Tag Archives: love

One Week on reddit

It’s been kind of an exciting week for me here. I succumbed to the narcissistic pressure within me, and submitted a few columns to reddit.com, figuring that I had gotten more or less back into form, and was ready for a truly global audience. I wasn’t prepared for the result. Amazingly, my column about Star Trek took right off, and has, to date, gotten more views this week by itself, than almost double the total amount of views I’d had in my best week prior to this one. Of course, reddit is a fickle mistress, and large numbers of people reading me there didn’t translate into much voting, in either direction. After spending almost a week in the r/startrek subreddit, I’ve gotten five votes, two-thirds positive, which have garnered me a total score of… 1 imaginary internet point! I’m trying not to get too hung up on that, as redditors can be unforgiving assholes (I should know), but it still kind of hurts that over two hundred people took the time to read what I had written, and only five had rated it positively. Still, I’ve said from Day One that my main goal in all of this was to give people a chance to read my stuff. I wasn’t expecting everyone to love it, but I had kind of imagined that it might have had more of an effect. Still, though, it’s kind of amazing. People with whom I have absolutely no connections in the real world have stopped and read the words and thoughts which have exited my head, and that, to me, is incredible.

The numbers have gone back to normal now, as I made a decision on Wednesday morning not to drink from that particular well anymore, at least not for a while. I wanted to see how many new readers I could maintain, and now, sadly, I know. It’s kind of wild to see just how this week has skewed the numbers, and I know that April is probably going to be the first month since I’ve started where I don’t increase my readership versus the month which came before it. To be honest, the temptation is there to head back to reddit sometime next month, just so I can try to avoid such a dubious distinction. Or I could try to make my stuff better, I suppose. I’m honestly just please with how easily the words are coming, compared to when I started, and how I can just jump in, even if it’s seven in the evening, and pound out words which, at the very least, make some sort of sense. I mean, I’m not really any closer to my larger goal of writing something that I can sell, but I’ve found my groove, and have built the courage to try out several different things over the past few months. And something that will please my wife: I’ve discovered that I can still write in the mornings, and that I can usually pound out an average column in an hour and a half. That basically means that I can now go looking for a job, free from the worry that it will cause my words to suffer.

The downside is that I now have to come to terms with my fear of everybody, and deal with easing myself back into the Food Service Industry, but luckily, I’ve had almost fifteen years of restaurant experience, with a decade of that spent in management. I know what I am doing when it comes to rocking in the kitchen, and the only thing which has held me back has been my exhaustion at the very notion of returning. It’s not the owners, it’s not the employees, and it’s definitely not the distributors; the component which worries me the most is having to deal with a brand-new set of customers. Well, that and doing interviews, but the latter is more a reflection of my personal bi-polarizing issues, so ultimately, it’s sort of just on me to get myself through that process. But when it comes to the customer experience, I think back to every single customer I’ve had the pleasure of not serving these past four months, and I’m reluctant to go back. But restaurants are generally always hiring, and are usually in need of competent management. And the only way that I can pay off all my bills at this point, is to jump into the deep end, and become Mr. Manager once more.

I’ve sort of gotten used to living this life of carefree indolence, and loathe to imagine the day when it must come to an end. But all good things must do so, if we are to truly appreciate them. I could be wrong, of course, and the only thing that stands between myself and happiness is my inability to accept myself for who I truly am: someone for whom putting on pants is the moment when he knows that his day will never stand a chance of recovering. If I was single, I suppose that I could travel the country on the backs of couches, seeking out just Wi-Fi, nicotine, and the occasional full belly. But the fact is that I would have never made it this far without the love of my dearest wife, and should the day come when she’s had enough of my shenanigans, I don’t imagine that I’ll be able to really handle anything in the manner expected of an adult. There will be crying, floor-pounding temper tantrums, and snot running down my face like a river flowing freely from my nose. And then I’ll slip back into habits better off forgotten, seeking solace in my liberation from overwhelming pain, and before I know it, I’ll wake up in Billings, Montana with a tattoo of Crying Rose, and naked, save for a strategically placed necktie. Poor Bad Leon Suave, I’m sure that he doesn’t entirely deserve that.

See? Watching the worst case (and yet, strangely entertaining) scenarios play out inside my head is still more comforting than the knowledge that I’m going to have to get (another) job! I’m not sure what that says about me, but I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading all about it. I’d say that I am now heading off to bed, but I think that I’ll do some pity-voting back on reddit.

The cowboy rode off into the sunset, but left his steed behind.
The cowboy rode off into the sunset, but left his steed behind.


