Saturday, November 21, 2009


I know how to break a creator’s heart.

Simply tell them, “maybe”.

Maybe things will change, maybe tomorrow won’t be the same, maybe I’ll answer the phone when you call.

There is no word more venomous, more potent, more damning than the word ‘maybe’ to a creative person, for the creator knows that ‘maybe’ does not exist in creation.

No, in creation, there simply is or there isn’t.

What artist traces a line onto a blank canvas with the word ‘maybe’ in mind? What composer inserts a note in just the right place, hoping ‘maybe’? What writer frantically scribbles down a passing thought onto a note-pad thinking, ‘maybe’?

No, the creator knows.
The creator knows what is and what isn’t.

Should something unwanted find its way into the composition, a misplaced line, a wrong note, a poor choice of words, it is destroyed.

The creator sees the grand result before it even exists, and in the struggle to snatch it from vision to reality, knows what must stay and what must go.

‘Maybe’ has no place in the vast world of creation.

Maybe the sun will rise for just one more day, maybe the moon will come out for just one more night, maybe your heart will beat just one more beat.

No, there is no such thing.

So now you know why every time you tell me ‘maybe’,

you maybe just broke my heart.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Mobile

I was walking around campus one day at night, I really like to do that, and casually looked up at the stars. I began to contemplate everything, the everything of life. I looked up at the night sky, simple to the eye, yet supremely complex and incomprehensible. I looked up at the night sky as perhaps a child would look at a mobile hanging over the crib. A mobile that has been gently nudged into motion, swinging slowly in perfect symmetry and balance.

All things are set in marvelous, miraculous motion. And we, the awestruck infants, are dazzled by its complexity. Everything that is has been gently nudged into being. A cosmic force, a gentle touch, an epic event, a minor occurrence.

And we spin in perfect balance, never failing, never changing in absolute perfect harmony. We are but the molecules of the everything, the tiniest parts of a grand whole that constitutes a mere part of an even greater sum.

Who are we? Where are we? Why are we? In our confusion, many times we forget. This we are, here we are, because.

We are the grand composition, inseparable from the parts that constitutes us, indivisible from the whole which we make up.

All things pushed forward must stop, and so must we. The mobile must eventually stop spinning, the gentle nudge creates only a short spectacle, and so all that we are must end. Yet, while is the end we fear, it is the end that makes all things brief, beautiful, and true.

Looking up at the stars, I feel a great sense of self. As the earth spins closer to another day, around a sun that will shine for at least another morning, centered in a vast universe that is a mere pinpoint in space, I do not feel lost.

All things are brief, all things are beautiful, all things are true.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown

Sometimes I feel like practicing my rhyming LOL

I've seen the crowds rise to their feet,
I've tasted victory on every feat,
I've heard the praise for every obstacle I meet,
But if they only knew the throne is such a lonely, lonely seat

Heavy is the head that wears the crown,
For after the crowds disappear and the sun goes down
These castle hallways haunt me so
Fear follows me wherever I go

I built my palace on a lake of tears,
On broken swords and shattered spears,
And a mighty ruler learns after many years
That the powerful don't show their tears

And I'd give all the riches and all the fame
I'd give England, France, and Spain
Just to know that tomorrow won't be the same,
To know these thoughts won't be in my brain,
To lose myself and take a different name,

But there's no rest for the king
And I know what tomorrow will bring
For me the sun won't rise and the birds wont sing

There's only this painted frown,
Heavy is the head,
Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


It is difficult to say why it happens, difficult to say exactly how it feels, and difficult to share with others.

I want to tell the whole world what's wrong, and all at once keep it to myself forever without telling a soul.

I want to scream a million different things. Things about the torturous mind, about the hopelessness, about why the caged bird sings.

It watches like a falcon, silently waiting and watching, and then quietly pounces on every hope and joy until none remain.

It stalks the jungles of my thoughts like a jaguar, full of hunger and silent malice.

It strikes like a cobra. One brief violent flurry of fangs and venom, and then suddenly nothing.

Nothing, like it had never occurred, the mind can't seem to ever recall how it could have felt the way it did five minutes ago.

It leaves no scars, no clear marks, no blood, no bruises... it leaves not a trace of its lethal injection, barely a memory even remains.

But it happens, and it happens frequently. My hands begin to shake, my vision begins to blur, my breathing becomes strained, and every friend in the world melts into the earth and does not exist.

There is only me and the python, only me and this disorder, and it is a battle I fight very much alone.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

La Catrina

(I'm definitely not done editing this! It has some flow issues to correct, but I thought you guys might enjoy the rough draft :D )

The streets of Mexico are alive tonight. Rows upon rows of candles cast their flickering light on the cobblestone streets, allowing the townspeople to steal glances at the brightly colored flowers and ofrendas. The smell of freshly baked bread fills the air, mingling with the incense, and chocolate, and roses. Men on stilts strut about the village as children skip along below. Mariachi music dances within the listener's ear, bright colors and candy skulls fill every empty void; the streets of Mexico are alive tonight.

A young girl paces slowly towards a small framed picture with candles surrounding it, her zapatas clicking along on the tile. She is wearing a traditional dancer's gown, the many folds dragging along the floor as she walks. She kneels down and places a doll amongst the candy skulls, flowers, and candles, right next to the framed picture. The doll is a catrina, a day of the dead figurine resembling a skeleton. It depicts a woman wearing a traditional dancer's gown, its many folds bunching up on the ground as it is placed at the ofrenda. "Ay Esperanza, I miss you Esperanza, if only you were alive tonight."

And suddenly, the young girl was in a different place. A place where there was dancing, and long flowing gowns, and everything around her began to dance as if it were all part of some grand Jarabe Tapatio, and her heart was full. She felt a wholeness again that she thought had been lost to pain, sadness, and emptiness. She felt a presence she had so missed and so longed for, an incredible warmth that brought her relief at last.

Just as soon as the dance had begun, it ended. And the candles faded, and the music stopped. The sweet smells dissipated, and the presence was dropped. And there she sat, the bottom of her gown forming a great circle on the floor. And she cried, and she cried, until she could cry no more. "Ay Esperanza," she wept, "Ay Esperanza, if you were only alive tonight."

And she looked up at the sky, perhaps wondering if she would ever dance with her mother again. "Ay mi madre," she cried, picking up the catrina and holding it close to her heart, "ay mi madre, me duele tanto, me duele tanto, if only you were alive tonight."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hey there roomie!

Whether it is based on my predisposition to dislike people or not, I seem to have bad luck when it comes to sharing a room or space with people, AKA, "roommates". Each and every time that I've had one, they've always managed to annoy the crap out of me. I am the sum of my experiences, so I guess I'll leave this question up to you to answer.

Is it my problem that I haven't liked all these people, or perhaps I have just been unfortunately paired with crazy people?


My troubles began when I was very young and had to go to camp Y'Shua, a fat camp masquerading as a Christian learning retreat. During the day we would be forced to run a few laps, crank out a few push ups, and throw some frisbees. And dance, we can't forget the dance. I didn't have a roommate really, for all the males shared a big room with wooden bunk beds.

I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and climbed the wooden ladder to my bed to settle down for the night. A counselor came in for a mandatory thirty seconds of prayer, and then the lights went off. I thought it was time to sleep, until...

"Nunnapeeds man."

The voice came from some top bunk in the corner. It was said with such confidence that you could tell he had been waiting all day to say it.

"What do you mean dude?"

"I mean nunnapeeds man, shit, they're here... in the trees. I saw one."

"No shit?"

"For real."

My eyes widened, not because I believed in nunnapeeds, but because I was appalled that a sixth grader was using such language.

"What's a nunnapeed?" A scared voice asked from below me.

"You don't know what a nunnapeed is?"


"You're a lucky bitch. Well I guess you've been one up until now, 'cause I'm fixing to tell you. Nunnapeeds are little people that live in the mountains and trees, they got sharp teeth and sharp claws. They eat babies. I know this 'cause I used to have a little brother, but we took him hiking one day and a damn nunnapeed ran out and took him. We was looking for a long time for him, until I found his body... but the insides had been taken out."

I wondered what business a baby could possibly have in the wilderness. Who takes babies on hikes?

"No shit?"

"No shit."

I really wanted to sleep. There was a shuffling noise from across the room, and a shaky voice said, "I saw one. Today."

"You seen one?"

"I did. He was crawling by the rocks over there... there was blood on his mouth."

Everyone began whispering amongst themselves. The original storyteller, none too happy that someone else had witness a nunnapeed, disputed his claim.

"You didn't see shit, bitch. I lost a baby brother to the nunnapeeds, if you'd-a seen one then you'd be dead."

Then there was silence, and half the people in the room woke up to shaving cream on their faces, no doubt the work of the nunnapeeds.


I had just won a free trip to Washington D.C. because of an essay I had written over conserving energy. All the winners had received letters telling them that they would be sharing a room with two other people during their week long stay in the capital. This all seemed fine with me at the time, but then....

"You see them Mexi-Can maids? Can ya talk to 'em?"

"I can, but it would be rather unprovoked. You don't just randomly approach people and talk to them because they can speak English, do you?"

