Archive for January, 2012

You know, life can be confusing…

Which direction is she spinning? Or, is it both...!?

…and truth, doubly so

As a fact of this very matter, those two observations were key reasons for pioneering this Blog for the Deranged and Enlightened in the first place…

…To be a place of reason for which to visit amidst the chaos.

To be a bold beacon of truth, born on the shores of logic and conceived in a mind engendered by an unflappable critique, which anyone thereafter could easily seek out and find, so that they too might successfully peer through the fog of modern illusion for a rough gauge of some true direction to sail towards, whilst wading, as we all do, through the eternal waters of life’s never-ending uncertainty.

To be a place where others of a like-minded nature might also be able to gather under this bannerless banner, each honestly seeking out their own truths, in their own ways and in their own field…

And gather they have!

It is from you that I am inspired and to you that I write.

You, my brave readers — in possession of true Iron-clad will. You, those willing to question, and sometimes even overturn your own longstanding assumptions about the world — despite an all too present fear. You, the intelligently insane and delightfully enlightened individuals alike, who have all gathered here in this sacred virtual realm, along with me, in a never-ending search for what might just be intangible — but yet we seek it anyhow, and together.

Thank you.

As I am under the firm conviction that this gathering of critically thinking minds is a very good thing.

I believe that analytical thought, questioning and querying are all very good, and quite essential to an enlightened people.

Indeed this is a very good thing; to know what is true, and what is right…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But, my true and noble People — you’re doing it all wrong!

~~ So here’s a list of the Top 5 things that most of us muck up and do completely backwards on a daily basis ~~

#1 – Tying your shoelaces

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Jared, you crazy bastard… Last week you’d tried to teach me how to make a flippin’ salad, and now you want to tell me how to tie my shoes — I’m no window licker, get off it man! ” And to you I say, “NO! I will stay on it!” (Wait, what are we talking about again? TWSS?) Look, I don’t care how old or how smart you are, if you’re reading this than you’re probably under the assumption that your ability to tie your shoes has pretty much been peaked since you were around the ripe young age of about two or three.

But… I have been known to relish in the bursting of a good bubble from time to time, and I shall take great pleasure now in telling you that you do not, in fact, tie a proper knot with your shoelaces.

See there are two variations of the knot in question: a strong version, and a weak one.

And you, my presumptuous friend, tie the weak one.

Sorry.

(not really)

Bubble Bursted!

😉

#2 – Eating a Banana

You might figure, being that we’ve evolved directly from primate ancestry, we’d pay attention to how chimps and gorillas live. But no, we’re humans — we’re the smart ones! We built the Burj Khalifa for cripes sakes, what can we possibly hope to learn from some lowly, poop-chucking monkeys?

Well, how to properly open a banana for starters…

Here's a clue

Oh come now, we both know you’re guilty of it… You’ve tugged, and tugged and tugged on that stem — and yet you’d failed, and failed and failed. You’d leveraged with all your humanly might, but all you’d managed to do was break the fragile fruit in two. I’ll bet you’ve even resorted to using your teeth at times, garnering that wondrously chalky feeling all about your gums — but yet that darned inanimate thing somehow still defied you!

(IT WILL RUE THE DAY!)

Know why?

Cause, as previously stated — You’re doing it all wrong!

(God I really DO love bursting bubbles…)

(BRB — change of pants.)

*Pop*

😀

#3 – When you eat

If you’re anything like me — you know; a biped, mostly consisting of carbon, who relies on oxygen for aspiration and positively detests waking up at ungodly hours of the morning — than you might have a similar morning routine to my own. We wake up as late as humanly possible, hit snooze three times more than commutably feasible, and then stop on the way to work anyhow for our daily dose of liquid caffination in a vessel as voluminous as your very cranium — effectively skipping breakfast altogether and missing out on the most vital meal of the day!

We than proceed to have whatever lunch we can get our grubby little mitts on, and a dinner that would fit right in for a movie depiction of a Kings banquet.

“Wrong, wrong,wrong, wrong… Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong — You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong!!!”    — Dr.Cox

Again, yet another habit we’re born and bred breathing, yet are so very, very mistaken about.

Logic alone is enough to dispel this odd quirk of human behavior, but much like a writer can miss something essential due to coopy blindness, as can we all during the natural course of our lives. Reflect for a moment on what sleep actually is — it’s an eight-hour period of nothingness for your body, with no food or activity to enrich its state. So it would only stand to reason that when you wake up you might want to A) Be SOMEWHAT active, and B) Eat SOMETHING, and not just a little — A LOT — as this is the fuel for your upcoming day!

Conversely than, why would we consume our most grandiose meal right before laying our heads to sleep at night? In doing so we severely hinder our body’s ability to digest, apply and extract nutrients, and even be wholly restful — as we’ve given our body a task to attend to. Try instead, my good people, to go from a big meal early on, to a more modest one later, and finally a paupers meal to finish the day.

(Perhaps a banana even… Naturally opened from the proper end)

Here’s a source for your furthered ed-du-mication.

And here’s another

NEXT!

😛

#4 – White Lies

Who do white lies told for comfort, comfort? For the liar knows well what they lie for, and the lie’ee nearly certainly knows the truth themselves… doesn’t this all seem like a heck of a lot of work for nothing?

Just like housework. I'm only gonna mess it up again tomorrow -- so why bother!?

