Fat Mogul vs. Moving Day

When you read  this, I’ll be hard at work at putting all of my earthly belongings into the back of a big ol’ moving truck in order to take it all out the next day.

As I drove the moving truck to my house yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of every other time I’ve moved during my lifetime.

I’ve moved a lot.  By the age of 5, I was already in my third house.  There would be another 2 before I turned 14.  And then years of moving back and forth from school to home before moving out into my own place, a hotel where I spent the summer after I turned 18.  Then back to the dorms, then back home, back to the hotel for a while, before I finally got my first real apartment.

And on and on it goes.

Altogether, I count that I’ve lived in 14 different places, counting all my different dorm rooms as one.  If you count all the times I moved between places, as in taking all my stuff home for the summer, or back to school in the fall…well, I’ve moved a lot.

I used to consider myself a nomad, able to fit all my belongings into the back of a car in order to move whenever I may wish next.  And I was good at it.  I could pack everything up rather quickly.

But, for the past 9 years, I’ve lived in one place.  By far the longest I’ve lived in any single location.  And that ends today.

But tomorrow morning, all of my belongings will be out of this place I’ve called home for nearly a decade.  The only place my three children have ever called home.  The place where I’ve grown into a father.

I have this bittersweet feeling as I consider the next few days, the transition to the next place I’ll call home.  The place I intend to call home for at least the next 20 years, if not until I die.

The walls here are already empty, the cupboards are bare, and there are boxes everywhere.  The telltale signs of yet another move.

It’s funny to me.  Something which, at one point in my life, had felt so comfortable, now marks an irreversible change.  The death of an era.

 

For all the battles I’ve had with this house, it has been an important part of my family.  The front porch swing where the kids would sit and play for hours on a summer day.  The living room where we would create the world’s largest blanket forts during the extremely cold days of winter.

The place where my kids learned to walk, where they learned to talk, where they learned to run, jump, and tickle.

The place my wife and I have made into a home since we moved in as two crazy youngsters all those years ago.

It’s now someone else’s home.  Where they will make their own memories.  And the house we all grew up in, well, it just won’t quite look the same.

That’s not to say I’m not excited about what the future holds.  But there is a certain loss felt as we move from our family home.  It has been full of life for so long, and within a couple days, it will be empty.  Dark.

Just a house.

The new owner has all sorts of plans for the house, to update the exterior, to refinish the floors, replace the windows, and who knows what else.  When she gets done with it, I’m quite certain it won’t even look like the place we’ve called home anymore.

Of course, with the pictures down off the walls, it already doesn’t.

But tomorrow…tomorrow we take all that stuff out of the big ol’ moving truck and we load it up into the new house.  We try to figure out how to make our new house feel like a home.  Not our old home.  Nothing will ever feel quite like that.  Our new home.  Where new memories will be made.  New blanket forts.  New swings.  New experiences.

Home may be where the heart is…but sometimes the heart misses where home used to be.

Just a little.

And with that, folks, I announce that the next time you hear from me, I’ll officially be country folk.

I hope you like straw hats.

Fat Mogul vs. Small Town Life

Now, I’m not going to claim that my childhood home of Columbia, SC is a big city.  With a population of merely 133,000, it’s really not that much bigger than the population of my current city of Eau Claire, which stands at 67,000.  Of course, when you look at the metro areas of these two cities, Columbia sits at 800,000, whereas Eau Claire is only 161,000.

Of course, with all that being said, the two cities are fairly similar. I started putting together a list of similarities, but ultimately, the deal here is that they both have the basic amenities of city life, where the distance you have to drive to purchase items for daily living is the same distance you’ll drive for luxury items.

So, although my mind has always considered Eau Claire to be small town living, it really is still city life.  Our downtown area may be much smaller than the one in Columbia, our buildings may not touch the sky, but really, they’re mighty similar.

In the next month, I’m making the move to Colfax, WI, a town with a population of 1,158 as of 2010.  There is no metro area to consider.  If anything, this small little burb is probably included in the metro numbers for Eau Claire.  It’s tiny.

Our first day in town, I decided to run into the little downtown area (which runs about 3 blocks), to see if I could find any quick food.  I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that Subway has found its way there, but it was obvious the real fast food choice was the gas station fried chicken (which is what I ended up getting and it was glorious).  That same night we drove back into town to get pizza from the pizza place downtown (there’s only one other restaurant within a less than 10 minute drive for us…and I think only 2 more than that in less than a 30 minute drive).  The kids and I explored the public library while waiting for the pizza to be made and made friends with the librarians.

