As of July 4….

TJFritts.com will no longer belong to me. I’m not paying that for a domain for a site with such low volume and interest, so I’m letting it expire. Seems like I’ve never been able to have the money to keep it going two sessions in a row, but them’s the breaks.

This blog will revert to https://picturistblog.wordpress.com as the domain. For all you regular readers, update your bookmarks please so you don’t miss a single boring, oddly phrased, and uncommonly long post. 😀

Inside and Outside…

We humans are an odd bunch… really odd, actually, but the oddity I’ve recently realized is even odder than I had previously considered. I, as a human, (despite a few acquaintances who disagree with me partaking of that category) have “circles”. I like to think others do, but I can only speak for myself with guaranteed certainty. I have an inner circle, I have an outer circle, and I have a far outer circle.

In my far outer circle would be… a friend I haven’t heard from in years. An acquaintance I “knew” but may not “know” anymore. If someone hasn’t been a close friend in a decade and a half, you know what they were like then, but you don’t know what changes may have transpired since then that may have changed them as human beings. The guy I went to school with who thought it’d be funny to coat my windshield with chapstick was a prick. However, my last interaction with him was more than 15 years ago. He may have become a more prickish person or he may have become more human and less prickish. I’d hate to hear that a piece of spacejunk fell on his house and killed his goofy ass, but I wouldn’t mind if somebody TP’d his yard on the rainiest night of the year. Far outer circle.

Outer circle? The lady I buy my car insurance from. She’s a great lady, I respect her, and she is nice to me as a human being. She doesn’t treat me like crap, she doesn’t insult me. I would be upset if her home burned, and I’d try to help her out if I could and doing so would not put my own life situation in jeopardy. If someone in my town were to enact a law that attacked her personally, I’d go complain about it with her.

Inner circle? I have a female friend I consider a close friend. If I found out her husband broke her jaw in a fit of rage…I’ll consider it a statement that the husband is tired of life as he knows it, and is formally requesting a direct and immediate change of that life, and is requesting that I make that change happen in a timely fashion. To borrow a quote from one of those friends “I’ll open a 24-hour Custom Boot Shop in their ass, always open, always ready for business.” They’ll have to put their favorite ER on speed dial, and will have to buy bandages and antibiotics in bulk. I feel the same way about my family. You come to a member of my immediate family and make an attack, you’re asking for a war and I will bring one to your door on all possible fronts including psychological warfare. If I had nukes, I’d use nukes.

Then…my mind stops… I was reading an article (CLICK) that really caught my mind. It’s an intriguing little article, worthy of a few minutes, and it made me realize something kind of scary…

Take my friend I mentioned earlier. I take spousal abuse very seriously and if her husband broke her jaw…I’d go postal. But…isn’t that quite hypocritical of me? I mean, yes, she’s my friend and I don’t want to see her spouse physically or emotionally harm her…but it happens all the time. From Kansas to Kazakhstan, Alabama to Albania, New York to New Zealand… but, I’ve only become concerned about that which happens to people in my closer circles. Atrocities happen around the world, but we’re only really concerned with those that happen to people we hold dear.

It’s pretty hypocritical to concern ourselves only with atrocities that hit close to home. Bad stuff happens the world around, but folks only notice or deeply care about the nearby things. If a close friend loses a job because he has a different lifestyle, it’s a tragedy. When a guy in some foreign country is mistreated because he has a different lifestyle, it’s hardly worthy of conversation. A friend is bullied because he doesn’t share the same religious ideas of those near him and it’s a crying shame, but a guy on the other side of the world is killed because he believes in a different deity and it’s merely an intriguing conversation topic. A friend’s kid is killed in a car crash and it’s a tragedy of epic proportion, but a bunch of kids starve to death in a third-world-country and it’s just sorta sad and worthy of perhaps a “Dang, that’s bad.” likely followed by some snide comment about the parents being “good for nothing”.

Maybe…we need to be outraged about all the bad stuff and not just on the bad stuff that’s immediately relevant to us? A guy losing his home because he believes in a different deity, that’s a lousy deal no matter who it is. A person being mistreated because they are sexually oriented differently, that doesn’t just suck when it happens to a friend, it sucks when it happens to anyone.

