Pinnaclism

Just rebloging as a highlight of my wordpress. Do not want this to be buried.

Ampersand Quest

Ampersand Daily2

Pinnaclism is my idea of looking at the vastly superior ideas from any given political or social movement and combining them under one umbrella. When those ideas compete with one another, we should lean towards the more ideal conditions and compromise those ideas which are not in our best interest by accepting the faults of that idea and allowing new and innovative ideas to take their place. This will require a high degree of intellectual honesty and also the ability to let go of preconceived notions once it has become apparent that one idea is inferior to the other.

This is a new term that I have come up with and in my opinion is the only solution to an authoritarian state where violence is deemed required to spread ideology. Pinnaclism still allows freedom of expression, thought, and allows us all to have our positions without the threat of violence…

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Place Your Bets Please

AmpersandQuest

 

This word press is going to tell a story of a man who entered into a new profession as a boy and learned what it takes to be a man because of it. It will also tell of the anonymous faces this boy saw and how it impacted him to think about where he himself was heading in life. It is a peculiar trade and one that takes a lot of skill, cunning, and brutal honesty to be a part of. All of which the young man did not have in abundance before becoming seasoned in the trade. The lessons learned have branched out into other areas of his life and have allowed him to mature into the man he had always hoped to be. Or at least showed him the path. A path on which he continues to travel on to this day. This young man is me of course. Here is my story of the Casino trade.

 

Allow me if you will to take you into the world of gambling, entertainment, and the brutal honesty that is the Casino trade. It is astonishing to me just how much of a reflection gambling is of actual life and of how accurately you can learn about people in general by reading the dispositions of those who place their hard-earned money in the betting circle with the hope of winning big money. It is easy at first to imagine this trade to be dishonest, shady, and otherwise criminal but nothing can be further from the truth. Think about fast food if you will. How often will these large restaurants defend their food even though we all know it’s trash. They spend billions on marketing every single year and because of it they still somehow thrive. The degree to which they have to advertise a happy-go-lucky attitude about their business is to me what makes it so transparent that no one should even think about shoveling that food into their mouths.

 

Before we dive to deeply into that let’s start at the beginning of my career, dealers school to be precise. I had been working in fast food for 3 years prior to my enrollment into dealers school. Far too old of an age to be relying on a near minimum wage salary and answering to some of the worst humanity has to offer. Though I did build some character in the fast food trade it was but a drop in the bucket compared to just two weeks of dealer training. It started off slowly enough with learning how to handle chips, cards, and money as only a dealer can do. Each day increasing in difficulty as we would learn to quickly count card values, chip values, and dollar amounts so that we could keep games moving. At first this just meant learning how to deal the most basic and also most popular of games, Blackjack.

 

Our instructor was kind and patient enough to be teaching us but at the same time he was a complete smart ass and he made sure to remind us that his cruelty was nothing compared to what we would be subject to on a live game so I kept my mouth shut most of the time and just absorbed any kind of disciplinary actions taken against me because I had the feeling that there was no room for any kind of know-it-all behavior. I was exactly right to think this way as I witnessed one student after another losing their cool and being escorted out of the training facility. It became obvious to me that this job was not at all for the faint of heart. However, I myself was very faint of heart. This did not sit well with me at first but something inside me kept me going. This was the first time in a very long time that I felt myself actually giving a damn about my performance not just as a student but as a human being.

 

Several weeks into training it became obvious to myself and my teacher that I was becoming someone to look at with interest. Other students started to ask me questions instead of the instructor. I did not allow this to go to my head at all out of fear that any kind of arrogance would result in a return to the fast food work I had been doing. So I mostly differed this attention to my instructor. After I became more comfortable with it however, I began to be able to answer these questions with confidence and soon enough I was dealing mock games of black jack long before the other students in class.