Later that night, I realized we needed an extension cord, so I ran back into town to see what might be available and learned that the same gas station with the good fried chicken serves as the local hardware store (thank goodness!).

Whereas, back in the city, where we spend the majority of our days yet, until we complete the sale on our house, we have multiple choices for pizza places, I’ve barely had a conversation with the librarians even though we’ve been there multiple times, and there are at least a handful of options for hardware stores, all not being purveyors of fuel for my vehicle.

Our neighbors are just close enough out there that if they were using binoculars, they may be able to tell that we’re naked, should we decide to go on a streaking party across our yard. Yet, I’ve already met a handful of them, compared to the months it took us to even strike up a standard “Hi!” with the people who can look into our windows without getting up from their couch inside their own home.  (To be fair, we did become close friends nearly immediately to the couple who lived across the street from us)

I’ve met Good Don, Bad Don, Duron “Don”, and Buck and we’ve only been there a couple days so far.  And you can tell who the other neighbors are because they do the slow roll past the house as they drive by, waiting for us to look so we can exchange friendly waves.

I’ve learned the history of the area, learned where the good fishing spots are, have been given free range over the giant corn field behind our land for tobogganing, told about the 14 point buck I should expect roaming my yard, and, well, you know, just been given butt loads of information, simply because my neighbors are actually excited to have us there.

And I think that’s the thing here.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found both of my primary previous hometowns to be incredibly friendly.  I remember being struck by how rude the folks out in LA were when we visited last fall (to be fair to you Southern California residents, we were hanging out primarily in touristy areas, so it’s probably not entirely you to blame), but never have I been so welcomed to a new home.

Our neighbor keeps pressing us to make sure to get his help when we decide to tear down the couple of outbuildings we need to tear down.  That’s just how close knit this community is, even though walking to the nearest house is more than a bit of a chore.

Now, I’ll admit, I’m a tad anxious about the concept of living in such a foreign style to what I’m accustomed to. The idea that I’ll have to take a forty minute drive if I want to see a movie in the theater is not exactly an exciting one.  Of course, considering how frequently I’ve been to the movies lately, and how we’ve already got plans drawn up for our own outdoor theater, that may be a bad example.

But, I’m still excited about this new adventure, and more than ready to get out there for real.  Just to be able to sit outside and see the stars without the light pollution getting in the way and hear the wildlife without the sounds of sirens getting in the way has already proven to be a spectacular experience.

And with Amazon offering free two day shipping for prime folks like us, who really needs a Target in driving distance, right?

Fat Mogul vs. The Farm

If you’re not already sick of how much I’ve been talking about my family’s new farm on here, I’ll make sure you will be soon.  This whole process has been consuming my life over the past month, and will have the high likelihood of doing so for the next few months as well (at least)…Although, I’m happy to note that I’m still moving forward on the writing projects I’ve been promising you as well.

However, I just have to take a moment to talk about my new farm specifically.

Because, you see, this is the culmination of a lifelong dream.  I’ve wanted to have a farm for as long as I can remember.  I know that the film Funny Farm had something to do with it.  Something about his dream of writing novels on his farm in the country spoke to me at a young age.  Maybe it was because the rest of the film was way over my head at the time and there was really only one thing for me to take from it.

I’m sure the fact that my grandfather had a farm in North Dakota may have played into it a bit as well.

Today marks one week since we signed the papers to give all our money away so we could get the keys to the 12.5 acres I’m still working on developing a good name for…we’ll call it Oster Acres for the time being.  Since then, we have spent only 2 nights there, but it’s already starting to feel like home.  Although…I’d really rather have my bed there, instead of the leaky air mattress.

Of course, the place has its share of issues.  We get nearly no cell service out there.  That means in order to call anyone, we have to walk to the edge of our property and pray that the weather is right for the radio waves to make it that far.  I got some devices from my cell service provider which should rectify the issue and spent way too much time trying to get them to work, to no avail.

We don’t have power to any of our out buildings.  Well, actually, the power runs out there, but isn’t connected.  They also have some mighty old breaker boxes which I’m guessing no real electrician will allow us to use.

The creek (as pictured) will need either a heckuva lot of manual labor to get cleared up, or a herd of goats (I’m obviously shooting for the goats).

