Life Experiences

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Life experiences make us who we are (or influence it). Here's a few stories from my past that made me who I am, or at least influenced it or reflected it.

Everyone is biased, I'm open about mine, so that people can decide if I'm right in spite of them, or where I go wrong (if they disagree). It started in 5th grade when I learned early that the School textbooks and teachers were indoctrinating me with lies (spin). The Italian part of my family was dominant, and that was the normal operating behavior: believe your own lies (self delusion), and repeat them to others until they believe them too (it didn't help that many were in sales). Then I noticed it in movies, TV, books, and Newspapers. The more I looked into everything I was being told, sold or cajoled on, the more bullshit and bias I became aware of. So cynical skepticism (distrust of what I'm told) was ingrained early, often, and imperfect skepticism served me well in most topics I dived into.
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My early pot experience was stealing my neighbors brothers stash (age 10) and trying to smoke it using toilet paper as papers. That ended about as poorly as one would expect. A couple years later, we stumbled upon a growers field. We stole pounds of the stuff, and the whole neighborhood of teens and pre-teens was baked for the entire summer. Most kids enjoyed the buzz, but didn't need it, and went back to life once the free supply ran out. We lost at least one to the stoner-for-life career track, as it appeared to derail any aspirations he had in life.
I did a soccer camp in the summer of '77, had a good time, made friends.
After 4 weeks in the Sierra's "camping" now means no room service.
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Like any other 14 year old kid, I had sewn a holster-pocket into my L.A. Dodgers wind-breaker to carry my suppressed (silenced) pistol, and a game bag, so I could hunt rabbit/quail/squirrel in Griffith Park / Hollywood Hills. A large predator guy was following me, but I kept ditching him on the trails. Then, while stalking up on a bunny, he approached me and said, "You want some excitement". I never found out whether he meant sex or drugs, as the bunny popped his head up at the voice, and I drew my gun and dropped the bunny with a muffled pop and a bunny death-scream, and the guy ran off. I had switched from prey to predator in one impotence-inducing instant, and that perv wanted nothing to do with that (or me). There is no way to know how far the guy would have gone had the teen not been armed, but I'd like to think he stopped approaching kids in the park after that. The rabbit was delicious.
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The first time I was hit by a car was when I was 14, and riding along in the bike lane when BANG! I saw stars and was rolling in the dirt and gravel along the side of the road. After I tumbled and skidded to a halt I saw the pickup, with those extended tow-mirror that had hit me in the back of the head. I had lumps and a headache for days. The guy never stopped, I think he did it on purpose.
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The first body I ever found was in 10th grade. I was in Water Polo as an "after school sport", which is ironic since I had to show up by 6:30am to work out before school. A girl was frozen staring at some guy, who had decided that a wall at our school was the perfect place to blow his brains out and make wall art. No note (that I saw). She and others were freaked out. I just gave directions until the cops arrived and took over.
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The 3rd time I got him by a car, was in 9th grade (15), and I was riding against traffic, so "I could see it coming". I got hit from behind, again -- riding against traffic. A lady had seen kids playing the yard, so swerved into the oncoming lane to steer clear, and hadn't seen or expected me. I got hit hard, almost pinned under the car, nothing broke... but got a limp and a totaled bike.
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The second time I was hit by a car, an under-age (for driving) friend suggested we drive down to the creek and get baked. Using my best 15 year old judgement, I said "sure". Everything was fine, until we got home, and I got out of the rear door of the station wagon. We live on a slight hill, and he wasn't holding the brake, so proceeded to slowly drive over my left leg. Fortunately, it didn't break my left, but it did some damage and hurt like hell for a while.
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Being bitten by a black widow spider was not fun. I'd gone frogging, and then later had these muscle spasms, puking, and writhing in pain. My Mom said, "Food poisoning, next time don't eat frogs", and left me for a party. I spent the evening curled up in cramping pain, until I passed out. Later while retelling the story to a Marine/Friend, he laughed and explained that's what a black widow does, as he'd gotten envenomated as well. That explains why it was like no food poisoning I've had before or since: avoid it, if possible. You probably won't die, but it's no fun at all.
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While hunting in the woods where I grew up (rural Orange County). I heard some screaming altercation, and when I investigated, a guy had torn the top off a struggling woman and was progressing towards rape, when I said in my outdoor voice, "is there a problem here?!" He saw the rifle, and decided that it was time for him to leave the scene. I gave her my jacket, drove her to a gas station, and that was that. When seconds count, the police are often 20 minutes away.
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After a trifecta of getting hit by a car, I figured I'd burned out my bad Karma (pun intended). And while my luck held for a year or three, it ran out. Crossing a driveway (entrance/exit) to a strip mall, the driver saw me, then got distracted and sped up and hit me, I face-to-face for a millisecond before he slammed on the brakes and launched me into traffic. Gee thanks. With a little luck and artful dodging, I wasn't too banged up, and the idiot driver had sped off to never be seen from again. Besides a bent wiper, I hope I left some nice scratches across his hood.
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My Nose Job (rhinoplasty) was because as a kid I tried to climb a cinderblock-wall, with a loose block at the top, that flattened my nose, and guaranteed I was a mouth breather. I eventually got that fixed, which involved discount plastic surgery, drugs, sexual harassment, and no real regrets
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I don't know why I am sharing this, but I invited a friend to go for a burger, then had to clarify it meant "just a burger". He was OK with that, but a little perplexed at the added clarification. What else would it mean? So I told my story...
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Yes, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. Twice. To me, it was no big deal. I just wanted to experience freefall, and enjoyed flying. I didn't think of it as very dare-devilish, though some others do. I had statistics on my side, but gravity and physics was working for the opposition. Then I met a Hustler Honey, and wanted to jump again.
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Ferrets are cute, inquisitive and illegal in California (like everything else). This one came up to me and adopted me.
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There I was, minding my own business, when I see a body fall by my window, and make a slightly wet but very loud, "smack" against the street like Gallagher mallet'ing a side of beef. Well that's not something you see/hear every day.

