Forever a Clone

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

Faith and My Journey With It

Do you ever get those moments of wonderment and at the same time joyous clarity over things in your life?  I do from time to time.  One of those moments happened over this weekend for me.  I did something that I rarely do, which was take a day off from work.  I didn’t do it for just sitting on the couch nexflixing or anything, but I took it off for religious reasons.  During a homily sometime within the last couple of months, the district superior priest for FSSP was visiting our apostolate here in El Paso when he mentioned that when he was a parish priest, he’d tell his congregation to take Good Friday off and spend that day with God.  Sure, I had done it in the past at my old neighborhood Novus Ordo parish, but I had never done it in the 3 years that FSSP has been in the diocese.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t for lack of interest in attending Mass or anything like that, but I just always would come up with some sort of an excuse to myself that was work related to get myself to not take that time and give it to God.  Without any hesitation I did it this year, though.  Quite honestly, I’m very glad that I did.

I’m finding that each passing day I get closer and closer to God.  I’ve had quite the journey to get where I am and a funny thing about it is that I’m not even sure, aside from Divine Intervention, about just how I formed such a close connection with our Lord.  I say it’s funny because when I look at my family, at least from my father’s side, nobody is Catholic.  Sure, my grandparents are in name, but they don’t attend Mass.  My father, well… that’s a long complicated story that I don’t think he’d want me sharing, my uncle is protestant, and my sister is protestant as well.  All of us were raised in the one True Faith, but as per the norm these days, they have all strayed away from Holy Mother Church.  I’ll be honest, even I did for quite a while.  Even as far back as my early childhood after baptism and first holy communion, I wasn’t a regular attendee of Mass.  Mainly it was because we had no means of transportation to get to the local parishes to make it to Mass.  Sure, we could have walked when we me moved to El Paso when I was 11, but we never really did after the parish finally got their land and stopped holding Mass at the school over the wall from my house.  I did my two years of confirmation classes, but I’ll tell you right now that I don’t remember one bit of any of it.  I wasn’t engaged in my faith at all.  I’d even go as far to say that I was an atheist and even read a bit of Anton LaVey’s books that a friend of mine had.  I had no reason to be religious.  I type that now and cringe, but it was true back then.  I wasn’t evil, violent, or anything like that, but I was just a normal teenage guy wanting rebellion for rebellion’s sake.  It was stupid.  It was only after I had graduated high school that I decided to attend Mass for myself because I wanted to.  I’d always run into my first year confirmation teacher and her husband who are now some of my dearest friends in Christ…  More about them in a bit.  Anyway, I’d always see them at Mass because they’d either be singing in choir or would be leading in some ministry or another at the parish and I’d always felt at peace when I was around them, as if God was telling me to follow their lead.  Well, sure enough, my faith would come and go as I’d find more important things to do as a guy in his early 20s would and I’d make rare appearances at Mass.

Now, here’s where I dabbled in Protestantism.  When I was 20, my right knee blew out.  I tore my ACL and I had a buckle tear in my meniscus.  I was laid out unable to move my leg at all because my knee was locked up, so I spent the entire spring stuck downstairs sleeping on the pullout couch.  I got to see every minute of MTV Spring Break (which was still pretty cool back then), and I had a lot of time to just sit there with my leg immobilized and think, miss walking, and read.  One of the things that I read was this Christian book about coming back to Christ.  There was some sort of protestant “come to Jesus” thing at the end of it and it put me to tears.  I know what had happened to me was a wake up call from our Lord to get myself on the straight and narrow path that I just decided to dance all around.  I went with my sister to her place of worship and found myself immersed in the overwhelming charismatic love for Christ.  I was buying in.  Why wouldn’t I at that point, right?  I never really knew my faith so it had no defense against it.  So, there I was listening to these strongly vocalized sermons and I was giving them the benefit of the doubt until I heard about 10 too many Catholic bashings.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  That’s not what Jesus Christ and His church was about.  There’s no hatred about it OR Him, so I bailed out and went back to the church which He founded on the rock of Saint Peter and started my journey all over again.

My friends were happy to see me, and I even got involved in groups studying encyclicals and books of the Bible and started to attend Mass regularly.  All the while, I was still living a crazy life doing stupid things that I’m not proud of AT ALL, but I could never really see the consequences my actions were having.  Years past with a few wake up calls from Christ here and there, but the one HUGE wake up call I had was in February of 2008.  I did something very stupid, but was lucky to escape from it unscathed.  Well, physically unscathed at least.  But this event finally woke up dumb ass up and got me to embrace our Lord Jesus Christ completely.  I made it a point to go to confession at least monthly, and became even more involved in prayer groups with my friends there at the parish.  I became so involved that I was even able to convince my mom to go with me to Mass.  I’m so grateful that that happened in those short 4 months because my mom ended up passing away in early June of that same year.  I’ll always have that happy thought with me, that my mom saw me finally turn my life around and give it completely to Christ.