And I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure out why the ice maker in the freezer isn’t making ice…I think I figured it out right before we had to leave for town last night.

It’s not perfect.  Of course, neither is the house we’ve lived in these past eight years.  The important thing is that it already feels like home.  And those things we weren’t so sure how we were going to do…they’re starting to develop inside the mind’s eye.  Things are falling into place and this crazy idea we’ve been mulling over for the last 10 years is finally a reality.  A terrifying reality where everything we know is at least a half hour away, but a reality nonetheless.

And looking out at the creek, especially when I put on my waders and started tromping along inside of it, I can picture an incredibly picturesque scene available once we put in the hard work to get it where we want it to be.

And most importantly, my kids are in love.  Luckily most of the area they would want to explore (right now) is all within viewing distance of the home, but just being able to be outside and run around and just be crazy, well, they’re really darn excited.

 

There’s a certain calm which washes over me when I drive up to Oster Acres (Haywire Estates?), even with the crazed excitement of my three little ones as they rush to try and break everything before I’ve even gotten a chance to figure out what it was.  That calm sits there even as I move the cell phone signal booster from corner to corner of the house looking for just one measly little bar of service.  The calm doesn’t even disappear as I think about all the effort I’ll have to put into removing all the barbed wire before my kids get caught in it (too late…).

That calm’s there because I know, before long, I’ll be sitting out on my land, possibly with a beer in hand, listening to the cheerful chirps of kids and animals, just knowing that I’ve finally made one of my dreams come true…even if it may have originated from a middling comedy starring Chevy Chase.

I’m pretty darn excited about my land.  And I’m incredibly excited about sitting down outside with my laptop in hand and getting a heckuva lot of writing done.  Because it wouldn’t be the Funny Farm unless I try and fail at writing, right?

Alright, I’m out of here.  Have fun out there!  I know I will…hopefully soon.

Fat Mogul vs. Real Estate

For the past month, every spare second of my life had been dedicated to one seemingly simple task…cleaning my house.

You see, around the same time, we found a farm about a half hour out of town which we absolutely fell in love with…and so we put in an offer and before you know it, we were buying a farm!  But, of course, that meant we needed to sell our current house, because we’re not Thurston and Eunice Howell.  And that meant we had to do something with the 8+ years of junk we’ve accumulated which was making our house look more like a hoarder’s paradise than, you know, something someone would actually want to buy.

Throw in a hefty amount of fixing the things I’ve been avoiding, painting, and, honestly, I have no clue what else I’ve been up to, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of how much I’ve exhausted myself over the prospect of putting our house up on the market looking as beautifully trussed up as possible so some one might, at some point, be willing to buy it.

And we succeeded!  Although there definitely would have been a few more things we would have liked to take care of, we completed all the things we had on our must-do list as well as a couple of the would-be-nice items, and even though we live in a house with two cats, a fish, and three small children, we left our house Monday morning feeling like it looked pretty darn nice, meaning all we had left to deal with was keeping things looking nice for the next few weeks as people trickled in to look at it and get an idea of whether or not they wanted to buy it.

And we left for our farm to spend a night at the new house while the market started its process.

Now, I’m going to preface the next part of the story by saying how we were fully aware that the market in our area is hot right now.  An old friend of mine called it “gentrification on steroids”.  We had heard stories about the houses being sold in record times.  We had heard about the people who couldn’t get a house in the area because they were just moving too quickly.

But, considering our house was on the market for a year and a half before we bought it, we just assumed we might take a little longer than these other anecdotal properties.

I had warned my boss that I may be working from my van from time to time since working in my home office is generally frowned upon during showings.

We had prepared to hunker down and clean constantly to keep things in as pristine of a condition as we could when living with the zoo we live with.

Instead, I spent all day trying to find cell service on our new property long enough to respond to the text requests for showings happening within hours of listing.  My wife at one point went back to town to pick up the kids from school and grab a couple necessities from the house, only to have to make sure to fit it in the brief period between people who wanted to poke in every corner and inspect every knot in the wood.

And before we went to sleep that night (I’m not entirely certain when due to the aforementioned lack of cell service), we had an offer.

Now, I don’t want to get in to all the gory details of what happened from that point on, as the real estate game is one filled with hard decisions between making sure your sale has the highest chance of going through verses getting all the money you can verses whatever other games might be played between agents and buyers and sellers.  It’s ugly…I hope to never be there again.