The rights people talk about so much, I don’t think they’re meant to be taken as individual rights, valid for a few but not all, but it seems like a lot of folks don’t get that. It’s not cool to disrespect someone because they’re gay, but at the same time it’s not right to disrespect the people who have a problem with gay people. “He started it” isn’t really a valid reason, nor is “because he’s wrong”. Being wrong doesn’t make you less deserving of respect. According to the disrespected party, the party doing the disrespecting is wrong too. Who’s right is irrelevant because both parties think they are. It’s…like a seesaw: just because one end is up and one is down, that doesn’t mean that both ends can’t simultaneous be valid.

Maybe instead of worry about who’s right and who’s wrong, a better effort could be made to understand that freedom, all forms of freedom, apply to all people and not just to people you agree with. Just because some guy says or thinks in a way you don’t agree with, instead of trying to outwardly disrespect them, maybe just nod and walk away? At most, state calmly that you don’t share the opinion, and then make a graceful effort? Or perhaps hear the guy out without vocalizing your own ideas? Just because you don’t agree, that doesn’t authorize you to shout someone down or be dismissive. More to the point, if a guy is a hardline athiest to the bone, do you really think anything you could say, scream, or berate him with could change his mind? Or calling a gay guy insulting names is going to “cure” him of something that isn’t even an ailment in the first place?

Seems like to me that folks like freedoms and rules, just as long as they always impact and control others. It’s like somebody saying “ban all sugary morning cereals! They are just pure sugar and they make kids fat and makes them unhealthy!” and then getting their panties in a knot because their favorite brand of cereal was banned because it too was a little too sugary for frequent daily consumption.

It’s common to see people really lambaste someone for using “hate speech” against one group, and in the process of “taking them down a peg”, they use words, phrases, and ideas equally filled with hatred. I’ve always kinda thought if being a jerk about one thing is a bad thing, then being a jerk about other things isn’t better because being a jerk is being a jerk. In the past few months on social media, the sheer number of times that I’ve read “red-state redneck” is staggering, but it’s somehow okay to use that term while using some other term is bad.

Maybe the problem lies with a simple concept: even if the person I disagree with isn’t in my circles, it’s still a person with the same rights to respect that even those in my closest circle is worthy of? He may be a jerk, but he’s a jerk somebody loves and cares about too. If you’re going to run to the defense of a kid who gets called a bad name by someone, you should also run to defend the person who got called names for doing so in the first place. Is not more “right” to insult someone who said something you disagree with than it was for them to say what you disagreed with in the first place. It’s…like pouring grape koolaid on white carpet to prove that spilling cherry koolaid on the carpet is bad. Taking sides is prohibitive because at the end of day there is only really one “team”.

Homo sapiens sapiens.

Racers who lose their edge.

I’m not the biggest NASCAR fan I know and in recent years with them ruling it to death, my vested interest in the biz has really tapered off. I went from being the kid who collected the full set of die-cast hot wheels cars to being the guy who tunes in to maybe 4 races per season and might watch one outside those four if there’s absolutely nothing else to watch. I’m not a fan of rules for the sake of rules and rules that are there just to manipulate the outcomes to favor certain drivers. Matter of fact, I’m not a fan of too many rules to begin with. Make an ironclad set of rules for what the car must and must not conform to, make a set of rules for what the race will be like (Max number of entered cars, x# of laps, exact instances that will draw a caution, what instances will not draw a caution. Oh, and hire some dude to actually get eyes-on debris. If it’s a piece of foam, no caution. Little piece of plastic, no caution. Coil spring, caution. Sick of guys peeling their roll bar padding off and tossing it out for a gimme caution.)

Then, put the cars on the track, put the green hanky in the wind, and let the racing begin. When the predetermined number of laps has elapsed, put the checkered hanky in the wind and give the guy who was leading a trophy and some money. Second place, he gets a tiny trophy, and less money. Third, no trophy, less money. From tenth on back, you get a flat rate payment that will compensate for the tires and fuel you expended plus $1000 to pay anybody on the team who deserves it.

“Oh, oh, what about the guy in 21st who crashed out??? His payment for the race won’t repair his car!”

