The Art of Giving Shit - Page Two

[ This entry originated » here. ]

» A Fatherly Profession of Unconditional Support

It may be worth mentioning here .. how I was working at a nuclear plant in sunny southern California. As a regular ol' knuckle-dragging tech. And loving every minute of it.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station | Southern California

When the big boss called. And asked me to stop by his office after I got off work. Where he presented me with a position.

I was trying to get him to articulate the scope and the parameters of my duties and responsibilities in this new position.

Because I had held similar positions at other nuclear plants (.. being the Certified Fresh Rad Whore that I was).

And because this was a new position that had never before existed. So there was no preexisting pattern for me to work from.

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These positions typically pay only a little extra, but you end up working three times harder. I obviously wasnt doing it for the money, but rather for the experience. (Tho in this particular position, they actually paid me well.)

He was basically wanting me to help a certain general foreman with the scheduling of a few hundred people .. because this is no easy task .. which you certainly know if you have ever tried to do such a thing.

I'm talking about round-the-clock scheduling, coverage for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With everybody working twelve hours a day, six days a week. For months at a time.

Rock-n-roll, nuclear style .. which means without violating any of the federal hours-worked guidelines.

These guys were (mostly) total studs. You simply point them in the right direction and they would get busy, getting at it and taking care of business.

» Organizational Skills & Establishing Priorities

He was looking for some administrative and organizational skills .. which I seem to have a knack for.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)

You can perhaps glean some insights into my organizational skills by observing the way that I organize my writing. I can feel these same organizational skills coming into play.

You particularly need good organizational skills when complexity starts growing.

In some areas, I want to be more strict .. while in other areas, I aim for a more free-form approach. But you always want to strike the proper balance between the two.

Because you get into trouble if you are either too strict or too lenient. This is why you need to determine what is important, and where you can let things slide.

This is exactly why that scene in the movie Fury with Brad Pitt spoke to me. He was letting some things slide, while holding the line tight on other things.

He was letting the not-so-important things slide, while he was firmly holding the line on the important things. That is exactly the mechanics of this thing .. this management thing .. that I am trying to describe.

» With a Little Help from My Friends

[ I ended up taking that position much further than I had ever imagined .. with a little help from my friends, of course.

After a year or two, they were letting me do whatever I wanted.

"Keep doing what you're doing," one of my bosses told me. "If you fuck up, I'll let you know."

» The Art of Working Behind the Scenes

Tho, as a contractor, you need to work behind the scenes, to a degree. And you need to work with and through other people.

The type of person who needs to be seen and receive recognition for their achievements .. such a person would not thrive in this environment .. in such a position. ]

But as I walked out of his office that day .. heading out to my car parked way out in the parking lot .. the thing that I was thinking about was how he had said,

"I'll back you right, wrong, or indifferent. If we have a problem, then we will talk about it privately."

» Sometimes You Dont Even Know What You're Missing Until You Finally Get It

See .. this guy is my dad's age. He has a son who is my age. And this thing that he said, this is what every son wants to hear his dad say.

But my dad never said this to me. I cant tell you the number of times that I felt like my dad was trying to trick-fuck me.

Perhaps he reasoned that I would learn the ways of the world from his trying to trick-fuck me (his own son).

You can bet your ass that I learned things from this trick-fucking. But I can guarantee you that they are not the things that dad might have imagined .. if indeed that was his objective.

» Beyond Disappointment

It is a sad thing for a son to see the shortcomings and limitations of his dad. The term 'disappointing' does not quite capture this sense of disappointment.

But I never really recognized that this was something that I longed for with my own father .. until I actually received such unconditional support from this father-figure.

Sometimes you dont even know what you are missing and lacking and longing for .. until you actually get it.

» How I Wished for Something Like this with My Own Dad

I remember thinking, "How I wished for something like this this with my own dad." .. this feeling of him having my back .. instead of making such a big deal out of every little fuck-up.

"Why does my dad celebrate my failures and ignore my successes?" I often wondered. The answer to that question, my friend, is not pretty. Not hardly. Au contraire.

