I had just visited Facebook's home page on my smartphone and seen the top post from The Wall Street Journal. My eyes fixated on the attached image of a dog at a desk with a CRT monitor showing a primitive-looking website on pets. "The World Wide Web Turns 30: A History of the Internet Technology," the headline proclaimed. This was news to me. It reminded me of a similar article posted to Facebook in 2016—shortly before I began attending the University of Minnesota—about how UMN almost ruled the internet with their Gopher protocol, instead of Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web at CERN.
Shortly thereafter, I walked upstairs and calmly asked my dad why it sounded like he was dropping heavy weights on the floor while I was in the basement. This must have set him off, and he started screaming wildly at me. I then went up to my room to get my headphones and jacket for a walk. And soon my dad was trying to start a verbal fight with me again. Within minutes, my dad started brandishing a steak knife while slowly rotating it so the blade would catch the light.
"You just brandished a knife at me," I told my dad.
"I am brandishing a knife at you," he replied with excitement. "I am, I am, I really, really am!"
At this point, all I could think of was getting outside and calling the non-emergency number for Carver County. After calling dispatch and receiving a call from a deputy, I met up with this deputy, Josh Smith (of the Carver County Sheriff's Office), 1.3 miles away—only because he seemed to promise me he would arrest my dad for the terroristic threats.
But, after questioning me, he said he would need to hear my parents' side of the story first before making an arrest. This lie is typical of the Carver County Sheriff's Office. I told him my parents just lie to the police and that my version of events is 100 percent true (and it is). Additionally, I told him that within the past week my dad said he could call Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud any time he wants and make up a crime, so he can have the sheriff "haul [my] ass out of [his] house." (I did also report this threat to the police after it happened.) For what it's worth, deputies with the Carver County Sheriff's Office have told me that kicking someone out of his or her house is a civil matter, not a criminal one.
I have talked to Deputy Smith numerous times on the phone tonight, and all he can do is lie, lie, and lie. It seems the Carver County Sheriff's Office is nothing more than the private security force for the cult-like religion Eckankar—of which I have never been a member but am reasonably certain my parents, brother, and fellow citizens of Chanhassen are.
My dad says he can do whatever he wants in our house, and so far that is the case. I have reported my family's crimes against me hundreds of times, I'm sure, to the police over the years. If I ever have a suspicious death in Chanhassen, you can be reasonably certain it was my family murdering me and Carver County attempting to cover it up. My brother, Marcus Lee Scribner ("Marc Scribner"), attempted to murder me in an ambush and strangulation on the night of my dad's birthday in 2012; my mom said on Good Friday this year, for the first time, that my brother was, in fact, trying to murder me.
Yet I remain hopeful that my life will improve soon. My previous psychiatrist, whom I saw for five years, said I should tell myself "I am a good person" when I feel stressed. Sometimes it's all I can think about.
I wrote this article for Chaska High School's student newspaper, The Hawk Herald. It appeared in the May 29, 2006, issue. I also created and managed the website for The Hawk Herald, which one can still see in Archive.org's Wayback Machine at this link. Nevertheless, I thought the article's last vestiges on the World Wide Web existed at the aforementioned link. Until today. Within the last hour, I remembered I kept a copy of the article on my student home page at Bard College. I was able to remember the URL and access the file in the Wayback Machine, which one can visit at this link. What follows is a mirror of the file from my Bard College home page.
The city of Chanhassen has several famous landmarks: the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres; Prince's studio, Paisley Park; and a religion's world headquarters--the Temple of Eck. Anyone in the area is surely familiar with the bright golden temple situated on the corner of Powers and West 78th Street. Despite its prominent placement, most local residents have never actually visited the temple, much less have the slightest idea about the actual religion.
Eckankar, which means "Co-worker with God," is more or less a hodgepodge of ancient Eastern religions with some similarities to modern Western practices. "But Eckankar is not a branch or anything of another religion," explained D'arcy Fox (12). "I was talking to someone just the other week," said Cheryl Seese, an Eck follower, "and they were saying the best qualities in every religion--and Eckankar had all of them."
According to a 2004 estimate, Eckankar has over 36,000 members in the United States and is present in more than 120 countries. In the local area alone, there are 700 to 800 members. Every day of the week and during all times of the day, cars move in and out of the temple's gates, often branded with the "ECK" logo on their bumpers.
"The Religion of Light and Sound of God" is Eckankar's official title. Eckists believe they play individual roles in the pursuit of God and higher consciousness, and every day they practice some of their hundred spiritual exercises. Like Freudian theory, Eckankar stresses the importance of dreams in day-to-day life. Unlike Freudian theory, however, Eckankar claims its believers can actually visit spiritual places through a process called Soul Traveling. "We look to dreams for spiritual guidance and to answer questions," said Eck follower Beverly Foster. "We believe we are soul; we have always lived."
