A bleak new day in America
I know I said I was going to be writing a lot more, but I haven't really followed through. I am forcing myself to write this--even though I really don't want to. My motivation has gone missing in action and I am just so exhausted, melancholy and numb, that the idea of writing anything seems like an insurmountable challenge. But here goes...

Today is inauguration day--day one of the new United States of Trump. It is one of the saddest sights I have ever witnessed in my 41-plus years on this mortal coil. That someone of his demeanor; this hateful, bigoted, sexist, thin-skinned, certifiable, poor excuse for a man could rise to the greatest seat of power in our country...to become the leader of the free world...is unthinkable. I am still hoping I eventually wake up from this king of all nightmares. But I won't. This is real. And nearly everyone's lives are about to change--largely for the significantly worse.

Yes, Cheeto Bandito is our new POTUS. Seriously, I cannot eat Cheetos anymore. They make me queasy with disgust. Queasy is also how I feel today. I've been right on the edge of wanting to vomit all morning. I fear for women, Muslims, African Americans, Hispanics, the LGBTQ community, anyone making under $100,000 a year, but especially the poor and destitute, our children's education, anyone with any kind of even minor health problem, our planet and resources, and our neighbors around the world. I fear that our new leader and his cronies, along with a decided minority of supporters--who have seized absolute power at the moment, will not delay in causing the rest of us grief, harm and even death. These times ahead are going to be brutal for nearly every good person on the planet.

Oh sure, we will resist ... some of us are actively already. But the reality hasn't hit folks en mass just yet. The other party -- my once beloved former party, the Democrats, are in complete disarray right now. There are some small bands that are trying to reorganize, while remaining vigilant and fighting against one outrageous idea, injustice or ignorance after another, but right now the Dems hold very little power in our nation's government, so true checks and balances are out the window. The media, once the essential fourth watchdog, is just as responsible for creating this mess as anyone else, and now seem stunned and shocked that they're getting locked out.

Right now, the resistance that's happening is happening at the grass root level. And, truly this is where it needs to come from. We need to unite and stop madness in its tracks. The problem is, organizing 100 million or more of us takes a LOT longer than trying to organize several hundred of us. But it's in our hands now. We have to either deal with what is pushed upon us or taken away from us, or we have to resist with public urgency. We should be organizing and putting money behind true progressive candidates that can win and take back our governing bodies at every level -- local, regional, state, congress, the presidency. And we should be making our case everywhere--in red states in red counties where we are hated. If we can get through to 10, those 10 could turn into 100. We can't ignore the people or areas that don't agree with us anymore. We need to be brave enough to talk to them face to face and try and understand their concerns just as much as we want them to realize ours. Screw relying on lobbying firms and consultants and high-powered, well-moneyed special interests to speak for us. It's our job to talk to our fellow Americans. If we could do this, even at just 10-15 percent more often than we do now, there are many key issues I feel we could resolve quickly -- reasonable gun control, immigration, equality for all citizens, achieving a workable living wage that all businesses can afford, basic control of wasteful spending. Sure, we may not be able to has out taxes, or where to spend resources or controlling the national debt, or limiting the damage caused by mega-corporations or shady Wall Street practices, but coming to basic agreements on the other things can make it easier on--make it a true mandate for--our elected officials, so they can better focus on those larger picture issues.

Sadly, now apathy has become the standard. Unless someone is physically stealing from your house, you don't care...unless someone is raping you, you don't care...until you receive a medical bill you can't pay or student loan interest snowballs to the point you can never afford to pay it off, you don't care. I am just as guilty as others in feeling this way. Sometimes it's easier to say, well, I'll just wait until they come for me, then I'll fight. By then it will be too late.

On that note: maybe Trump needed to happen. Maybe people need to have things taken away from them, for them to suffer, for them to be denied before they go, "hey wait a minute..." For those of us that have been paying attention, who have seen this coming, it has been painful to watch. When folks buy the lie on sale and pass up the truth because it's being kept on the top shelf, the won't know what they're getting until later when the food poisoning occurs. Then, they'll want answers, they'll demand action, and when no one listens to them or shrugs them off, then, maybe then will we have another soul who has woken up.

