#ManosphereMusicMonday 12/28/15 – Arguing Philosophies

This week’s music has less to do with masculinity and more to do with how the Red Pill’s many factions don’t tend to see eye-to-eye on many issues. Nevertheless, the common theme to all of it is that we’re in the same boat and we’re all motivated to make the best of the decline in our own way. At least this is’ll be a song you’ve likely never heard before.

 

“I will not interrupt. I will not twist your words. ”

 

Fiction: Christmas at Outpost Hailstorm

The rest of the command crew was already popping bottles of champagne before the last of the computers could shut down. The each desk was cast in tinsel and decorations, and the cork-board had been repurposed as a collage of the crew’s families, from either back on the mainland or way out past Earth. As more people entered the office, now off the clock and with plastic glasses in hand, they had inadvertently opened the doors to the decks below, letting in the blaring sound of Asgard’s remixed Christmas jingles, namely Axe-Stone’s heavy-metal cover of Jingle Bell Rock. The guitar solo’s highest frequency pierced the sound-poof walls of Mike’s headphones.

Mike was having trouble silencing the music and the commotion around him as he oversaw the last cargo craft to take off.

“JetSet107, taxi to ALPHA DELTA and hold position,” he said.

“Holding at ALPHA DELTA, 107,” they replied.

A cobalt-colored air-space craft, looking more like a stingray than an airplane, drifted away from the dock and hangers, slowly making its way to the runway that shot off into the ocean like a grey pirate’s plank. The catapults were already pulled back and had been for a while. Much of the ground crews were inside and celebrating, now gladly off work for the remaining year. Only a handful remained out there in the increasing winds and surf that grew ever more chaotic.

Mike glanced to the computer beside him. The black and red band of storms was a good half-hour away, and so he mentally patted himself on the back for getting the last of the shipments off the rig before the shit finally hit. It’d be a big one too. They called this place Hailstorm for a reason.

 

Meanwhile, Hank trudged along the tarmac in his TLG – a relatively small mech suit of hydraulic motors and protective shields used for carrying bulk cargo from the aircraft to forklift. The winds and spray across the deck made that walk all the more precarious, for on all sides of him were ocean – ocean that went out for hundreds of miles to the horizon and however many uncharted miles down. One slip into the water in a full metal TLG and there’d be no time to get the suit off before drowning.

The planners had seen fit to put the main logistics hub there in the middle of Asgard’s largest ocean. Saved companies a lot of money, but made working there a bitch.

The hissing of engines, the whine of the catapult, even the whistling of his suit’s hydraulics couldn’t compete with the gale that swept across the sea. With a face full of mist, Hank hoisted the catapults adapters to the craft, then gave the underbelly two good hits with his suit’s forearm hooks.

“Dock, we’re good to go down here,” he said.

“Roger. Come on back.”

He began his awkward hustle back to the loading bays.

 

A sigh passed over Mike as he set down his headphones and got up from his chair. It had been a long shift, and everyone but him was already celebrating down below. Now was the time to grab whatever alcohol was left and settle in for the storm – it’d be a long one.

But as Mike took that first step, he stopped. He wasn’t sure if he had truly heard it, a little crackle of a radio, followed by distant and garbled speech. He looked back to the headphones on the desk, thinking, No, it couldn’t be. It just couldn’t.

Part of him wanted to forget it and join the party. Surely, he’d earned it. But another part of him, the responsible part, forced him to pick up the headphones and receiver, and wait.

Just as he was about to put them down again, he heard it through the radio, clear as could be.

“Hailstorm, asking for approach tunnel, Korea304.”

Fuckin’ shit, Mike thought. Another goddamn craft… “Sorry Korea304, we’re closed down for the storm. Divert to Titan’s Landing.”

A long pause came over the radio before the pilot spoke again, “Negative, Hailstorm, we have passed diversion window and are entering the atmosphere at approach vector. Please advise on tunnel.”

Mike stood from his desk and looked out the control room’s windows, to the surf and sea outside. Little wisps of white foam were already kissing the ends of the runway. In only a few minutes, the storm surge would be enough to sweep anything off the deck – cargo, people, even the spacecraft itself. What the fuck? He thought. That last one was supposed to be it for the day.

“Korea304, we did not expect another landing today. We are not prepared for you. You need to divert to another city.”

“Understood, Hailstorm, but we are unable to divert. We don’t have enough fuel to boost us to Titan’s Landing.”

“Why? Who’s fuckup was this?” Mike yelled, not intending to say so to the pilots, but didn’t care that he had.

“We are scheduled for T10:30.”

“Earth, Mars, or Asgard Standard?” Mike sighed. “Nevermind. Someone screwed up. You’re not on our register for today. You’re too early.”

“We’re already in atmosphere,” replied the pilot, his voice way too calm for what was going on. They must not have known about the storm.

“Please wait, Korea304,” Mike said, knowing that he didn’t have the luxury of waiting. Outside, things were getting worse. On the weather monitors around him, the yellow bands of the storm had already passed overhead, with the orange ones soon to hit. It would only be a matter of minutes before the bulk reached them.

Mike changed radios to the hanger bays, where the sound of dozens of voices and loud, incomprehensible music hit him. “Guys,” he said over the intercom, but nobody replied. “Guys, listen up!” Still, no one noticed.