That brings me to one of the points I wanted to make and I thought about.  I know some people of know of a lot of stories about where people lose their faith because of the loss of a close loved one.  I had the complete opposite effect happen to me.  Yes, I cried my eyes out as I told my mom how much I loved her as she slowly transitioned from this earth to purgatory… and even typing that out brings me to tears now… and I cried and cried when we got back to the hotel we were at in Lubbock where she passed away that night and did the same thing when we got back home and I saw her bedroom.  Heck, I’m crying right now as I take myself back to those moments and type it out here, but never for one minute did my faith waver.  All I cared about was getting a priest over to her ASAP to give her the anointing of the sick and to give her absolution so that I’d be assured she would be safe in the life after this one.  Once I knew that was taken care of, I left the rest in God’s hands.  Let His will be done.  At her viewing/Rosary and at her funeral Mass I felt sad (of course), but at the same time a resolve to make sure that I remained close with God.  There was never even a question about whether or not my faith was going to go under any test.  If it ever did, I passed it with flying colors.

In the nearly 9 years since my mom has been gone, I have grown more and more attached to God.  Thanks to His grace, he brought the aforementioned FSSP to El Paso and thanks to a Lenten retreat the year before that, I was able to experience the Traditional Latin Mass beforehand.  Me being able to experience that the year before FSSP came here was thanks to those friends I was talking about earlier in the blog post.  This couple, who are my parents’ ages have pretty much become like secondary parents to me.  For sure, I’d say true Godparents.  If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the strong faith I do now.  They have enlightened me to many a things in this beautiful church we have and because of them I have learned a great deal on my own.  With that said, I’ve found that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (as it’s also called) and the Traditional Catholic lifestyle is what I’ve always needed in my life.  Everything about it is so moving.  There is reasoning, history, and biblical meaning behind every single thing.  2000 years of tradition will do that, I suppose.  Attending Mass at Immaculate Conception Church has also helped me grow in and actually learn my faith even more than I already did.  I’m nowhere near apologetics level, but at least I know why certain things are the way they are and I know why things are done and the reasoning behind them.  It’s so funny because a few of my friends from work ask me why we do things from time to time and because of that, I’ve heard this from a handful of people now (or a variant of it), “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?  You are so smart and are so kind, peaceful, caring, and understanding.  I could totally see you as a priest.”  Sometimes that last part is omitted, which I should start following up jokingly “why do you say that?  Because I’m a single guy?!  Might as well join the priesthood because I’m not married?!”  hahaha!

All kidding aside, maybe these people have a point.  Maybe God is calling me to the priesthood.  Maybe my sometimes insane journey these past 36 years has lead me on a lifepath to be a great priest.  That’s not what He’s told me in my heart, though.  My heart tells me that I’m supposed to get married and raise children.  At this point, better late than never right?  Honestly, I’m not holding out much hope.  I think years carry baggage and inherently being my age with no kids and never been married is a real turn off, I’m thinking.  Or perhaps the opposite sex thinks that I’m some sort of philandering d-bag just looking to get what gets looked for these days, if you catch my meaning.  A few… err… a WHOLE MESS TON of bad apples really does spoil the whole darn bunch.

I should just shut up about things now, but close by saying that in short, I am in love with my faith, Jesus’ church, and specifically the way I practice it within the traditional Catholic lifestyle.  If I can recommend one thing that I wish everybody could experience, it would be experiencing the Easter Tridium Masses, the Christmastide Masses, and the Requiem Mass (that is offered with a couple of variances on All Souls Day).  They are beyond words to describe the beauty of them.  I’ll also add that I’m by no means perfect and I still have a very long way to go, but I think that I am well on my way on the path that God intended for me all along.  Good things do come to those who wait.

 

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Solo Deep

It’s Saturday night and I’m wrapping up an awesome day that I’ll say was very much needed. I had it in my head that I really wanted to wake up whenever my heart desired and even though I had stuff to do, I’d do it when I pleased, not because I was on some sort of clock. Well, to be honest, I was on a little bit of clock as I had to be at the cathedral just outside of downtown by around 2:30pm for confession, but aside from that I had nothing but time on my side. I can’t even remember the last time I had an opportunity like this. Lately, it’s been waking up to alarms to get ready for practice, or to go somewhere else for another reason on off Saturdays (as we practice every other Saturday getting ready for our live recording on May 27th!). Anyway, today was pretty freakin’ awesome. I started it off by sippin’ coffee as I got through another episode of Star Trek: Enterprise because I have a mission of my own to accomplish. I’m currently watching Star Trek chronologically from Enterprise all the way to Star Trek Beyond. That’s A LOT of TV seasons and films to watch, but I’m doing for the love of the franchise. I suppose I can write a love letter to my favorite franchise another day. The original plan was for me to wake up, shower, then head out to get some routine truck maintenance done, but I felt compelled to do what I’ve wanted to do for the past couple of months. That thing was to live a day on my terms and schedule… completely. I knew I had those things to do, but I was going to put myself first for once. It led to me having a great day. Not only did I watch Enterprise, but I finally finished season 3 of Black Sails. Man, that show is awesome! I was able to get that done and STILL got my truck maintenance things taken care of and even had time to finally stop by a drive-thru frozen daiquiri joint that some of my co-workers had been telling me about for months. Pretty awesome! You drive up to the joint or park and go inside if you want, decide on what crazy alcoholic concoction you’d like to have, they put it into a Styrofoam cup, put said cup into a clear plastic bag, and send you on your happy way with straw in tow. That way, it’s technically not an open container as they give it to you and it’s up to you if you want to make it to your destination without having the temptation to commit a very dangerous crime of drinking and driving WITH an open container to boot. That’s a pretty harsh rule to break here in Texas as it is in anywhere in the United States, come to think of it, so one would be foolish to try it. I wasn’t about to mess around, so I waited until I got home to cash it in. As soon as I did get home, I decided to forgo cleaning house as I did only about 5 days ago and quite honestly, I needed the break. So more Star Trek and Black Sails were in order. It was just a beautiful day. This is how I really like to enjoy my days off, if you want me to be honest. I think I’ve only audibly spoken about 20 words in total today. Wait, I take that back. I had a pretty lengthy confession. LOL! Aside from that, about 20 words sound about right.

