Climate Change Karate (Unedited)

So climate change totally is a real thing. Like, come on guys, it’s a thing that undoubtedly exists. Much like gravity and the death of Nelson Mandela in 1991. In 2017, I think the majority of people believe that humans are advancing climate change at unnatural rates.

I am no scientist. I am no climate expert. I am no weather man.

I don’t claim to know all the statistics about climate change, or its consequences. I can’t give out percentages and numbers off the top of my dome. There are people that are a lot more qualified to be able to do so that are not myself. However, this does not mean that I don’t try and do some research on the topic. I know a thing or two. If we are ranking my knowledge of climate change based on karate belt color, I would very much be a high yellow belt.

And being the yellow belt that I am, I must take into heavy consideration the advice and guidance of the belts above me. The black belts of the climate change conversation obviously have been doing this a long time and outclass me in every way. This is why I must take what the black belts tell me very seriously. New info and new techniques come out all the time about how to better your climate change karate. New tech gets developed and launched that helps reduce our footprint and minimize the toxic shit we vaccine our Earth with.

Oh and let me tell you! Practice and training is hard. Climate change karate takes discipline and skill, with a bit of creativity. Have you ever tried climate change karate? It’s all really hard to get good at. I throw away so many things per day. I drive a car with 108,000 miles in its history. I have driven a lot of those miles myself. I can’t just stop using my car because that wouldn’t be practical. And that’s the thing. Climate change karate will only be popular when it becomes practical to the rest of the world. Take for example the CFL light bulbs. These days, they all are extinct because LED light bulbs (among other types) have replaced them all. The LEDs are a lot more Eco-friendly, in terms of using energy, but, what could be more inciting to people, it lasts so much longer that CFLs.

And I know. Light bulbs are about as fun a topic as light bulbs, but just take it as an example of practicality seeping its way into environmental issues.

So back to climate change karate.

Eventually your time will come when you spar with the rival dojo. There, the Cobra Kais of the world exist.

Pause. Truth be told, not everyone that doesn’t believe in climate change should be compared to Cobra Kai. That’s dumb to think so. But like climate change isn’t Big Foot. We don’t go into Squatch Country looking for climate change. It’s observable to varying degrees.

Regardless, chances are you will one day face off against a Cobra Kai. Assuming like your anything like myself (remember! a high yellow belt), you will discuss and eventually argue climate change being a man-made thing with the Cobra Kai. You will both spit out statistics and numbers that can’t be fact checked at the moment and are off by a percentage or ten.

Yellow belts tend to only fight yellow belts, and black belts tend to fight black belts. The two face-offs are drastic in level of skill exhibited. However! this yellow belt wants blood and will show no mercy to draw it. He will sweep the leg. You are but a mere yellow belt, but must remember your training! Do not deviate from the sensei’s wise words. He has taught you facts. He has taught you universal truths. Do not add your own statistics and “facts” in order to gain the upper hand in the duel.

That is not honorable.

H.G. Salas

Okay. I haven’t update the blog in a really really really really long time due to the fact that my house has the internet capabilities of three steamed carrots. I’ll try to pump some of these out over the summer while I’m back home. I’m also going to try my hand at video essays. That’s going to be in the fall.

For Those Who Pray For Me Sometimes. (Unedited)

If you have every prayed for me, I thank you.

I am not religious. I do not have a faith in a higher power, but I still thank those who have ever prayed for me.

Prayer is a sacred thing, I assume. People pray about their hopes and ambitions. About people and goals. About love and themselves. About suffering and blessings. About the future and fears. And somehow a few people manage to squeeze in a little time for me.

I know my mom prays for me nightly. She takes time before she sleeps so she could pray for my well being. I’m 19 now, and I know my mom doesn’t fall asleep without praying. I don’t know how many times I’ve showed up in her prayers, but it’s gotta be more than how many times I’ve prayed total in my lifetime.

A friend of mine once asked me if she could pray for me. I am grateful that I know people that want the best for me. I don’t know if she did pray for me, but the gesture of asking was enough. (Thanks Shannon).

I don’t know how many other people pray for me. But if you have every prayed for me, I thank you deeply. I know how important prayer is, and it’s a testament to how much you care.

Dear reader, if you know someone is praying for you at night, thank them for thinking about you. You should be flattered that people want you to be well off.

