Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sometimes it's hard... be patient. To know that I'm feeling better, and that I have a clear mind, and an even clearer focus on what I want. It is a dangerous time for me, where I will be tempted to do more than I should.

But sometimes it's hard to be patient.

I know that it's best, in my head. That it isn't the right time yet for things to go as I'd like them to. I get frustrated and impatient, because as all proper lions are, I am very instant gratification oriented. I wants what I wants, and I wants it now!

And tho I long for those days to be now, I know that I need to be patient. That there is still work to be done, and healing to finish, and a dozen other miniscule matters that need attending to first.

I know I can take on the world, and tonight, I think I could win. No, and sorry gentler readers, but fuck that, tonight I know I could win.

But it's not time yet. I'm excited and excitable, and full of piss and vinegar and love and springtime and all that comes with it.

I tuned in, I turned on, I fought my way back from the dead...
-Edwin McCain

I've missed out on so many oppurtunities in life that I worry now for them, I worry that I need to make a move now, quickly, but it's far too soon. I'm afraid I'll miss another one, and that all this fighting will have been for nothing. I'm jumpy and anxious and wanting to get on to the next phase of my life. I want it, I want it all, and I want it now.

Except it's not time yet. If anything, I do have enough wisdom to recognize that.

But it's still sometimes hard to be patient.

Late night, stream of consciousness

Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody said it was a happy little tale... if somebody told you I was just your average ordinary guy, not a care in the world... somebody lied.

But let me assure you: this story, like any story worth telling, is about a girl.


First of all, is that not the greatest opening to a tale of all time? Disregard the fact that it is regarding one of the world's (and my personal favorite) most renowned and beloved heroes. Disregard that you know anything about what he has, is, and will go through. Disregard that he has powers above and beyond mortal man. Disregard triumph and tragedy. Disregard all of that, the history, the possibility, and all that comes with it, and what do you have?


Saturday, February 24, 2007


Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!

-Rocky Balboa

Aren't quotes great? Sometimes someone says something so profound that you can't help but to one hundred percent agree with it, feel it, and wish you had said it yourself.


I feel the need to apologize to my readers for taking them off guard recently. Usually my posts are written in an attempted lighthearted manner that belies what may be bothering me underneath, or at least discusses it without outright describing what happened. I have forgotten the lesson of Perspective that I learned at a very young age.

When I was in kindergarden, I was already able to read, and had been able to for some time. This is not a boast, this is simply a fact. I learned at a young age how to escape into the written word, and to me, it seemed perfectly normal that I was able to do this.

What I did not understand, as I Still sometimes struggle to, is that not everyone is the same. That not everyone is like me.

One day in kindergarden, as Miss Martinez was gushing over my literacy skills, by having me help her out in class by reading aloud to them at story time. She had been suffering from laryngitis and I was happy to help out, especially given my 5-year-old boy's crush on her.

Oh shut up, like I'm the only one to have crushed on a teacher. Honestly.

Anyway, I'm drifting. The point of the tale is that one day, while among my peers, I didn't understand why some of the other kids couldn't read like I could. And due to my lack of knowledge about a thing called "Tact," I did what is generally unthinkable.

I asked someone what was wrong with them for not being able to read.

Yeah. Oops.

Ok, so I caught a beating over it, but I learned that people were different. Some people could read. Others could whip your ass and make you eat dirt. That made sense. Lesson learned.

And then somewhere forgot.

When I look back at my life, I see it through the eyes of the one who lived it, and when I wrote of it recently, I didn't take into account that although I can shrug off these events (now, at least) others may not be so prepared for them when presented in a bold, cavalier manner.

I'm very sorry to anyone that was affected by reading about some of the events, and in the future I will include a caveat such as "rough waters ahead" or "avert thy eyes, gentle readers" and so on to warn people to either skip to a different post or to at least prepare them for what may come.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Flash Forward

There's an irony involving the previous post regarding my best friend.

It has been said that a friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. That a man's friend will know him better than his family, his co-workers, and even his wife.

Two nights ago.

Two nights ago I decided not to go home from work directly. I went to Barnes and Noble, a bookselling store and read graphic novels (aka big comic books) for a while before wandering next door to the adjoining Best Buy (electronocs) store. There wasn't anything really good in either place, and I left feeling rather morose about the entire affair.