So Mike ran the station’s emergency alarm for a few seconds. That killed the voices, but not the music. That fell off just a few seconds later amongst the whispers of the hanger bay. Now that it was silent, Mike said, “Listen guys, we’ve got a fuckup. Another craft is on the way in.” Mike heard gasps and groans, and a few expletives at this. “I know, it’s shitty, but they can’t be diverted and they’re already in atmosphere. We have about ten minutes to get them grounded and secure before we get the shit kicked out of us. Now, we need a volunteer to go out and secure the craft.”

From the silence came one voice. “Hey, Hank is still in the TLG.”

“What!? Fuck that, I’m done. I ain’t goin’ out there.”

“Hank?” Mike said, “Someone has to go out there. There’s bullshit pay in it for ya if you do. I… I know it sucks. It isn’t any of our fault, we just got stuck with it. If those pilots land without an anchor they’re gonna go swimming. Now, you might not give a shit, and that’s okay, but remember that it’ll wipe out the safety bonus for all of it. If you aren’t going to do it for their lives might as well do it for the money.”

“Why me?” he replied.

“Hell, I don’t care who goes out there.” Mike checked the approach of the incoming craft – only 8 minutes out from landing. “Guys,” he said, “they’ll be here in 8 minutes. If you can get another TLG ready by then than do it. Otherwise they’re screwed.”

“God dammit, fine, I’ll do it, but I better get some damn good BS pay for it.”

“I tell you what, Hank, if you succeed I’ll give you my BS pay for this.”

Though Mike got no response, he heard humming of metal joints, then the distinct screech of a hangar door opening, followed by the rushing of wind that silenced everything else. Mike closed the coms to the hangar and reconnected with Korea304. “Korea304 we’re getting the runway ready. Please follow my approach tunnel.”

It was going to take some work to buy them more time. The worst of the storm was estimated to hit them in about ten minutes. That left a two minute window to get the craft grounded and anchored, assuming the estimates were correct. They rarely were.

 

Korea304’s initial burn through the atmosphere had ended, leaving them gliding above the clouds, though still falling fast. The nose of the craft dipped low, far lower than normal approach, dropping the craft like a stone beneath a large, white thunderhead.

At that point, the redesigned approach tunnel wasn’t intended to give them a comfortable ride, or a relatively safe one for that matter, but to make them come in quick to shave off a minute or two. The sleek, gray spacecraft broke through the top of the clouds, heading straight for the ocean. With only a few hundred feet remaining, the craft pulled up and fired its burners for a few seconds, increasing its speed and setting it on a low and level path to the platform.

The ocean rolled violently below the buckling spacecraft. The power of the wind cut off the tips of the waves and sent them into the air as white spray. Though the onboard computer did its best to fight the turbulence, it couldn’t calculate the chaos fast enough. The pilots inside were being tossed around their chairs.

 

Hank walked out from the hanger, onto the deck, and just stood there for a while, watching the storm approach. A veritable wall of clouds, as dark as the ocean blow, extended from the waves all the way to the highest point of the sky. The massive size of the thing could not be conceptualized, and it was approaching, fast.

The wind had grown, each gust carrying with it the spray of ocean. The waves themselves were almost to the deck, and even some of the greater ones now jumped onto the platform.

“This is fucked,” Hank said. On all sides of him was instant death. Even on a perfectly calm day, being tossed from the deck meant higher than Vegas odds of eating it.

 

Back at the command center, Mike compared the estimations of both the storm and the spacecraft. He had bought some time, about forty-five seconds, and hoped it was enough. “Fuel count?” he said to the pilots.

“30 Liters.”

“Engage a two second burn,” he replied. He had just bought another ten seconds. Mike looked out the windows, trying to find the signature blink of the spacecraft’s lights. The storm was too thick to see anything at that point. All the direction would have to be handled virtually.

 

Korea304 glided just a few feet above the waves. It wasn’t the case that the spacecraft had fallen in altitude, but that the waves had risen to meet it. If a particularly strong rogue one came at the wrong place and time, then the space-faring vessel would become a permanent submarine.

From the pilot’s point of view, they were racing a wall of darkness that came at them from the left. Their destination was obscured in that darkness, and they wouldn’t know they had found it until the nav computer set them down on it, or the instant they overshot it.

Suddenly, the reverse thrusters engaged, right on que. From hundreds of miles an hour, the craft slowed just as the faint outline of the platform came into the pilot’s view. It seemed like the craft would fly right into it, until the reverse thrusters intensified, slowly the craft enough to set down on the tip of the landing platform, where a hook caught it and brought it to a stop.

 

Hank had just seen this thing appear nearly out of nothing and make a near perfect landing on the deck. For a moment, he thought that this might just be a piece of cake. Immediately after, Hank swore that the storm could read his thoughts, because just as he figured he might have it easy, the wind grew and the spray of water became a battering of hail.

Each little piece stung him in the face and arms as he lumbered out onto the deck and toward the craft. He couldn’t exactly run to the thing, not on normal days and especially not now. Walking speed was about as fast as he could go.

He cursed appreciatively once he got underneath the spacecraft and started the process of anchoring it to the deck. His hands were cold now, numb too, but they worked enough to open a hatch to the ship’s anchor – a cable of super-strong alloys with a locking hook at the end. Wasting no time, he brought it down and tried to attach it to the deck. Suddenly, the wind picked up and nearly knocked him off balance.

