They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...


These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Jun 30, 2010

Random Question...

Do I make use of this device

...

The triple dot, three period, whatever the hell you call it,

too often?

Just askin...

Oh, and I did a little alteration to my posts and added a button to share my stuff on facebook.  Just figured I'd make it easy for you guys to share my lunacy.  And I'd appreciate it if you did.

Later,

I love you Mom...

AOM, Day 12...

Yeah, I know I'm jumping around a bit, but the few things in between 7 and 12 were things that I am going to have to do some prep work on.

I skipped "Take a woman on a date" because...well its Wednesday.

I skipped "Memorize 'IF'" because...well its Wednesday, wait that doesn't work.  I skipped it, because I have to work on it.  Not to mention what the hell am I going to write about sitting around for a few hours trying to memorize a poem.  Not that I won't do it, but there's not much to write about.

I skipped "declutter your life" because I am going to do that tomorrow.  Got the day off work, so let's spend it cleaning my apartment.  Ugh.

I skipped "give yourself a testicular exam" because well...its Wednesday and I only do testicular exams on Saturdays.

So I went straight to "Create your bucket list"

ALL THE THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DIE
  1. Climb a mountain.
  2. Read every book Hemingway ever wrote.
  3. Finish a triathlon.
  4. Ride a motorcycle cross country.
  5. Write a book. (might have already done this one.)
  6. Help someone build a house.
  7. Run an entire marathon.
  8. See London, Moscow, Hong Kong, and Sydney.
  9. Find the love of my life.
  10. Marry her.
  11. Impregnate her.
  12. Get a Master’s Degree.
  13. Get weight down to less than 230.
  14. Run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
  15. Ride a bull.
  16. See a fight in Vegas.
  17. See a Notre Dame football game.
  18. See a Super Bowl.
  19. Be debt free.
  20. Learn to hunt.
  21. Hunt in Africa.
  22. Volunteer teaching someone to read.
  23. Try Absinthe.
  24. Learn a few magic tricks, and get really good at them.
  25. Learn a foreign language.
  26. Sleep in a haunted house.
  27. Learn to fly.
  28. Go para-sailing.
  29. Swim with sharks or maybe just dolphins.
  30. See Burning Man.
  31. Jump off a waterfall.
  32. Brew my own beer.  Straight from scratch.
  33. Plant 100 trees.
  34. Learn to ballroom dance, maybe even that "swing" stuff.
  35. Ride the Trans-Siberian Express.
  36. Oktoberfest in Munich.
  37. Learn to play the piano.
  38. Go to Carnival in Rio.
  39. Quit my job.
  40. Drive the Autobahn. (the whole thing)
  41. Run to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
  42. Create a family tree.
  43. See all the wonders of the world. (that are left)
  44. Have at least one fight.  Judged by a referee.
  45. Play a legendary prank.
  46. Read everything Mark Twain ever wrote.
  47. Quit smoking.
  48. Set foot on all seven continents.
  49. Climb one of the worlds seven summits.
  50. Read every book Hunter S. Thompson ever wrote.
  51. Learn a martial art.
  52. Fly somewhere 1st class.
  53. See the Louvre.
  54. Join the "mile high" club.  

So that's what I've got so far.  Not bad if you ask me.  I think I came up with some really good shit.  Now how much of it I'm going to be able to do is most likely dependent on how much getoffyourass-adone that I take.

As I thought about this list I got into the meaning of the whole thing.  Things you want to do before you die.  If I pulled off all of this, I could die tomorrow with a big ole' grin on my face and as peaceful as any man has ever been.  And the thought of that made me smile.

I've seen a lot of people die in my life.  Most of them entirely too young, and most of them with a whole lot of shit left on their bucket lists.  Two quotes came to mind as I kept on thinking about it...

"Most men live lives of quiet desperation."  A wholly depressing thought, but all too true.

And one of my favorites...

"All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring.   We must never, ever get boring!"  Nice thought that if taken the right way will really get your ass in gear every morning.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

Later,

I love you Mom...

Jun 29, 2010

AOM Day 7...

Reconnect with an old friend...

Well, I did this twice.  Once with an old friend that I haven't seen since I got off of active duty a scant 7 years ago.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and all the saints!  Its pretty hard to wrap my brain around the fact that I got out of the military 7 years ago.  (the military that makes you get up early every morning, instead of this one weekend a month thing.)

