Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Memoriam: Arthur Turbyfill (with poem, "To Arthur")

Last week, a recent but great friend of mine passed away. Arthur Turbyfill, Jr., was one of the most fascinating people I have ever met; this much was apparent even from having only met him in person twice, at pagan circle meetings. A Druid, a poet, a scholar, and a friend, he is already missed by many. When I was looking to join said church, it was he who offered to meet with me over coffee and discuss the different pagan paths and his church.... I really wish we'd had the chance. When I asked him questions, it became clear that his inquisitive nature rivaled even my own, as he could expound like no other. The instance that comes to mind here was my wondering what a particular religious symbol meant. Arthur was uncertain - it was an obscure one - but he knew several others, which could have blossomed into hours of erudite conversation had we the time. And I wish we had.

Today, I attended Arthur's funerary service. The turn-up of friends and family was large but unsurprising, as he was such a well-liked man with such a burning thirst for knowledge. But what's more, he was a friend and mentor to many, with a gentle disposition and open mind. The speakers at the service said he was great at listening with sympathy to others, and that he had even helped to guide young people whose lives had been less than fortunate. From what I saw of him, I definitely believe it. To top it all off, he was known to be an avid reader, and would evidently quote Gandalf from time to time.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the other members of our affiliation, as well as his family, coworkers, and other friends. Much love to his spirit, wherever it may be now. May your journey be fun and fascinating.

Before I close here, I'd like to share my poem "To Arthur" with whatever readers I may have:


To Arthur, whom I had the pleasure of meeting twice.
A true Renaissance man,
His thirst for knowledge, for wisdom,
Was insatiable.
To Arthur, named for the noblest of kings,
Yet humble despite his intelligence
And selfless kindheartedness.
Every discussion would leave me
With more questions than answers--
Just the way I prefer them,
For what good would it be
To conclude our quest for enlightenment?
I saw the ice's tip, but the bulk of the berg is now lost.
As true a wizard as any,
Your passing impacts us all.
The world has lost you,
But your friends have not;
Everyone is a bit wiser
For having spoken with you.
And I am grateful.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Element Encyclopedia Series: A Shoutout

I enjoy many things of which the average Joe has no knowledge. Music by Medwyn Goodall or by Herb Moore, art by Brian Froud, and much obscure literature from thrift stores or annual library blowout sales. Exotic dishes, studies of foreign martial arts. Pagan religions, both in practice and as an educational or historical discipline. Forgotten sciences.

Some of the best books, both for reading and for aethetically inspiring paintings, are often found in Barnes & Noble's bargain rack. While I'm glad for their relatively cheap prices, I cannot help wondering why they ended up on sale, or in some cases, out of print. Myth and Magic by John Howe was among these when I purchased it.

Also waiting on the cheap shelves are any number of the Element Encyclopedia series. They're so vastly informative that I can thumb through one all day and still not know all that there is to know about a particular topic. These include the psychic world, magical creatures, vampires, spells, magical herbs and roots, secret societies, the significances of birthdays, Celts, Native Americans, ghosts and hauntings, and the interpretation of dreams. All of the entries I have read have been fascinating, and many subjects are still largely unknown in the world.

For instance, who knows of the jidra? the guivre? cherufes, lampaluguas, the Lambton worm? (All of these are mythical or mystical organisms, by the way.) Has anyone heard of the Bell Witch, aeromancy, oneiromancy? I believe I might be capable of the last one: dream divination.

Occasionally something will make its way into mainstream culture, such as a black shuck (A.K.A. the Churchyard Grim, a massive shaggy dog used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). I was pleased to read about a malevolent spirit from Native American mythology known as the Wendigo, which was used as an antagonist in Stephen King's novel and screenplay Pet Sematary.

John and Caitlin Matthews wrote some of these encyclopedias, and Theresa Cheung did other ones. I believe there are other contributors, but I really do wish to give a shoutout to anyone who reads this blog: these books are amazing. Were they to disappear from print, I would consider it a great loss.