Whew! You made it this far? Asking yourself “Alright, Clone! WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT?!” Well, the point is that conversations with friends have been had lately that have me questioning the very odd question of “Just how the HELL is one supposed to date?” What the hell does that even mean anyway? When you say you’re dating someone, does that mean that you’re exclusive to that person or are they just another person in some kind of spinning wheel of people to call for the same things? That’s one of the questions I have. Another one is this. Just what in the HELL does one do on one of these… dates? Do y’all actually do the small talk thing? My Lord! The thought alone terrifies me! “Hi! How are you! (insert the positive or negative word here) weather we’ve had, eh? So! Eh…” BORING!!!!!!!!! Is that what really happens?! I honestly wouldn’t know. I think I’ve only been on a handful of real “dates” if that’s what you want to call them. Sure, I’ve had girlfriends, but we always did things together and never really did the typical “dinner and a movie” kinda thing. Or the popular meeting at Starbucks for coffee date thing either. I wouldn’t know what to do if I were ever thrust into that kind of a situation. I don’t like small talk at all. I run out of things to say too quickly and I have nothing to keep the small talk going. I don’t particularly care for it. I want to talk about meaningful things with people. What makes them who they are, how they got from the beginning to where they are now, stories from their lives, influences, likes, loves, the arts, entertainment, travels, dreams, aspirations, and so on and so on. I don’t care about the mundane ice breaker things to say.

That’s why I found the conversations I had with some of my friends the past couple of weeks so interesting. They’ve used online dating apps to converse with people and some have actually been quite successful with it. I found each story personally anxiety inducing! HAHAHAHA! My version of small talk and get to know you informally madness would go something like this, “Hi. My name is David. Funny thing about that though, not a lot of people call me that. I’m actually not used to hearing that. I hear “Dave” a lot, and I’ve sorta gotten used to that, but I’m not much of a fan of that either. I respond better to “Clone”. It’s a long story. Anyway, you can call me whatever you want. I pretty much respond to anything. Except “Guy”. I don’t know why, hearing anybody say something to the effect of “hey guy…” is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I can’t explain it. So, right off the bat, I think I should tell you that I’m an introvert, and if that’s not woman repellent enough, I’m also a nerdy dork who is in complete love with all things Star Trek and I love ALL genres of music, so if I’m not nerding out over Trek, I’m probably listening to music nonstop. Wait! Stop running! I’m not that weird! * talking to myself now as mystery woman runs away from me * And my friends wonder why I don’t “put myself out there”. Case and point, JERKS! I could have been home right now. Oh well, better late than never. She was kinda cute, though. Such is life.”

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. I just really don’t have the desire to try and fake my way into a romantic relationship. Why go through all of the bother, you know? I know it can happen organically. That’s how most of my romantic relationships have come about anyway, but to be honest I feel like most people want to use these things like Tinder and Plenty of Fish that used to be used for hook-ups and one-night-stands (and probably to a degree still are) to seek their long-term relationships. I don’t think it’s in me to waste my time like that. Those things weren’t meant for people like me. In the rare event that I do find myself in public alone, I can assure you that I am not looking for a random person to strike a conversation up with. What would I say? What is there to say? “No thank you.” is what my internal monologue says. I’m fine being by myself observing the world around me. I feel the same way in regards to these apps. “No, thank you.” LOL.

I know this sounds really stupid, but I’m really putting dating, romantic relationships, etc in God’s hands where they belong. If I happen to stumble upon a relationship living my life the way I’m the most happy (like right now), then all the better. My life is ALL God’s will anyway. I’m not in control, but I’m sure in the front passenger seat enjoying the ride! Small talk dates, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, whatever else like it that’s out there can go kick rocks as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather save my time and the little to no small talk arsenal that I have for jokes that make at least a few of my friends laugh.

So there you have it. That’s why I had such a great day today. No small talk was had. No faking my life or what I stand for or believe in just to try and win the affections of a woman… or anybody else for that matter. I am who I am. Weird, funny, nerdy, dorky, and kinda a one man wolfpack… Out here in the desert… Looking for people to have deep and meaningful conversations with. Hahaha!

So, how is the weather where you are right now? Man! We just had the most beautiful sunset here today just now. It’s overcast again and is going to be cold again tonight. 😉

A quick glance at my continuing journey of self-discovery

M.I.A.  That’s what I’ve been.  I suppose it’s with decent reasons though.  I’ve had a LOT I’ve wanted to write about, but time has been kicking me around like nobody’s business.  I don’t even know where to begin.

