Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

Archive for the month “October, 2016”

The Infamous Halloween Blizzard of 1991

25 years ago was the Halloween blizzard.

My son and I were invited to a birthday party for one of my friend’s kids, and when I got off of work at Shinder’s, I picked him up at daycare and we got on the freeway. Then, the snow hit. We were stuck in traffic for over two hours, and while it was a long time to wait, the way home was just as long, and I decided that since we were already out in it, we might as well finish. He was in his beloved Spider-Man pajamas, and we listened to the radio as we sat in traffic.

When we got there, there were no other children because, well, they were smart and stayed home. This was my son’s first Halloween where he was old enough to understand trick or treating, so we went door to door (which was going to be part of the party) and loaded up, walking through streets and sidewalks covered in snow.

We got a LOAD of candy and came back, had cake and warmed up, and listened to the news to see when the roads had cleared up a bit, and we drove back, and I dropped him off at his mother’s.

Once I got home, I was stuck. The next morning, I tried to dig my way out, and in trying to move the car, the transmission dropped. It was a crappy little Chevette, and I was always having transmission trouble in my memory, but the good thing was that when I called work to tell them I wouldn’t be in, they said they weren’t opening the suburban stores. Since the car wouldn’t be fixed until that Monday (the tow truck made it to my place late Friday night), I was set to be home for the next few days.

However, the group home I worked at was snowed in, and the staff who was working that weekend had actually been snowed in since Thursday night…and he called Saturday, begging me to come in and work. I stated I couldn’t due to being snowed in and having no car, and he offered to drive to my house and pick me up if I would take over the shift….so, a few hours later, the van with all of the residents and the staff showed up at my6 house and brought me in to work.

The group home was in a bad way as well, since the fridge had died, so the food for the Refrigerator was in the bathtub in the staff office, with snow keeping it cold, and the freezer food was kept outside to stay frozen until a repairman could show on Monday. The residents were bored out of their minds, so there were lots of arguments and chaos….it was just not a good shift at all.

But, I made I through, paid for the car repair, and life got back to normal. However…the next year, mid-October, my son told me, “I can’t wait for the first snow!”

“Why is that?”

“Because that’s when you go to people’s houses and get candy.”

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Quote from last night’s Walking Dead

I’m sorry. For whatever bad you’ve been through. There’s so much of it out there now, you know? Too much. Out there, it feels like it’s all bad. Especially when you’re alone.

The thing is, though? It’s not all bad. It can’t be. It isn’t. Life isn’t. When there’s life there’s hope, heroism, grace, and love. When there’s life, there’s life.

Exactly.  And not just for that world, but for ours.

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Some more details on “Nice vs Kind”

Nice is a social construct. Doing what society expects to either curry favor or maintain societal norms. Nice people do things for people and then tell you all about it, much like how Donald Trump goes on and on and on about how much he gives to charity or when he hugs the flag at a rally. Or how a man opens a door for a woman and kinda forgets to do it for a man or a child. Or a woman who asks someone about themselves when they first meet, but soon never asks that same person about how they are doing. It is transactional, and meant to get something.

 

Kind is internal and doesn’t give a damn about what other people think as long as it leads to a easing of a burden or helps someone or something. Kind is cleaning up a break room when you find it a mess when no one is around. Kind is opening the door for the person behind you no matter who it is. Kind is making sure that you don’t put food that an animal would want in garbage that would be sitting outside for a few days waiting for the trash pick up causing danger for that animal, and instead just leaving it beside the dustbin so it can be eaten safely. Kind is loving everyone, no matter what, and doing it without notice. Kind is internal and is its own reward.

 

I doubt anyone knows what charities I give to, other than when I mention “Hey, you should give to these folks, they do good work.” When I have the option, I choose careers where I am helping people, because I feel that if you have to work to earn money, you should do it in a way that helps, or at least does no harm.

 

When I help someone and they ask what I want out of it, I understand that they are used to the transaction nature of “Niceness”, and I usually make a joke of it by saying that owe me a burrito. I rarely press the issue and people rarely buy me the burrito. And that’s fine. I can afford all the burritos I want now that I am working nearly constantly.

 

That’s why I say you’ve got to love EVERYBODY. Nice people love those who give them things. Kind people love everyone, even those who hate them.

 

I am nowhere near perfect. This does not come easily or instinctually to me for whatever reason, and it didn’t start in me until I decided I had to learn how to love UNCONDITIONALLY. It’s not religion, it’s not spirituality, it’s not philosophy.

 

It’s a choice. Every day. To look at the world through the eyes of love instead of the yes of fear. Nice people fear that if they aren’t nice, things will be taken from them. Kind people don’t care what is taken because they have themselves and with that, they have an infinite capability to give. Nice people look for a return on an investment. Kind people don’t think of the future and instead what they can do to make things better now.

 

I have a solid tribe that reminds me to be kind by showing me that kindness. They are the examples I try to live up to and kind people remind me of what a right bastard I used to be.

 

Much love to friends old and new and I hope you can see me living up to the creed of The Invisibles: I am fighting for a world where everyone gets what they want. Even our enemies.

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Walking Dead Season 7 Opener notes

A note to the people who are complaining that last night’s Walking Dead was too brutal, isn’t “fun” any more, etc…

Sorry. You’re wrong. The show isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s not a roller coaster with happy endings and keeping your hands inside the car. It’s horror, and horror is supposed to be disturbing.

-The show became safe for you. This is how it works, there are periods of relative calm where our protagonists are in control and times where they are not. Have you forgotten the death of Hershel? Beth? How about the deaths of Jessie and Sam?

-It’s a show with zombies. You know, the living dead that eat human beings?

-Horror means anyone can die at any time

-Most importantly: This was about breaking Rick. I know WE think they are the good guys, but they broke into Negan’s place and killed a number of his people while they were sleeping without provocation. Would Rick have done the same thing if someone did that to his people? Didn’t he slaughter everyone in Terminus? He came up against a larger, more powerful force and they had to show that they were in control now.

This also opens up bigger questions about morality – is torture permissible? How do you treat people during times of war? Did Negan do anything that countries have done? (And a bonus question, is what Negan did comparable to what the US did in WWII in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Dresden?)

Art makes you think. This was not “torture porn.” This was art, and some art is disturbing.

It’s supposed to be.

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Political expressions

What a week.  A presidential candidate who says proof he doesn’t grope women is that they aren’t pretty enough for him, Russian hackers feeding information to a Bond villain holed up in an embassy, wars intensifying with no moral choices, violent attacks on political rivals, rising anger on all sides and people working themselves past exhaustion to make a better life for their children.

It makes you want to unplug from humanity and wait for it all to be over, but when it’s over there will be a series of new challenges and crises demanding our attention and feeding our fears.

All we can do is our best.  Tell people in your life you love them.  Celebrate other people’s small and large victories.  Forgive those who have hurt you knowingly or unknowingly.  Help someone in a way that doesn’t benefit you.  You can’t save the whole world, but you can help the world around you, and that’s enough.  YOU are enough.  You can always change your life, every minute of every day.

Much love to friends old and new, and I hope someone shows you one of these kindnesses today.

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Quote for today

Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds…Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up….

But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.

If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, “I love you,” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need.- Don Miguel Ruiz

Much love to friends old and new and I hope you are able to not take it personally.

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Today’s Stanley Kubrick quote

The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. But if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

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