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Steve 'Taochild' 'Picnic' Kramer

Every life is a story yet written, and we are its author. How that story reads is dependent on the choices we make, and even we do not know how it will ultimately end until it does. This is my story. Join me in my adventures?

Me ... in a nutshell

Hey folks! I’d like to introduce myself. I am just a guy, born with the name Steven Kramer (one of many apparently). Most call me Steve, or Kramer. The internet knows me as Taochild. A growing number of people know me as Picnic. Who IS Steve ‘Taochild’ ‘Picnic’ Kramer? It isn’t really all that easy describing a person in just a few sentences … even (or maybe especially) if that person is oneself. I see all the ‘I’s and ‘me’s and think I am being awfully arrogant. However, since the whole point of this site is to let people know who I , I guess I need to suck it up.

I will try to draw an adequate picture, though it seems to me that the only way to truly KNOW someone is to see the world through their eyes. The first thing to understand is I am no fan of labels. Most people want life be divided into clearly organized and easily understood categories, yet life rarely obliges. I also have a natural antipathy to most  ‘ism’s. They are just another way of forcing people into boxes. I do not only live ‘outside the box’, I do my best to eliminate the box altogether. To make the self description process a tad easier, I will try to squeeze myself into some of the better known boxes people focus on. Labels do have a FEW uses.

The Physical Me

I identify as a heterosexual male, though to me both gender and sexual orientation are a spectrum, and basically nobody’s business but our own. I stand about 5′ 9″ (175 cm) … I swear that at one point I was 5’11” (180 cm). I tend to weigh more than I should, but this varies drastically depending on how determined I am to maintain a healthy weight. When I let my hair grow in (I usually keep it shaved), it is sort of auburn with a healthy influx of grey. I often have a tightly cut goatee and mustache. My eyes are hazel. If asked what race I am, I will inevitably reply human (technically human is a species, not a race), because I find the question meaningless. As far as ethnicity, I would have to go with ‘mutt’. I could go to one of those DNA mapping places, but they are often more about profit than accuracy, and I question the wisdom of handing DNA samples to profit driven corporations in this society governed by greed.

The ‘We do not discuss these in polite company’ Me

I was raised in a Jewish household. As I learned more about the world, I became an agnostic … with leanings toward atheism. While religion may have once played a useful role in the development of society, I personally believe that looking at human development as a whole … religion has done much more harm than good. Organized religions are about control, not spirituality. If one wants to seek the truth about the messages that various religions offer, then look at where they agree. The rest is just manipulation and indoctrination.

Politically speaking, I would probably be labeled extremely liberal. That said, I am also a firm believer in: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I think that political differences have less to do with liberal vs. conservative and more to do with the purpose government serves in the first place. The ‘right’ sees government as a force to control people. The ‘left’ sees government as a servant TO the people. As long as theses extremes exist, their will be very little agreement between the two sides. I am strongly ‘left’ on this point. Economics follow the same pattern. People either see society as a tool to grow the economy, or the economy as a tool to grow society. Again there is little middle ground here. Yep, I am strongly ‘left’ here as well.

The Philosophical Me

My basic philosophy CAN be summed up in a few sentences:

  • Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Compassion takes strength and courage. Denying compassion means one is driven by fear.
  • Believe what you want. But if you use your beliefs as an excuse for bad behavior, we have a problem.
  • The only time that we have any influence over is now. Yesterday cannot be changed. Tomorrow is not yet written.
  • My mind is not me, it is mine. My emotions are not me, they are mine. My body is not me, it is mine.

Some may have guessed that I am a active thinker. The list above is the basis of my life, but if one wanted more depth to my answers, just ask. No doubt you will get way more of an answer than you bargained for. My thoughts definitely run deep, and often push boundaries.

The Purposeful Me

Since I do not necessarily believe in intelligent design (I am still open to the possibility), I think that we all have to create our own purpose for life. It is not for someone else to tell us how … and WHY … we live our lives. Only we can decide this. If one seeks happiness … then one must first define what happiness means, then live a life that meets that definition. What is MY life purpose?