I think I should start with where my life events and mood have taken me over the past few months.  The past 9 months have really been such a blessing and thoughts, feelings, and the way I want to live my life have been setting deeper into solid concrete than ever before.  Some odd things have been coming out of my self-discoveries too.  Friendships have been annulled, acquaintances have lost touch, and I think I’ve become more confident as to what I stand for and who I am because of it all.

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If you want my honest opinion, I’m glad for the way things have been turning out in my life.  I know I’ve said it before, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  Those pictures say a lot about how I really feel about things.  Not to get into too much detail, but those phrases are put so beautifully into pictures up there got put to the test a while back and honestly, I’m glad they did.  The situation reinforced the confidence in myself to keep on being exactly who I am and what I stand for.  I know there are 3 sides to every story, but I’ll stick by mine.

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Another thing that I’ve really noticed is that I am loving the routine I’ve given myself lately.  For as much grief as I get for proudly waving my Type B personality flag and my INFJ flag on my social media posts, those personality traits of mine have really been allowed to flourish.  I love the peace and quiet that I have when I get home from work.  I find peace and joy from cooking, cleaning, organizing, and doing laundry in solitude (which I do a lot of, actually as those who follow me on Snapchat know).  I know the extroverts that will happen to read this will cringe at the thought of me enjoying life the way I do, but I believe these three postings say it best:

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Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not turning into some kinda crazy recluse that shuns all human contact.  I love my family.  That’s what I consider you if we are friends and hang out, by the way.  I don’t really have friends.  I have acquaintances and family.  I love spending time with the people that I love.  They mean everything to me and I hope they realize that I’m just a bit weirder than they initially thought.  Hahahaha!

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With all of that said, I’m kinda shocked at just how quickly this year has gone by.  It’s going to be April on Saturday morning!  Can you believe that?!  This year is going by too fast and I haven’t even gotten the chance to settle into it at all.  April is going to be so busy for me.  Lots of work, Holy Week right in the middle of the month, a Saturday of work after that, then possibly a band trip at the end of the month is coming up.  Before I know it, May will be here and our album recording on May 27th will be upon us.  Where am I going to find the time to go camping?  Camping season around here is generally from April through October, so I’m already getting behind a month.  I know that’s what my body, brain, and soul need… that weekend getaway from cell phone signal, other human contact, and city life.  I need minimal electricity (only what batteries and my Chevrolet Suburban can provide), and what the wilderness can provide for me for a few days.  Hopefully I can find a few times in May and FOR SURE in June to start to get my mind right.

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I think that picture says it best too.  Having a partner in crime would be nice.  Not that it would ever happen.  Ha!!!!  I’m just too weird for my own good.

Until next time, y’all!

Challenging Feminism

AMEN to this post!

BeautyBeyondBones

Lately, it’s been really weird to be a woman.

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Not because of any fashion or makeup trends…although, I will say…I don’t quite understand the reemergence of the shoulder pad.

But because of all the recent hyper focus on…feminism.

The Women’s March, International Women’s Day, protests, walk outs, I mean, we get it already

But to be honest, I am confused by the whole matter.

Women are not marginalized in the United States of America. 

What are they fighting for? Why all the anger?

Now listen, I know that this post is probably going to garner a lot of backlash, but you know what, that’s okay. I would love to hear thoughts on all sides of this issue. Truly. Every person is entitled to their own viewpoints, and I respect those feelings, even if they differ from mine. And of course, there is always room for improvement in removing some lingering…

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Here for the party

The past few weeks, for as troubling as some of it has been, have also reminded me about how every passing day of mine is better than the day before. Each day off that I get to relax and take time out to just reflect reminds me about just how good I have things.

I’ll try my best to explain. If I look back at my life, I can clearly remember how misguided I was during a lot of it. I was angry and bitter about a lot of things in my life. I had a pretty bad mood. That’s nothing like what I am now, but when I think back to it, all I do is shake my head at the disbelief over how bad of an attitude I had towards life. I still don’t even know why I was like that either. Maybe it was the young me trying to find out just who the hell I really am. That mixed in with crazy hormones was probably a bad mix.

Believe it or not, considering my current stance on life, there was a time in my life that I desperately wanted to fit in with the crowd. I wanted to be part of the cool people and all that garbage. When I realized that I would never really fit in with all of my oddities, naturally I got frustrated with that too. Why wasn’t I getting the girls? Why wasn’t I getting the attention I wanted? Sure, I was funny and have that eccentric charm, but there are a few simple truths that killed my chance at popularity. Looks, money, and the desire to attain either of those. I was who I was, and come to think about it I still am that. I’m always going to be that short, fat, moron who will always try to find the funny in almost any situation.

