Always the same load of crap...Always

So I stopped at WalMart last night to pick up some cereal, milk and toilet paper. Its always a gamble going in after 11 pm. They never have enough lanes open and you end up standing in line for 20 or 30 minutes.

I didn't bother looking around to see if that was the case when I walked in. I just went and got my items and then made my way to the register. And of course, there would be three lanes open, all with gobs and gobs of people in them, each of them with a dozen or so items.

The lane where you can buy cigarettes is usually for people with 10 items or less, so I went over and stood in line.

Immediately, I noticed something. I noticed the half dozen or so workers huddled together in front of the Customer Service center, which is closed after 9 pm, I think. They just stood there, talking and pointing at shit. Enter: Exhibit A.

Standing around.

Now, you'll notice that there's a guy leaning on a shopping cart. This guy works there. A few minutes later, as the lines persist, that same group suddenly starts to move. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I was taking pictures or if they just decided to move so's not to attract too much attention. Regardless, they scattered like roaches when the lights come on.

Now I'd have just let it rest there, but then the morons did something dumber. The opened another register. But it wasn't for the customers. It was for the guy leaning on the cart. Apparently, he had some movies or video games he wanted to buy. They didn't even turn on the lane light so's not to attract too much attention. But I was still snapping way. Enter: Exhibit B.

Open lane and being watched.

By now, they clearly noticed I was taking pictures. If you look at the two women on the left, they're looking right at me. The register on the right, 14, is being used to ring up employees. No sooner did I snap the picture than one of the two women watching me walk over to register 14, say something to the cashier and then come over to the lane I was in and asked:

"Are you buying tabacco?" she asked.
"No." several of us reply.
"Then you can check out here." she said pointing to register 14.

Like I said, I have no idea if it was the fact that I was taking pictures or what, but come on! You have a line of people who have four items at best and we all gotta be standing around for 20 minutes to get our 4 items? Shit...



I don't know if it's the past experiences I've had with the holidays or if it's because my life is in flux right now that I'm feeling a little bitter towards the holidays.

I was listening to some Christmas music on the way to the office when I pulled up to a bearded, homeless man with a sign asking for money. "Anything helps." I felt bad for him. Normally, after looking at someone like that, I'd just look away and go about my business. But for a split second, I felt sorry that it was cold and that he was homeless.

I drive up to the house and look around my neighborhood to find that a lot of the houses have actually put up lights this year. I keep meaning to and wonder if its even worth doing now.

Its just such a weird time for me that this time of year is getting on my nerves again, like it did way back when.

I'm feeling a bit like Scrooge right now. I can't explain it. Just figured I'd write about it.


Foreign Trade

When I lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, one of my go-to food choices was always Chinese. There was a big Asian community and lots of different styles of Chinese food to pick from.

On several occasions, I noticed that there were an awful lot of Mexicans working in Chinese buffets all over town. I pointed this out to my friends and we'd laugh because sometimes you would find Asians working in Mexican restaurants, although not always in the kitchen.

I often thought, man, what a cultural exchange program they got going.

Then I saw this story on one of my favorite websites:

'Chinese' tequila worries Mexico

Chinese tequila? Holy crap.


So This Is Christmas, Part II

After what I assumed would be an easier task, I finally found a web site that would allow me to store the Christmas album. Click here:

Some Christmas, Somewhere

If I get enough emails or people bug me enough, I might just post the set list on this blog.

I'm still working on the cover to the album, but I wanted to get the posting up as soon as I could.

I also plan to upload another Christmas compilation in a couple of days. I just need to go through all my downloaded music. This one will be a little more traditional.

If there are any problems downloading the file, please let me know and I will do my best to fix it.

Merry Christmas!

So This Is Christmas, Part 1

Okay, for all of you who received the email about the new Christmas album... I'm sorry. I had a lot to do this weekend and then I had problems uploading it to the site I had originally picked out.

I'll be working on this tomorrow, so please check back soon. I promise it will be waiting.



Altered States

So, I'm watching TV and one of those commercials from This teenage girl walks into the kitchen to get something to eat when suddenly she hears someone call her name.

It turns out to be her dog, who then proceeds to sit on the counter and tell her that he doesn't like it when she smokes pot. "I miss my friend." he says.

What the fuck was she smoking that the fucking dog was talking? A talking dog. Get me some of that.


Open Letter to whoever had my cell number last

Dear Kelly,

Why the fuck did you give out my number? Whether it was your number before means nothing to me. Especially now that I receive your phone calls.

“Kelly?” they ask.
“You have the wrong number.” I say.
“Is Kelly there?”

Kelly, are you just lazy? Or are all your friends a bunch of fucking morons? I mean, really. They call the number time and time again. Sometimes two times in a row and are still surprised by the result.

Are your friends stupid, Kelly?

I get calls from bill collectors. From friends. Well, I can only assume they are bill collectors or friends. I don’t stop to take a message, but maybe I should. Maybe I should start to take a message and start compiling a file on who the fuck you are. And then maybe I can find you, kick your ass and tell you to tell all your idiot friends to change the number they keep calling. It’s mine now, Kelly.