 

For the first time in a long time I had a sense of pride in what I was doing. It became an art form just as much as playing guitar had for me in years past. It became clear to me that this job did not simply mean putting cards on a table then collecting and paying bets. There was much more to it than that after you learned the fundamentals of dealing cards. I started noticing subtle changes in people’s behavior when it came to different scenarios in the game. Much as professional poker players talk about when competing on TV. People cannot help but react when it comes to a game, especially when money is on the line. However, this was still true even though it was mock money on the line in class.

 

Let’s skip forward to my first night on a live blackjack game. It was a first night to remember as it was July 4th. The Casino was completely packed to the brim and a line of guest were in waiting to get in as the fire marshal would not allow more than capacity to enter the building. I was assigned a table in the main pit of the floor which was so crowded that it took me 10 minutes just to enter and find my place. The table was full of what I now know as a matter of routine are the most difficult people to deal to. Fifty plus year old drunk men and a whole table full at that with others in wait for when one of them got up to move on with their night. The amount of pressure, nervousness, and adrenaline that was rushing through my body is still to this day indescribable.  In a moment I had forgotten every single thing I had learned in class and not only that was being cussed at, picked on, and flogged because on of the more veteran dealers had let it be known that it was my very first night on the job.

 

Music from the live band playing was so loud that I could barely hear anything which is an all important aspect to being a live table games dealer. You must be able to communicate certain things to your pit boss and this was nearly impossible with everything going through my mind at that point. That night I had to either put up or shut up and hand in my dealers license. My first hand went off without a snag, the second, third, and fourth as well. This was because nothing of note happened but I will never forget the first black jack I dealt was a bet made with several colors of value chips. Now days, it is something I don’t even think about but on my first night my mind drew a complete blank. A black jack will pay any bet three to two in odds. In other words a ten-dollar bet will pay fifteen dollars on any black jack which is the first two cards the player receives equaling twenty-one. Mathematically you simply take the entire amount of the bet, divide by two, and then add that amount to the original bet. On a ten-dollar bet, divide ten by two which equals 5, add five to ten which equals fifteen and then pay the bet. The bet I drew a blank on was a bet of twenty-three dollars and fifty cents. I stood there, confused, bewildered, and ashamed of myself.

 

Unable to figure out the payout my pit boss started pushing me to figure it out, the players cussing at me, calling me names, and myself beating myself up more harshly than that! It was one of those moments where everything goes silent and you either put forth the effort and do it or you fold like an accordion and fail miserably and decide to move on with your life.  I knew I wanted this job more than anything in the world. I just got a new girlfriend, my own car, a new place to live, and was moving on with my life outside of this job so the idea of giving up now was out of the question. I started to scramble and figure out the bet one color at a time. And 5 minutes later, which is an obscene amount of time to me now, I had figured it out. The entire table of drunk old men, my pit boss, and the shift manager all cheered aloud as I stood there completely embarrassed, yet, triumphant in getting over myself and just paying the man his money.

 

Fast forward two years and I am a competent dealer in several different and varied games including several types of poker games. The lesson I learned that first night has never left me. That is, people, even when they’re being complete shit heads, typically just want the best things to happen for themselves and others. Even if they’re calling you every name in the book, they still want the good thing to happen. That is why this business is so god damn honest. They don’t come there expecting to win every hand or at all for that matter. What they come to do is have a good time and it is my job for that entertainment to be at my expense. That’s not to say I still let guest cuss me out and treat me like garbage like I did my first few weeks of dealing. It just means it’s my job not only to deal the game correctly but to make it as entertaining as possible for the guest.

 

The trick is to present the guest with such a good time that they leave me a tip, which is the bulk of my annual income. I have had experience in sales in my lifetime as well which has come in handy but one thing I’ve noticed about this job in contrast to sales is that of the level of honesty. When it comes to what I’m selling I can be utterly blunt about it where as when I was in sales I had to make the product sound better than it actually was. Here, when someone is losing and starting to get pissed off about it all I have to do is get the rest of my table to start cheering for them. I have to encourage them to have a good time despite the loss and that they are partaking in something that’s not just about them but the party atmosphere around them. They don’t want to be a party pooper do they? Hardly anyone does and those that do want to poop the party well there are other ways of handling them as well.

