Category Archives: random

A foreign but promising land.

When I was younger, I often felt frustrated toward others when they did not share my passion for things, dismissing them as apathetic or shallow.  One of my best friends, Brandon, should have little trouble recalling those days, regularly hanging out with a Jesus Freak and pseudo-philosopher that studied anything and everything aside from the ordinary things that most 16-23 year olds enjoy.  I now understand how wrong that was to be so judgmental and dismissive.  A week into grief, into this foreign landscape, finding myself struck with such vivid and lucid visuals that it almost distorts my awareness of the real world, causing me to blankly stare and zone out, I understand that people cannot go where I go.  It is not their journey, the footprints that carve out this path are mine and that is how it should be.

No doubt others have experienced this walk before but I don’t expect others to come with me.  They simply can’t if they haven’t experienced it.  And that’s ok.  I don’t need to hear “I’m sorry”, “Sorry for your loss” or other well intentioned but well-worn phrases, ones that used to anger me because I thought they were a lazy ‘quick fix’ people used to escape the awkwardness or discomfort of a situation — in this case, grief.  I know people mean well and thank you for the support but I know I will be ok, that I will learn from this and change irrevocably because of this.  Grief does not need a cure, indeed there isn’t one.  I don’t need to hear about closure; one of the first things I have noticed a great many people talk about is healing and closure in the aftermath of a tragedy.  Healing and closure will come in due time and I have no interest in rushing either of those.  What is healthy is to fully feel and work through my grief.  Nor is time a cure.  Time can, however, bring perspective, wisdom….growth….laying on a mantle of inner strength and peace, helping me to continue to be open to life.

Sometimes I feel nothing.  Sometimes I cry with intensity that surprises even me.  Other times I feel incredibly optimistic or angry.  Sometimes I feel so sad that I almost cannot breathe.  It’s cyclical and somewhat unpredictable but it’s movement and I’m moving in a generally forward direction.  It’s a kaleidoscope of beauty and ugliness, filled with tests of character vs. habit and learning how to apply what you’ve learned and the impressions left on you by that person in your daily life.  I referenced a light my father kindled in my heart in earlier posts and it was no exaggeration nor was it an attempt to be poetic.  It’s a very literal description, the best I can do to explain his impact on me.  It’s a light that was never fully realized until he was gone, and I think that is the nature of it, it’s the nature of a great mentor’s influence (and blessed am I that I can call him my father).  He was cremated today.

I talk to him everyday.  Perhaps I am talking to nothing.  Perhaps not.  It’s irrelevant to me because in doing so, my memories of my father remain fresh and I feel connected to him.  I only knew him as my dad and I am ok with that.  Others knew him in a different light but I know that all of us may joyfully cite, reminisce, and reflect on common threads that were characteristically consistent in his many relationships with others.  His selflessness.  His compassion.  His optimism.  His discipline and inner strength.  His inner peace.  His humor.  His thirst for adventure.  His honor.  I think it’s uncommon in today’s world that a man possesses honor.  My father did.  Christ, am I so proud of him.  He was not perfect by any means but his spirit shone through regardless of the lens held up to him.  That’s beautiful to me.  That’s something to aspire to, something to achieve in my own way so that at the moment of my own death when asked, “Did you love and were you loved?”  I can answer with a contented and resounding “Yes.”

Dad-entry

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Empty shoes, a beautiful legacy.

He’s gone.  As much as I felt I was prepared for this…..I wasn’t.  Nobody ever is.  There are so many questions flying through my mind at this moment.  The sadness, the anger, the peace, the nostalgia, the feeling of having no control….the fear of having no control.  All of these things vie for supremacy within myself.  This is grief and it is completely natural but it doesn’t make it any easier.  I often intellectualize my emotions.  Is it a coping mechanism?  A world without my dad.  My sister calls this the “new normal”, and sadly….it is.  And it feels anything but normal.

