Beyond the Comfort Zone

As a person which has traveled around the world, I have created a lot of tolerance for many unexpected situations. I would forgive anyone for believing that there isn’t much which could faze me or even take me out of my comfort zone. How I wish this were true though.  The fact is that there are a lot of situations that can still make me rather uncomfortable, yet instead of actively avoiding these, I seek to confront them instead. After all, as the great Dr. Albert Ellis said in vivo desensitization requires a degree risk-taking behaviors, and in my case this means stepping outside into social scenarios.

When people think of sailors the typical image they have in mind is rough and tough, trash talking, beer guzzling men of the sea.

Something along the following lines:

Drinkers with sailing problems.
Drinkers with sailing problems.

But, you would be amazed at the vast amount of diversity that this group of less than 10% of the population in the United States of American contains. We aren’t all party hardy individuals, and this especially applies to me.

I do not consider myself a socially awkward person, nor an anti-social one. However, For me the mystical embrace of a loving family and a good book is all I require to be at peace. We all seek the things that bring us peace, and why shouldn’t we? After all, if we could constantly seek happiness the world would be a much brighter place. But, without adversity there is no growth, and as the years have passed, I have come to accept that the boundaries of my comfort zone will only serve to inhibit potential.

I hate scenarios where it is expected to drink, or socialize with people who are barely known. I hate going to places where it is expected to rely on others or that they have to rely on me (such as being a designated driver). Yet, I actively seek to participate in these scenarios for more than a few reasons. A part of me understands that these are social norms which are appreciated in society, and if I am to become a well-rounded individual then they must be sought. We can’t limit ourselves to our comfort zone constantly for it is inside of it that we grow complacent. By stepping outside of my happy place, I am allowing myself to understand on a grander scale the vastness which our tiny planet holds. The comfort zone should be the place you go to seek solace, not the place in which you remain constantly. Stagnation after all is the enemy of progress.

Stagnation is what we face when we refuse to admit to ourselves that perhaps we are too limited. But, why is it that we humans do this? I believe it is because life can be so stressful that we are almost pathologically inclined to seek things that make us feel good quickly. This could be the reason why some individuals seek drugs, sex, and other items which bring quick relief to an otherwise aggravating life. For some of us we choose to remain in the comfort zone simply because it’s all that we know. Change is never easy and as I’ve stated in the past being forced to alter your life (such as by moving) so often brings about a sleuth of anxieties which can be extremely detrimental to a person’s mental well-being. However, I wouldn’t change my decisions for the world. I understand why I’m actively seeking to place myself outside my comfort zone.

When I go out with acquaintances, co-workers, distant friends; I am provided with an opportunity to learn about these individuals. I am given a chance to understand their own plights, fears, fragments of their personality which aren’t apparent at work, dreams, hopes, goals, and a million other aspects that wouldn’t be seen otherwise. I have a chance to bond with another human being who could even be feeling the same way as I am (dreading a social situation and simply facing it with a steeled heart). Because of this, I am given an opportunity which otherwise would not exist. People are amazing creatures, we are capable of adapting to so many situations and circumstances which we have the full option of avoiding, and yet we can seek to do them. Fear, loathing, and distaste should never hamper our ability to grow because by stepping beyond the comfort zone we learn what it truly means to be human.

And while I will never be this guy, I would certainly love to hear what the situation behind this picture was.
And while I will never be this guy, I would certainly love to hear what the situation behind this picture was.

**Pictures belong to their respective owners**

***This blog is copyright of the owner***

Also guys, sorry that my posting has slowed down, I have been working on a project with a friend of mine and we are trying to decide if we will use this as a means to post updates on it still. I have also been busy with school and I leave to Japan in approximately a few weeks.

The Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave

America the so-called land of the free. But, isn’t that an ironic name for the land with the largest population of prison inmates? A land where you are free to be yourself as long as it fits “my” definition of what is normal. These definitions which are based on: bias, prejudice, obsolete laws, and an outdated book. A place where being offended by topics such as sex-ed, rape, victimization are enough to claim harassment or even sentence another to jail. We call ourselves, America the land of the free and home of the brave, but are we truly so?

