About Music!

Hi y’all!

I hope those who read this are doing well.  I haven’t written a blog lately because I was focused the past 2 week or so on writing new songs for my band, which now is the inspiration for me writing this blog.  Things with the band have been crazy this year to say the least.  There was almost a revolt, 2 of us nearly quit, and just about 1.5 months ago, the favorite lead guitarist (who left the band only weeks to a few months before I joined) came back into the fold.  Having him back and having our musical interests be very similar reinvigorated my passion for the whole thing and got me to try to fire up at least one of the other guys in the group.  It’s worked to minimal success, but the personal fire is still lit and burning quite nicely.  I had about a 10-day run of inspiration that led me to write lyrics to 5 new songs, two of which I showed 2 separate guys in the group of 6 and 1 of the two had a guitar part put to it.  I may be biased, but I think it sounds beautiful and I want to push to keep it alive.  Sadly, we won’t be practicing for another 19 days, so I’ll just have to keep on chomping at the bit to get a full band experience with it and see how it sounds.

I’ve even taken the next step in my gear quality and moved up from budget Zildjian cymbals to top of the line Zildjian cymbals.  I’m putting all my chips in and going for broke… Not only figuratively, but probably literally as well!  I am willing to make this work and if all else fails, at least I know that I won’t be the one to blame if things don’t work themselves out because I gave it my all and I know I did.

It’s wild how just one person can bring about such inspiration in a band, right?  I would like to think I did it with my bandmates when I finally joined 11 years ago.  I was asked to join on a couple of other occasions when I was too broke and without a drumset until the stars aligned themselves and I was then able to.  We wrote a few more songs after I joined and ended up recording our, as of yet, only album the following year.  We did an as of yet unreleased live album a couple of years ago as well, but the creativity went kinda stagnant overall.  It’s weird to say because I don’t think any of us were bored, but we didn’t really write anything new, but had a great time jamming. 

Having our old lead guitar player back though has changed things for me.  I’m finding myself wanting more for the band.  Sure, the delusions of grandeur have always been talked about, but nobody really put forth the effort to try and make at least the smallest of those delusions become reality until recently.  Now we’re booking more gigs around town, new songs are being written, and if I’m being honest, I have the feeling that somebody is going to take notice.  I really my intuition becomes reality because all I want is for more people to hear what we have to say musically. 

So, if I’m quiet here for a bit of time, it’s probably because I’m trying to get my brain to pump out new lyrics! 

Wish me luck!

The Downfall of Meaningful Relationships

Good morning y’all and happy Monday!

I wasn’t really expecting to be writing something today, much less about the topic that I am going to write about, but I’ve been inspired by “The Counsel of Trent episode #455 – Catholic Dating Nightmares.”  Dun Dun DUN!!!!!!  Oh man!!!!  What an episode!  It is only 15 minutes and 22 seconds long, but a lot was packed into that episode.  A lot of truth, actually.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here, but I have been a victim of online dating a few times over.  The last two girlfriends I had were the result of online interactions, actually.  I didn’t meet them on dating sites, but our online friendships turned into romantic relationships, but they both ended in horrible disasters.  I have tried my hand at online dating as well with no success.  The thing that gets me about online dating is that nobody really wants to build a relationship.  Sure, they may type out on their profiles that they do, but really all most people want to do is hookup.  Personally, I think that’s part of the downfall of our current social world.  It seems as though everybody wants to forget about God and go into situations purely for their own gain and good, mortal sin be dammed.  It’s really sad.  People like me who are striving to live a chaste life pleasing to God are shunned and ridiculed, even amongst “religious” communities. 

It’s crazy, right?  It’s not just in the online world.  These opinions have bled over into the “real world”.  Wait.  This is the real world, right?  We’re not in a computer simulation, right?  Right?  Let’s just go with that, shall we? 

Anyway, I’ve been made fun of for a few things related to this topic.  Wanting to be married, wanting to have children, desiring Christ in my life, making God and His church the focal point of my life, not being materialistic, desiring a wife who wants all of those things as well.  Yep.  All of those things are black marks and I’ve been ridiculed for all of it.  It’s so wild to think that somebody who wants to be obedient to God is the one who is wrong.  Go figure. 