Chicken Little


I looked up at the sky last night to see that it was falling all around me. As has been the case for as long as I remember, the best of days seem always to conclude in a spiraled attempt to be the worst. I’m trying not to read too much into it, but the fact is that, as a writer, I’m constantly on the prowl for subplots and foreshadowing. And it’s hard to pin down the cause, as I can never tell if it’s just me who’s freaking out, or if I have a right to stand my ground on any given issue. Add someone who is also showing signs of emotional fatigue, and it becomes a game of twenty questions (that you should never ask). Yes, there is a part of me that is even angrier for not being allowed to enjoy what had been my best day as a writer in well over a decade, having reached a wider audience in twenty-four hours than I had in any week before, and having been affirmed as a wordsmith of at least some value by people with whom I do not regularly converse. I should be riding high upon the world this morning, and yet the only thing I want to do is curl myself into the fetal position beneath the covers and wait for everything to fail.

For years now, I’ve had to be the voice of reason in this household, clinging desperately to sanity and rationality as a form of self-defense. That’s not to say that my wife is incapable of doing so, but she tends to focus her attention on other areas which would otherwise be neglected. The only problem in my ascendancy to this august throne, is that having to keep it all together is a massive strain, and every day that I put off the breakdown which I know is coming, the worse I know that it will be upon its prophesied arrival. Somewhere deep inside me lies a tectonic plate of sanity which has been grinding up against the neighboring plate of madness, and the pressure feels unworldly, and I know, like everyone living on a fault line must, that the Big One is on its way, and there’s nothing left to do but hope I’ve retrofitted everything sufficiently. I’m still not sure why I haven’t cracked, and it feels so overdue that I’m growing a little terrified of what will happen in the aftermath. I’m getting older now, and I don’t know that I can bounce back as easily as I once did when I was twenty-one. There are too many people who depend on me (yes, Virginia, even when I’m not pulling in a paycheck) for me to just throw in what little will that I have left and wait for Death to claim me. Of course, in putting it off, I’m just making it worse.

I remember when I could believe that love could solve everything. I also recall how that’s worked out for me before, so now the wound is extra salty. Love is hard. There are some days when it would simply be easier to grab a handful of my necessities (my laptop, hard drive, and all the old notebooks I could fit into my backpack), and just run away from home. There are couches in the world which I have not yet surfed, and my writing has always soared when I am broken by despair. And yet I know that I am too old for all of that. I cannot keep running when things get too big for me to face. I’ve run away to fight another day so many times that I think that, just this once, I should turn back around and make my final stand. Getting older has allowed me to discard the judgments of others for the shackles that they are, and the same obstinacy which has allowed me to get this far by refusing to let me fail should give me the courage to face down the end of all things, though I’ve everything to lose, and only the status quo to gain. When all the drama has been stripped away, and the arguments laid to rest, I can so clearly see that it is only our fear which drives us apart. We’re living in a constant state of terror that the world will begin to crumble beneath our feet, and when it comes to fight or flight, you could call us Orville and Wilbur Wright.

I think that I once wrote that it’s not about the grand gestures. Those are easy, and generally only for show. It’s the little things which change the world, one act of consideration at a time. And here is why I know that, despite the odds, the time has come for me to fight: my wife is someone worth fighting for, and though the simple acts of cultured love are most often lost within the daily grind, they are there, waiting patiently for us to notice, and far too humble to draw attention to themselves. I don’t know that I can become the person that my wife deserves. I am who I have always been, and I never lied about that. But for her, for my Wildflower, I am willing to make the effort. She is infuriating and obsessive, selfless and self-destructive, amazing and inscrutable. And I’m a better man for having known her.

So what does this all mean? I have not the slightest clue. I know I love my wife, but I am uncertain if the years of knowing me have robbed her of her love for me. On the outside, I am often caustic and uncaring so as to not reveal the scared and tired child behind the curtain. Someone once said that “Sometimes you can’t fix everything with a hug.” But I will hold her close until the end of days, and we can face the wave of uncertainty together, if she’ll have me. The sky is falling all around me, and I am Chicken Little.


Falling in Love

After almost six years of marriage, and nearly nine years into my relationship, I can say that I miss the feeling of the random, razor butterflies that rip me up inside every time that I happen to fall again in love. It hasn’t happened for quite some time, obviously, but the memory is something which I will keep with me forever. It used to be that I could fall in love as easily as the wind might shift, and yet still love each new person just as deeply as all the other loves which came before. But being with someone for the better part of a decade is an entirely different kind of monster. It’s easy to get discouraged when that heady rush of endorphins peters out, but the key to love’s survival is to turn your eyes toward the long game, and stop focusing on the addictive narcotic of infatuation. I love my wife more each and every day, which, to be honest, because we are both imperfect beings, is a little impressive at times. We have our own drives and desires and are constantly forced to balance them against what we need to stay together. My love for Flor is not a rush of illicit substance hitting my veins and causing me to gasp. She is, instead, the warmth of sharing a mint condition copy of Detective Comics #27 with someone whom you trust until the end of days. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that she increases in value with every moment that passes, and I live in constant fear that she will soon realize that she can do much better.