"I reckon not but that's 'cause I don't speek a for-ran language! If'n I did, then I sure as hell would use it!"

This was the general dialogue I had with my roommates. The essay contest had been for rural students, and I was the first minority they had ever laid eyes upon.

"I'm roomin' with a gen-you-whine Mexi-Can!" I heard one of them say during a phonecall home. "He speaks real Spanish!"

During our week in the capital, my roommates frequently spoke about bombing the mosques they saw near the embassies in order to, "see how they like it!" and liked to play with the idea of shooting the first gay person they saw.

Our group left every morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m., but my good ol' roomies liked to keep me up until 4 a.m. Their methods of doing this varied greatly from day to day. On a good day for me, it would simply be a televised cocktail of NASCAR, ESPN, and E! entertainment. The last one made it to my list of things that I may never understand, right under "Biopolitics and Autonomo-Politics of the body." On my worst nights, though, it would be because they brought some girl back to the room.

"Aw shit I got a pretty lady to fuck with tonight!" One exclaimed after he got off the phone with the pretty lady I just mentioned. It's worth mentioning that this is the same guy who has a girlfriend back home, and who "lead the group in prayer" the next morning. Those nights I would call home to talk to family and friends.

"Why are you calling so late?" my friend asked.

"Because the bumpkin found a hooker."

I eventually took a little bit of revenge, however. My last night in D.C. was approaching, and one of my roommates was on the phone with a potential "pretty lady."

"Alright babe I'll wait." He said, putting the phone down and holding it to his chest,
"Ay amigo!" He said, looking at me. "I wanna tell my lady that she's beautiful in Spanish, how do I do that?"

Had I answered, "mi amor, eres linda", it would mean no sleep for me and another awkward phone call home at 3 a.m. Knowing this, I responded with...

"Eres un puta fea, y tambien un gordita."

"Don't puta mean bitch?"

"No, it's our slang word for a young woman. Use it."


I am so lucky at the University of Oklahoma to have no roommate. However, OU does operate with suite mates... people who share the bathroom that joins the two rooms together. I walked by the door next to my dorm, and noticed that my suite mates were named, "Ian and Gregory."

When I finally met them, I noticed how money was dripping from their every pore. Their room looked like something out of a PB Teen magazine, with letters attached to each decorative item and corresponding prices on the page. The bathroom we shared had already been furnished with mats and scented candles. Not that I minded.

They both spoke with an prep school type accent.

"Well hello there," Ian or maybe Gregory said with what seemed to be great effort, "looks like we'll be sharing a bathroom. Let's go ahead and create a schedule for showers and cleanup time."

"Oh, okay..." I responded.

Then Ian whispered something to Gregory (or maybe vice-versa?),

"Oh, yes. Well, as you can see we have outfitted the bathroom quite well, quite well indeed. We assume you want to contribute as well?"

"Sure..." I said.

"Okay good, could you provide maybe a trashcan for the bathroom? If it's maybe not too much trouble?"

"Sure." I said again.

I already had an extra trashcan because I have no roommate, so I just put a bag over it and set it in the bathroom. I thought it would work just as well as any other trashcan... but then I overheard Greg's (Ian's?!) reaction...

"Wow, he really is poor. You were right. Look at this."

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Tortilla Factory

I was inspired to write this blog because right now, as I sit in my dorm room and listen to the sounds of the frat boys next door, I think of the long path leading up to college....

"Juan Pablo, porfavor guey, take over the tortilla machine for a while I'm getting tired." Ricardo said, removing his clear plastic gloves and tossing them on the counter. The old immigrant from Guanajuato, Mexico and I had a deep mutual respect, because we both knew exactly what it was like to be disrespected. Ricardo's English was very strained, so whenever an angry customer came up to yell and complain about how they had asked for chicken tacos instead of beef, all he could muster was a stupid smile and blissful nodding.

And then there was me, fluent in English but with confidence so low that each time a customer or employee would come to chew me out, all I could do was put on a stupid smile and nod. We weren't the only Hispanics working at Rosa's, no, the boss was Hispanic and spoke Spanish so fast that many times I struggled to keep up with him. There was Armando, an immigrant from Chihuahua, and probably the only other person Ricardo and I could have fun talking to. Mostly though, both in front of and behind the counter, it was a hostile environment.

As opposed to the immigrants who seemed content to get a pay check at the end of the month, most of my fellow employees had a huge complex about doing what they did.

"I was too smart in high school man," one of them told me as I rolled burritos and sprinkled shredded cheese on top of the plate, "I wasn't challenged enough so I dropped out. Shit, I'm making good money here, I don't give a damn when people tell me they're graduating. I just say look, I've got more money than you."

"Yeah, school isn't my thing." Another one told me as I struggled to finish reading The Canterbury Tales while working the register, "see how hard you're working right now doing two things at once? I said to hell with all that, and life got way easier buddy I'm telling you. Take it or leave it."

Then one time when I was working the register and thinking aloud about quitting to do better in my AP courses and to better manage my three clubs of which I was president, the person next to me said:

"If you quit then you're just a quitter at everything you do. I got tons of scholarships for college and worked at the same time, it's just that my dad didn't sign for my scholarships. That's the only thing that kept me back, for real. But you just don't have any ambition or drive at all, do you? If you really wanted it, you would stay."

This really upset me, considering I thought I was a real go-getter for all that I had accomplished at high school. For some reason, I allowed her to maintain her story as true, and accepted her statement that overall, though she was making excuses, she was in fact smarter than me and a harder worker.

My worst night, though, came when I accidentally pissed of an employee named Renee...

"Ey Juan Pablo, you can take off now I gotchu, it looks like you busy." Ricardo said, eying my half filled out application to Duke University and a book off to the side titled Civilizations of the World.

"Muchisimos gracias Ricardo, muchisimos gracias!" I said, ecstatic that I would no longer have to write an essay about an intriguing intellectual endeavor and make guacamole at the same time.

Then, Renee walked in.

"You're not getting off early, hell I wish I could go home but my ass is staying here. Why do you gotta leave?" She asked, turning around from the drive-through window, her ponytail whipping to her back.

"Oh, I have school tomorrow and I have a lot to do." I said, as apologetically as I could.

"You don't need school."

"Well, I think I do... I'm going to college."


"Yeah... I'm not sure which one yet, but I'm leaning towards..."

"Who the hell do you think you are?"

I felt a shock go up my spine, I wasn't sure exactly who the hell I thought I was, but I had always been pretty sure that I was someone who was going to college.

"Let me tell you right now," she said, pointing her finger at me as she spoke, "you're talking big now, but you're ass is going to end up here, I'm positive, I've seen it before. And if you think you're just too good for this place, then I suggest construction, okay hun?"

With that, she returned to her post at the drive-through, "May I take your order?" she asked, her voice doing a 360 from angry to sweet.

I packed up applications and my book and set them down at the register, ready to work until midnight if need be.

"Ey, go home man." Ricardo said, nudging me. "Go home and you do what you gotta do."

And now, I'm fairly sure, that I'm someone who is going to do what I gotta do. Thanks Ricardo, I won't forget it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Friendly Neighborhood Emu

People will often make up their childhood memories only to have them corrected later in life. This is more prevalent in people who didn't grow up with much. By the same token, a parent may try to rewrite history for the sake of making things better.

"Oh, there goes that little horse we used to have." My Lito once said, taking off his glasses and squinting up at an old picture of my aunt standing next to a pony.

"We didn't have no horse!" My aunt declared, "That's from the petting zoo when the circus came to town!"

Lito shrugged, and gave an 'oh well, worth a shot' kind of sigh.

Knowing how history can be so dodgy, I naturally assumed that I was making it all up when I recalled an emu living next door to us. And a warthog. And a pot-bellied pig. We live in the country and have only ever had two neighbors... one was my dad's family, and the other was an old white shack across the street. No one really lived in this shack, rather, people drifted through it.
Vagabonds, you might call them. Gypsies of the Midwest.

In recent history, though, they've all been rather redneckish... setting the lawn ablaze with roman candles on the fourth of July, shooting chickens in the middle of the night, and cursing loudly outside at any ex wife that successfully learns of their whereabouts. You see more of their dogs than you see of them, the mother and her brood are constantly getting loose and roaming freely on the terrain, barking like Cerberus at the gates of the underworld.

When I was little, however, they were most surely the aforementioned gypsies. I remember riding home from school on a day just like any other day, and then looking to my left, experienced the first true 'What the hell?!' moment of my young life. There, behind the barbed wire fence, was an emu. The shock value is increased when you don't know what an emu is in the first place.

It turned out not to be a hallucination, for the very next day the emu was still there. What bothered me the most was that the emu didn't seem to know that it was out of place. It's not natural to see a giant bird indigenous to the Australian outback mingling with cattle, but the emu was totally unaware of this fact. Every once and a while I'd stare out my window to look at it from across the street. Cars would pass by without slowing down, so I can only imagine what they must have thought...

I envisioned many different people and their many different experiences. Like the hot blond girl with her convertible... hair whipping in the wind, radio on full blast, enjoying the pleasant Oklahoma weather... I could see her taking a deep sigh of relaxation as the beautiful country side rolled past her, and then, just as suddenly, as a random emu flashed through her visage.