Rather than giving in to the linguistic equal of telling yourself that you’d done 1000 push-ups, when really you’d only done 10 (we know, you just carried the decimal improperly… No, no, could’ve happened to anyone… O_o ) just do us all a favor, swallow the pill, and tell the truth. People need to hear truth to grow, and although you claim to have perpetrated the lie for protection of them, because you Love them, in fact by providing a White lie you have accomplished just the opposite effect.

Sure you have insulated them from a painful truth, but you have just stopped their progress as a human being.

You’ve just stolen away their golden opportunity to change…

Being wrong is good, and should be openly embraced!

Heck, I’m wrong all the time.

But I continue to grow.

Get the picture?

Now shake it, shake it, shake it…

*BOOM!*

(And another one bites the dust!)

#5 – Congratulatory praise

I do love's me some Bender.

To dote on past or future successes alone is to forget that you are presently alive. Furthermore, to dote solely on another’s successes is to forget that there are some still in the race, some who could use your support more than the “Winner”. As members of a creative world — inspired by invention, leading to inspiration, turning to creativity, and back to invention once more — either you are part of the cycle, or you’re simply not alive nor contributing to life at all.

Being that this is inherently implied in our world, why than do we only focus on the biggest and the best?

This is why Hollywood can get away with churning out crap, again, and again in the theaters…

This is why the truly talented are purged from the limelight in lieu of Kardashians.

This is why yours truly is still making salads and eating bananas!

Heck, even Neil deGrasse Tyson agrees:

Watch out guys, we're dealing with a Philosophy over here!

Curious that we spend more time congratulating those who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not

Curious indeed my friend, curious indeed.

~~~~~~~~~~~

And now, before I’m bashed over the head with a banana for speaking truth…

…I’m off!

You can't catch me now suckers!

~J

Good creative people, I am not a Chef, {Part Duex}

I’ve never been to cooking school, I do not own an over-sized floppy white hat, and I positively refute the idea that every ingredient must be uttered with the inflection of its native tongue (motz-eh-relehha cheese being my one exception… I am Italian after all). That being said, I do know a thing or two about being poor. Gourmand status notwithstanding, this state of mind has led to more penny counting, and improvised meals than I’d care to admit.

However, I’ve always believed that blogs are not the socially acceptable places for modesty. If some of my tactics for keeping my head above water can help out a few of you, far be it for me to hold out the goods. So today, good creative types, I’d like to open up my kitchen to you all, and share a few tips about how your own kitchen just might be able to help you weather the poverty storm (regardless of how long this confounded recession lasts).

You know it’s funny

Not really funny, funny — as in the knee slapping, milk and nose squirting, or that friend with the mildly annoying piggly laugh sort of way — but more so in the ironic sense of the term, “funny”, that I’ve never before reused a title, nor an opening paragraph (or in this case, 2), but for this series I decided that I would, because… well… because it’s a series — which needed some sort of common thread — and yet, here we are a full year later and it all still makes perfect sense!

Sadly right on down to that bit about the recession…

But with a little luck we can hope to be removing that unpleasantness by sometime next year…

(Right?)

Now, before we get started

Because this is, after all, a series (and the first one I’m involved with where I’m the STAR! Just wait till I tell Mom — she’ll be so proud!!), you might find it helpful to first read the original post before we move on, as it sets the tone and lays the framework which I hope to build upon here, (and, from the looks of it, henceforth around every January 20th) and you might find it helpful.

And now,

without further ado,

I’d like to give to you all today,

the gift of the almighty SALAD!

Do not be afraid of this Isle. This Isle is your friend.

(Well that was a crappy reception…)

(To say the least.)

(Alright, I’ll give you one more shot — I want to hear you CHEER!)

SALAD!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Nope, not going to work a second time either…)

😀

Look, I get it — Grumplepuss — you’re not a rabbit. Lettuce just isn’t your thing, and, well, I can dig that. I really can. But that’s not all I’m aiming to fix here. After all, this is a post for the poor. And the first thing that you’ll want to do if you’re in a rut — either mentally or monetarily — is elevate your mood. And nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, can accomplish this task as effectively nor as deliciously as a few raw plants from good ole’ mother nature.

This is about Vitamins. This is about Minerals. This is about overall wellbeing. For there might come a day where a window out of your rut will open up to you, but if you’re not mentally sharp or physically fit on that day you’ll miss your chance to escape the poverty prison altogether. And once you’re caught,  the Warden’s not gonna give you another spoon to dig with…

So I say, grab life by the cajhones, live on the edge, be Manly — and have a salad.

Your brain, your mood, and your shrinking pant size will all thank you.

Besides, and more to the point of the post — salads are cheap!

All this was bought for less than 12$, and fed me for a week!

Take a look at this picture, what do you see?

If only a bunch of “Yucky” green veggies, you’re missing the point.

Want to know what I see? I see reduced doctors visits. I see greater mental clarity. I see more energy. I see deliciousness (Just wait, it’s all about the dressing!). I see less frequent colds, and shorter durations when you catch them. I see health, wellbeing, and longevity — and also a FAR diminished chance of catching any major disease, such as, oh, gee, I don’t know…  cancer!

Plus less face it, if you’re poor, you can’t afford to be without any of the things listed above anyway…

So let’s get going!

What you’ll need:

~~~~ VEGGIES ~~~~

– Feel free to buy whatever you feel like, whatever’s calling out your name (Get Creative!), but what I have in the picture above I can vouch for, as it made the salad in the pictures below, and they are; (clockwise from 6′ Oclock) *Green Squash, *Jalapenos, *Spanish Onion, *Garlic, *Red Onion, *Red Leaf Lettuce, *Mushrooms, *Salad Tomatoes, *Limes and *Kirby Cucumbers. (*Note at least 2 Limes, 1 garlic clove, and 1 tomato are essential*)

~~~~ A KNIFE ~~~~

– No, not that piddly little butter-knife from your Draw. That’s not a knife… I mean a KNIFE — And a long, sharp one at that. The longer the better, as it will help you slice and dice that green-gang (not to be mistaken with gangrene) hastily into submission.