I went down, and talked to the cops, who asked, "did she yell". And to my reply of "nope", they responded, "Good. That means a jumper... if she'd been pushed, she'd have screamed the whole way down". And that ended the investigation into the meeting of the homeless person and the sidewalk.
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I saw a kid looking in car windows at the condo-complex where I lived. As there had been breaks-ins, I decided to investigate. It turns out 4 of them had just broken into a VW Jetta, and while they didn't leave at first sighting me (one had a knife or tool to remove stereos), they rethought playing tough and coming towards me when my gun came out (and the safety came off). I considered a citizens arrest, but I didn't want to have to kill idiot kids just because they might have been stupid enough to move on me, so shoo'ing them off was, "good enough". After that, all the car break-ins were on the other side of the complex.
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My wife has a broken heart; and no I don't mean that I stepped on it, left her, or hurt her feelings; though I'm sure I've hurt her feelings a few times. No, literally her heart isn't quite right, or even close to right -- and it effects all of us.
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On top of discovering two suicides myself (Mr. Volcano Head and Third Point Systems Jumper), I count two more by proxy. My parents were socialites living in the U.K., when one of their neighbors went from their dinner party to his Garage, where he started his car, and killed himself. Then they moved back to the states, and the neighbor girl directly across the street decided to hang herself in the garage. While my Mom's company can be a bit of an acquired taste, that's kind of an extreme reaction, and a bit of an outlier. Sincerely, most people that met her have not felt the need to end it all immediately afterwards.
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Jared, Dena and somber Holidays. Another Holiday season is upon us. And if you're at all like me, you're looking forward with both dread and anticipation at visiting family. The soon to be bitter-sweet memories of both sharing time, remembering past and present experiences, and having that past crammed down your throat with old issues and buttons that our relatives know only too well how to push, and seem to enjoy pushing them. I'm looking forward to visiting relatives a little more than some of the past; despite having further to travel than normal.
Back in April 2010, I went to the Tea Party Rally in San Jose out of curiosity (it was a 1 block walk from work). There were a couple loons, but about 1/10th as many as I'm used to at rally's. Most were middle aged (or older) folks that were bipartisan fiscal conservatives - but both social liberals or conservatives (this is cali). The ones I talked to, got a lot more about economics than the majority of the bay area. (I like economics, and asked some probing questions). The media spun the story by finding the one guy that had some racist T-shirt or placard and interviewing him and pretending he was the norm. They first had to get him away from the folks with signs that said, "he's not with us"... and they ignored that the guy was a long time Democrat operative, and being a sock-puppet (a plant to make the opposition look bad).
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Lights, Camera, Action: the joy of endoscopies.Sometimes you've got to wonder who thought up the idea of making a prehensiled marital aid, and probing people's orifices with it; or what their true motivation was. I had the pleasure of taking it from both ends; not at the same time, thank goodness. These are my stories; the names have been kept the same to incriminate the guilty.
Growing up, I was a dark kid -- I looked much more middle-eastern than I do as an adult. Today people think I'm white, but back then when kids attacked me they'd call me a little camel jockey, sand-nigger, or stuff like that. This was a bit ironic since the rest of my family was blonde. When people would look at us together and give me a lingering look, I'd joke, \"I look like the mailman\" and they'd laugh and laugh, and my Mom would scowl. I said it because it always got the double-good reaction (entertaining others at my Mom's expense).
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An ivory tower is a place β€” or an atmosphere β€” where people are happily cut off from the rest of the world in favor of their own pursuits, disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. Colleges and Universities once stood for education and learning, a place you went to learn things, be assessed on what you know, and share information with other people who were knowledgeable in your area of interest or expertise. But more and more the concepts of "ivory tower" and out of touch educators, is combining with a mire of bureaucratic hoops and over-powering any goals of "higher learning" or balanced assessment of knowledge.
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These are some stories from my life experiences going to school (starting in the 1970's). I have a real problem with education in America, as I've been a victim of it. Not only as a child but also as an adult. I've worked for educational software companies like Jostens Learning and later PowerSchool; as well as going to various schools as a trainer, consultant or observer. I also taught Martial Arts for a couple decades which means I was working with many more kids than most. So I've seen education from a few different perspectives.
Everything I know about sex in one article: in <-> out | repeat if necessary. Finished.

Actually, this is more just about articles that have a topic about sex. And maybe there's some pearls of wisdom in there... or if not, I'm just the grain of sand that irritates the oyster into making a pearl (to borrow a quote from Ross Perot).