Tough shit. You want to be a racer, you learn to finish races. If you can’t cut that, guess what, you go get a gig working the counter at Advance Auto Parts and you race on Saturday nights in some little town in the south in a car you cobbled together from junkyard parts and lots of hope.

However, I’ve noticed something in NASCAR that’s kind of weird. I’ve, over the years, followed the successes of my favorite drivers, as many do.

I followed Carl Edwards’ career and he was a damn good hand in a car. Even when it wasn’t a great car, he could make it work. I watched him take risks and make them work on more occasions than I care to count, and more often than not they paid off for him. Always a shoo-in for chase contention, always a threat. Then, something happened and he stopped being willing to take those risks and he started sucking.

I followed Jimmie Johnson’s career and he was a damn good hand in a car. Even when it wasn’t a great car, he could make it work. I watched him take risks and make them work on more occasions than I care to count, and more often than not they paid off for him. Always a shoo-in for chase contention, always a threat. Then, something happened and he stopped being willing to take those risks and he started sucking.

I followed Jeff Gordon’s career and he was a damn good hand in a car. Even when it wasn’t a great car, he could make it work. I watched him take risks and make them work on more occasions than I care to count, and more often than not they paid off for him. Always a shoo-in for chase contention, always a threat. Then, something happened and he stopped being willing to take those risks and he started sucking.

I followed Kevin Harvick’s career and he was a damn good hand in a car. Even when it wasn’t a great car, he could make it work. I watched him take risks and make them work on more occasions than I care to count, and more often than not they paid off for him. Always a shoo-in for chase contention, always a threat. Then, something happened and he stopped being willing to take those risks and he started sucking.

The “then, something happened” bit? Almost always had something to do with either the birth of children, or in general the home/life situation making “unnecessary risks” unpalatable. I get it. You’ve got four kids at home, daddy don’t need a broken leg to slow down the income stream and he certainly doesn’t need to kill himself in a hotrod car for a few dollars. I totally get that.

I also totally get that sometimes you’ve got to say “I’m done”. I totally agree with the decision Carl Edwards made to abruptly retire. Got a wife, got some kids, hang it up. Quit wasting everyone’s time and allegiance. I hate not seeing him race, but I like knowing that he sensed he was losing his edge he decided to sack it up and go on home. It shows a bit of maturity and I think it was the right call. When you are not performing at a high level and it’s because of a general unwillingness to take the risks and make the moves, you’re better off leaving the job to someone who is willing.

BTW, Not talking about stupid risks or overt aggression. There’s a world of difference between aggression and risk. Aggression is getting mad at a guy and turning him, knowing he’s likely to take you out with him. Risk is going three-wide into 3 on the final lap and putting all the chips you have into that one deal of the cards. Yeah, you could wreck. You could also take the other two by surprise with your brazen bravado and they’ll check up, you pass two in one pass, possibly for a podium spot. That’s smart risk. If you’re unwilling to push your chips into the big pot for all the prize money, you don’t belong at the highest level of stock car racing.

I just wish a few other drivers would take the hint. When you’re more worried about what your spouse would say if you got dented up, maybe it’s time to say “I’m Done.” and mean it. I refuse to name names in this but there’s a driver who’s really not making a good showing of his past skills and I have to think it’s got something to do with his home life making him more unwilling to put the chips in and make the big moves. Instead he plays it safe and sticks in the middle of the pack…and the middle of the pack is where you will get wrecked every single time. You can charge hard at the front and you’ll wreck less. You can lag back and let the wrecks happen ahead of you and pick your way through them and you’ll wreck less. You try to do a bit of both, charge to the middle of the pack and hold your ground, you’ll be the wreck.

If you’re the wreck more often than you’re not, and the problem isn’t in the mechanical reliability of the car, perhaps the problem is in the mind of the person driving that car? If that’s the case, hang it up while you’ve still got a legacy to leave. Too many drivers tried to keep playing the game too long and while many like Petty were able to still salvage a good legacy out of it, not all were. Petty could because he had so many records in his pocket from a time when it wasn’t so hard to be the best every week. Now? One bad year is one too many. If you’ve got two or three dismal years in a row, you may be doing more harm than good to your future earning potential. Who’d want to hire a guy as the resident expert who won several big races, but lost substantially more because he stayed on the same teat too long?

