I Am Invincible

"I have many broken dreams, but like broken hearts they seem to mend with ease.

And I've traversed the open sea with a grain of guts and a gallon of need."

"I Will Fail You"

These quiet words, they carry me away

Returning

They keep coming back

In idle thoughts and hollow cut-aways

Disarm me

No will to attack

Though the sorrow and fear they may depart you today

I will fail you

Of that I’m sure

I will remind you of the pain forevermore

And when my sins are just a memory

Faith restored

I will fail you

To the core

Lost in the shadow of an endless grace

Relentless

My reign is unbound

In this abandon I will devastate

Dismember

Till agony’s found

Though the sorrow and fear they may depart you today

I will fail you

Of that I’m sure

I will remind you of the pain forevermore

And when my sins are just a memory

Faith restored

I will fail you

To the core

I know they prey upon me

I feel them just beyond my door

I will fail you

Of that I’m sure

I will remind you of the pain forevermore

And when my sins are just a memory

Faith restored

I will fail you

To the core

To Long Jumbled Text Messages

My Uncle Manuel was one of the coolest, toughest, funniest dudes I had ever met growing up. He always said what he thought (which was usually hilarious and brutally honest) and he didn’t take shit from anyone.

He was also a raging alcoholic who never recovered from the depression of heartbreak in his youth. He drank until his liver failed, all the while knowing he was killing himself.

I remember he would come home after the bar in my pops’ village closed and play classical music cassettes on his old, beat up stereo. I always planned on getting rich, coming back, and bringing him a brand new stereo with a bunch of his favorite classical CDs.

He died before I got to make something of myself. I never got to bring him that stereo or those CDs. He was modest in a somewhat cynical way, so I don’t think he was ever even aware of how profound an impact he had on my life.

What I’m saying is this: when I reflect on my memories of him, his flaws do not overshadow the greatness I perceived in him. I believe that the truest of heroes are often unaware of their value to others. I understand that he was human and carried a long chain of mistakes behind him. However, having lived a bit of life myself, I now see how strong he must have been to survive as long as he did.

Holy shit man, life is really hard.

A Dry Well

It’s not that there’s nothing in me to write or say, I think. And even though I’ve been pretty busy, I’ve surely had time to reflect and create. I think it’s just that even after I’ve done something with the feelings inside, I don’t really achieve any closure. There’s no sense of accomplishment and I am rarely proud of the end result.

There’s nothing afterward, and not in the cathartic-release sense of nothing. I mean that I feel like I’ve somehow failed.

Watch Dogs is a terrible game.

With all the hype surrounding the release of Watch Dogs, I couldn’t help but take notice of the game. The studio-generated anticipation would have you think this might be the greatest game ever created. Not much could be farther from the truth.

I’ll admit, I didn’t play the game the whole way through. It’s possible that something amazing happens midway through to make the game way more enjoyable than the first hour or so, but that sort of pacing is exactly why this game sucks. And honestly, I don’t think anything short of Watch Dogs issuing a refund halfway through would redeem the incredibly tedious boredom felt in the first half.

It’s not my intent to insult a bunch of programmers who tirelessly worked on something that turned out to be a piece of shit.  I’m sure that everyone involved is very talented and successful.  Unfortunately, I do not believe that their ability to craft a good game is reflected in Watch Dogs.  That is unless, of course, if the intent was to create a game so realistic that it mirrors how boring everyday life can be.

The primary tool and focus of the lead character is his fucking smart phone.  His smart phone is his main weapon.  The device that everyone is contractually tethered to by AT&T or Sprint or whoever, and that everyone carries around in his or her pocket right now is the supposed weapon that is meant to combat whoever the hell is the opposition in this unnecessarily convoluted, bullshit plot line.  If you think that still sounds cool, then maybe you’re prepared to spend a lot of in game hours as a dude staring at the small screen of his smart phone.  You know, the same sort of thing you do in line at the bank or at work or wherever you want to do something where you have NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

The parts that are entertaining about Watch Dogs are the car chases and gun battles; the stuff that’s already been done like 200X better by franchises like Saints Row, Grand Theft Auto, or damn near any other sandbox game ever.  That being said, if you’re looking for a new adventure in this genre, you’re better off just deleting your save data from GTA V and starting over.  

Don’t even get me started on the bland and lifeless setting of the game.  I’ve never endured atmosphere so dry and lacking in creativity as I did in Watch Dogs.  It’s some graphically demanding, well-polished rendering for sure; but what’s that worth in a game that’s so uninspired?  If I wanted great visuals in uneventful atmosphere, I’d go outside instead of play a video game.  Hell, my neighborhood’s honestly a little more intriguing than the city in Watch Dogs.

If the setting doesn’t bore you blind, there’s this pointless feature where when you walk by some asshole on the street, the game gives you a little biographical information on that stranger.  Typically, it’s something I couldn’t imagine giving less of a fuck about.  For example, the game may inform you that one of the average-joe-jerk-offs you walk by is an accountant who makes $45,000 a year.  Who gives a shit.  Fuck this game.

Watch Dogs is terrible.

40

When you read about loss in a book or see it in a movie, the suffering is so heavily romanticized.  A lead character uses a death to fuel himself to success, revenge, or some other kind of ultimate triumph.  That’s not really how it feels though.  