I know it’s hard to let go. But come on. I’ve received your calls now for nearly two years and your idiot acquaintances are still calling.

“Is Kelly there?”
“Hey, it’s me...uh, is this Kelly?”

GFY, Kelly. GFY.


Long Pause

Man, I sure do wait long to post. I'm trying to get myself into a better habit of blogging. Not much sense in having a blog if I can't keep up with it.

As a writer, I try to get myself to write something everyday. Lately, it seems I haven't even touched a keyboard or a notebook. Before I ventured into blog land, I would write my posts as emails and send them out to a select few. Now that I have the potential for a bigger audience, albeit a faceless one, I don't do much. I'm slacking. I'm such a procrastinator. Sadly, it affects all part of my life.

A writer should write. Everyday. Anything he/she can. About anything. Anywhere.

I'll get my ass in gear.


Kanye West: I want some whine!!!!!!

Okay, I promise that this will be the last post about Kanye West. I don't want to give this ignorant, worthless, piece of shit any more attention than he deserves, but apparently there was footage of his meltdown at the VMA's on Sunday.

And now, here, for your enjoyment, is the screaming and bitching of Baby West. much as you can enjoy an adult behaving like a fucking child.


Some cheese with your whine, Mr. West?

Is it any surprise that people don't bother to buy music anymore?

Last Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards are proof positive that most awards in Hollywood mean shit and are worth probably less than a paper weight.

Of particular not is Mr. Kanye West. West, who was nominated in five categories, did not win a single award. This prompted West to throw a tantrum backstage.

"That's two years in a row, man ... give a black man a chance," he said as he left. "I'm trying hard man, I have the ... No. 1 record, man."

But his list of complaints had only begun.

He also ripped MTV a new one over the fact that he didn't get to perform his latest single, "Stronger," from his latest album, 'Graduation,' on the main stage. In an Associated Press story, he said:

He [West] said it was a blow to the ego when Justin Timberlake, who also hosted a suite party, ended up "on the big stage" to give the closing performance with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado. "Those are the big things, and you know what I do man, I really made the song 'Stronger,' you know, for stadiums," he said.

I want my MTV award!

West also whinned about how the VMA's treated the poor and bewildered Britney Spears. During an interview with Z100, an NYC radio station, West said, "They exploited Britney in helping to end her career. When Britney was opening, near the end, I felt so bad for her. I said: 'Man, it's a dirty game. This game will chew you up and spit you out.'"

Yes, poor Britney. She's gone batshit and that mean ole MTV took full advantage of her. That dumb will take any attention she can get. Hello? Wasn't this the same idiot who was photographed several times without panties AND saving her head bald? Nevermind the other dozen idiotic things she's done in the past.

Is a fucking MTV award more important to this clown than people listening to his record and liking it? Cause, if I'm not mistaken, I thought that's why people who can make music make it. This cements what I've always though: many actors and musicians don't work for the love, they work for the accolade. Its about the money, not the respect. Its about awards, not a love for your craft.

I'm sure that the fact that he had an album coming out yesterday didn't have anything to do with his little tantrum. I guess any publicity is good publicity. Isn't that what they say?


Would You Like TV With That?

A week or so ago, Aaron and I went to meet Tonya for lunch near her job. We decided we'd go to one of our old standards, a Chinese buffet on Dezavala and Vance Jackson. I can't remember the name of it, despite the 20 or so visits we've made. Its next to the Fox & The Hound Pub & Grill. I'd remember the bar...

Anyhow, so we sit down to eat when I start to hear something. It's not like crowd ambiance. It sounds like a radio. But I can hear the overhead, Chinese music playing. It wasn't that. It was something else.

I turn around and behind us, to my left, there's a couple with a portable DVD player watching a show or a movie while they eat.

Who the fuck does that?

I'll admit, my wife and I both plop ourselves in front of the tube to eat most nights. It probably isn't a great thing to do, but we do it nevertheless. But who takes the idiot box with them, TO A RESTAURANT, and flips it on so they can watch a movie and eat?

Hey, if you're chowin' down on a plate of Buffalo wings at a sports bar while enjoying the Appalachian State/Michigan game, go for it. That's what sports bars are made for. If you're at Applebee's and you glance up to catch the Spurs playing the Cavs in the NBA Finals and you order a nice steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes, by all means, enjoy. But if there's no TV at the restaurant you're in, are you gonna haul in your own? Do you lack that much self control that you can't wait to get home or to your hotel or your double wide to catch the latest episode of the Jeff Foxworthy show or Cops?

Git Er Done!

Should I mention that the guy who was watching TV was wearing a NASCAR T-shirt and Wolverine workboots. Yes, I'm saying he was a redneck.

I was aghast. Shocked. I've seen some silly shit in my day, but a fucking DVD player in a buffet? If you can't wait to see a prerecorded show which you own and must watch TV while you consume food with your loved ones, then....ugh. Its just mind blowing.

If you click on the photo, you'll be able to see that I've blurred their faces. Not because I'm afraid they will see the photo and want to sue, but because it won't matter that you know their faces. You'll know it's them if you see them at a restaurant by the color of their DVD player.

