. The only option in their (black) community was to handle it within the parameters of pride, what they deemed right. This was to cease their ability to operate and to prevent further “decimation” of their character.
A part of that article or at least my sentiments came true. There might have been little legal recourse available. When someone loses at a certain level there might be two options that certain people feel that they are given, to move on or to win where one can.
I think that this piece holds. Many men still struggle with purpose and find themselves wandering. I can not speak for Roman in his last days but I imagine that he had something that puzzled him in his life.
I stick with it. The book’s quote is a feeling that few were willing to vocalize. I also think that people that aren’t willing to be seen as wrong are cowards of sorts, I have had to learn this the hard way. Starving would give one a bigger purpose than hiding behind security guards and high walls. No apologies needed.
Guys, mourn if you must, then get back to life. It is/was a tragedy for many reasons. There are plenty of things to learn from it. Be well and if need be, get help
I have side stepped this posting for a few weeks. I also was inspired by Rob (@RobSays__) and his comments in the realm of men overthinking things. I wanted to build on what he has said.
(Polite note: I borrowed the title from On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. The book was awesome and reminded me of the different types of “intimacy”.)
I was one of those people that was too stuck on stupid tropes and expectations. I often didn’t let the female love interests in my life be people. I saw them as magical entities and pedestalized visions. I failed to do many things.
I failed to see that natural processes wreaked havoc on them just as bad as I did. Many or most of the women I knew couldn’t see what I did, those women often having doubtful thoughts in their lives. One day had them feeling one way and the next feeling quite possibly the opposite, no one ever told me this. They were just as nervous as you were, often not having the ability to relay what they wanted to say. (RBF being a shitty thing that nature gave both sexes).
No one told me that they weren’t psychic, they didn’t have the ability to read our minds. These women weren’t finding a reason to destroy anyone, on the contrary the women were often worried about their own survival instead of some generated conspiracy for supremacy. They weren’t wizards of words like sitcoms painted them.
Further more, they weren’t “goddesses”. 50% or more of them had one breast bigger than another. Many of them had a myriad of “stinks” instead of whatever the commercials painted them out to be. Their hair wasn’t the sun kissed flax strands but a punishment they could never figure out. Every fashion choice was second guessed instead of admired for how it hugged their breasts. They wobbled in their shoes.
All of this shit came to a confluence of sorts. The shit I had been programmed by plus terrible self vision hampered my results. I wasn’t enjoying good sex. I sure as hell wasn’t getting close enough. I made women some unattainable goal, instead of human beings. But I did a few things…
I let go. I let them be people. I didn’t give a shit anymore. I turned off the propaganda from society. I sure as hell ignored plenty of other people. I found a blank slate.
I found out that I wouldn’t know great sex until I found a great lover in myself. I had to let go. I sure as hell had to let go of the programmed expectation that my partners had to be automaton level fuckbots. Until I did, I wouldn’t know the joys of decent sex.
When I did let go, I found mostly decent partners. Some had sought validation, some sense of control, but a few wanted to orgasm. But the best of those joined me in efforts, enjoying a partner as much as I did.
I was able to find something good. We might have not been the heart throb’s from Cake’s Italian Leather Sofa but we sure as hell had a good time. Laughing at body processes, freckles, and untaught sensations. None of this would have been possible if I had stayed on my destructive path.
I had been blessed to see fall in a beautiful yet foreign place to me. I had saw the leaves turn and enjoyed the wind catching a chill. It was harder to earn a sweat and frost nipped certain areas where the sun neglected to shine.
Thanksgiving rolled by. I had seen a few friends leave and the short timers go back where they had started from. I didn’t have much in the way of family around me, just folks that I knew that were away from their families. Our work area was desolate but those folks kept it from being so.
I found my work nearing winter. I enjoyed Christmas lights, joyful youngsters, and the beginnings of people’s families coming into town. I knew my time was short but I enjoyed the smells plus sights. I silently celebrated people having their family members come back. I may have been without but I do understand how they felt.
We saw the flurries first when the wind picked up. The locals that we worked with shared a laugh and saved us headaches, doing things that a “brother” would do for another. We were happy that they were going to enjoy time with their actual families soon. We left shortly after.
Our drive north was cold but sunny. The parking lots still had ice, but the weather kept the doldrums to a minimum. I had thought that we were largely done with everything. I hadn’t heard from anyone back home and the next parts were routine.