This is probably the main reason that I said a few blog posts ago that I have once again retired from the pursuit of a romantic relationship.  For what?  As Trent Horn quoted a woman named Meredith, a Tinder user, on his podcast; “Some people still catch feelings in hookup culture.  It’s not like just blind [sex] for pleasure and it’s done; some people actually like the other person.  Sometimes you actually catch feelings and that’s what sucks.”  W O W!!!!  Trent went on to say to that quote that feelings brought on by the marital act are an equivalent to an STD in this culture of ours that you don’t want to catch.  AMEN, brother!  How just terribly sad, right?  And boy, do I know about that culture.  My latest ex-girlfriend lives that life.  She didn’t understand why I was so emotional, and related to that, why I had an emotional attachment to her.  She’s been immersed in this hookup culture and could not understand that I wanted a long-term relationship built on an emotional bond and not some sort of physical, friends with benefits-esque agreement.  She even attacked my show of emotion when we had our one and only fight.  Gosh, how horrible, right?  Why subject myself to our horrible culture again when I know that’s what I’m going to find.  I’m really going to leave this one all on God’s hands.  He knows what is right for me.  He knows that I’m just trying to do the right thing. 

God help our society.  Things are more insane than I really realized.  I can see the Gabriel Iglesias meme dancing in my head right now of what I want to tell everybody… “You need Jesus!  That’s what you need!”

Talk later, my friends.

Getting Stronger

Hi y’all!  I hope you are all having a wonderful day.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed stuff out to put out as a blog post but just felt better typing it out to release that energy out into the digital 0’s and 1’s of this machine and not saving the post to share it.  This one, however, I am going to share out into the world because I think it’s one that I need to say out loud and not just to my own eyes. 

How many times has God every given you the proverbial tap on the shoulder to let you know that you need to figure it out really quick and shape up?  I know he’s done that to me a lot of times, but the last time he really did it was yesterday.  My finances aren’t going as I had planned them, I’m worried about making sure I keep my flat as my lease is up at the end of the month, I’m still fat, my love life is nonexistent, all the while I haven’t given God the time that He deserves, and I haven’t utilized my renewed gym membership either.  Well, over the past month since my computer died, I switched over some of my podcast listening to the visual form via YouTube and I’ve really enjoyed watching The Counsel of Trent hosted by Catholic apologist Trent Horn and even though I was about 80 episodes in to listening to Pints With Aquinas hosted by Matt Fradd on my iPod via iTunes, I’ve switched up my plan to catching up to the YouTube page of his pod starting with Trent Horn’s episode sometime pre-pandemic last year and am loving it as well.  Also, just this week my bishop announced that he was going to allow 100% capacity back at our local parishes again.  Masks are still required during Mass, but we’re now even one step closer to pre-pandemic times.  With that said, it dawned on me last night while watching Pints With Aquinas episode #192 with Father Gregory Pine that God was speaking to me through all the little difficulties over this past month.  I had just gotten back from the gym for the first time in a month or longer and was feeling good about getting that motivation back, and now I was feeling like I was having my soul and spirit nourished with this great episode.  I tweeted out that I was watching Pints and tagged Matt Fradd on the tweet, mentioned that I have been watching that in the afternoons, and that I have been having that lead right into my nightly listening of EWTN’s show “Called to Communion” with Dr. David Anders as I drift to sleep.  Although I am a cradle Catholic, by doing so I feel like I grow in my faith.  I went to bed feeling what I can best describe as being refreshed.  I knew right then that I finally got the message God was sending me to get my act together, continue to get closer to Him, and get serious about going to confession again regularly (which I will starting this Saturday), go to Low Mass every week again, and get back to going back to the gym consistently.  Everything else will work itself out.  My budget should fix itself, and I’m going on God’s will that my lease renewal will be approved to stay in my flat and if not, then I know I won’t have to worry about what the future living situation will bring.  God definitely has a plan. 