There's a site that someone created showing before and after tweets of Trump supporters who, even before being officially sworn in today were already turning on him, realizing...too late of course...that he never intended to "drain the swamp," that he is filling his cabinet with folks even more fucked in the head than he is, that a wall isn't going to get built this year, that Trump won't quit tweeting and antagonizing anyone and everyone and that it actually might lead us to war or impact trade, or even worse that ripping up Obamacare wouldn't affect them (many of these folks didn't realize Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were the same thing, and now have deep regrets because they'll no longer be covered). What's frustrating to me is that these folks could have, should have seen all of these things during the campaign. But it's almost like everyone drank the Kool-Aid at Jonestown. Except instead of dying right away, now they're left to suffer through and deal with what they've done to themselves, their families, and the rest of us.

So maybe we need this. Maybe we need a true Anti-Christ, a Hitler, a Lex Luthor, insert your most hated villain here X________________________ that we can all eventually rally against and defeat. Let's hope this happens sooner than later. Let's come together and throw the real villains out by the time the mid-term elections roll around. Let's overthrow the 2/3 of GOP leaders that have been selling us lies and delivering us crazy. Let's kick the entrenched Democratic Party establishment that's more concerned with doing personal favors for each other than actually governing and advancing progressive ideas out into the gutter. Let's not be afraid to chronicle and uncover the real truths behind our clown-faced president and hold his feet to the fire--and if there's evidence of treason, of law-breaking, of purposeful deceit of the American people, let's impeach that bastard and take away all of his toys -- you know, the toys he had handed to him by his father and collected more of on the backs on thousands of folks he's personally cheated and screwed over. Yeah, let's hold him accountable. You wanted this spotlight Donald...now deal with the ramifications. Karma can be a bitch.

Slowly making progress
I'm still playing catch up from the holidays with regard to the day job. But I am slowly and surely making some headway. I've written a few things, got a lot more things scheduled, cleaned out my email and reset all of my software, programs and spreadsheets to 2017.

Still no official word about any potential promotion. Would not be the least bit surprised if nothing at all happens. To say that things move at a slug's pace at my work would be a serious overstatement. Delay after delay after delay is part of what has me pulling out my hair sometimes with work. But, I'm trying this new thing where I just try and let stuff go as best I can. If things don't get done, it's not my fault and I should start letting others take the rightful blame.

On the plus side, I've been cooking a little again. Tonight, I made seared scallops over a bed of sauteed leeks, with a side of gulf shrimp scampi and asparagus tossed with fettuccine alfredo, and a whole artichoke. It was delicious.

Also watched D.C. Cab last week. It's a movie I haven't seen since I was like 10 or 11 years old. It still holds up. A very young Adam Baldwin, Gary Busey, Bill Maher, Marsha Warfield (for those who remember her from Night Court), Mr. T. and Otis Day ... among others. Fun movie.

That's all for now, as there's just not a whole lot else to talk about right now.

2016 in Music
So a little continuation of my 2016 review ... despite the world sucking eggs, the year did provide some good music. Here's my list of songs that really stuck with me, or that I listened to a lot in 2016 (note, a couple are from 2015, but resonated with me or I played the hell out of them this year).

One thing you won't find on here is my absolute favorite band, Alkaline Trio. Since Matt Skiba decided to join Blink 182, Alkaline Trio hasn't done much of anything, and I greatly fear that this might be the end of the group. I really hope that's not the case, but it's been awhile since their last record.

Also no Polysics, who haven't produced much, if anything this year. Nor any Tegan and Sara, who, while they did drop an album, I found it hard to really get into any of their songs this time around.

So what do I have for you then? I'll start with probably my favorite song of 2016...

Phantogram -- "You Don't Get Me High Anymore" (a haunting explosion of feeling that takes over my brain and body)

One of my all-time favorite bands, The Descendents, dropped a new album in 2016 and I finally got to see them live this year. The whole record, Hypercaffium Spazzinate, is a gem, but the first two songs really spoke to me...

The Descendents -- "Victim of Me"

The Descendents -- "On Paper"

This next band is one of the biggest explosions in 2016 and people either love them or hate them. Haters call them Millenial hipsters that think they can rap, and that all of their songs sound alike. To a small degree, I can see that argument, but this song just gets in my head, and like 'em or not, these kids do have talent.

21 Pilots -- "Stressed Out"

Another of my favorite bands, Motion City Soundtrack, get at it with another catchy tune, and while the second video here is from 2015, it really spoke to my mood the entire year.

