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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Shooting the antifa protest.

Antifa has pretty much been out of the news lately.  When it became apparent that their violent antics were only serving to make the Democrats look bad, I'd guess that their ready supply of money was shut off and they were told to sit down and only speak when spoken to.

For several weeks, they've been announcing a huge, nationwide protest to take place on November 4th - the one year anniversary of Donald Trump's election.  Their only talking point:  That the "Trump/Pence Regime Must End!"  They have no apparent plan for replacing it, and no apparent awareness of how the reins of political leadership are transferred in America, just that they're pissed off that Hillary lost the election, and they want everyone to know it.

I decided to go to the Atlanta protest, because if it truly was going to be a history-making event, I wanted to be there to witness it.  And, if possible, to do my own little bit to record it for posterity.  The following is my experience.

It started with just a couple tables with maybe 8 protesters. They were giving out postcards with their flyer printed on them.  So far, it was a huge nothingburger. There were more street vendors than protesters. 

The organizers were very adamant at the outset that the rally had "'rules" and that violence, weapons, and drug use were against the "rules". To their credit (partly), there was no violence. I don't know about weapons - I was certainly armed. I did smell the sweet herb burning before everything got started. The presence of a couple dozen cops may have kept that to a minimum. If I had to guess, there were maybe a hundred fifty people there in total. Probably a third were protesters, another third onlookers, and the last third were news, bloggers, and people like me who were just there to be witness to the event. Kinda of like NASCAR - you don't go JUST to see a bad crash, and you don't hope for one out loud... but it would make your day a whole lot more exciting. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. Walking up to the event, I saw this poster plastered on a pole. 

I'm not sure who the guy is, but I know antifa hates him. I expected to see a lot more hate from the crowd than I did, and I was very surprised at that. 

There was a strange woman acting as a Trump impersonator. She was handing out business cards, though, so I don't think she was part of the protest - I think she was just trying to drum up business. 

There actually were a couple Trump supporters on the edge of the crowd. This guy was one of them. I have to give him props - he stayed to the bitter end. 

 The first ten minutes consisted of the organizers playing music with a heavy bass beat over their crappy speaker, and leading the small crowd in a chant of "Fuck Trump!" on the back beat. That got old really quickly, but seemed to go on forever. At first, people were enthusiastically shouting "Fuck Trump!" with the organizers, but after a few minutes, the shouts just sort of faded into the general ambiance. The three organizers all made short speeches - I wasn't really paying attention to their words. Just looking for decent-looking photos to take. When it started sprinkling, most people headed for doorways of shops . Only a cadre of maybe three dozen hard-core stayed out in the rain. 

A small group of Trump supporters did come marching in, with an American flag leading the way. I didn't get a good shot of them because I had my camera tucked away from the rain and as soon as they showed up, the cops converged and hustled them away. I lost track - I don't know if they got arrested, but I doubt it. It was all over incredibly quickly. By the time I got my camera out, this is all I could see. 

When it became apparent that the rain had settled in to stay, the decided to go ahead and have their little parade anyway. It was a sad little affair. I'm sure they imagined hundreds and hundreds of anti-Trump soldiers displaying a huge show of force as they marched down the sidewalk, across the road, and back again. The weather just was not their friend. 

The guy with the Info Wars sign marched with them the entire way. Dude was a trouper. 

As for myself, I stayed out of the political dialog until the very end. I happened to tuck into a doorway with a male/female photographer team and as we stood there wondering if it was all over, she began lamenting that she "can't believe it's been a whole year since that disaster!" 

I replied, "Well, it could be worse. Could've been Hillary that got elected." 

BAM. It was on like Donkey Kong. Honestly, I didn't mean for it to happen. I was only there to take pictures. I swear it. He said that she had honestly been in a severe state of clinical depression since the election, and was just now starting to get over it. I remarked that I just don't understand all the hate for Trump. She started railing about how Trump was such a failure. I asked what he had failed at. She answered, "Well, what has he gotten done since he's been in office? Nothing! name one piece of legislation he's gotten accomplished!" 

In the sake of brevity, I'll just say that we discussed the Uranium One deal, the Clinton Foundation's financial practices, and the obstructionism of the entire government against the president. She said, "You have all three branches of government, and Trump still can't get things done! He's got every Republican behind him, and he still can't..." 

I interrupted, "All Republicans? Apparently, you haven't been listening to any speeches made by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, or Lindsey Graham..." 

She snorted, "You're an idiot!" and walked out into the rain. 