It was a similar thing with my judge-friend .. where I thought, "What I could have accomplished with a dad like this."

Instead of somebody who seemed to enjoy tying my shoelaces together. Not always .. but far too often for any kind of comfort.

So I have tried long-n-hard with my own son .. in a million different ways .. to convey this sense of unconditional support.

» What's the Alternative?

There is more than three years time between when this photo here was taken and the ones you see of him climbing out of his crib on this page. Yet it is obvious that the sparkle remains the same, no?

That sparkle comes with lots of hard work. But what is the alternative?

» We Won't Tell Mom

Remind me to tell you about the time he said, "We won't tell mom." .. when he wanted that can of Red Bull. That's a good story.

He just looked and said it so convincingly. I totally believed him. How deceiving looks can be.

» Watch My Generation do What People Say We Can't

Oh .. look at Casey here during the 2017 Oscars (Feb 26), saying that the people of his generation have a similar reaction when they are told that they cant do things.

Watch my generation do what people say we cant

I bet that Casey used to climbed out of his crib, too. "Watch me."

Scripture instructs the believer to be a non-conformist. What are the "patterns of this world" that the believer is not supposed to conform to? (Take your time with that one.)

Mark Twain says that not many people can resist conforming to the dictates of society

You know the deal. So does Ralph Waldo. But such non-conformity is not easy.

What a great face Casey has. That's a face that means business. (Hi Casey.) I think that these Samsung people are feeling me.

Oh, look .. here he is with a follow-up (Mar 7, 2017). That thing is trending like a motherfucker.

Do What You Can't

"And we are the fucking iceberg." That's poetry. How can you not love this guy?

» Not Humanly Possible

Speaking of doing what people say we cant .. girly, this thing that I am writing here .. this thing that I am writing to you, for you, with you, on you ..

.. this third millennium love-letter of sorts .. this erotic, dangerous, hyper-linked love letter .. this quantumly-entangled, mutually-creative DNA-type of thing .. it » cannot be done. No, ma'am.

Go ahead and ask people who really know writing .. and they will all tell you the same thing .. that it cannot be done. It's simply not humanly possible.

I know that you must regularly be staring off far away into deep space .. with a dazed and confused look on your face, saying, "How does he do that?" Nearly every night.

I hear this kind of thing a lot, you know.

[ Girly, something about you .. {pause for effect} .. strokes my ego in an irresistible way.

When something strokes you in such a way .. that feels so good .. well, I probably should let you finish this sentence yourself. ]

» Making the Humanly-Impossible Look Easy

Speaking of doing things that are not humanly possible .. not to mention dangerous .. here is a photo of Alex Honnold (31) who just completed the first-ever free-solo ascent of El Capitan (a 3,000-foot vertical wall of granite) in Yosemite on June 3, 2017.

Alex Honnold (31) first ever free solo ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite June 3, 2017

The word 'free' in the term 'free-solo' means » without ropes.

While climbing 'without ropes' may inded by free'ing and liberating .. it is also dangerous. "How dangerous?" you ask? Very dangerous.

The slightest mistake or miscalculation can be fatal. And you will have a long fall on the way down to think about your mistake. But you won't be getting any do-over. No, sir. 'Fraid, not.

This is probably why the look on Alex's face here says, "Who's a bad motherfucker?"

This shot of him here reminds me of the scene where Tom Cruise summits a free-solo climb at Dead Horse in Utah .. during the intro to Mission Impossible 2 (May, 2000).

Tom Cruise summits free-solo climb at Dead Horse, Utah at the beginning of Mission Impossible 2 (May, 2000)

I saw that film at the Big Newport with the Film school girl. After that intro I said to her, "Now that's how you start a movie."

Oh, and here is a new Mission Impossible movie (Fallout) with a similar rock-climbing scene.

Mission Impossible Fallout rock-climbing scene

Look at this shot. What a gorgeous shot. Why does this kind of thing give me such a boner?

Alex is the only homo sapien ever .. in the history of planet earth .. to have accomplished such a feat. (And yes, that does indeed make him a bad dude. A bad mofo.)