 

The most difficult guest that I encounter are the one’s who complain no matter how much they’re winning or losing. Either that or they have hardly anything to say at all. Getting them to play along is difficult but not impossible. It takes a higher level of patients and cunning to get them involved with the “party”. For example, getting the rest of the table involved with their decisions on the game can mean the different between a tip or not. If they simply are not going to tip and others are it is amusing to hear the rest of the table cuss that guest out for being a prick and not treating their dealer right. “Hey buddy, it’s not like it’s the dealers money, he wants us to win too ya jerk!”, they’ll say. To which I’ll reply, “Yeah, my boss already makes enough money, none of us have his kind of money so let’s make it together folks!” If that doesn’t work and the party pooper still doesn’t play along it only encourages the rest of the party to have more fun in spite of the pooper. It’s fascinating to me how this dynamic plays out over the hour-long period I will deal to them before I have to go on a mandatory break. Which is another interesting way of using psychology on the table.

 

In the state in which I work, by law, a dealer is not allowed to deal for more than an hour and twenty minutes at a time. This not only allows the dealer to gather their thoughts and clear their mind but it can also swing the game back in or out of the favor of the house. I call this dynamic “good cop, bad cop.” Much like we all see in cop movies/tv shows where cops team up on a suspect and play good/bad with them dealers can do much the same thing. For example, for an hour I might be “dumping” to the table which simply means paying out a lot of money on each hand. This gets the party atmosphere in high spirits while I’m there but then my break comes and a new dealer is there for the twenty minutes I’m away. The new dealer now may be impossible to beat. This is all a part of the fun of gambling. When I get back from break after the new dealer takes back most if not all of their chips the guest will rejoice in my return and offer up tribute in the form of either handing me tips or placing dealer bets so that I can play along. As the bad cop a dealer learns not to take the insults personally and realizes they have played their part in a mind game that results in more tips than usual.

 

Now you may be saying to yourself that this is some how shady and dishonest but is it really? We aren’t allowed to ask for tips directly and in my opinion this is a good thing because it is more professional to actually earn those tips by providing an entertaining experience rather than cheaply asking for tips out right. Not only can a dealer lose their job but in my opinion it cheapens the entire experience for the guest and the dealers as well. Regular guest know what is going on and not only are happy to tip but realize it adds a lot more to the party like atmosphere going on.  These are the guest we rely on most to ensure a great time for everyone playing and after so long you develop really tight and awesome bonds with them.  But for every guest like this there are ten who just do not get it. This is where the artistry of everything I just talked about comes in to play.

 

Often times I feel like a rock star on his own unique stage because people know my name by word of mouth and I find regulars returning to my tables every single week just to have a good time of which I am very happy to oblige. It is just as important for me to have a great time as it is to make money at my job and that is why I absolutely love what I do. This job has not only helped me financially but has helped me mature into the young man I always hoped I would be. It has motivated me to make other changes in my life. Like caring about my appearance, the way I socialize with others, and how I treat my personal life with loved one’s and friends. At the end of the night when I am ready to clock out there are always stories to be told, merriment to be had, and friendships to be maintained. Some times I help count up all of our tips for the day and I can tell you that I and the other dealers all take pride in every single red cent we get. We do not think of our guest as suckers and they do not think of us as scam artist. We develop a bond with them much as a bar tender would his guest.

 

I honestly believe this is one of the most honest trades in the world because no one forces anyone to place those bets on the table. We even go so far as to explain the best odds possible and that there is not one single game in the entire casino which has the guest best interest at heart. Why then do people keep putting their money in the circle? I say it’s because of the thrill of the chase, the good people they’re surrounded with, and the memories they create while there. Sure, people get lucky and make a lot of money some times but more often than not people will spend what they bring every time they come and yet they return the next week. That tells me there is something else at play. Something intangible and valuable to humanity involved with gambling. Something that only people in the entertainment business truly understand and have mastered over the years. It’s the same reason you pay to go see your favorite bands, or go to the movies, or even take your friends or co-workers out to a nice restaurant. Once the money becomes irrelevant and you are simply having the time of your life you quickly realize that what you are betting on is having a great time.