If somehow there is life after death, and I end up being wrong, then I know there have been people keeping a connection with God for me. These people make sure God doesn’t forget my name. They keep me alive.

 

I can rest easy that people some people out there have been praying for me.

Because God knows I haven’t.

-H.G. Salas

Being Awake, Being Asleep, and Other Things That Happen While I Sleep (Unedited)

I have sleep paralysis two times a week on average.

Sleep paralysis is a state of paralysis that occurs when you are waking up or falling asleep. You are physically unable to move, even though you are “awake.” Your body usually releases chemicals into your body that stops you from acting out your dreams while you sleep, probably to prevent injury at night.

Don’t quote me on this. I am no scientist. But that’s a very basic explanation of sleep paralysis.

So there I lay, two or more times a week, in my bed, unable to move. I can’t speak, I can’t move, and I can’t tell how much time is passing. For me, it all starts when I’m waking up. I’m in a sleepy daze, where everything is all fuzzy. My eyes are a quarter open, just enough for me to see through my eyelashes. Do you know the feeling when you’re about to stretch in the morning? Don’t think about the motion of stretching, bur rather how your body feels while stretching. This feeling is how my body feels prior to entering sleep paralysis. And then it hits me like a truck. The feeling just gets muted and now I truly am in sleep paralysis. Panic sets in and now I am stuck in my own body for God knows how long.

But this is not all.

Those who undergo sleep paralysis are also prone to experience auditory and visual hallucinations.

For me, my auditory hallucinations usually consists of hearing really strong wind, or a pulsating sound hitting my ear drums. The more that I struggle to get out, the more I hear these sounds.

And that’s the thing. I try to get out every time that I am in sleep paralysis. I can muster all my strength within my body and only be able to limply twitch my pinky finger. If I try really hard, I can move my arm for about half a second to where it flops on top of my body. The more I try to move, the more hallucinations I have.

Which I think is really cool.

I find the auditory hallucinations interesting, but my visual hallucinations are incredible. I remember one of the first times I had sleep paralysis (about four or five years ago), I laid in bed, looking around the room. I then “heard” my dog bard his fierce chihuahua barks behind my closed bedroom door. I then “saw” the doorknob shake and move as if someone was trying to get in. This was back when I didn’t understand that these hallucinations were not real, so understandably, I freaked out. I struggled and moved and squirmed until I finally snapped out of sleep paralysis followed by one gasping breath. I thought it was a ghost.

I consider this hallucination to be a mild one. Time passed and I started experimenting.

There was a time in my freshman year of college where I took a nap one morning. I then was waking up when I got stuck in sleep paralysis. Nothing was abnormally wrong. I was just paralyzed. I thought I would just try break free; try out new strategies to reduce the time spent in sleep paralysis. So I tried. I struggled to move my arms and twitched my toes. I tried to speak, I tried to roll my body. However, I was stopped in my tracks by a loud buzzing sound.

By this point in my life, I knew that I was hallucinating things, so I shouldn’t be afraid of anything that I see while in sleep paralysis.

However, the buzzing grew louder and closer to me. From the edge of my vision, I saw a beetle. This thing was a bit bigger than a fifty cent piece. I kept thinking how terrifying it would be if it landed on me while I was in sleep paralysis. I guess since I thought about it, it happened.

This pudgy, plump beetle then proceeded to fly onto my face and crawl around. At this point I was grossed out like never before. I tried to blow air out of my mouth in order to shoo it away, but since I couldn’t move, I only managed to let out weak, desperate, and irregular puffs of breath. It kept crawling around my face for ages. I was faced up during the whole event. This detail is important because after a few minutes of the beetle dancing on my face, the ceiling rose up several stories.

The ceiling just lifted, man. That’s not all. It also turned into stained glass like the murals you see in church. And the beetle flew up into the stained glass. The “light” that was shining through the glass peppered my entire bedroom with blues, reds, greens, and golds. I then truly woke up and could move. I wiped my face with my hands. The ceiling was beige.

In my time of sleep paralysis, I have seen a little girl speaking to me in a foreign language, a dark cardboard cut out slowly approach me with every blink of my eye, a metal snake dangle by my chest, and three knives lying by my side.

However, not all hallucinations are scary.

I have had one nice hallucination.