Motion City Soundtrack -- "Lose Control"

Motion City Soundtrack -- "A Life Less Ordinary"

OK GO has made an entirely new art form from the music video, having tested the bounds of math, science and music to create stunning visuals to accompany their music. Just when you think they outdid themselves and will never be topped, they drop something completely new ... like this total mind fuck:

OK GO -- "The One Moment"

Old Weezer is back! With Shades of the Blue Album and Pinkerton, Weezer's latest offering, White Album, is a true blast from the past, with hooks and lyrics that will MAKE you sing along. Meanwhile, a song and video produced during this dumpster fire of an election cycle, really spoke to the heart of our personal hells...and features Patton Oswalt

Weezer -- "King of the World"

Weezer -- "I Love the USA"

If your body doesn't move to this song, you're not alive.

Meghan Trainor -- "Me Too"

Beyonce blew up even bigger in 2016 and became a target of controversy for daring to have a voice from black America. To me, this song is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Beyonce -- "Formation"

How about a supergroup made up of Public Enemy's Chuck D, Cypress Hill's B-Real and members of Rage against the Machine, most specifically Tom Morello? The newly dubbed Prophets of Rage are not only great -- they're needed right now. Desperately.

Prophets of Rage -- "Prophets of Rage"

Oh Bowie, why have you left us too early? Your impact on music as a whole will be greatly missed, but you left us one hell of a swan song. Caution, if you like Bowie even a tiny bit, you'll cry during this. He knew he was dying and left us all some final words...

David Bowie -- "Lazarus"

We also lost Phife Dog from a Tribe Called Quest last year. This new song is not only a great social commentary on the race and class wars we're fighting, but a haunting in memorium for Phife.

A Tribe Called Quest -- "We The People"

Seattle's Macklemore also returned to the fray with his thought-provoking White Privilege II. I know some people hate Macklemore, but to me, he speaks from the heart about whatever he's talking about ... and he's one of the few artists to stand right up and call his own white privilege out. To me, he is sincere, and a serious powerhouse of lyrical talent.

That one too deep for you? Here's 2015's Downtown, with its ridiculously catchy hooks and epic throwback special guests (and one amazing relatively newer artist)

Macklemore -- "White Privilege II"

Macklemore -- "Downtown"

A newer band I just discovered this year, Grouplove is another group with uncanny hooks that draw you in. This particular song, I feel, could be the opening song to my life.

Grouplove -- "Welcome To Your Life"

Green Day dropped a new record near the end of 2016 too. While I haven't heard the entire album yet, it's pretty good. Though this one, very politcal song, really struck a nerve with me.

Green Day -- "Say Goodbye To The Ones We Love"

Another one of my favorite bands also went uber political, dropping this heart-wrenching song during the election, in an effort to get more of us to the polls...

Airborne Toxic Event -- "America"

Bringing it back to Seattle and a little (or lot) lighter, I present you the amazing Tacocat. Their up-tempo beats and witty lyrics make any topic sound good. Bonus, this video was directed by one of my wife's friends, and features another friend!

Tacocat -- "I hate the Weekend"

And I'm ending this with more light-heartedness. Dork-Gods Nerf Herder released a new album after years upon years of "hiatus." It's great to hear new songs from them -- especially when they nerd it up about things like Doctor Who, Star Wars and vegans working at Burger King:

Nerf Herder -- "Doctor Who"

Nerf Herder -- "I'm the Droid (You're Looking For)"

Nerf Herder -- "Hotel California"

So there it is, my list of musical faves of the past year. Hope you enjoyed!

A lot of work ahead of me
So with Tuesday being a catch-up and meeting day, and with me staying home yesterday with a bout of stomach issues, today was the first "real" day back in the office. Oh man, I have a ton of work ahead of me--and a lot of it needs to be done like, right away.

I dove right in today and got at least three things off my plate (out of literally more than 100). Tomorrow I need to get at much writing done as possible in between a 10am meeting and a 1pm visit with another potential caterer for our users' conference to do a tasting. Spending the time to go eat yummy nibbles sounds great, but I also need to get writing done. I may end up working a bit over the weekend, but...

I also have Rob's bachelor party to go to. This was kind of short notice and I feel bad that a few folks have dropped out altogether citing lack of funds or other commitments. I am going, but I'm joining later. Main reasons are the same lack of funds as others (I am seriously tight at the moment) and that I just don't drink as much anymore. Hopefully, my coming later won't disappoint. I feel bad for bailing on the earlier dinner and drinks, but I just can't swing it financially and time-wise -- especially if I do have to get writing done this weekend as well.