With that said, over the past few weeks, I’ve thought about just how much more comfortable I am getting in my own skin. I have been occasionally taking time out of my free time to just sit on my couch and allow my brain to wander around and just do it’s thing. One of the things that got me to laugh was just how much of a contradiction my home décor is. Then again, it is completely and totally me. I have a lot of my wall space dedicated to music, with a Mötley Crüe poster and large pin, 3 Metallica posters and banners (in the middle of a LOT of Metallica memorabilia around it), my autographed Steel Panther stuff, and my Beatles poster all up on my walls. Next to that is my ode to my Catholic faith and family there, then followed by sports memorabilia, empty bottles of booze that carry memories in them, with it’s own space, a large metal cross that my late mother purchased and had up in our home, and finally a real Ocean’s Eleven movie poster that satisfies both my love for movies and my love for Las Vegas. It’s pretty clear that you see what really matters to me by spending two minutes in my living room. I laugh all time when I think about it because I can only imagine people looking at me in disgust saying “Jesus doesn’t mix well with your Metallica – Sad But True poster, dude… OR those empty Cabo Wabo Tequila bottles either for that matter. To me, it does. Everything about me goes hand and hand. I don’t fit into a single mold (shhhh with your weight jokes!).

I’m happy. I’ll tell you that right now and tell you that I’m honest about that fact. I really am happy. I’m happy with the person that I am and happy with where the situations and decisions that were put in front of me have placed me in my life today. Just yesterday, as a matter of fact, I found myself just completely happy over the fact that I woke up at 7am, for some insane reason considering that I was up late at Nocturnal Adoration with my Adoration brothers at my old Catholic Parish until about midnight, but happy at the time time that I did wake up so early so that I could get to the things I needed to do, like get my truck washed, go grocery shopping, cleaning my house, and doing laundry. All of that just brought me such joy. Cleaning up, organizing, and yes even grocery shopping has always just brought me peace and happy thoughts.

I know, at this point you’re probably wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Don’t worry, me too reading that back to myself. It’s just part of who I am. I kept posting updates on my social media outlets about just how much of a good time I was having. I bet people thought I was kidding about it, but I was being honest.

I was happy doing the things that made me happy. Oddly enough, I was talking to a friend of mine just this morning who recently has been down in the dumps and feeling lonely, etc. I don’t know why, but I had realized that this person has relied on other people to make them happy. Nothing that they have ever done for themselves had made them happy. Does that make sense? It’s nothing new in my observations, to be honest. Just to generalize (and I know I’m probably wrong and don’t have any scientific data to back this up) I always find people talking about doing things to make themselves desirable for another person. I ask myself, “For what?! Why not try and do something for yourself! Make yourself happy! You wanna do something for somebody just to have that one moment of temporary happiness, or those few moments of happiness? For what??!! Just to not have it appreciated later, or even worse just be pushed over or left behind? Then what, dude?!” I told this person to be happy with themselves instead. Do things that made them happy. It’s a crazy idea, but it’s true.

I realized that I finally learned that lesson myself about 3 years ago. I stopped letting the actions of others or others’ opinions of me dictate my happiness. I finally took control of that. Only I will control what makes me happy. Somebody doesn’t want to talk to me? So what? Somebody thinks I’m an idiot? Good for them. I’m going to keep being the weird dude I’ve always been, except now I’m not going to apologize for it or try and change to appease somebody else and have that control my emotions or my self worth. I am who I am and do what I do for me. I gotta say that I feel pretty happy about that.

So, there it is, peeps. Be happy for yourselves! Do what makes you happy… that is unless it harms somebody else. That’s a dick move. Don’t be that person.

Kick rocks, January!

I can’t believe we’re in February already!  What the hell happened to January?  Wait a minute.  I can tell you what the hell happened to me in January.  With the exception of one piece of good news which I’ll share with you momentarily, January 2017 was a clusterfuck.  Apologies on the vulgarities, but there’s no other good way to put it.  January was a giant clusterfuck.  Each week it was one bad thing to replace the other and I felt like I couldn’t escape it.  I was like Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV when Drago was kicking his ass from corner to corner.  By the way, why the hell didn’t that ref stop that fight after about round 2 or 3?  Anyway, I digress.  What the hell, January?  I haven’t had such a bad time in about 5.5 years.  I suppose as equally as odd, I didn’t let it completely ruin my mood as before.  I wish I could tell you how or why it was, but maybe it’s because I’m in such a good place emotionally that even with past 5 weeks of spectacular and individual train wrecks, I’m such a stronger and more mature person emotionally that I just let that shit slide.  All I can hope for now is that February is a good month and makes up for January, the party pooper.

As for the good news that I mentioned a paragraph before, the idea that has been floating around for at least 2 years with the band is finally going to happen this May.  Let me back track a bit.  6 years ago last month, we recorded our album “Zombie Platter” in an advertising agency that just happened to sometimes double as a recording studio.  This was the 4 of us’ first time ever actually recording music and we had no idea of what to expect or much less what the hell we were doing.  To be honest, we barely knew our songs well enough to go in there and record them.  But we were ambitious and had the desire to do it and we did.

You can stream that album now on your streaming service of choice (Spotify, iTunes Music, Google Play, etc.) by either searching by our band name, Searchlight Needles, or the album title “Zombie Platter”, by the way.