A word of caution, though: the big, heavy versions tend to be poorly bound, and pages detach quite easily from the spines. The smaller, more compact paperback ones are the way to go...although the fragile ones are more likely to contain indexes.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Revived Post from 28 Apr. 2013: "Rain"

Right about now it is sprinkling a bit outside. Not a storm, mind, but the wood of the deck is being peppered with water droplets, becoming dappled like a cheetah's pelt. Many use the phrase "rainy day" as if such denotes something negative; why do they say that sort of thing? I, for one, love wet weather. Warm, cold, or otherwise (depending on my mood), I enjoy dimness and shade. I sometimes even relish the plain-out dark. Perhaps the northern part of England would suit me well, or perhaps Canada's Rain Coast.

Or perhaps a warmer region would be interesting, at least to visit? I have often wondered what a tropical rainforest is like, apart from the vampiric insects. There are many such areas on Earth, but my eyes are currently set on South and Central Americas. The other humid forests of the world would be nice too, but I would likely have to research which areas are safer than others.

That is not to say that nature's showers here are not lovely. I enjoy walking and dancing in the rain; watching it from the kitchen, with or without a window as a barrier; and opening my bedroom window and just lying there on my bed or floor, listening to the wet patter of falling orbs of wet.

Rain also makes me feel creatively inspired. It is great for drawing, writing, and playing musical instruments. Without precipitation, where would we be? Even apart from the matter of plant life, drinking water, and mushroom growth, life would definitely be less interesting. Though I would make the best of it. I would not even know what I was missing, come to think of it...yet rain is a beautiful thing, as it were. Whether anticipated or spontaneous, I relish the damp. And once I am away from a "traditional" neighborhood, I intend to purchase a bit of land to start an organic, self-sustaining farm. I like my neighbors, so my love of solitude is not a personal matter. The simple truth is that I am an introvert. How I look forward to practicing swordplay or archery in a quiet, secluded field, the greatest sound being the drops striking the grass-blades and packed dirt! Or perhaps sheltering with my chickens and goats, or tending to horses while the heavens pour? In any case, it will be beautiful.

Urban areas, of course, can also be pretty to observe as the streets gleam with reflected cafe lights and the slick street-lamps illuminating falling raindrops, and the bookshop windows slick from a deluge. It all sounds lovely, but I would prefer rural, given the choice.

The trees in the forest, with moisture-darkened trunks and lichen, are where I feel I belong. It's only a matter of time, I suppose.

Revived Post from 2 Jan. 2013: "A Post Before School"

I was terribly ill last night, but at least it has granted me an extra day of relative freedom. I was in Chicago and other bits of northern Illinois and some of Wisconsin for about a week, which was nice at parts. My paternal grandparents live in what one might call a pigsty; most of the dishes are filthy, people drink directly from milk cartons, and so forth. They are also generally clueless about the concept of privacy: almost none of the doors are fully capable of staying shut, but they don't bother to fix it. They'll just waltz on in without knocking, or in some cases, they'll knock and then barge through without waiting for a reply. But my maternal grandmother is a lot more sensible when it comes to these things. Her husband died when I was three or so, so I only have her as a maternal grandparent, but she's pretty great for the most part. This post is not meant to say I don't love my paternal family. I just don't like staying with them, which I am forced to do year after year after year - sometimes twice a year - by my father, who seems to know something's wrong but appears to be unwilling to admit it. Which brings me to another point:

I sometimes get loads of reading and writing done over the winter, but this time (although it was partly my own negligence), my dad had us do stuff pretty much every day in order to "enjoy" ourselves. I will admit that the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry both had some interesting stuff...but there was never much time to relax. And in the past he's had a tendency to verbally put down anyone who doesn't want to run all over the place with him. Perhaps it was nice to get some air away from that filthy household, but to me holidays are, at least in part, a chance to rest a bit, which is hard with people barging in every three seconds and dragging you around the big loud city. I appreciate what the guy tried to do, but I don't think that enjoyment ought to be forced. Kind of sucks the whole purpose out of it, just like education.

On another note, I'm reading a really amazing novel by Rachel Neumeier, titled The City in the Lake. The prose is just beautiful and the story fascinates me. I'd recommend it to friends, definitely.

Revived Post from 21 Nov. 2012: "The Last of the Rhinos"

Today, as a follow-up to our San Diego Zoo visit, we experienced the zoo's Safari Park. It focused primarily upon African wildlife. Among the animals we saw were many antelopes - gazelles, gerenuks, impalas, Nile lechwes, blesboks, wildebeests, and bongos, to name but a few - and several African elephants. There was at least one tiger, but we could not spot it (or them). We rode a tram through the African-based deserts and grasslands and saw Rothschild's giraffes and greater flamingos. About halfway through the tour, my heart was broken as I heard about the predicament of the Northern white rhinoceros. There are only eight of them left in captivity and they are believed to be extinct in the wild. Eight.