Eckankar's foremost spiritual exercise is the HU (pronounced hue), a technique similar to meditation practiced by closing your eyes and singing "Huuuuu" in five to ten second intervals. In the chapel, Eckists sing the HU together to connect with God. The HU is supposed to let you focus with your third eye, which enables you to see light and take journeys to spiritual worlds. "I do the HU before I fall asleep," said Devin Seese (12), "to relax after a long day of school and work."
If the last two paragraphs sounded like a bunch of spiritual gobbledygook, you shouldn't worry. "I know this is a lot to take in," admitted Foster. "At first it always seems complicated."
The temple itself has brought a lot of attention to Eckankar. "The Chanhassen temple was an award-winning design made in 1990 by the same people that designed the Mall of America," said Foster. In total, Eckankar claims 174 acres of prime land near downtown Chanhassen directly behind Lake Ann.
The Aztec-like exterior of the temple represents the eight steps toward the path to God. "Its octagonal shape gives each of the rooms along the wall a different shape," said Foster. The temple's interior is a minimalist design with virtually bare, white walls and gold fringing. On the walls are pastel paintings of spiritual worlds that Eckists have visited in their dreams. "We get paintings from members all around the world," said Foster. "I like to think of the paintings as little windows." Often showing up in the paintings are Eck Masters.
Eckankar's Mahanta, or Living Eck Master, is the leader of the religion and helps guide other Eckists on their own spiritual paths. The current Living Eck Master is Sri Harold Klemp, a native of Milwaukee, who replaced Darwin Gross after his short-lived reign ended in 1983 when he was excommunicated from the church. "Twice a year, Harold Klemp speaks at the Minneapolis Convention Center that attracts Eckists from all over the world," said Foster.
There is a long line of Eck Masters that supposedly goes back to the beginning of time. "The Eck Masters remain alive forever in the spiritual world," said Foster. Portraits of notable Eck Masters are displayed conspicuously in the chapel and portray a melting pot of gurus. For example, there is a woman, a Chinese, an Ethiopian, and an ancient Egyptian Eck Master who bears a strikingly similar appearance to Fabio. "Since I was child, I've always had a sort of spiritual connection with [Eck Master] Fubbi Quantz," said Fox. Another Eck Master, Rebazar Tarzs, supposedly revamped Eckankar from a primeval practice into an inclusive religion in the fifteenth century. Eckists believe he is still living in a hut in the Hindu Kush mountain range of Afghanistan.
Paul Twitchell, the first modern-day Eck Master, brought Eckankar to the masses during his leadership starting in 1965 until his death in 1971. Twitchell wrote books, gave lectures, and sent missionaries to Africa and other parts of the world to recruit members. Before Twitchell divulged the ancient practices, there weren't any members or physical evidence of Eckankar in any modern society.
It is for this very reason that critics have labeled Eckankar as a cult. They claim Twitchell, a former member of Scientology and apprentice of L. Ron Hubbard, plagiarized and even flat-out invented the religion. The advent of the Internet has allowed former Eckists and anti-cult proponents to share their lore on Eckankar. Perhaps the most most vocal opponent of Eckankar is Professor David C. Lane, who in 1978 first uncovered the purported plagiarism in Twitchell's writings for his college term paper. Commenting on the cult allegations, Foster exclaimed, "I've heard just about everything."
Individuals should decide for themselves whether claims against Eckankar are true or false. Eckists encourage anyone interested in learning more about the religion to come and visit the temple. "We are very tolerant of other religions," said Cheryl Seese, "and we don't get involved in social issues or have a 'Ten Commandments.'" Added Seese, "It's great to be in America where we have religious freedom."
I have never posted anything online about this traumatic childhood experience—until now. Please keep reading.
When I was approximately 8 years old, my brother and our neighborhood friends possibly attempted to murder me. We were on our bicycles at the top of a large, dirt-covered hill, where my neighborhood was developing new houses. My brother and my neighbors claimed they thought it would be fun if we all went down the dangerous slope on our bicycles at the same time.
There was one caveat: They all wanted me to go down first.
However, I didn't want to go down the hill with them, much less all by myself, because of the manifest danger. Nevertheless, my brother and neighbors started ganging up on me—as they often did—and kept demanding and manipulating me to go down the slope. They insisted profusely that they would be right behind me. Unfortunately, because I felt like I had no other option, I ended up submitting to their peer pressure.