I woke up this morning to find that Matt retweeted my tweet mentioning his name and at last count 20 people liked it.  Let me make myself clear to say that my intention wasn’t to get likes or to hope that Matt would see and retweet me.  Honestly, it was more in hopes that my non-Catholic followers and friends would see that I was happy growing in my faith and hopefully they’d take the chance to check out the show for themselves and maybe have the same thing happen to them.  It did make me happy, though, that Matt saw it, retweeted it, and those handful of followers liked this journey that I’m on.

It’s the midpoint of the year.  Time to finish this one out strong.  Strong in my faith and love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, strong on my health and fitness, and strong in my budget.  I can do this!

Until next time.

God Made US, But He Made Me A Little Bit Different

Good morning all and happy Friday!

Earlier this week I had started to write out a blog about vanity/narcissism and materialism, but I quickly went off the rails with it.  I trashed that writing and I’m going to try again.  Maybe if I put my opinion on front street first, I won’t jack this up.  Here it goes!

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been of the mind that money and whatever the current thought or trend of what attractiveness was is not what I strive in this world.  Now, with that said, heck yes, I play Powerball and Mega Millions once the jackpot reaches about 200 million dollars and more, but generally striving for an extra dollar an hour in wage or landing a job and immediately searching for the next higher paying one isn’t what I do.  Same can be said about my looks or the way I dress.  I’ve been wearing the same style of stuff forever and I’m comfortable with it.  T-shirt, shorts/pants, sneakers.  That’s about it.  Granted, the t-shirts have logos on them whether it be a favorite band, stupid saying, adult beverage of choice, or favorite sports team/professional wrestler or league, it’s always a t-shirt for me.  I’ve always been finding the comfort in the graces that God gives me and if He blesses me with more, that’s great.  If He doesn’t, I know that I have what He knows I need.

With that said, I’ve had conversations with a good friend of mine a few times over the months about desiring personal appearance alterations (trying to be nice in the way I phrase it), and from the perception that I see, her dating men with material wealth and basing a lot of her decisions of whether or not to continue dating these men heavily skewed on what they can provide for her monetarily.  Both of those things honestly make me cringe.  It’s messed up to even say that because I feel like I’m talking bad about my friend, and I hope that I’m not really coming across like I’m bashing her because I really love her and I don’t want to, but what I am bashing is this mentality that a lot of people in and around the generation that I was born in and going back to the baby boomers were taught.  That idea was best summed up in the film Wall Street.  “Greed is good.” 

I was born in 1980 and my parents at the tail end of the 1950’s, so then were in their mid-20s during the 80s when everything started to go about spending money and making sure you looked good doing it too.  Thankfully, my parents did not indulge too much into the idea, but said idea was all around us.  I’m a proud child of the 80s and still love the films and music that came out of it, but it did bring us the worship of vanity and the worship of money that still runs people’s lives today.

Money and the pursuit of it has never run my life.  As a matter of fact, I can go back to sometime in late 1998 to early 1999 when I had a conversation with my mom about what I wanted to do with my life.  I was set to graduate high school in the spring of 1999 and until my crazy two-day trip to see Metallica in Las Vegas on September 12th, 1998, my plan was to become a locomotive engineer for what had just recently become Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway.  That trip to Las Vegas right after a Friday night football game (my 3 buddies and I had one of the dads drive us up to Vegas, and we were all in marching band, that’s why we couldn’t go to the show the night before in Phoenix, Arizona) and getting into Las Vegas, Nevada early Saturday afternoon after a few hours of sleep in a motel somewhere in Phoenix, started to change the narrative in my brain that I was dead set on going into railroading.  What I saw when we first stepped foot into Circus Circus to crush their buffet pre-Metallica show changed my life.  I saw the teeming of excitement, the buzz that was people from all over the world coming together in this one city and having a blast.  I was immediately hooked.  I knew that if I couldn’t find a way to become a locomotive engineer for Santa Fe (I was still calling it that then because not too many BNSF liveries were yet making it down to where I could see them in El Paso), I’d want to work in Las Vegas at one of the big hotels.  I didn’t care what I’d do, as long as I was what I now know is called “the front of the house”.  From front desk, to change person, security guard, I wanted to be in the middle of the action.  The conversation that I had with my mom happened sometime after September 12th and before my graduation sometime in May of ’99.  When I told her, pretty much, that I wanted to work in a host/security position for a major resort on the Las Vegas Strip, she said something to the effect of “They don’t make any money.  How are you going to live?”  and I told her something to the effect (might have been verbatim) “I don’t care.  I’ll find a way to live.  All I need is a roof over my head.”  I’m sure she just kinda shook her head and brushed off the idea, but I was holding steady on that idea.  I even wanted to have a graduation trip back to Las Vegas instead of choosing to go to Chicago to go see where my parents spent a few years of their life when dad was stationed there in the Navy and where my sister was born.  I told my dad that he HAD to go experience Las Vegas.  I remember him brushing off the idea because at the time he thought gambling was stupid.  He said something along the lines of “How the hell can putting money into a slot machine and probably losing it be fun?!”  Well, instead of telling me where we were going, he granted my wish, and we went to Vegas.  To warm up to the idea of gambling, he went to a casino that used to operate on tribal lands in our city and got hooked.  I think he had even more fun than I did on that trip and still goes to Las Vegas multiple times per year now (last year and up to now notwithstanding). 