Or like the business man on his way to a convention in Oklahoma city...

"Yeah, the stock market is really booming right now boy I tell ya... yeah, I'm on my way to the city right now on a lonely country road. Aint nothing like it man, jus' you and the road, like my mama used to tell me.... what the hell is that thing?!"

The unprovoked nature of the emu really made me respect it. No, it didn't give a damn if you thought it was out of place. I liked to think it got some sort of pleasure out of freaking people out. But all good things must come to an end, the emu people packed up and left. In their place, the warthog people came by.

The warthog was nowhere near as enjoyable as the emu had been, for in a matter of weeks, it had broken through its barriers and had run wild on our side of the street. I remember taking the trash out one day, and looking out into the distant countryside, seeing a warthog galloping around with the horses.

Maybe because of the dangerous nature of the warthog, it was predestined that its owners would pack up and leave. At first, I was relieved to see them go... until the pot-bellied pig people showed up. You would think that given its size, this would be the least threatening of the vagabonds' pets, but these particular gypsies had trained the little guy for battle. Though the other ones had been big, this was the only one with a vendetta against us. Within a week of its short stay across the street, it had walked over to our house and trashed the garden. At this point, I was really missing the warthog people.

"Did we really have neighbors with an emu across the street?" I asked my parents one day, wondering if it had indeed all been a fantasy of mine.

I guess I should have known that it was a bit too strange for a kid to have just made it up like that. Some things, I suppose, are so strange that they can only be true.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sketch of Nowhere, America

Sorry for all these serious posts I've been making lately, I'm just in a serious state of mind lately LOL. The funny will be back soon I'm sure... I just felt like writing once again about Cache, Oklahoma... I find something inspiring about its uninspiring-ness.


Here, nowhere and nothing meet. There's a single road that runs through the town, a feed store to the left, trailer houses to the right. A closed down burger shack with boarded up windows sits loftily on a patch of asphalt. Tires rolling on gravel occasionally mingles with the familiar sounds of the doldrums - birds chirping, cicadas hissing, screen doors making their wiry noises, the wind rustling in the trees.

There's a school with a small gym that appears to be made of something akin to aluminum or tin, like a half buried can in the ground. The town square whispers and echoes lackadaisically of what may have been the town's heyday, but now is only a broken down restaurant, a barren cracked sidewalk, an old wooden sign waving ever so slightly with the wind.

A neighborhood street riddled with potholes and chalk drawings, an old man on his front porch rocking back and forth on his chair, staring out. A gas station with two workers in aprons standing out front, smoking. There's a numbing apathy that engulfs the town like a cloudy mist that never dissipates.

It's hard to imagine that any other place exists outside of here, the dust usually hazes out the view, making it hard to look into the distant horizon that may or may not lead to a place that's somewhere else.

In reality, to most of the town's people, there is nothing beyond this place. There is no big city with lights and crowds and skyscrapers. There is no hustle and bustle of any metropolis or any abstraction of ever becoming a part of it. There is no world outside of this all-encompassing purgatory. There exists nothing foreign because here there is only the familiar- each person trapped in a role in a play in a setting that goes on and on and on.

In fact, rarely does a dream roll in with the tumbleweeds in this town that is not put down by the uncaring reality that tears every hope apart with its idleness. There is only here, a town called nowhere, where nothing happens and no one truly lives.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The resiliency of the green field

Before I learned the science behind it, I was fascinated with the fact that after a terrible grass fire a field would grow back twice as green as it was before. I would notice this the most on the ride to Wichita Falls, Texas from Oklahoma. There was always some small grass fire ravaging the crop fields or the grassy plains. Looking at it, it would appear that the field was quite dead. Smoke would be rising from the ground, ashes would be blowing this way and that, and absolutely every square inch would be blackened from the flames.

Yet, after a few weeks, we would drive by the exact same spot and that field would be the greenest one of them all. The grass would grow thicker, the color would be more vibrant, and it would come back twice as strong. This is the resiliency of the green field.

Though it may be burnt and charred to the ground, there's something positive to be found in the fire that sweeps across the plain. There's something in that all-engulfing flame that paves the way for something new and stronger to take place.

In times where it seems that we are losing everything to the fire, that thing which takes away everything and burns it down to its lowest point, we need only have the resiliency of the green field. The ability to become twice the person we were before, after everything in life seems to have been burned away.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Camels and Bananas

"Really, are you even trying to make it look like you're paying attention?!"

My pre-Calculus teacher's shrill, high pitched voice didn't jive well with my morning habits. You see, I'm a self-diagnosed chronic insomniac, and morning people just piss me off. Most days, I wake up hating the world and all who inhabit it. I drag myself to where I need to go, but usually hex everyone around me as I do so.

That particular day, I had been sick the night before. When I get sick, my insomnia gets somewhat worse, and my mom knows I just have to sleep. So, she gives me a sleeping aid when night comes around. However my mom is no pharmacist, and sometimes she gives me something in the morning that she describes as "just a little something to ease the pain." This "something" usually drugs me up so much that I walk into school looking like a coked-out zombie.

That day was one of my coked-out zombie days. I was blinking sensitively beneath the harsh fluorescent lights, holding my hand at the level of my forehead as I squinted to see the board. My head would tilt back and then I would snap to attention suddenly. I think my classmates were more afraid than they were amused.

"Please attempt the word problem JP, okay? That's the only way to get better."

I glared at my math teacher through my squinty, red-veined eyes. My groggy drugged-up thoughts flew around in my head, and then I thought of a book idea. 'I'll write about every bad teacher I've ever had,' I thought, 'yeah, I'll call it The Miseducation of Juan Pablo... has that been done?'

"PLEASE!" Her voice was reaching a shrill fever pitch, like two sparrows battling over a mate.

"OKAY!" I responded, then laughed at my own grumpy voice. Everything is hilarious when your mind is not all there.

I looked at the word problem... and let me tell you, it was a groggy person's worst nightmare:

"A camel makes a journey through a 500 mile desert trading bananas from one city to the other. It must go there and back. It eats one banana every mile, and can leave bananas and come back for them at any given point..."

At first, I was trying to solve the problem, but then my thoughts gravitated to this poor camel that had been selected to perform this thankless task. It made no mention of a travel companion for the camel. If taken literally, it would seem that some evil banana trader had trained this camel to make the journey all by itself and eat a single banana every mile.

"Yup, this is my prize camel." The evil banana trader would say, "I don't even gotta make the trip to the next city, nope, old girl here does it all on her own. Trained her to take one banana out of the sack per mile, I figure she's good for two hundred trips or so. You want to know how I capitalize on her labor? Well, there's a tricky math problem to it..."

I couldn't stop thinking about this camel, alone in the godforsaken desert, somehow trained to feed itself...

"Are you sleeping?!"

"Huh? No!"

It's funny how instincts can make us defend ourselves. Had I been sleeping? Yes. So what was the logic of me saying no? I guess because she had proposed it as a question, and I just wanted to pick the more favorable answer.

"First hour, I swear, always sleeping..."

Then I laid my head back on my desk to resume sympathizing with this poor, poor banana trader's camel, alone on its journey through the desert.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dragon Problem

"What on earth is that?" My third grade teacher asked, snatching a piece of paper from my desk with a winged lizard on it.

"It's a dragon." I said plainly, "Do you see? It's breathing fire."

My stout teacher looked at me as if she had just caught me snorting cocaine off the laminate surface of my desk.

"Oh, I see alright... we'll be having a conference about this. Where do these things come from, huh? How many of these 'dragons' have I got from you this week alone?!"

"Well I like them, and it's not like we're doing anything anyway, right? Look everyone is asleep..."

Pleading my case wasn't getting me anywhere, but I just thought it was worth throwing out there regardless. True, a Catholic school probably wasn't the best place to be drawing fire breathing reptiles with the wings of Satan, but at least I was being productive. At least I wasn't asleep like Michelle or William. I guess it wasn't the right move to critique my teacher's agenda, though...

"I assigned rest time! You'll know when I assign dragon time, okay? Now stop drawing those things! They're a pain! History, science, math, you're always doodling. We're having a conference." With that, she stormed away.

It wasn't her discontentment with me that led me suspect her of being a dragon slayer, rather it was her obvious emotional outburst that one particular day.

'I'm in a special school full of dragon owners,' I thought to myself, 'we're here to be taught that dragons don't exist, and the only way to truly limit our power was to raise us to be priests and nuns.'

My mind was made up. This woman was a dragon slayer, assigned by the government to keep we, the dragon owners, in check. Our memories had been erased at a very young age, but for some reason, something had gone wrong with me... a slip-up on the CIA's part. I was still drawing the figures familiar to me from my earlier years, and she recognized this at once. At the conference, my memory would probably be erased again and I would be transferred to another government-run fake Catholic school where I'll think I was an orphan dropped off in front of the church in a basket with a note attached.

The business end of Sister Herman Mary's ruler obviously hadn't daunted me in kindergarten, and from there my miseducation had gone astray. Now it was all up to my third grade teacher to ensure I wasn't a threat to society.