I try to imagine every detail, down to the smallest one of my father’s last days on Earth.  What did he sound like?  Look like?  How would I have reacted to seeing him in such a condition?  My mom is a widow now, and my brother and two sisters no longer have a dad.  He’s dead.  I don’t even know what I believe concerning life after death.  There is no scientific evidence to directly prove it but there are mountains of subjective material shared by those who have been close to death and by people who have been by those close to death.  A few days ago, my dad told my mom that he saw a small child standing in his room with him.  My mom shared it with the hospice staff and they told her that not too long ago, a little boy had died in the same room.

923059_10152251712535400_836129692_nWhat was it like for my dad to have one leg in another world and his other in this one as his body and mind prepared to………stop and release him?  What did he see?  Where is he now?  And why can I not follow him to maintain some semblance of contact that doesn’t rely solely on my memories of him?  I don’t want him to be gone!  Almost everybody I know still have both parents alive…why my dad?  He was (still is) an inspiration to everybody that knew him — I am not saying that politely or generically, he truly was a mentor to too many people to count.  He was strong, calm, a philosopher, a superior fighter when it was required, he was an immovable rock, someone that was not subject to the emotional whims or tantrums over life’s unpredictability.  It was his support and active participation in helping my mother that she built her non-profit, “Tapestries of Hope” into an effective and successful grief support group for daughters whose mothers have died.

God damnit, he was a real man, a superior man.  He filled my heart abundantly when he was alive, from my childhood to adulthood and now into fatherhood for the first time and I know it is that very abundance that will do it’s best to fill the void left in me now that he is gone.  I wish he could be here as I raise my little girl with Sonia, it hurts so much that he won’t be.

Not even thirty days.  From the first call I got from my mom telling me that dad has checked into the hospital and it might be the cancer that we thought he beat last year to 11:21 p.m. last night when he took his last breath…some would say that’s a long time.  I don’t feel it was but I think I feel that way because I  want him back.  I had a week with him and I know there are plenty of people that don’t get that kind of time so for that I am deeply grateful.  I miss him so terribly much.  He was only 60!  Out of the blue cancer showed up in his blood.  Christ almighty.  I just spoke with him no more than a couple weeks ago, we looked each other in the eyes, we talked about a great many things at length, things I will always keep in my heart, so precious are those memories.  We made promises to one another.

Sobs rack my body.  Tears stream freely and had these words found their way on paper, the ink forming them would run…forever, trying to find my father.  I wish I could have held him, seen him one last time.  I received pictures from my mom and two sisters of them preparing my dad for cremation, wrapped up snugly in beautiful blankets and twine.  It’s beautiful indeed.  It’s sad as well, though that isn’t my dad wrapped up in those blankets.  My dad was too strong of a soul to be so contained, his enthusiasm for life, his compassion for others, his honor as a man and his terrible jokes that made you laugh at their…terribleness pushed into eternity last night, 39 minutes before Monday.

To anybody reading this, there is so much to live for in life and I truly hope you do just that.  Appreciate everybody and everything you have.  Never stop striving to improve your life and the lives of those around you.  Love.  Laugh.  Leave your mark on this world, make memories with the people you care about and even with strangers — you may have improved their day just by smiling at them.  Do not hold onto anger, hold no grudges, hold each other.  Look beyond the darkness, the negativity, the violence and selfishness we are all bombarded by on a daily basis.  Life is waiting to unfold from within you, seize every moment  you can and make it worthwhile!

Dad, wherever you are, I hope you’re peaceful and happy.  I hope you will still be able to see me as I live on and become a father.  Everyday I will look fondly on the memories we’ve made and the incredible influence you’ve had on me — an influence that is still at work in transforming me into an amazing person, a caring and strong person.  An influence whose echo will guide me into achieving my potential in life, becoming an absolute and sturdy force for good in this world.  You’re a beautiful man and I love you with all of my heart.  Goodbye, pop, journey well.

A man larger than life.  A man who WAS life.

A man larger than life. A man who WAS life.