Maybe I'm not hip on the new trends, but I don't EVER recall seeing anyone at any restaurant which did not have a TV, with a portable one.

My faith in humanity once again falls.


A Really Good Bloggers

So, the wife and I are driving home from getting some ice cream Saturday when we drive up to a stop light and I notice this van to our immediately right.

The van is white with a sticker on the back door and the side panel. The sticker has a fox in a tuxedo and the words, "Red Fox Cleaners".

I immediately do my bad and very limited imitation of Red Foxx and Tonya laughs. Then she notices the tag line underneath the name.

TONYA: 'A Really Good Cleaners'. Is that even right?
ME: It actually says that?
TONYA: Look at it.

So I look at the van and sure enough, that's what it says. I'm still not sure it's right. I probably is and it's just one of those things that while correct, still sounds strange.

I know, as a writer, I should have the sense to know if that's grammatically correct. I'm going to have to look it up. For now, here's the picture that I took of the van just before we turned down Bristlecone on the way home.

Lamont, ya big dummy, clean that up.

TONYA: You're gonna blog about this, aren't you?
ME: Oh, yeah.

Okay, wrong or right, how is that even a good tag for the company? What if GM just tagged themselves, "A Really Good Car"? Or Burger King just said, "A Really Good Burger"? People are going to think, "These guys are nutty." As we drove by, there were two obviously Mexican guys in the cab. As I looked at them, one of them raised his foot at dash-level and then the other one guy followed. They were comparing their shoes, I think. Just weird.

Well, I'm going to see if that tag is grammatically correct, but if you can tell me if this is right or not, please chime in. I'm so dumb.


Signs of Life

I ain't dead or anything, just being lazy.

More ranting and raving to come, so please stay tuned.


Our Graduate

I'm very late in posting these photos, but here's my son, Aaron at his graduation. He looked really sharp and he had a great time.

I've got a much longer post about it all, but for the moment, here's some shots of Aaron and one of me with Tonya.

Behind the curtain.
With his classmates.
Proud parents


Welcome To Planet Earth

Paris Hilton dressed to the nines and went to the MTV Movie Awards, smiling and laughing, even after host Sarah Silverman ripped her a new one. She strutted her stuff on the red carpet and when it was all said and done, she arrived to serve her time in her black, strapless evening gown.

Later that morning, Paris went home. I'm sure you've all read about it. A law enforcement official who is said to be friendly to celebrities in plight, sprung her. According to "Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca insists the decision was made on medical grounds, but critics believe she was granted preferential treatment."

It was argued by the sheriff and Paris' attorneys that she could easily complete the 26-day sentence in the comfort of her own home. Here's a bit from a story on People Magazine's website: "She was not released, she was reassigned," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. spokesperson Steve Whitmore said at a press conference Thursday. In a statement released to by Hilton's lawyer, the heiress said Thursday: "I want to thank the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and staff of the Century Regional Detention Center for treating me fairly and professionally.

She waltzed out of the MTV Movie Awards and into custody knowing she wouldn't serve a day in jail. But that dream was quickly dashed as Judge Michael T. Sauer ordered her back to court and promptly had her thrown right back in jail.

Back when she thought she was going to skate by at home, with her expensive toys, her cell phone and all her creature comforts, she said, "I am going to serve the remaining 40 days of my sentence (at home). I have learned a great deal from this ordeal and hope that others have learned from my mistakes."

I bet she has.

Listen, if any one of us violated our parole for a drunk driving arrest, the law would be on our ass and they'd have us up the fucking flag pole before we knew it. Not one of us would be allowed to serve our sentence at home unless we could prove we had some serious medical condition that would prevent us from doing 30 days in the county lock up.

I take some delight that this broad has to do time. And if you ask me, more of these wealthy, care-free socialites should be ordered to do the same. I doubt the heirs to large fortunes, such as Hilton, will ever know the real world. They don't live on the same planet as we do.

Paris, don't do the crime, if you can't pay off all the right people. Have fun in the can.



Well, let's see here. A few things have happened since my last post.

Aaron, our oldest, graduated from high school. He attended graduation last Saturday. We thought it would be cool, even though he probably has no idea what the event means. I'm sure he got something out of it. He was excited and looked great in his cap and gown. Pictures to come.

I've started a new film, but you can read about that on the other blog, if you wish.

I feel good about most everything else. Except my job. I can't tell if I'm going through a blue period with work or if I'm losing my zest for it. I told Tonya about it the other day. I think maybe I'm getting impatient about the film stuff.

I have to have surgery next week. Ugh. Minor procedure; nothing complicated. The only thing I can say about that is that it will keep me home for about a week. Tonya suggested I use the time to catch up on all my writing. I think that's a good plan. I'm looking forward to the time off, but I know I won't be singing the same tune when the time comes. Pain meds, do your stuff.

My in-laws were suppose to come down this week, but my father-in-law had to see the doctor and he advised him not to travel. My wife was really looking forward to seeing her folks. I get to see mine pretty frequently. She hasn't seen her family since we moved down here. Not her Mom & Dad. She's visited her sister in Kansas, but that's not quite the same.