On our first date (excluding that time where people were trying to get us to hook up at a friend’s wedding), I sat her down and warned her of all my character flaws. She thought that I was joking. In a way, I think that there is no more beautiful way to describe who we are and what it is, exactly, that we have. I am serious and brooding, aware of my failings, and obsessed with a certain sense of honor. My wife thinks that I am full of it, and is always looking for the punchline. Obviously, I’m simplifying things just a little bit, but it’s nice to know that even in my darkest hours, there is someone who will speak truth to power and tell me when I’m acting like an ass. That doesn’t mean that I always listen, or even that, in that moment, I appreciate it all that much, but it comforts me to know that I have someone on my side. Someone who is genuinely looking out for my best interests. It’s easy to forget, when we’re in the middle of an argument, that my instincts are not always to be trusted, as I have this nasty tendency to seek out my own destruction. Whereas my life before I met my wife was a whirlwind of impulsive and ultimately disturbingly atrocious choices, that all came to an end (I cough and nudge some errors back beneath the rug) when we decided to take a chance on one another.

I realized that I had been drawn, much like a moth, to women who would only immolate me. There is something soothing in the passions of insanity, and reassurance in the knowledge that the only surprises will not be what, but how. But that kind of love, if one-sided passion built upon a foundation of co-dependence can be acknowledged as such, tears a person down, undercuts his sense of self, and leaves him deep in debt with nowhere to call home. I knew that the time had come for me to make a change. I would be lying if I said I knew that we would be together for this long. When we started dating, it was just something we did to pass the time in which we’d normally just be lonely. And when we moved in together, it wasn’t because we were so madly in love that we couldn’t be apart, but rather, we both had to move out of the places we were living, and decided that splitting the rent and bills in half was a better way to do it. Even through her pregnancy, we fought like cats and dogs, with my Beautiful Flower doing everything she could to make me feel inferior.

It wasn’t done by insults, or even ill intent, but rather, she outclassed me with every step along the way. Whereas I had been to hell and back, fighting the demons which danced within my mind, she exuded a certain quiet fortitude that put all my travails to shame. Here she was, nearly 1,900 miles from everything and everyone she’d ever known, nearly 2,000 miles away from her teenage daughter and elderly parents, and she was comforting me in the face of impending fatherhood. I cannot imagine the amount of courage that sort of selflessness requires. She put her life on pause to sort out someone else’s problems, and then, instead of focusing on her own, turned her attention toward fixing what was wrong with me. Years later, I think that she may have grown a little weary of her game of Whack-A-Mole, but that she could begin to play at all is what continually amazes me. She is the most amazing person whom I have ever had the pleasure of having known, and though I tell her that I love her at least several times throughout the day, I feel like I could find a way to somehow tell her more.

There is a strength is in her that rivals the very fundamental forces inherent in Mother Nature. There is a love in her that crushes all opposition, grinding it down beneath her boot like a discarded cigarette. There is a beauty in her that hides until she finds the time to smile, and then spills out in radiance upon the world like an overturned barrel full of sunshine. And I feel grateful every day that she is on my side, and grateful to just be near her, to know her, to take in everything about her, and have the opportunity to love her for as long as she will have me.

Feliz sexto aniversario, mi amor. Te quiero hasta el fin del mundo, y un poco más. Todavía tú eres la luz de mi vida, y espero que yo merezco tu paciencia conmigo. No tengo nada para ofrecerte, aparte de mi amor, pues, entonces, te doy mi alma misma.


I love you
Happy sixth anniversary, my love.
I love you
I love you until the end of the world, and a little more.
A million times, I love you
Still, you are the light of my life, and I hope I deserve your patience with me.
Until the end of days
I have nothing to offer, other than my love,
And ever after
well then, I give you my soul.


It's disturbing just how happy I look...
It’s disturbing just how happy I look…

The one regret I have, were I to admit to myself that I had any regrets at all, would be that, in moving so far away from the little island which I used to call my home, I have placed an almost insurmountable distance between myself and the one person in my family who I miss the most: my grandmother. We’re just a week from celebrating her eightieth birthday, and where else would she be, but in the hospital, fighting off a bout of pneumonia. My mother informed me this morning, and I’ve been worrying off and on throughout the afternoon regarding just how ill-prepared I am at this very moment to go running back up to the state of Washington should the moment come to pass that I would be worse off for not having gone. Through luck and the gracious love which my wife feels for me, I have been able to stretch what would have been a short sabbatical into something just a little longer as I teach myself to write once more. But we have now exhausted most, if not all of our wiggle room, and should that dreaded phone call come, I’m not sure exactly what I have to quickly liquidate to catch the next flight out of Oakland.