I say no, we are instead America the home of the victims. Where the media and social justice warriors control the masses. A land that preaches equality as long as it favors the individual instead of benefiting the whole. Where misinformation is spread as facts, and used as a shield for controversy.  Where the life of an animal is considered more important than the lives of our brothers and sisters in Africa who endure countless losses at the hands of these beasts.  Where fear is our king and money is our god; only those with affluence matter. We call ourselves the home of freedom, yet fail to realize that we are still enslaved.

We are enslaved to oppression. We live chasing a dream that ceased to be real many moons ago. We break our backs for those who don’t care about the circumstance of our plight. We sell our souls, values, and self-worth in order to please those who could not care less about your life. We place a higher emphasis on appearances than we do on self-fulfillment. The land where you can pretend to be rich, as long as you can pay your credit-card bill. It doesn’t matter if you spend the rest of your lives paying for the son of a rich banker’s college tuition as far as it is done in monthly installments of minimum payments.

This is the land where the rich hate the poor, the poor hates the rich, and those in between are hated by all. Where the middle class pays for the wages of both rich and poor with nary an opportunity to move ahead in life. Get an education they say, but with tuition prices these days you’ll be enslaving yourself once more. Jealousy is the law of the land, if you’re not green with envy then you are wrong. Where a credit score and history are akin to your worth as a human being, and three companies can dictate whether the house you always dreamed of is a reality or a fantasy. A million is a statistic they say, but the word of one person is enough to lead another towards ruination. Yet, the plights of many go unheard everyday. The brothers and sisters we have overseas are hated because they represent a cause we do not agree with. They live their lives in fear from a world that doesn’t care, yet we are free to do so. However, as a brilliant man once said “with great power, comes great responsibility”. Yet, we shun our responsibility in favor of causes that hold no bearing towards the greater good.

America is stuck. Stuck in a state of falsehood where the voices of those who are trying to once again awaken the sleeping giant which was once feared and respected throughout the world are silenced by a multitude of sheep. Those who go against the norm are treated as outcast in a society that once claimed pride in its diversity. Where you could make it big as long as you were willing to work for it. But, that’s not the reality we live in. We live in the America that has fallen from the pedestal, that is considered a laughing-stock around the world for their  antiquated education systems, and war mongering ways. We live in the America that has become complacent, and lazy.

But, there is still hope for America. We are down, but we are not out of the fight just yet. We can once again rise to the top, and become a nation worthy of its self-proclaimed status as home of the brave. An America that is intellectually forward, which is inclusive to all in need. The America that his citizens need, but it can’t do it alone. We the people need to step in and help. We need to pull our weight in order to make everything that has gone wrong with our country right once again. At this time we the people need to put aside our differences as we did in 9/11, and join arms as brothers as sisters once more. We are not each others enemies. We are in fact our greatest potential allies, yet we need to set our differences aside to find the middle-ground, and compromise in order to finally fulfill the needs of the many, instead of the sensitivities of the few. As humans we are born with limitless potential, but we squander it in frivolous things. It is time that we took ownership of our lives, and live up to the responsibilities that our power truly brings. When we break from those chains of ignorance that bind us, then we shall be truly free.

Only then, can we once again be proud to call ourselves  “The Land of The Free, and The Home of the Brave”

*Pictures Belong to their respective Owners*

**This blog is copyright of the author**

Warm Welcome to Vampireroyal

Readers, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to a fellow up and coming blogger, she’s Vampireroyal, and she has recently started blogging actively. She’s only had a few post so far, but with time her collection of articles will grow and I don’t doubt it shall be magnificent.  I’m not going to bore you guys with the detail, but here is her page:

https://vampireroyal.wordpress.com/

This is also my favorite post from her blog:

https://vampireroyal.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/6/

Go take a look if you want it will really make my day, and as always Dash The Bomber signing out.