But, the bottom line is that a process we expected to take weeks took less than 36 hours.  And now we have a date we have to be out of this house by and, you know, a new person getting excited about moving into the house my kids have grown up in.

But we have a farm…and I’m so eager to talk about that.

But that’ll be next week.

Book Release: Paws & Claws – A Cake & Quill Anthology

This weekend was mighty busy…and the next few posts are going to cover quite a lot of what has kept this space quiet for the past week…but before I get into that, I need to take a minute to focus on the incredibly awesome thing which happened this weekend which I’ve been too busy to even share at all.

I have a new book out!

Okay, well, to be fair, it’s a book written by a ton of authors and my contribution is but a portion of the short stories included, but Paws & Claws, Cake & Quill’s animal-themed short story anthology dropped on April 1st (no ‘foolin”) and I couldn’t be more excited about it…unfortunately I’ve just been a little more excited about everything else going on that I completely forgot to tell you all.

Now, the question on all your minds is obvious:  Why should I buy this book?

I get that you might be concerned that this book is only somewhat written by me.  I do.  I mean, who wants a book only written in part by their favorite author when they can get any of six whole books written entirely by him?

And the answer is simple.  There are some amazing authors our there who don’t have the initials AO…and a great number of them just so happen to be a part of the Cake and Quill Collective.

And to be completely honest here, I absolutely love this book.  Like every anthology ever put together, there are pieces which will work for you and pieces which won’t, but overall, this is a spectacular collection of stories to keep you wanting to read more from each and every one of these word artists.

Before I finish my sales pitch, I’m just going to throw out there that my story just so happens to be something of a murder mystery, which just so happens to take place on a farm, which just so happens to be part of the excitement which has been occurring in my very real personal life…but more to come on that soon.

For now, read Cake & Quill’s Paws and Claws to learn about how eating grass can affect sheep’s ability to process information.

Buy it now!

Fat Mogul vs. Exhaustion

The past month has been quite wild around the Oster household.  As mentioned last week, we bought a farm pretty much immediately after I started up my new job.  This means  that the comfort which came from starting to work from home again, was joined with the absolute utter insanity which is trying to get a house ready to be moved and sold at the same time as adjusted to a new employer.

In other words, the past month has been quite literally exhausting.

But we’re seeing the light…at least for our current house.  We close on the new house soon and won’t be actually moving there until the kids get out of school, and our current house is about to go up on the market for sale, which means that we’re nearly done with all the major prep work so the pictures look amazing and will just be down to the complete deep cleaning necessary before each and every showing….so, you know…better.

What this means is that by the time I get into my bed every night, my body is quite thoroughly exhausted…but my brain is still awake…and I’ve been thinking up some brand new adventures I want to write about…although I’m looking toward possibly utilizing some different avenues for printing them.  One of which is to put a regular space on here for one of the stories, where it would work something like a serialized novel.

And so that’s the real reason I’m here today, folks.  Although I’m hard at work on Agora Files – Part III, and getting really excited about where this story is taking me (we’re already past the 10,000 word mark, meaning I’m approximately a seventh of the way through the first draft), I’m also looking at trying to get some new fiction into your hands more quickly.

So, what do you think?  Would you be interested in seeing an ongoing story published here on the site?  Maybe I should do it all old-school Choose Your Own Adventure style…that could be interesting 🙂

In short…I’m tired and don’t have much for real content for today, but wanted to keep a regular posting schedule going, so here’s my excuse for it:  a lame attempt at telling you about what I might be up to.

Have fun out there!

Fat Mogul vs. My Old Wife

Now, I don’t want to come off as being a jerk of a husband or anything, but my wife is old.

I mean, sure, she may be five years younger than me and everything, but, still…she’s old.

Look, here’s the thing…it’s her birthday today and everything, and I may have been too busy to plan any sort of crazy rager to celebrate how she’s now officially sitting in the ranks of the old people like you and me.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to acknowledge that she has, indeed, gotten older.

Like way old.

And so, because of her absolute and utter infatuation with the oddly popular ginger-headed man, I figured there was only one possible way to celebrate her special day…with this amazingly special video.

Now, if you want to help make her day special, I suggest you contact her in whatever way you know how and send her as much Ed Sheeran love as you possibly can.