The person who I have become is built upon the foundation which my grandmother laid down by example throughout my youth and adolescence. As far back as I can remember, in my grandmother I have always had an ally in my struggles to come to terms with what injustices I have perceived in my travels through the world. She is a woman of her word, a force for fairness, and the only person to whom I am related that views meaningless debates as a form of exercise. My grandmother has always made time to argue the finer points of irrelevant nonsense, occasionally dipping into the banned weaponry of religion or politics, but even then, only as a retaliatory strike against her upstart grandson who merely enjoys the heated thrashing about of ideas with someone who won’t just quit after an hour or two has passed. And what I respect about her most, in this regard, is that she has always been willing, despite her ideology, to listen to my bleeding-hearted arguments championing socialism and the redistribution of wealth, and every now and then, confronted by evidence in support of a minor point here or there, adjust her moral compass just a little. From her I have learned an indefatigable work ethic, a solid moral code, and the understanding of what it means to remain true to oneself and to one’s word. If only she weren’t a Republican…

In recent years, we’ve had to limit our verbal sparring to the occasional telephonic jab, as her health has been in a steady decline since the very first of her heart attacks back in the 1990’s. It was so noticeable when I was still living at home, or just a quick ferry ride away from her, but since we began measuring time apart in years instead of days or weeks, I’ve seen just how time can wear away at even the most ever present structures. It’s funny: whenever I have heard that someone’s died, I am usually the first to mention how at least their pain has finally come to an end, and whether they fall to the hands of their depression or simply succumb to old age, they have, at last, found some measure of peace. Even the notion of my final moments fills me with nothing more than a sense of delayed relief, and perhaps a hint of impatience that I’ve yet so much to do before I can finally put all this behind me and get all of the sleep of which I have somehow been deprived for all these years. And yet, when I contemplate the mortality of those whom I love more than I am willing to admit, I begin to grasp at every chance to keep them for just a moment longer.

Philosophically I understand that without the dark, the light has no meaning, and that to have a beginning, there must, one day be an end. One cannot revel in a sense of joy and wonderment without seasoning it misery and despair, for there can be no heads without a tail. And yet… Even dancing around all of this, that bitter realization which threatens to rend me from myself and cast me down into a hell from which I am not sure that I can return, I cannot let down my guard and let myself admit just why it is that I am so afraid. Inside I am just a little boy, clinging to the certainty that his grandparents are some type of extension of natural law, having existed long before me, and that it stands to reason that they, like all things fundamental to the workings of reality, must continue to exist for the universe to keep on spinning.

I know that she is in pain, and should something come to pass, that there will be no coming back. I know that she believes that when the moment comes, she will see everyone she’s ever loved, having transcended the bonds of mortal flesh to continue being, but in state of eternal wonder. I know that none of that will matter when the moment comes that marks the end of our arguments, and I am left with an unspoken retort upon my lips, lost forever to the ages, a perfect comeback that comes only when it’s far too late. I know that I am simply working myself up, and that if there were a pressing need to have traveled to the Northwest, I would have already begun to make my way there.

In a world where loyalties are bought and sold, and morality is just something that screamed from inside the television, I wanted to write about someone who was better, someone who has shown me that we can be better. I wanted to write about my Hero.


The World I Know

It can’t be that hard, right? I mean, the human race has the technology and the ability to feed the hungry, to house those living out-of-doors not by their own preference, to educate those who know the only future forward is to learn. Most of the folks whom I have met have, at some point in their lives, needed just a little help moving forward. I myself was homeless for a time, and though I was extremely lucky (in that I always tend to land upon my feet), I also had more help than most, and more than I necessarily deserved. At the point when the time for life-changing decisions were made, I would say that I wasn’t much of a better prospect for pulling it together than anybody else in my situation. I suppose I did manage to pull myself up by my bootstraps, but there was a whole team of supporting players who were steadying me off camera, or I most certainly would have fallen flat upon my face. Because pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is physically untenable, and unless you have some kind of freakish, mutant upper-body strength, you’re probably not going to do it. At least not on your own. And, of course, you have to believe that there’s even a point in trying.

Once upon a time, when I was young, and in love, I tried to hold myself up as a mirror to someone determined to fade away. I thought that by sacrificing myself, she might come to see the value of my love for her, and, in turn, find the value in herself. I was young, and amazingly good at grand, romantic gestures that have no place in rational discussions. It took me years to realize that I couldn’t help her. Even after we’d been broken up for quite some time, I still would find a moment or two to chastise myself for the damsel in distress who I let get away. It offended my very sensibilities that I knew what was wrong, knew what had to be done, and yet was rebuffed even before I could make the attempt. Was my love a good love? I can finally say, without beating myself up from head to toe, that it was probably not a love that was meant to last. Sure, it was grand, and passionate, and everything to which fictional characters could ever hope to aspire, but it wasn’t the kind of love that makes things better. It wasn’t understanding. My love was a galleon of conquistadores spilling out upon the shores of the New World. In some regards, it still is. But it’s smarter now. It uses Black Ops and intelligence gathering to achieve much the same goal without the necessity of smallpox.