Sometimes, knowing when to tap out is more valuable than being tough. Better to hang it up while people will still give a damn whether you were there or not. Nobody really cared the Bobby or Terry Labonte retired because they’d already undone more by hanging around too long than they’d ever accomplished. Here’s the thing: if you’ve got more than say…five years in the sport, and somebody seems surprised how well you finished, maybe it’s time to hang it up.

If you’re having to explain away 30th place (or worse) finishes regularly? Not a good sign.

Reclamation of Power.

I don’t do it frequently but I’m going to moonlight as a motivational speaker for a moment. It’s kind of the thing I’ve been needing to hear for a while, and as is often the case I didn’t realize it fully until I finally hit the breaking point and tipped over.

People, every human online has an immense power. Everyone reading this has immense, incredible, and invaluable power. What is that power, you ask?

It’s the immense power of being able to leave. Seriously, the power to leave is one of the least utilized powers people use, but it alone can improve your mood and outlook. You have the power to wash your hands of an internet interaction just like you can wash dirt off your hands. It could be said that the same is true for offline activities as well, but the internet is where I see myself and others clinging to spaces long after they became a negative influence in their mental process.

If you’re in a forum, and the people there have finally dipped down to personal insults with no reaction from the “staff”, maybe consider what you’re gaining by staying. If you’re being insulted with no formal response made by the people who are supposed to enforce the rules of simple civility, you may gain a little interaction with others, but at what cost? Your self-respect? Your dignity? Your self-esteem? Your sense of personal worth?

Some would say “fight back”, and that’s valid in so many situations, but unfortunately if you’re arguing with someone whom the enforcers revere, even an ironclad argument will fall short. If you’re not on the short list of people who reflexively pucker up when an enforcer rolls up, you can win the argument and still lose. Plus, there’s that old adage that you should never wrestle with a pig: You can’t win but you will get miserable and muddy, and the pig will enjoy it. Stupidity, closed-mindedness, obstinate attitudes, and people convinced that their viewpoint carries more weight, nothing you say will defeat them or deflate them. I’ve yet to see a viewpoint held in earnest changed on the basis of what some a-hole online said. Frankly, if someone did change a viewpoint on the basis of what is said on an internet forum, I’m inclined to believe they were looking for a reason to change anyway and merely went fishing for a reason to change that they could fall back on. It wasn’t my idea, it was that guy on that forum, that’s why it didn’t work. He’d have to go to the third grade three more times to get a dumbass license. It’s his fault. Me? I’d never be that dumb.

Sometimes the best thing to do is simply to close the window and not go back. Say to hell with the whole shooting match and put it all behind you. Life’s too short and negativity too commonplace to tolerate it online from any a-hole with an attitude imbalance and a keyboard.

“Oh, oh, but what if they miss me?”

Man, if they would have missed your presence, would they have treated you like dog crap on the carpet when you were there? If they’re taking your time and giving you nothing back in return, maybe you’d be better off without ’em. In a way, forums are a form of relationship. If you’re doing your best and being treated like trash in return, maybe it’s not worth the effort you’re putting into the relationship.

For me, the final straw was when a person I considered a friend got the same type of disrespect that I got earlier in the same day. Life is too short to put up with that crap. I can walk out of the house and be hit in the head with a piece of space-junk tomorrow: I’ll be damned if I want to spend whatever time I have left being talked to like a sub-human by a people who wouldn’t have the intestinal fortitude to use the same phrasing face to face. (It’s easy to be a level 11 badass when nobody in the group even knows your first, middle, or last name, or even the state you live in.)

It’s taken a long time to get here, but where I am in my life is simple. Nobody, *nobody* gets to talk to me just any damn way they want to anymore. I am a living, breathing, thinking human being. If someone isn’t feeding me, f*cking me, or financing me, they will show at least a neutral level of respect or I go on down the road. People I consider close friends will obviously get a little leeway, but the ideal would be a neutral level. If I’m remaining respectful and the person I’m interacting with isn’t, I’m gone. Window closed, goin’ on down the road.

Nobody is going to value you as a human until you show at least a little self-appraisal. Me, I’m not worth much, but I’m worth more than a damn doormat.

A quick look back.