And make sure to tell her you love her and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 

On a more serious note, although she is, in fact, getting older, as we all do, I absolutely love my wife and how she’s still able to enjoy the world like a youngin’ by doing things like exploring the world with me and our kids, while also enjoying a good ol’ monkey pile now and again.

So, Happy Birthday, Gretchen!  Here’s to a billion more!

 

America v Equality

The concepts of America and Freedom are deeply entwined.  We were founded on the ideal of freedom.  Most of the early settlers came to this land for freedom.  America proudly calls itself the “land of the free!”

And interestingly enough, one of the things most battled about in our political spectrum of today revolves around exactly what that means.

I remember growing up in the church and being told about how America was founded on the principal of religious freedom.

We would look back to folks like the Pilgrims, who sought freedom from a religious dictatorship.  They chose the harsh landscape of America over their comfortable civilized lives because they just couldn’t handle living under the Church of England any longer.

This says a lot for what it means to wish for freedom. These folks moved away from everything they ever knew or loved, with the highest probability of never seeing them again, simply because they did not feel like they were being allowed to be true to themselves.

Unfortunately, if you pay attention to what they did once they arrived on the shores of the New World, it’s pretty easy to see how they weren’t really as interested in freedom as they might have proclaimed.  Many of the Northeast settlements became incredibly exclusionary religious territories almost immediately.

A fantastic example of this is the tale of the development of the state of Rhode Island.  I won’t take too much time by delving into specifics, but Roger Williams was kicked out of Massachusetts because of his religious views.  He, then, founded Providence as a space of religious freedom.

Of course, that freedom wasn’t as simple as saying “All are welcome”, as was evident when a battle ensued between the colonists of Rhode Island and Anne Hutchinson and her followers, causing a further division in Rhode Island which brought about a new settlement calling itself Newport.

These are drastic oversimplifications of the events which unfurled in the early history of Rhode Island, but the simple point to be made here is that although the Puritans came around looking to be free from the CoE, they didn’t really think that the folks they lived with should believe anything different than themselves.

And more often than not, they would kick the heretics out of the colony.

This concept of a required agreement of faith is something which, unfortunately, lives on in America today…

“Freedom for me doesn’t necessarily mean freedom for you” is probably something which defines America more than anything else.  America, the land of the free, might actually require an addendum of “as long as we agree”.

Which is where the concept of equality comes in.  Interestingly enough, the statement of “all men are created equal” appears quite early on in our declaration of independence, the statement we sent to the King of England to show how we were separating and how we were different.

But the reality of equality wouldn’t come until much later.

We called ourselves the land of the free while we owned people.  We literally owned people.  They were our possessions.  The bill of rights which were for all people, didn’t apply to these folks because they were material goods.

The absolute opposite of free.  And definitely not a description of equality.

Looking at our interactions with the folks who were already living here, the Native Americans, you’ll see freedom was definitely far from our minds for ALL people.  You know, what with the whole treating them as wild animals who were invading our territory, when we were burning down their homes and moving them from the land we wished to have.

Now, today, we look at those things, and most of us will admit they were mighty terrible things to do (at least most of us).  We try not to own people anymore, although sex trafficking is quite overwhelmingly in place today.  We generally recognize that taking someone’s property by force, no matter their heritage, is a big no no…you know, unless you ignore things like how America got recent states like Hawaii…

Actually, come to think of it, even recent history shows that we, as a nation, are fairly terrible at recognizing the equality of man.

It’s been less than a lifetime ago since black and white men were allowed to go to the same school.

I don’t think I should even need to go any farther than that to show how America just hasn’t quite figured out this freedom thing.  It’s only been 63 years since segregation was outlawed.  That’s hardly enough time to state that we’ve washed our hands of the whole being unfair to our equal brothers and sisters.  That’s, of course, completely ignoring everything else we’ve gotten up to since then.

Until we’re all free, we’re not truly the land of the free.  We’re the land of the oppressors.  We’re no better than the folks we were running from.  It’s just that this time, we’re on the top, right?  We’re the ones who own the land and the women and the money.

I’ve struggled for quite some time with the concept of American freedom.  That’s saying quite a lot for me, a 30 something white male in the Midwest.  I am one of the free.

I remember first learning about the McCarthy period of American politics.  Where people were sent to jail simply because we were pretty sure they were Communists, or at least Communist sympathizers.

What the hell, America?

In my head, even at a young age, I remember trying to piece together the concepts of McCarthyism and American Freedom, and thinking, how?