As for family, I've started to grow homesick again and it's been about four years since my last visit to Mexico. I think I'm due. It would be great to take Tonya and the boys to meet my family in SLP. I just don't think we could afford it right now.

My brother moves to town next week, during my incapacitation. I'm sure he won't be thrilled to hear I won't be able to help him lug his furniture into his new pad. But then I'm sure he'll have his motley crew around to help him.

I can't think of anything else that needs updating, but I'm sure I've missed something. For now, I'm off.


Couldn't Have Said It Better

Keith Olbermann delivers a great Special Comment.



Via: VideoSift

Fresh Meat For The Meat Grinder

My youngest son has a big fascination with anything boxing related right now. The Ultimate Fighting Championship. Boxing. He and his friends even play this game called Ten Seconds, where they punch the crap out of each other for fun. I'm not entirely clear on the rules, but I do know it involves getting hit on the arm. I remember a similar game when I was in junior high. Sometimes, it escalated to a full on fight, as Terrance tells me it does when they play.

He has a friend who has boxing gloves and he tells me these stories about how they like to smack each other around and challenge other kids in the neighborhood. He says he even has a friend who trains for UFC type fights (although that story is not confirmed).

I've noticed he's attracted to the raw violence of it. The thrill of slugging it out with someone else. No technique or strategy; just throwing punches and seeing what hits. He often comments on why the boxers on TV just don't start swinging. I've tried to impress upon him how they call it "The Sweet Science" and how there's some strategy to it and a certain level of psychology. Its not just about how hard you hit, but where and how you can do the most damage- physically and mentally. He's asked me if I think he could become a boxer and I believe he can. Not the sport I'd like him to take up, but he'd do well at it.

Just the other day he told me that he'd done some boxing at school. Surprised, I asked how he got involved in that and he told me that the Army recruiters had come by and set up a ring. They divide them up into age and weight classes and award T-shirts and other prizes for the winners. He says that they also have contests on who can do the most calisthenics. When he was done telling me about it, I frowned and grit my teeth.

I asked him when this all took place. He said that they set up during lunch and that their gear is elaborate. Its not always the Army, he said. Sometimes its the Marines. From what I gathered, they use the ROTC group to find their way into the school. Anyone who wants to play their "games" can come in and participate, though. Not just ROTC kids.

The Marines send him a steady stream of propaganda. He never sees it as my wife and I have decided not to give it to him yet. He's having a tough enough time right now dealing with his school work and a part time job. He's recently expressed interest in continuing his love of cross country in college and then maybe joining the millitary. I like that he's talking more about going to college. No reason to derail that plan with millitary bullshit.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against the military. I fully support the troops, but not the Iraqi war. Truman was right about the industrial, military complex. Sadly, it has grown beyond our control. And, talking to my youngest son, it's after everything it can get. Including our youth. Fresh meat for the meat grinder.

The military PR department is relentless. With so many of our boys being sent to Iraq and so many of them dying, they need to replenish the ranks. And what better way to do it than by appealing to a young man's sense of honor and duty. Of God and country. "Freedom isn't free" the stickers say. No, its not. I believe that it comes at a steep price. But I believe that the way we evaluate that price has changed.

It upsets me that the military is brainwashing our kids. They are not satisfied with the TV ads, the theatre ads and the magazine ads. Our schools are now becoming their fishing holes. A place to find the lost and misguided to give them "direction" and "purpose". They almost convinced Terrance to sign up early, to get a head start, before he even graduated from high school. Tonya and I squashed that idea before it took root.

There would be those that say, "Well, where are we suppose to get bodies to put in uniform?" "Who's gonna defend our country?" "Who will fight for freedom?" I hear ya. But lets put it into perspective. Lets stop to think who and what we're really servicing here. The United States has seen itself to be, for the lack of a better word, the "World Police." We rush into places were we find "unchecked aggression" and slap the natives around. And before we leave, we put up a base and tell em we're gonna watch over them. Its our job, I've heard it said.

So, we've crowned ourselves world watchdogs. That makes it okay to go into schools and spew this rhetoric on kids who are confused enough by their own feelings and thoughts that we have to push on them this crap about what their duty is? Its their duty to live their lives the best way possible. Its their duty to be the best individuals they can be. Not to strap on a helmet, ride a Hummer and leave their future smeared across some patch of sand somewhere on the other side of the world.

My son has expressed interest in the military. I can tell him that I'd rather he didn't, but ultimately, it's his choice. And I guess this is what I'm fighting for here. Choice. Because when you fill a child's mind with these obligations that don't belong to them, you take that choice away. To honor and protect his family, that's an obligation. As it is my obligation to honor and protect him. Its his obligation to find out what he wants out of his life and his obligation to chase that dream down. If it's the military, so be it, but he has to be given the room to make that choice on his own. Not guilted or tricked into making it. My parents gave me that choice and I want my son to have the same choice.

So many kids at his age have no direction or ambition. Their parents don't hold much sway in their lives and, for the most part, don't even care. They turn over their responsibilities to teachers, the television. At his age, I was just as confused, if not more so, by the miriad of choices and decisions I had to make about myself and about my life.

The military could be good for Terrance. Structure. Disipline. Order. As an adult, I wish, sometimes, that I had gone military, at least for a few years. But looking back on it, I'm glad I didn't. But that was my path to walk.