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Forth from the sperm of Mars and egg of Venus:

A wee-Veni is developing within my beautiful girlfriend.  A translator is not available at this time so if you don’t understand that I’m trying to convey that she and I are having a baby girl, then you are s.o.l.  Don’t ask me what s.o.l. means because I don’t know.  It kind of sounds racist and I’m certainly not that.  I don’t process skin color or know that pasty white people are often confused with mozzarella sticks covered in Elmer’s glue.  Thankfully, that makes me a racist-handicap, meaning I’m incapable of contracting the racist germ by sleeping on colored OR colorless sheets (not that I can even tell the difference.  Insert sad emoticon here).  Not that I would ever try.  How could I?  If I can’t understand colors then I can’t recognize racism even if it were to introduce itself to me with misleading politeness to gain my trust.  Thanks, but I would never fall for that.  I have seen a movie from the 30’s and I know the best thing to do is to point at it and scream out “STRANGER DANGER!!” until the police show up with their rape whistles to assist me across the street.

I’m excited to be a father; if it’s anything like being Luke Skywalker’s father then holy hell am I about to live the epic life.  There’s a senile elderly gent down my street that frequently wears oversized bathrobes and he has a smoker’s voice too.  Close enough, he could act as my mentor and enunciate and drag out the last vowel of the last word of each sentence he complEEtes.  Eff you Star Wars nerds, I am about to live the life.  In all seriousness, I am the last person I ever thought would be a dad — the last person anybody thought would be one but ever since my girlfriend and I found out that I — I mean she, was pregnant, I’ve had this very deep-rooted calm feeling about it all.  I can be an amazing father, there’s so much I want to teach her and show her.  I’m looking forward to reading her the United States Constitution at bedtime, I’m pretty sure she will fall asleep out of boredom.

Initially, we were sure we were having a boy, thanks to a misleading and early ultrasound.  Ultra inaccurate.  Can I sue someone somewhere for that?  We began buying laddie clothes a little bit at a time and then like the initial big bang that created the universe as well as the one that came from outside last night and woke me up, we got the news:

Girl-power

Click on that picture, it’s an ultrasound photo from that day.  Hmm, at least she likes guns, who cares if it shoots heart-shaped bullets.  I’m not so sure about that Gandalf staff of hers though, it’s too high profile for a newborn — er, for a pre-born.  Nonetheless, we have only four more months to go.

There’s a lot of love surrounding my girlfriend, myself, and our little one and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.  I do want a 60″ tv and a playstation 3, though.  If anybody is reading this, take note of that and act accordingly for I am due a man-cave.

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I used to hate cinnamon raisin bagels as a kid. Eating one right now.

The title is true.  Anyway, I’ve read that rubbing a banana peel on a mosquito bite can alleviate the itching.  More importantly, I don’t want to expand on that because I am defiant of mosquitos and afraid of fruit.

I tire of bargaining for the life of vegetables at the trade markets in my neighborhood.  Therefore, I intend on growing vegetables on my back patio in giant nuclear power plant shaped ceramic pots to avoid the stress of haggling over and proving the worth of bell peppers, jalapenos, green onions, and tomatoes.  Speaking of which, tomatoes — although a fruit — are nowhere near as threatening as bananas or other fruit.  They’ve received a waiver from yours truly and I view them in a less terrifying light.

Additionally, mint, basil, and a few other herbs that will not cross my mind because it’s flooded with awesome will participate in my food version of the League of Nations.  Hi Woodrow Wilson!

I am becoming domesticated, something slightly strange to me considering my nomadic nature and enjoyment of traveling and moving.  I like it, though.  Putting down roots the same way my vegetables are going to.  Mine will be better and stronger.  Capsicum annuum Spartans.

Aren’t bell peppers in the botanical sense considered fruits but in culinary terms considered vegetables you ask?  No more questions.  By the time this post is complete, you will have learned a great deal about food and my life.

This post is complete.

Hungry? You should be.

Currently playing: “Pursuit of Happiness” by KiD CuDi.

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The dark side of insectoid upstarts.

Last night, a penta-cluster of black widows was discovered loitering at my address of residence.  The sonar security system I had installed months earlier that emits a high pitched frequency that can only be heard by young adult web crawlers — and in turn drive them away — did not phase these emo-arachnids.  Which means that they are over forty and can talk my sonar system to death with life-experience.  Upon inspection, I took note of many bbw’s (baby black widows) running amok, upsetting the establishment of my carport.  I put an end to it immediately.