Six years ago today, my self-published western novel hit the market. Man, I was soooooo stupid then. I’m not a great deal smarter now, but I have figured out that word salad doesn’t make a book, and that you can’t edit your own work accurately enough to pass muster.

I also learned that if you comp everybody you know a copy, and you can’t afford an advertisement team…you just gave a freebie to the only people on the planet who would have bought a copy. I pulled the book in ’12 because I actually read it through as a reader and saw nothing but glaring errors. I just didn’t want my name on it any longer. Yes, it was a pretty passable story, but it fell short in every category that mattered to me at the time. 75,000+ words, 267 pages when formatted to the size of a trade paperback, and all of it falling well short of the lofty goals I’d set.

It’s funny, really, I had assumed that once you wrote a novel…you were set. Money would fall from the heavens, velvet ropes would part, people would call you sir when you bought a pack of cigarettes, and you could be that guy who gave gratuities to people who never got them. “Oh, my dear, you rang up those groceries so skillfully! Here, <hand over a $100 bill> treat yourself to dinner on me.”

Writing it was the easy part. Getting it on the market was tougher, and advertising it came back to the oldest maxim in finance: to make One Million, start with Two Million. I sold 19 copies, comped 27 signed copies, and I’ve got a box around here somewhere with a half-dozen copies inside. I could scratch around and find ’em…but I have no need: toilet paper is still reasonably priced for the time being. 😀

There is, in my mind, nothing wrong with trying. Those who don’t try fail by default…but don’t try stupidly. Don’t go into a venture with your head up your ass and your hands in your pockets! I expected I’d buy my mother a new home with the first edition profits. I ended up losing a grand total of $214 on the project, not counting the hours I wasted writing the story and designing it. The $214 was just in test-prints, copies to sign and comp, and in the publishing procedure.

If there was a mistake to be made in the process of publishing, I guarantee I made it. I passed up opportunities that I didn’t feel were “suitable” (truth being that I felt I was still a big-deal at the time and they were “below me”) and in doing so I sealed my own fate. I had a shot at pushing my book on Sunday Morning on a radio station that would reach probably a hundred thousand people…and I stupidly turned it down cold. Admittedly, it probably wouldn’t have generated many sales, but acting like a big-shot didn’t help me at all. I now know, if you’ve got a project and you can push it for little-or-no money…push it. There’s no such thing as a bad marketing idea if it puts the product in front of people who might want to buy it. If the station interview would have generated even one sale in 100 people, that’s a thousand sales.

The hilarious part? The deal I had with the self publishing group had a very simple royalty scheme: If I could have sold just 46 copies…my $214 investment would have been cleared and I’d have been in the black. 46 copies. So, basically, if there were 46 people in 100,000 who dug the cowboy story genre, I’d have been in the black. If they’d have known of two people each who also liked the cowboy genre, I’d have been sitting pretty on a check for nearly $500.

There’s a lesson in all this. First, stay humble and kind. If you’ve spent a thousand hours designing a story and committing it to text, be willing to spend another thousand in running leads to advertise it, another thousand pushing it, and another thousand in making damn sure you’re not getting too big for your britches. Until you succeed, you’re a work-in-progress. Don’t take that as a premonition, but a clause in fact: projects are inert without genuine effort. The only sure thing is that there are no sure things, and just because you’ve busted ass to get this far, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to bust it twice as hard to get it the rest of the way done. Writing books doesn’t sell books: advertising books sells ’em. One without the other is like having a boat in Death Valley.

And, “what you’ve heard” isn’t gospel unless it jives with what you’ve seen. There’s no real fact for basis to say that writers get wealthy writing books. In fact, a writer stands a good chance of never profiting considerably from his effort whatsoever. Look at all the writers and people who purport to write, and then consider the handful of people who have managed to buy a house strictly from the sale of their written work.

People, it’s good to dream. It’s good to have ambitions. It’s good to sit down and think about what you really want to accomplish. However, having done that is a wasted effort if you haven’t done your homework to find out what you have to do to make those dreams a reality. Ambition is a worthless trait if you don’t propel it forward with intelligent work.

The only thing sadder than a dead dream is knowing that your own misconceptions and laziness put the gun to its head and squeezed off a round.

The End of an Era.