It wasn't until way later down the line that I realized I was just weird. Drawing dragons didn't make me a dragon rider anymore than watching CNN in the fifth grade made me a political guru. Ah, reality sucks. Still though, it helped me get by those rough days in the third grade to imagine that one day, during a lesson, a dragon would crash through the classroom ceiling and recognize me as his true owner.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The View

On this fine summer day, my family and I decided to eat at this place called Santa Fe Steakhouse. We took our seats, and found that the light emitting through the window shades was blinding our eyes and cooking us like an easy bake oven. So, we closed the shades. It was when we found that the window next to those shades was also blinding us that the conflict began....

"That light is way too bright, ask those people if we could close the shades." My mom asked.

My dad obliged, "Excuse me ma'am, but do you mind if we close those shades? The light is in our eyes." he asked the blond woman and her elderly mom.

To me, it was one of those questions to which there was only one answer. Kind of like, 'excuse me ma'am, you're standing on my foot. I know you don't realize it, but that is why I am informing you. Could you kindly remove it, or move slightly to the left?'

This question was more or less a question like 'excuse me ma'am, but the light protruding from the window nearest you is blinding my wife and children. I'd rather them not have to learn braille, so I was wondering if you could allow us to close the blinds? Only at your utmost convenience...'

So, I was really quite surprised when the heavyset middle aged blond woman answered, "Well we like to look outside."

It wasn't just her answer that made me mad, it was the way she said it. 'How dare you ask me such a thing?' She seemed to say, 'this is my view, I very much enjoy it, and you want me to just give it up for nothing?! The answer is no, bitch.'

You would think we were sitting in a Parisian cafe, not an Oklahoma steakhouse, and we had just asked to close the blinds to a window with a view to the Eiffel Tower. What did she think she would be missing out there?? There can't be anything that good to be worth blinding the people sitting behind you, can there? I don't know, you be the judge, here's a picture I snapped of the glorious view that these women might have missed had they closed the shades:

I don't know, maybe it's beautiful in its own way.

So naturally, after that, we started nitpicking on Barb's every move. We found out her name was Barb after we saw her crawl into her Nissan with a vanity license plate. It's actually the same Nissan pictured above. I guess when you think about it, she was obstructing her own view with her car... but anyway. From there, she became Barb The Biznatch, or Bitchy Barb. She also had a sidekick that I nicknamed Gruesome Granny.

I named her thus because a waiter started cleaning a table next to her, and was almost done when G.G. said: "Sir, sir, sir, you missed something sir!" She said this with a kind of disproportionate urgency. The kind you might expect if you were trying to yell at someone that they've forgotten their child on the train platform as they tragically chug out of view to flee the Nazis, their arms outstretched trying to grab the child as she runs along.

The waiter looks around the table then gives her a look that asks, 'what?!'
"Sir you missed something!" G.G. reiterates, this time with more urgency.
The man looks down and takes a napkin off the chair. "There you go." She says, content.
Then the man gives Gruesome Granny a smiling look that says 'thanks bitch, I almost missed it.'
Now we knew where Bitchy Barb gets all her bitchyness.

On the bright side though, we got to talk to our waiter. A dance instructor who, though he refused to do a back flip in the middle of the restaurant, talked to my sister about her high school dance team and was very personable. He gave us free dessert at the end, it does pay to be nice. Then I thought about how for every cranky, annoying person you meet... there's always another nice one.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crazy point of view

I was bored the other day and decided to watch whatever my family was watching on TV. It was something about Prom Night in Mississippi, a show following the first integrated prom in some town. What really caught my interest though, not that the repetition of the N word a million times in a Mississippi accent isn't riveting, was a certain woman's perspective on biracial or mixed kids.

"Well, dis is da way I see it..." the middle aged skinny blonde woman began, "tha good Lord put differ'nt races on dis earth fuh a reason. And that reason is in-duh-viduality. If he wanted us to all be the same then he woulda made it so, and when people sin and mix they races it's a strike against God. Eventually if it keeps goin' on then aint no in-duh-viduality goin' ta be left."

Ordinarily, I'd be rolling my eyes and sighing at such ignorance. Yet she held my interest, not because of what she was saying, but because of her left eye. Whcih, by the way, gave her all the in-duh-viduality in the free world.

While she made her monotone speech about how mixed children are the brood of Lucifer, her left eye was dancing wildly this way and that; like Mad-Eye Moody from the Harry Potter series. I kept trying to focus on how angry her words made me, how serious of a problem it is that people still think that way in America, but it was becoming hard not to laugh.

What gave this lazy eyed Moody wannabe the right to talk that way? I'm not saying she's not allowed to have an opinion, but I want to know what makes her think she's right. Surely, she can take a walk outside of herself and observe her life with her good eye.

"Well," she might begin, "I may be a terrible drunk, I may have smoked eight packs a day while pregnant with my first child, I may be an extremely racist individual, but damn it on this issue you can chalk one up for me because I'm correct."

Then, for some reason, I thought I was being too hard on her. I had, after all, immediately created all of the above scenarios in my mind based on how she looked and spoke and was acting. No matter how true my observations and predictions may have been, I didn't have to be judging her.

The way I see it is we all have a crazy eye that wiggles this way and that. That one eye that gives people the once over and then assumes they know it all. I'm not saying I'd apologize to this woman, obviously she disapproves of my very existence, yet... I don't have to be like her. I don't want to have that evil eye that makes it impossible for me to be tolerant of someone, I just don't want to have to look out of it. It provides us a shaky outlook at best, and makes for one crazy point of view.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Private study on the wilderness proves that it can kill you.

One day, my friend and I decided that it would be nice to take a hike on a mountain in the wildlife refuge near town. It seems strange to me now that it started that innocently, a little whim no more dangerous than 'hey, let's go for a jog!' or, 'it's so nice out, lets head to the park!'

So we went to the mountains on this whim, choosing the top of "Charon's Gardens" as our destination. Things went perfectly fine.... at first. We went up the side of the mountain in more or less forty five minutes, no problem. We reached the top Charon's Gardens soon enough, and then, we made our error.

"I thought you said there were caves up here?" I asked.

"Yeah, there's supposed to be... maybe they're up there." My friend responded.

"Well let's go up there then!"

I wish I could rewind to that point, right there, when I suggested it. If I could, I would give myself a good old fashioned open-handed Mexican slap across the face, and then tell myself to go home. Just go home!!

But no, we kept on going.... only to find a buffalo blocking our path. The buffalo, none to be trifled with, looked pretty menacing. So we would simply go around the buffalo then climb back down, right? Simple enough....


Two hours, one rattlesnake, and what seemed to be an Indonesian typhoon later, I began cursing the buffalo. It was, after all, the buffalo's fault that we were lost in this god forsaken wilderness, and no fault of my own.

No, it was the buffalo, its black eyes a soulless pit of death, who had blocked our way and made us take this detour of doom. As I picked my way through what seemed like the thousandth thorny bush, I began to think how I might exact my revenge on this buffalo if I ever got out of this mess.

What's worse, I thought, is that at this very moment the buffalo is busy not giving a damn. The buffalo is probably still grazing on that stupid patch of grass that it was grazing on before. Blind to my suffering, unfeeling.

It was when the turkey vultures started flying above us that I was ready to call it quits. They sent a very strong message to me... a message that said,

"Now, there's a great number of woodland animals on this mountain. Yet, you are the best candidates for death. Not the wounded deer, not the old antelope, nor the sickly squirrel, it is you."

It really didn't matter, though, that I was ready to call it quits. Nature didn't care. Matter of fact, nature sent a rattlesnake my way under a rock just to show that it really didn't mind if I made it out alive or just became a delicious turkey vulture snack. It wasn't even rooting for one prospect or the other, that's how nature operates, it doesn't care either way.

I began thinking of stupid things, about how I had the show Burn Notice on TiVo and it would be a shame if I didn't see it tonight because I was lost on a mountain. I began wondering if I really could fashion a lean-to out of twigs and rocks if necessary. I began wondering... if maybe on the top of the mountain I could get some service on my cell phone?

It was a long shot, service obviously doesn't really get to phones in the wilderness. But somehow, some way, it worked on top of that mountain. So we made it back, after all that wandering, and I got to see my Burn Notice episode. I even forgave the buffalo, thinking that though it had sent me spiraling down a mountain packed with rattlesnakes, dead ends, and torrential rain... I at least got a story out of it.

Man on the Moon

I was watching the History Channel, my trusted companion during summer vacations, and saw something rather unsettling. It was talking about stars, and how they can accumulate little satellites over time, things that orbit around their pull of gravity.

They orbit that star and make up it's own little universe, a microcosm of the infinite nothingness (or everything-ness?) around it. But they have a little timer in their core, a pre-destined date of expiration, and on that day suddenly the gasses just implode on themselves and can't sustain the little star anymore.

The satellites, things like meteors and such orbiting around the star, just shoot off into space. Some are destroyed, some just find another pull of gravity to rotate around. That's it, bah, the star is gone and everything is redistributed.