The picture posted above is not of the earlier referenced spidey-sads, but is of one of my roommates who I’m quite sure is casting black magic spells on me at worst or working as a conduit for bad energy and filling the house with it at best.  Skeptical?  Perhaps you should consult the tv psychic I sought for counsel and confirmation.  Face!  This year has been a bad one for roommates but I am grateful to say that such undesirable circumstances will soon come to an end and the love of my life and I will be in our beautiful new and first home!  Clean start to a brighter future.

Currently playing: “Just What IAm” featuring King Chip (Produced by KiD CuDi).

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In one picture?

To live strictly within a defined world is to retard your understanding of it.

Currently playing: “Ho’ is Short For Honey” by KiD CuDi.

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St. Francis the praying mantis.

St. Francis the praying mantis hissing at me over my discovery of him.

 

SFTPM (his acronym) sliding down the front screen door like an ungraceful and awkward stripper. Upside down.

 

Right before his first leap, his rubbed his misshapen front legs together, whispering the word ‘precious’ like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. He then leapt from the door to the white brick road like some white supremacist’s version of the fairytale of Oz. Look at his eyes. Fucking alien.

 

He is running like I have a spotlight on him and all else is dark. He has not noticed me still watching him and is running for exercise, not for his life. Can he run his own life? Not like I am running it he can’t — ooooooo!

 

The angriest bug of all Bugdom. Once again, angry that I have found him, hissing and pretending to spew magical venom at me. Stupid mantis, you are the brontosaurus of the bug species.

 

After taking a swing at the camera, he ran off, engaging in things such as cockiness of the spoken word. I was going to step on him at this point but he yelled out, “Man vs. Mantis” in the same accent as Bear Grylls from ‘Man vs. Wild’. I was temporarily enamored.

 

Acting like a paintball assassin, as he creeps along the leaf line, trying to trap me. He is completely unaware that I am mocking him behind his back, much to the enjoyment of his peers.

 

Frustrated over my alleged absence, he slowly crawls forward to find me and hears me move. He freezes in place and waits, considering retreat due to my superior skills in stealth.

 

On his way back to the front door where his friends are, only to discover that they are laughing and praying at him. His reaction in one word? Shock. Hahahaha! Tell your self-esteem I said it’s ugly, Francis Mantis.

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Bath salts & the zombie apocalypse.

Just say no to Bed, Bath & Beyond.  We now know what fills the alleyways of the beyond section. Bath Salts.  If you’re looking for ‘Himalayan tangerine rose water’ to scrub your brain with – in a pristine and delightfully smooth sensation that induces paranoia and cannibalism, then keep reading.

Coming from a place of seriousness and objectivity, I have offered a real life snapshot of my reaction to experimentation with this street hoo-hah known as ‘bath salts’.  As you can see, I am ecstatic, terrified, and quite humorously stressed out.  Look how pretty my eyes are, though.

Some news stories have surfaced on network media of cannibalism and in turn, sub genre pop culture has called it a sign of the zombie apocalypse.  If you can’t reach Woody Harrelson, remember that anyone approaching you with a face similar to this is best to avoid and/or strike down in the most ridiculous of ways.  They’re likely hungry and therefore grouchy.

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Class in session.

Self-education smells amazing!  Invest in knowledge, it should never stop after school.

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Like, egads. Post before the end arrives.

The end of March, that is.  Due to my compulsory service to the goddess, Electronica, in the spirit of electron and hallucination – both physical & chemical, I will make one last post-sacrifice from my handsome idiot box computer.  March, you marched right in between February and April and threw all kinds of life life dung at me like a simple-minded, immature ape.  What did I do with it?  I didn’t make lemonade, I can assure you – a mix of fecal matter, lemons, and sugar is something nobody will purchase, not even from my metaphor-for-life lemonade stand.  However, I did make dung beetles out of that foul smelling substance that Japanese scientists have created meat from (shit burgers roxorzz!).  I then fired the dung-beetles in a kiln and sold them on eBay as ‘art’.  So thanks for the financial support, asshole.  Na, you were ok.

Behold this unrelated screenshot of my ear-mouth thing.  Yea.  What the fu*k is a cell phone?

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