Nightfall gave us our first day of winter and for our patience, we experienced a decent snowfall. It was neat to see cheerful faces playing in the snow, just off the main thoroughfare. Frolicking and Christmas light displays. Our time was increasingly short.
I had said more than once that I had missed my actual family. I hadn’t heard from many that I wish I was closer to. There were simple things that I wanted to do. This was increasingly so, just as I had only two days left of my stay.
I figured out something that I gained that I overlooked: My “other” family.
I knew plenty of people that I spent time with/around that became family members of sorts. There were hotel staff, restaurant folks that saw a lot of me, bar owners, and people I had serious times with. I was invited to two different Christmas parties for people that weren’t going home for Christmas. I knew of a few that were going, but I was leaving two days short of the event.
(One of the people had grown fond of many in our group and a wonderful friend was upset that we were leaving. I probably would have been hurt to see them cry. People connected to that community had told me that it was one of the hardest things to stomach).
I was sad to leave them. I recognized that these tight knit pools of people that were in my life for several months constituted a family of sorts; my “other” family. It was a small miracle that I recognized this on Christmas Day. I felt like a richer man because of them.
I decided to avoid talking about Elizabeth Warren’s “shot across” grocers and Goetz shooting subway muggers, but wanted to make note of something interesting:
From onthisday.com; December 22, 1977 “36 die as grain elevator at Continental Grain Company plant explodes”.
This may not mean much to the uninitiated but grain is not usually what people think of a explosive or flammable substance. Putting corn or grain in your hand doesn’t elicit the feeling of a killer of men, outside of dietary decisions. But when I worked in the petrochem world, it opened my eyes.
In my country, there has been a history of grain elevator (or processor) explosions. I had never knew that the dust was the culprit. It never made sense until I went through some training. Further more, it was wild when I got to watch a video about the Imperial Sugar refinery fire/explosion. I had never knew that was possible as a child.
(will supply links below for the CSB write up and YT video).
I had mentioned to a younger family member that it was possible to make a “fire” with sugar. I had seen someone use a blow dryer to shoot a flame with a certain type of flour. I decided to try my hand at doing it with sugar.
I had put powdered sugar in a large amount in my mouth and forced it out cloud form over a cigarette lighter. I failed the first two times due to humidity and getting most of it wet. The third time was a charm. From the safety of my yard and in the dark, I threw a small cloud of flame. The family member was impressed and I didn’t have to destroy a hair dryer.
I had known someone that talked about getting an industrial blower and “powdered” aluminum to recreate a steel mill explosion in miniature. (Most mills have air filters and scrubbers to prevent this. That someone used to clean the scrubbers and filters, collecting the powder for backyard tomfoolery).
I’m not encouraging you to do this kind of thing but I did want you to know that your food could kill in more ways than one.
I have mentioned to a few that I have had mixed results when it came to Christmases. I had vehicle breakdowns. I ended up sleeping at an airport waiting for my flight. I ended up working (washing dishes) on the ship, small blessing that I had two or three shipmates that crashed at a place that was donated when the owners were gone. In 2000 and 2001, I did my best to drink away a dark cloud. But I learned to not cry about said things, this is due to the fact that misery visits many great men on Christmas.
I reference much of Sweden when Charles XII was killed. Their country was largely “taxed” for years and his death was a tragedy to many. But their country’s ultimate reward was a solemn Christmas and the task of picking up the pieces.
Blessed Karl I of Austria’s family had a tough Christmas in exile when Karl’s attempts at getting back at the throne failed in 1921. His family found themselves on a Portugese island in relative poverty, possibly depending on some of the few royal relatives that could help them out. (Karl ended up sick and lost his life the following spring).
Although he wasn’t an observer of the Christian faith (or allied pagan), the Pasha Mustafa found himself punished for his loss at the Battle of Vienna on December 25, 1683. Mehmed IV found it appropriate to execute him by strangulation.
I am obviously overlooking neighbors and people I knew from church that lost someone close to the holidays. It gets quiet when people are not there. There is always an empty spot in the pews when everyone gets together
I encourage you all to enjoy the holidays, no matter your religious slant. Take some time off of work, eat something agreeable, have sex if possible, and be well.
I remember stepping into the “National Bank” as a young kid with my father. I loved the smiling ladies at the counters, which were within eye shot of the door and in the middle of a sprawling, beaituflly tiled floor. The echoes made no sense but looking up made you forget about that.
