A Degree in “Everything”

Did you know that in Florida, you are charged double per credit hour after you exceed a certain number? That’s right – after paying out the nose for education for years, if you want to learn just a little bit more than allotted by Big Brother, you’re gonna have to pay for that, yes sir!

For someone like me who has myriad interests in every subject under the sun, this fact was a little distressing to learn, as I’ve bounced from potential degree to potential degree. I’m finally getting my AA, but now I have to commit to something.

Being an autodidact is truly only feasible if you have a lot of spare time and a lot of motivation – a little extra pocket money doesn’t hurt, either, for all those book-buying sprees. Goodness knows I’ve started and stopped so many projects, bought the books and then had to toss them. Oh, well. That’s what libraries are for, I suppose.

It’s just a tad bit soul-crushing to realize that you’ve got one life – seventy years, give or take a handful – to learn all the things there are to learn, in a world where the jargon of expertise in any science, hard or soft, is expanding at a prodigious rate, and where the growth and dissemination of free information seems to see that information increasingly un-vetted, watered-down, and subject to bias…

After having to donate an entire bin stacked to the brim with books I’ve bought at thrift shops and taken from college library giveaways, I still find myself wanting more books. More knowledge. It just never ends.

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2018 Tampa Bay Area UFO Sightings: Part 1

Utilizing this page on the NUFORC database, I collected the UFO sightings that have taken place in Florida since the day after New Year’s (in order to eliminate as many firework-related sightings as possible), then organized them by location.

The leader in sightings has been Tampa with 4 to date (as of 3/29/2018), with Orlando in second place with 3 sightings. Since I’m focusing on the Tampa Bay area, I also will be taking a look at the nearby St. Pete and Brandon, both of which reported 1 sighting each.

I’ll be starting with the Tampa incidents in descending chronological order.

Continue reading “2018 Tampa Bay Area UFO Sightings: Part 1”

We are all in the gutter…

“…but some of us are looking at the stars.” -Oscar Wilde

When you’re raised down the street from Disney World, you come to acquire an appreciation for the strange, performative nature of everyday life. Fireworks rumble the world every night like the footsteps of giants, keeping children up and imagining alien invasions outside the window. Spotlights illuminate the night sky with their dancing patterns.

And yet life is rather dull. We wake up, we battle the tourist traffic to cross I-4 and make it to school, where we spend seven hours or more being molded into perfect little citizens. Questions are discouraged; conformity is praised. We are raised in awe of astronauts and their shuttles, yet math and science are made out to be obscure, inaccessible subjects, especially to young women, to our friends who come from poor neighborhoods.

There is a deep dissatisfaction with modern life. Seventeen-year-olds bring wine and vodka in their water bottles. Music provides some escape. Outfits are more highly regulated than bullying. Students are singled out for holding hands with someone of their own gender, no matter how platonic the action.

Then there is the ever-present fear of the future. The hammer of student debt hovering over the anvil of underpaid labor. The knowledge that one will likely work until they are seventy in order to see any form of retirement – if one is lucky. When the stock market is doing well, only the mega-rich see any benefit; when the stock market crashes, us at the bottom rung of the ladder fall off. More accurately, we are pushed.

Political divisions don’t help. Red and blue, white and black and brown, we’re all poor, we’re all scraping by, and yet we don’t see as the Elite we fear so much push us into blaming one another for their own crimes. We praise and uplift “saviors” who will bleed us dry and throw us away as soon as they’ve wrung a nickel or two out of us, just because they promise they won’t.

Anhedonia: a psychological condition characterized by inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable acts (Merriam-Webster.com).

When we feel as if we live upon a world spiraling out of our hands, is it any wonder that this is happening to us? Is it any wonder that we come up with wilder and wilder explanations for our loss of control, our loss of the ability to lead meaningful lives? Is it any wonder that we turn to conspiracy theories and magic?

I was raised an atheist. When I asked about the Bible stories my friends knew, my mother sat me down with a gigantic pad of paper and drew all of them from memory, drawing upon her Baptist upbringing. I learned about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Ark, and the life and death and rebirth of Jesus. About the Trinity.

When I told my mother it all seemed like a fairy story, she agreed with me, and she told me: “You can believe whatever you want. But I think that people wrote these books, and that people aren’t always right, but that people want to believe that they are always right. They want to believe in a right and a wrong, and they want to believe that good people are rewarded and bad people are punished. When bad things happen that they can’t fix, they want to be able to say to themselves that the people who have harmed them will be punished by God someday, if not now. And I believe that that’s all there is to it.”

There are many oversimplifications when talking about religion. This is a Christian worldview, after all; Jewish people don’t even all believe that there is a God, much less that we should blindly follow any of the ancient rules set by such a God.

Like it or not, however, this Christian worldview has shaped so much of our reasoning as Americans, as citizens of the world – the idea that there is a Right and a Wrong. Order and Disorder. Natural and Unnatural.

I believe that a better world is possible. A world in the grey. A world that celebrates humanity as a whole, while decolonizing our minds from centuries of belief in hierarchy, in the inherent supremacy of one kind of human over another.

When will this world come? Most likely after I’m dead. But I don’t fear death. I fear a life unlived – a fate much worse than peaceful rest.

 

A Proper Introduction

So, who am I? What’s this blog about, anyway?

You can call me Grayson Graves. It’s a pseudonym. Under this name, I pursue my more eclectic interests, from the basest pseudoscientific drivel to the most fascinating of unsolved mysteries.

I do NOT necessarily endorse something by liking, retweeting, reblogging, or posting about it. This includes subjects, people, certain conspiracy theories, et cetera.

Now that that’s out of the way…

This blog was created to be a repository of personal research into the subject of UFOlogy, primarily dealing with primary and secondary sources. Eventually, I would like to conduct interviews with locals who have had UFO sightings, and I am very interested in those sightings that occur/have occurred in the Tampa Bay area.

In addition, I’m interested in parapsychology, cryptozoology, and the paranormal, and plan on investigating the reportedly haunted areas of my locale. I’m planning on visiting the Sulphur Springs Tower and the Fort Brooke Garage very soon, and I’ll be posting about my experiences here.

I have many other interests that will appear on this blog, including philosophy, literature (especially speculative fiction), poetry, sci-fi/horror movies, video games, occultism, paganism, history, cats, coffee, bookshops, and more.

I am interested in conspiracy theories from a mostly academic point of view – for now. As both a leftist and an active member of the LGBT community, I find it hard to tolerate the number of right-wing extremists that the mindset breeds. But don’t mistake me for a Democrat – two different poisons are still both poison.

There will be no update schedule for The Unquiet Skies, as my desire to write can be a fickle beast.

Hopefully, this blog will offer some interesting and thought-provoking reading material. Please enjoy, and never hesitate to comment, share material, or strike up a lively debate!