Much respect. In some ways, this is the ultimate achievement.

I dont think that the average person can really imagine what he must be feeling here .. for having accomplished what he just did.

It's a fine line .. is it not? Between genius and insanity.

Alex Honnold negotiates a dangerous fine line

It took Alex 3 hours and 56 minutes to ascend El Capitan. By contrast, it took my climbing buddy 3 days. And we was in outstanding shape.

My climbing buddy did it twice .. tho he said that he didnt much care for "big-wall climbing" .. which he claimed was "more about logistics and less about climbing."

He wasnt crazy about pooping in a plastic bag.

His wife was the one who wanted to scale the big walls .. and that is what obligated him. But he himself preferred the technical stuff at Joshua Tree.

I would sit there and watch him climb and think, "That's a beautiful thing." It was like art, like poetry .. downright captivating.

When you know how hard it is to do .. this makes you really appreciate it.

[ His daughter was a little older than my son and she was very good with him. Impressively so. His daughter was from a previous marriage. He was having trouble with his ex. I know it shouldnt make me feel good, but it actually made me feel better to hear his tales of woe and craziness. His ex was also remarried. There were so many bizarre stories. As crazy as my thing was .. it always surprised me to hear about how many were worse. And some were waay worse. I felt sorry for these people. ]

Alex said shortly after finishing his historic climb, "When you're free-solo'ing something like El Cap .. it's not as if your mind is wandering." I love his understated sense of humor.

His mom said, "Thanks for not telling me."

» Fuck It .. Let's Do This Thing

Near the end of this article from August 2016, he is quoted as saying, "Fuck it .. let's do this thing." [ I say the same thing myself sometimes. ]

Excellence is difficult

Here you are saying, "Fuck it," to the fears and the dangers associated with a formidable challenge.

You are saying, "Fuck it," to the risks and obstacles and difficulties .. even tho they appear genuinely formidable and threatening.

At least, this is what I mean when I say, "Fuck it."

And the reason why I am able to say "Fuck it," sometimes .. is because I have exercised these skills enough in the past .. to know that this impossible-looking thing aint really so impossible.

In other words, it is the voice of my confidence speaking .. and declaring that it does indeed have what it takes to accomplish such a feat.

I bet that Will Smith's character in Bright (at t=1:35) knows exactly what I am talking about here.

'Fuck it,' says Will Smith's character in Bright

He says, "Fuck it .. I wanna die." He doesnt really want to die .. or he wouldnt be shooting the other guys. But you feel him there.

There is an interesting thing .. where people somehow set themselves up in a seemingly impossible place .. and then somehow they come through in the end .. as if using the desperate constraints of the situation as the motivation that they need to accomplish the impossible.

This is not the place to address it, but Dostoevsky did this sort of thing .. which ties into his pernchant for gambling.

Anyway .. you will never see Alex acting like a tough guy. Because he doesnt need to .. not after you climb El Cap free-solo.

I wonder what he thinks about this feature titled » Annapurna III - Unclimbed.

» Spending the Entire Summer Camping and Hiking and Backpacking

For a number of summers while I was living with the Film school girl, the director-chick, who was a bona fide nature-chick .. I spent whole months in Yosemite .. camping and backpacking and hiking and pooping in the woods and whatnot.

I bet that these guys from Prettymuch know exactly what I am talking about.

Prettymuch | Summer on You sitting around the campfire at dusk (11 July 2018)

I think it was closer to six weeks. And this was after spending a few weeks camping and hiking in Big Sur.

She was saying shit like, "I hope that your military-industrial ass doesnt pussy-out on me. I hope you can handle the outdoor life for the whole summer. How do you feel about hugging trees? Have you ever showered under a waterfall at noonday?"

» She had Never Met Anything the Likes of Me Before

She may have been a kick-ass nature-chick turned director-chick .. but she had never met anything the likes of me before. (Ariana knows what I'm talking about.)

Seems like I had to keep picking her up off the ground a lot .. as my memory has it .. until I was able to bring her conditioning up to a level that could better withstand my savage onslaughts.