And this is not due to natural selection or drought: poachers are responsible. This makes me want to weep. Are there horns really that valuable? Rhinos are such beautiful animals in my opinion, and to harm one would be unthinkable. And to murder one simply for its horn! Such a waste, like cutting off the top fin of a blue shark and throwing the fish back.

I dearly hope this sort of tragedy does not happen again, but I doubt that that will be the case.

Revived Post from 18 Oct. 2012: "An Evening in Denmark"

Tonight I was in Denmark, but not really: my school put on a production of the playRosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (a spin-off of Hamlet), and while it was a bit hard to follow at times, I very much enjoyed it. Had I been more efficient earlier on, I would have auditioned for the part of Claudius; however, the fellow who executed the role did so much more beautifully than I imagine I could have done. In any case, I shall soon play the role of William in As You Like It, to which I am looking forward a great deal.

What I wonder now is, What is modern-day Denmark like? Having never been, I am rather curious, for while I do not consider myself to be a tourist in the sense of pointless sightseeing, I may go to Europe someday. There will most likely need to be a reason, but I feel a sort of claustrophobia, having been in the States for such a long time. Said reason will give me an excuse for foreign fresh air. Truth be told, I went to an uncle's wedding in Ireland when I was four years old. There was a stop at some airport in London prior to the Irish landing, but I shall now repeat the phrase: I was four years old. I remember some, but not much, of the journey. It is as if I am bound to this nation, but my bonds weaken as I mature. Soon they will be broken! Soon I will be on the move! Perhaps an acting troupe would be a good idea. Plans are formulating now, but have not been entirely made yet. Acting and traveling are both marvelously fun, so why not?

What I Read During the Debut V: "Four Lines of the End (working title)"

They will rise with wings unfurled;
All of us will be destroyed.
This fate will befall the world
If we dare unlock the void.

What I Read During the Debut IV: "The Prisoner"

We are not equal, you and I.
You took away your own freedom.
You are locked away, confined;
You are my prisoner.
You are on a leash, unbroken
By your mad attempts to flee.
Guilt is the strongest chain,
And bound by it, you’ll not escape.
And I shall never release you:
Even as your mind rusts,
The chains of guilt harden,
Stronger than ever, restraining life.
I need not guard you: the chains will
Hold regardless of my presence
Or absence: more than my captive,
You are bound by your own foul deeds.

What I Read During the Debut III: "The Attack"

You may feel strong
Because you have strength
Of body, not mind
But you are weak
You are not strong
You’re pathetic
You worm-fodder
Cowardly piece of lying hiding scum
You felt tough
On top of the jolly fucking world
On top of me
Because you have a degree
A quarter of a century’s groveling
Wasted on a shiny paper
Tackling youth for a living
Because you have allies
Number is quantity
Not quality
Quality is in your words
Your actions
And they certainly have it
But not a high sort
Beating up adolescents
Does not make you
A strong person
If anything
It makes you the weakest one
But here dwell I
Stewing in frustration
Of the lies you told
And my own blood-kin’s eager belief
Because you’re nothing
Insignificant worm
Waste of life
Lying filth
Horrid child-beating scum
Whose very breath is a crime
Against nature
We’re all better off
Without you
I know I am.

What I Read During the Debut II: "Rainbows and Spectra"

How convenient these labels must be
For you utilize them
Whenever you disagree.
“It’s not you,” you say, “it’s the autism.
“The bipolar.
“The OCD.
“The age.”
You know I need pills
When I am not subservient.
Why else would I dare
To challenge your words?
Only the ill speak out.
Disorders are an ideal excuse
To opt out of facing
The raw, merciless truth.
You’re right:
It is a phase.
I’m only confused.
Gender is permanently determined at birth.
I’m not poly, I’m just promiscuous.
And, of course, there is no way in Hell
I am a pagan--
I simply wish to offend
The real religions.
Keep telling yourself these things,
Because you alone
Seem content to believe them.

What I Read During the Debut I: "L'Ombre du Chevalier (The Knight's Shadow)"

The knight, strong and gallant,
Strides up to the gloomy fortress,
Not knowing that this time
He will find no glory.

