mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
 So I'm sitting in a Starfucks. Had the day off because of heavy cloud cover (I wouldn't have been able to work at highway speeds). Looking out the big bay windows and I spot a biker standing in front of the grocery store across the parking lot. He's clearly bought his dinner at the grocery store and is eating it while hovering over his scooter.

It's a very solitary thing, and I can feel it in my bones.

He's watching others who come and go (they're all ignoring him completely).  It may seem cliche, but there's something about the scene that makes me think of a wolf standing over its kill. He's just going about his business. The rest of the world is irrelevant.

As much as I bitch about being lonely these days, I miss that particular kind of loneliness. Maybe it's just the motorcycle. It's probably just the motorcycle. But I always enjoyed that sensation when riding. This is the the pause to fuel me. I fueled the bike already, but before I head towards The Next Place, I need to eat.

I remember laughing at people on the inside. They're all drones. They won't be getting on a motorcycle in the next few minutes and riding. Poor bastards.

It may seem funny coming from me - doing what I do - but I miss that particular kind of freedom.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
tl;dr: "I'm right and your wrong - Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!"
(Hint: no, that's not it at all.)

You took the time to summarize your thoughts in an effort to put this to bed. Please allow me to show the same kindness.

BINARY VS REALITY
I get frustrated with binary (polarizing) and inflammatory language. Saying that one side 'hates' another or 'wants to force them' positions them as the bad guys before even getting to the details.

And let me be clear - all sides do it. 'My' side included.

(I think) I know why. I get it. I think it's primarily three elements:

1. Everyone wants to be on the side of the angels. We want to believe that what we believe is Right and Good. Even when it's not. It's far easier to frame your opponent as the Bad Guy and go from there. The hard work is really in looking at ones self and (more importantly, imho) the facts in order to pull each situation apart. Once you've pulled them apart, you can start to see patterns. Once you see those patterns, you can decide a course of action for the future.

But that's an awful lot of work. People, in general, don't like to do that kind of work.

To make things worse, when we do _some_ of that work, we get exhausted and we think we've reached that point of "I see the patterns! I can stop doing all that work!" when in reality, that's just the beginning.

2. It makes things simple. "I don't agree with X, so clearly, it MUST be Y." Again - easy over difficult.

We humans are complex creatures, and (I think) also very simple. We _like_ easy. You only have to look at our Amazon.coms (hello delivery to my door), our Starbucks (sure - I'll pay $5 for a cup of coffee I don't have to slaaaaave over a coffee pot for), and out smart phones to see that.

So once we've invested the time, emotion, and effort to have an opinion on something, it's nearly impossible to get us to change that opinion. There have been plenty of peer reviewed studies that prove this. I'm happy to look them up if someone wants them, but right now? I want easy. ;P

Binary is simple. It's easy. But in my experience, it's very seldom, if ever, reality. Reality tends to fall on a spectrum. Shades of grey, if you prefer.

But that's way too difficult to 'prove' in any tangible way. That's hard.

3. There's this perception that 'no one every got anything done by being nice'. It's easy to see why this perception came about, but it's very very VERY untrue.

All of our advances in science. Cooking. Art. Culture in general. Heck - most of the political advancements in the past two decades or more!

Those aren't the things that spring to mind though. We _remember_ the big blow outs because of all the drama associated with them. So when we think 'how did we get here' - we remember the drama. And drama? That's easy to create when we use binary and inflammatory language.

And we LIKE easy...

OKAY - SO...?
I point this out because I'm seeing a lot of this binary/polarizing in this (as with previous) conversations. Everyone is a victim and their opponent is a the devil.

That makes the battle ground easy and clear.

But easy and clear isn't real.

WHERE I STAND
*Despite what I seem to have communicated up to this point, I agree with you that the Church should have every right to set rules regarding how its members conduct themselves. I feel that's the right (obligation?) of every organization.

*I believe we humans are VERY fallible.

I believe that someone other than the girl in question (parents, friends, videographer) knew that she was going to do something to antagonize the Church. It only makes sense. I believe that they are as 'at fault' as she is for breaking these rules of this organization.

