Monday, August 02, 2010

My brother is awesome.

My brother ends 29 years of Naval Service - 4 years USNA, 25 USN.

Kickass support crew.

Slideshow of Victory.

Reading the retirement orders.

One of many certificates/plaques/awards this fine day.

Wife and kids awarded for years of faithful assistance and help.

My brother gave one of the most heartfelt, touching and awesome speeches I've ever heard.  I was immensely proud of him and really honored to have been able to have been there.

Pomp and ceremony.

Table o' gifts.

Observations - group prayer, propaganda, stress, family. Or, why I'm wired weird.

Random observations of the day, mostly brought about from attending my brother's Navy retirement ceremony...  and yet more evidence that things people take for granted or get downright enthused about strikes me as wacky.

I'm at the point now, increasingly disaffected by religion and having spent the last five years in Japan, that even the simplest "Let us all bow our heads and pray" thingamabob at events strikes me as extremely creepy and cult-y.  Weird chant-y, repetitive non-thinking & made of nuttiness.  Amen.

Military does the best propaganda.  You just have to admire it for the sense of effectiveness.  I found myself being moved and influenced on one level even while at the same time thinking on another level "Wow, this is just kind of idolatrous, chest-thumping, American exceptionalism nonsense."

All stress is self imposed.  There's weird drama w/my family, and having removed myself from it - mostly - these last five years by living overseas, this was the first time I've been back in it in awhile.  Prior to, my stomach was in knots and I felt like I was walking a fine edge where if the wrong person said the wrong thing I'd blow up and lose my mind.  Luckily, nothing untowards happened and parties who needed to stay apart stayed apart.  Like Twain said "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened."

Lastly, family is just a word. Doesn't necessarily mean anything. Good people are good people, assholes are assholes, irrespective of blood or genetics.

This bit of writing by Joe Rogan remains the most cogent thing about family I've read - In the middle of an unusual life… The Joe Rogan Experience:
"Family? That’s a tricky one.

When your family is cool, it’s very nice.

I’m very fortunate, in that I’m very close to my family, and that they’re all very cool.

When we get together there’s never any drama, and always a lot of laughs. It’s never something I dread, and always something I look forward to. But you know what? If it sucked, I would cut them off like cancer.

I can’t even count the number of times when I’ve heard stories from friends about their fucked up families and all the bullshit they have to deal with when they go see them, and when you ask them why they put up with it, what do they always say? "It’s my family, and I have to deal with it."

I say the same thing every time: "Fuck that shit."

Family is just a bunch of people living together, and just because some asshole decided to shoot a load into the woman that gave birth to you, it doesn’t mean he gets to own you, and fuck with your life until he’s dead. Just because you share genetics with someone, it doesn’t mean they HAVE to be in your life.

I know so many people that tolerate things shit from their "family" that they would never let their friends get away with, and you know what? Your family would never treat their friends that way either, because their friends would leave them. You see, that’s the beauty of torturing the family; they’re not supposed to leave. You can yell at them, tell them they’re ruining and wasting their lives, say mean personal shit that you know will cut deep… and come Thanksgiving, those dumb motherfuckers will show up again, willingly.

They’ll know it’s gonna suck, but they’ll show up anyway. They have to, it’s "family."

Do you have any idea how fucking dumb that is?

Life is to be lived. It’s to be enjoyed and to be laughed at, and anyone or anything that gets in the way of that should be removed. I don’t care if that means a creepy uncle, or a shitty job, the only way to happiness is to remove yourself from things you don’t like and go after the things you do."

Max is great.

Sandy knows what I'm talking about.

Creativity + Guilt = Win.

"If you don't sin, Jesus died for nothing."

What happens when you apply logic to religion.

Having to put back on all these old persona suits is... wearying at times.