The princess has been locked away
For over three decades,
But is said to still possess
Strength and beauty.

The dragon, horned and winged
And wearing cold, stony scales,
Awaits her next meal,
Who has come of his own free will.

The knight sneaks into the tower
Of the ominous fortress,
Sure to find his heart’s desire.

He locates her before long.

Her eyes open,
Yellow discs slitted with black,
And she spews flame upon her rescuer,
For whom all escapes are dashed;
The captive is the captor,
Waiting for yet another meal.

Silver armor melts around flaking flesh;
The stench of his own frying blood
Drives him mad, and he dies in the inferno.

The she-dragon needs never hunt,
For her meals are all foolish enough
To seek her out on their own.

QRB: The Debut

Barely an hour ago concluded a highlight and milestone in my life as well as my career as a writer and performer.
The Quail Ridge Books & Music Teen Writers Collective, of which I am a senior member, has been for many years a haven for young poets, novelists, scriptwriters, essayists, and nearly every other kind of writer imaginable. Within the past year or so, however, it's become more than that: now, it is a home away from home, and we are a closely-knit family bound by a love of the written word and for one another.
Until this past evening, we had been a private (albeit open) group, reading things to one another. This time, we read a selection of our works to a more-or-less public audience. We may even have gained some future members, given that three people from the audience opted to perform. Also among the watchers was a man representing a publishing house. Good news, eh?
I performed five poems, titled "L'Ombre du Chevalier (The Knight's Shadow)," "Rainbows and Spectra," "The Attack," "The Prisoner," and "Four Lines of the End" (the last of which sorely needs a better title). I'll post them all later, after a few post-show edits: performing something is a great way to realize what doesn't sound as good, or what can be improved upon. That's the beauty of writing and performing.
Now, my hope is that we can integrate this sort of event into our schedule in the future: not too often, but maybe two to four times a year. It seems a worthy goal.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meeting Orson Scott Card

Last night (Tuesday, June 10, 2014), I finally met Mr. Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender's Game, among various other works. 
For the sake of focus and for that of tranquility, this will not be a post about homophobia or any other such allegations; if I am to address those issues, it shall be later, in a relevant context, after having done my research.
Scott was a very nice, charming man. Before his speech and question-and-answer session with the general reading public, he had agreed to meet some members of my library's young-adult book club in the back room of a local indie bookstore. I was delighted to shake Scott's hand as well as that of Aaron Johnston, his coauthor in Earth Awakens. One interesting fact about Aaron is that he is not merely a novelist: he also writes comic-book scripts, illustrates comics, and (according to Scott) is a very talented comedic improv actor. Also, Scott apparently directs plays.
All of this is quite encouraging, as I am interested in multiple forms of art. I had worried that I could not do all of the ones which interested me the most, but I think one can master at least a few things and still be decent at a number of others without becoming the proverbial jack of all trades.
Another thing Card said was not to befriend other writers. Oops. For me, this has been done far too often already, but I took this my own way: Do not befriend other writers exclusively, for doing so would present a rather narrow view of humanity. Fortunately for me, I have many friends, acquaintances, and other such connections in a vast array of fields and professions.
He said that being a full-time writer differs from writing on the side while having a separate day job, which I'd imagine are indeed quite different.
I know which one I prefer, but not which one I'll end up doing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Medieval America

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups." - George Carlin

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

"An important principle widely accepted among magickal people is that there is no 'One True Right and Only Way!'" - Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard


Recently, I feel as though an unsettling number of people - many of whom are politicians - have claimed that the United States is a Christian nation. [As a disclaimer, I am not a Christian myself, but I have a number of well-loved friends who are.] From my understanding, our country was founded partially on the belief that one's religious or spiritual choices would not be encroached upon. These are, by law, personal choices and not the government's business.

So why do we regularly hear ad hominem complaints of Barack Obama being a Muslim? (He's not, but his father was.) Who cares if a political leader practices Islam? It's not illegal, nor is it inherently immoral in any fashion. Then we have the scapegoat theories about Jewish bankers (upper-class frivolity couldn't possibly contribute to our shambling economy), and our charming Newt Gingrich's complaints about this country's being "surrounded by paganism".