How is that free?

How is that any different than the Church of England telling you what you had to believe?  I mean, I suppose we’re not told precisely what we must believe.  We’re given a list to choose from.

We speak of religious freedom, but that appears, on the whole, to be talking about something different than I believe was the original intention.  Today it means that you have every right to be Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, or heck, we’ll even let you be a Jehovah’s Witness…but Muslim, Marxist, atheist?…

Our country was founded, in a large part, by people who wanted to be free to believe what they believed.  By people who didn’t want their government to tell them what to believe, but wanted to be allowed to follow their heart and mind and soul.

Today people are being kicked out of this country because they believe differently than those in power.  (Okay, maybe they aren’t being kicked out as much as they are being shoved away at the door…)

How is that American Freedom?

Now, I get it…well, to some extent anyways.  When you’re talking about Communists in the 50s or Muslims in the 10s, you’re talking about people who prescribe to a system of thought held by those we perceive to be the enemy.  Stalin was a Communist.  Osama was a Muslim.  But does that make all Communists or Muslims bad?

Hitler was a Lutheran.  Mussolini was a Catholic.

Oh, and believe me, I know how the next response goes.  Hitler wasn’t a real Christian, he just used it to–

No.  Just no.  That’s the exact same thing your Muslim brothers and sisters are saying about those who are attacking our country.

In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the only group you’d be able to find completely blameless on this entire planet would be something like the Mormons.  As long as you’re willing to ignore the subset of Mormons who have slave wives under the age of consent…

 

Now, I’ll admit.  Freedom does have to have its limitations.  That’s why our country has laws.  The basic premise, “Do no harm.”

If what you believe causes you to do things which will hurt or otherwise lessen the experience of life of your fellow man, then it’s not allowed.  It’s no good.  Don’t do it.

And in those cases, you know, where your faith causes you to bomb buildings, or shoot up churches, or oppress other people, well, yeah, it shouldn’t be allowed.

But if your faith, if  your understanding of how this world works, merely causes you face a certain direction when you pray, or allows you to be in love with a person of the same gender, or, heck, causes you to feel as those your genitals don’t match what’s in your heart…how?  How can we call ourselves free if people aren’t allow to be who they believe themselves to be?

But that’s the real problem with American Freedom.  It’s that Americans use politics as a form of evangelism.  When the discussions were in place regarding whether it should still be illegal for people to get divorced, or to have sex outside of marriage, or for black people and white people to drink from the same water fountains, time and again, the Bible was used as a discussion topic to sway the vote.

We put burning crosses on the lawns of black people, folks. It wasn’t a lower case t.  Not an upper case one either.  Crosses.  Multiple.  Multiple multiples.

So, here’s my point for today…the moral of this post I’ve been long debating putting on here.

We need to stop being so damned selfish with our politics.  And no, I’m not talking about how you need to become a socialist who believes in sharing everything, no matter the amount of effort put in.  That’s not the point here.

This is about the separation of church and state.

Growing up in the church, I heard that statement a lot.  I understood it to be a message of how the state needs to stop telling the church what to do.  And I firmly believe that’s how a great deal of Americans perceive that message to read.

But it needs to go both ways.  The church needs to get itself out of the state as well.

For America to be free, all Americans must be equal.  All religions must be equal.  Everyone must be allowed to hold in their heart of hearts what they know to be true, no matter how true you may perceive it to be.

But this requires a great deal of selflessness on those who are currently free.  When women were finally allowed the right to vote, the power of each man’s vote was instantly cut in half (well, now accounting for how the vote didn’t exactly come about for all women at the same time).  When black and white kids were allowed to go to the same schools, that meant the money which was being allocated unequally between white and black schools, suddenly had to apply to both races, meaning the white kids were getting, effectively, a lessor education.

That’s the real fear here, isn’t it?

I mean, outside of the fear that we apparently have that our local Muslims who are setting up their pizza party are actually plotting a method in which to destroy our local schools.  The real fear is that by giving freedom to others, we are somehow losing our own freedoms.

That’s why we fought so hard to keep gay marriage from happening, right?  Because then…actually…no, I don’t have a good one for this one outside of just straight up religious bullying.  I mean, I guess it’s because we were afraid God would destroy us like he did Sodom and Gomorrah…but…I mean, considering how rape-y that whole thing was, don’t you think we should be a bit more concerned about rapists than we are?