Hank steadied himself in the TLG and, this time, successfully locked the anchor into place. Proud of himself, he thought that was the end of it, but then the creaking of metal came to his ears. The aircraft above him started twitching to the side as the sea air tried to lift it. The anchor cable pulled and twisted, and, though it groaned like it was in pain, it held, for the moment.

“Mike, you there?” Hank said to the radio.

The voice coming back to him was barely audible over the storm. “You got it anchored?”

“Yeah, but what about the pilots?”

“What about them?”

The tinkling sound of hail intensified to a low roar as the pieces turned from pea-sized to golf ball sized. Knowing that it would only get worse, and judging by the stress on the anchor, Hank said, “I don’t think the craft’ll be here when the storm’s over. What’ll we do?”

Hank wasn’t sure if Mike was silently thinking, or if the radio had cut out that moment. The darkest and heaviest part of the storm was only maybe a mile away. There would only be seconds to react. Already, waves were washing up on the platform and the hail had accumulated to about an inch deep. Walking back across that would be hard enough, even worse if Hank waited.

“Alright,” Mike said, “get them out of there and back to base. The longer we wait the harder it’ll be. I’ll tell the pilots; you open the door.”

Hank wasted no time. Even though his hands hurt from the cold and could barely work the latches, he was able to get the door open. The two pilots were already there and lowering the ladder before Hank could step aside.

“Cover your head with your arms,” Hank yelled. “I’m going to try to shield you best I can.” Pea-sized hail hurt like a bitch, but golf ball-sized hail could kill. Hank was mostly safe since the TLG covered his backside. So long as he didn’t stare into the storm he’d probably be alright, but the pilots… “Get real close,” he said to the two.

Even reaching his armored hand out from under the craft was like it getting hit with a dozen baseball bats. It didn’t hurt, at least not most of them, but sure as shit the hail found a gap or two in the armor. Still, Hank kept his cool.

He corralled the pilots between his arms and tried his best to simultaneously protect them and drive them forward at slow pace, all while trying to keep his balance from the ice marbles and waves beneath his feet. Somehow, he was able to do it, step after step across the writhing platform.

All was going well. He thought they’d make it, miraculously, until a piece of hail somehow beat the odds and found a gap between his arms. Hank didn’t really know what had happened, only that he saw one of the pilots fall to the ground.

“Pick him up,” he yelled to the other. And the other tried, but he simply couldn’t lift his friend. Either it was fear, the cold of the storm, or the hail battering him too, but nonetheless he couldn’t.

Hank knew he couldn’t stay out there or call for help, so he grabbed the still-conscious pilot with one arm, bringing him close, while snagging the other’s clothing with the TLG’s hook. Wasting no more time, he shuffled to the hanger doors, slipping once or twice on the two inches of hail beneath him, but still managing to catch his balance.

Just as he reached the door, a wave of water washed over his feet, then surging up to the knees of the TLG. Hank braced himself for a moment and held position as the hail flowed like a river down to the end of the platform. The wave wasn’t enough to push him over, but it would have taken the pilots away he hadn’t been carrying them.

All the other workers lined up at the doors, yelling at him, encouraging him to keep going. Their shouting over the storm was distant at first, but every step brought them closer, made them clear. Hank could see the lights within the hangar, the table and bottles at the other end where would have, and should have, been celebrating.

Only fifteen feet from the doors, a great snap broke the constant roar of the storm. Hank thought he knew what it was, but wouldn’t look back. All the other men at the hanger, they saw it, and started running further inside, confirming what Hank suspected.

The spacecraft had broken free of the anchor and, with the full force of the storm behind it, started sailing down the deck toward them. Less than ten feet from the hanger door, he could hear the scraping of wingtips against tarmac, growing louder. With his left arm, still holding the conscious pilot, Hank tossed him inside. Despite rolling for a few more feet, the pilot scrambled up, seemingly unharmed.

Hank then grabbed the unconscious pilot, dangling from his right arm’s hook, and threw him too into the hangar. With his arms free, Hank tried to run, but as he made that first step something struck him from behind. One moment, he saw the hanger, the next, only water and tarmac. The cold sea flowed around him inside the TLG suit. It rumbled, like he was being dragged against something.

Water continued to flow over and across him. Hail still beat him. And the ground still moved. He expected to meet the all-encompassing cold of the ocean, bringing with it darkness, and numbness, and his inevitable death.

But when that rumbling stopped, along with the hail and the water, there was light. A door shut, silencing the storm. From that silence came the words: “Holy shit, Hank, are you alright?”

He was being lifted to his feet, or rather every man in the hanger helped to push and pull the TLG upright.

“Dude, are you okay?” “Man, that was so sick.” “Hank, you good? You alright?” “Hey, can we get a medic down here?”

Hank didn’t feel like saying anything.

 

Mike watched the space plane fall into the ocean and instantly disappear. Hands shaking, he changed the coms channel to the hanger bay and called out to them, “Hey… Everyone good down there?”

Someone yelled back, amidst the shouts and cheers, “Yeah, we’re fine.”

“How’re the pilots?”

“One’s unconscious, but still breathing. We’re taking them to the clinic now.”

“And Hank?”

“I’m good!”

“Awesome,” Mike replied. “You earned that bonus and then some.” Mike smiled as he closed the coms and set down his headphones, for good this time.

