It’s the 21st of September, 2016.
When I see something like this:
I start clicking. That’s when I found:
WCCB is reporting a few people tried to put a news photographer into a flaming trashcan and police came to his aid
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) September 22, 2016
Time out. Stop the Music. What the F***?
First off, I hope you’re reading this somewhere safe. I can’t imagine I have to say that now, but I see we have a lot of visitors from all over the world these days. So, take a break from whatever unsafe activity it is…put your head down, dry your powder off, burn one (or vape – I’d really prefer you vape, but hey – I’m easy). I need to try to figure out where the train went off the tracks, and I usually seem like I do that best at a keyboard.
— Rob McNeece (@akula_51) September 22, 2016
I make no secret of who I am and what I believe in – yet I have friends and allies all over the place, and from all corners of various political persuasions. Conservatives. Progressives. Probably a Socialist or two. Many “countries of origin”. Shitloads of different container pigmentations.
I live much of my social life online, so honestly I never notice.
I worked three-plus-year gig where I literally spent two days on-site. I’ve supervised a team of EDI folks in Pune, India from my couch. I went to Australia to sell software to Phillip Morris. Went to Milan and sold more to some banks. This whole concept of giving a shit about different races or that they perform tasks differently or shit, whatever – it’s alien to me (as long as HR has their shit together). The person on the other end of the IM or phone may be wearing a burka, or listening to Three Six Mafia, or idk – it doesn’t matter. We have our conference call or otherwise interact as sentient beings and life goes on. It’s hilarious because so many words in a technical conversation just don’t translate, so I usually always caught every third or fourth word – they were just usually coming from different directions…lol
So it is really foreign to me to see that the idiot box is saying we’re a nation of violent racist thugs just killing each other practically twenty-four by seven.
That’s not America. I know it’s not.
The rest of the world is scared shitless that it really is.
This post has a theme
This post, this trip, this whole next few months (or longer or shorter – who knows…lol) has a Theme. I’m a huge fan of a band from Southern California called the Offspring. Back when I drank, inevitably the subject of the largest selling independent record of all time would come up. They own that honor…lol Don’t worry – Slayer will be making an appearance as well.
Well..later – specifically in 1998 – Offspring did an album called Americana. That album is Eighteen years old, and I’d like to take a look around at America here for this album’s nineteenth year. Sounds absolutely crazy, right?
Well, pull up a phone and let me explain…:)
It all starts with the Intro for the CD…
Welcome to Amer-uh-cana.
Please make your selection followed by the pound sign now.
Is that symptomatic of our current plight or what? I know, it’s probably very ironic that anyone looking at this is probably alone – but we’re really disconnected as a society anymore. That allows folks to easily assume either the best or the worst about any other set of folks. We’re disconnected, so we don’t know – but as long as it’s plausible, social media give us a relief valve that lets us say “Yeah! Me too! +1 x1 !!! Etc. YoLo”.
Everyone has always had this, some folks sing in their cars. Some people do it in the shower. Some folks do it with friends. Some people do it in a house. Some people do it with a mouse. Pardon that, but Dr. Seuss was ironically a fraternity brother of mine.
What social media allows folks to do is take that relief valve and connect it with a whole lot of other such valves, terminating an a giant empty void. You may have heard of these voids – they’re known as “echo chambers”. Each new valve is a slightly different kind of liquid – some of these mix and some of these don’t…but they are all open letting their contents flow into the echo chamber.
At first – it’s awesome. People see the water building up at the bottom of the vessel. They maybe scoop a few cups out and then feel great. We appreciate instant gratification. Wow, we’re making a difference. I mean – damn, there’s actually water down there. We’re getting rid of it. Whoa, that person just fell…lol. That dog’s wet. I need to get my camera. Life goes on.
And the next squirrel grabs their attention. There were a zillion different theories about President Obama’s eligibility that made the rounds. A zillion different theories on this or that – most of them less than plausible. Many of them purely imaginary. A few of them downright psychotic. And yet there we all were talking about them. When we all should have just been having an open dialogue – no colors – no race – no parties – on what a shitty, disengaged President he was. As was Bush (though not quite as disengaged). No, we had the relative safety of our echo chambers to retreat to and channel our rage.
— Montel Williams (@Montel_Williams) September 22, 2016
Now…these are really large chambers, and their size expands infinitely with the amount of space available. So it doesn’t matter, in theory the container for this echo chamber can always contain the rage within – it’s a nice place for folks to go vent, then they can get back on with their lives. It’s like I understand our universe to be – expanding as far as I know ad infinitem. Not something I worry much about. My bubble never pops, I have Slayer to listen to…lol
At some point, some of these echo chambers were really known to have been about legitimate issues. The IRS targeting conservatives. This whole e-mail Server distraction Ms. Clinton is dealing with. Benghazi. What Trump said about a wall in Mexico. Syria. This John Doe thing in Wisconsin. Bad Cops. Clinton Foundation.
Some (well, most) of this was of course immediately dismissed as conspiracy theory by the media. After all, if it was getting reported by bloggers and turned out to be more accurate and actually reflective of reality – WTF. Narrative Status: In Peril. It’s not in the best interest of the Corporate “Mainstream Media” (MSM) to grow this community of citizen journalists that were present in a few of these echo chambers. So they suppress whenever possible (thanks, Facebook), manipulate search results (thanks, Google) and just otherwise screw with stuff at levels above where most of America’s mind is – “I wonder if the milk in the refrigerator is still good.”
