Reflections #1

Good day to you, reader!

It’s been a very long time and a very wild ride these past few months. I have the itch to tell a story, however, I still struggle with what to write on this platform.

I am deciding to write whatever is on my mind. This website is a digital entry-way into my mind and I feel like with all of the powerful tools, here on WordPress, I can categorize all of the interesting topics and just let you pick and choose what is for you. Don’t like sports? That’s fine! I hope you enjoy my technology/gaming insights. Not interested in that? Well, maybe you will enjoy my personal series that I am starting today.

This is the first entry in Reflections. The goal of reflections is just to document some of my thoughts and experiences personally and just give some takes, especially as hindsight kicks in. I hope you enjoy this read, and if nothing else, you at least enjoy getting to know your friend better.

One reason I am choosing this platform, versus typing a long block on social media for my friends, is that there just is not enough interest. If you are reading this, I value you immensely! This is also a great barrier from preventing the trolls and snowflakes that I would much rather just keep on my friends list and just avoid altogether. Let’s call it my “I don’t want to poke them with a 10 foot pole” mindset! They would be the shitheads (for the lack of better term at the moment) that would come up with some comment and tank the whole idea of Reflections.

This is a great transition to the chief reflection I am having lately:

Eliminate the noise

This phrase resonates well with my mind, especially since I am prone to letting the very little distractions, annoyances, comments, sounds, and etc. dictate, and sometimes dominate, my mood for any given situation. Usually when this happens, it comes to the inconvenience of others around me. Unfortunately, my wife is the first person that comes to mind.

I have an educational background in Computer Science. I took quite a few elective courses into Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. One lesson we learned is that in order to make your AI more efficient, and your data more accurate (useful), you need to find a way to lessen and/or eliminate the noise. I’m about to slam you with these concepts in the next paragraph, feel free to skip down if you wish!

So, the way you can imagine raw data is the classic fuzzy black and white screen that you used to see on the television when there was nothing to see. A bunch of particles just floating around in constant motion. This is how I like to envision what I call noise. Refer to the picture below this paragraph for the visual. The goal, as you can probably imagine, is to turn this noise into a more clear picture that you can enjoy and utilize. In Data Science, you can use different formulas and statistical applications to process your data and organize it into categories where you might have data points, outliers, and errors. Then, you can feed this more-organized data (which in television terms would be your picture coming in halfway with some granules still distorting what you want to see) into an artificially intelligent algorithm of your choosing. You let it process this data even further and let the AI use data it has already processed in the past and help make your picture crystal clear. This is the electronic version of “eliminating the noise.”

Raw Data

I think the visual above encapsulates the point I’m trying to bring across. The reason why I brought this little tidbit of information into the discussion is that my main issue is that I am trying to discover ways to “eliminate the noise” in my mind. I am taking the same process as described above and applying it to myself.

Over the past few months, I’d say starting in January of 2021, we have been going through a major transformation in our life here at our homestead. When we first got married in 2017 and got out of school, we wanted to leave our roots and go start out somewhere new and unfamiliar. So we let the housing market steer us to a neighborhood in Vilonia, which contained our first home. It is still a great starter home. We did a lot of cosmetic work to it for three years and made it a lot more practical for the next first-time homeowner that took it over.

For a while we did enjoy it out there, we had a nice distance between family and work, and it was nice just being on our own and learning the ropes of life. Over time though, the experience of the neighborhood just did not set well with us. We eventually learned that what we really wanted was a wide-open space for our pets and for our pleasure. You cannot simply just wander around outside without an audience in a neighborhood. Include that with neighbors that think they are better than you and have no respect for your boundaries, even though we never engaged them in any negative way. They can easily be summed up by these cultists you see out and about these days. They wave their own flags, hide behind their crosses, and exemplify everything opposite the good Lord that they cherish and “worship” teaches them.