So I hop in my car and start driving home, and along the way I begin to think, as I always always do. This night in particular my Dad popped into my mind unbidden, and of the things I remembered of him, I remembered that he had taught me a certain means of behaviour which to be honest simply isn't complied to anymore. Fight fair, like men, with your bare hands. You don't need a weapon, and if you do, you shouldn't be in the fight. When the fight is over, it's over. No running to your friends, their friends, anyone. When someone hits the dirt, it's done. There is an obligatory beer to be bought, and then it simply over. Walk away. If you're going to do something wrong, don't get caught. but if you do get caught, own up to it and take it like a man.

There's some inconsistency there, but there's also a certain level of honor. This is what I was thinking about as I drove home, listening to the radio.

As I reached my side of town, I felt drawn to the K-Mart, a place of relative historical significance, to me anyway. My mother worked there for nearly 20 years, and so did I as one of my first jobs. I remember every saturday going with my dad to see her at work at her lunchtime, and standing out front as my dad talked to someone or another he knew from the "old days," as he had went to high school about a block away.

I guess that's one of my roots.

So there I was, drawn to this place with so many bittersweet memories of things long gone. I parked my car and got out, walking inside in nearly a fugue state. I didn't know why I was here, but I knew I needed to be. 50% of you are calling bullshit on this part of the tale, and you need to pull your heads out of your asses and start listening to your instincts.

So there I was wandering the aisles, not thinking, not feeling, just sort of moving to where I guess I needed to be.

And as I got there, he walked around the corner.

No, not my dad, but something close, and maybe a little better. My "Uncle" Steve.

"Uncle" Steve isn't really my uncle, it's a special honorary term reserved for those people that are not related by blood, but rather through the kinhood of friendship. He had grown up with my dad, and known him for most of his life. He recognized me instantly, and his eyes lit up as I approached him to shake his hand.

It was nice to be nice to be seen for once.

So we talked for a while, I asked him about his son while he asked me about my dad, and we had similar answers. It was an...uncomfortable comfortableness we found there, being such parts of the other family's lives for so long. He grinned proudly at me as I told him tales of road trips and adventures I had taken, and I listened to his tales of raising snakes and other things, and was visibly happiest when his daughter showed up.

She didn't remember me, but that's cool. She was 4 the last time I saw her. I guess she's in her 20's now.

I didn't want to interrupt his time with his daughter, so I excused myself, shaking his hand once more before I left.

And that's when it happened.

He didn't let go. It wasn't a firm grip, or frightening, he just held on a second longer, because he had to tell me something.

"Dave," he said. "Your dad isn't the easiest person in the world to get along with. It isn't your fault."

Now, I've heard this tale from people before, and not to take anything away from those people or what they tried to tell me, but there wasn't exactly a "weight" to it. They weren't there. They didn't know. They were saying what was proper to be said, but how could they know?

But this man, this man was my father's lifelong best friend. He Knew. I could trust him.

The rest of the ride home I only remember in patches. I was stunned by what had happened, least of all by the bizarre happenstance that set the stage for it.

(I'll take "Shit that can only happen to Dave" for $200, Alex)

So there we have it. In characteristic surreal style, I deal with a ghost from the past, and an echo of pain that has now gone away. My father may not have been redeemed by his best friend, but I think that in a small way, I was.

One less chain around my heart.

One less thorn in the Lion's paw...

Thursday, February 15, 2007


There's the tell-tale sound of the crackling that can only come from a hi-fi phonograph player in the air, giving way to the high-pitched sound of a man's voice.

"In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight..."

...and he dreams. And Remembers.

1992. Winter. Snow on the ground, a rare occurance in the land of Texas where there are but two seasons, referred to as "Football" and "Christmas." Even rarer in the desert city of El Paso. Due to ongoing difficulties with my stepmother, I'm out in it at six in the morning.

A little background on that seems necessary.

See, this woman, who's name begins with the letter "Charlotte" wasn't the nicest of ladies. She had (and likely still has, but I'll never know) my father tightly in her grip. For a time, she had me also, with my adolescent will sapped by the troubles that came with the rite of passage known as puberty.

Yes, I was seventeen. I also developed slowly physically.