~~~~ TWO CONTAINERS ~~~~

– A-One for the money, A-Two for the show, A-Three to get ready, NOW GO… Er, um — no, that’s not right… One BIG BOWL, for the fixin’s, and one lil’ Bowl’ieta for the dressing. Which you’re going to make yourself. (don’t fret — I got you 😉 )

~~~~ ONE CUTTING BOARD ~~~~

– Not really much to say about this one. Pretty self-explanatory that. I do happen to prefer the plastic flexible type, but really ANY will suffice, heck I don’t care if you cut on your counter, but I better not get any calls about me getting sued cause you’re some slob who caught salmonella, off my recommendation and some maggot infested unsuitable surface! You know what, scratch that — sue me. I’m poor, so there’s not really much to take, and I figure a courthouse might proffer a nice change of scenery.

😉

And, well — that’s it, that’s what I’m looking for!

Now then, here we go!

Clean and chop

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the more beautiful aspects of serving a salad is that you really can’t mess it up. There’s no timing involved, there’s no cooking, barely any seasoning — really, all you’re responsible for is cleaning up and slicing down your raw and healthy goodness into submission. At first this process might take you a good twenty minutes, but never fear, after around four or five rounds of making them (or if you grab a hubby, wife or a child to help share in the fun chore), the meal can easily be concocted in 5 minutes flat.

I don’t mean to brag, but my best time’s around a, 4.23 — I know, I’m kinda a big deal…

Now, the first thing you’re going to want to do is strip off about five leaves of lettuce from your bunch. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE WASH THEM, (along with everything else), as oftentimes produce isn’t kept in the most sanitary of conditions before you kidnap them and take them home (It puts the dressing on its skin!). Once washed, stack atop each other, and cut into ribbons, as depicted below. There are other methods to cutting leaves, but i find that this style really holds on to the dressing well and helps your fork to easily latch on — while still fitting inside your mouth with ease and not making it feel as if your stuffing a live squid with flailing tentacles into your mouth.

I know you know what I’m talking about 😉

$15 bucks for a little biddy thing that I wind up wearing on my face!

No thank you!

About 1/4 inch strips

Drop this in the big bowl

Now comes the rest of your veg!

Today I’d used skinned mature Carrots (as opposed to baby – duh!),

What's up doc?

Mushrooms,

Dont worry about him, he's a fun-guy

Green Squash,

Judo CHOP!

 Red Onion,

No joke on this one, just a warning... Red onions have a kick! I like this. You however, might not.

And Cucumber.

Please resist the temptation to wear these on your eyes. Save that for another bloggers post...

Please take note of the way I curl my fingers AWAY from where the blade will be. In this way I cannot possibly cut myself, and can still use my fingers to “Squeeze” the veggies in place — leading to safety, level and even cutting, and the ability for me to still count to ten.

All glory to the Hypnotoad Dressing!

(Wow, wayyyy too much java this morning… but what can I say — It’s my favorite part!)

Store bought dressings might claim to be home-style, but they might as well call themselves homely — as there’s nothing comforting or attractive about the ingredient list on most of em’.

DITCH EM’

Instead, make your own!

Traditionally homemade vinaigrettes are a citrus (acid), some oil, some mustard, a pinch of salt and sugar, and a whisk — but how blase. The way I look at it, if we’re clever, we can infuse the remaining ingredients with a powerful punch, and add to the flavor of our entire meal at once. Plus its super easy!!!

Step 1: Halve, and then dice your tomato,

Dig in first with the tip of your blade, as the skin can be slick and hard to cut

Then drop it in the lil’ Bowl’ieta

Also at this point add a bit of salt, as it will help to draw out the oil in the tomato, I.E: the flavor

Next, do the same to your garlic and your Jalapeno

(DE-SEED IT, or REGRET IT!)

Jose' Jalapeno, sans stick

And now, time to prevent Scurvy!

The Lime

The best way to juice a lime is not what you might think. I picked up this little gem from Cooks Illustrated a few years back, and it’s DOUBLED the juice I’ve gotten from these delightful little fruits ever since.

First, cut into a square…

(I’m serious — look for yourself!)

That's one... now the other 3...

Keep going…

There ya go, Sparky!

Next, squeeze all 8 walls (yes, 8 — that’s four sides, times two limes, Archimedes…) into the Bowl’ieta atop the veg already in there, and then slice the bulk of lime into two halves, right down the middle, and squeeze that bad-boy in there as well.

(They put the lime in the coke-you-nut…)

Don't worry about squeezing too hard, Limes are known sadists -- they enjoy the pain.

Finally add to this about a teaspoon of sugar, a healthy pinch of salt, a teaspoon of mustard (optional), and about 1/4 cup of oil — though all of this is to taste! Lately I have used no mustard at all because it’s just plain ole’ kick ass on its own.

Then,

after mixing with a fork,

as counterintuitive as this might sound,

nuke it for 30 seconds.

🙂

This will help all the flavors and the oils intermingle, and will truly create a unique dressing full of health and wellbeing.

(~~~~ Sidenote ~~~~)

* For Carnivores *

As of this point everything we’ve done is vegan, though I am, much as you are, decidedly NOT a rabbit — so here’s a tip. Fry up some Bacon — that’s right, I said fry up some mother F-ing Bacon — and when it’s deliciously crispy, crumble it into oblivion. Take 1/2 and add it to the Bowl’ieta before nuking, and suddenly your dressing is infused with magical baconey goodness!!! The other half can be crumbled atop your culinary masterpiece, and coupled with blue cheese — if that’s your type of schinding (I know it’s mine). I also like to fry pasta crispy and add it in, or even chicken or egg salad as well. It’s all about keeping EVERYONE HAPPY, and 4 OZ of bacon across two people never hurt no one — I’m Juss Sayin’!

OK, once All that’s done