Religion is a personal choice, it's all been said before, and I'd be preaching to the choir (pun intended) by sharing my principles of acceptance among all faiths as well as those without any.

What I am trying to convey here is that America is NOT legally rooted in religion. The public speakers who claim otherwise are only doing a disservice to those who do not know this, especially impressionable youths.

If we were to adopt an official religion and enforce it as law, then we'd only plunge into a new version of an old era. This is why I favor secularism.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chasing Rabbits

"If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both." - Native American saying (via Goodreads)

I currently pursue multiple rabbits, but I do have a somewhat hierarchical order of bunnies arranged by priority. If I catch one, then I allow myself a second chase and continue in that fashion. Indeed, some of the beasts I bolt after are not rabbits at all, but horses to ride as I further the rabbit hunt.

Allow me to explain.

Horses, unlike rabbits, can be ridden by humans - as can ostriches - and will help in the long-term pursuit as a vehicular creature. It does one well to thank and nurture one's horses. I've never literally owned actual horses, but I have interacted with many. They're gorgeous animals, and they deserve our respect.... In fact, I not only respect horses, I revere them and hope to keep them one day. Possibly rabbits too, but I digress. (I'm not Radagast, after all!) The point, metaphorically speaking, is that one must often invest in one thing so as to achieve another.

For instance, I'm a writer and a blogger. I currently don't know much about computational workings beyond the basics, but knowing even the bare minimum about how computers function can help immensely in writing. In the blogosphere, it's essential. Now, if I were somehow not interested in how these things perform their duties (disclaimer: I actually find them fascinating), and hadn't the motivation to learn, I'd essentially be screwed. Computers can be a means to an end. As a side note, I have a book about computer basics, but it's Windows-oriented and I currently use a Mac. Perhaps I could use a simulator of some sort before I get my hands on an actual PC?

Another example might be acting. Bruce Miller's book, The Actor as Storyteller, argues that many effective film actors begin on stage. The transition to the screen is more rewarding than the opposite because those who perform in stage plays require more discipline. One cannot exactly cut or edit with a live audience! They must solidify not only their deep understanding of the script, but also their resolve for theatrical greatness. Personally, I like fantasy and science fiction. These are not always impossible in a traditional theatre, but my amounts of dragons and spaceships would be very expensive to pull off without video editing! Whether acting in plays or writing them, I am trying to think of more ideas that genuinely interest me that don't involve people shooting green lightning from their palms. These concepts do exist, and I'm trying to tap them in order to further my experience as both an actor and writer. I still write prose fiction and screenplays involving "big magic," and hopefully I will be able to perform in this sort of thing later on, but for now, I'm tinkering away at other things that also delight me. Hopefully, if Mistborn and The Dark Tower ever hit the silver screen, I will be involved in some way.

On the side, I chase a few other sorts of rabbit as well, but having said equine tends to assist the process. Classical and New Age music, acrylic painting, European broadsword fighting, Asian stir-frying, and Irish step dancing seem like fun, but are not absolutely paramount to my continued existence. Close, but not quite. These are "bonus bunnies" that I'd love to catch but will not despair without. Astrophysics and biochemistry are also vital, but not everyone needs to be the one doing either.

Of course, this is all a metaphor, however I may have exhausted its meaning. That's what I do - I plumb things for deeper possible meaning. I don't literally chase wild animals, for I wish no undue harm or stress to anything. That being said, I think I've made my point. Or at least, I hope that I have.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why are people so judgmental?

"Bigotry and judgment are the height of insecurity." - Jasmine Guy (via BrainyQuote)

In a recent post to a Facebook page, a dual image depicting two girls claimed that one was more beautiful than the other on the basis of clothing. Aside from the possibility of their being the same girl (they looked similar), this neither makes sense nor is fair to the girls depicted.

The girl on the right's shirt was slightly pulled up, and I witnessed a slew of snide remarks about "wardrobe choices" and "sluttiness." Nor were these reserved for the one, as the left girl's "wholesomeness" was attacked on the grounds that her shorts were too, well, short. (Seriously?)

Can someone inform me of how attire could be harmful simply by leaving less to one's imagination? I intend to skewer the notion of anatomical "modesty" in later posts, but suffice it for now to say that dressing less (or none) does not inherently harm anyone. Anyone who claims to feel sickened by the image of another person's body (provided it's not covered in pus-filled scabs) has only his, her, or their own predispositions to blame. I wholeheartedly agree with the Rede followed by Wicca: "As it harm none, do as you will." What could be simpler? (This is my one umbrella principle.)