I haven’t really decided yet. It could be that my life purpose is to decide my life purpose. If I absolutely HAD to define it, I would say that I have decided to be a catalyst. I am at my best when I help other to be at THEIR best. If someone needs my help in any way and I am ABLE to provide said help … it is theirs. It could be as simple as an encouraging word, or as involved as laying my life on the line for them. That is who I have been to date, and when I slide from this I tend to fall into darkness.

thru my eyes

Part of the reason it is hard to define people in words is we all are a collection of multiple facets. When we interact with others we may only experience a small number of these facets. Understanding another requires experiencing all of these facets, and to TRULY understand one might have to experience it through the other individual’s eyes. Since few are capable of this feat (if anyone is), we must learn about others by the choices they make, the actions they take, how, and WHAT they create. My facets are many, and as the internet developed I tried to share many of those facets in different web projects. This got overly complicated and ultimately just split me in many different directions. I am now actively simplify my life and pulling my many facets back together , defining the ME that I want to be. If you are interested in overly elaborate attempts at explaining who I am, check the next page. If you simply want to explore the WHATS, just click the button.

Creator

I am a firm believer in the concept: “Actions speak louder than words.” To me, the things we create in our lives are what truly define us. Creativity is the wellspring of the human spirit. And while creation is not always in the best interest of humanity, for the most part it is a positive force. What we create has no moral character on its own. It only becomes bad when used in a bad way. Creation is growth, where its opposite is an end to growth. Destruction has its place in the world as well, but when it becomes our driving force we descend into darkness.

Considering this belief, it is no wonder that I embrace my creativity as much as I can. I create for the sheer joy of creating, with no expectation of some sort of return on my investment of time and effort. I dabble in all sorts of creative endeavors, and am always willing to try new ones. If I am not learning new things I am not living. I could not possibly list all the ways I create in a simple document, nor could I easily share the results. Though I claim no expertise in anything, I certainly have aptitudes and have worked on refining my skills in certain areas. I will say a bit about them here.

I have been playing with the written word since I was able to USE the written word. It is probably my best mode for expressing myself. Until fairly recently, I rarely shared anything I had written unless it was required that I do in some way. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I actually had some skill with putting words together. Not only was there no shame in sharing my creations … there was an argument for me being somewhat obliged to let others see them. This resulted in my first foray into the digital world. That blog eventually blossomed into a collection of web projects … most ultimately  created ultimately just for the pleasure of creating them.

The odd ramblings of a mind that does not quite fit

Expressing life through the power of thoughts …


Visit the blog that started it all …

The Ninja Cat Journals

Dedicated to the hilarity that sneaks up in everyday life …

When it comes to visual art, I have explored many different mediums. The one I am most passionate about, and have developed the most skill in, is photography. I have been playing with my camera for almost as long as I have been writing. With the introduction of digital photography, suddenly the limits on “How many photos can one take?” practically disappeared. As with my writing, I rarely shared my photos with anyone … until I started the whole internet expression thing. Thus my third internet creation was a site devoted to my photography. The contributions are constantly growing and changing. I now also share my recent attempts at 3D art.

Another mode that fascinates me is animation. Animated movies are my favorite type to watch, and I have dabbled in creating my own animation. My first attempt was a claymation movie when I was a child. Since then I have done several animated creations via computer animation. I also dabble in putting together simple videos, often no more than collections of photos and words (which I sometimes refer to as visual poems). These videos (and others of a more ‘documentary’ nature) are on my YouTube channel.

thru my eyes by taochild

expressing life through the power of photos …

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Modern technology is definitely filled with wonders, and will not likely stop advancing … well … ever. But the more we grow to rely on technology in our everyday lives, the more basic living skills we lose. The fundamental core of what it is to be human is being altered by the pace of technological advancement, and in my mind it is not necessarily an improvement. That said, I do like playing with my toys. I have a fair knowledge of many things computer, and am all too often on them creating. I know enough to break things, and occasionally even fix them again. This very website is an exploration and education in technological tools. I dabble in self hosting and various other web oriented technologies. I also of late have delved into the crazy world of 3D digital art and animation.

Explorer

Everyone has dreams. Over a lifetime, those dreams will probably change. They will change as our view of the worlds change, or as our needs change. Or maybe they simply change in magnitude. I am no different from anyone else in this respect. The dreams of my youth have become a distant memory for me, but one dream I have now that I am pretty sure I have ALWAYS had is the desire to fully explore all the world has to offer. I am fascinated by the wonders of nature as well as the products of mankind’s innovative spirit, and I would see ALL of it if I had the chance. 