~~~~~~~~~~~~

You’re done.

Now, this is important. Before you eat: Go find another family member, or walk down the block to find a neighbor, or drive over to a buddy’s place, or fly out of state to visit a dear old friend — and ask for a pat on the back.

Have them then whisper softly into your ear, “Good Job” — and then get back home cause it’s time to eat!

If all’s gone according to plan, things should look something like this!

Kapow! And then THIS!!!

Then, that’s it — you’re done.

Poor or not, you are now in possession of something that anyone would desire: just about every vitamin in the alphabet, essential oils, handmade (pride inducing) dressing, and a meal that could (and should!), easily serve two of ya.

All sliding in at a plate cost of around $.75 per person!!!

Now, never again do I want to hear you, or anyone in your Fan-Damily, claim that, “they don’t eat anything green”, or, “salads are yucky”, or, “I don’t eat rabbit food”!

Wait. Scratch that. More for you.

Screw it, let them eat cake

~J

Hey there fellow Nutcases;

Genius and Insane time-travelers alike — traveling inexorably from the past to the future!

😉

Welcome back to the blog for the Deranged and Enlightened

A heads up:  Today we’re going to focus more-so on the Deranged and Insane’ie side of things, rather than the Enlightened, and Genius’ey side, (sorry you two, better luck next week…), as we attempt what some might tout as impossible — to delve deep into the mind, of a Psychopath.

🙂    So if that’s not your cup of tea, (but you keep reading anyhow), don’t say I didn’t warn you    🙂

😉

Now then,

The term itself, “Psychopath” is used loosely in society (all willie-nillie like), and is one that I’m sure you’ve heard often. Generally speaking we’re rather adept at identifying and steering clear of these societal parasites, because more often than not they stick out like Giant Horse-fly’s atop a freshly baked Coconut Creme Custard Pie.

(WTF? I have no idea where I got that analogy…)

Perhaps you’ll encounter them as they’re cutting you off in traffic — honking wildly and flipping you off, as if you’d been the one who’d made the mistake; or maybe you might stumble across a few while they’re throwing punches and starting an unruly mosh pit at your favorite concert — yet, you went to see Taylor Swift; you might even notice them at the edge of a child’s playground, watching furtively from the hatch of their big white van — waiting for just the right moment to offer some candy to a hapless little girl.

Yes indeed, each of these individuals would be marvelous human-meat potential nominees for candidacy to the heralded position of Psychopath, but today I’d like to make you all aware of the fact that most insidious Psychopath’s of all are not quite that easy to identify. The people I’m talking about have taken this “disorder” to new heights, as they are not easily spotted Grade “A” A-Holes, Ahem… Jerks, but rather; Charismatic, Intelligent, Witty, Wealthy, Affable and productive members of society — the ideal double agent.

Agent 00-Mittens here, I'm headed back to HQ. Make sure that the litter is clean and my milk-bowl is full upon my return -- shaken not stirred. Thanks, Money-Fuzzy.

So, how can you hope to ever know who you’re dealing with than?

How do you know who’s a Psychopath and who’s not?

Well… How about a definition?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Psychopathy: A personality disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deception.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there it is, and upon further examination I think that the whole lot can be summed up in merely three words of all its original prime constituents,

“A Lack of Empathy”

So now, Have you ever met someone like this?

I know I have…

STORY TIME!

That’s right kiddies! Grab your lunchables and your juice-boxes and meet me under that big ole’ colorful tarp, it’s Story Time.  I don’t think I’ve ever shared with you all the story of how I (barely) made it here to NYC…  Now this won’t be the whole story mind you, as it would be wholly off topic and wasteful of your precious little time — I’d hate to take you away from finger-painting those god-awful hand-turkeys you love SO much — but there is a relevant bit I would like to share, so here’s an excerpt…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was younger — as in, finishing up high-school with a Eminem’esque blonde streak running through my hair; and as in, I hadn’t yet required an entire pot of coffee to be half-way lucid, younger — I didn’t exactly have the most stellar driving record. It was bad luck really, I had 3 — COUNT EM 3! — Zero fault accidents, (meaning they were decidedly NOT MY FAULT), but still, given my insurance providers three strikes and you’re out policy (why people make policy based on baseball euphemisms I’ll never understand…) the costs of my insurance went through the roof! Like over 8-grand a year… OUCH!