With palpable trepidation, I started going down the ridge.
I accelerated quickly down the slope, but my brother and neighborhood friends lied and never joined me; instead, they stayed at the top of the ridge watching me like serial killers in training.
It did not end well for me. I ended up "flipping" over my handlebars—by my brother and neighbors' account, which they bragged about to me as if I deserved a medal—and hitting the rough terrain. Immediately thereafter, I started screaming and crying so loudly that one of the moms of these conduct-deprived children ended up running over to the scene of the crime, picking me up, and bringing me to my house. That mom and my mom never contacted the authorities or brought me to a hospital. Instead, my mom had me take a bath, which was painful because of all the blood-covered scrapes on my back and elsewhere on my body.
Interestingly, this possible murder plot is like how the character "Bunny" dies in "The Secret History," the first novel by Donna Tartt, which is perhaps my mom's favorite novel and one I used to enjoy as well.
I think it's possible God (or the C.I.A.) was watching over me that day. Maybe even my uncle and godfather, Barry Scribner, who I believe had an office in the Pentagon at the time, was aware. But I don't know if I can ever forgive or forget what my brother and my pretend neighborhood friends did to me that day. I do, however, know I have never attempted to murder anyone, though it's likely my brother, Marc Scribner, has attempted to murder me multiple times to a pathological degree. Is it because I know too much?
Lastly, I hope the people involved in this potential murder plot never work for the federal government, such as the F.B.I., or in any other high-ranking position where individuals' lives are on the line.
Justus Rosenberg (01/23/1921–10/30/2021) would have been 102 today.
I originally published the contents of this article on the FreeBSD Forums on November 19, 2021 (I started the thread on October 10, 2021—my 33rd birthday). In this fifth rough draft of instructions, I will show you how to install KDE that will be started with the command startx. Thanks go to astyle for ironing out the final details and everyone else who contributed on the FreeBSD Forums.
Without a desktop environment such as KDE, FreeBSD is just the UNIX shell (think "WarGames," "The Matrix," or MS-DOS!). Follow these instructions to set up a desktop environment so your computer looks like Windows or Mac.
Commands, code, and keystrokes are in bold (some other functions may be in bold as well). Commands and code will also have a silver background. Filenames are in green. I recommend reading all of the instructions before trying them.
1. Enter the superuser/root account by entering % su and the password for the root account. Note that the command prompt on the shell (%, $, #, etc.) is dependent on what user is currently logged in. Therefore, the % should not actually be typed out. Once in the root account, the command prompt will be #.
2. Run # pkg install drm-kmod
3. Enter the easy editor to edit the file /etc/rc.conf by entering the following command: # ee /etc/rc.conf
4. Once in the easy editor, on a new line, enter the following two lines on separate lines:
5. Make sure to hit Enter so the file starts on a new line after saving.
6. Save and exit the easy editor by pushing Esc and following the prompts to save and exit. The KMS driver should now be set up.
7. (7 and 8 are superfluous if you reboot in step 10. i915kms and dbus get loaded while booting because you added them to /etc/rc.conf in 4. In other words, you can skip 7 and 8. I am still including the steps for future reference.) Go ahead and load the drm driver. Run # kldload /boot/modules/i915kms.ko
8. (7 and 8 are superfluous if you reboot in step 10. i915kms and dbus get loaded while booting because you added them to /etc/rc.conf in 4. In other words, you can skip 7 and 8. I am still including the steps for future reference.) Run # service dbus start
9. Run # pkg install xorg
10. Reboot by running # shutdown -r now and booting up to a command-line login prompt.
11. Log in as a regular user (this is important).
12. Run % startx as a regular user. (Even the Handbook tells you to do this in the Quick Start section 5.4.1, Step 3.)
13. TWM window manager will start. You can return to text mode by opening the pop-up menu by left-clicking on the desktop and then clicking Exit.
14. Become the superuser/root account again by running % su
15. Reboot by running # shutdown -r now
16. After logging in, become the superuser/root account again by running % su
17. Run # pkg install kde5 firefox
18. Enter the easy editor to edit the file /etc/fstab by entering the following command: # ee /etc/fstab
19. Once in the easy editor, on new lines, enter the following two lines (you can push the Tab key or spacebar after entering each field):
fdesc /dev/fd fdescfs rw 0 0
proc /proc procfs rw 0 0
(See post #33. There is debate on whether this instruction should be included; I am including it because it may be beneficial for those who want to run applications such as LibreOffice.)