That last paragraph kind of got away from me a little. That may, in fact, be the most disturbingly accurate representation of my love life that I have ever put to paper. I don’t know how I feel about that. Or myself. Come on, Tex. It’s just a metaphor. Shake it off! And the worst part of that entire peek into the twisted corners of my psyche, is that I never actually quite got to the point: You cannot save someone who doesn’t want saving. Help proffered is often rejected out of hand by those too proud or stupid to know when they cannot do it all alone. Okay, maybe I’m still a little bitter. It’s not even that I am still in love with her. But she told me how to save her, and I lacked the will to get her through it. I know that it’s unreasonable to expect a teenager to succeed where counselors and rehab could not, but I’m arrogant, and I don’t like losing, especially when the stakes are a person’s very soul (or whatever the atheist equivalent may be). How am I still on this? I thought it was a joke, but it turns out my issues do, in fact, have issues!

Now I cannot help but wonder if I’ve come to want to save the world as some sort of proxy for the woman whom I could not. Talk about inflation. That’s like a seven billion percent increase. Well, I suppose that if the task wasn’t impossible and entirely insane, it wouldn’t have fallen to me in the first place.

We have the resources. We have the technology. We have the modes of transportation. All we lack is the will to make it happen. And while we wait, all caught up in the dramas of our own lives, people are actually dying. They didn’t deserve it. Even if they happened to make a series of poor decisions that would cause even me to reconsider medication, that’s not the point. And I’m not just talking about those poor wretches in foreign countries where they don’t even have the decency to learn English. It’s happening right here. Kids are literally starving. Parents have to make the choice between food, clothing, or a visit to the doctor. The cheapest food is the worst which one might consume. The rich kids are spirited away to walled-in institutions where they might actually (if accidentally) acquire an education, while their exodus has left the rest of us in substandard districts where a parent’s only hope is that their kid might not get shot today. It’s not right.

Poverty is not a sin, especially if you are born into it. So much is shouted about the rights of the unborn (Sorry, I have to pause right now because an image of toddling fetuses shambling about in search of “miiiiiiillllkkk….” has inappropriately popped into my head), but no one is legislating protections anymore for anyone who’s exited the womb. There is a reason that our children are immature for such a length of time that causes waves of chuckling throughout the rest of the animal kingdom: we must teach each successive generation, and they must mature alongside that knowledge. A newborn is no more capable of fending for himself than he was just the day before, all safely wrapped up in his mother’s uterus. My son is almost eight years old, and, through no fault of his own, is in no way capable of most things adults can do on autopilot. He knows how to do things, but his judgement is impaired because he is overwhelmed by curiosity while simultaneously completely free of common sense. He has not yet had the decades of experience required to size up a situation and do must be done. Mostly, he just makes fart jokes.

But we all lack decades of experience when it comes to most things in this world. If you dropped me into South America, I don’t know that I would survive longer than a month, and it has nothing to do with language or level of civility: our cultures raise us up to face the problems inherent to the region. Language soon follows suit. There’s a reason that a culture based out of the extreme northern reaches might have a couple dozen words to differentiate the different types of frozen precipitation. We are, each of us, a specialist of survival in our own little areas by the time we reach the age of majority, and even then, only if we’re lucky. Everyone knows something which you do not. Everyone brings something to the table. Why is it then, that in this world connected by the speed of thought, when the globe is smaller than it has ever been, that we are all so far apart?

I’ll leave you now with this, The World I Know by Collective Soul:


Modern Antiquities: My Impending Anniversary

I knew that I should have taken a nap first. I always get a little cranky unless I’ve had a decent night’s sleep. Well, cranky or incoherent, anyway. I was told that today was going to be my day to sleep in, which I was looking forward to because I haven’t been able to get much sleep due to this persistent hacking cough. Unfortunately, my wife mixed up her days off, and I was awoken ungodly early as she was rushing out the door to work. Sure, I promptly returned to sleep, but my alarm woke up sometime thereafter, and now here I am, pretending that I can still function like a human being. It’s comforting to know that I can still get my son up and dressed, fed and medicated, and out the door and off to school while functioning on autopilot. Sometimes I think that I am more efficient when I’m running on empty than when I’ve got a full head of steam. It probably has to do with trying to most effectively manage my dwindling resources, like trying to get the Apollo 13 command module up and running again on only 20 amps (and I can’t draw power from the LEM before cutting it loose). And yes, I did just watch the applicable bits from the movie again to get the numbers right. And yes, I know what I’m going to be doing as soon as I finish writing this.