The media is more than happy to report about it. It gives (some of) them a chance to inject their agenda directly into a mind trying to learn new things. It’s perfect stuff. My wife and I are like…this all makes no sense. We both chat with folks all over the country and world. We are both active and engaged on social media – both in the blogosphere as well as on the big sites. We’re both confused. We see what has happened during #DNCLeak, #DNCLeaks, #DCLeaks, and of course some of the things coming our of Wikileaks…it’s pretty obvious all my paranoid blather back in 2013-2014 was correct by the way. A chunk of the mainstream media flat-out at this point is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party – or vice versa. All we’re arguing about is the size of what they own. Same goes for the other creeps too, by the way. I pull no punches.
— Rob McNeece (@akula_51) December 3, 2014
We’re both going to go get to the bottom of some of this bullshit…these social media echo chambers seem like all of a sudden, they are being constrained – and we’re seeing chaos all over the place. Our new neighbors from al-Qaeda may be behind every lamp post. Agitators are pulling off Fergusons wherever possible (justified or not). There are First Degree Murder charges being filed against bad cops. All of this is leading to critical pressure in a whole lot of echo chambers.
— Rob McNeece (@akula_51) September 21, 2016
They’re just another bubble – and bubbles always pop. Stock market bubbles pop. Real estate market bubbles pop. Social media echo chamber bubbles pop. All violently – but there’s always someone or some entity profiting.
Thus, the Americana Road Trip 2016 was born
Two years ago, after the project I was working on finished falling apart (for my team), my wife and I spent two weeks on the road. This of course was the Maryland Connection (Maryland’s initial PP/ACA implementation) – I was kinda on one of the salvage teams that was trying to recover data from the broken HIX. It was Big Road Trip 2014 and one of those great and necessary head-clearing experiences after such a chaotic year. I’m sure I will link to a lot of the pictures and what-not during this upcoming trip, since undoubtedly we will cross paths and get to see a few of those places again.
Larry “Bud” Mehlman will even make an appearance and Tie It All Together folks – I promise
We’re going to do that again, this time with the puppies. For a while. That’s going to mean a trailer/fifth-wheel or a Class III motorhome, we’re not entirely sure what direction we’re going in yet. But we’re coming. And we want to see it all. We want to know if what we think (America is a great place with some bad stuff going on here and there) matches reality.
It will be documented…:)
This time we aren’t even sure we’re coming back (that’s in a song on this album too)…haha
The theme of the trip of course is Americana, so I need to present the lyrics here:
Well i’d like to tell you all about my dream, it’s a place
Where strip malls abound and diversion’s mere moments away
Where culture’s defined by the
Ones least refined
And you’ll be left behind
If you don’t fit in
It’s all distorted
In americana my way
Well my dream has come true
My vision has come true
I’m sorry – but if that doesn’t describe the state of our nation, I don’t know what does. This album came out in 1998, mind you. I feel like this is true – but my wife and I would like to really be sure. So, we’re coming to your town. Or somewhere. We’re not sure where yet, but we’re coming.
Now give me my cable, fast food, four-by’s, tat’s right away
I want it right now cause my generation don’t like to wait
My future’s determined by
Thieves, thugs, and vermin
It’s quite an excursion
But it’s okay
In americana my way
Well my dream has come true
My vision has come true
That is definitely where we find ourselves as I feel. “Future’s determined…” line is so prescient it hurts…and that was 18 years ago.
I’m a product
Of my environment
So don’t blame me, i just work here
I have to toss a disclaimer in here – Clerks is one of my favorite movies so there will be a quote or two upcoming for sure. We didn’t have to make it our national sentiment. Cognitive dissonance didn’t have to become our national pastime. Is America really that far gone?
My rights are denied by
Those least qualified
Trading profit for pride
But it’s okay
In americana my way
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) September 13, 2016
You’ll have to excuse my friend Representative Thomas Massie – he will be featured as our next “Follow This Friend” selectee (number 5)…that’s something of a commercial (and his latest tweet). Our Government. Corporations. The Media. More Government. Public Servants. Why do people keep getting away with this stuff? Why do we keep electing forces that tighten the noose around our necks? How is it all reasonably well documented within this Offspring Album? All of the answers are forthcoming…:)
My nightmare has come true
My nightmare has come true
Yeah, it’s all coming true
JUANITO OLIVA, LUIS PEREZ, JORGE STRUZ
LYRICS © IRAZU PUBLISHING
So that’s our plan – we have no plan. We’re going to be mobilizing shortly. We are pretty sure we’re heading West first, and also reasonably certain we will continue liking warm places, that does somewhat exclude hanging out in Minnesota this Winter.
I know relative nobodies like us can observe. We can document. We can report. We can let everyone know what we see. We can influence (I’ll show a great example of that tomorrow), we can infiltrate (many examples of this over the years), and we can document and report. Asymmetrical Social Media Engagement. A new kind of getting connected.
We’re not going Galt, we’re going Kuralt.
We’re going to be meeting people. We’re going to be hanging out. We’re going to be moving on, and meeting more folks. Much of this odyssey will be just like it was on Big Road Trip 2014, when we found out about and discovered the Colorado National Monument or the South Dakota Air & Space Museum – neither of which we knew existed until we either asked someone or saw a sign.
We will definitely be seeing you soon…:)
If you have ideas on great places you want to hear about that don’t involve Armored Fighting Vehicles or Arctic Warfare gear, please comment. I know a lot of friends we’re going to be hitting already – and you can find some of the things we saw last time here, but we’re always looking for new adventures – and my lovely wife always likes to try a new microbrew…:)
But much more importantly…
How does all of this disconnect make YOU feel? You know what to do below, friends…:)