No comments about emotionally.

Charlotte couldn't seem to tighten her grip on me. That's largely because she and I, or more to the point, the rest of the world and I don't live on the same plane of reality. Even in an addled state, there was only so far I could be pushed.

I'd learn more about that later that evening, though at the time, I had no clue.

This woman whose name may or may not be Charlotte (it is) had decided that she would use good old Mother Nature to break me. My father worked construction, so she decided that because I played role playing games (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (first edition, the only true D&D. Fuck off if you don't agree.) that I was not allowed in the house when he was not present, as I was obviously preparing myself for a life of cultdom.

Problem is, it didn't seem to be the cult of Charlotte.

So when Dad left for work, and on the days he didn't too, I was exiled from my domicile at six am. Unsupervised, unlooked after, and generally unnoticed unless I accidentally said something out loud. Rain, sun, heat, cold, and on this day, yes, even snow, I was cast out into the streets, and largely unfed to boot, unless my father remembered the son he had "fought" so hard for in a battle with my mother needed to eat every other day or so.

There's nothing like being a trophy, folks. Nothing like it. You sit on a shelf and collect dust, because the winning was more important than the prize.

I wonder if she ever realized that she was running the cult playbook page by page. Weaken the subject through malnutrition, exposure to the elements, and isolation from his fellow man. Continue to erode his defenses through repetitious "lessons" while encouraging him to leave "whenever he wants." Good thing I played D&D, and knew about saving throws. Rolled a 19, bitch. Take that.

That's a joke, actually. There was another reason I survived this.

And his name is Eddie.

Eddie was always a good friend to me, even when he didn't want to be. He and his family opened their home to me and gave me a place to weather the elements, even feeding me when Mom noticed my ribs through my shirt. There was never anything said about it, it was just "taken care of." Had it not been for them, I might not have made it, or worse, made it and come out a person so hardened and cold that there wouldn't have been a man left.

I even learned how to shave from Eddie, even though it was just from watching him do so as we talked before going out. I learned what to do (and not to do, sorry bro, it had to be said) in matters regarding the opposite sex. He showed me more than he knew, and reaped the advantage of my nimble mind in showing him new ways to overcome problems. And walls.
So off I went on a snowy day to Eddie's house like normal. If normal is the word for a kid kicked out of his house on a daily basis to fend for himself, and having no working knowledge of how the outside world worked and how to interact with people in it. It had snowed, so I stole a pair of combat boots off of someone's porch to keep my feet warm and dry.

Yes. I stole. It was their feet or mine, and they were allowed inside. I call it a fair karmic trade.
It took about an hour to walk the five or so miles to Eddie's house from where I lived with my dad, and it was quiet. I learned to appreciate the quiets in the morning on those long walks to Sherman Park., and I learned to appreciate the snow even more, because it made it even quieter. Often I would even read as I walked, burning through half a novel on the way there, and finishing it on the way back.

Yes, I know it was dangerous. But I somehow, in spite of all things, lead a charmed life and am here telling you about it, so it obviously must have worked out alright.

So on this Saturday I arrived, and stepped inside silently as I often did, knowing the door was unlocked, and watched some tv in the living room before people started to get up. As the day grew on, people slowly started to gather at Eddie's house as it was the generally recognized hub of our Loser's Club. We decided we were going to go practice stalking and sniping techniques with our air rifles and pistols out in the snow.

We sort of were preparing ourselves for the apocolypse, the fall of civilization, and so forth. There wasn't much to do in El Paso, you know.

I had an air pistol I had bought at Wal-mart that shot darts, pellets, and bb's, and there were a few air rifles as well. I was a better shot with the pistol than Eddie, but he could always smoke me with a rifle. We always balanced out that way somehow. We were a group of noncomformists sitting around in the dining room getting ready to go pretend to play war.

Somehow, I picture Pentagon Briefings operating in a strikingly similar manner.

So the camofluage came out, and we started to get dressed. Eddie had loaned me a set of fatigues, and as I got dressed, I felt wierd. Wrong, somehow. I couldn't explain it, but I simply couldn't wear them. Even among nonconformists I was a nonconformist. I felt terrible, so I had to do something about it.