President Bush and his cronies would have us believe that we're chasing down terrorists. But we all know that story. He would tell you that its our duty to be in Iraq and to fight this war. This is not a war. Not like WWII was a war. We are not fighting Nazis. bin Laden isn't Hitler. Shit, he isn't even an Iraqi. This romanticized view of honor, God and country are out the door. This is a "war" of ideologies. The people we're fighting against- or for, depending on your point of view -are steeped in violence. This was has more to do with oil than with blood. And I'm expected to accept, nay, offer my son up to the alter of sacrifice because it's his duty? What happens if I don't believe in the cause?

I'm really angry about this. I'm pissed off that the Army or Marines or whatever branch of the fucking military are coming into the schools and cherry picking these kids for military service. And don't tell me they don't look for the most confused or easily led. Because that's half their enlistment base. The ones who don't feel like they have a future and buy into a dream that's later nothing more than a nightmare.

Am I wrong for wanting more than a rifle in my son's hand? Am I wrong for hoping that he'll find himself and his future in college instead of on patrol in some desert on the other side of the world? But I guess, ultimately, it will be his choice. I hope I can give him enough information to make the best one.

Until then, keep your minions out of the schools, Bush. I think you've done enough.


"Good Morning, Mongrels!!"

No, I wasn't calling anyone a mongrel. I was just watching Donnie Darko earlier. I had forgotten that great scene where Patrick Swayze goes to do a seminar at the high school and greets everyone with a big, robust, "Good morning, Mongrels!!!" The Mongrel, as it happens, is the school mascot. I laughed out loud at the theatre when I saw it.

Anyhow, the entire purpose of this post was not to ramble on about some damn line in a movie. I have another blog for that.

My eyes happened to wander to the index of the blog and I noticed that I had started in May of 2005. And crazy enough, my first blog was on May 23, 2005. It's been two years. Wow.

So, the Arrogant Bastard gargoyle greets you, beer in hand, hoping that if you read this with any regularity, you'll be around for a couple more years. I know I will!

Salud, dinero y amor!!


This Rules!

I got my name in lights with

Last Five, May 20, 2007

My iPod helps me put together ideas for scripts. I sometimes want to take an approach, like say, Steven Soderbergh in "Out of Sight" or "The Limey", or to try and blend them into the background like say, Martin Scorsese in "Mean Streets" or "Goodfellas".

But I think most songs fit into some soundtrack. About anyone. In any place. Here's some inspiration for today.

5. Like A Star - Corinne Bailey Rae
4. ...Dust - Elvis Costello
3. Bad Girl - The Detroit Cobras
2. The Drinking Song - Moxy Früvous
1. Desire - U2



When I made more frequent trips to Mexico to visit my family, I remember my grandmother telling me about what my mom was like when I was little. About how I could cough and she would freak out and rush me to the doctor. My grandmother says that out of all her children, mom's maternal instincts where the sharpest.

But that's just one of the things that makes my mother the greatest.

She is, for example, an accomplished seamstress. For a long time, I remember her making all sorts of clothes. She made me two costumes, from scratch, for two parties. The Batman costume was awesome. It was tailored after the Adam West incarnation of Batman. The cowl was incredible. Tailored to my fat, round little head. With the tiny ears and the drawn in eye brows.

The Superman suit she made me years later- I posted a picture of it several weeks back -was also a sight to behold. The "S" was perfect. The cape was awesome. And I even had a pair of red boots to go with the whole outfit.

I have her to thank for taking me to the movies all those times back home in San Luis Potosi. When we lived in Nuevo Laredo, it was just she and I. We were waiting to get our permanent resident status so we could join my dad. Even then she managed to get me to the movies.

My mom was an accomplished runner for many years. She's got a bunch of trophies to prove it.

She has given me encouragement and believed in everything I did. No matter how hair-brained the scheme of mine was, she would find a way to help me make it happen.

My mom came from a big, traditional Mexican family. She is one of four women in a family of nine. My grandmother, another incredible woman, raised her nine kids alone after my grandfather died. The majority of my mother's siblings are teachers. My mom became a cosmetologist. There are pictures of my mom doing people's hair when I was still residing in her belly. Throughout the years, my mother has built a steady and loyal customer base. She's worked in several salons, but her dream has always been to work for herself. And she has. She has many of my drawings hung up in her one chair salon.

She baked me cakes for my birthdays and mended my clothes when I ripped them. Traditional staples of a mindful mother. And though it all, no matter how bad things got, I never saw her falter. I never saw her fail at anything. Everything that woman set her mind to do, she did.

I can't imagine what my life would have been like without my mom. Without her love, her devotion and her endless support. She's never asked for more than our love and a phone call from time to time.

So I dedicate this blog to my mother. Without whom I would not be here today. Obviously.

I've included a picture of my mom with my grandmother at my grandma's house in Mexico.

I love you mom!!!


Just Breathe

I've been in a weird place for the last few years. My confidence levels have been erratic, at best, and I honestly haven't felt much like my old, confident self.