The Bonds we share with the Virtual World Pt.2

***When I wrote the first part of the article, it left me with a nagging feeling. I guess it was because the feelings that wanted to be conveyed in the message were incomplete, due to the fact that most articles on this page are kept to a certain amount of words (1200-1500 without counting the extra bits at the end). So I decided to extend this article and explain in 2 separate ones what each type of character represents. Part one of the article will include the parts of characters who have predetermined personalities, and this one will handle the characters that are seemingly blank spaces.***

Seriously though, if you haven’t read it you should read the first part: https://swashbucklingsailor.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/the-bonds-we-share-with-the-virtual-world/

While, the video presented in the first part of this article shed some light on the characters that we love and cherish for being who they are. Fleshed out individuals with goals and dreams, who we want to help accomplish. This left a severely under-appreciated position in the characters of whose personalities were more like blank slates waiting to be fulfilled. Now, you might be wondering if I’m referring to characters from series like Skyrim, Fallout or even Mass Effect where you’re the one in charge of determining a personality. But, you’d be surprise because I’m not. I’m referring actually to characters that have even less personality than a piece of wood, but are nonetheless important to us. These characters might be from MMO’s, adventure series such as Monster Hunter, and even games like Minecraft.

Part of me recognizes that while these characters do at least have one of the traits mentioned in the video, they aren’t enough to justify how close our attachment is to them . This is what led me to try to devise my own reasoning for how we can connect with them. Humans are complex creatures after all, and we don’t really need a specific reason to act the way we do. Sometimes it is just part of being who we are, that allows us to fill in the voids that these characters have in order to complete them. Almost every gamer in the world will have their own unique reason for connecting with a character and as such this is a phenomenon that can’t be studied by regular means. It can’t be observed because it is a subjective topic. However, being logical never stopped anyone from devising their own theories, so let’s continue with this one.

Blanks slate characters are usually from games where the nature is extremely open-ended or lack a very complex storyline. We see this in games like Minecraft (as mentioned above), Monster Hunter, World of Warcraft, and even Animal Crossing.  In essence we (the players) are instructed in the slightest of goals, such as killing a specific foe(s) or even creating your own world. The freedom that these games provide allow us to connect on a much more basic level, which becomes central to the formation of the personality we project on to the characters. By allowing us to explore the inner mechanics of the game itself, instead of distracting us with personalities, and dare I say it their humanity, it leaves us much more space to react without bias.

The other aspect of this is that humans by nature are very much goal oriented creatures. By simply providing us with something as rudimentary as a basic goal it helps us connect with our avatar. The interesting aspect of this idea is that instead of the player being the one that is assisting the avatar, it is the character that is helping us achieve the goal at hand. I mean think about it, this character doesn’t have a personality, he doesn’t have a serious urge to complete the goal or any sense or urgency in completing it. The whole world is not his responsibility because there are many others who can handle those jobs. No, the character becomes our proxy in achieving the goal that has been set for us. In turn that helps us connect with them, and in a way their personality becomes an extension of our being. In itself we are powering these characters, we are their very soul. But, that isn’t the only reason why we care about them.

We love these characters because of what we can do for each other. All relationships should be a form of symbiosis. In this case these characters provide us an outlet for our desire to feel accomplished. Unlike in our real lives, games have a clear goal for which we are constantly reminded to strive towards. We (each other) help the characters complete their (our) goals, and in the way they become an extension of us. We’re never truly clear in what our objectives (in real life) are, yet by design humans are very goal oriented. The facts that despite being built as such, humans are forced to find for themselves, what their goals are can be extremely tasking, life doesn’t always cooperate with your motivations. In video games all of this is prearranged for you, you know who you are, what you’re doing or at least have a clue guiding you to your next objective. The fact that these characters don’t have this problem can make them extremely appealing to us.