 

*

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Postcards from Asgard, Episode 2: Yuri’s Story

[Yuri Primalov was a Russian-born ex-pat who had moved to Asgard only within the last few years. He had the reputation of a ladies man, the “Original White Russian” so his former marketing went, though he preferred to go by his formal title of “life coach”. Now, he currently works as a consultant for a natural gas company based in Titan’s Landing, though he still coaches new arrivals to Asgard on the side.]

*

I was born in Smolensk, but moved to Belarus as a child. Father was military. Fought in Syria and Turkey. His orders took us there, to Belarus, to guard the Russian Union. Very traditional family, traditional values. Common for Eastern Europe and Russia at the time.

 

We were well off enough to get Eurpoean and American satellite channels, so I grew up seeing parties and concerts – all the best things America had. The country looked so rich and fun. As a young man, I dreamed of going to Vegas or New York, or even L.A. When I finished schooling, I finally got the chance and told my parents that I’d be living in the US for a while. They warned me about it. Told me it wasn’t a good place for a young man. I did not care. Millions of young men grew up there, so I figured why not.

 

I moved to Chicago, though with the portals it could have been any other city in America. I made friends quickly, both with men and women, but especially with women. I talked with every girl I met, not because I wanted to sleep with her, at least not at first, but because I wanted to know more about America. I had a lot of excitement for the country back then. I was very positive. My goal was just to have a good time and that was something women wanted too, with or without the sexual aspect. Me being a foreigner helped too. Made me seem exotic. Gave me stories to tell.

 

I didn’t try to be popular with American women. It just happened. My male friends would then come to me and ask how I could just talk to someone I had never met before. I didn’t know, not back then. I gave them some advice, simple at first, because I didn’t know why, but when I decided to learn more about all this my advice became more complex.

 

That was how I got the reputation as a… well let’s call it a Life Coach. I did that for a few years until I got burned out with it.

 

What does it mean to be a life coach?

 

You are like a therapist, but informal. One of my competitors called it “Drinking Buddy for Hire”. My best friends in the industry marketed himself as the “Wingman Mercenary”. I looked at it as private social worker.

 

In any case, my job was to lift people up. You get these men who have been disadvantaged in some way, usually socially, and you try to help them the best way you know how. It was a prime market back then. Today, here on Asgard, not so much.

 

What made you stop being a life coach?

 

It is… hard to describe. When I started, I gave advice only to my friends. As word got around, I accepted more clients. I got a license as a life coach and began to see strangers. Over time, though, I stopped being able to tell these men apart. They all had the same story. One would come in, almost crying, telling me about his girlfriend or wife, how she was always unhappy, about to divorce him. If it wasn’t men like them, it was the man close to thirty who still hadn’t had sex yet.

 

That, all by itself, wasn’t bad. But after a while I began to forget who they were. I couldn’t tell them apart. I would ask them if they had tried this or that, and they would say yes, I had told them so weeks before, but I wouldn’t remember. Then, for others, I would assume they had done things I had suggested, only to realize later that I hadn’t said anything about that topic. It was not the fault of my memory, but because these men were all exactly the same and began to merge together in my mind.

 

In some way, they all shared the same experience. Different women, different men, but still perfectly alike in almost every way. It didn’t not matter if one was poor or rich, smart or dumb. The way these relationships fell apart, or a guy’s inability to get them in the first place, they all followed a particular pattern. This was not coincidence. Couldn’t have been. I began to think that there had to be something else causing it.

 

Why do you think that is? Why so many broken men?

 

Someone or something was telling them wrong. I don’t blame these men, because they did what they thought would work. It is all any man does. When they come into my office, tell me they gave her everything she ever wanted, I know that someone has told these men to do this early in their lives, because they would not have thought of this on their own, not every man, not the exact same conclusion.

 

If it had been the case that these men were trying different things and couldn’t find the right combination, then that would be one thing, but each tried the same thing and each had the same result. That made me believe that something or someone over them was teaching the wrong thing on purpose. If that was the case, then what could I do? I cannot move the oceans. I am just one man.

 

Some people told me that I should have kept the secrets to myself, that way there would be more girls for me. I do not believe this, because making men worse does not make women better. Women will sour when they don’t have good men around, and that will hurt me in my relationships with women. To make one better is to make the other better. We are connected that way. That is why knowing that something else was working against me crushed my drive.

 

What was working against you?

 

I don’t know exactly. You point at so many places, but never the source. Maybe it was society which told men to be that way. Maybe it was Hollywood. I did see American movies where the fat, goofy men get the girls. I guess guys thought you only had to be goofy or weird and nothing else. One reason might be American schools. I did not go to them, so I can only say what my clients told me. They said teachers encouraged boys to always be in second place to the girls. Let them go first, let them speak in class, make way for them in the hallway. Now, I am for treating women and girls well, but not at the expense of yourself. Men and women both hate it when men demean themselves. It could have been that, plus more. I don’t know. All I do know is something was there. Something was turning the tide against me…

 

[I expected the interview to end there, since Yuri started looking away, visibly distressed.]

 

…Would you like to know something that I had known for a long time, but I never taught these men? Have you ever heard of Game Theory? I do not mean flirting. You have? Kind of?

 

Game Theory is about cooperation and betrayal. Who will betray who, and when, and why? Do I turn you in so I can get a greater benefit? Do you turn me in for that benefit too? Or do we both work together for slightly less benefit? If we both turn each other in then we both lose.