Her husband/boyfriend/whatever stayed game. He dared me, "Name one piece of legislation Trump has gotten passed." 

"Does the President write legislation?" I asked. 

"Well, he signs it." 

"But does the President author legislation?" 

"No, but..." 

"Then if the Republicans, and Democrats, acting in concert, refuse to author any legislation he's asked for, and refuse to give him anything to sign, what's he supposed to do?" 

He huffed at me, spat, "You're an idiot!" and followed his wife/girlfriend/whatever out into the rain. 

A couple of 20-ish guys that were standing there listening, agreed with me. They said, "Well, I guess we can go home. Looks like nobody's going to get pepper sprayed." Turns out, they were only there hoping that the protesters would get froggy and start something, and get their asses handed to them by the Atlanta PD. 

Like NASCAR, you don't necessarily WANT shit to go down, but if it does, you want to be there to see it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Wow, it's been a long time.

I just realized how long it's been since I posted last.  Been busy just living life.  I guess when you have a busy life, and you're into a variety of other things, you don't have as much time to sit and reminisce.

One of the things that's been keeping me busy is this photography course I've been taking.  It's a ten-week course, for beginning photographers.  I'm not exactly a beginner, but I've never had any real professional instruction, either.  The instructor is a professional photographer that teaches classes like this in his spare time. 

Steve Shaefer

Each week, we go over a different aspect of photography, and we have an assignment to carry out.  We have to take photos that fit the theme of the class, and then we critique them the following week.  I'll try and go over the lessons we were taught.  The first week, we learned the basic function of the camera.  We talked about things like shutter speed, aperture, lens focal length, and how they all affect the actual photo.  The assignment was macro photography.  We all had some in-class time to practice getting really close to whatever objects were close in the room, and shooting them.  Then, we all went home and did some of our own macro shoots.  Here are some of mine:

I think, for the most part, they came out really well.  Let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

I was surfing through some random websites and I came across a site with stories of people being nude in public.  Personally, I think it should be legal, as long as your behavior isn't endangering anyone or being a health risk to others.  I don't even care about offending people because you know what?  People who go through life looking to be offended are going to be offended by something, no matter how trivial or trite.  I was reminded of something I did years ago.  

I was all alone in the house.  I lived on a large amount of land - you couldn't even see my house from the road except for a small area directly at the end of the driveway.  

View from the street.  When we lived there, we had no gate across the driveway.

It was very secluded, and if I was going to be doing something dirty and not dangerous, I loved doing it in the nude because:

A.  I knew that there was almost no chance of someone seeing me.
B.  When I was done, I could just jump in the shower and clean up.

Since I was alone, I was out enjoying the sunshine.  Not doing anything, just sitting, and being at peace.  I saw what I thought was a fox down near the middle of the driveway.  We had seen foxes and even coyotes before; our dogs always chased them off.  The dogs were inside, though, and I wanted to see if I could get some nice pics of the fox.  I got up, trying to be stealthy, and sneaked down the drive.  He heard me coming, though, and ran off.  It was then that I noticed how close I was to the street and I decided to see how much closer I could get before my nerves failed me.

I sneaked even closer.  I don't know why I was trying to be sneaky - there was nobody within a few hundred yards who could have heard me, it just seemed the thing to do.  I got almost to the end, and had to stop because my heart was thumping so.

I'm only ten or twenty yards from the street at this point.
I heard a soft whirring noise, growing louder.  A car was coming.  My heart started thumping louder.  I had no idea who was coming, or how fast they were going.  I did know, however, that when you're driving down this road, you really have to pay attention to what you're doing.  There are too many twists and turns; if you're not watching the road, you'll end up in the ditch.  Because of that, I felt there was little or no chance of being spotted.  And as far as I know, I was right.

The car just "whooshed" on past.
The car just sped on by, probably not even knowing that I was there.  I stood still for a few long minutes, while my heart steadied and my breathing calmed.  No more cars drove by.  I wanted to go further. Not for any particular purpose other than just to say that I did.  I listened closely for cars, bicyclists, people on horseback, random backpackers... I heard nobody.  I crept further.  Finally, I just told myself to go ahead and get it over with.  I strode cautiously out to the road.  I felt like my head was on a swivel, constantly turning to and fro.  I was keenly aware of the breeze as it ruffled through the leaves, the bird noises, small animals scurrying in the underbrush.  It seemed to take hours, in reality it was only a few seconds.  I was at the road!