Anyway, tuck that in the back of your mind

That's right... tuck it back there... deeeepppp back there...

So as you might expect this necessitated that I begin working at a young age, but working just one job wasn’t enough — oh no — I often had to keep up two, sometimes even three or more just to keep my chin up.

Fast forward now to the end of high school,

Where, unlike my peers, I had no idea what I’d wanted to do with my life. So, rather than going to some perfectly matched College that I had been courting for years, I instead went to the default local Community College, one coined as “13th grade” by my Ex-Classmates — and one which I didn’t take seriously for a second… I laughed, I cried, I partied (like it was 1999), I had a profitable relationship with a smokable product — and I nearly flunked out. I was subsequently warned by my parents that if didn’t straighten out that they would cut me off just as easily as Jacko did his nose, Yikes.

Being faced with the prospect of paying for school myself, I began a spiritual’esque journey to discover who I was — and soon found my love of Acting and the stage. I then spent the next two semesters cleaning up the mess I’d made, I.E. the 1.2 GPA, and working toward an Associates in acting — so that I could, hopefully after College, move west to NYC and begin my brand new life as Brad Pitt’s protegé. (What? A man can dream can’t he?)

I finally had a direction after all that mess,

I finally had a purpose to my life!

But I still had a big problem…

My car and all it’s costs were crippling me…

Here I found myself in a delicate situation. I needed to save money to move to NYC, my goal was $10,000, but I had those crazy high bills to pay — plus gas, going out (a tween requisite), food, other car expenses (The damn lemon kept having problems…) — not to mention everything else life had been throwing at me, too innumerous to mention! So, even though I finally had something in life which I cared about, and was willing to pursue at any cost, how in the hell could I ever do it?

It was then that I’d made a bold decision…

I sold the car, and took up riding a bicycle — and did it for 2 whole years to save up cash

NOTE: Drunken biking “Party hopping” across multiple towns is NOT advisable…

(but is occasionally rather fun, and always somewhat wavy)

Anyway, it was a hell of a sacrifice at that age for me, but I finally hit my marker of Ten Grand, and was now, finally, poised to move to the BIG city!

Right?

Right!

But what the heck did I know about life as an actor? Sure I’d been through a lot to earn that cash, but without a proper direction I would be going nowhere… I knew I needed to audition to land a gig — TV had taught me that — but a quick web search taught me that I first needed an Agent, who would then allot me the privilege of meeting a Casting Director; the ones who were actually auditioning people. So… I began looking up Agencies, thinking that this than must be the key to it all — and I quickly learned that none would take me on without a resume…

So, let me get this straight:

I need Credits to get Credits? But I can’t get Credits without Credits. And to have any, I needed to see a Casting Director, and I couldn’t meet with one of those without an Agent, and I wouldn’t be able to court an Agent without credits?

(And round, and round it goes…)

Well if that’s true, how do I EVER get credit numero Uno!?

Enter Agent X; the Psychopath

Well he looked trustworthy to me...

I found “Agent X” in a brief ad at the back of my local newspaper. Serendipitous I thought, as I never read much of anything at all back then — what were the odds? I had a few head-shots to show (thanks Mom), and, having sent over a few, and having harassed his secretary daily about if she’d received them, he soon agreed to meet with me!

Sweet right? (Just wait…) I was driven to his office, super excited for the meeting. I went inside. I sat down.

And the meeting began.

He started brusquely, claiming that, “his time was brief” as he had some important, “something-or-other” to attend to — typical fare for a Hollywood type I figured — so he started then firing off the bulleted information low-down in rapid succession. Something like this, (*Note* MUST be read with a Dick Tracy mobster accent),

“I’ve got connections, kid, see? Connections you need. Now, if you want my endorsement, you’ll join my website, see? I’m only giving you this opportunity cause I like ya, kid, see? Ya got the look, ya got the moxie, ya got a spark to ya. A spark I want, see? Now you do what you will, but remember, you’ll only get this one shot to see me, see? I only see potential clients once a year — Let me repeat that, kid, you look sorta-slow, see? ONCE A YEAR! And I cant guarantee I’ll see you next year either, been thinkin about Acapulco, see? Heard it’s nice this time of year. So, yea, that’s the deal…  see? Now the cost to join my upstanding operation here is non-negotiable, see? $2,600 smackers, (at which point I’d swallowed my gum in shock…), now, if you’re in, sign on the X here, and here, and here, initial here, draw a picture of a unicorn here, write down the name you’ve picked for your first-born here, and….. — that’s it, kid, we’re good! See? Now that’s the ticket, kid, you’re in. Now you’ve got it!”

Oh I got it alright…

I got it good…

Sure it had felt a little fishy, but I wasn’t worried — so far as I knew, I was more than covered by the fact that I’d paid in plastic. I had always heard that, regardless of the amount of times I’d signed my name, my credit card would back me up unwaveringly, so long as I cancelled the transaction within 48-hours — plus this guy seemed legit, I always imagined the industry to be full of movers and shakers like him, and if this is what I wanted from life, than I’d have to get used to it.

So I thought, “what the hay?”, and I signed, signed, signed, initialed, unicorned, and wrote the damn name, See?

What did I have to lose, right?

Wrong…

When I got home I immediately went to his site — super stoked to see what I’d bought — (which I couldn’t have looked at ahead of time as you needed an, “Industry” password to access it), and when I finally got there I realized — that it Suuuucked! I mean it sucked super Hardcore. Like one of those newfangled Dysons, sucked!