 

The relationship between men and women is like that too. There are things men want from women, and things women want from men, and they are not the same things. Their desires sometimes work against each other, but, still, men and women need to come together to continue the human race. That leaves us the opportunities to both cooperate and betray the other. Men betray women by abandoning them with child. Women betray men by cheating, or using them for money.

 

The society around you can encourage whether to cooperate or betray. Long ago, society told men and women to cooperate, today, and especially back in America, society tells men and women to betray, but mostly women. There are no consequences for her betrayal, not in American society. I’ve had men come to me, crying, telling me that he held up his duties to a relationship, and that she still cheated on him, left him. Some people think that men disserve it too. Some people even cheer women for betraying their men, but men are not allowed to betray.

 

But like I said before, I am just one man. I tried to spread the word. I met with people like me, who taught the same things, that way we could coordinate, network, but no matter how hard we tried to convert men it made no difference because society was working against us.

 

Eventually, I became tried. I used to like helping people, but it became too much, too difficult, not enough reward. I quit my job in the United States and moved back to Belarus to start a family with girls who were not going to betray, or less likely to. By then, word had gotten around Russian Coalition that Asgard was accepting immigrants. I left because I thought I might be able to set men and women right on Asgard, so it wouldn’t repeat what had happened in America.

 

What are the major differences between Earth and Asgard, in regards to the relationships between men and women?

 

To be honest, there is difference in some, no difference in others. For every one woman on Asgard there are about three or four men. It makes men thirsty, just like it did back on Earth, and it can make women think too much of themselves. And there really is no difference between women who won’t cooperate on Earth, and no women to cooperate with on Asgard. As the Americans have said, it is a “sausage fest”. But, I think it is getting better.

 

The women who come to Asgard are different than most women of Earth. The women who want security, or just want to continue working and buying things like the rest of them, will be content with Earth. The exceptional women who want something more, or the more desperate women from the third world, they will split themselves from the herd and come here. So even though the ratio is still off, the women are a different kind of women.

 

That is why I’m hopeful that my work will make a difference and finally set things right. We may come to balance between men and women, once more women immigrate. Hopefully, I can make men better here without society working against me. That will make women better, so we can then learn to cooperate again, have babies, and continue to other worlds. What alternative is there?

 

None, I imagine. Well, Yuri, I do appreciate you setting aside time to talk to me. Before I go, I just want to ask one last question: if you only had once piece of advice to bestow on men, what would it be?

 

Never give her everything. I told my clients that women are like treasure-hunters. They go looking for whatever it is they want in a man, whether that is looks or money, or companionship. They are on a quest for it, and they will stay on that quest so long as they believe there is something to find. Once the treasure is found, they realize there is no more left. They have all they could possibly get. When they believe the well is dry, they will go looking elsewhere. However, if she still feels that there is more to you, or more in you, then she will stay. Always give the impression that you’ve got more tricks up your sleeve. Never remain stagnant.

 

[I thanked Yuri for his input and wished him well, for his endeavor may actually change things for the better. There are critical times in history where one man, one idea, or one event, can alter its course forever. The fledgling days of Asgard are those times, when such junctions are not only possible, but inevitable.]

 

*

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Postcards from Asgard, Episode 1: Intro and Dan’s Story

(This is going to be a little experiment in fictionalizing what would essentially be a typical blog post/essay. Think of it as the book World War Z, but instead of chronicling the zombie apocalypse, it is instead depicting a world where Feminism, Political Correctness, and the blue-pill shift never stops. Feel free put your comments, critiques, criticisms, and/or condemnations below.)

 

*

 

There were two main reasons why I left Earth for Asgard.

 

The first: Earth didn’t want men like me anymore. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a journalist (still do, in fact). But I couldn’t tell you how many times I’d been turned away from a gig because I wasn’t the right “type” of reporter. They told me straight, “we don’t need the white male perspective right now, but feel free to try again in eight months”. That last part was only to soften the blow. They would never hire me, no matter how good I was.

 

If that had been the only thing wrong, then I might not have left Earth at all. I might have stayed there and dyed my hair blue, and my beard pink. I could blend in and toe the line like the best of ‘em, but would I have been happy? No.

 

That’s because my second reason for leaving Earth was my intense interest in people who became adventurers. Imagining the kind of soul it took to cross the Atlantic nearly seven-hundred years ago made me want to do the same. Who did you have to be to leave home and head west for gold, with only the promise of fortune taking you thousands of miles away from home? What kind of man gives up everything they’ve ever known for the prospect of something better, a little slice of it, a slice that was never guaranteed?

 

That question pulled me, while the culture pushed me. So off-world I went, to Asgard.

 

The children on Earth know next to nothing about Asgard. It is a planet so far removed from Earthen society that even if you were to search the internet, as deep as you could go, you might only find a footnote on a generic encyclopedia article, or, if you’re tech savvy, a Martian recruitment page behind the government’s firewalls. They don’t teach it to kids in school, it never makes the news, and movies about it? Heh, you’ve got to be kidding.

 

The great dream of space expansion they promised was quickly swept under the rug when Mars won the 60 Days War. Everything after was sanitized and blacklisted. History was rewritten. And now, no one knows about our third planetary colony. Nobody, except the men like me who couldn’t hack it on Earth anymore…

 

To put things in perspective, Asgard has close to 500 million people. That sounds like a lot, until you realize they’re spread across the entire surface of the world. Asgard’s tallest skyscraper tops out at just under a thousand feet, which is about a third shorter than the Empire State Building. If you were to line up all the paved roads on Asgard in a straight line, you wouldn’t be able to reach Atlanta from Washington DC. The yearly output of Asgard’s entire planetary electrical grid produces enough electricity to power New York City… for 3 days.