Luckily nobody appeared.
I don't know how long I dared to stand there, looking around.  It could have only been a few seconds.  In a short while, I thought I was tempting fate and turned back, returning to the safety of the wooded yard.  Sometimes, I think of that day.  Not often. It takes something to remind me of it.  It was a good day.  It was a peaceful day.  When I think of it, I wish I could re-live it.  I don't think there's ever been a day when I've been as much at peace since.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I've been having an interesting time.

I know, I haven't posted in a while.

Life gets in the way.  If you have a life, it does at any rate.  Work is workfull, to the point that when I get home, I just want to sit, say "fuck it", and have a drink.  I just had to post this today.

I found a new soul-mate - well, I wish.  I'm pretty sure she's spoken for.  I only stumbled upon her YouTube channel by accident.  She's bright, pretty, well-spoken, and I think that she's pretty level-headed.  She holds mostly conservative values, going against family, friends, and peer pressure.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Candace Owens, aka Red Pill Black Girl.

She's one of those rare individuals that seems to operate mostly on common sense and figuring shit out rather than just relying on what the people around her are telling her.  She calls the media out (which is spot on) for pushing phony narratives just to stir people up.  She doesn't rely on the news outlets to tell her what to believe - she finds out what the facts are and makes up her own mind on what to believe.

Damn, but that's an admirable trait.

Years ago, I had some friends tell me to start listening to Rush Limbaugh.  "He's fantastic!" they said.  "He tells it like it is!" then went on to say.  They gushed about how he was saying everythign they would have said, if they had the wit to say it.  So I said, Sure, I'll give him a shot.

On my first day of listening, Rush went on a diatribe about something, I don't remember what.  But he's got an interesting way about him.  He'll play a sound bite, somebody giving a speech, relaying talking points, then he'll abruptly shut off the playback and say, "Now let me tell you what he really said..."   Then he'll proceed to twist the person's words around until they mean the exact opposite of what they said.  The  capper for me was when Rush said (paraphrased),  "You don't have to listen to all these speeches - I listen to them for you.  You don't have to think for yourselves, I'll do the thinking for you.  You don't have to worry about making up your own mind, I'll tell you want to think..."

He lost me.  I prefer to make up my OWN damn mind, thanks.  And apparently this is a trait that the beautiful Ms. Owens and I have in common.  Damn, I'd love to meet her.  Sure, I know that she'd have nothing to do with me, but hey... a man can dream, can't he?


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Erin Smith: Gun Hero of the Day

Excerpts taken from The Truth About Guns.

The one website that I frequent most by far is a firearm-related website:  It was originally started as a bulletin board focusing on the AR-15 style rifle.  It has since morphed into something else.  It's a community.  A town.  It has its town cops, its town leaders, even its town drunks.  But mostly, it has its members - a strange bunch of men and women that mostly bond together over their love of, or fascination with, firearms.  Not only AR-15s, mind you - there are sections now for all kinds of guns.  But it's still  Familiarly known by its members as "arfcom."

One of those members is a woman named Erin Smith.  Her avatar photo is of her, dressed up as a sexy pirate.  She's fended off many attempts and offers from newcomers to the site, and it's understandable why: Whether as a pirate, or in her normal attire, Erin is quite a fetching person.

 For the longest time, Erin kept quite a secret.  I don't know what finally made her reveal this secret - I've never met her, and she's never opened her inner being to me - but what a secret it was.  When she finally did tell it, it caused quite a commotion on arfcom.

Erin was born a man.

Since she came out, she's faced both praise and ridicule, scorn and respect.  It can't be easy being a transgender person in a community filled with conservative, right-wing, mostly Christian rednecks.  But Erin has a bravery that I don't think I could ever match.

Let's let her tell it in her own words:

         To be a gun-owning, conservative trans woman living in the leftist mecca of San Francisco is to exist as an apparent contradiction, and the incredulous reactions I get whenever I find myself discussing politics are an endless reminder of that fact.
          How can I stand with people that seek to interfere with my life by denying me legal recognition and enshrining discrimination? That fight to keep me from using the correct bathroom? That seem to ignore my inherent worth as a person?
          These are just some of the queries I have fielded, and to be frank in the beginning they actually sounded halfway reasonable and originating from legitimate concern. And while my political compass has always pointed right, I will freely admit the needle occasionally wavered when I pondered these things.
                But living in a swirling nexus of ever-intensifying leftist political violence has exposed the deceit, and watching right-leaning friends be assaulted while attending political rallies, some shunned by their social circles, and others cowed from openly expressing even moderately diverging opinions has only intensified my feelings.  