However, the elephant of body-shaming is in another room. Down the hall, I'd say, behind the opaque door installed to hide the room's contents. Its trumpet is muffled by the door. Or the media.

Anyhow, the pachyderm in this chamber goes by a broader title: judgment. So why do people care about things that have no negative impact on them? It's an excellent question, and I can only theorize for now. At the local grocer, I often see poorly-edited images of celebrities on the covers of gossip magazines with headlines such as "Rihanna's Nightmare" and "Will & Kate: Secrets of Their Royal Romance." While I usually do not deign to glance twice at these periodicals, I will here consider them because they feed into my wonderment at human nature. Why people care what famous individuals do puzzles me, and the amount of time people devote to gossip is downright baffling.

According to John Cleese, certain people feel better about themselves if the negative spotlight is pointed at someone else, which we see a great deal of in political straw-man arguments. If someone else's flaw is exposed, a less dignified person might be relieved at the shifted burden of shame or embarrassment. Perhaps this is why our lack of morale is blamed on the LGBT+ community, and economical crises are cited as being done by Jews.

I briefly studied the Japanese self-defense style known as Ninjutsu, and I plan on continuing my shinobi education soon. One thing I observed from my sensei and fellow students was the philosophy of defense without overly aggressive retaliation; in other words, instead of absorbing and brutally countering attacks, a shinobi (ninja) should be able to redirect a blow and restrain his, her, or their assailant. While I admire and agree with this kind of physical defense, I think conversational disputes should be handled differently. I don't suggest tactless spilling of heated emotion. Instead, an issue ought to be civilly and directly addressed, striking at the root rather than the branches (to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau). Redirection in ethics leads away from any hope of actual resolution.

So why do people judge? Some are bored, some are unhappy, some were simply brought up in a privileged and snobbish environment, and many simply wish to avoid their own guilt. But ultimately, I would posit that these factors often combine with idiotic societal norms to culminate in a greater lack of empathy for others.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Base Eight

As one who tends to question everything, I have wondered on several occasions why double-digit numbers begin with ten. Binary would be impractical due to both its written length and the time most human minds would take to comprehend it. A speed limit of 00100001 miles per hour would take a few moments to process, and it would endanger those on and around roads.
But why ten? Twelve would make a decent amount of sense, as it is divisible by one, two, three, four, and six. I think eight would be better, however, despite the forfeited perquisite of a clean decimal to represent one-third. This is because eight is so evenly divisible and so close to ten. It is two cubed, obviously! Picture the wheel of the Ninpo Bugei in ancient Japan, which is crossed by four diametrical beams, the measure between each adjacent pair of which is (by our strange arc-measuring system) 45 degrees. Clocks would also make more sense this way, but here we face the problem of a massive paradigm shift.
As I understand, the two-times-five philosophy derives from many ancient cultures, independent of one another in history, almost all of whom drew the idea from their own hands. Counting thumbs, all (well, most) of us have ten fingers. Stopping at a market stall and calculating the arithmetic of monetary cost is simpler with fingers! However, why not have our current "8" be written as "10" and therefore have "12" digits? Excluding thumbs for the sake of argument seems beneficial, seeing as we could still count to the new "10" (our current "8"), and have two to spare.
As I hinted at a few moments ago, the main issue here seems to be akin to the one that plagues me as an American-born living in my country of birth - the English measurement system, which is even worse than a tens-based metric system. The cause for both is stubbornness. Virtually all of our media would need to be rewritten, and no one would know what was meant by one-zero in which context! Madness would ensue, all because of a strange judgment repeated across history.
Therefore, I say that although base eight makes more sense, remaining with our current base ten seems more practical for the time being. Perhaps one day, regardless of whether I still live, an official shift will take place, but at the moment, I think learning both would bamboozle most individuals. Performing even the most elementary of calculations would be a tedious process, like reading an older form of one's own language (such as Old English or Shakespeare) without prior knowledge. Glancing at translations or explanations every few seconds interrupts the flow of a piece of literature (at least in my case). And although I know a number of Shakespearean terms and a handful of ancient words used in Beowulf, not everyone can be expected to do likewise...especially these days!