I’ve had my account on a MMORPG in “vacay” mode since October, going back to renew that every couple months. Keeping my av alive just in case my situation made it so I might want to pick it up and continue.
 
The game is “The West” and I’ve had some association with it for almost a decade. Fun little game, or at least it used to be. It’s become a premium-success game: those who coughed up coin to buy advantages were so far ahead of the free players that it really wasn’t much fun. In the non-prem world, you can queue 4 jobs. With a prem upgrade, you can queue 9. With the jobs being one hour, it was possible to “schedule” your av to work for 8 hours and get to the hotel for 8 hours where you couldn’t be dueled (attack). With non-prem, three and 8 hours in hotel. That basically means if you can’t be back in game within 12 hours, your guy’s going to be a sitting duck for anybody to attack. 
Plus, there’s the premium energy. It gave basically 150% energy, and in that game it’s a huge advantage for a player who uses it well. A free player really couldn’t compete with a guy who could throw $200 a week at his avatar. Me? I’m on a budget. I have had a total of $0 to throw at my avatar.
And…I kind of outgrew it. As time wears on in most games, you start to play in terms of how your personality dictates. I’ve “restarted” a number of times in the game and always have ambitions to be something different. A badass dueler, a threat, a common thief, something scary. The guy to keep an eye on. Inevitably I’d always come back to plain ol’ me. Fairly non-threatening, not looking for conflict. I do my thing, you do your thing, and if you cross my path and hurt my gaming experience for the day, I open up a can of whoopass on you unlike you’ve ever seen before.
I recall a few times where some dude would get the idea to bully me. 99% of the time, I was basically a farmer: I’d work jobs and get my pay, then sell off anything I found on the job unless it was valuable to me. I always ended up coming back to this mentality. I never liked it when somebody would come and screw up my day, so I didn’t screw up someone else’s day. Then some dude would attack me. Okay, fine, it happens. Then he’d attack me again. A pattern develops and a habit seems obvious. I take off my work clothing, put on my dueling clothes, and deal with it as one would expect in a game based in the Wild West. If he didn’t seem to learn, I’d go hunt him out of the game.
And I do mean hunt him out of the game. I confess, when a guy’d dueled me a dozen times in three days, I’d lose my temper and a little switch in my head would flip. You want war? Good, ’cause I’m bringing you one. I’d keep hitting the guy and I’d keep doing it until he and I both knew what he’d see in his activity log when he came on. He would either spend his day hiding in his hotel, or he’d have a stack of duels from me. I’d never knock him out, just chip away at him.
Then, I’d back off. If he seemed to get the message, I go back to farming and he goes to whatever he likes. If he doesn’t… I knock him out every time the game would allow me to. He’d spend a month straight knocked out. Many would hit my private message and ask for reprieve, some just left. I am not the jerk who would keep hitting a guy once he said uncle, so I’d tell the guy what was up: I’ll stop hitting you, but you stop hitting me. Anybody I routinely deal with would be listed in my profile and they were off limits too. You touch them or me again, I start again and this time I won’t stop.
Yeah, I was a hardass, but…it’s a game and in that kind of game if there are no hard cases, there is no conflict. But, as time wore on I found myself less interested in it. It’s fun to be a bodyguard, but at the same time it gets to be like you’re the weapon that gets pulled on people. And, sometimes it was just boring to hit, recoup, wash, rinse, repeat.
Between the premium powers and my lack of interest in trying to defeat kiddies who have become baddass thanks specifically and solely to mommy’s credit card, and the other things going on in my life…It’s just not something I’m interested in doing anymore. I sold off all my stuff that I could sell, found a level 40 player I’d never heard of, and transferred 2,260,500 game dollars to him. A final act of benevolence from a one-time warrior and keeper of the code.
Will I miss it? Not really. Like I said, I’ve been in vacation mode I could have ended at any time since Mom passed. I could have gotten back in at any time. I just didn’t care to. People move on and what they wanna do changes as time wears on. This is one of those changes. I don’t mean to make it sound like I’ve become a good person all of the sudden, but it’s kinda weak to spend hours a day deciding who you want to go bully today.
Onward, upward, forward. It’s kind of my motto, but the thing even I am struggling with is that it’s tough to do if you hang on to every little thing in your life. You get weighed down, bogged with stuff. Sometimes it’s good to shake off the stuff you don’t need anymore.