Anyway, thanks to those two trips and the fact that at the time the National Academy of Railroad Sciences at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas required 30 college credit hours to even apply for the AAS degree (just looking at the page now, the requirements are very different and I would have been able to go right in after high school!  DAMMIT!), I had to choose something to fill up those 30 college credit hours.  I went to El Paso Community College and looked through their degree plans and stopped right at “Hotel/Motel Administration”.  AHA!!!!  “Hey!”, I thought, “I can get a degree in that and then apply at JCC and do that!  If BNSF falls though, then there’s always Vegas!”  ha!  Man, little did I know that to this day, I’ve never seen Overland Park, Kansas and my dream of being a locomotive engineer for BNSF has been filed under the “What could have been” folder of my life.  Damn, that folder has a lot of good stuff in it.  Perhaps I’ll talk about that in a later blog.  Remind me! 

I’ve gotten off topic again, but to circle myself back to the point, I never chased money.  I chased and continue to chase happiness and comfort.  I received my AAS degree in Hotel/Motel Administration in May of 2004 and I spent about 11 total years in the hotel industry.  I had 3 interviews at 2 different resorts in Las Vegas and didn’t get offered either job along the way, so I can’t say that I didn’t try to make my second dream come true.  You could say that I didn’t try hard enough, but I feel very much in tune with the will of God in my life and I felt that He told me that I tried enough… or maybe better said, Las Vegas wasn’t ever in my lifepath, and God wanted to show me that it wasn’t.

Now, for the past 10 years, I’ve been working in a Monday-Friday office job that I really do enjoy and want to keep at doing.  I’ve turned my love and passion of railroading into what it called “railfanning”.  I don’t take videos or pictures (I would love to, just haven’t yet) like most railfans do, but I love to find spots and watch trains pass by.  I especially love the special treat of watching AMTRAK’s Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle stop by here the few times a week it does heading both east and west along Union Pacific’s tracks going from Los Angeles, California to New Orleans, Louisiana or vice versa.  I get as excited to see a BNSF locomotive, a *clean* Union Pacific locomotive (hardly any of them are, sadly), the AMTRAK P40/42 locomotives an old school Santa Fe, Burlington Northern, or the special UP heritage locomotives each time as much as the first time I ever saw one as a kid.  I still love Las Vegas and get the thrill each time I walk or drive on the famous Las Vegas Strip too.  I just know my life has turned out exactly how our Lord willed it to be.  I feel very blessed to have been able to experience all that I have. 