If you really must know.

» The Big Sur Vibe

[ Oh, I love this video of Big Sur. Thank-you for posting that.

Blue Wandxr VW bus on Bixby Creek bridge in Big Sur

Some of your Big Sur vibe seems to have gotten off on me.

That is exactly the way that you feel in Big Sur. The natural beauty is overwhelming. (Keri knows what I am talking about.)

» Life's Single Most-Scintillating Moment Mightve Came in Big Sur

My summers spent camping and hiking in Big Sur represent some of my life's most scintillating moments.

Big Sur has a vibe that makes you fall in love with it.

A trek that we took up one of the rivers there to a remote swimming hole, complete with a waterfall at one end .. was a delicious way to spend the heat of the day.

(Did I just rhyme without even trying? This is exactly the effect that Big Sur has on you.)

» Who Does Not Want to be this Guy?

I am so jealous of this dude .. driving around Big Sur in that cool old van with a super-hottie of his own.

What dude would not want to be him? These are experiences that will stay with you all your lives.

You will be able to suck out the juice from this experience for many years to come. (Trust me.)

These are priceless experiences. So suck them in and drink them up. Absorb every last drop of Big Sur nectar.

You will come away from Big Sur feeling richer for it .. at least, I did.

You could use Jack Johnson's new song, which was released a few days before your video, as a backing track .. like the way Matt did with Selena's song.

So many artistic possibilities. ]

This girl had said to me, "Dude, we are throwing all of our shit in storage, so we save the rent money .. and we are packing up the car and we are going to spend the kids' entire summer vacation hiking and camping in some of the most beautiful places on the planet."

"I am going to show you things that I know your military-industrial ass has never seen before. I'll have you hugging trees by the end of the summer. Just you wait."

» Reclining on a Massive Sun-Warmed Slab of Granite Fallen from El Capitan

One of my favorite things to do there in Yosemite .. was to hike the 45 minutes to the base of El Capitan.

El Capitan Yosemite

And find myself a big, sun-warmed slab of rock to lie on .. and watch the climbers climb from this reclined position.

It always feels extra good to lie down in Yosemite .. because you've been doing so much hiking. Lying there on those slabs, I would use my hip-pack as a pillow.

I could lie there for hours. If you go later in the day, the shadows become sharper, and the lighting more dramatic.

It's better if you bring a good pair of binoculars. (By comparison, the Empire State Bldg is only 1250 feet tall.)

» Not a Good Place to Say 'Oh Shit'

Sometimes I would hear one of the climbers way up there shout something like "Oh, shit."

And I would think, "Oh, shit? That's not a good place to say 'oh, shit'." I am sure that Steven Gibbons knows exactly what I am talking about.

Steven Gibbons tweets 'Oh shit'

» El Capitan is So Big that it Literally Blows Your Mind

From a distance, El Capitan looks much closer than it really is. This is due to a known optical illusion .. where size tells your brain that something is close.

The problem comes because El Capitan is so enormously enormous .. that it blows out all normal parameters of scope and size.

Which is why a walk that looks to be 5 or 10 minutes .. ends up taking 45.

But when you finally get right up close to it, and actually put your hands on the granite wall itself .. well, I'm not even going to try to describe what this is like.

(Think of Alex when you do this .. and I am sure that you will catch a glimpse of the super-human stud that he is.)

» Meditating Upon Masculine Cosmic Thoughts

I found this experience very meditative .. being a mere spec in the presence of such vast size and scale. El Capitan is so overwhelmingly enormous that it sort of blows your mind.

I would think gigantic cosmic thoughts while lying there on these massive, super-smooth, sun-warmed slabs.

Thoughts such as, "How am I going to become the greatest writer who ever lived? I will probably need to learn how to leverage powerful modern technologies in the construction of my sullen craft. And I will probably need to find a muse .. preferably a super-hottie .. to help me along my path to mastery and to places beyond. I might have to dazzle her ass. I might have to get all Fitzgerald on her ass. I will definitely have to flirt with her. Heck, I might even have to break out the heavy artillery. I hope that I dont have to light her ass up .. because girls never recover from that. She will probably want to have lots of sex .. so I'll need to get in great shape. And I'll need to keep an eye out for good stories. The more good stories that I am able to find in the wild .. the less I will have to concoct myself."