This was last summer. I woke up in the middle of the night. I wasn’t on my bed anymore, but on a car. More specifically, I was laid out on the warm hood of a red car. Everything else was black. Above me there were stars. I didn’t really know what to think. Something must be coming to get me, right? That’s how it usually goes. However, the starts started flowing back and forth and side to side. I can’t really describe how they moved, but they had a rhythm. It was nice. I enjoyed not being able to move that night.

How does this relate to anything? I just wanted to tell of my sleeping problem. It’s been a thing for a really long time in my life now. It’s become just another part of the morning routine. It doesn’t happen every single day, but it happens more frequently than I would like it to. I hear and see things that I know are not real, but rattle me nonetheless. That’s fine. I find them interesting to look back on and explain to people. I even want to see more things.

And even though I have seen some bizarre things, I saw a peaceful night once where the stars danced for me. So when I’m being haunted by more beetles and ghost children, I’ll remember there will come a morning where I see the stars once more.

-H.G. Salas

Prayers at 12:30AM (Unedited and Unwarranted)

Tonight, I prayed.

I haven’t prayed in probably three years. Tonight, I felt like I really needed to. It’s kinda funny. I totally forgot how to actually start a prayer. I didn’t know if I need to start it off like a letter, or if I just say what I needed to say. In the end, I started by saying, “Dear God, it’s been a while.” In all honesty, I almost cried saying those words.

When there’s literally nothing else to do, no options, or no way to take action, what else can a man do but pray?

I also signed myself. Haven’t done that ironically in years as well. Is my prayer based on a glimmer of faith left within me? I claim to be a man with no faith, but I guess I have a basic faith in something.

I saw a video the other day where a priest, a rabbi, and an atheist all smoked weed together. The video was pretty interesting and funny, but there were a couple of lines that really stuck.

At one point the rabbi tells the atheist that he knows that the atheist has a basic faith in the universe and love, and the atheist might not call it all God, but he has faith in something. The rabbi continues to say that he can love the atheist even thought they just met. I think the words, “I can love you” were spoken.

Wow. I have a basic faith in something, man. I don’t know what it is. I don’t think there is a God. I don’t think there is purpose. But, for some reason, I count on love and happiness to guide the universe. I don’t call all the good in the world “God.” Your God can be different from mine even though mine doesn’t exist. Your goodness has a name, mine doesn’t.

If we strip away all the names, all the clutter, and boil things down to its basic element, then your goodness and my goodness are pretty much the same thing. I think this is why there are good non-religious people in the world. Different people have different explanations of why there is good in the world and why we should practice it.

I am not a bad person for merely calling goodness by another name, by rejecting an explanation of goodness. Rather, I just let goodness be, and I practice it as best I can in my own life, hoping to be a better person going to sleep than I was waking up. A lot of the time, this task is hard to meet, and sometimes, it’s not met. That’s fine, I’ll try again tomorrow. Just as long as I don’t become a bad person.

I’m not a bad person.

I can be loved.

 

 

 

 

P.S. I wish I could elaborate more on this topic. This post is not as long as I would like it to be and maybe it doesn’t make sense. Give me a break. It’s late.

Carpe Diem

Bill Nye said once in a conversation about the meaning of existence that went something like, “Why leave the world in a worse state than when you found it?”

For the life of me I cannot find the quote, but you get the point.

This is interesting to me. I super believe in this quote. When we talk about the reason you and I are alive, I would point to the idea that there is no reason. There is no divine “other” that has put us on this planet. I don’t want to get into religion in this particular post, but stay with me here. If you see things from my side, the side that gives no reason to our existence other than because “we just do,” then everything feels more profound.

The meaning of life is something that has been searched for since humans were around. Okay, maybe cavemen weren’t having existential problems like their mortality or the meaning of their life, but you get the point. For a very long time, people have been trying to find out what the meaning of life is.

When I say the meaning of life, I mean why are we existing? Is there a purpose to our life? Does any of this matter at all? If you ask me, I would say that none of this truly matters. There is no goal that I am supposed to be striving for given to me by an otherworldly power.

It is kinda sad to think about life like that. However, it’s really not. If anything this makes my life more exciting. I have one chance to live this life and after that I will cease to exist. This way of thinking is just making every minute of my being valuable. If my time is valuable, then I am valuable to at least myself. I think that’s what people really want out of life when it comes down to it, to be valuable.

Well shit!

If I’m already valuable to myself then I’m already living the dream!