So I took them off. Eddie asked me what was up, if i was ok, and I said yeah, I just couldn't wear them. He seemed mildly disappointed, but shrugged it off and said "That's okay man, we always need a guy in the private sector anyway. Let's go shoot some cans."

So off we went, and fun was had, and I never thought much of it again. I went home, and had the usual browbeating brainwashing session and banishment to my room without dinner (little did they know I'd already eaten that day. Twice.). Near midnight as I lay sleeping, the door opened as it often did, and Charlotte loomed in the dark at me. This night, she made me take down and tear up my Alyssa Milano and Batman posters, and also made me cut off my beloved ducktail from my hair.

Then she stood in the doorway and stared at me, looking for a weakness.

"You don't really think you're going to win, do you?" she asked me.

"I don't have to win," I told her. "All I have to do is survive."

She slammed the door. The rest of that year, and the one after that would go badly.

But that night, I slept well.

The lion stirred, remembering ferocity and the will to survive. He remembered that even basic survival instincts were rooted in Defiance, in this case, of death.

The roar grew louder.....

Triumph is inevitable. (period. no question mark)

Hmm. That sounds a lot like "Resistance is futile," doesn't it?

Anyway. Behold, quake and/or giggle as I am revealed through the secret language of birthdays.

August 13th

The Day of Long Odds

numbers and planets- 4 and uranus
tarot- death
strengths- indomnitable, spirited, courageous
weaknesses- quirky, oversensitive, insecure

Normally 13 is not an unlucky number, per se, but those born on August 13 at various times in their lives have to face seemingly unsurmountable odds in their fight to come out on top and stay there. Securing a desired position, struggling to reach personal goals, or searching for a fufilling relationship are lifelong challenges for them. Whether born unusual or made unusual through circumstance, August 13 people have a highly unique personality and outlook on life.

One might think that those born on this day would be depressed by the sometimes crushing weight of difficulty or challenges. Yet, although they occasionally suffer from quite deep depressions, understandably, and feel beaten down by life, they more often maintain a cheerful, bouyant disposition to the world. Highly sensitive to criticism, and prone to thinking the worst of themselves, the may nonetheless keep any insecurities to themselves and manage to remain friendly, open, and above all, active. One should not make the mistake, however, of thinking one can get close to an August 13 person easily; those born on this day generally have to know someone for months or even years before they allow that person into their private life.

Being unique, even strange individuals, August 13 people are attracted to others of an unusual nature as well; conversely they have little in common with straight-laced or highly conventional people. Yet, while those born on this day may soar toward the highest forms of idealism in their own philosophy or projects, they generally remain suspicious of those whose ideas seem unrealistic or overly optimistic. A powerful urge to rebel against any form of imprisonment, facism, or oppression marks this day. Yet, as they themselves have leadership potential, August 13 people must keep their authoritarian tendencies in check.

Many August 13 people have an attraction to danger that is not so much about risking death or injury, but trimphing over great odds. Achieving the impossible is what they are after, and even the timid born on this day generally reject a life without challenge where saftey or security is assured. Indeed, those August 13 people who have somehow been protected from accident or misfortune are quite capable one day of amazing those around them by taking great risks. All August 13 people have the strength of the long breath- they are willing to wait for what they want, and most often they know the right moment to strike. Unfortunately, what they achieve or aquire is not always of lasting value, as ironic misfortunes seem to dog their footsteps. Those born on this day that recognize and take pleasure in how unusual they are are unlikely to even bother to achieve social stability or acceptance but prefer to cut their own strange path through life. But through all their trials and tribulations, just enough good fortune seem to smile on August 13 people to get them through, and they can recieve help at the most unexpected moments

-From the Secret Language of Birthdays.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Courtesy Martina McBride

If there were no words
No way to speak
I would still hear you

If there were no tears
No way to feel inside
I'd still feel for you

And even if the sun refuse to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need
My love, my valentine

All of my life
I have been waiting for
All you give to me
You've opened my eyes
And showed me how to love unselfishly

I've dreamed of this a thousand times before
In my dreams I couldnt love you more
I will give you my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need
My love, my valentine

La da da
Da da da da

And even if the sun refuse to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Until the end of time
Cuz all I need
Is you, my valentine

You're all I need
My love, my valentine