Granite is a very masculine rock. It looks masculine. It feels masculine. It speaks masculine things. It reeks of masculinity. No pussies climb El Capitan. (No chickenshits either.)

Perhaps this is why I felt so comfortable and at home while lying there on those gigantic sun-warmed slabs. The only way that it couldve possibly been any better .. would be if I were getting a blow-job at sunset.

» I am the Greatest Ever

It may be worth mentioning here .. ever so briefly .. something that Nietzsche said. Something that he wrote .. in Ecce Homo (Behold the Man).

Nietzsche claims to be the greatest psychologist who ever lived

This is cojones gigantikos .. to say that you are without peer.

Freud, Jung and Adler were all heavily influenced by Nietzsche's insights. So his statement here does not seem to be mere hyperbole.

It's one thing to claim that you are without peer. But it is another thing entirely for other experts to confirm and validate your claim.

» All Casey's Fault

Well .. I seem to have gotten off on a little tangent there. I am totally blaming the whole thing on Casey. It's all his fault.

As a member of the older generation, I take no responsibility whatsoever for my fuck-ups. I am going to let the next generation deal with the consequences of my myopic decisions. Let all of history make a note of it.

» It Must be True what they Say About the Terrible Two's

Anyway, I would say to the Bug, "I cant believe what I am seeing. You are in so much trouble, young man. You cannot possibly imagine how much trouble you are in right now. It must be true what they say about the terrible two's."

It must be true what they say about the terrible two's

I think that he liked the idea of being in trouble. [The outside of this window behind him is pictured here to your left.]

» Visitation Means More Fun & Less Discipline

Later, he would be all like, "What? Me? I didnt do anything, dad. What are you talking about? I'm just hanging out here in my crib. I would never think of climbing out."

What? Me? I didnt do anything, dad. What are you talking about?

Sometimes he would be so cute that I could hardly stand it.

For example, sometimes he would lift one of his arms and use his other hand to cover his armpit while saying, "You can't tickle me, dad." .. just daring me to tickle him. And I would think, "He has no idea how cute he is."

When you have such little time with your son, you naturally try to make the most of it. Discipline quickly falls to the bottom of your list of priorities.

On the rare occasion that I actually had to talk to him about anything, I would say, "You cant do this thing, Punkin." And then I would explain to him why.

And he would always get it and respond accordingly. You could probably count these times on the fingers of one hand.

Speaking of discipline, or a lack thereof .. this is about the age he was when he said (somewhat dismissively), "You're not the boss of me, dad .. mom told me."

» You're the Best Dad I've Ever Seen

I have had people tell me, "You're the best dad I've ever seen." More than once. More than twice. Not a lot more than two .. but more than twice.

But there is really only one opinion that I care about.

Others have told me things like, "I've never seen anything like what you two have together."

This is because I learned early on all the stuff that dads should not do. (Speaking of which.)

» I Know that it Doesnt Make Sense

Kids are nothing short of exhausting. Thankless and exhausting. Everyday you do the impossible for them.

Sure, you occasionally get a special, enchanted little treat from them. But mostly, it's just a lot of hard work.

Hard, thankless, exhausting work. And you could not be happier. I know it doesnt make sense. So much of life doesnt make sense .. I am finding. I am sure that Reese Witherspoon knows exactly what I am talking about. [ Have you seen her in Big Little Lies? ]

Parenting in my view is very much about accepting the responsibility for things that should not be placed on a child that does not yet have the emotional and psychological facilities to deal with. Not in those early, formative years.

I could so wax meddlesome here. But it would make you feel sad if I did. So I won't.

» The Parenting Gusto

The first six years are developmental and formative .. both emotionally and psychologically. (Say the experts in child development.) So that's where you want to go for the gusto. The parenting gusto.

The parenting gusto begins with unconditional love .. then it adds affection, patience, and attentiveness.