Oh, this first part of this year is going to be rough, lol. But I'll make it. I've got my positive face on!
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2016 was bad—REALLY bad … but there were some good things too...
Ok, so we all agree that 2016 has been one of the worst years most of us can remember. Between the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, a general first-world order made up of ignorance and hate, the deaths of many beloved celebrities and pioneering human beings, and so much more, it would be easy to want to jump out of very tall building’s upper floor windows. But while last year, did indeed suck, there were a handful of good things that happened. Here’s my short list:

On the world and national front:

• Thanks largely to Obama and progressive leaders who pushed through measures as best they could, the economy has stabilized and unemployment is at its lowest rate in 10 years
• There were a number of significant health breakthroughs made in 2016. Among them: a potential cure for ALS, real hope now for an effective HIV vaccine; the successful implementation of new, safer, less painful cancer surgeries; the near-eradication of Ebola; and new, measurable ways to combat the Zika virus
• Pandas were removed from the endangered species list…and the tiger population grew for the first time in a long time in 2016
• So-called “alternative” energies (solar, hydro, wind) are booming!
• Caucusing for the election here in Washington…it was nice to see our state swing for Bernie.
• Post-election, it is good to see the dismantling of the current Democratic power establishment. Maybe, if things keep going in the right direction, I will return.
• Black Lives Matter turned into more than just a fly-by-night movement. It’s real, and growing, and hopefully our society will eventually start acting to diminish the number of people unjustly killed by law enforcement, as well as demilitarizing local police forces. Though with Trump in power, this job just got more difficult.


• The Chicago Cubs broke their curse and won their first World Series since 1908…and my Mets again made the playoffs—even if for just one game, which we lost.
• Speaking of the Mets, they managed to hang onto their best player this offseason and the pitching staff FINALLY looks like they’ll all be healthy at once…for once. So 2017 should be an interesting season
• Though I’m not a huge soccer fan, it was nice to see Seattle take home the MLS championship this year
• I also won my third fantasy football championship. I was 11-2 in the regular season and BOTH of my losses came by less than a point. I dominated throughout the playoffs too.
• Got to see something I never thought I would see in my lifetime—husky pitcher Bartolo Colon hit a home run. If you don’t know who he is—look him up and watch videos of him batting. Then google his home run.

Home, social and personal achievements:

• We had our most successful garden of all time this year—of course we worked our asses off and dug 6 tons of dirt, sifted through another five tons and shoveled another 5-plus tons in order to make our garden happen. But we got beets, carrots, three different cauliflowers, cucumbers, zucchinis, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, eggplant, edamame, strawberries, different types of bell peppers, baby broccoli, artichokes, TONS of green beans and corn. Man, what a year!
• We got to partake in our friends’—Dan and Kristen’s—wedding. Such a lovely event and a very lovely coupling.
• Got new couches! And a new, awesome desk.
• Had an awesome anniversary dinner at El Gaucho
• Officially celebrated five years at my job, and, after a lengthy disruption, finally enjoying a mostly full-strength marketing department again.
• Miranda got a decent promotion and raise at work, making our financial situation a tad less stressful
• Had perhaps the best Christmas I can remember – and Miranda and I were able to give her folks something they’ve both yearned to partake of for so long – a trip to New Orleans!


• Miranda and I got to take a lovely “working” vacation in Puerto Rico. The Caribbean breezes and cool waters, the stiff drinks and great food … oh man, I want to go back right now!
• Miranda and I also got to take a wonderful drive down to the Bay Area and I got me catch up with good family members I hadn’t seen in a long time, as well as meet some new family members!
• My niece also came up to Seattle a month or so before our trip to the Bay Area, so we got to play tourist here in Seattle, which was fun.
• Took Sparky to see his first ocean—at Westport. He didn’t like it. 
• Spent an awesome Oktoberfest weekend in Leavenworth—even got our own Jacuzzi suite!
• Our very good friend Rob successfully emigrated to the States from England.


• Some OUTSTANDING movies this year: Captain America Civil War; The Nice Guys; Keanu; 10 Cloverfield Lane; Deadpool; Sausage Party; Doctor Strange; Rogue One; Office Christmas Party; The Magnificent Seven; and others
• Also some great concerts and events: Noel Fielding; Mish Mash Circus Bash at Teatro Zinzanni; The Specials, Dylan Moran, The Descendents;
• Enjoyed quite a few Questionable Content performances this year. This is the amazing comedy panel show my wife created, produces, directs and slaves over every month. I help too! This year’s panels were the funniest yet, and the show is getting good attendance and reviews!