Besides, God allowed Lot and his family to live because they followed Him.  Surely you would believe God would do the same for you, wouldn’t you?

I digress.

The point is, we need to stop being so worried about allowing other people to have the same rights as us.  We need to stop being so concerned that every single other person on this planet means to do us harm.

The reality of it is: oppressing others is what causes them to mean us harm.

That’s what causes things like the French Revolution, where all of us jerks who kept back the cake got our heads chopped off.

America is built on freedom.  And freedom, by its very definition, requires that we’re all free.  Otherwise we’re as free as all the people of feudal England…in that, the monarchy was free to do as they wished, as well as the nobility, although not quite as much…and then the rest of the country had to follow the whims of those in power.

That’s right, America.  You’re no better than limey old England (of the 1700’s).

Cheers!

 

 

Fat Mogul vs. 2016

I’ve already written two posts with the same title already…that’s just how much of a year 2016 really was.

I’ve already talked about how I’ve declared 2017 to be a year of rebirth for myself, a year where I make sure everything which didn’t work about 2016 doesn’t happen again.

But to be completely honest, I feel a little bad about bashing on 2016 so much.  Sure, it started out by snatching a job out of my hands, forcing a mad scramble to find new employment which led to nearly a year of feeling out of place until I found something new.  Yeah, we got a new President who seems to be the key in splitting this country further and further apart.  Yes, we lost such amazing cultural icons as David Bowie, Prince, and Carrie Fisher.  We also lost two of our beloved family pets.  And yes, I may have suffered from one of my greatest bouts of depression in remembered history…but there was so much good stuff that happened too.

And so…I aim to take a moment to focus on some of the good that happened to me and my family during the course of 2016.  Just to show how much better I expect 2017 to be.

  1.  My wife and I took a trip sans-kids to Ireland and the U.K. (and I really want to go back…)
  2. My wife, kids, and I took a trip to L.A. and learned that although the smog is real, so is the Wizarding World.
  3. We added two new family pets to our family, Flash and Iris, the two craziest cats in town.
  4. My daughter performed in her first musical, The Wizard of Oz.
  5. Went Christmas caroling for the first time in 20 years.
  6. Sent out an early beta edition of my children’s book to kids across the country and got overwhelmingly positive response (including a bunch of the most adorable letters from a classroom who read the book…who I then had a fantastic Q&A session with).
  7. “Ran” my first 5K.
  8. Tried haggis and am absolutely in love.
  9. Watched some great friends get married.
  10. Became an uncle yet again.
  11. We finally got a dishwasher.
  12. Batman v Superman was awesome, don’t let anyone tell you differently.
  13. Started a blog with my kids (which fell by the wayside due to the busy nature of 2016, but is on the schedule to come back very very soon).

Look, the list could actually go on for quite some time.  I only made it back to June in my Facebook review of the year, meaning there’s still a half of a year (outside of the items I remembered off the top of my head) to look through for reminders.

But 2017 is going to be far superior.

That’s a promise to you, but mostly to me.

Have fun out there!

 

Fat Mogul vs. The Agora Files Soundtrack

One of the things people like to talk to me most about my books is the music inside the pages of The Agora Files.  I have one reader turned friend who likes to reference the earworms the book placed in her head throughout the book.

Those who read Part II definitely noticed the lack of music throughout.  As I’ve mentioned before, this was a necessary move for the purposes of the story, but all the same, disappointing.  Even to me.

A couple weeks ago I put the first words to electronic paper for Part III, but before I could do that, I decided to sit down and piece together a soundtrack for the book.  Tracks will change and more will be added as the series moves forward, but one of the most important things for me with this book was to not only bring back the music, but to make sure the emphasis was even more on the music, because of how heavily it will play into the theme of the entire series.

And while I was searching, my biggest focus was on what song I would most like to open with.  A big dilemma, obviously.  Whereas Part I could start out low key with something as simple as Low Rider, Book III needed to start out hard and fast and fun, while also matching the theme I was developing (a theme I’m not going to disclose,as it could tend to serve as something of a spoiler).

And then in my perusal of all songs ever, I happened upon one which just seeing the name for put a smile on my face and happy curse words of acknowledgement that there really was only one possible song with which to open this series.

And I’m so excited about it that I decided today was the day where I just needed to share it with you.

So, without further word making…the opening of Agora Files – Part III.  Enjoy the earworm

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