I think that I almost miss working. And by that, I mean that I am beginning to feel nostalgic for those heady days of long commutes and the mindless tedium which filled my waking hours. Not that crafting moderately amusing rants isn’t work, of a sort, but it isn’t really paying the bills, and I am a master of finding literally anything else to do instead of being productive. I’m ready to start penning something in addition to what I’m doing here, but now that I’ve mastered the art of blogging (I have not), I feel too satisfied with myself, and as soon as I hit “Publish”, it’s like clocking out for the day. What I need to train myself to do now is take a little break, and then come right back and start working on something that people will actually pay me for the privilege of reading. I just wish I wasn’t so easily distracted by all the shiny things. And I wish that my office wasn’t equipped with a high-definition television and Blu-ray player. I suppose that I could move my laptop somewhere else, but then I wouldn’t get such wonderful Wi-Fi reception, and that’s kind of a deal breaker. Because I use the internet for research. And not for finding things to distract me when I should be doing literally anything else. Literally.


I have a little over a week to plan for my anniversary, and I really don’t know what we’re going to do. I missed the chance for us to repeat our best anniversary experience, as the VIP tickets to the Whiskies Of The World Expo in San Francisco were already sold out when my wife decided that she’d like to go this year. I knew I should have just bought them last autumn when they went on sale. But, at least there is a silver lining: My friend, Nerissa Lopez, is doing one of those pop-up restaurant deals this Sunday, and I’ve been invited (with my plus one) to come and enjoy the evening and review the experience on this very blog. It’s a zero-waste, gluten-free, vegan-style menu, apparently, which, if you haven’t been paying attention these past few months, is not really my thing. However, I can say that Nerissa was a wonderfully talented employee with mad skills in the kitchen, and it probably wouldn’t kill me to eat something healthy. Plus there will be booze, so there’s that. Depending on how both my wife and I are feeling Sunday, we’ll most likely be attending. And it will be an awesome anniversary dinner because it’s in The City, at a trendy (pop-ups are still trendy, right? I mean, I heard the kids on the T.V. talking about them, so they must be…) restaurant, away from the kids and we haven’t been out on a date together in practically forever. I even have a suit! Now if this cough would just go away, I’d be all sunshine and puppies.

I can’t believe that we’ve made it this long without a major stabbing. She and I are both incredibly passionate people, utterly convinced of their own infallibility, and completely unwilling to back down from. Compromise is something that we both believe is reserved for other people. Sure, we have different areas of expertise, spheres of influence, if you will, but we are also both convinced of the primacy of our respective bailiwicks, so it’s never really a fight over how a thing might best be done, but rather which thing would be best done now. It’s Irish temper versus Mexican rage, and more often than not we appear to be small children flailing about because we can’t have our way. But like grown-ups. We’ve been together as a couple for nearly a decade, now, and we’ve gotten really good at fighting. That’s another reason why I want us to go out this Sunday and have an amazing evening: I’d like for us to spend a night just focused on one another, having cast aside trivialities and worry, children and mounting bills, and just have fun together. Something to remind us that we’re more than just a couple of people who happen to live together.

My romantic muscles (not a euphemism) have atrophied a bit over the years, gone to the same place where I imagine that my hair has found its final resting place. I don’t think that it would hurt me all that much to spend a little time and energy on the courtship of my wife. I know that I’ve already won her heart, but it never hurts to give her reasons not to change her mind.


This evening, I’ll be posting the Fourth Chapter of Blast From The Past, my ongoing series exploring my past through snark. You can read the previous installments here, here, and here (I also have a bonus BFTP here. NSFW, language). I look forward to seeing you all back this evening.

And seriously, if you’re going to be in the Bay Area this weekend, come and check out the Tasting Event for Z’hara. Come and eat good food and keep me and my wife company. Please. Save us from the Youth of Today….

Happiness is…

… an ice-cold 20 ounce can of Red Bull as I’m sitting down to write my blog. If they made it in a 40, I’d be even happier. 378 mg of caffeine in a single sitting? Where do I sign up? Personally, I think they should make a really fancy Red Bull and have it in a champagne bottle. I’d pop the cork, and pour a glass, and sip it like the rich folk do. Of course, the rich folk have no need of mortal remedies such as Red Bull, when it would be much easier to send their manservants out to procure some cocaine. I don’t think that I’d want to get myself dependent on that upper, but I’d sure as hell love to have a manservant, so that I could call him Warner. And now I have admitted my familiarity with a certain film, and shall drop the subject entirely.