Let's hope 2017 won't be as terrible as we all fear. Yes, bullshit is gonna fly, but maybe we can collectively fight the bad stuff off and still find some room to enjoy the little things or celebrate any positive events on the local, national and global stages, as well as any personal accomplishments when they occur.

So I have delivered myself a personal mandate to write a lot more this year, including this blog, where I can do a better job of venting my feelings, chronicling my life and sharpening my writing skills. I have neglected this blog. But then again, I've been neglecting a lot of things.

I just rejoined Facebook as well and I wrote a little post about my return. This might explain a little of why I haven't written much here lately. Enjoy and expect more to come...

Hello world
I have decided to give Facebook another try. If you wondered where I’ve been, I suspended my profile this summer and have largely ignored Facebook (and subsequently the goings on in many peoples’ lives) since that time. It was necessary, as in height of political rantings, constant tragedies, and just plain outright ignorance and hate displayed on a daily basis, I slipped back into a deep depression and literally lost all faith in human beings.

The fact that I was attacked and even threatened for my views and beliefs—some publicly (which I have since scrubbed for the most part) and even more privately through messaging not only didn’t help matters, it became the final straw. I needed to remove myself from most people and in truth, these past six months or so, I have only been social with a very small group of friends and family. I doubt anyone else really missed me though—LOL—especially since a LOT has happened since I left. From the tragic Orlando shooting, to Brexit, to the continuation of violence against minorities here in the United States and the increased presence of a police state, to the election of Trump as our next leader to the countless celebrity deaths (Carrie Fisher really hit me) and personal pains and losses that friends and family have all experienced, to the basic death of intelligence and tolerance among humans—2016 has been perhaps the worst year I can remember. As someone said the other day, this year was only good if you were a Cubs fan, and even that historic event seemed a lot more subdued that it should have been—as if most Cubs fans went, “WhoooHoooo! We won! We…oh…oh, yeah, the world around us still sucks balls.”

As for our own U.S. election, I’m not going to spend too much time dwelling on this. I do want to say that to me, this was not a great surprise. I’m not going to gloat about being “right” about my suspicions or say I told you so. The truth is, I really, genuinely hoped Hillary would pull this out, and honestly, for a month or so there toward the end, genuinely believed she could, and that she would – especially since The Donald kept making it so easy for most of us to hate him. But in the end, what I had been worried about in terms of the messages and statement of this election, AND what made me so angry at the Democratic Party I once loved so greatly, ultimately came fruition. Hillary’s electability was overestimated and the Democratic party went about selling her as though she already held the golden ticket…that the presidency was somehow owed to her. I literally screamed into my television a month before the election when her campaign manager said there was no need for her to really campaign in the rust belt because those were already Democratic strongholds that were locked up. The truth was, the bulk of the American people, were done with the Clintons, and that her popularity was overstated. Was she qualified? Sure, but people wanted real and measurable change. She was the establishment and the DNC was absolutely positive America would rush to elevate her to her rightful seat on the throne. Problem is, those around her and she herself completely lost touch with about 75 percent of America.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows I was a steadfast Bernie supporter. I felt then, and still feel now, that he could have won. That he could have tapped into—and actually had tapped into—the frustration that the American people have had with our elected leaders like Trump did…except he could have provided a different message of change…fuel to engage a lot more of those Americans that stayed home. Don’t blame me, I begrudgingly voted for Hillary. And don’t blame the Millennials—most them turned out for her too. But Hillary failed to truly engage and encourage the African American and Hispanic communities, and she really blew it with what should have been among her strongest segments – white women. This came as a shock to just about every person I know, nearly every TV pundit, and much of the outside world. But, like I said, it didn’t really shock me. I was hopeful that I would be wrong, and I was truly disappointed when I wasn’t, but the truth is, most of this country ignored this election – and now we’re going to be a different country for it. And in the short term, it’s going to get very, very ugly.