Making movies helps in that respect. Its a world where I feel I have the most control. Despite scheduling conflicts, weather woes or technical difficulties, I still feel the most in control.

For those that know me, I can be quite...animated, when I'm fired up. My wife call it "dramatic". I think its me being a Mexican.

But at work, its different. At least at my current job. I've been quiet. Very quiet. The quietest I've ever been. Office politics are a strange beast and in my new work environment, they don't lend themselves well to some of my thinking. I have a big mouth and its likely to get me in trouble.

There are people here who speak their mind. To a point. They'll say what needs to be said and be bold. To a point. I think most have the same feeling about it that I do. You can't be too vocal or someone will get their feelings hurt.

Wait, I work in a newspaper. I'm a journalist. Journalists get their feelings hurt? What the fuck is that about? When did this fucking business start getting a bruised ego?

I've held my tongue a lot since I've started to work at my current job. I've held back a lot. Its tested my level of patience and of will. I don't think anyone is ready to hear what I really have to say. So I'm trying to figure out a way to do it without pissing too many people off. Or hurting feelings. Ugh.

The prevailing ethic around my job is to complain about you indirectly. Or complain about you to anyone else but you. If there's anything that just pisses me right the fuck off is that. If you have a fucking problem with me, just tell me. How does that help me? And wouldn't you rather hear it from the source. My supervisor for the section I work for two days a week informed me that several people have been "concerned" about how I handle the pages I design. Who? Who the fuck are these people and why didn't they express their concerns to me?

Biting tongue. I'm biting my tongue. I need to find a constructive, nice way to handle this. My response, right now, is to growl and bite. That's my warning.

Patience really is a virtue.


Last Five

Here's my last five for April 22, 2007

1. Knucklehead - Grover Washington
2. Ride The Lightning - Metallica
3. Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
4. Not For You - Pearl Jam
5. Firestarter - Jimmy Eat World



When I first started junior high- thinking about how long ago that was -I tried to be a loner. I didn't hang out with anyone or tried out for anything. I was content to find my way through it all on my own. But along the way, I made a few very close friends, I found that I wanted to write and started acting. It was all a far cry from what I had originally intended.

I wasn't a popular kid, high school or junior high. I think I was known or at least recognized. High school for me was generally good, but I was quite lost, even after it was over. Still, I wasn't a loner. Never at one point did I figure that there were forces around me conspiring to make me look bad or to harm me. I was a bit of a non-conformist, yes, but I knew I had friends.

I wasn't the kind of guy girls just swooned after. I had a girlfriend in junior high how I broke up with after we reached high school. I had a couple of girlfriends after her. My senior year being the defining moment for me. And despite how bad with the women I was, I never thought that they were evil or that I would never find love.

So I get to looking at the media coverage about Virginia Tech and I can't identify...
Alright, let me be perfectly clear on one point before I continue. My heart goes out to the families of the 33 people who were needlessly gunned down last Monday. That being said, I'd like to continue.

There was so much coverage and now there's nothing but speculation. I don't want to see it anymore. I don't want them to analyse it anymore. People are grieving and 33 people are dead. Let the subject rest. But it got me thinking about people who have cross my life line that may have once felt like Seung-Hui Cho, the gunman who left his mark on the lives of those who were left to pick up the wreckage at Virginia Tech. Of course, I can't really say, with any degree of accuracy, who they were and when they came into and out of my life.

At some point in our lives, we are all misfits. Misunderstood by society, our families or friends... the world. Then there are those we just shut out. The ones we don't include. The ones we laugh at. The fat kid in gym class, I heard someone talking about around the office the other day. The one who gets picked last, if at all.

When I was in college, there was this skinny kid with glasses who liked to draw cartoons. He always came around the office right around the time that articles and ads were due. Tuesday or Wednesday, I think were those days. He wore a ball cap and had glasses and was rail-thin. A real scrawny kid. He would come into the den of wolves that was our newsroom and proceed to try and talk to one or all of us. None of us ever really gave him the time of day. With each visit he would leave us with a cartoon strip he drew, asking if we could run it in the paper. Someone would always take his cartoon and tell him we would look at it and see if we had room to run it.

After he'd leave, we would all take turns looking at the cartoon and reading it. The humor never came across, at least not to us. There were about four panels and the recurring characters were crudely drawn and badly outlined. There was no color and they were sometimes delivered on a piece of college-ruled paper. I can't, for the life of me, remember his name. But he was somewhat forgettable.

He delivered his cartoon to us each week. Sometimes he'd miss a week and we'd see him again the next. And each week we'd give him the same line. I felt bad sometimes, taking his cartoon, shoving it under a pile of papers and sometimes forgetting all about it. Then I'd find it there days later and we'd all cringe at the absurdities he'd drawn or question the humor or just shake our heads in confusion.

I always wondered why he never just came to work on the paper. The staff could be a bunch of real ball breakers, but at the end of the day, they were all great people to be around.

I can't remember why it was I wasn't there when he finally decided to chip in and help out one night to put the paper together. My advisor told me later that the night he helped out, he had an epileptic seizure and hit his head on a table on the way to the floor. No one was sure how to stabilize him, but they were able to get a pencil in his mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue. We never saw him again. Probably didn't want to show back up there, afraid we would make fun of him or maybe just embarrassed. I can understand both those feelings.