The best part about these characters is that the responsibilities that other characters usually have such as being the chosen one are not present. We can recognize that in life there are no such things as the one person specifically deemed to save us all. We can relate to the plight that hard work and dedication can pay off from these characters and they teach us a valuable lesson in humility. It’s like the tag line from Phantasy Star Online said “You are not the only hero”. This tag resonated with me on a very deep level because indeed the only way to be a hero is to work together. As such I formed an even deeper bond with the proxies of other players as well as mine.

To give an example of this, I will explain the main character in the series Monster Hunter:

A guild member who has started out his hunting career. This character has no personality, basic appearance, any real motivations except for hunting. This character lacks a lot of the traits mentioned in the video (at least at first) There is no real agency (unless the player provides it), the humanity isn’t there because hunters don’t display emotions, the contingency is practically non-existent (unless wearing the skin of your enemies count), and the only true appeal would be appearance because those armors are truly amazing. But, still players become extremely attached to their hunters because it appeals to their (own) human goal driven nature. Hunters exist to hunt (as redundant as it sounds), their goals are extremely basic, it is a part of their nature to hunt these large creatures and as such it appeals to our base instincts. As a hunter we know what our objective is, and we seek to accomplish it to the best of our abilities.

The point is, we don’t need overly complicated motives for connecting with our characters. People also don’t feel the need to be called “the chosen one”. The needs of the many are too numerous to list, and we’re simply too complicated to be broken down into basic terms. The reason we bond with our characters is unique to us. Sometimes these characters come to us in a time where we need someone the most. Players might just need someone to struggle alongside with, to help find the answer to each others hardships (problem solving can stimulate the mind), even when we actively try to make their own journey easier than ours. We understand that these characters aren’t real to the world, but they’re real to us.

You are not the only hero
You are not the only hero

I hope you guys enjoyed reading both of these articles, they were both products of a long and hard process in which I decided to rethink how to word them. At first they weren’t that great, but I believe they are now much better and clearer in their goal.

*All images belong to their respective owners***

*This blog is copyrighted to the author**

Pixar and Disney have some explaining to do! Inside Out Theory!

Recently, I watched the movie Inside out for the first time. It was a wonderful movie with a very good lesson for young children these days. The lesson being, that all emotions are important in order for life to be enjoyed to it’s fullest; this is one aspect of humanity that most of us adults have, yet to learn. But, Inside Out holds a much darker secret that people have perhaps not considered. A secret so dark that it could alter our perception of the Andersen family forever. For us to understand what this particular secret is we must first take a look at the Andersen family.

Riley Andersen
Riley Andersen
Bill Andersen
Bill Andersen
Jill Andersen
K. Ann “Jill” Andersen

Take a look at the parents, now quickly glance at Riley. Spot anything unusual about this family? I’ll give you two guesses, and they are both wrong. What is wrong is how both parents have brown eyes/hair, and Riley has Blonde hair (granted it’s dirty blonde) and blue eyes. How can anyone explain this? Oh, but I know what you’re thinking right now. Dash you know recessive genes can alter the eyes of the offspring. But, the problem with that explanation was that I actually did the math. It turns out that Riley’s chances of inheriting that particular combination were lower than the chances of you winning the jackpot (which is a real shame really). The best part is, I can prove this with SCIENCE!

Green eyes
Green eyes!
Blue eyes
Blue eyes

Yes, indeed the chances of having blue eyes from both brunettes parents is 7.5 to a whopping 14% probability of it happening. But, what is worse is that statistically speaking she would have a better chance of having green eyes if even one of the grandparents had green. You might argue that maybe each set of grandparents might have had one member with light colored eyes, but I checked this possibility as well, and all it did was return me with an error. You can’t have a child with brown eyes if both parents had light colored eyes according to this program. So at the best case scenario one grandparent in each side of Riley’s family tree had blue eyes. But, that’s a very big if, and perhaps it means something different all together; perhaps Mrs. Andersen wasn’t as in love with her husband  as we were led to believe in the end of the film. If Jill’s memories serves correct then maybe she gave up more than just a sexy Brazilian helicopter pilot (SBHP for short)  in exchange of Mr. Andersen. If this is the case, I propose that Inside out has a much darker back story than we are led to believe.