The real suffering is much more quiet - much less dramatic.  It comes when you’re helplessly lying in bed at night, when your failures are burying your ambitions, and when you feel most alone.  There’s no remedy - no resulting inspiration.  There’s only you, all alone in your suffering.

People try to comfort you.  They care, so they don’t want to see you suffer.  But there’s nothing they can really do.  The burden is yours alone.

A lot of things have happened in the past year that I would have needed to share with you.  Some of it was good, most of it was terrible.  I wonder if I would have pursued the same path if you had remained alive.  Would I be a lawyer?  Would I be homeless?

I surprise myself with the strength I muster to fight through every challenge put in my path.  I’m not necessarily proud of it.  Strength often requires you to be cold and unfeeling for the sake of a goal.  There’s no room to cry because the journey can be so far from over.

Instead, it’s all pushed inside of me.  It’s hidden from sight because the world can’t benefit from my sorrow, sentimentality, or vulnerability.  I have to push on for the sake of those I love, and I sometimes hate it.

One of the most difficult parts is that I’m alone not only in the valleys, but also at the summits.  I look around to share the significance of an accomplishment with someone who knows where I started.  I look for someone who knows where I’m from, someone who remembers the bottom, but no one has as close a perspective of what we came through as you would have.  It’s just me alone.

Pops is almost home.  Mom’s still trippin, but I love her.  I have to wear a suit to work every day.  I’m gonna get married.  It’s been a crazy year.  Words can’t explain how much we miss you.  

Happy birthday, dude.

Swearing In

Swearing In

Bella - ca. 2000 - April 1, 2014

Bella - ca. 2000 - April 1, 2014

Push Harder

I told a family member the other night that I often wonder why mankind evolved to walk upright.  If we were not typically predators in the beginning, then we would probably have been prey; so it is odd that we took on such an awkward stance.  

When I think of fast-moving mammals who were prey like deer, gazelle, or horses, it seems like it would have helped our distant ancestors to run on all fours rather than stand upright and off-balance.  And yet, we all walk upright.  Even if an upright stance would have helped us escape up a tree, any cat owner can tell you that it would not have likely saved us from a jaguar, for example.  We acted as though we were at the top of the food chain before such a claim could even be argued - we pretended to be the alpha species with no predators above us, almost disregarding facts.  Weird.

My father has been sick and in the hospital for a few months.  He went in for a heart valve replacement, but experienced complications that left him close to dead.  I go see him each day, but the recovery has been a long road.  Despite what seem like overwhelming odds stacked against him, he has made so much progress and continues to improve.  I am lucky that he survived, and I am indescribably grateful for that much.  

For a long time, I felt that I had lost the will to live.  I did not really understand how people had that will until these past few months of watching my dad.  It had been so long since I had even entertained the idea of wanting to be alive that the notion seemed almost entirely foreign to me.  But now that I have seen my pops fight back and struggle against nearly insurmountable challenges to overcome so much, I understand why I too would want to live.

If for nothing else, it is in defiance to circumstance, fate, and whatever else may place itself in our path.  If our inevitable outcome is to be six feet under, then as long as we are alive, it is an affront to destiny, a grand scheme, or even the gods themselves that we push on.  

Like monkeys standing up against what makes sense, we live.   

My favorite album that came out this year was AFI - Burials.

I know how absurd that must sound, and I’m not the type of person to have guilty pleasures, so maybe I should explain.  

In a year when a Bowie album came out, it would be rather unreasonable to argue that anything better was released.  If this were an objective question, then obviously the Bowie record would get it.  But there’s something extra for me about AFI.

When I was a kid, AFI was one of the first punk bands I got into.  A friend of mine even recently shared picture of me from back then at a show in a shitty club in West Palm, screaming into the mic with Davey.  They grew in intensity with each record, becoming more creative and abrasive and following the same trajectory of my interests at the time.  When they hit critical mass, they signed to a major label.

Then I watched them change.  They changed into something ridiculous - a laughable, melodramatic parody of themselves and the scene from which they grew.  They went through hilarious haircuts and Twilight-inspired melodrama while becoming the poster boys for the tween, Hot Topic, mall-goth-emo-dork demographic.

They put out some shit albums, made some pretty cheesy videos, and it seemed like the band I had enjoyed on albums like “Black Sails in the Sunset” had all but vanished.  I gave up on them.

A few years later, I found some of their albums in my brother’s stuff.  I decided to give it another shot, but now with an ear that did not expect the former glory that I had seen in them.  

To my surprise, whether it was because of the changes in my taste or the maturation of their sound, I understood it.  I didn’t understand it as the hardcore or punk band that I remembered, but something different and new - possibly with the potential to be even better in the long run,  

It strikes me that they’ve been trying to create something greater than themselves in these past two albums.  They’re aspiring to establish themselves as something bigger than a seminal 90’s punk band, bigger than pop-emo cash-whores, and maybe something that would stand the test of time.  In other words, something more like Bowie.

Or like I joked with a friend, maybe it just sounds like Danzig doing NoFX covers.  

Christmas breakfast, boyeeee. Animal-free, too.

Christmas breakfast, boyeeee. Animal-free, too.