The looming college experience has been sending me off into random moods lately. I get very cranky sometimes, snappy for no reason. Then I tell myself I have only a few weeks left to enjoy truly being an inhabitant of this town, and I should enjoy it. I feel better for a while, then I get very, very depressed. I start to push away the people I care about so I can be alone. Then I tell myself I'm only an hour and a half away and really it's not that big of a deal.

Had I accepted my admission letter to Duke University, well yes, things would change because I would be a plane ride away. Yet, nothing is settling me. I'm distraught, and very unstable for some reason still.

I really shouldn't be that attached to Lawton. What has Lawton done for me lately? I'll drive through it and just see the million and one markers of memories around town.

'There goes that Catholic school which I despised attending.'

'There goes my middle school that I despised attending.'

'There goes my high school which I loved and hated all at the same time.'

'There goes the mall where I had my first kiss with my then girlfriend.'

'There goes my best friend's house.'

'There goes the Mexican restaurant I worked at.'

'There it all goes....'

Lawton, though I never really cherished it, really is an integral part of me. I may have had a whole lot of bad times, and generally cursed the population of the place, but... here it was, it was me. From torturous bullies to good times with friends, from nuns to hick teachers, from the awful years to the good ones, it was all me.

I guess now that I'm about to more or less remove myself from it, I never noticed how much like one of those stars on History Channel I was. I had my own little pull of gravity, I had things revolving around me that made up my world. Some good, some bad. Some I wish I could get rid of, some I desperately want to keep. And I guess I'm about to reach that pre-destined expiration date where I explode in a torrent of hot gas and solar flares and everything around me either explodes with me or just shoots off to join some other star, some other pull of gravity, something that's not... me.

I guess that's what I'm most afraid of. That I'm just like one of those stars on the History Channel, and I'll just go bah, and it will be like I was never there.

I'm only an hour and a half away, I'm only an hour and a half away, though sometimes I feel like I'm going to the moon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dances With Wolves and Cowboys

I feel strongly about writing a little something over my "hometown" Cache, America. This won't be the first time, either. I may take one or two liberties, but I assure you, it's sadly not that exaggerated.

There were two different camps in Cache. On one side, you had the cowboys. The good ole' boys. Western plaid shirts, country accents, Wrangler jeans with a big circular mark on the back pocket where chewing tobacco cases had worn in an indentation, you get the idea.

On the other side were the 'Indians' who ranged from short and skinny to real earth-shakers. When I exited Catholic school, I started the sixth grade in Cache, Oklahoma. A lot of my classes were indicative of the two sides, Indians here, Cowboys there. Not to say there wasn't diversity, there was also the enormous special-ed department and a black dude. Well, he was more or less known as the black dude.

So when I arrived, a half Mexican, I awkwardly settled in the Indian territory. They were just more accepting. With the white cowboys it was all, "Well what 'n the hell are yoouu?"

I'm Mexican, well, half anyway. And I am half white."

"Mexi-Can huh? I guess you looookit. Hey boys, ask him what he is."

I never understood this aspect of pack mentality. I suppose they had wanted to know too, but really, he couldn't just relay what I had just said later? Perhaps the next time they all convened behind the school to enjoy their no doubt lively conversation in between chomps on their chewing tobacco one might mention, "Oh, you know that new fellow that just started school here?" One might ask,

"Yes, yes, he's in my English class! Why do you ask?"

"Well, I asked him today what race he is and he told me he was half Mexican and half white. Isn't that something?"

"Oh, how progressive!"

With the Indians, however, it was more like... "Yeah what up what tribe you from."

"I'm Mexican."

"Damn close enough I guess."

I enjoyed how they handled this. I felt like I could have said anything and would still be something like a Cherokee. Like if I had said "Czechoslovakian", or "Arabian", they would still say "Damn close enough."

"Want a smoke?" One asked me.

"No, I don't smoke." I said it with an air of accomplishment and almost laughed at myself. As if in my short life I had been given every opportunity in the world to take up the habit, me, a Catholic school kid. Then I thought of nuns toking up behind the church and almost choked trying to keep myself from laughing.

Then a Pow-Wow came to town, and everyone was invited. Well, not so much invited... in Cache, it was mandatory that we all attend. It was always the Indians sitting up front while the cowboys sat in the back looking depressed, no doubt thinking of all the tobacco they could be chewing.

"Welcome to the powww-woow, puh-lease take yer seats, thank yuh." Cache residents were notorious for their lifelessness and apathetic voices. A few people came out to set up the giant drum, and then I saw her, the enchantress, the Indian Princess.

In my memory she looked like Pocahontas, beautiful copper skin and a curvaceous body, though in reality she was chunky. She was actually quite chunky indeed. I think it was powerful suggestion that rewrote her in my personal history, the term princess just made it impossible for me to see her as the chunky woman who had just downed a six pack backstage.

When the pow-wow was over, I met up with her as we were walking back to class.

"Hi!" I said, poking her dress to get her attention.

"Hey there." She said, pulling a cigarette from her tribal fringed purse.

"I really like pow-wows," I said, trying to make conversation, "I'm Mexican but I still really do."

She took a deep breath on her cigarette then puffed a ring of smoke, "Mexican, huh? Y'all did a number on Geronimo's folks. Well kid, I gotta go. Have a good day."

Then she just up and left. At first I felt heartbreak, but then later I felt angry. She had basically denied my genuine interest and blew smoke in my face. What kind of girl is that, anyway? Smoke-ahontas and I would never come to be.

After that, I kind of shyed away from the Indians... but never warmed up to the cowboys either. So I just kind of drifted, somewhere in between, where there was just... me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mexican Cockfight

The feeling I experience when hanging around Lita, I imagine, is like the feeling girls get when shopping.

'Ooh, where can I wear this? Can I mix and match it with different things?' they might ask, enjoying the thrill of getting new stuff. My new stuff comes every time Lita speaks. The woman is a goldmine of writing material. Every once and a while she'll say something just too good to be true, something about race relations or politics or picking cotton, and I'll think to myself: 'That was awesome! When can I quote that? Can I make a story around that?'

Having one crazy Mexican lady around is more than I need for two books worth of material, but when I hear that her sister is coming into town, I mark it on my calendar. "Hey JP, want to hang out on Friday?" My best friend might ask, to which I'd respond "NO! Lupe is in town!" It's a matter of having my priorities straight.

Theirs is a story of two sisters that have been at each others throats since WWI, and when they're in the same vicinity, it's like a Mexican cockfight. I once had the privilege of observing one of their battles when Lupe came to Wichita Falls, Texas, no more than a thirty minute drive from us, to visit a relative. It went a little something like this...

"Well I'm so glad you stopped by Lupe, I know you miss out on everything in Colorado." Lita said this in a way that insinuated Lupe was actually missing something. It was as if the second she packed up and left we would give the all clear sign and bring the carnival back into town.

"Oh yes, I'll have to come more often. The sun is so strong here during the summer though, look you're getting darker." The little room abounded with foreign accents and Mexican phlegm.

"Well, anyways, have a good time. We'll be going now. Vaminos"

I was very disappointed at this announcement, I had a front row seat to what was supposed to be a fight. It was like getting box seats to a Yankee game and then hearing that it was canceled five minutes into play, or preparing to watch two lions fight over a gazelle carcass on a safari and then driving away from it.

We were walking through the front lawn to our car when I heard it,

"God, you've gotten short. I didn't notice until you stood up."

'Yes, yes, YES!' I thought, putting my 'TEAM LITA' shirt back on and racing to the battle scene.

"Lupe, I'm not having this argument. You've always been shorter than me and you're just jealous. That's all, bah. Vaminos"

"I doubt it, you go like that to me." At the word 'that', Lupe pounded her flat open hand on her neck to show that, were she standing in front of her, the top of Lita's head would go there. She did this in a hard way that made me hold my own throat and gag.

Lita's eyes narrowed, she pointed an accusing finger, "Lupe, you have always been shorter than me, you always will be shorter than me, and you will die shorter than me!"

"Let's measure and go back to back. What? You scared? Si, si, you scared! Get in your car and drag yourself back to Oklahoma, shortcake!"

"What what? I'm not scared! C'mon then," at this point I was jumping for joy, thinking that Lita might actually hit her, "let's go, back to back, let's go!"

The two slowly backed into one another, and noticing that Lita might in fact be taller, Lupe pulled another insult from her arsenal,

"Maybe if your ass wasn't so huge I could go back to back! But bah, I don't even fit!"

I danced like a happy dolphin dances at Seaworld for tuna.

"Aver, uh huh, uh huh, you know I'm taller! You see it, you all see it! Deal with it Lupe! Baha--ah--hack-ah!"

When we got back home, I was asked how my little day trip was.
"Perfect." I said.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Content Hobo

I have a name for my look, if you can even go so far as to call it a look.

I thought of it one day as I was walking through the mall and caught a glance at msyelf in one of those random mirrors in Dillard's. I like to call my look, The Content Hobo.

It really does make sense. Usually, and especially during the summertime, I have a routine where I roll out of bed, grab my basketball shorts and a t-shirt from one of my 1,001 high school clubs, and then walk out into the world to do whatever it is I do during my day. They aren't even really good high school club t-shirts, by the way. They look like the kind that you might find tsunami relief-effort volunteers tossing indiscriminately to crowds of naked villagers.