20. Make sure to hit Enter so the file starts on a new line after saving.
21. Save and exit the easy editor by pushing Esc and following the prompts to save and exit.
22. Run # mount /dev/fd
23. Run # mount /proc
24. Exit the superuser account by running # exit. All files in your $HOME directory should be edited as a regular user, not as root.
25. Enter the easy editor to edit the file ~/.xinitrc by entering the following command: % ee ~/.xinitrc
26. Once in the easy editor, on a new line, enter the following line:
exec ck-launch-session startplasma-x11
27. Make sure to hit Enter so the file starts on a new line after saving.
28. Save and exit the easy editor by pushing Esc and following the prompts to save and exit.
29. Become the superuser/root account again by running % su
30. Reboot by running # shutdown -r now
31. If you chose not to reboot, enter # exit to leave the superuser account.
32. If everything worked, you should see the KDE desktop after running % startx as a regular account.
This article was originally posted on December 30, 2021.
Schizophrenia is not a real diagnosis. If you don't believe me, you can read this blog post I made about phony schizophrenia diagnoses in nursing homes. Nevertheless, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia 10 years ago after first being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a New York hospital (I have lived at home with my parents in Minnesota nearly the entire time since then).
My so-called mental illness began with what might be described as a nervous breakdown. I first started to become suspicious that the N.S.A. was tapping my phone because of audio aberrations when talking on the phone. I then suspected the F.B.I. was spying on me in person. Finally, I thought the C.I.A. was playing games with my mind.
Shortly after my first hospitalization in New York, I visited my uncle's mansion in Westchester County. There, he told me he went to West Point with the director of the N.S.A. (I later learned he also went to West Point with the director of the C.I.A.)
I have been trapped in the mental health system ever since. While I don't want to go into everything that's happened to me (that would take forever), I can say that I have been abused, assaulted, tortured, and poisoned. The worst thing that ever happened to me was when my brother tackled, beat, and strangled me (for a significant amount of time) exactly nine years ago (December 30 is my dad's birthday).
Why is the government using me as a human experiment? First, I suggest you read this article put out by the Ministry of Truth. That article, of course, will only tell you part of the story. In my case, I suspect I was chosen at birth for use as a human experiment because my dad (supposedly shortly before I was born) suffered some kind of accident that caused nerve damage, which has progressively weakened his ability to run and—now—walk. Of course, my uncle, being high up in the Army (he also works for the Justice Department), allowed the experiment to take place.
Maybe I will write more about this topic. I've never really written about it before for the fear of being labeled "crazy." As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am currently at a crisis residence, which, like everything else in the mental health system, is not about helping people like me, though it is at least more livable than my previous living situation at home with my parents.
Being a human experiment is not easy. I've had numerous health concerns, including an ongoing neurological problem that makes thinking almost impossible approximately two times per week. Furthermore, this "experiment" is highly illegal and unethical. On top of that, what makes the whole ordeal particularly bleak is that no one in my family shows any indication of ever telling me the truth about my life. I worry I will die—or possibly even be violently murdered—without ever being accepted by my family or society.
There probably isn't much else to write, though it is likely I'm leaving out some important details. I'll end this post by saying, if you have a conscience, please don't have a family member become a human experiment. My brother fits the profile of a sociopath to a T, and it's likely my parents are sociopaths as well. If the government is reading this blog post—and they obviously are—I hope they decide to help me soon.
If you look at my cover photo on Facebook from March 3, 2021, you will see the first photo I took of my second dog, Missy. You will notice the photo is not in focus, because she was moving so much. I only had one opportunity to take my first photo, and I did my best. (In my mind, the cardinal rule of photography is making sure the photo is sharp.) In the case of my first photo of Missy, I was OK with her not being in focus—if anything it made the photo better, since one can see a glint in her left eye that might not have been as noticeable had the photo been in focus.
After taking a Greyhound bus to Des Moines last year, shortly before I posted the photo, I kept thinking of two memories simultaneously. My first memory was of my first photo of Missy, which was easy enough to find; my second memory was of the synthesizer sound at 3:14 in this YouTube video (note: the YouTube link will start the video at 2:51 for context). It took me a while to find the song, because my only memory was of the sound that lasts eight seconds at the end of a song. But after considerable time (I don't remember if it was days or weeks) and much thought, I eventually found the song: "Fortune" by Little Dragon.
There's something about the photo of Missy and the synthesizer sound that just seem to go together. I feel the overarching idea the two media evoke is Missy's mortality.
Missy was born in March 2014, almost exactly three years after her half-brother Pugsley. In recent years, she's been on medication for some medical condition that I don't know much about. I named both my dogs, but it was Missy who I had the hardest time naming. I even spent time researching dog names at the Chanhassen Library. I eventually settled on Missy, because I wanted her never to get hurt. No matter what life would throw at her, everything would be a "miss."