I IMMEDIATELY called my card to cancel the order, and they said that they saw the transaction, but couldn’t do anything about it unless I first tried to settle the issue with the merchant, as they were in business with him as well… Wonderful!.. So I called the merchant, Mr.X, and got the receptionist instead. “He’s out”, she said, “He’ll be back later”, she said, “Click” the phone said… Sigh.

And I did, I tried again…

And again, and again… And again — still no answer.

I seemed now to remember noticing a caller ID on her desk, and thinking it Odd that there was a handwritten list of names next to it…

I tried again… No answer.

I tried again… No answer…

Finally I called back my card, and they said they would put my dispute of the contract on file, and see what they could do. In the end though, it turned out that the contract was impregnable. Ironclad. Jotted on paper made of human flesh, written in a burnt script, and drawn with the tip of a trident that had been heated by the fires of Hades itself — for all I knew, this Mr.X person might have even been Satan himself (I couldn’t see under his desk to spy for his cloven hooves…).

But that was that.

I had worked hard for my money, arguably all through college and for two years on a bicycle, and what had it gotten me?

Boned.

This lovely metal chap was part of Mr.X's entorague

Meanwhile there was this Prick, Jerk, who had done nothing at all for me and had cheated his way through life, and what had it gotten him?

$2,600 smackers…

It was then that I knew that I had joined in a long, proud legacy of prestigious actors that had come before me,

I had been scammed.

And now had barely enough cash left to have a proper beginning to my life’s journey…

Think about it: Start with $10,000, subtract $1,200 monthly rent, plus last month: $1,200, plus security: $1,200, plus moving costs $300, plus this A-Hole Jerk and his scam, $2,600 — and all I was left with was: $3,500. And let me tell you, in a strange city; one month of acclimation is not the same as four. I was screwed. I had met an emotionless monster, and me, being who I was (and sadly no longer am) trusted him — which is precisely what had given him his power. This man had no remorse what-so-ever for what he had done, and, even though I called them EVERY DAY to destroy the contract, there was no simply way out.

1:100

Today, the number of psychopaths among us is growing faster than ever, and it currently stands at 1:100. One out of every hundred children born, now comes to existence without remorse. That is, if you accept that this is a disease…

In fact, it is not a disease.

It’s evolution

Evolutionary Biologists call it “Frequency Dependence” — basically, the rarer the trait, the more it pays off.

So in a society of trusting people, having one in a hundred psychos around is greatly beneficial to them, as they can scam and often not get caught.

In the past, when people’s psychopathic tendencies effected the whole of the group, we kicked their asses to the curb — Post Haste! — and then they starved because they relied on us! With negative social ramifications in place to defend us from being preyed upon by these psychopaths, not many could exist because it was a very poor lifestyle choice. These days though, people aren’t lumped into one big category — you know, like “PEOPLE” — there’s bankers, and cops, and TSA agents, and Politicians, and Executives, and Board members… and NONE OF THEM have to deal with negative societal ramifications for being emotionless. They’re emotionally isolated within their own groups… They support one another…

Nobody is, “Kicking them out”, nobody is even, “Chastising them“, nope — Instead, they thrive!

They’re praised even!

Today, we’re all lumped into isolated bubbles: Upper, middle, and lower class, and each finds it hard to associate or empathize with the other.

This needs to stop, but it’s the only protection that we have, particularly when success if marked by the highest stack of paper…

And it’s all thanks to Capitalism!

(Yay!…)

We all watched our parents struggle while growing up — some took shortcuts, and some lived on the straight and narrow. I happened to be born as a prodiginy to a straight and narrow type, but I knew plenty of the other type, as I’m sure you did as well. When you watch your parents be monetarily rewarded for cheating others, and when you watch them seemingly show no remorse for their behavior, the kin of that individual has less empathy than their parents, because that’s just the way the developing mind works as it’s forging the many truths which will make up the whole of that individual.

The really crazy part about all this comes to light when we think about what happens to these cheaters, who are really empathy-less Psychos — it’s not all that bad. Sure they’re fired (sometimes), and they get a slap on the wrist, but oftentimes they’ve done such a good job of tucking money in mason jars, under pillows, and in offshore accounts — not to mention the money they earn with the stolen cash before they’re caught — that their families become RICH as a result, or at the very least famous…

Whereas once we literally had given someone a death sentence for this behavior — today we reward them!

And it’s all only possible because of what money does.

My scammer saw a need in society and pretended to fill it, and he got rich for the effort.

He never got caught, he’s not in jail, and he scammed hundreds!

I, on the other hand, am broke.

I worked my ass off = Nothing (yet).

He Cheated = Win.

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Psychopathy and Capitalism: An atypical Love story without a happy ending…

Not coming soon, but already here!

And Playing in neighborhoods everywhere…

~J

Well, it’s just… This is all so sudden…

O. Em. Gee. I just HAVE to call my frenemy to rub this in her face. The COW!

Fellow creatives, I’ve been at this for a while.

😉

I write this blog, as you know, which I LOVE and wouldn’t trade for the world, and which has been up and running for about a year now. I pour my very heart and soul into the endeavor. I rake my brain throughout the week, eventually settle on the one issue that’s embracing my heart most tightly, and then well… I run with it.