Anyway, 2 years ago while on a trip to visit one of the guys in the band, we caught a performance by the band Quiet Company.  They were playing at a bar somewhere in Deep Ellum in Dallas whose name escapes me, but anyway these guys were incredible!  Their energy on stage was electric and palpable.  They had a dude selling a couple of their albums and some other merch, so Gonzo bought two albums of theirs.  It was a great thing he did because about 2 hours west of the DFW metroplex we put the CDs on and it inspired us to re-record our album.  Ever since we finished the album and played it back for ourselves we actually learned the songs better (if that makes any sense) and therefore played them even better on stage.  Not only that, but the favorite tunes that we play at every gig eventually started to morph and mutate as we spiced things up with new fills and new energy to each song.  Gonzo and I thought that the way we play the songs now are better than the way we recorded them so why not give them the definitive editions of them, right?  So, we brought the idea to the other 3 guys in the band at the time (the lead guitarist has since moved out of town, but wasn’t part of the band when we recorded either) and they were all for it.

Of course, nothing came of it until April or so of last year when we went to practice at a recording studio in town that also rents out practice space.  The guys in the band thought “Why not record us live in a single take instead of the way you’re supposed to record music?! (which is tracking each instrument individually, in case you were wondering)” We all agreed that it would be cool to do that and try it out, so when we approached the people at the recording studio we practiced at with the idea we got something to the effect of “Ahhh… well… that’s really not the way you’re supposed to record albums… blah blah blah.”  And I almost felt like telling them “We know, guys!  We did one; we just want to record this way instead!  Would you want to do it or not?”  But we just brushed them off and off went the idea.

The idea never died in these past couple of months though and for some reason the idea really gained traction again last month and we tried to reach out to the same recording studio again and got no response (F those guys, by the way.  I won’t mention their name, but F THEM!), so Gonzo reached out to a friend of the band who played in gigs with his band before I joined up because he had recording equipment back in the day.  Turns out that he apparently still had some of the stuff but didn’t really record anything anymore but he knows a guy who does and got us in contact with him.  This guy, Chris, is a BADASS.  Instead of stopping Gonzo and I during our initial meeting to discuss the project at “Well, what we want to do is record the 4 of us playing at the same ti…”, he was all for it!  That alone was a fresh enough take to be open minded enough to want to be a part of it, it made us excited for it.  We couldn’t wait to tell the other two guys in the band that our meeting was a success and we were going to do it if they were up for it and the ball started rolling there.  It what has seemed to be perfect and beautiful timing, a gorgeous and new recording studio has opened up in town by the name of Star City Studio, and as you can see from the article I linked to, these people have created not only a recording studio, but a gorgeous masterpiece AND so happened to have THE perfect place to do what we want to do, which is record live and that’s what we’re going to do in Studio C.  I recorded a YouTube video that shows the centralized control room and Studio C to show to the guys, but more for myself so that I’d remember just how excited I was to see the place where one of the best moments in my life will happen.  Yes, I called it already!  This will be a big accomplishment.  We’re going to release it to the world so that it can be heard and purchased on every platform imaginable (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, etc.), so that will make two albums of our hard work and dedication that I can show the world.  Show the world that I did something.  I left a mark.  I existed.  I hope it really takes off and makes at least a little bit of noise, if even just locally.

So, we’ll see what happens!  We’re going to record 15 songs live on May 27th of this year in front of whoever wants to show up and be a part of (at least our) history.  I can’t wait.  Our practices and preparations are going to start next week, so I’m sure that things will start to take shape then!

Life is looking up.  Hopefully for you all as well.

January Madness

Well, what a crazy 3 weeks it’s been to start this month/year.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up with the gym as I had promised myself, but for some reason outside forces have kept me from getting back there.  Week one was a vicious sinus infection.  There I was New Year’s Eve all happy that I thought I had cheated the sickness around me only to find it hit me early that morning and went full force the rest of the week.  TERRIBLE!  Ok!  I do enough drugs to get myself to get to the gym on Monday, everything is coming up Milhouse and boom!  Family medical emergency goes down and I had to put my life on pause (willfully and gladly I thought I should mention here) to take care of business.  This past Saturday rolls around and it’s my first day to really sleep in in two weeks.  Everything is going cool and I decide to get to my happy place which is cleaning my house and doing laundry when all of a sudden during a 5 minute break at my dining table, one of my chairs decided to take out a finger and there I go bleeding out like some kinda moron who apparently didn’t learn to fear and respect dining table chairs.  Hahahaha!  I laugh at it now because at the time I was literally telling my walls “Really, dude?!  For F’s sake!  I can’t catch a break, man!  If it ain’t one thing it’s the other.  Alright, stupid finger, you can stop bleeding any time you’d like dude.  *insert various other vulgarities here*” So, here I sit at week 3 of this month continually staring at the base of my left middle finger that is still throbbing with pain any time I move it because the cut is at the very base near the webbing between index and middle finger wondering why it is that things are keeping me from getting to my life goals.  What did I ever do, man?  In the words of The Dude in one of my favorite films, The Big Lebowski, “I can’t be worried about that shit man.  Life goes on.”  And it will, my friends.  I may have lost the field at the starting gate, but you better know that I’ll catch up and pass everybody in the race too!  It’s just a matter of time.