I've always been this way, and by this way, I don't mean the usual 'ohhh boys just don't care what they look like do they now?' way. I mean the 'daddy, can I please give that poor homeless boy the rest of my burger?' kind of way. I remember when I was in the sixth grade, freshly released from the oppression of Catholic school uniforms, I wore the same shirt every Monday and Friday. The shirt was from my dad, well he didn't really give it to me so much as I took it in as my own. He got it from his company while doing some kind of volunteer work involving children, the shirt was three sizes too big for me and was a kind of heather gray, or as I like to call it, oatmeal.

Across the chest were emblazoned the words, 'I Am My Kid's Dad', with the word 'Dad' being written in a scribbly font and with three different colors, one for each letter. Now, obviously, my classmates knew better. It was almost a given that I was not my kid's dad. I say almost though because I think a tiny, tiny part of them was saying 'well, you never know these days.' I know how mean kids can be, but for some reason, they were intimidated by the shirt. Too intimidated to walk up to me and ask, 'Oh, you have kids huh? With who?' I think it was the same kind of intimidation you get when you see an absolute ragmuffin walking the streets. If he were your uncle or cousin, you could say 'what the hell are you wearing?!' But because they didn't know me that way, and it was a public school, I could very well be a switchblade weilding vagabond of the hood.

It's a tradition I carry with me even today. I have nice things, I buy lots of nice things, but I don't wear them. I think if I wore nice things everyday, people would just expect it and get disappointed when I showed up with my black and neon green shirt with an air freshener on it that says 'Youth Council keeps it fresh!'

Also central to my philosophy is the effect it would have on my self esteem. As a hobo, I can think to myself 'Yeah, I could look nice if I really wanted to. Today I just don't feel like it. You'll just have to catch me on a day when I'm on top of my game.'

If I actually dressed nicely every day, I would think to myself 'well, this is as good as it gets, and it's still not doing me any good. I go through the effort of digging through my disheveled drawers to find a shirt from an actual store and no one appreciates it. I've plateaued.'

As you can see, the latter is not a fun thought to have. So, right now anyway, I'm perfectly happy to walk the streets of Lawton with my Mexican Superman shirt that I got from Spanish Club, thinking that if I really, really wanted to, I could look sharp. I just simply choose not to. For now, I'm perfectly content being a hobo.

If you like fashion, though, I suggest this blog... I doub't you'll get any pointers from mine!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Pessimist Society

I don't know a whole lot about what starts pessimism in a person, but I certainly know what doesn't end it: optimistic people.

God, there's nothing worse than an optimistic person, filled with the joy of life, skipping over to you across a flowery field to say to you: "C'mon, life is good! Why are you so negative?"

Then you, with your eternal rain cloud hovering above your head, can only shrug and say "I dunno." The positive person will eventually move on to go hang out with other positive people so they can pick bouquets for the elderly, teach baseball to the disabled, and make corny jokes about the weather with anyone they happen to bump into during their frantic skipping. 'I'm just as good as they are,' you say, glaring, "why, I volunteer and make jokes. What makes them any better?" The black raven perched on your shoulder then asks, "who was that?"

I've accepted that pessimism is just who I have to be. It's not like I have any other choice. While my classmates in elementary school were singing Old McDonald had a farm, I was reading Animal Farm and discovering what canniving beasts animals really are when you're not looking. Old McDonald's days were probably numbered, it was only a matter of time before the oink-oink pig plotted a successful revolt and led the other animals to a socialist government. While my Catholic school classmates drew pictures of a cross and a sun with the words 'Happy Easter Mommy!' on it, I chose to draw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. There's the Bible stories where Jesus turns water into wine, and then there are the real action stories where God brings fire down upon the heretics, sparing only a select few. I enjoyed the latter.

Anyway, I feel now that the only way pessimistic people can possibly feel better about the world they inhabit is simply to encounter other equally negative pessimists. Hence: The Pessimist Society.

I haven't got the rules all straight in my head yet, but it will go something like this...


You've been accepted as a member of The Pessimist Society! It requires absolutely no skill to become a member, but still, it's something right?

As a new member, you've been awarded the level of The Order of the Half-Empty Glass.

It's also the only level, we would make more... but we figure people lack the dedication to really move up from there.

In fact, we would continue the rules but we sincerely doubt that anyone will follow them. In the first place, we need readers and members and that probably won't happen either. We're just a group floating out in cyberspace, eating up bandwidth.... you know?


Well, hopefully it would be better than that. Perhaps I'll make a Pessimist Club to counter the Optimist Club. Who knows, all I know is that it's in the works! I'll post an official Facebook link to the group when it's finished!

Assuming I have the drive to create it in the first place... who knows... I probably don't :(

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Taco Bell, Ayn Rand, and the History Channel.

Nothing good happens after midnight, and this includes my mood. So, I guess I'm just going to write it out.

Sometimes I think I might be a negative, or pessimistic person, and the worst kind too! The kind that thinks they have every right to be negative. Still, sometimes it can't be helped. For example...

I went to patronize my friendly neighborhood Taco Bell today, fully intent on buying myself a chicken quesadilla. I walked to the front counter and no one was there. Normally, I'd get really pissed off and glare at anyone doing anything other than asking for my order, a trait I picked up from my mother. But I was in an exceptionally good mood, so I decided to give them the benefit of a doubt. I myself have worked in the food business, and I knew there was a multitude of things they could be doing. Maybe there was a small grease fire in the back, and a lone worker was trying to extinguish it. Thinking of this scenario suddenly made me feel guilty.

Finally, a woman came to the counter. She laid her hands on top of the cash register and gave me a look that said, "What?" An aggravated what, the what a mother gives her child while she's on the phone but the child won't stop interrupting her conversation to beg for food before he or she starves to death.

"Ummm I'll have a chicken quesadilla and a medium sweet tea and that's all." I packed a lot of my feelings into that ummm, I can only hope she spent a few minutes analyzing it in her head until she finally arrived at the conclusion that I was pissed.

She took a cup and slapped it on the counter, giving me another look. Except this one said, "take it, bitch."

It's my pet peeve, anyone will tell you, when I see service people giving you an attitude. My friend once almost had to witness me attacking a Subway sandwich artist because she wouldn't stop throwing metal cookie sheets around and sounding whiney to the customers. I just hate it. It might be because I hated working at Rosa's but I still kept a good attitude, at least to peoples' faces. It might be because I feel that if someone is paying you to do something then why aren't you doing it right? It might just be because, again, I am inherently negative person. Who knows? I just know that I get extremely annoyed by it.

In addition, I think Ayn Rand has hijacked my sanity. I'm reading Atlas Shrugged in order to enter a scholarhip about the book. I made it past the first chapter. Okay that was a lie, I read the bulk and got the gist of chapter one. Some parts were just begging me to skip them. Like when what's-his-face wouldn't stop whining about how his oak tree got struck by lightening. SUCK IT UP!

I know a lot of people support her philosophies, and that's fine with me, I just feel that the book is an enormous bitch-slap because it assumes you can make it past chapter 4 without getting sick of the adjective "mockingly" and names like Dingy Taggert. Or Dagny Tiggert. Dandy Tavern? Whatever, her female characters are hoes anyway. In addition, she expects you to read every word of her 1,008 page book which is really just her manifestos as shouted via radio by John Galt. In short: Atlas shrugged, and I shrug with him. You can't fully trust a book written by an author who can't even spell Anne.

Aside from exercise and my light summer reading, I've been watching a ton of the History Channel and have come to the conclusion that it hates people, and even more than I do!

It shows stuff like Life After People, where it goes through crazy scenarios in which our empty homes are consumed by termites, bears lord over the roads, and of course, a multitude of monuments fall to the ground in a pile of rubble. It's the staple of a genre nowadays, you can't make a movie without tipping the Eiffel Tower or biting off the Statue of Liberty's head. A movie just isn't a movie anymore until a huge preying mantis is clawing away at the White House while battling a killer moth who, coincidentally, uses Big Ben as a nest.

If it's not discussing scenarios about life after you're all dead, it's talking about ways to get rid of you in the first place. The Bible is a great place to start for the History Channel, for it's full of armageddon. There's fire and earthquakes and tribulation all over the place. Not a Christian? Don't worry, the History Channel has other options. A tsunami perhaps, and if you're not a coast-dweller, then an earthquake will finish you off. If none of the above works, there's still the chance that at any given moment a comet will strike and end us all.

The History Channel concedes that none of the above may happen, and in fact, you may live to see another day. So then they want to make sure that you're as paranoid as possible while still alive. I can see the History Channel, angry that not so much as a moon rock has fallen from the sky and no visible signs of bears roaming the highway, saying something like...
"oh, yeah maybe the comet thing didn't happen... looks like we get to live after all! I just wish we didn't have to deal with the aliens... sigh... what's that? You haven't heard of the pending alien invasion? Watch The UFO Files, that will surely convince you. You know, sometimes I wish we were all wiped out at once due to a massive solar flare... then we wouldn't have to deal with the ghost hauntings... WHAT?! Never heard of the ghost hauntings?! Watch This Haunted House, that will teach you a thing or two."