~~ InSaNiTy EnSuEs ~~

This action is not endorsed by this Blog, nor any of its affiliates. Unless you trip. And film it. And send me the link. 😉

I’m never quite sure what’s going to happen next, and I love that.

Plus, let me tell you — you learn a lot as you write. Particularly writing as I do, being I’m so drawn to hotly debated ideas and topics which necessitate heavy reasearch (You wouldn’t believe the type of research I do at times… too much! Far too much…). But, in the end, it’s not only that I’ve learned about the world as I’ve written.

I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I don't get it. Hey baby, who's that other baby? Hey other Baby, what are you doing in there?

I’ve learned that I enjoy beauty and creativity in all it’s forms.

From Artists to Zombies, from the Brain to the Soul — I’ve learned that I’m fascinated by what makes people tick.

Especially those who create.

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~~

~

But…… Really…, what’s a guy got to show for it?

What, as some might have asked me (repeatedly and often), is the point?

How do you win?

What’s success?

Why? ~~ How? ~~ Who? ~~ What?

WHEN!?!?

When, you say?

Today — that’s when!

YAY, I win the internet! You can all go home now. Wait -- NO -- Finish the post. FINISH THE POST!!! (Crap, they've already gone...)

Life sure is funny…

Why, only yesterday I was going over my finances — all twenty-eight cents of them — and thought it would be a swell idea to make this weeks post a sequel to my “Guide to being poor” series. Being that I, myself, am… Let’s just call it, Monetarily Challenged at the moment. BUT, thanks to this blog, as I awoke this morning and checked my e-mail from bed, directly after considering cold canned-beans on toast for breakfast once more (SO GOOD!), I learned that I’m not poor. I’d won something.

I’m rich!

Well, not Monetarily Rich per-se, but, well — you get the picture.

This morning, deserved of praise or not, I was praised. Peter, “PL Holden”, of the always fun and interesting, Wish I Were There 24/7…, decided to pass his 7 & 7 award on to me — solidifying finally, beyond any shadow of doubt, that this Blog is officially, once and for all, more trustworthy and well versed than the entirety of the Prestigious Mensa organization.

Yep, that’s what it means!

Take my word.

Seriously…

Go on then, non-believer, try me!

Come-on! Just give me a puzzle!

Would somebody please hand me those scissors from up top?

So this is how it works:

The Rules;

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1- List your top posts (of all you’ve ever written) under the 7 categories below.

2- Pass the award on to 7 of your fellow bloggers and let them know you did so.

3- Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to his or her blog.

So now, without further ado, I’d like to give you my picks 😉

So not funny, dude...

Most Beautiful

Writing the end of your story – To me, who’s (lets face it) the only person I can really ask, written stories of redemption are beauty incarnate — and that’s what this was. I don’t often write about my own life, as so many others do, but here I did. It was raw, and I was low. I mean really low. Practically everything that could go awry, HAD gone awry with my life, and I’d felt helpless, like a ringside coach, who really needed the fight to go all 12 rounds, standing agog at the doings within the ring and ready to toss in the towel. But I’d made it out. I’d persevered. And, least I think, I’d portrayed the story rather well. Elements of pride, creativity, goals, failures, ambition and family had somehow all intertwined to magically coalesce to my salvation. Somehow… By the end, I’d been cheering for myself, and as someone who rarely enjoys his own work this was something. It was Beautiful.

Most Helpful

Happiness – What is Happiness? How do we get there? Can we live there forever? (Is this real life?) These are the questions I’d tackled in this post which expunged the common held belief that when you don’t feel perfect, something’s wrong. NO! That’s normal. It’s normal to feel inadequate from time to time. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need a change — something needs to be altered to regain your worth — and you need to derive this worth from within, or it’s false. Listen to the voice and don’t medicate it away, for if you heed it you’ll be happier for the effort alone.

Most Popular

My Top Ten Favorite Conspiracy Theories, #4 – The Kennedy assassination. This would be one of those examples of where I’d put in much more work than the requisites of casual blogging demand. But the Blog was fresh, I’d wanted a challenge, and this was the result — a new conspiracy theory EVERY DAY for ten days straight. Let me tell you, my Girlfriend loooooved me when I was writing these. Maybe that’s why she left to go back to Michigan and I’m single again. Huh, food for thought 🙂 .

Most Controversial

What are we? – Ahhh the crazy consumerist society we live in. Branding, branding, branding — That’s the game. From even before your actually born people all around you are thinking about how you’ll be perceived by the title you’ll be given. Ubiquitous throughout society, sure. But a good idea? This post strives to break the boundaries of limiting thought processes, with hopes to endow the people who’d read it with the ability to see things for what they are — not buzz-worthy catchphrases bearing the fruit of a better life for the trade of your very soul — but rather, just words. Silly words. Controversial, maybe; as I hold the world accountable. Helpful knowledge to have though, I think so.

Most Surprisingly Successful

TGR Part 4 “Thinking about Thinking” – At the onset of my “Great Reset” project, I’d known that I was tapering away from general appeal. However, as mentioned earlier, I always write what’s nearest to my heart. What a pleasant surprise then, to learn that one in the series had done well. Like very well. Like crazy well. Crazy like Charlie Sheen saying something not only intelligible, but wise, crazy. Like, NUTS!