In happier news, even with all of the chaos that has engulfed my life, I think I’m really finally settling into a good groove to start off the year.  I decided to finally pull the trigger and get to a project I’ve been having on my mind to do with the house and fill a blank wall with one of my 50 or so movie one-sheet posters I had from my time working at one of the now no-longer-in-existence movie theaters in town and although I really wanted to frame up my Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back one sheet, I chose Ocean’s Eleven instead.  It just made more sense to me.  It fit a few spots I wanted to represent:  comedy, adventure, and of course Las Vegas.  It’s pretty funny when I think about it.  I have little things everywhere in my house that represent little pieces of things that mean the world to me.  I have memorabilia and posters/flags of some of my favorite bands, rally towels and collectables from some of my favorite sports teams in between cool specialty designs of some of my favorite bottles of booze (all empty of course), pictures of family and religious articles proclaiming my Catholic faith, and of course my drums are all in there too.  Almost everything that made me who I am today are there for me to see.  I was looking around yesterday after I put up that one-sheet, one of my 25+ year old Metallica posters, and a Beatles poster I bought about 2 years ago and thought to myself, “Hell yeah, man.  This is you.  Be proud of all you’ve accomplished, man.  It’s been a helluva ride these past 36 years and things can only continue to go up from here.  Be proud of who you are, where you come from, and where you’re going.”  It feels good to have some pride in myself for once in my life.

And you know what?  Things are looking up for me.  Once this stupid finger heals, and I don’t have to worry about MRSA or any other infection I could get with an open cut on my hand where I could easily grab something at the gym, I’ll get back to that full force… Well unless some other calamity occurs in my life before then.  UGH!!!  And sooner than later here, the band is going to start back up and hopefully we’ll get to put a project we’ve been talking about on wax.  Just playing music again with my brothers will be good enough even if the project we have doesn’t pan out.  Overall, it continues to be the happiest time I’ve ever had in my life.  Time to hope that I can finally move this train down the tracks.  I have no more time for delays!

Take it easy, y’all!

Peace out 2016, Holler at me 2017

This is it.  We made it, y’all.  2016 and its crazy ass has finally come to an end.  Globally, I must say we had a pretty bad year.  Lots of terrorist acts, lots of war, and lot of death of people who are known by a lot of other people came to pass this year.  I know a lot of people are upset about it and have been taking note about how bad it’s been for us as a whole.  I tend to agree with them, but in what has been my nature more strongly for the past 5.5 years, I tend to focus on the positives.  I had a lot of positive things happen in my life this year.  In January, I made the decision to not live with anxiety and a too large of amount of stress for me to handle and the positive outcomes came from there.  I did fail, however, to get started on my weight loss goals but that’s to come later.

More great things came this year.  Most notably, I cut half the commute from my drive to both work and my parish and moved to central El Paso and even though I didn’t have any reservations about it, I had no idea at how awesome it would turn out to be.   Everything that I need or like is minutes away and the peace and quiet I get now is an even bigger Godsend.   Another great thing that came about from my change mid-year was that a true nature I’ve always had really flourished like a wildfire.  That true nature I speak of is my introvert nature.  I’ve always had it, but it wasn’t until I was truly on my own that it just consumed me.  I have honestly never been as happy in my life as I am now.  It’s the greatest thing ever.  Now, I have nobody to put a fake act on for, nobody to try to conform to, etc.  I can truly be me now and me is that dude who would rather be left alone, hates and honestly feels sick down to my bones to be in a crowd of strangers for more than a few minutes, who loves to spend time with only a select group of friends, and who finds comfort in music, movies, and the general arts of all kinds.  Granted, the last thing is something that more than just introverts to, I find that I don’t have to feel weird about my musical tastes because I’m liberated to be who I want to be without judgement.

With that all said, my very positive personal life changes has brought about resentment and probably a loss of friendships along the way with it too, but if you want me to be completely honest, I’ll say that if people can’t accept who I am, who I aspire to be, and what I stand for personally, then they don’t need to be in my life.  Simple as that.  I am sick and tired of being surrounded by negativity.  Again, for the past 5 years, I’ve done my best at always living looking at the positive in things and people and I have completely stopped dwelling in the bad in people and in things.  Sure, I’m aware they exist, but I refuse to let it consume me.  I also never have held grudges, but even more so now I forget and forgive as Jesus told Peter in Matthew Chapter 18 verse 21,

“21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

I’m always going to be the same funny, happy, comedic (even horribly punny and cheesy), stupid moron.  I have no time to say out loud or to myself “remember what this jerk did to me?  F that person!”  Nah, that’s stupid.  I refuse to waste my life that way.

So, Sunday morning will bring on 2017 and the renewal of hopes and dreams for everybody, myself included.  I’ve never been one to do New Year’s resolutions, but I will say this.  I’m going to put my plans in motion to get myself in a better physical shape than round.  (LOL!) and I will continue to be the person I am regardless of the consequences of the judgements of others.  I’m going to be me and do what makes me happy.  That’s pretty much stay home, stay focused on my weight loss, laugh a lot more, spend time with the friends and family that accept me for who I am and don’t want to change me, watch more awesome movies, listen to great music, and hopefully make awesome music too.  I have plenty of room for those who want to join me, but if you don’t want to or want to get off the ride; I’m not going to stop you either.  In the words of “King” George Strait, “I ain’t here for a long time; I’m here for a good time.”