In short, the History Channel's main message is that you may not be dead yet, but you soon will be, and then nature can slowly take over your home. While waiting for the inevitable apocalypse at the hands of God or natural disasters, enjoy being visited by UFOs and ghosts.

I think I've written too much, but that's just all that's on my mind right now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Both is Beautiful!

"So what's your last name? Naw wait, don't tell me! Gonzalez, Hernandez... some ezz." I stood there in silence as my co-worker cackled and walked away without my reply. I breathed a sigh of relief, little did she know that my last name was so far from any of those that in fact it had crossed the Atlantic and lived in Germany.

I felt awkward and slightly sick, the feeling you get after you've told a big fat lie to someone. I felt nasty and kind of dirty because I was mixed. I wasn't what everyone thought I was. I gave her every reason to believe that I was fully Mexican: I was wearing the world's most convincing costume. Rosa's Cantina was emblazoned on my hat, my skin had been recently blackened by the summer sun, I had the physical features of a Hispanic, I was wearing my bracelet from Mexico with Our Lady of Guadalupe on every bead, and at the very moment of our conversation I had happened to be rolling tortillas. I looked like some kind of exaggerated stereotype, like a character you might find someone dressed as on Halloween. That person would have to be incredibly racist to come as The Tortilla Maker, but you get the idea.

For some reason, I kind of enjoyed it. I enjoyed it when customers would come in and think, "There's some Mexican kid working at a Mexican restaurant." And I would think to myself, "Why yes, I am that Mexican kid! How kind of you to notice." The whole thing was like a show I had put on for myself, a front that I had created that maybe, just maybe, I would actually start to believe. I'm not usually in the business of fooling myself, but this was an exception. I didn't want to be mixed anymore, mixed is confusing.

Mixed meant people stopping me to guess my race, and me having to say meekly that I was Hispanic. Mixed meant being called "too white" everytime I showed any sign of academic success. Mixed meant I had to deal with America's disapproval of Mexicans while at the same time not truly feeling Mexican myself. So maybe, if I tried hard enough, I would convince myself that I was simply one thing.

I started to lose faith in my plan after a random redneck cussed at me for speaking Spanish in front of him. I suppose at that point I said to myself, "Hmmm, maybe I'm doing this too well and in fact have become too Mexican." After my hillybilly assaliant had exited, I had some reflecting to do. I had to come to terms with being mixed.

It wasn't easy. I think maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, I run searches on google for things that I know will make me mad. For example, I felt the urge to get the KKK's philosophy on mixed people... just to see things from a racist point of view. After learning that mixed people are in fact the scourge of the earth, I felt no better. How would I reconcile the two races in me? My internal dialog went something like this, (I promise im not schizophrinic!):

"You're Mexican, it's undeniable, your mom is Mexican!"

"No I'm not, I'm half white and therefore not Mexican."

"Well you're not white either!"

"Maybe I am, just with something else in me. Like those white people that claim to have Cherokee in their blood because they have a picture of an Indian Chief in their grandparent's house."

"Well you don't look white! Have you checked the size of your lips lately?!"

Sometimes I insult myself for no reason.

"Well you don't look Mexican either!"

"Yes I do."

"No you don't."

"So maybe I'm just neither."

"Did you just quote the KKK?"

"But maybe I really am neither or nothing, race shouldn't matter so I should be okay with it."

"Everyone is something!"

"So are you Mexican?"


"So are you white?"


"Then what?!"

"Then what" is the question I had to answer, and here's what I've come up with... I'm both.
It's an over-simplified answer, but that's what makes it true. You see, I figured out I'm not inconsistent. I'm not a polka song that suddenly breaks halfway and becomes the Macarena. I'm not two different people in one body, and I'm not two halves that are constantly battling each other. I am one consistent mix, I'm both.

"So are you Mexican?"


"So are you white?"


It's the race of both. There will always be people telling you that you are one or the other, or that you are neither, but they're wrong. You aren't half and half, you're just one. It's not something to be confused about, just simplify it! Because both is beautiful.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twisted Sister

Sometimes when I'm very bored or pretending to listen to someone, I begin slouching in my chair... and then I hear it, CRACK! The sound of a ruler smacking a desk.

With the rapid reflexes of a jungle-dwelling ocelot I spring back up in my chair, cursing the day I was ever forced to attend Catholic school.

Weird people aren't born weird, Catholic school makes them that way. If you see a man smoking weed in front of the mall with a towering pink mohawk and a giant nosering, you can bet that his parents are in the nearest church just begging the good Lord above to get their son to move out of the house. Following this logic makes it easy for me to blame everything wrong with me on Catholic school.

When I learned my first curse word in the seventh grade, I blamed Catholic school. In Lawton, you're a certified gangster as soon as you hit second grade. If you're not stealing things in the fifth grade from the nearest Wal Mart and bragging about it to your friends while incorporating three different obscene words in the retelling, then you're seriously slacking. In Catholic school, this was not so. In Catholic school, not eating your vegetables meant a stern talking to and five years added to your purgatory. Saying you didn't like a classmate meant a two-page written apology, and the risk of an eternity in hell. The apology lessens these chances.

But most of all, I blame everything on the first teacher I ever had: Sister Herman Mary, or the Herm for short. I guess it's just because I feel I started off wrong. In books and movies I always saw the same thing, a tender hearted twenty-something teacher kindly nurturing and reading stories to her attentive students. She always had a handkerchief when you were crying and always had snacks and games to bring to the table. Not the Herm, the only things the Herm brought to the table were ass-whoopings. Just as that tender hearted twenty-something southern belle never ran out of handkerchiefs and kind words, the Herm was never short on whoop-ass.

She wore thin silver-wire glasses, her gray hair always went in every single direction as if it was trying to flee from her scalp, and only cracked a smile when she saw that someone's uniform was untucked and she had the opportunity to ram it back into place with her giant, yellow, crooked nails. I find the whole uniform thing hypocritical in the first place, Jesus practically lived in a simple bath robe.

I still recall one particularly brutal day of kindergarten where we were all making art for the archbishop. Our job was to paint different colors on a styrofoam plate. My classmates were all using reds, yellows, blues, and pinks, and using the same colors would just make me feel like a conformist. So, always the artist, I chose to be edgier and use blacks and grays. After handing in all of our work, I felt like Picasso. I had broken the mold, no one could deny it. I envisioned the archbishop shuffling through twenty plates that all looked the same, tossing them one by one into the nearest garbage can, and then stopping as he reached mine. "Why, here's a creative little student!" he would say, "Now this one I will keep!"

Then I saw the Herm stomping towards me with my artwork in hand. I thought at first she might be coming to applaud my artistic efforts, but by the look on her face I began to doubt it.

"Do you know what the archbishop will think when he sees this?" she wheezed, the journey from one side of the room to the other had taken its toll on her.

"No." is what I said. I wanted to say, 'that he likes it', but I didn't think we were seeing eye to eye on this one.

"He will probably cry!" she declared, waving my black and gray plate in my face, "He will think you're a sad boy for making it so dark!" Her eyes narrowed, it was the kind of look a hawk gets when it sees a mouse in the field. I noticed my uniform was untucked. The Herm was ready to hand out yet another heavy dose of whoop-ass.

But not today, I had suffered enough today. I had been pushed to the egde. I darted for the door, leaving her yellow claws in my wind, still groping for something.

I ran out the door and into the boy's bathroom, hoping that she wouldn't follow me. I was wrong. I heard the door begin to open, and I darted into a stall and started making gagging noises. She waited. Eventually, I walked out.

"What was that?!" she demanded. I had to think quick.

"You made me sick, I got nervous and had to throw up."

She thought about it a while, grabbed me, walked me back to the classroom, and firmly sat me down in my seat. She was obviously too upset to just let it go, but too afraid that I might actually be sick and cause a conference.

I looked down at my plate, what at first was a masterpiece now looked like sad blobs of gray and black thrown randomly in every direction. I glared at the Herm, hoping that one day I would paint a masterpiece similar in nature to my plate, and then, in time, make my triumphant return just to rub it in her face.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another trip to Texas + Lita's memory loss

The family and I yet again traveled down to Wichita Falls, Texas simply because they have a Target and we don't. Like any other car trip with my Lita, it involved her claiming that she had never traveled on this road with us before, claiming songs like Boom Boom Pow were from the 80's, and listening to her say "I picked cotton in that field right there mijo" after we passed any patch of land without trees. I laugh, but maybe she just picked a lot of cotton... who knows... she certainly doesn't.

Anyway, we went to Bill's Catfish in Waurika, a little catfish place that doesn't feel that it needs a sign saying who or what they are because anyone who goes there already knows who and what it is. I guess you don't have to advertise as much when your town population can only choose between you and Sonic. Anyway, the place has one of those signs that say: "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone!"

Naturally, I begin to wonder just who they would deny service to. I guess it is a small town in Oklahoma, and I guess you could be a minority, but still... we're Mexican and we got "service". So on what grounds do they deny someone? Does someone just walk in and the cashier just says "Oh hell no" and tells them to turn around and leave? I thought about it for a long time, then ultimately decided that they must be racist and today was just our lucky day.