I hadn't spoken to him in a few months.  This is the little dance we do.  One calls the other, we talk for hours on end.  Running down all the goings on.  How we screwed this or that up.  Who we're doing at the moment.  How his kids are doing.  How terrified I am of having kids.  All the shit we used to do, including but not limited to drinking copious amounts of alcohol and crawling out on the ledge of the building we lived in and...well you get the idea.  Followed quickly by one of us stating the obvious.  How in the hell did we live through all that shit?

Then we don't talk for a few months, then one of us calls for this reason or that, and we start the whole dance over again.  So I figured that the best thing I could do in this case was stop doing the dance and start calling on a regular basis.  So I've faithfully called him once a week for about two weeks now.  WOW, somebody get me a cookie.

I know that its not much but its a start.  Now he and I have been friends for years.  We both went through our first divorces together.  I remember depleting my savings account buying beer for his!  I'm still trying to sell a kidney to pay off the bar tab from mine.  Needless to say, he and I have been through, and this is no small statement, the toughest times of each of our lives together.  He knows me just as well as I know myself, and he's usually one step ahead of me as far as that goes.  I love his daughter like she's my own and I still have a picture of her staring at me every morning when I wake up.  That connection is there, and its a strong one.

That's my buddy, J.

Now the second reconnection that I made is a bit more esoteric.  I think, if I'm using that word correctly. But even if I'm not, you'll get the idea in a minute.

Christopher Titus is a comedian.  He's a pretty good one.  I think he's hilarious.  And apparently, at least 200 or so people at the Improv the other night thought so too.

Quick rundown of the substance of Titus' comedy.  Born to a lunatic (certifiable) mother, and a drunken, womanizing father.  Father was married and divorced six times.  Mother shot and killed her last husband because, well you don't get another one after that. (Stolen from Titus)  Christopher Titus himself was married to a crazy Irish girl for almost 20 years.  They divorced recently and he is or had been dating a Diesel jeans model (Nice.)  But that's about it, and he takes all the hilarity that comes with such lunacy and lets us all hear it.

A couple of my favorite lines of his...

His father says that Jesus was laughing as he walked into the light.  Titus says, "He was laughing because you were trying to get into heaven!"


All those other pills are bullshit, but vicodins are gifts from the baby Jesus.


My dad doesn't like lies.  It hurts people in the long run.  He prefers the truth, it hurts them now.


(About his mother) Without her I don't exist. Without her, I wouldn't be doing this for a living. Without her, in four states, it would still be legal to kill a man with a cappuccino machine. She touched a lot of lives. Diagnosed manic depressive schizophreinc. Actually, it was pretty cool as a kid, 'cause I never really knew *who* was coming to dinner. But I was pretty sure they were going to be bummed out. It used to piss my teachers off. All my permission slips had different signatures on them. 


My parents' divorce settlement involved a bar tab.


Whenever I got sick as a kid growing up, my dad’d always warm me up with a shot of hundred-proof whiskey. Never got sick… that I can remember


...and on and on I could go.


But I won't.  I don't like anyone stealing my comedic thunder.  And on my own blog no less.


Here's why I put him in this.  You ever had one of those people, who just got you for whatever reason?  I don't really know exactly what appeals to me about his comedy.  Maybe its the crazy mother bit.  When I was a kid I thought my mother was out there.  As it turns out it was nothing more than a completely sane reaction to my brother and I, but at the time it seemed pretty batshit crazy to me.  Maybe it was all the crazy women in his life, because until recently ALL the women in my life have been looney to one degree or another.  Even the women in my friend's lives have been nuts!  Remind me to tell you the story of how I had to help my buddy trick his then girlfriend into the truck so that we could take her to the wacko basket (mental ward at the hospital).  But that's a story for another time.


His comedy has always reached deep down in me and pulled on the strings of some crazy part of me.  And its always been a lot of fun when that part of me was driving the bus.  I think that's probably why he and I have had such a good time over the years.  I've watched every comedy special of his, I've got every episode of his TV show on DVD and I watch them over and over again, and have even gotten my mom to watch.  (She cracked up laughing.)


He was on the computer telling jokes as I sat in my barracks at Camp Clark while rockets and mortars fell on my fucking head.  He was in my ears making me laugh through my iPod as we drove through the hundreds of miles of IED infested wasteland that was Afghanistan.  He was there again helping me kill the maddening flight time from Ireland to Bangor, Maine on my way home.  So he was part of what kept me smiling through one of the shittier years of my life.  For all of those reasons, I consider him to be an old friend...kinda like a good bottle of whiskey.