[ As a side thought, do you feel that it is possible that a parent who never received unconditional love as a child themselves .. would be able to love unconditionally their own children when they became parents? It's a valid question, no?

Do you feel that a child who grew up in a home without love would know how to love their own children when they themselves became parents? ]

You are basically communicating to them, through your words and your actions, that they are valued and appreciated and loved.

» What's the Alternative (Part 2) ?

I know it sounds easy, but it's trickier to pull off than it sounds. It can be downright exhausting .. in my opinion. But what is the alternative?

In a way, kids make you relive your own childhood all over again. Many issues rise to the surface. And you think about things that you had long forgotten. Definitely a trip down memory lane.

Say hi to Nicki for me .. the next time you talk to her. (You probably have her on speed-dial.)

Your value doesnt decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth

And your friend, Jimmy Fallon, too.

» Resonating with Nicki

Do you remember when I told you about me being "up in the air" already?

This has to do with me being in a position to speak to certain things that come up unexpectedly.

This is where I feel an area of resonance with Nicki .. because she is able to craft and release songs in a very short period.

After you do certain things enough times (practice, practice) you start to get a handle on the creative process .. capturing the essence of the thing and con.verting that into a creative outlet of your own.

The ability to do such a thing, start to finish, in an impressively short period .. that is a powerful thing. Downright muscular.

This is actually one of my signature things .. where I get hit with a thing and respond quickly.

I remember that I was in the middle of giving shit to Blow about defending Hillary's illegitimacy .. because he wrote that thing .. which spoke to my other thing.

And this is the thing that put me in such perfect position to speak to the very much unexpected Trump win. No? You could never plan something like that.

This is probably why I was throwing up blood .. because I wasnt eating. I was just drinking coffee and writing for a few days. Strong coffee .. with a little vanilla ice cream for extra calories.

I also did this with Selena's song. A few days after I first heard it, I could tell that I would need to respond.

So I lowered the plow and put my head down and saw what I could do in a day. There was an element of self-testing here.

And I was probably trying to impress Selena, too. (I mean, what guy isnt?)

But I was pleased with myself. I felt like I did a nice job. Because there was a lot to say.

From the moment of inspiration to the actual release .. what is the shortest time that you could take to release something that you would be proud of? (Bebe says that it takes 1 to 3 years for a song to come out.)

Nicki Minaj No Frauds

(Assuming you have no other responsibilities .. which seems like such a fanciful assumption.)

Because, in a way, a deadline can sometimes be the thing that makes all the difference.

On the other hand, some things simply cant be rushed .. I understand that, sure. I feel confident that Fergie would concur.

Fergie talks Double Dutchess

And Cormac.

A lengthy span of time allows the artist to build more subtle layering into their art. People may or may not notice the delicate and intricate layering.

» Blow's Backhanded Compliment

April 24, 2017 » Nicki, did you notice that Blow posted a column today .. where he said some things about Americans in "this digital age".. along with a photo of students protesting in New York?

Students protesting in New York

He does not come right out and say that he is referring to the youth, but this is definitely the impression that I came away with. You?

I am referring specifically to where he wrote:

I must say that the issue of resilience was one that I worried and wondered about from the beginning: For far too many Americans in this digital age, stamina is rare, attention spans are short and the urge for instant gratification, or at least for expedient resolution, is enormous.

I worried that modern shortsightedness would prevent resisters from seeing the long game, that the exhaustion of constant outrage would numb them to unrelenting assault.

I know what Blow is saying here .. but his statements struck me as .. well, they struck me in the same way that some of his other statements have struck me.

Note that this section has been moved to its own page » Blow's Backhanded Compliment.

[ I really tried not to post yet another page about something Blow has said. But I just cant seem to help myself. And his column was posted more than 3 months after this page that you're reading now. ]

Next year on this date will be the 200th anniversary of Ozymandias by Shelley. It's probably just a coincidence.

The end. ■

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 11, 2017 1:11 PM.

The Art of Giving Shit - Page One was the previous entry in this blog.

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