Thinking about the Big Bang.

I’ve been struggling and straining to become more scientifically literate, and maybe develop my own theories about things. After all, that’s kind of what humans do: We see things that do not make sense and try to make sense of them. Hence why there’s a huge book selection on dating. It’s a tough thing to comprehend and decode, and it’s lucrative to try to decode it and share the findings. That’s, to me, how science works. Pick something unknown, surround it, and then develop a theory.

So, let’s get down to the rat killing: What happened when the big bang happened? It’s a fair question, and one that’s been tossed about at length. I’ve got a couple theories.

First, I think it important to theorize what existed prior to the bang. I mean…there had to be something. If there’s nothing surrounded by nothing, you’ve basically got a vacuum. As we’ve seen in lab experiments, when you create a vacuum…nothing happens. It doesn’t blow up, It doesn’t spark or anything. A vacuum in a lab is no different than a pre-bang universe, and we already know it’s pretty inert if there’s nothing in there to make it….”nert”.

So, there had to be something. This grates on many, but it really don’t make sense if we go with any other theorem. Perhaps what existed was a tiny supercompressed ball of matter, a trillion times smaller than the size of an atom, but unimaginably dense, and one day this little microscopic ball was hanging in the pure and plain nothingness when…it just broke. The matter inside was growing and gaining size and eventually it did just like a popcorn kernel: all good, all good, all good, kabang! In a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the length of time it takes for light to travel a billionth of an atom’s width, it immediately underwent an inversion. It became a reversed black hole. Instead of drawing matter inwards, sucking worlds down it’s bottomless gullet, it began to eject matter, eject particles. Some were large, some small. Much like a modern bomb, when it fragmented, the fragments weren’t of a uniform size. This inverted black hole was suspended in the barren universe and when the development of the matter inside it grew too large, it turn itself wrong-side-out and began spewing matter like a fratboy.

But…maybe it wasn’t the only one. Maybe, in this barren universe 14billion years ago, it wan’t alone. There were 200 billion of those tiny particles, and they started going off like popcorn. Each of these individual balls of unimaginable density became inverted black holes, and the matter each of them…”barfed” became what we know as a galaxy. Each of those inverted black holes ejected matter until it emptied and each held a different amount, making some galaxies bigger than others.

And, when it had ejected all it’s matter, that inverted black hole became its own vacuum and transitioned from an exporter to an importer. It became a supermassive black hole, straining and struggling to somehow feed itself after having ejected all it had. This would explain why each galaxy has a supermassive black hole all of it’s own at the center: the cycle aches to repeat itself, and has done so since the beginning of all beginnings. Back then, there may have been nothing among nothingness, but a tiny speck of something that grew somehow. Each speck becomes an inverted black hole, does a full emission of all matter within, and then collapses upon itself, creating the center of every galaxy. Every galaxy is the ejecta and after a few milliseconds of time, the hole inverts and starts trying to restart the process: to suck in matter and condense it into a speck a billion times smaller than an atom which then floats in a sea with no water until it begins anew and a new galaxy is born and lives until it dies.

The question of where did the initial matter come from, it’s unanswerable. Perhaps it has simply always existed and existed because it existed. I think my theory could explain what happened to those little blops of initial matter. We could be living in the trillionth cycle of the cycle that never ends. We are but cosmic mosquitoes with a finite existence in a process that has gone on for a million billion trillion light years. The cycle had no definitive beginning nor definitive end.

Ah, you say, but the universe is getting bigger! It should…if we’re currently in a growing phase before the supermassive black hole is strong enough to suck all matter in the Milky Way into itself to condense and compress down to begin it all anew.

The number of galaxies, perhaps it’s been under flux because this galaxy went blooey just a bit to close to that one. the larger of the two swallowed the smaller and became even larger. Even in this, it’s survival of the fittest.

Interesting stuff to kick around, and interesting stuff to think about if you’ve got the time. It’s all just theory which is impossible to prove or disprove conclusively, but it’s a good exercise in letting the mind gnaw on a bone for a while. If we stop thinking…we may as well stop existing.