Good Enough

I’ve had one of the most interesting weeks in quite some time. Actually, it’s been more like 2 weeks that have been having me thinking about things in my life again. It all started the week of my birthday early last week. My pops shot me a text and asked if he could come over to drop off my birthday gift. I happily said of course and shortly thereafter he and his wife came over. I had such a good feeling having him over again. We talked about sports and the possibilities of fishing and camping this upcoming year and that got me all excited for the awesome times we may be having. After they left the weird thought about it all started to creep in. I wonder if he’s proud of me. I know, some of you may think that even thinking that is stupid enough, but hear me out. I mean, I know that all parents are proud of their children for one reason or another, but there are kids that happen to fail in life in one way or another you know? Some turn out to be criminals, some end up homeless or destitute, etc. You get what I’m saying. In my case, I know that he wishes I wasn’t alone. Dude won’t admit that to me or anything, but I’ve heard it from other sources that that’s how he feels. So I think about that sometimes. Is the way my life has turned out been OK for him? Is this how he thought I would turn out? Did I fail him and my mom (before she passed away 8 years ago) with the choices I made in my life? It really does make me wonder. I’ve always felt that I’ve had to live up to standards that my family set and now that I look at my life, I’m not even sure I have met them. I will say, however, that I’m happy. I’m happy with the way my life is at the current moment. I have a beautiful apartment that’s central to everywhere I need to be, I have a job that gives me very minimal stress, and I have a great group of close friends that keep me very much insane. I can’t ask for very much more. Funny thing is that the thing I had wanted previously, I’m getting now. Peace and quiet. I love silence and the serenity that it brings me. I’ve gotten all the silence I’ve needed as of late. So, back to the question about my dad. I don’t think I’ll ever find out the answer to my question because we just don’t have that type of relationship, but I hope that by him seeing that I’m happy with my life, he can be proud of me.

With that odd cloud hanging over me, I had a very strange week starting this past Monday. A few people from my past or people connected with said past came in contact with me starting this past Monday and to be honest, it put me in a very strange mood. There were plenty of events that I pretty much buried that were dug back up. I buried those things for a reason and I really didn’t want my mood to be killed, but alas there it was. I think I actually masked it well enough during the week and I really tried to get it to not effect me as much as it could have. Some people noticed, but I really think I fought off the worst of it all. Why this week of all weeks, right?!

Which brings me to a more joyous topic, Christmas! Christmas week is here and I couldn’t be happier. It’s my time to get closer to God and family alike. …AND get my Christmas music and movies in! I’ve actually been quite glued to iHeartCountryChristmas for about 2 weeks now and I still can’t get enough. I’m an idiot though! I wonder why I never purchased George Strait’s Christmas album. I need that in my life. Hahaha! But, anyway, Christmas music will be played even more by me this week and our family tradition of gathering at my grandparents house on Christmas Eve will continue this year. I’m getting the chance to bake my celebrated ham, dad’s roasting a turkey, and everybody else is bringing other dishes so that we can have a good meal with family. I can’t wait. On Sunday after Mass, I’ll be sure to be sitting on my couch watching my Christmas Film playlist while sipping on Egg Nog, Hot Chocolate, Coffee, or maybe all 3. Not at the same time, of course. And thanks to the holiday falling over the weekend, I get Monday off as well, so I can’t complain at all.

I hope you all have a great Christmas week as well. We’re almost done with 2016 (thank God!) Everything is starting new again soon enough, my friends! I’m looking forward to the change!

Birthday Fun!

So, today I turned 36.  Damn.  I’m tripping out even typing that.  I didn’t think I’d be where I am, or the person I am today many many moons ago when I thought about becoming an adult.  I’m actually glad the way things have turned out for me honestly.  Over the years friends have come, some have gone, and each day I strive to be a better person.

I thought about just how blessed I am this morning as I woke up an hour earlier than I was wanting to, but immediately opened up my birthday card that my dad and his wife had dropped off earlier in the week.  That visit actually brought along thoughts that I’ll probably share on another post, but anyway I opened up the card and immediately felt the love.  It was cool.  Hell, it actually started after Mass last night when I opened my first present.  It was George Strait’s Straight Out of the Box 2 CD boxset that my sibling gave me.  For those that don’t know, King George is my all-time favorite country music artist so I tried my best to hold the real excitement of it all!  Back to this morning though, after opening up my birthday card from dad, I made a quick playlist of songs some of my favorite artists, including Metallica, Pantera, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, George Strait, and of course Steel Panther!  Then the real fun started!  I got tweets and Facebook posts right after and thankfully they haven’t stopped since then.  What’s even crazier is that my coworkers totally streamed out the cubicle I’m at this week and gave me a KICK ASS birthday basket full of some of the things I love!

I’ll tell you something, my friends.  It’s good to feel loved by the people whom you love dearly, even if it is for one day.  I think my 36th ranks right up there with last year with family in Vegas, my 31st when I threw myself a party at Peter Piper Pizza, got my name announced like a little kid (because it’s like Chuck E. Cheese’s… kids have their birthday parties there for those that don’t know what it is.  LOL), then later on that evening we played a gig at our favorite bar to play at with family and friends around and had a great time.  I think today is ranking right up there with them.  Tonight we’re planning on going to our new favorite bar, to eat after that, then to my place to turn the party dial to a solid 11.  I’m sure you’ll see some of it on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and/or Snapchat!

So here’s to another year, and here’s to making new friends here on WordPress as well!

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