So last Friday I went to see him.  My brother and I, our cousin, my ex, and her sister and husband and my cousin Sandy (Auntie Buddy's kid) we all went.


Almost died laughing, everyone had a great time.  Ran up a $200 bar bill, which is surprisingly reasonable.  Of course, I think that $150 of it was just my brother and I.


Now another thing about my close friends is that these guys have a knack for saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.


Titus did this right in the middle of his routine.  He got onto the subject of people and their medications, and their mental issues and the tendency of so many people to blame all their problems on some mental defect or chemical imbalance or the fact that their mommy didn't love them enough.  Then he started making fun of all the pills they take to make life tolerable.  Paxil, and Lithium and Prozac and all that shit.


He then said that people's problems don't have much to do with their mental problems or their chemical imbalances...they just need a prescription for getoffyourass-adone.  Laziness, that's most people's problem.  Get up, and get out and go fucking do something.  


I've gone over this a hundred times.  Not as humorously as Titus has but the principle is there.  I have a serious laziness problem.  Probably my only real problem.  Fixing this would most likely resolve all the others.  A bottle of getoffyourass-adone over here please.


Thank him for me writing this, without that little line running through my head I probably would've laid it down and went to sleep as opposed to writing this.


Then the second thing that happened at the show that got me thinking.


My ex's sister's husband's name is Mark.  He thanked me so much for inviting them to go to the show.  He had a blast, laughed his ass off.


In the parking lot after the show Mark said this to me, "Thanks so much for inviting us to come.  I forgot the power of a laugh."


Best thing I heard all night.


So thanks J, you're always going to be my boy.


Thanks Titus, for reminding me of the power of a laugh, and hopefully for the prescription for getoffyourass-adone.


and with that I'm done.


Later, 


I love you Mom....


P.S.  Day 8 is kind of stupid for me to do.  Its "start a journal".  


I may not keep up on it like I should but I'm pretty sure that the 600+ pages of this shit qualifies as a pretty extensive journal.


Next up, Day 9, Take a woman on a date.  In the immortal words of Buckets, "Oh fuck yeah!"


Shitty picture, but its the best my no-flash having space phone could do!

Jun 6, 2010

Another Day 6...

So I'm writing this as I watch game 5 of the Blackhawks vs. the Flyers for the Stanley Cup.  So if I miss anything or sound like an idiot it is because of the fact that I am distracted.

I was thinking that if the Hawks pull this off I will have witnessed a championship from every major sports team in Chicago in my lifetime.  But that matters little here today.  What does matter is that I just saw Dustin Byfuglein destroy Chris Pronger in the corner!

Okay, now down to business.  I was supposed to update my resume today.  Well I did it.  I don't really know what else to tell you.

I've got a pretty decent job with the Feds.  I make a good living.  I've got health insurance so I'm not really looking but I did it.  I kept it down to a page.  Figure that I need to highlight the job I have now (other than the Army my only real job.) and my college education.  Done and done.

Then I started wondering about all those guys that don't have jobs.  Ugh, quite depressing.

Then I started thinking about my career.  I guess that's what you would call it.  I looked over my resume and thought back a few years before I had this job.

And I realized that I was pretty pissed that the fire was gone.  I know exactly what happened.  I'm not hungry anymore, and I may just be getting old and both of these facts are infinitely depressing.  I'm sure most of  you know what I'm talking about.

You get older, you manage to find a good job that pays you enough to live comfortably.  You got your benefits, your retirement, or whatever it is, and these things become like a big security blanket and one day you look around and everything is so...blah.

Oh wonderful, I've managed to turn a little thing like updating my resume into something shitty.

Going through this I can't help but think of Fight Club, "the things you own end up owning you"

So, I'm going to have to think about this a bit more, and finish watching this damn game.  More to come.

Later,

I love you Mom...

Go Hawks!


Jun 1, 2010

Goodbye Harry, Hello Dad, and My 5th Day...

So as you can see I haven't written anything for quite a while.  Why?  Because I have had a pretty shitty couple of weeks.  That's why!

I hope that some of you remember one of the guys that I was deployed with, nicknamed Buckets.  We gave him that nickname one day as we were commenting on his resemblance to a Keebler elf.  Then we got on the internet and looked up the names of the Keebler elf's and we came up with Buckets.

He bought a motorcycle when we got home from AssCrackIstan, and not too long ago he was riding it, he t-boned a car, flew right over the hood, and died.  Unfortunately for him he didn't die instantly.  He hung on for about a week before a cracked skull did him in.