Yes, Inside Out’s obscure back story is of one Jill (no maiden name given) actually being impregnated by another man which she dated after the SBHP who left her after the pressures of fatherhood proved too much for his life. Distraught by this twisted turn of events, Jill fell into a severe depression which led to Sadness taking over as her head emotion (I suspect previously that Joy might have been her head emotion as well). During this time in her life she met Bill, who promised to take care of her and the baby in exchange for her hand in marriage. But, this secretly manifested in him as resentment, this negative emotion seethed inside of him quietly making anger his lead head emotion. But, as time went along, and he started understanding his role as a father (it is indeed who raises you, not who conceives that is a true father) he came to accept his situation. Both, Jill and Bill came to eventually come to terms with their past and as such with the maturity that age brings managed to organize their emotions into a well managed center of operations (if you notice their emotions don’t bounce around the place as much as Riley’s with her being a kid and all).

By the time the movie begins, both of Riley’s parents have settled into their roles, and their past don’t hold them back that much. But, it does cause Jill some concerns about her previous relationships and at times when she’s unhappy with her marriage she recedes back to the times when Sexy Brazilian Helicopter Pilots paid attention to her. A much more carefree time, without any of the responsibilities that being a housewife bring. Bill on the other hand recedes into memories of a time when he was a sports geek, and would replay the times when his team won in his head. Riley, subconsciously senses this, and it’s not because of what her mother told her near the beginning of the film. No, kids are extremely perceptive, and Riley subconsciously feels the tension underneath her parents facade. This is in turn what makes Joy her head emotion because she has to be the one to cheer the family up in order to ease their own internal struggles. They are all living in a masquerade of happiness which in the end might destroy them. But, until we get a truly grim sequel of Inside Out where my theory is confirmed, all we can do is guess who truly was Riley’s biological father.

Maybe it was SBHP after all!
Maybe it was SBHP after all!

Now, I know some will say that perhaps she was adopted, but this can’t be since we saw her wrapped in the pink towel they give out in Hospitals, however we never actually did see her birth, and Jill looked rather well for someone who had just given birth. This might be a separate theory all on it’s own. Perhaps neither one of Riley’s biological parents were in the film. But, this would not explain the parents head emotion theory as well. Until this is disproved though all we can say with a good degree of certainty is that Bill is NOT the father (Thank you Maury).

*All pictures belong to Disney and Pixar*

** Edit 2**

Some fans of the community have taken up arms defending the movie and trying to discredit my theory which is pretty clearly meant to be a bit satirical in nature. By linking me to the website I actually used as a source while writing this, and to prove it I took some screen shots. This article was published on August 1st and here is the date last visited, website, and picture of the eye color calculator error when you try to do the specific combination they are arguing about:

Yes, I know it's possible, but it's very unlikely and in this case we didn't have an entire family tree to deny or confirm this "theory" which is based in conjecture.
Yes, I know it’s possible, but it’s very unlikely and in this case we didn’t have an entire family tree to deny or confirm this “theory” which is purely based in conjecture and a hint of snark.

I had a lot of fun coming up with this theory my dear readers, remember everything that is written here is copyrighted to the author of this blog, and I just hope you guys enjoyed peering into the twisted mind of a sailor with a lot to say. Feel free to comment and leave a like.

I really enjoyed this movie and it made me teary eyes quite a few times because of how well I could relate to Riley and her feelings of melancholy/sadness at moving. Do watch it if you haven’t it’s truly worth the price of admission.

Since everyone keeps bothering me about it here is the one source I used for this article:

http://genetics.thetech.org/how-blue-eyed-parents-can-have-brown-eyed-children