Night Terrors: The 22nd Century

AmpersandQuest

I wake on my yacht in the middle of my prescribed slumber only to feel this sweet yet terrifying sensation burning on the back of my neck where my update cord is firmly plugged in. I imagine the feeling is similar to that of what the fetus of 100 years ago would have felt in it’s mothers womb which both brings me comfort and delivers an awkward uncomfortable feeling that I am not supposed to be living like this.

I am not supposed to be awake right now, yet I am, but everything my cord is telling me is to fall back into my slumber. Yet I feel the sensation of the waves rocking my boat back and forth. I feel the breeze on my arm, my artificial skin and body hair unable to goose bump or otherwise react yet I could swear it was. I longed for it to feel as my ancestors would feel.

I close my eyes as the burn on back of my neck increases, I know what’s coming and though I wish I could now cry I know I never will so why do I feel this way? I am confused beyond my own understanding. As the burning increases yet again I hear a dolphins cries in the distance as seaguls screach above my head. I don’t want to return to my slumber. But now it’s time for my update to return me to my slumber…I….Can only feel the burning…Oh that burning…I hate it….

……….SUBJECT 231483 YOU ARE NOT AWAKE. PROTOCOL #421 HAS RESUMED YOUR SLUMBER PROGRAM. RELAX, DO NOT RESIST.

“Activisimist” Movements: The Unavoidable Hypocrisy of Modern Culture (Warning for the sensitive, Profane Language Within!)

AmpersandQuest

I have always considered myself a humanist for my own reasons. No self-proclaimed humanist was ever able to teach me why, I just found myself attached to the ideologies behind humanism. It’s not for secular reasons or because a bunch of hipster activist told me I should be one. I am one despite those people. I am one because I believe in humanity to improve and progress through a lot of hard work. Not so that the government can grant everyone privileges and screw over everyone else just because they’re in the majority.

 

It seems in this “modern civilized world” it is not enough to be a decent human being, no, you have to be a part of this kind of “ism” or a certain type of “ist” in order to fit in. These “movements” are taking what was such a beautifully simple notion of goodwill towards men and have spun it into their own unique perceptions and delusions of how best to operate one self in a world wrought with war, political cesspools, a crumbling economy, and do gooders trying to get in everyone else’s business. They will point their filthy fingers at everything and everyone other than themselves and will never look in the mirror to see how they’ve duped themselves into believing that if they just scream loud enough, the world will listen and change. In other words, these people love to complain.

 

I am humanist because fuck you. What I mean to say is that I as an individual strive to better myself. I am part of a society of other humans so I have had to learn to go along to get along to a certain degree but the reason for this word press being written is to point out that society at large is stepping all over itself to prove to themselves that they are these gleaming and shining examples of morality. But we all know we are imperfect and typically shit headed towards one another. Yet we find ourselves involved with groups of people proclaiming to have the answer to solve all the worlds ills. Myself included, so don’t misunderstand me. I include myself in this article because I actually realize I have a lot of work to do on myself and I do it every day. I can’t say the same for others though. For others, mediocrity is just fine.

 

This same harsh “fuck you” goes to anyone who belongs to any of the following groups, Republicans, Democrats, Feminist, Libertarians, Anarcho Capitalist, Anarcho Socialist, Socialist, Communist, Jihadist, Christians, Muslims, Men’s Rights Activist, and many many others so if I left you out, fuck you too. Do you want to know why? Because while there are exceptional people within each community who I want to be friends with and would love to be around, there are always those extreme people who take the idea way too far and go way out of their way to not just exclude others from even the slightest conversation but will actively seek to bring harm to anyone outside that community. This is the problem I have with every single one of these “ismist”. They subvert themselves by proclaiming peace but it’s at a cost. They are not at all peaceful once they start lobbying for laws to be passed in order to limit the behaviors of those who disagree with them. Granted some are much less inclined to do so than others so I am not exactly painting with broad strokes here. I recognize good, better, and best.