 

Needless to say, life on Asgard isn’t what you’d expect. It has plenty of hardships and very few luxuries.

 

I went there to talk to the men like me, who left Earth because they were pushed out, or had nothing else on the home-world. Deadbeats, druggies, criminals, neglected veterans. Those were only a few examples. I wanted to make sure their stories were told, so that something would live on. I wasn’t keen on letting Earth’s historians wipe out what could be an exceptional era.

 

Dan’s Story

 

[Titan’s Landing is Asgard’s planetary capital. Even though it’s roughly the size of Salt Lake City, Utah, it is home to Asgard’s political establishment, the embassies of all nations currently colonizing Asgard, and the headquarters of Asgard’s corporations. It is the only city with a fully-functioning space port, and though any shuttle can land anywhere on the surface of Asgard, it is Titan’s Landing where return trips are made. Despite being a small city, situated on the shores of a crater-bay, it is a new city that is expected to double in size every five years. That’s a new skyscraper every four months. Needless to say, there are plenty of construction contracts, and everyone’s hiring. It is here that I found my first story.

 

I met Dan in a diner just outside the spaceport grounds. He was a young man from America, who left his home planet because, as he put it, “that place made you a pussy.”]

 

*

Dan:

It was a long time coming, but I guess I didn’t realize it at the time. You get used to living in certain places for a while that you forget that they might not be good for ya. I actually remember the night it happened, when I took a long, hard look at my life and realized that I needed to do something better.

 

At the time, I was living in Ft. Lauderdale with a roommate from college. We were gonna take the portals to Denver to see one of his favorite bands, some hipster thing that I don’t really remember.

 

On the way to the portal station, I got on Findr, just to see who’d be in the area, and, lo and behold, one of my old college flings was in the city, plus her friend that I kinda knew from back then. So I sent her a jaunt. I figure she’d take it if she wants, but I didn’t get my hopes up. My roommate and I got off the bus at the Ft. Lauderdale station, then walked across the gates to Denver International, then another bus into the city. Got to see the sunset for a second time, which was always cool to me.

 

The club was standard hipster stuff, filled with old vintage wood carvings and bikes, or whatever those people liked. I dunno. Not my kinda thing but my roommate was into it. So I went to get a drink at the bar while he walked off for whatever. I hung out there for a while by myself until this girl came up to me, out of nowhere. She was like, “Hey, how’re you? What’s your name?” I gave it, reluctantly. Wasn’t quite sure why she was talking to me in the first place. Now, I don’t know about you, but if a girl cold approaches you at a bar and she’s that friendly then you’d better get the hell out, ‘cause she’s either a cop or a con. My dumbass didn’t know any better.

 

So, I made some small talk. She said her friends were supposed to be there, but they weren’t of course, and that she was lonely, and she just wanted someone to talk to, and I bought it. Actually, I bought her a drink. No, actually, she said, promised me, that she’d alternate drinks with me: I buy her my favorite, she buys me her favorite. Whatever, I thought it was a fun idea at the time.

 

As soon as she had the drink, her phone got a text. She said it was her friends and that she had to go. She thanked me for the drink and took off. I watched her go over to a table, to a bunch of people I saw when I came in. Then it hit me that I’d been conned.

 

And the guy next to me? He laughed at it. I was about to tell him to go fuck off, but then I got a good look at him. He seemed like a giant, but I guess that was only his coat. At the time, I didn’t know what a Cheshire was or any of that shit.

 

[Reader’s note: a Cheshire is one of Asgard’s apex megafauna. It is a catlike, or cat-equivalent species of super-predator roughly the size of an African Rhino. Its teeth are, on average, 4 inches long, claws are 6 inches, and has a maximum sprint speed of about forty kilometers per hour. It’s namesake is due to its wide mouth, giving it the appearance of the Cheshire cat. Armored coats are made from their skin due the numerous porcupine-like quills intermixed with the animal’s fur, or fur-equivalent.]

 

His vibe was enough to stop me from doing anything stupid. What a guy like that was doing on Earth, in that hipster bar, who knew? He said to me, “Go over there and make her get you a drink. Don’t take that shit from her.” I told him, hell no. Not that I was afraid or anything, but some things you gotta let go. Not worth the drama.

 

He said nothing to that. He just got up and walked on over there. I didn’t know what he said because of the music, but it must have been bad, because all of them sitting there glanced over to me, then looked away. He just, silenced them all. He didn’t raise his voice or anything either.

 

Then, he came back and said, ‘Good news: they feel like shit for what they did. Bad news: she’s broke and can’t buy you a new one.’ He said his name was Lars, gave me a handshake, and bought me a beer like we were bros or something. Tell you what though, it felt good to have someone on your side for once. After that, I figure we’d just hang out, ask him about his coat or whatever, but then guess who walked in the door?

 

Yeah, my friend from college, Erica. Oh yeah, I guess her friend was there too. Jessica? Katelyn? Eh, I forget now. Erica and friend found me at the bar, sitting next to this space-Tarzan guy, so immediately they were like, “Oh, who’s your friend, Dan? What’s your name? What do you do? Blah blah blah.” They both tried to sit next to him, but I already had one side, and Erica got the other. Her friend wasn’t happy about that, but hell I wasn’t gonna move for her.