Now, you can blame this on emails or Russia, or the electoral college, or Millennials, or Bernie Sanders, or sexism and racism, or whatever you want, and you know what? You’d be right … but you’d also be wrong. Maybe Bernie wouldn’t have won either, and maybe we really are a terrible, racist, sexist country made up of horrible people, and maybe we are turning into a third-world country. Me, I’m not sure I believe any of that—yet. Yes, we have a lot of racist, sexist people—they’re clearly coming out of the woodwork now that their message is in the spotlight. But so does every country. And they’re only emboldened now because one man with…with, “shudder” … charisma that appeals to them has bullied his way on the dance floor. Yes, a dangerous man is in power, but guess what? Only 26 percent of our nation’s eligible voters elected him. Just like Hillary, he only amassed the support of one quarter of the population. That’s it. And he lost the popular vote by nearly three million. So for those of us that share progressive values, it’s not like our ideas and voices are the extreme minority. Trump’s win was not a mandate and the people in power now who will float one bad idea after another will not succeed if the other 75 percent of America stands up to them.

That, however, is the bigger problem as I see it. The general sense of apathy in our nation. We have so many problems still left to fix, but we’re distracted by shiny things, aren’t as interested in things like science, history, the arts, literature. It’s about instant gratification, instant entertainment, and what can pacify us the best at any given moment. We’re all guilty of this to a degree, but for those of us still at least semi-awake, I think it’s important to continually remind those that aren’t to wake up every once in a while and remind them where the fire extinguishers are for when the house starts to burn. And, to be honest, maybe enduring the horrors of a nation of Trump and an all-Republican controlled government is exactly what we need to wake everyone up. Sometimes you have to burn the house down to save the city. The sad thing is a lot of people may get hurt while the house burns.

The good news is, I think Trump will be a one-term president (or less). I think this will embolden a much truer, much stronger resistance to the hate and ignorance being spewed (because frankly, we have to in order for humanity to survive). This will, hopefully, include a made-over Democratic party that will attempt to get back to its core values, listen to the people and actually FIGHT for progressive causes and growth. We’re already seeing positive steps being taken here. I for one, am standing here today and announcing that I am proudly part of the resistance. And it has to start now … it can’t wait until a year or two from now while special interests in power determine who they can dangle in front of us to appease us enough to close our eyes again. I personally would like to see an Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker ticket for president—with an aim at leveling the playing field and providing protections (financially and socially) for all who live within our borders. Now, who actually takes this lead can obviously change as we move forward and we should rally around a collective voice. But, I’m not going to buy into any more entrenched Democratic dynasties. I want real progressive Democrats … or independents … or socialists … or maybe even Republicans who get it … there are a handful.

Now, that’s my political rant – and you’re probably headed for the comment box. Look, I said what I said above because they’re my feelings I’m getting out and done with. Please don’t try and start a debate or “correct” something in this post. I’m tired of arguing. I’m tired of getting attacked. It’s a big part of why I left in the first place. So just let me have this one and then we’ll both move on. When I decided to come back, I did so while greatly reducing the number of “friends” and acquaintances, so if you’re reading this, know that I chose to keep you around because I value you—and for reasons not dependent on politics. In coming back, I felt I needed to fully explain why I left—get the last bit of historical commentary off my chest, and start fresh. So if you’re happy to see me back, like this post, or say hello, or tell me something interesting I missed. If you’re going to jump into 101 reasons why I’m wrong, I’ll just delete your comment and perhaps reassess my decision to re-engage here.

Speaking of starting fresh, I have decided that I’m not going to waste 2017 on the little, insignificant crap anymore. Which means, while I am back on Facebook, it doesn’t mean I’m going to live here... like I used to. I became addicted to the human pain and suffering, the ignorance and douchebaggery, the pointless and inconsequential. So I may not reply to all of your posts, or comment on everything you’re doing (yes, this was one of the many things I was chastised about that helped lead me to walking away altogether). If I missed your birthday while I was gone, I’m sorry and happy birthday.

What I am going to do is try and make some positive changes for myself in 2017. I’m going to write more. I have a blog I never write in, so I did a piss-poor job of venting my feelings, or even recognizing the good things over the past couple of years. Yes, I’ll still post abbreviated versions of things here to keep folks in the loop as best I can, but I really want to start writing more for myself. I also want to capture at least one good or progressive thing that I do each day—to remind myself to keep doing these things and growing.
I am also going to do some things to take care of myself better physically. Turning 41 has not been kind, but then again, neither had 40, or 39 for that matter. I am finding out just how quickly the body falls apart beyond certain ages or conditions, though the truth is, I haven’t been helping myself to correct this either. So I am going to try and exercise more. Eat and drink better. See the doc and dentist and try and correct some issues if I can. That way, if Trump doesn’t kill us this year, then maybe I can survive a little longer down the road.