It was weeks and weeks later that we were cleaning up the office as we did each semester when I found a notebook on a table near the darkroom. It was the scrawny kid's notebook. And it had some cartoons. The same cartoons he'd been submitting for publication week after week. Each of them made little sense and were never really funny. I flipped through the pages of the notebook when suddenly I found a letter he'd written. It was addressed to the staff of our paper. And it was darker than anything I thought he was capable of. He was angry. Very angry. Angry we never published his cartoons. That we never spoke to him or befriended him. That we were mean and that one day he would be a famous cartoonist despite our attempts to keep his work out of our paper. It was a one page letter. We all read it. I think I kept it for a while. I don't know what became of it and what ever became of him.

Sometimes it can feel like no one in the world understands you, much less, likes you. I'm not a stranger to those feelings. But there's a fine line that a person must cross to decide to arm themselves and take the lives of people who never caused him any harm. I think that's what happened at Virginia Tech. 32 people suffered the rage of a man who could not come to grips with his anger towards the world and ultimately, towards himself. Because if there's no love of self, there's no love for anything. Those people paid the price for his lack of faith in humanity. For his lack of love. For his lack of self.

Analysts can break it down anyway they want. They can read between the lines of his videos and letters and interpret his photos however they see fit. It won't change what's happened. And why let the loved ones left behind relive the day on continuous loop for the sake of ratings? Don't claim to inform me. Don't claim to protect me. Let the victim's families, friends and loved ones grieve. Please.

"Let us not live in timidity and ignorance. And in dying, we can say, we were dedicated to the most noble cause of all: the liberation of the human mind and spirit, beginning always with our own." - Maya Angelou.

I don't know why I felt compelled to tell the story of that shy kid from college. Maybe because I felt guilty. I don't know that he would have ever been pushed to that point. But then it doesn't take much for some people. And no matter how safe schools make thing sometimes, it won't change how one person decides to deal with the pressures of life. There is no predictability factor there.

To the families and friends of those who were lost at Virginia Tech: I hope the pain subsides one day.


I Believe I Can Fly

Recently, Christopher Reeve's costume from "Superman: The Movie" sold at auction for $115,000. If I was single, I would have sold my house to buy it. And, not that it would fit me, but I'd wear it at least once.


Last Five, April 10, 2007

iPods rule. Here's the Last Five for today.

1. Too Tough To Die - The Ramones
2. Run - Snow Patrol
3. It's Yours - Wu-Tang Clan
4. Stone Free - Eric Clapaton
5. Finish What Ya Started - Van Halen


A New Look

I thought it would be good to give the blog a new look. I dig it.

More to come.


Easter Means Chocolate Idols

Let me begin by pointing out what many of people who are close to me know about me. I am hardly a religious person. Spiritual, yes. Religious, no.

When people ask what faith I belong to, I usually reply, "Catholic by default."

That being said, when people ask me, "What are you doing for Easter?" I'm usually stumped by the question. My parents never took me to Easter egg hunts. We never really went to services that Sunday. Sometimes my mother would drag me along to an early, Spanish mass at Christ The King. I remember those days because there was a priest from South Africa, Father Bernie, who would sometimes do that service. His accent didn't always lend itself to the Spanish language.

Anyhow, back to the rant, already in progress.

My son, Terrance, and I had gone to see the absolutly awful "Hills Have Eyes 2" when he suggested we go to the Dollar Store and roam around a bit before we had to go home. Like most stores, Dollar Store had their massive collection of Easter paraphanailia. From plastic eggs to chocolate bunnies. But as we made our way through the holiday isles, I saw something that caught my eye.

They were made of chocolate, the praying hands. You know the ones I mean. You sometimes get the little prayer card with them at church or you see them adorning the rear window of some God-fearing person's Chevy Tahoe or Ford Explorer. Or maybe even tatood on some part of the body. Two hands, presumably of Jesus, I think. Outstretched, held together with a little bit of the sleeves showing.

Why not a chocolate Jesus? Or a chocolate crucifix? Christ on a chocolate chip cookie? Oreos with holy filling? Purified, bottled, holy water you can drink while working out? Come on, chocolate praying hands? Gimme a fucking break.


A Thousand Hits

I just noticed that there have been over a thousand hits on my blog.

I can only hope that it's being enjoyed.

Hit on, brave cyber readers, hit on!

And thanks.


The Older I Get

Earlier today, I was at McDonald's getting some fries when I took a minute to prefold my parking money.

You know how those things are. If you don't pay for a monthly pass, you gotta slide your money into those coin-width slots on that metallic parking lot piggy bank. I'm OCD on some things. I always check the number on my space at least three times before I go to the appropriate slot on the bingo board. And to be sure the attendant or the security guard knows I paid, I leave the little, flat push bar thing that helps you shove your money all the way in stuck in the slot of my space.

Anyhow, back to McDonald's. I waited at the counter for them to bring up a new batch of fries. I carefully folded my money into a half. Then I folded that half. And then I folded the 3rd half. As I did this, an older guy- white beard, white hair, wearing a hat -laughed.