 

So he told them about, of all places, Asgard. Said he was a hunter there. Now, when white girls on Earth hear “hunter”, they think “poacher”, and so they think you’re one of the worst human beings, like, ever. I expected them to explode with that angry white girl rage, but they both just looked at him, doe-eyed, heh, excuse the pun. Sorry.

 

But they hung on his every word. Didn’t matter what he said. While he was  telling his stories, I looked at him and thought to myself how… different he is. I couldn’t tell why. It wasn’t his muscles, but his vibe, the way he carried himself. He must have been through some shit because nothing seemed to get to him. When that chick gypped me out of a beer, he simply walked over to their table like he was going to check the mail. No emotion. No angst. Just… “well, this is what I gotta do now.”

 

Truth is, he was a completely different class of person. It didn’t really bother me that my friends, well my one friend and her friend, were almost drooling over him, because, compared to him, I was nothing. At the time I didn’t know what this feeling was, but in retrospect I guess I had an inadequacy complex. Here was a titan among men, and I was barely even a man.

 

But, through it all, he always made sure to look at me, and talk to me. Keep me in the conversation. He didn’t seem like a bad guy. He didn’t want to make me feel insecure. Eventually, he told me, not the girls, but me, “Hey, if the music is starting to get on your nerves, I know a place in Boulder that a bit more low-key.” I agreed. Of course, the girls agreed too but they’d agree to anything if Lars was going.

 

So we took the light rail to Boulder. Went to a walking mall, then down some steps to a little dive bar that I can’t remember the name of either. The place was a dump. Crooked ass floor boards. Lamps too low to the tables. The benches were all torn up and had duct tape all over ‘em. One of the least-kept bars I have ever seen, and I’ve been to some dives on Asgard.

 

We found a booth somewhere in the back. Lars ordered us some beer, and we got to talking. The girls kinda took over the conversation. They talked about their school, and their job, and all their activities, but I’ve heard all that shit before and I can tell it wasn’t appealing to Lars. Every time he put them down, gently, of course, the two of ‘em sprang back up to prove themselves. “Oh, I’m the head of some stupid waste-of-time organization, isn’t that great?” Heh. No, no it’s not.

 

God, if I could go back in time, I’d slap myself right then and there for putting up with such boring, stuck-up bitches. You want my honest opinion? You can be stuck-up and not be boring, or you can be boring and not stuck-up about it, but the combination of both is the worst kind of cringe. But Back then? I would have lapped it all up. Eventually, Lars had enough. He told the girls that they should go use the bathroom or something, that he needed a minute to make a phone call. Normally, you’d think these girls would have put on the snark or some shit, but I couldn’t believe it at the time: they just did what he said and went to the bathroom.

 

Then, Lars glared at me, stern-ass look on his face, and told me the words that I will never forget, “Aren’t you bored with this?” He nodded to the bathroom, obviously meaning the girls, then to the rest of the bar. “You know this is all fake right? It’s pretend. It’s all dress up. See the bench, how worn it is?”

 

And how could I not? Shit, I could feel the lumps in the seat.

 

“See the finger marks? The seat was torn up on purpose. The cuts on the fake leather were obviously done by a knife. I know for a fact that the pool tables aren’t level… on purpose. See the graffiti and shit on the table? It’s laminated over. None of this is real, man. It’s all fake and pointless.”

 

And shit, I can never forget what he said next. “No offence, man, but this place has made you a pussy. That’s why you’re unhappy, and don’t even try telling me you are. I can see it in you. Do you even feel it?”

 

Bull’s eye. Right in the heart. That man knew my number, for sure. I told the truth. I told him no, that I wasn’t happy. He said, “What are you looking for?” I had no clue, and said so. “Well, whatever it is, you won’t find it here.” He got up from the table, gave me another handshake, and dropped this on me, “If you ever get tired of this, talk to Sam at the ALGS.” After that, he just… walked off.

 

The girls came back from the bathroom and asked where he’d gone. When I told ‘em, they left too. Well, they gave me some shit excuses but that’s basically what they did. As soon as Lars was gone they bailed too.

 

That night started the little seed of doubt. I went back home to Ft. Lauderdale, went to work the next day and tried to process it all.

 

Maybe I had felt stuff like this in the background all along, and that night kinda opened my eyes to it. Ever since college, shit, even during college, I had just taken my classes because that’s what you do. I got a job as a cashier because you needed a job. I spent my money on going out because that’s what people like me did. What the fuck else was I going to do?

 

Sometimes, when you’re stuck in the suck, you can’t picture yourself ever leaving it. You think, this is all there is. This is all I’ll ever be. You either get used to it, or do something radical, or you just off yourself. Most people get used to it. Me? I eventually realized that I’d be trapped in that cycle on Earth. No job would ever pay me enough to buy a house or start a family, so I didn’t bother trying for it and spent my money on going to bars or whatever. Fifty bucks a night out, twice a weekend, every weekend. Four-hundred dollars a month, nearly five-grand a year, and what did I have to show for it? Nothing.

 

It took a few days, but I realized that Lars was right. This place made me a pussy. It was designed to trap me there, and it would continue to suck the life out of me if I let it.

 

That’s why I decided to say fuck you to Earth. I sold the rest of my stuff, signed my work contract, and bought a ticket off-world. I don’t know yet if it’s gonna pan out. It’s hard living, for sure. But shit, it’s better than before.