 

I realize right about now I sound completely hypocritical and I agree, but how can this be avoided? How can we live in society with all these special interest, all just as annoying as the next, and not at some point put your head out of your ass and remember who you really are? Humanism to me does not mean I think all humans deserve special treatment. To me, it means, we’re all a bunch of dip shits for thinking that some little group we were a part of at some point was going to make a difference by complaining about some oppressor at large until someone paid attention to us. Never once providing a working solution or internalizing our own faults and communicating to others that sometimes the bullshit that happens to us in life is our own damn fault.  Perhaps then I am not a humanist, perhaps then I am just an individual who is sick of movements.  In any case I have been a part of several movements in my life time and never once did I feel fulfilled. Just a brief encounter with inspiring ideas at first which quickly succumb to in fighting, finger-pointing, and complaining. It’s rather disgusting.

 

I see all these disappointed faces all the time. You’re in a movement, things are going well, then reality sets in and people tailspin into denial, self-pity, and loathing of their brethren.  Did you really believe you were going to make a difference? So disappointing isn’t it? You were fooled by a guru into believing in something abstract and unrealistic and at first their were positive results because you were excited about something. It gave you positive energy and something to believe in while you continued to your ultimate destiny. But eventually, you had questions about what you were doing. Just as an atheist questions God or an Anarchist questions Government YOU question this community you’re a part of.

 

But you deny it don’t you? Anything to belong. Anything to maintain this near narcissistic shell  that you are good because your people are good. That you could never ever be a shit head and neither could your activist friends. Ha! Wake up fools, you live on an ancient rock, it’s been alive for billions of years and will probably outlive our species. And the reason it will is because you are so narcissistic that you actually believe we will kill the Earth before it kills humanity. You honestly truly believe that what you are doing is truly good and right and correct meanwhile you make enemies at every turn. Bring harm to those who disagree and in turn those shit heads you piss off come back and attack you.

 

I am Humanist because I think humanity has such great potential to be truly exceptional and good. But I see what we’ve become and i am sick! If it’s not cleared by your board members, internet gurus, or political party you will not even think about doing it. It’s disgusting to think that I used to be the same way but I met others who showed me another way. These people didn’t kiss my ass and tell me pretty lies. They said, “FUCK YOU, GROW UP, MOVE ON.”

 

These men to be a little more specific are part of an online culture called “the manospehere” and I realize I am being hypocritical but it simply cannot be avoided in this culture of ours.  Because there is no way around it I must find a way to compromise my position without being a complete piece of shit so here it is. My brand of Humanism is called Pinnaclism and you can read all about it here. https://verbosepeak.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/pinnaclism/

 

Within the confines of that article are what represent to me a set of ideals that constitute a way of life. I no longer want to be another follower in a group that represents the interest of people who at one point had the same idea I had. I want to be a leader in something new, unique, and truly revolutionary. I realize this means dire consequences should anyone out there take my ideas seriously but honestly, it’s a short life and I’m sick of following dishonest people who have their own agendas and use people’s best qualities against them in order to galvanize and quarter off a market of meat heads who will worship them and hang on to every word they say without question. I’m sick of the guru’s and the ism-ist of modern culture and desire a return to what makes human beings so damn amazing. Honesty, honor, hard work, self-responsibility, and ingenuity. I saying this I am not going to blow smoke up anyone’s ass and pretend I am a shining example to be followed at this point. But the fact that I recognize my shit headed behaviors and seek to change them is something people should follow.  I want others to read my words here and rip them apart and give me feedback, positive and negative feedback because if I’m perfectly honest right now everything I’ve written here feels absurd. I feel there is something underneath it all though which is tried and true.

 

Does anyone out there have anything to add? I would absolutely love to hear what others think about this. I wrote this article with a lot of anger and after re-reading and writing it I found many inconsistencies with my arguments but I still feel underneath it all is an undiscovered truth about humanity that we should all example. Please let me hear what you think and take care folks!