Now, quickly to the other part of my topic in this post, personal vanity.  I’ve never really been that obsessed with looks that I can’t really fix with the help of diet and exercise.  I’m against cosmetic enhancements of any sort, whether it be the dyeing of one’s hair (unless you’re gonna go a crazy color like blue, pink, or any other unnatural hair color for the wild factor of it because I think that’s cool) or facelifts, tummy tucks, etc.  I think God has blessed us ALL with unique beauty and, for women, it’s all good to slightly enhance that with makeup (pretty much don’t go all drag queen with it is what I’m saying), but otherwise, age gracefully, you know?  I find natural beauty so much more attractive in a person than somebody who is constantly wanting to fix this or that.  In any event, my friend was telling me that she would love to go over to Ciudad Juarez to get a chin lift or whatever you’d call thinning out the beginnings of a double chin/drooping chin/whatever you’d call it.  Her sister did it and she says it looked great.  I thought to myself “Is this what really matters to her?  The way her chin might look in the future? “ I felt like asking her why she would want to do that, and furthermore why it matters.  Does she think a man might think she’s perfect aside from that one flaw (and mind you, it’s not)?  I get it, the first thing we notice about a person is their looks.  Why do you think I’m still single and never been married?  I’ll admit it, I’m a C.H.U.D., but that doesn’t change the fact that maybe I’m beautiful to the right woman, right?  A dude can dream.  I ended up telling her that she looked great, but whatever she wanted to do was cool too.  Something like that.  I’m not one to share my opinion about something to somebody that has the polar opposite opinion about it for the most part.  It still gets me though.  Why would she want a cosmetic enhancement?  Why do most women dye their hair too?  Age gracefully.  Trust me, ladies.  If you think that a guy will find you more attractive looking younger or whatever, chances are you’re looking for the wrong qualities in a guy.

But that’s just me.  What do I know?  Again, this is why I’m single.  Hahaha!  The important things to me (pretty much in this order) are:

  1. Our Lord Jesus Christ and the church that He established here on earth, the Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church.
  2. My family
  3. My friends
  4. Sleep
  5. Music
  6. Movies

Sure, there are others on that list, but those pretty much are my top 6.  You don’t need money for the first 4, and they bring me the most joy, so take that how you will.

Have a great weekend!

Love Shellshock

“I get relationship flashbacks like I was in the fucking war or something.”

That’s a quote picture I have saved on my phone and have had since sometime last year or 2019.  Honestly the past 24 months have kinda melded together, right?  Anyway, I have that pic saved there in the event that I want to share those thoughts with my social media friends.  Bad part is that I think I have romantic relationship PTSD because I get flashbacks all the time.  I don’t get it.  Do any of you get them too?  Mind you, I get both good and bad, but you know which ones hurt more?  The good ones do.

I’ve been getting them a lot lately with the latest ex.  I don’t want to completely bury her, but in hindsight she was not as good of a match as I originally thought she was.  First, she was not a practicing Catholic.  Actually, I think at this point in her life she was agnostic at best.  She couldn’t understand why I would make it a point to go to confession at least every two weeks and would go to Low Mass every Sunday morning.  Secondly, although she was 8 years older than I am, she acted and partied like somebody in her early to mid-20s.  That’s not my speed at all.  The other big things that I’ll mention that didn’t quite fit with me about her is that she was a gaslighter (man, I really hated that), and really all it took was one fight and me standing up for myself to end our relationship.  I look back at the year or so I tried to even see her (she doesn’t live in the same city as I do) and I just shake my head in shame.  I don’t think because I tried, but more so that even with those big differences, there was no compromise.  It was just a fading away.  She severed our last social media tie nearly 2 months ago and now she’s disappearing further into my forgotten memories.  The things that linger, however, are the good times we had.  Out of the blue, I’ll recall a happy time we had, and it just hurts.  It’s so weird.  What is that?  Is it my brain fighting back what I’ve put out into the universe that I’ve retired again?  I know I really don’t seriously mean it as my door is always open to God’s plan for the right woman to finally come into my life, but at the same time I’m just over it.  Too much heartache has beaten me into submission. 

I really did try with these last two, though.  I think that’s what hurts even more.  The dumb part is that I find myself lonely at times, much like I have been recently.  I feel stupid as if I am solely to blame for it.  I take equal credit for singleness, don’t get me wrong, but that demon on my shoulder keeps telling me to take it all.  All I know is that I hope this loneliness passes.  I know it always does, but I should clarify that I hope it passes me quickly because I don’t want to take much more if it.  I’ve had enough.

I'm just a clone, talking away while nobody listens