I was worried when I sat down and powered on the laptop that I wouldn’t have anything to write about, due to my general feeling of contentedness. This consciousness runs on piss and vinegar, and a happy outlook can ruin all of that. My back feels ridiculously better after having spent the night sleeping on the floor, and I suppose that I am not awake enough to notice the weariness of my legs. My wife is at work, so I am left all of this time to actually miss her, as opposed to when we are together, and feel obligated to find something we can fight about. I’ve told her that if she would simply accept that I am right instead of waiting six months and then trying to convince me of my own idea, we would probably get along fantastically. I am aware that I can either be right, or I can be happy, but it’s not my fault reality so often agrees with me, and I have to say that there is a certain joy in being right. That being said, it is a fleeting victory.

And occasionally, my wife will gain the upper hand, and I will back the losing horse. In those rare instances, I try to do my best to offer up my concession, and then wash the feeling of my error away with another subject. I hate it when she’s right, because it gives her ammunition toward her argument that I am not always so. And then the next six months are agony as I await the opportunity to fight back the temptation to say that I told her so. I figure myself the brains of our operation, not because I am smarter than her (though I have devoted far more time to ridiculous thought experiments than she), but because she is, in fact, far superior in almost every other way. I honestly have no idea how she does it. Sometimes, as I lay awake at night and ponder stupid things, I wonder if I should try and sneak a sample of her blood from her to try to develop some sort of super soldier serum. I’m not saying that she’s Captain America (which would be hilarious), but that she is the standard to which Cap holds himself (you know, if comic book characters were aware of non-celebrities living in the real world).

Years ago, I found out where my limitations were, and put up hazard lights so that I’d know when I was approaching them. I’m not as young as I once was, and working an 80 hour week is simply out of the question for me. I sacrificed my body years ago, both in work and play, and now I must be mindful of stresses throughout the day. That’s one of the reasons why I got into management (the other is because I absolutely cannot stand working for people who are in almost every way, my inferior (and to clarify: I mean in terms of dedication, problem-solving, intuition, etc…)): I know how much my body can tolerate, and I need to make enough with a single full-time job to make ends meet. When I’m at work, I’m not the type to lock himself in the office and do whatever it is that pompous bosses do; I stay on the floor and in the flow until my body cannot take it any longer, and then I wait until the rush has died, and then I go to smoke.

My wife has no limits. At least, that’s what she’s told me on several occasions as she’s hobbling around the apartment, taking care of things that could probably wait another day (instead of resting, which is for weaklings). There is a sort of justified arrogance that comes from naturally birthing a twelve pound baby. I mean, she had an epidural, but there was no surgery involved. I have spent no small amount of time trying to imagine the sheer scale of pain involved in bringing my son into this world (which is probably less than keeping him in this world, but as that is spread out over a lifetime, it doesn’t hit you all at once), and even taking into account the pain numbing drugs injected into one’s spine, I don’t believe that I would stand a chance. My mental illness has prepared me to face down imaginary demons, and I keep in practice by frequently belittling myself while I watch the world spin by (and then berate myself for that), but when it comes to pain on that sheer scale, I can’t even pretend that I am in the same league as my wife. She could get shot, and she wouldn’t even acknowledge it until she had nothing else to do. It seems that I have married Teddy Roosevelt.

I may be right about almost everything, but she very well might be right about the bigger picture. I need her far more than I can believe that she might possibly need me (and not just because she’s the sole breadwinner at the moment). And yet she stays by my side and endures. I am not an easy man to live with. I wouldn’t have checked myself into a facility a fortnight of years ago if I was all kittens and rainbows. I am a pain in the ass, and usually right, and a far poorer victor than vanquished. And yet my wife has stood by my side for all of these years (and not just for the paperwork, because I think that an expired snail would have made things happen sooner than me), at times looking like she wanted nothing so much as to just slap the smirk from my face, and yet she remained. I guess it could be that she doesn’t believe that our son stands a chance if she leaves us, but I honestly think that she’s just better than me, and that notion perplexes and confounds me. Not her superiority, which I have grudgingly accepted, but the thought that she knows something that I do not.

I could tell you all the reasons why I stay (and it would be a manageable list, as over the past three months I seem to have mentioned quite a few already), but I have no idea why it is that she remains. I’m not the prettiest, nor the nicest, nor someone tolerable on most occasions, but my wife is with me all the same. It makes me a little nervous, to be honest. Like I’m not seeing something obvious, something right in front of me. Happiness, perhaps?


And come back this evening for part three of A Blast From The Past: Memories of MySpace. Part One is here, and Part Two can be read here.

El Que No Podia Aguantar

Spending another day at home in the company of my family has made me appreciate just how much I miss going anywhere else for work. Nothing says “Interrupt Me” like a desk in the corner of your bedroom with the T.V. set upon it. Well, that and football.