But not exactly.

Another thing that people should really strive for in life is to make others feel valuable too. I think most people deserve to be valued for the person that they are. I say most because I am excluding serial killers and other people that hurt other human beings. If your existence doesn’t hurt people, you should then be valued.

I say this because in the world we live in (at least in my eyes), nothing has a meaning and this can be a very sad viewpoint to have. If life has no meaning then I have no meaning. I should then focus my life, or at least adopt the incoming philosophy into my life, on helping others not feel so worthless. It should be all about love maaannnn.

If, in my life, I can make others feel better about who they are and what they contribute to the thematically empty world, then I gain meaning into my own life. This meaning, of course, is meaningless, but this allows me to get through each day. In this quest I have created a synthetic meaning to my life to make me happy. I’m fine with that. I have created my own reason to why I exist; I have become my own divine being. I have adopted love as the driving force to my life.

Now, this implies that I gotta love almost everyone (serial killers and whatnot excluded). That’s also fine with me. I should not discriminate my love for people.

For example, lets take the LGBTQ community. I hear sometimes from their non-LGBTQ relatives, friends, or strangers that they love the LGBTQ person, but cannot accept or tolerate their way of life.

Well shit.

That’s a paradox in my eyes. You can’t pick and choose characteristics of a person and create a false persona of said person. “I love these aspects of you, but not those. Those are wrong in my eyes.” I don’t like that when you love someone, you choose to love them how they come. You can’t order a box of Legos and send back all the red ones because you don’t like them.

This does not mean that you can’t disagree with anyone; that you have to conform to everyone else’s way of life. This, however, means that you have to accept people’s differences and ways of living their life. If their way of life is hurting no one, then why should you care if it doesn’t line up with your own viewpoints. Let them live how they want. Let them be happy.

Also, don’t just tolerate people’s differences. Stop tolerating people and start loving them in a wholesome manner. In another example, don’t hate me for liking pineapple on my pizza. Accept the fact that I do and love me damn it!

Do not leave the world in a worse place than it was when you came in? Make sure that there is more love and acceptance in the world when you take your last breath. In your actions, you will survive the nothingness that is our existence after death for just a bit longer.

I know it all sounds hippy dippy when I try to advocate a life of love and value and meaning…

But then again, why would we settle for a life filled with anything less?

-H.G. Salas

 

 

On Faith and Spirituality (Probably Part 1) Unedited

Holy shit, it’s been a loooonnnng time since I’ve posted on this blog. Part of the reason is because I’ve been really busy with school and life things. I have been published in a local review, so I feel very proud of that. I just haven’t had the time nor ideas to post. But! I do now. So here we go again.

My faith has always been weak. I never got the message from God that I believed everyone has gotten. There was not awakening of my spiritual self though church or other “holy” activities. For a long while I was part of my local church in going through the sacraments and whatnot. Never was I fully committed to my church.

I think this was in part of how much I was learning at the time. I really got into science videos on YouTube and would spend literal hours watching them explain how the world works around me. Literally everything had an explanation! On the other hand, religion gave me nothing but “Because God made it so” as an answer to questions that I was so curious about.

I think I can point out the exact moment when I started to realize that I did not believe in God. I remember several years ago, I was watching my science YouTube videos and I told my mother about what color mirrors are. They are green. I was in awe about how a mirrors were actually green the whole damn time! I had been brushing my teeth in front of mirrors for years and never once have I thought about the color of it, let alone about it being green. Anyways, I told my mom with all the enthusiasm in the world about mirrors being green the whole time. She told me that she was glad that I was learning so much, but I should be learning about the things that pertain to God. I think the moment she finished that sentence, I started to question my faith.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my mom. She is the greatest person in my life. She has influenced me in so many ways that have molded me into the man that I am today. I can never thank her enough for how good of a mother she was. However, this exchange was probably the first time I have disagreed with her in existential matters.

Also, before I proceed, I am not saying that you can’t believe in God while also loving science and other things of that nature. This is all a personal story.

After this talk with my mom, I really wrestled with the idea of God not being real. Everything up to that point had told me that God was real, but never could I find proof. Now, I know I have to have faith, but damn it I tried. I tried really hard to believe that God was real, but alas I could not come up with such conclusions. After all the internal debate, I decided that God is not real. All the evidence pointed to there not being a divine being above.