OLD GUY: You're as nit-picky as me.

He laughed again and I stopped folding my dollar bill.

ME: I wonder what that says about me.
OLD GUY: Nothing. You're just a young nit-picky.

For a few months, nay, years, I've been feeling the persistence of time. Each year just affirms what I've been trying to avoid. The long shadows are setting in and one day, in 10 or 15 years, I'll be avoiding all those things I've often found myself running headlong into.

Take booze for example. Fred, my long standing drinking buddy, and I have noticed that a six pack doesn't sit as well with us as it use to. We've always been the kind to pace ourselves. Speed drinking is for rookies and people who enjoy the taste of puke. And while I never condone mixing, I often like to sneak a martini or a tequila shot with a bunch of beer. A couple of girls at a bar in Arkansas I use to drink at tried go gig me one night with two Irish car bombs, a cement mixer, some shot that tasted like branches off a Christmas tree and some cinnamon schnapps. I'd already had a few shots of tequila and I was drinking beer the whole time. I woke up that morning feeling like a million bucks. And that was just a few years ago.

Not now. I mix and I pay the next morning.

I find myself telling Terrance, my youngest, things like "When I was your age..." What the Hell is that? I'm turning into my Dad. I see those kids with the baggy pants or the emo haircuts and I'm suddenly Abe Vigoda: "You crazy kids need to keep it down over there! Young whipper snappers." I've started dispensing that mumbling criticism of things I can't understand. "I don't know where they get that mumble mumble mumble mumble..." All I need is a cane to shake defiantly in the air when I'm being a crotchety bastard.

The irony of it is that I still like some of the music that's coming out these days. I don't care for the fashion; I've never been that kind of guy. The stuff I wear now is the stuff I wore as a younger guy. I like some TV shows they spin these days and I'm into some of the films they produce.

And I'm not old. I'm fucking 35. I'm still old enough to know, but young enough to ignore and claim total ignorance. Or maybe I'm not and I have to face that facts that if I don't start to act like a real grown up, I may continue to feel this way.

What's worse is when I think about that last statement, does that mean that I've become one of those guys I hate that refuses to get with his responsibilities and thinks that if you're not a rebel by 18 you've got no heart, but if you've not sold out to the man by 30 you've got no brains?

I always thought of myself as a child, in some respects. A child in the way that I always want to learn and invent and explore and create. A child, at heart, they say. But what's that line from 1 Corinthians 13:11...

"When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things."

My body is getting older. I am a married man with to teenage sons. I have a mortgage. I have bills. I have a job. I am not a child. I know this. But sometimes I feel like that's a sensibility that has always kept me thinking from a fresher stand point. But I think it's also a sensibility that spurs selfishness.

I looked at that old man today and I felt insulted. I'm not old. I'm not old. But in the morning, when my knees make that popping sound as I climb out of bed and I've got a hangover from the EIGHT BEERS that I had the night before, I have to wonder.

I stare at the toys on my desk. The pictures of my wife and my kids. I wonder, what's in store for me next?


Correct Me If I'm Wrong...

It was a sinus infection, not a chest infection, that ended up preventing Aaron's surgery. A chest infection would have been more serious. Tonya alerted me that I put down the wrong kind of infection on my last entry. Just wanted to clarify it for everyone.



We got up early Friday morning and made our way to Santa Rosa Hospital for Aaron's long awaited surgery.

Shriner's Hospital has turned us down some time back. They didn't have the critical care staff needed to care for Aaron after the surgery. Long story short, we were very disappointed. Tonya is still mad at the doctors there. They just didn't listen to her.

We got to Santa Rosa early and waited almost an hour before we were called. Before long they had Aaron in a gown and were walking us up to meet with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist.

They were prepping him for the IV when the anesthesiologist stopped the nurse.

They were all worried that with Aaron's most recent chest infection, it would open the door to a possible infection to the hardware that would be installed into his leg. It wasn't anything we'd thought of at all.

Tonya was upset. Nearly at the brink of tears. We had been fighting to get this surgery going for some time now. We spend a year getting ready for it with Shriner's just for them to turn us down the day of surgery. Tonya did her best and kept her composure. In the end, she understood the reasons, but couldn't help but still be disappointed. I was just as upset, but also understood the reasons for the delay.

In the end, they rescheduled for the beginning of March. Days before Aaron's 18th birthday.

Oh, that's something else we didn't see. The last time that the surgery was rescheduled, Aaron was relieved. He never really showed signs of being disappointed. He spoke about it sometimes, but never really revealed any feelings other than looking forward to getting it over with. This time, he was mad. He spent the morning being worried and when we told him we were going home, he was confused. On the ride back to the house, we watched him sit in the backseat with a scowl on his face. Tonya began talking to him and it became obvious that he wasn't scared. He was pissed off. He's had to endure so much hype about the surgery only for it to be stopped twice. I'm not sure how he'll take it once it comes time to try again in a month.

The doctors suggested we finish his antibiotic treatment and get Aaron rechecked and cleared by the surgeon before his scheduled date.

Thanks to all of you who sent us positive thoughts and for all who donated your time and money to Aaron.


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