But it didn't turn out that way. She's now on medication and is overweight, though I am trying to lower her weight. I'm afraid to ask about her life expectancy. All I can do is cherish the time we have left together.
Sometimes I think my dogs will thank me in the afterlife (heaven). I think of them as helpless, innocent creatures, who wish they understood more language and the meaning of life. I wish they knew how important they are to me, and how I go out of my way to post photos of them online to celebrate them. If they knew I stayed up late to write this article tonight, I hope they would understand how much they mean to me.
Instead of relying on AllMusic's objective ratings, sometimes I buy an album for subjective factors. In the case of the June 2021 album Sun by Pastel Coast, these included the album cover and band name. Of greater importance, though, I enjoyed the snippets of the songs.
I know what you're probably thinking: there are no objective ratings when it comes to music or—more broadly—art. Yeah, I get it; I've seen Dead Poets Society, too. But if that's the case—if good art is in the eye of the beholder—how is one supposed to find exceptional art? Individuals don't have the time to form an opinion on every work of art. Looking more carefully at highly-rated artistic output from professional critics solves this problem.
Yet I found this 3.5-star album that will always evoke the intense feelings I had last June and July. I go through phases where I don't listen to any music (with the exception of tuning in to the Current while driving) and phases where it seems I'm always listening to music. I hope I'm now entering one of the latter phases.
I guess the point of my harangue is that good art can be both objective and subjective. And these opposite ideas can coexist. Opinions are rarely based on one extreme metric (objective or subjective)—unless you're an extremist, in which case you probably didn't finish reading this rant.
Watch the music video for "Sunset" by Pastel Coast: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51PP40w7Ib8>.
I created a blog tonight (the night of February 23–24) called WWIII Blog. I sincerely hope there is not a World War III—since that is often equated with nuclear annihilation—but if there is a WWIII, I have a blog for it.
My hometown of nearly 30 years was named the best place to live in the United States in 2021. In September, Money Magazine awarded Chanhassen, Minnesota, the number one spot. Chanhassen is a suburb 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
This isn't the first time Chanhassen has placed near the top of Money Magazine's list, either. In 2009, I remember them reaching number two. They have also placed in the top 10 in other years. The bordering cities of Chaska and Eden Prairie have also made it toward the top of the list (Eden Prairie even reached number one in 2010).
I am now the proud owner of 306,000 satoshi (sat)! That sounds like a fortune, but it's actually just USD 100 worth of bitcoin. Another way of writing it would be 0.00306 bitcoin (BTC), or, as I prefer it and how my wallet defaults, 3.06 millibitcoin (mBTC).
I first started thinking of buying bitcoin six months ago in January 2021, when bitcoin was on the rise. Because of uncertainty (or laziness), I decided not to buy then. But then, yesterday, I saw a kiosk at my local supermarket for purchasing bitcoin, and I started thinking about it again. When I went to the supermarket today to try to use the kiosk, it said I needed to first download an app to my mobile device. Not wanting to figure out something complicated in the middle of a supermarket, I decided to just go home and figure out how to buy bitcoin on my computer.
So I did just that.
My first step was looking up Bitcoin on Wikipedia and discovering their official website address is bitcoin.org. I went to that site and read the introductory material and discovered that I needed to pick out a wallet to use (I take it wallet is basically synonymous with application). Their website has a feature that helps users find a bitcoin wallet. After selecting my preferences, the website suggested just one wallet for me: Electrum. I then researched them a bit on Google and decided it was a good wallet and proceeded to install the application. I was installing the application on Ubuntu Linux, and, since I am a Linux noob, I had some minor hiccups getting the application to launch. Because of the helpful Bitcoin and Linux communities, I discovered I just needed to launch the application by entering the command
in Terminal. (By the way, to install the application on Ubuntu Linux, I just copied and pasted the lines of code found on Electrum's Download page under "Installation from Python sources.")
With the app now able to launch, I proceeded to buy my first bitcoin. But I'm lazy, and I didn't feel like researching where to buy bitcoin—when there was a big button on bitcoin.org to do just that. So I bought the bitcoin from bitcoin.org, which apparently was just using a third-party website called MoonPay. I researched MoonPay a little bit as well, and they are apparently legitimate (as they should be, if that's what bitcoin.org uses).
But it all worked out, and I am now the proud owner of 3.06 mBTC. I suppose I could consider this my first investment. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how bitcoin fares over time.
Maybe I will buy more bitcoin. But, then again, maybe I won't.
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© 2023 Nicholas Scribner