After eating, we continued on to Wichita Falls. On the way, Lita tells us that she can't remember a certain part of her life and she's not sure which part it is. She says she lost it during the heart surgery where they gave her a pig's valve.

"Well you remember taking us everywhere when we were little, right Lita?" I ask.
"Oh you mean you, Alex, and the cousins?" She replies with more Mexican phlegm in her voice than ever.
"Nope. Nothin."
"You don't remember it at all?"
"....taking us to Texas, eating fried chicken every day, tortillas, longhorn cheese, the old van, picking pecans from public parks?!"
"Nope. But that stuff I don't wanna remember mijo I'm talking about how I forgot other important things."

It was a sucker punch, not only did this woman completely toss out any memories of me during my childhood but she chose to forget that part. The same woman who is completely excited to recall the days when she picked cotton would rather not go through the trouble of trying to recall my adorable toddler years.

"But you remember picking cotton, huh?" I say in a defeated tone.
"Oh yes, yes, yes, mijo that's the kind of stuff you remember. Ohhh it was so much fun, me and the kids picking cotton. See that field over there? I picked cotton right there."

I gave up, secretely hoping that if it was indeed her pig valve that removed all memory of her practically raising me then it also replaced those memories with the pig's memories... like hearing a dinner bell and rushing to the feeding trough for slop.

There was a long silence.

"See now mijo everywhere I go is like doing something I already did for the first time."
"I'm envious."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reverse racism doesn't exist

I keep hearing that term over and over again, reverse racism, as in people discriminating against white people.

But why? What's... reverse about it?

As a Mexican-American and a person of mixed race, I've been the recipient of some pretty racist comments... one time I was told I would work in construction the rest of my life: Racism. So, I'm supposed to believe that when a caucasian person is called something malicious by a non-white person, it's... reverse racism?

I want to know exactly who coined that phrase, was it started by white people or what? It just doesn't make sense. Reverse racism implies that when it's done correctly, it's against people of color. It makes me laugh to think there's a right way to do racism, or... a non-reverse way.

Yet all over the internet I see comments like: "Stop with your reverse racism!" I don't get it. It's like yes, you just called me a cracker, but because 75% of racist statements are directed towards non-white people, you did it wrong and reversely. Don't you know that when it comes from white people it's just the regular kind?

It's wrong on every level, to everyone.

1. If someone says racist and malicious things towards a white person, it is racism. There's nothing reverse about it. Just because usually one thinks of it being directed towards non-whites, it doesn't make it a different breed of hate.

2. If white people keep saying "reverse" racism, then it doesn't reflect well on them either. Yes, the person who said something to you is probably a bigot, probably immature, and probably not worth two seconds of time spent thinking about what was said. Yet, when you call it reverse racism, you imply that regular racism only comes from white people talking to non-white people. There is only one racism, and it's that feeling you get when you hate a certain race!!

I don't think we should start discriminating on discrimination itself, it's a waste of time. It's time spent labeling something that, one way or another, is still hate.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rambling Insomniac: Vol. 1

Okay so maybe I'm not an insomniac, that would require a professional diagnosis. And I think I would know if there were really cool pills just laying about at my disposal. So I'm just a guy that stays up for absolutely no reason, knowing full well that I have a flight in the morning to California... I'm just that guy.

Well, I have had a ton of nights like these... and the thing is when I have them, I'm not really all there in the head. So I guess from now on I'll just blog here and laugh about the weird stuff I said in the morning... or cry, whatever. I'm so positive that there will be more nights like this, I titled this "Volume One." Many more installations to come... so, let's ramble!

I thought My Sister's Keeper was a different movie entirely, so when people brought it up I would always respond "Yeah it's supposed to be really funny." I glared at a "Sandwich Artist" at Subway the entire time she was making my sandwich because she kept laughing with her coworkers and looking pissed off everytime I interrupted her to request cheese. I had a dream last night that I was Jigglypuff in the Super Smash Brothers game. I was excited to purchase a new flavor of Special K the other day, one of the few things I get excited about nowadays. The flavor was cinnamon and pecan, and I was enraged to find it tasted exactly like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I cussed twice. When I learned the truth about the subject matter of My Sister's Keeper while watching a trailer on TV I laughed for 10 minutes, then felt awful and filthy. During our Father's Day dinner at Salas Mexican restaurant, my Lita pulled an old Lemon from her shirt pocket and put it in her water... she did this without an ounce of shame, and even told the waiter happily that she brought an extra lemon with her. Why can't I sleep?!?! It's really quiet down here. I have really weird tics, when I set my alarm I don't trust that it's actually set, so I get up to check it three or four times during the night. I guess I'm done here.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

My day in OKC, etc.

Well my family and I had a good old time in Oklahoma City, I was awoken at the ungodly hour of 8:30 a.m. and amidst my groggy curses and stumbling I guess I eventually fell into the car and woke up in the city. The only way to travel.

We went to the mall and what not, I kept looking into all the mirrors because I enjoyed how ferocious I looked with my bloodshot eyes and my hair going random directions. Beast.

My mom tried to buy a phone case for her new cell phone which my dad purchased for all of one penny. The man running the cart in the OKC mall took the phone, looked at his cart, looked down, and then handed it back to us with a simple "No."

One word can say so much. In this case it said: "I know you picked that phone because it said FREE on the banner, but if you think I carry a case for that prehistoric garbage then you're out of your mind woman." We continued shopping.... defeated.

The exciting part was that we got to go to the Cheesecake Factory, it was my first time!!

I walked up to the desk and demanded a table for four, to which the man replied in a thick Indian accent, "Unfortunately sir, the front desk is over there." He looked so sympathetic, it almost made me cry. It was as if he was thinking, "that poor crazy man... that poor crazy crazy man." It's even funnier in an accent.

So we sat there and ate for what seemed like three hours, ran up a huge tab, then up and left. From there, we went to Poochez Palooza, a quasi-dogshow hosted by the Museum of the Great Plains and it's director, my uncle. It was amazing.

My Lito and Lita showed up from behind the funnel cake cart and joined us at a table as we prepared to watch the dogs. There was a prize for each category, and the announcer called for anyone whose dog can perform a trick to line up by the stage. Two people lined up. The first trick: the dog jumped up and begged for a snack. My dog has been doing that for years, and we don't call it a trick. Matter of fact, my dog will dance like a gypsy in a traveling show for scraps, and we don't call it talent.

More people lined up. Amazingly, the dancing dog turned out to be the best act. Wtf.
There was a dog who, I suppose because of stage fright, refused to shake her owner's hand. The owner eventually grabbed the dog's paw and shook it vigorously, the judges gave it a 6. One man taught his dog how to pray, but I suppose due to the ethical controversy of Christianizing a canine, the judges gave it a 7.

During one act, the man went on a twenty minute speech about how his dog had been saved from Hurricane Katrina. I had a case of the Church giggles because during the sad and harrowing tale Lita was nodding blissfully with her mouth agape, not hearing a word of what was being said.

Next, the announcers said that they would give a Tan & Spa gift card to the next person who comes up and tells them what the first animal was to be intentionally put into space. No one came forward. Minutes went by in awkward silence until eventually a small girl walked up to the stage, they handed her the microphone, "A jellyfish." she said with conviction. The announcer rolled his eyes and handed the little girl her gift certificates for free cancer.

All in all, it was a great day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Politicians, their extra-marital affairs, and where I see opportunity

As some of you may have heard, Sen. John Ensign (R) just admitted to having an affair with one of his former campaign staffers.
Of course, some of you may not have heard simply because you don't know or care about politicians.
Then again, some of you may not even know what extra-marital means. It's okay. I've been there.

The point is, while some may shake their heads in shame because yet another politician has proven himself to be a hypocrit; and not to mention has shot a chance at being a presidential candidate in 2012, I am looking on the bright side. There's still room for progressives like myself to break new ground--by becoming the first male to participate in an affair with a FEMALE politician!
Yeah, you could call me a dreamer... but one day it WILL be commonplace!!

All I need now is to meet a female politician (Condoleezza Rice, I'm talking to YOU!), seduce her, and then BOOM! I'm on the news, getting interviewed on Oprah, and signing a record deal. And I can't even sing. There will be crude jokes about me on every late night talk show imaginable, and Larry King will have to learn my name. Famous.

Naturally after that I'd get a book deal, a tell-all if you will about my experiences with the politician and how my life has been changed forever, and a picture of me on the cover looking into the horizon.

Then I'd hire a limo to take me to my high school reunion, sure some people would be whispering about me, talking about how someone could be so shameless and such a man-whore. A piece of cake would probably end up being thrown at my face, and it would probably make Channel 7 news in a time slot somewhere between excitement over a possible 'gustnado' and an interview with a ranger who saved a goose that got caught in the engine of a truck. I don't care. At the end of the day, I'm the one riding the limo. Biznatch.

Maybe my ambitions are high, maybe my dreams are too great to become reality... but if you aim for the moon, you'll land amongst the stars. Keep dreaming my friends!