Most Underrated

And so he ran, I, II and III – These three little guys came from the future, and didn’t get much attention in the present. I was shocked — and a little hurt. Here I’d wanted to try my hand at the short story format, and figured that I had so much thought invested into my book already that a short surrounding the origin of a character you otherwise wouldn’t have heard could be cool. Quantum even. Nope. Like nothing had ever happened. Go figure.

Most Prideworthy

My first post, Chicken Soup for the Deranged and Enlightened mind – This was the beginning of it all. I had written a book, and had no concept of “a platform”, so I began. And it quickly took on a life of its own. Before long — like half way through the first entry — the blog had the pitter-patter of a tangible heartbeat, and all at once it was a marketing tool no more. It was alive. And I couldn’t have been more proud. For all who didn’t know, the Blog was launched off one of my favorite quotes, “The only measurable difference between genius and insanity is in their degree of success.”; and so, hence, the Blog’s name was born, “Chicken Soup for the deranged and enlightened mind”, representing a place that either could call home.

🙂

~~~~~ ~~~~~

Thank you Peter. This was an unexpected surprise, which came at a time when I’d really needed it. I am honored.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

Now, finally, 7 other bloggers who deserve this prestigious award!

For many of you I’m sure this will come as a surprise. I follow many blogs, and don’t always leave comments, but I do love you all — collectively you’re hugely influential to me and it’s nice to be able to prove it — anddddd…. here’s the proof.

#1- Al @ SingleMaltMonkey — Ever caught one of those Dos Equis commercials? The ones with, “The most interesting man in the world”? Classic right? Well, THIS IS THE GUY!!! I never know what I’m in for when I drop on by this eclectic and lively place, actually today I was treated to a deeply soulful Cuban beat, but I always leave happy, having learned something about some place I’d never been, or having gleaned an insight about something I’d have never otherwise even had on my radar. What can i say, the guy’s unique, and he’s about as creative as they get. I once saw a hand-made guitar he’d made. Let me repeat this — the dude MAKES GUITARS! Like by hand! Who does that? Awesome people, that’s who. So — If you’re looking for something that’s always cool, fun, funny, and intriguing — this is where to go!

#2- Jackie @ The Jackie Blog — Jackie caught my attention when she’d once been Freshly pressed on WordPress’s homepage some time ago. I dropped in to read the story and leave a comment, and learned that she was a 365 challenge participant! Um — hello fellow nutcase. Not only that, but she had some sucker lollipop Tuesday dealieo’ going on where she’d try something previously, “new and scary” to her, EVERY TUESDAY! If I hadn’t gotten hopelessly hooked on the creative idea alone, I would’ve become hooked on the girls writing. A wry wit, a healthy dash of sarcasm and a daily dose of Jackie will always cure what ails you. Check her out! (Note: her year challenge is over. Hope for once a week now. Congrats girl.)

#3- Scott @ People-triggers — Insight into the human mind lever looked so good or read so well. Sure we’d like more from this sparing poster, but what we get is amazingly dense brain fodder that you can feast on for weeks. When I see this Poster has come up with something new to share I, A) Get nerd chills, Then, B) fumble over the keyboard because I cant get there quick enough. Want something interesting, other than what you find here 😉 — get over there!

#4- Miss Kitty in NYC @ Ive Never Seen My Roommate — This is no joke. This girl has been living in a place for over two months and, at least as I’m writing this, she’s never met her roommate — never even seen her.  This real life murder mystery (sans the murder) has really kept me on the edge of my chair, and, despite my avid assurances that we could grab a look at madam X with a deer trap or a camera rigged with a bit of trip-line floss, Miss kitty simply will not. She’s a trooper. She’ll be riding this out as far as it goes and I’ll be eating my popcorn as I go along for the ride. My bet’s on Jimmy Hoffa. He just wears the heels for the sound effect.

#5- Mikalee @ Me 2.0 — Sure she’s popular, for good reason too — this is funny ‘ish. If you like comical slices of life and occasional sailor like cussing, (and let’s be honest here, who the hell doesn’t?) than this place will feel about as good as warm apple pie. Not traditional pie though, too philistine that. More-like the Apple pie from the Movie, “American Pie” after Jason Biggs had his way with it. Yea, that’s what I’m talking about. Go Jim. Now than, where’s my whipped cream?

#6- Danny @ Times and Reason with Danny Dragone — This Man sees the world with two wide open eyes, and one wide open heart. He doesn’t shy away from the troubles of society, and he rarely blogs about the easy things in life — Danny hits hard with the old 1-2 of insight and truth. He’s been to Occupy Wall St., and has reported back with his findings. He follows closely to the news and, like myself, isn’t pleased with what he sees. Need to know about the world? Looking to deprogram someone who’s been brainwashed, possibly by our own media? Send em’ this way. Danny’s got you covered.

#7- Rayme @ A Clean Surface — Simple. Elegant. Organized. Sublime. This place is my Zen. Never a novel, like this place can be, but rather blissfully the opposite. “Less is more” would be a wonderful axiom to describe this place, but it’s a place beyond convention. It just is. And I like it that way.

Well, that about wraps this up doesn’t it? I like this idea. I like it a lot. Sure it’s a bit like a chain letter, and for those of you who don’t send it forward DON’T FORGET that Bill Gates will not be making a donation in your name — I’m just saying — but, anyway, it’s nice.

It gave me a chance to say thank you to you all for all the inspiration I’ve gotten.

So, as this is about as long-winded as I typically am, I guess I should wrap this up.

There, that should do it.

🙂

~J