The dream of seeing the WHOLE world may not ever become a full reality, but I will explore as much of the world as I can. My most recent endeavor in this direction was an attempt to hike the full Appalachian Trail in 2014. Me being me, I created a blog to document the trip. I did not finish the trail as planned, but it became the beginning of a journey of much greater magnitude, one that will not be finished anytime soon. I continue to track THIS journey (with the vision of someday becoming a book). I also created an offshoot of that site, devoted to an unexpected companion I met along the way:

Wake of a Walkabout

The site formally known as “A Tail of a Trail” …

I have had a holistic view of existence since well before I even understood what a holistic view was. My seeking spiritual health alongside physical and mental health has lead me to many interesting places, and taught me many interesting things. At one point, I figured what I learned could benefit others, so thought I would make a business of it. That project morphed into a simple record of my own journey to wellness.

Dreamer

The creative potential of humanity is truly amazing … but so is its potential for destruction. Often it seems humanity would rather embrace its dark side than put the effort required into reaching our highest potential. These days we seem to be at a major crossroad for humanity as we decide which direction we will ultimately go in. On the one side is a world driven by greed, fear and the desire to separate … on the other is a world guided by compassion and inclusiveness. Sadly, the darker route is also the easier one. A bright future can only be achieved if those who desire it are willing to work for it.

I personally believe that such concepts as nationalism have long overstayed their welcome. We need to unite the world into One World, One Humanity, and move away from the divisiveness and conflict that nationalism always creates. In an effort to help move towards such a world, I came up with the idea of an ONLINE nation … a nation without borders. It would be a community not defined by any location but by compassion driven ideals. It could develop into a self-sustaining, governed entity with real world influence. Maybe a crazy idea, but to me one worth TRYING at least. I quickly learned that I have neither the resources nor the strength to make such a dream a reality, but I still have a rudimentary social network that explores what it might look like. People are welcome to join if it appeals:

PAX Nation

A nation with no borders …

Entrepreneur

My working life matches my social life in the sense that it is in no way traditional. I have always been at odds with the slave wage mentality that governs our society. To me, a healthy economy is defined by community members having all their basic needs met with a minimal effort. This means we should not have to work for what we NEED, just for what we WANT over and above those basic needs. Unfortunately in our current society we are driven by scarcity instead of abundance, thanks to the hording mentality and greed inherent in capitalism (at least the American version of it). Therefore working for a “living” is a necessity, even if an often very unwelcome one.

Work History

I have explored working in a wide variety of fields throughout my life. Sometimes it was simply what was available. Sometimes I thought it was something I could run with. I never sought a career, rather I was seeking a life purpose. I don’t care about making money, I care about doing something that I find fulfilling on a spiritual and mental level that also allows me to survive financially. As of yet I have NOT discovered THAT job. My experience has been that the vast majority of jobs serve no real purpose other than making SOMEONE ELSE rich. There are definitely many jobs out there that have value and are truly necessary, but I have yet to encounter one that is a fit for me.

As I get older, my desire and energy to find this mystery job has waned, to the point that I am now officially NON-employed. Unemployed implies one is in the job market. I simply have no desire to play the game any more. That said, I do what I need to survive (usually staying on the correct side of the law). My variety of jobs has certainly left me with a wide range of skills. Most of my “professional” history and skills can be found on my LinkedIn profile. Take a look if you are really interested.

Since I could not find a satisfying job working for others, it seemed that maybe I should try creating my OWN business. In recent years I have made several attempts to do just that. I have a fairly good grasp of what is needed for a business to be successful in our society, and even have a few clever ideas for products. The simple truth is knowing HOW to do something does not ensure one has the mentality or aptitude to do that something. If it has not yet become clear, I am no fan of capitalism. I find it difficult to try to sell something that I am willing to offer for free. To me money is simply a useful tool … a means to an end … not an end itself. This generally means that any “business” I create will be unsuccessful, at least as success is defined by our societal economic model. But these attempts exist nonetheless. All had an internet presence, none actually had any financial benefit (though I definitely through a fair amount of money into them), and all ended up either fading away or morphing into something more attuned to my values.

Friend

No individual can move through life in complete isolation. It is a practical impossibility. Every human, no matter what their temperament, will connect with other beings at some point of their life, creating various relationships. Not all of them will be positive experiences, but many will be. We have many different labels for these different relationships, and how they are defined is a very subjective process. The type of relationship I value the most is friendship. I have mad many friendships in my journey through life. Some were fleeting. Others will last a lifetime even if there is a distance in time and space. One garnered special attention, for it was totally unplanned yet become the core of my life for the last few years. So of course she gets her own web presence:

The Amazing Adventures of Brown Dog …

… and Friends. You never know who you will encounter in life …

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