          It quickly became clear that Leftist talking points aimed at my demographic only tempt when stripped of context, and a more holistic view illuminated their moral hollowness and intellectual bankruptcy.
          The Left warns us of bigoted evangelicals, while excusing Islamic radicals and ignoring transphobic rhetoric from radical feminists.
          They promise bathrooms and baked cakes, and destroy property rights and objective law. They give tolerance and preferred pronouns, and crush dialogue and muzzle free expression. They tell us “our body our choice,” then seek to deny us the means to protect either the body or the choice. They demand our pistols in exchange for platitudes, then have the audacity to feel entitled to our vote.
          I won’t try to pretend the Right is perfect, because it isn’t. But in my case there’s been a surprising open-mindedness and intrinsic recognition of my individuality that I’ve never consistently seen from the Left, manifested from people and places I never expected like the gun community.
          As a regular student in firearms training classes and a member of several gun-centric discussion forums, I’m fully aware the gun community has a decided rightward tilt.
          That fact, combined with Leftist rhetoric about the endemic intolerance I could expect if I tried to live openly, left me briefly considering just walking away instead of risking the vitriol.
          But I decided to stay, partly due to pure stubbornness , but also a suspicion the apparent hostility on the Right was mostly reactionary.
          What I quickly noticed was the manner conservatives responded when approached with a modicum of courtesy and respect. Sure there were a sprinkling of obnoxious reactions, but most were more than happy to reciprocate; many in fact later admitted my calm and measured responses to the haters as being a huge factor in changing their minds.
          But even with the ones that told me they didn’t agree with my transition, they often were at least courteous about disagreeing, along with freely admitting I had the right to do it.
          In the end, what I appreciated most was the fact the positive reactions had to be real; there was nothing for them to gain by being supportive, no frowning SJW to avoid, ready to shriek at the slightest breach of the Narrative.
          They were seeing me as a complex individual with many facets, and even if there might be one or two aspects they disagreed with, they were more than willing to overlook them in favor of the majority they respected.
          I contrast with the Left, where multiple times I’ve witnessed even a minor digression from orthodoxy suffice to be cast into outer darkness. In hindsight, so much I was told ended up being posture and artifice.
          This experience is exemplified by my recent experience at a Portland free speech rally. We departed the event location in a group for protection from Antifa violence, but they still followed us hurling insults and threats.
          The scene was actually bizarre and illuminating; a racially mixed group of free speech advocates, with two transgender members and multiple blacks, hispanics, and at least one Samoan, stalked and subjected to loud accusations of being white supremacists and Nazis by a masked and menacing, almost exclusively white group uniformly dressed in black. They gave no indication they comprehended the irony.
          To sum it up, neither side is perfect for me. But there’s only one side that displays concern for the Western civilization that makes my current life and very existence possible, supports my right to access tools to protect myself, and doesn’t seem interested in using political violence to trap me on their voting plantation, humanity and individuality denied me and reduced to a posing dummy. That’s really no choice at all.

I'm proud to say that I know her, even across a divide as great as the entire internet.  She's a fine reflection on what it means to be a gun owner, to be a great role model, and to be, above all else, American.  Some would confine her to a mental hospital to "cure" her of her "sickness".  Others would order her jailed until she decides that she no longer wants to be "a disturbance".   Followers of Islam would hurl her off the top of a tall building or burn her alive in a cage filled with gasoline.  Many Christians would want to see her cast out from society, a pariah.  
Me - I want to buy her a beer, and give her my thanks.  I'd thank her for being honest about who she is.  I'd thank her for standing up to her oppressors and detractors.  I'd thank her for telling the world that there's room in the firearms world for everyone - no matter what color, or gender, or sexual orientation you are.  And I'd hope that some little bit of her courage rubbed off on me.  We could all stand to be a little more like her.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I can't touch the sun.

Jesus, I just cried.  What the fuck?

Update on the tennis stadium.

I guess I'm too late.

Demolition of Gwinnett’s derelict Olympic tennis venue starts today

The demolition of Gwinnett County’s derelict Olympic tennis venue will begin this afternoon — at least in a ceremonial sense.
Officials from the county, the Evermore Community Improvement District and the Stone Mountain Memorial Association will gather Tuesday afternoon at the Stone Mountain Tennis Center, the arena that’s fallen into disrepair since being built and used for Atlanta’s 1996 Summer Olympics.