So that's him.  His name was Harry.  He was 26 years old.

Not to mention, in addition to being a soldier he was also a cop.  Now I don't know how many of you know this but my father (who died when I was 3) was also a cop.  And I don't know if you know this or not, but death is a big deal to cops and soldiers.  A cop and a soldier dying is about the biggest deal.

Pipes, drums, corridors of honor, uniforms, casket guards, flag draped coffins, 21 gun salutes, Amazing Grace on bagpipes, Taps on a bugle, honor guards, flyovers, Patriot Riders, cop cars, fire engines, military trucks, and all the pomp and circumstance that one funeral could possibly generate.

Throw all this together and you have me crying like a little girl for hours on end.

I could go on and on about this guy.  He was definitely one of the few that I could say that if I had one, I would allow to date my sister.  Personally, that's about the highest compliment I could ever give a guy.

Suffice it to say that it hurt...a lot, and for a long time.  Hence my lack of writing.

Nevertheless, I dried my tears, picked myself up and got on with my life.  Then the mom called and told me that Memorial Day was here and we had to do the Cemetery 500.  (my completely inappropriate name for the rounds we make to the graves of all the veterans in my family to put flags and flowers and things on their graves.)

Ugh, really Mom?  Do we have to do this now?

To which she replied, "Yes, its Memorial Day now get in your car and come pick me up and quit acting like a little girl!"

That's my Mom!

So we made the rounds, dropped a flag here, a flower there and around the bend we came to the final turn which was dear old Dad's grave.

Luckily for me, my Mom can't bear to be at my father's grave for very long.  So its basically just a "jam the flag in the ground, say hello, cry, say goodbye" kind of thing.

This time however, I decided that I was going to do something to jerk a few tears out of...well me.

I finished putting the flag in front of my Dad's name, I stepped back, and as cliche as this is...I don't care.

I dug into my pocket and in front of God, my Mom, my Dad and all the rest of the stiffs I placed one of the medals I had won in Afghanistan on my Dad's headstone.

Bam!  That's about all it took and the mom went from 0-60 in the waterworks department.  Which we all know is not a good thing for me.  Anytime my mom wants me to do something and I don't want to do it, she just fakes a few tears and I crack.  Now try to think what she could get out of me when the tears are real.

Well I'll tell you what she gets.  She gets me crying like a little girl again.

Being the emotional infant that I am, I hustle us both out of the cemetery and try to navigate the maze of roads that criss cross this garden of stone while wiping away a steady stream of tears behind my sunglasses.

And here comes the really strange part.  I'd swear that I heard (or imagined myself) a voice in my head saying, "Come on back sometime, kid."  More on this later.

Well those two things are the reason I haven't written in a while.

Now the 5th day.  I am supposed to cultivate gratitude.

1st task is to make a list of 10 things I am grateful for...


  1. My family.
  2. My country.
  3. My job. (seen a lot of guys lose theirs, er I mean people.)
  4. All of you that read this.
  5. My brothers in arms.
  6. My health.
  7. My brain.
  8. My breath. (Means a lot after seeing a 26 year old in a coffin.)
  9. My education.
  10. My service.  (Yeah, I am thankful for the fucking Army!)
Thank God they didn't want me to explain why I am thankful for each of those.  This could've gone on for days.

Step 2 is to say thank you to 3 different people today.

I hit the mom with a thank you when she bought me 10 Arizona Iced Tea's today.  Out of the blue.
I hit the brother with a thank you when he helped me load some shit I left at mom's house in my car.
Finally, I hit an inmate with a thank you when he swept and mopped the floor.  (What can I say I worked today, I don't come into contact with normal people during the day.)

Then I said thanks to two people who can't say your welcome.

To Harry, I said thanks for being the guy that kept me laughing regardless of how many explosions were going off.  Thanks for being there when the world was literally falling down around our heads.  Thanks for riding with all of us for the entirety of our time in hell...

To my Father, I said thanks for loving mom so much.  I said thanks for being a man worth looking up to.  I said thanks for being a part of so many wonderful stories that I've been hearing since I could talk.  I said thanks for loving me so much that you slept underneath my crib when mom wasn't home because you were afraid you wouldn't hear me crying.  I said thanks for being my father even if it was only for a little while.

I think I may come on back sometime.  Sit down and talk to you for a while.  Please for my own sanity's sake keep your responses to yourself.

Later,

I love you Mom...