Folks, that can be its own topic but let’s cut to the chase and say we worked hard, saved our money, and decided enough was enough. We wanted to find a place with land. Fortunately we did! Thirteen acres, an arena, a pond, a barn, a pavilion, and an unfinished shop. The potential is never-ending. The peace and quiet is something you grow to cherish as you get older, for sure.

The whole process of selling our home, buying another home, and jumping through all the hoops in between. You have to deal with realtors, inspectors, appraisers, loan officers, all while trying to juggle your regular 8-5 routine as well as prepping for the move. All of these factors took my peaceful mind and generated so much noise. I was a complicated mess of emotions back then. My brain was just in sensory overload, there is no better way to describe it.

We are now past the thirty day mark of being completely moved to our new place. As of Monday, we finally have everything unpacked and sorted. During these past thirty days, my mind has transitioned from the completely fuzzy screen to the one to where you can partially see a picture that you can view. A lot of the noise has been processed and eliminated due to a lot of these external factors from selling and buying a house as well as moving. I’m at a lot more peace than I was. I have a lot of people to thank. It has been great seeing both of our families supporting us and appreciating our new location and falling in love with it like we have. It has also been great getting back in touch with some of my old friends that I always cherish, especially seeing them in person and not just behind a digital screen. There is one old friend I still wish to talk to, and I am counting down the days until we cross paths. He’s that friend that you knew was ultimately right and he was there to remind me I was being a jackass when I was a bit younger. Of course, I paid him little attention and instead looked for flaws in him and would reflect back.

Anyway, the last piece of this reflection is steering my mind and coming to peace with the last remaining noise so that I can have a clear mind, a peaceful mind, and a mind that is ready to tackle the next major feats of life. First of course is improving the homestead. One of these days I’m sure we will have at least one child and you’ve got to have a good home for them to grow. In the meantime though, I have some personal growth to do so that I can be a better example for my wife and one day my kid.

I am confident this upcoming system of eliminating the noise is a great start to the next chapter of life. I’m almost thirty, it’s time to grow the fuck up a little bit, right? Just making sure you’re still paying attention!

The first task I am working on is re-establishing contact with the more literary aspects of my mind. I was at my sharpest when I would read more. Right now, I have started studying the New Testament a bit as well as some historical books that give a window into the actual times back then. I’m not talking about the rosy story we get told where we have a miracle man and poof everything is forgiven! No, I’m investigating the morals and values of Jesus because he studied every religion and culture, as well as history. I’m not too worried about the miracles and the basic tenets. When I think of that man, he saw the bigger picture beyond this material world but he did suffer like we did and had his own noise to deal with. I figured he would be an interesting study.

Note, I’m not the stereotypical religious person. I do believe there is a higher being, and that we all are part of this being. Every single one of us. The bold, brave, smart, disabled, crazy, retarded, diseased, I’m talking every one has a part of this creative force. We all come from it. These dogmatic lies and rituals are here as control devices and mechanisms to enforce the will of the few upon the soul of the many, almost like a suppressive force to be reckoned with.

I do go to church but I am more of a cheerleader. My father in law is the Pastor and there’s only 10-15 people that regularly attend. We’re related to half of them and I’m there just for the fellowship and whatever lesson he likes to teach. He doesn’t really worry about the laws and sins. His messages revolve around the fact that we aren’t perfect, we just have to be aware of our faults and just strive to be better. He hasn’t once told anybody to go to Hell, so I can jive with it.

My mind is seeking something more and I think this is where all of my investigative tendencies and critical thinking will come into play. A lot of people have found success in combining aspects of spirituality from all sects and creeds to help purify their inner temple. I hope this endeavor will help eliminate some of this remaining noise and make myself a better man because of it.

Reader, thank you for being a part of this. I hope that this reflection at the very least entertained you. My final message today is to go in peace, seize the moment, enjoy the beauty in the little things. We are near the end of a once-in-a-century pandemic and brought the whole world to its knees. We have fought and now we are recovering. Let’s make this next phase the best yet and move some of these past mistakes to the history books instead of the present. Get your damn shot and quit hogging the damned gasoline!

Much Love,

Shane.

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