 

[I thanked Dan for setting aside his valuable break time to lend me his story. He wished me good luck and asked that I send him an autographed copy, if my writings ever came to publication. I thanked him and wished him good luck. However, before we left, I jokingly asked him if the girls of Asgard were any better than the ones on Earth. His tone changed to serious as he told me that if I was going to learn more about that, then I should talk to a man named Yuri.]

 

*

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“Genders” are now Horoscopes

Have you ever known a friend to be irrationally obsessed with their Myers-Brigs personality type, or their horoscope, or their Taoist element?

 

They do this because they do not know themselves. The hallmark of someone who has no self-concept is the perpetual quest for definition. When asked, “Who are you?”, their mind draws a blank. It stops to process what they truly are, and when they come to know answer, they achieve an existential crisis. “Who am I? I don’t know. What if I’m… nothing?”

 

The answer to the question of “self” has been mulled over by a great many philosophers for thousands of years, and psychologists for hundreds. Most people come to a sense of self that gets them through the day, finding themselves in their accomplishments, experiences, and abilities.

 

“I am a photographer because it is my job. I am a runner because it is my hobby. I’m a musician because I like music.” While these are still outside definitions, they can at least tell us a little about our deep, inner selves: I am the kind of person who has an artistic mind because of my interest in photography. I am the kind of person who values heath, and body, and life, because of my interest in running. I am the kind of person who is intuitive, feeling and creative because of my passion for music. These outside concepts delve into who we are and give us brief glimpses of the core. To the vast majority of people who do these things, self-concept is so miniscule to our waking consciousness that they simply carry on with their lives without a second thought. They simply are who they are.

 

But, there are people who have no self-concept because they have never done anything meaningful. The person who has survived a blizzard knows they are the kind of person that is capable of strength, endurance, combined with a powerful will to live. The ones who have not done such, and have never done anything similar, have no insight. So they reach out to find a definition from the mouths of gurus, the alignments of the stars, or the tests of psychologists, but all these are outside labels prescribed to us from another; they are not revelations from the inside-out.

 

This most recent generation of millennials are the worst of the bunch when it comes to a solid grasp of self-concept. They search for something that defines them, outside of their abilities and contributions, which amount to none.

 

It has gotten so bad that personality traits and horoscopes can’t provide the labels that these young people need. Now, they seek to create whole new genders that more resemble horoscopes than actual masculine, feminine, and miscellaneous behaviors. As you shall soon see, even this is not enough for them.

 

Read through some of these so-called “genders”, generated by the lovely ladies(?) and gentlemen(?) of tumblr. Let me know if you see a reoccurring theme.

 

dumbgenders2

 

dumbgenders1

Man, who comes up with this shit?

 

I’m not done yet. Here are a few more that are worth a good laugh.

 

All finished? Got your chuckles out?

 

So what theme do you see in the vast majority of these genders?

  • Aerogender – Gender that changes by environment.
  • Agenderflux – Where one identifies as agender, except when they don’t [*shrug*].
  • Amicagender – Gender that changes depending on who you’re with.
  • Aquarigender – Gender that’s constantly changing.
  • Cogitogender – A gender that exists only when you think about it.
  • Contigender – A gender that constantly changes, only through space and time.
  • Corugender – A gender that changes in flashbacks.
  • Cosmicgender [my personal favorite] – A gender so vast and complex that you are only able to process it a small bit at a time.
  • Virgender – “A gender identity that feels weakened by stress, to the point where one is nearly genderless.”
  • Xumgender – “Never being satisfied with your gender due to constant self-doubt or identity issues, causing one to compulsively search and seek out something that fits as perfect as possible”

 

That last one hits closest to self-actualization that these people can get. If you haven’t guessed it, the theme is change, because they still can’t make up their fucking minds as to who they are. Of course nothing “feels” right, because nothing is right on the inside.

 

They perceive gender to be some kind of horoscope that they can change at will, but these people are so lacking in self-concept that even when they get the chance to create their own gender it becomes something so obtuse as to become meaningless and, in the end, defines nothing. A gender that changes based on… well… anything, is not a gender; it’s called mood, but they don’t know that. They’ll keep creating new genders and new stupid flags, and new disorders, and new otherkin, and new headmates if it somehow, in some way, gives them a clue as to “who they really are”. They’ll flock to anything if it eases their existential breakdown and next week it’ll change again as they “rediscover” themselves. For every step forward, they take one step back. They can change the label all they want and it won’t fix the ignorance within.

 

This is different than the person who looks at a horoscope and says, “Yeah, that seems like me,” or the person who turns to tarot cards for guidance in brief times of confusion. Truly, the tumblrinas are so lost that conventional definitions don’t work. Not even their own definitions work.

 

Self-concept is the single most important element in attaining true in self-confidence. It’s needed to judge our worth and to feel out our rightful place in this world. No one knows who we truly are when we enter this world, but we make our best guess by trying on different hats, working on our abilities, and seeking out various experiences which eventually, we hope, let us know who we are. The perpetual confusion of genderfluid tumblrinas is what happens when you keep a toddler in a crib until they’re 18 then kick them off to liberal arts college. At this rate, they will never achieve anything, experience a happy life, or feel the comfort of knowing their true selves. They will remain pathetic, neurotic pansies until they day they die, and history will forget an entire generation.

 

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