Growing up as an only child living with a single mother, I was ill prepared to cope with the sheer density of the family my marriage has assembled about me. There are six of us squeezed into a two bedroom apartment (my wife, our school aged son, and myself in one room; my adult stepdaughter, son in law, and toddler grandson in the other), and when we happen to all be home together I realize just how much I miss living alone. And that, of course, is when we’re all getting along. The rest of the time, I’m convinced we’re on some sort of reality show version of a telenovela, despite finding no evidence of cameras (hidden or otherwise). There’s screaming, accusations of infidelity, calling into question of various manhoods (menhood?), pregnancy, dishes flung against the walls and floors, and children running wild like Pablo Escobar’s decapitated chickens. My fantasies since marriage have been of a secret studio apartment where I can hide in perfect solitude and silence, free of the obligation to wear pants. Curse you, denim leggings!

The ringleader of our little group of shrieking wee folk is my seven year old, David. He runs around the house emitting a high pitched whine like a rapidly deflating  balloon, jumping on (and subsequently destroying) furniture, and then running right up to the face of his two year old nephew and shouting, “Boo!” That, of course, elicits a harmonizing gurgle from my grandson, at which point they run off together, tempting fate (and gravity) until it all comes abruptly to a halt when someone begins to cry. When I was a kid, I don’t ever remember anybody having ADHD: you were just a spaz, and needed to sit the hell down and shut the hell up. Now, as class sizes increase, and funds diminish, anyone even moderately more active than a stroke victim is referred to a doctor whose first instinct is to load the poor kid up on speed. God forbid the kid is merely bored, as the curriculum must always be targeted to the lowest common denominator.


My son and I just returned from the kitchen where I showed him (again) how to microwave a corndog. After going over times and basic safety precautions, he turned and asked me, “Why not hours?”

I was just as confused as you are now, and I’d been there for the entire conversation. “What?”

“Why not cook it for hours instead of minutes?”

“You know it only takes like a minute to cook, right? What’s it with you always escalating things?”

“I dunno… So why not hours?”

I sighed, “Because it would burn.”

“But then,” he smiled, “you could be The Statue of Liberty, but holding a….” he paused for effect, “… a corndog!” He then ran off, battered sausage on stick in hand, his laughter uncontrollable in light of his mad comic timing.


Of course, my grandson isn’t a paragon of rationality and calm himself. His big thing now is running full speed toward me and shifting from Extreme Hug formation to a There Can Be Only One! testicle punching attack. But a few minutes later he’ll come up to me, apologize, and give me a hug and kiss to make it all better. Then he’ll give me something of mine he’s scavenged from somewhere, as if I’d lost it, and he’s just completed a quest to return it to me. Like all toddlers, he understands the concept of “mine” as it applies to him, but has no real concept of other people and their possessions as anything other than props in what must be an incredibly psychedelic live action adventure. I’m positive that, were he to possess the ability, he would have quite the narrative to impart. His vocabulary is improving, though. He’s gotten up to two word concepts like “bad guy,” and “oh no.” However, the catchphrase that warms all of our hearts is his impassioned plea for a “coook KEY!”

As difficult as it can be sometimes, the lot of us packed in so tightly, it has opened my eyes to the wisdom of a multi-generational family. Here in the States, at least among us gringos, the dream is to do your time until you’re finally free, then move away to set your own rules applicable to those living beneath your roof. Each successive generation following a centuries’ old pioneer tradition to seek out somewhere new and tame it. Occasionally with blankets. To stifle that urge for primacy has been trying, but I’d like to think it’s taught me something: Unlike my mother, who can only see her grandson twice a year at best, I’ve been given the opportunity to watch my own grow since birth, seen him develop from a tiny defenseless fecal shipment facility to a force of nature in the form of a drunken leprechaun. He’s undergoing a lifelong process of becoming who he is, and I can say I’ve seen it since day one.

And then there’s David William, my one and only child by blood (unless I actually do come into possession of a time machine and become the biological father of my daughter, which I’m not discounting, as she’s too perfectly similar to me to be explained away by coincidence). I was there at the moment of his birth, staring on in blind terror as I got an object lesson in Cause and Effect. I knew I was his father when I felt that terror bubbling up once more inside me  upon the realization that I couldn’t protect him from everything in the world, and that it wasn’t my job to even try. I never knew my dad, so I’m figuring out most of this as we go along, he and I. I reckon that it’s not my job to save him from each and every hurt he may encounter, but rather to teach him how to save himself.

Beneath a gaze of adoration and exasperation, he’s grown up before me through the years (which slip by faster every time I try to hold on to a fleeting moment), become a little boy already seeking incremental independence from his parents. He has so much to say, and far too often I find it easier to dismiss him and his flawed (but well reasoned for his age) worldview than to give him the only thing he truly ever craves: A moment of my undivided attention.

With that, my first actual entry comes to an end. Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow with more tales from The Continuing Adventures of Tex Batmart.

On a side note: I’m really excited to announce that Dave Banuelos, long time friend and brother from another mother, will be doing a guest column here each week about Sportsball. I’ll fill in more details as they develop.

Thanks again!