My dad took me in the back vault, with its drawers and cramped quarters. Someone would open the room and leave us to it. It wasnt as sneaky as what Breaking Bad or Total Recall, there were no ill gotten gains or fragments of memories in there, there were only safe bets.
My father had certificates of deposit (CDs). They had yields of somewhere between 5-10%. Yes, this was ages ago. Probably bought when Carter was president but at least when Reagan was around. These were the safe bets for the future, what you were supposed to do with your money. (Paying for college, mortage, etc).
We were told to save our money, put it in something with low risk. If it wasnt a CD, it was some treasury device, or a 401k for some. But my father didn’t see twenty years down the road.
The truth was that I had to work harder for a 5% yield. It was surprising what I had to do in my 401K to get 5%. (I would get slammed one year and do well the next). Most treasury investments aren’t a good idea, the govt isn’t a trustworthy entity considering they spend like drunken sailors and do their “darndest” to water down the value of our money.
I wouldn’t have ever imagined that the last time we walked out of that vault that the preferred investments wouldn’t be worth our time when I would become the person considered about future finances.
Fast forward a bit, I mention to my father the brutal truth. I have to take on a hell of a lot more risk to get paid for my time and money use. I had decent luck “playing the ponies” but logistically don’t have a chance to do it more often. My father was flabbergasted when I mentioned how many people make money off of speculative investments (like certain crypto). He thought it sounded silly.
But I also had mentioned to him that no one can make money loaning out money. I talked about big gambles like ForEx and short term stock “plays”. I mentioned that people with some semblance of logic could make either “hobby” money or additional income out of these.
I struggled with this, considering I was told that a four year degree and a honorable discharge were supposed to set me up for success. The reality is that it didn’t. It made a frugal lifestyle survivable but it wasn’t the Irish gift it was supposed to be.
I ended a conversation with my father with this circular logic gem:
I can actually lose money playing it safe but earn 5%-15% with educated gambles. Why am I being rewarded for what the evangelicals bemoan? Why must I gamble to play it safe?
I have flown to a few major cities. A few times I have been blessed to have someone pick me up. I always love having someone else drive. I was never fond of being behind the wheel. (To be honest with you, some of the world’s top people have someone else drive for them. I have never been the “petrolhead” that many of my friends tout to be). But on occasion, I find myself forced into driving while in a new, “farther out” city. And yes, I end up in a rental car.
My airport rental car experiences have been excellent or at least satisfactory. People are courteous or at least diplomatic. Someone wants to get you a car and get you out of the way. Just the way I like it.
But when you get away from the airport, the funny business begins. I have had substandard interactions with the people who ran one of the largest chains of car rental companies. (For comedy’s sake, I will call it “Rent-A-Suck”). It is one thing that the people gave away my car even though I had been in touch with them, it was another that they were assholes about it. I gave up and went elsewhere.
I had been looking into other career options while I had attempted to rent that car. And in one sad instance, I found myself applying for a management trainee position at that location. In the strangest of circumstances, I was called for an interview after the second time I applied for one of these trainee programs.
I am glad that it was a phone interview or pre-screen. I imagine that it could have gone uglier. Judging by voices alone, both of the people didn’t seem like that they were too happy to be there. (Note: One person was HR and the other person was a regional manager). In the most monotone voice possible, the HR person asked me some “easy cheesy” questions and I gave the standard answer they wanted. I whipped through a few of them with no problem. The only issue that poked out was that I had a few seasonal/short term jobs, and of course they asked me why I left one of my longest held positions.
I wasn’t offended that they asked. It makes sense that they did. But you could tell that they were either calling people for box checking purpose or that they had the wrong end of an “expectations vs realities” equation. They had a sour demeanor to start with.
I wasn’t mad that I didn’t get a “nod” of sorts. But I did get a laugh. Their company is known for their horrific hourly turnover rate and “jumping frog” management, leaving rapidly before the “Rona times” hit. It wasn’t two weeks afterward that their company posted the same ad for the same position. On a laugh track worthy schedule, another ad popped up for the same job/company a few weeks later.
The ultimate Seinfeld worthy follow up was a few years later when a retiree I know put in for a part time “car return” job with the same company. Relatively snotty interviewers, inflexible job, very few applicants, and the company more or less leaves the ad up. The retiree in question asks me the following: What did this company think would happen? Did they think they could find some poor schmuck to do this with their bad attitudes to start with?