Fantastic! There is no God!

What now?

Well, I decided that I was going to be the best person that I could possibly be while I am alive. Then I heard about Pascal’s Wager.

Image result for Pascal's wager

This is the wager. I basically says that it is better to just believe in God because the worst thing that could happen is that nothing happens. Whereas if you don’t believe in God the best thing that could happen is nothing, and the worst thing would be eternal damnation.

I find this concept really interesting. It would be best to just believe in God, no? However, it might be my stubbornness that keeps me from doing so. Say I am wrong about the existence of God. I would be classified as a non-believer, therefore I could not enter heaven and be sent to hell. But what if I was a really good person. What if I made it so God would have to let me in? I am devoting my life to being, at the very least, a good person. Would I be let in if I generally was a good person worthy of heaven even though I was a non-believer. Now, I guess you’re answer to me is no. However, your answer is not the one I’m seeking. I am seeking the answer of God. If I’m right, then nothing will happen when I die. I will never know the answer if I’m right because that means that there is no afterlife. My chances here are slim, but I like a good bet. I like being the exception to rules. It makes a person more special.

But what happens if I’m wrong about God and he won’t let me into heaven and sends me to hell?

Well, I better not be wrong.

H. G. Salas

If you have any questions or commentary on religion and spirituality please shoot me an email! I am always wiling to have a meaningful conversation about this subject with people. I find it awesome! Most likely I’ll respond to them on the blog if you’d let me!

hectorlivingrooms@gmail.com

Friends That Aren’t Friends Anymore

 

I have been friends with a friend for a couple of years now. We weren’t always friends. Several years ago I was a stranger to this person. I had no idea of the existence of this person. I originally met this stranger through pen pals letters that we would send to each other in our English class. It was for a grade at first, but we did it for fun even after I graduated.

Around two years ago, I was in some sort of romantic relationship with this person. I don’t know exactly what it was, or what I would call it now. We weren’t dating, but we weren’t not serious about each other. Either way, this person was my first love. It was only for a couple of months, but I was sure I loved them.

This I knew because I was working at Sonic at the time. My manager would see me waving at her through the glass door when she would show up there after a choir concert. She asked me if I loved her once, and I couldn’t answer because I was afraid to say yes. My manager would laugh and say that of course I loved her. Not too long after, I told her I loved her.

Without getting into detail, we split apart for a while but we became friends after a month or two without contact.  We started writing our pen pal letters again, with some frequency, but I wanted something more. The “something more” never happened again, but we remained friends, and I grew to accept and enjoy said friendship.

The reason I stopped writing the letters, I think, is because one of my letters got returned back to me, so I couldn’t write another one. I think I couldn’t move on with my life unless I stopped those. It’s one of those existential moments that you get.

She reads these posts sometimes, I think. I still think of her as a friend, but a distant friend. The kind of friend that you only talk to on holidays and birthdays. That’s just where we are at the moment.

The point of all this is to say that sometimes people are transient. Some people come into your life for a split second and flip your life upside-down. The time a person spends in your life does not determine whether they are significant or not. I think it’s how they impact you and change you as a person that matters.

Our friends, lovers, partners, doctors, teachers, strangers in general sometimes drift apart. That’s ok as long as no one was hurt in the process. By hurt I mean that no one died or no ailment that would follow a said person throughout their lives occurred. If all parties involved can recover from this drift or break, then we have to be ok with that.

I’ve been friends with certain people for 7 years now. I love them all to death, but maybe one day some of them will have to go their separate ways. This is just life. It’s an ever-changing thing that we can’t control beyond ourselves. The strongest ties can and probably will be weakened by time.

However, this isn’t the case for all social relationships you have. Some people stay in your life whether you fucking like it or not. You gotta appreciate those ties. You know who these people are. They might be bad people or they might be good people. These people are there for the whole ride. They might nag you, they might annoy you, they might hate you or vice versa. You gotta accept that they’re going to be around for a very long time.

We are our own planets roaming the universe. A lot of other planets drift by and are pulled into your gravitational force for only a moment, or for several moments. Others are sucked right in and join you in your drift down the emptiness. You don’t know more people than you know. But is that a bad thing? Let them go. Let them drift by. Sometimes individuals come into your life to only change it.

I hope you’re doing well. Stay well, and don’t skip meals.

Love,

Hector Salas