I believe that the church members involved in unplugging (visiting minister, etc.) are just as fallible. Especially if he's a visiting guy, of COURSE he's going to feel more touchy about uncomfortable subjects during open mic night. Just like anyone, he wouldn't want people talking about all the bad stuff that he 'let happen on his watch'. Again - very natural and human. No villain here.

*We all have the 'perfect' vision of hind sight.

It's easy for all of us to look at this situation and judge it from the safety of our offices / homes / etc. We weren't there.

But I don't know that it matters. It's important that we discuss major events to go back to that difficult work of deciding how we feel about things, and understanding our own path forward.

*Here's how I imagine things played out:
1. A teenager felt oppressed by a large group because of how she feels. This is not a new thing. Nor was her 'acting out'. And lastly, the response of members of that large group also - not a new thing.

2. That girl decided that she had a way to 'rebel'. It was not an appropriate place to do it. That's part of the rebellion.

3. A normal human being - who has a job to do - responded in the way he felt was appropriate to that rebellion. He did no physical harm, and he stopped the rebellion.

4. People chose sides.

5. Chaos ensues.

I'm being a little bit funny here, but that's pretty close to how I see it.

Everyone goes for that knee-jerk reaction. That "how do I feel right now and without thinking about this too much?" sensation.

I applaud you for being willing to discuss it.

MEA CULPA
Or, 'another version of how I saw the events in question'.

1. A little girl has a not-wise idea to rebel against a group she wants to be part of, but feels persecuted by.

2. She rebels in an inappropriate fashion. (Is there an appropriate way to rebel?)

3. A grown man quiets her. This has probably happened before with others and will certainly happen again with others.

4. A video goes out which I actually become aware of (unlike all the other instances before / after that I'm NOT aware of).

5. In a flash, I see a grown man bullying a small child. For those unaware (Ian already is) I have a history with bullying which may make me a bit more touchy on the subject.

6. I was actually in the process of cooling down on the topic when you posted saying "Actually, the people involved in cutting the mic were right because ALL THE REASONS..." which, to me, and only at first, sounds like "Actually, the bully was right because HOW DARE SHE?!"

Of course 5 and 6 are inaccurate. They're emotion based and non reasonable. They're binary.

NOW THAT I'VE COOLED DOWN
Here's where I fall now that I've calmed down and am thinking a little more clearly.

1. The church does have a history. As a group made up of fallible humans, not all of it is good. Where it has historically stood on gay humans is, I feel, one of those areas. I understand that those who are of the faithful feel that there is an infallible deity behind some/many/all of these positions and therefor those positions are infallible. I can't argue that. I only know that I don't believe in said deity, so I have to deal with the humans who believe in him/her/it/they/we.

2. A little girl rebelled. It was inappropriate. I have a little bit of a rebel still in my chest. Mostly, Life has silenced him, but he's still there. A little. And he likes this girl.

3. A man did his job as he saw best. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt given his chosen profession and assume that it was in order to continue that conversation somewhere more appropriate as he / the church saw fit.

4. The video is released and people start pointing fingers and crying villain. Of course, in our hyper caricaturized world of YouTube etc everything is EXXXTREME. The minister is Satan. The child is a saint. OR The child is wildly inappropriate and the minister could have done nothing else! As I personally see it? The kid was rebelling. The minister did his job.

5. But (and you knew this was coming) there's a bigger picture. The kid is rebelling for a reason. She's part of a persecuted crowd. That persecution has taken many forms, and not allowing her to speak typifies that. It's not a wildly terrible act, but it IS an example of the exact thing she is rebelling against. So the minister, while only doing his job, proves her point.

6. There ARE systems in place that persecute many. These systems are large and complicated. That makes them very hard to see clearly. These systems are parts of even larger systems - many of which are things many people believe in dearly. Government, business, and yes, even religion has many large and complicated sub components which persecute. These sub components have evolved over many years because the folks who are in positions of power constructed them. I don't believe that (in most cases) those people had villainous intent. They wanted to keep things civilized. They wanted to benefit people. But as fallible humans, they didn't think about the people who didn't look, think, talk, walk, or act as they do. As our society continues to evolve, grow, and mature, we are becoming aware of these sub-components and their damaging nature. We are beginning to see the ways in which they hurt others. We are waking up. It is the duty of every oppressed person to rebel against these systems in order to help both themselves and those who, like them, are oppressed. It is the duty of every aware person in a position of power to aid them in that rebellion.

7. In many ways, this single event is unimportant. In the ways that it took courage for a 12 year old girl to stand up in front of a crowd of people she cares about and confess something she felt they would dislike about her, it means everything. It's a small event to those who are the status quo. It's a huge event to those trying to rebel. And then there is us. Outside the situation for the most part. We both have emotional ties in one direction or the other, but I strongly suspect that we don't feel as intensely about it as she does.

8. I guess, in the end, I could bring it back to a binary situation. I'll do this because apparently there 'needs' to be a right or a wrong here. In truth, I do feel like there's a wrong - it's just that it's a fairly minor one. I feel like he WAS wrong to disconnect her mic. He's not evil or malicious. He was just doing what he thought was appropriate. She wanted to rebel. I'm fairly sure of that, thanks to the video. That's inappropriate. Rebellion always is. Because the people in power decide what's appropriate. So in the end? I'm siding with the little girl, if we have to take sides.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
 So this morning I'm in Odessa, TX. I looked through Google's "Where the locals eat" section (side note: holy hell do I LOVE that function). Found a place called French Press Cafe.

It's pretty much exactly what you think it is. LOTS of white paint on everything. Frilly decorations. Think one part tea room, one part French cafe (or at least the American image of what that is), and dainty... everything.

I got the quiche.

I feel pretty much like a cro magnon man who has been handed an iPhone.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
 So I did a little clean up and repair to my profile page over here to make sure things are pointing in the right direction. Let me know if there's anything you notice that's missing, or would make things any better. :)
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (nanowrimo)
Patch
I think I consumed too much coffee today.
I'm all over the place.

So I think I'll post this here and think about it for a while, get some feedback, and come back to it later.

Anyway - here's what I'm currently thinking about (well, one of the things I'm thinking about in a steady stream of rapid/random thoughts and ideas):

In addition to my paid illustration work and the free portraits that I've been doing, I think that this year I want to take part in both Inktober and NaNoWriMo. The one would feed into the other.

I want to work out an outline for a Patch story I've got floating in my head - specifically how a young Patch becomes a vigilante and choses to continue down that path as a means of releasing the Beast while reducing the damage that causes to innocents. I would work out that outline in the next week or so.

That, in turn, would give me a list of locations and characters in the book. Which I could then draw for Inktober.

Then, I could write the book in November as part of NaNoWriMo. As I'm writing, I would post to dragonbones.net and it would be available for everyone to read - in its alpha form. Then, if I'm smart and still have enough drive/sanity left, I could edit in December and be ready to publish (likely self published) in January.

Yeah, it sounds crazy ambitious to me too.

It sounds downright naive, in fact.

I still wanna do it.
mrlich: (fantasy artist)
For a long time, I've wanted to have a simplified web presence. Trying to tell folks where to find me online has become problematic.

"Oh, you'd like to see my artwork? Go here. My blog? Oh, that's over here. Yeah, I'm on facebook, but not on snapchat. Etc. etc. etc."

The answer, of course, is a single site to point to everything. A while back, I picked up mrlich.com. I have to say that I was kinda surprised that such a short url was available which made it even better. I couldn't really use something like mattlichtenwalner.com because then I would have to go through spelling Lichtenwalner every time. MrLich. It's unusual enough that I can usually get it for my userid on most sites, so a lot of folks already think of me that way - like a good nickname.

Anyway, I settled on a WordPress install - which is kinda overkill given what the site is, but I really like the theme that I'm using and it works great as a simple menu. Now, I'm just working on the images that are used in the menu.

Check it out. Let me know what you think.
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