I want to read more, learn how to do more things at work, like learn new software and management practices. I will push more for the things I deserve, or am rightfully owed. I will not shrug my shoulders when I get screwed over in life, or in my career, or in purchasing a product or service. No, 2017 is going to be the year of me. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to turn into an asshole to the people around me, but in my pretty much year-long depression, I’ve shouldered a lot of unnecessary blame, and embraced self-loathing as a tool for getting by. Don’t try this—it sucks and you only find yourself further down the rabbit hole.

Luckily, I have the most wonderful wife in the world, who has helped pull me out of my funk. She doesn’t think she has, or will tell you that she really didn’t do anything, but that’s incorrect. She stood by me, loved me for who I was at any given moment, put up with me at my worst and trusted me no matter what. To have someone like that by your side and not recognize the wonder of it is foolish. Sorry it took so long sweetie, but I think my head is above water now.

Between my loving wife, supportive and understanding close friends, and damn-near perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that reminded me what joy and caring and love were all about, I think I am ready to try and put a least a little of my faith back in humanity again…work on myself…and hopefully contribute a little more to society.

So, here I am. What did I miss?



Ok, just cuz Mir asked me to...
I haven't posted here for a long time, but since Mir asked me to do this, here goes:

37 Extremely Important Questions You Must Answer Before Getting Married Or You’re Doomed

1. How far out of your way would you travel to bring me home a burrito?

As far as she wants me to, but the reasonable answer would be as far as I need to go to get the burrito she wants and be able to make it back to her before it's cold.

2. What is the maximum number of cats you’re comfortable with owning at one time?
Cats? One. One is enough. They're independent and finicky. Dogs, however, I would consider two. We currently have one cat and one dog.

3. Do you agree that our pets should not be allowed in the bedroom while we’re sleeping and/or sexing?
Ok when sleeping -- not so much during sexy time.

4. When we’re down to the last $12 for the week, will you buy apples or cheesecake?
Cigarettes, most likely.

5. What is your stance on Halloween couple costumes?
Meh -- we've done it, but Halloween is not my favorite holiday.

6. How far out of your way would you travel to bring me home a burrito if I’m having a really terrible day?

So, bad day or not, my answer is the same as the first time in question 1

7. Jenny Schecter: entertaining or irritating?

8. How many holidays per year are you prepared to spend with my grandmother in Florida?
Fuck Florida -- and luckily neither of us have any family there. Like Mir said in hers, there are probably abbreviated trips to Denver and the Bay Area in our future though for family time.

9. Are multiple appetizers an acceptable substitute for an entree?
I think we'd probably agree that it depends on the place -- this was Mir's answer, but I agree

10. If our future children refused to eat the meal we served them, how would you respond?

By dissecting them and selling their organs on the black market.

11. Will you expect me to text you as frequently once we’re married?
Machete don't text.

12. Who do you believe should control the music on road trips?
She's a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock n roll -- just kidding, we generally like a lot of the same stuff, so it'd be easy.

13. Blue and black, or white and gold?
I'm done with this line of questioning.

14. How many times per week/month can I do a solo and/or friend activity without inviting you?
Play it by ear, but generally a couple of times a week. Wait, or are we talking about masturbation?

15. What level of communication and/or friendship is acceptable with regard to our exes?
No restrictions from my end.

16. What time/day is the best time/day to go grocery shopping?


17. Are there any theme parks that you would absolutely never want to vacation to?
Uh, what's that Jesusland place in Kentucky? Yeah, that one.

18. Cram five days of clothes into carry-on, or pay $25 for checked luggage?
$25 for the checked bag -- unless our items are breakable.

19. What is your stance on reading each others’ texts and emails over each others’ shoulders?
I have nothing to hide, so she can look at whatever she wants.

20. What is the maximum amount of time that in-laws can stay under our roof?
Really not an issue we've ever had to deal with, but I like having the house to ourselves as much as possible.

21. Will you always expect me to be the one who carries cash in our marriage?
Cards mostly these days

22. Will you just finish the damn ice cream before buying and opening a new tub?
Yes indeedy

23. What are your precise expectations re: the level of gift-giving, surprising and romance on our wedding anniversary?
Romantic meal, a nice surprise -- you know, typical anniversary stuff -- who wrote these questions? A 10-year-old version of Captain Obvious?

24. Will you expect me to stop [bad habit] once we’re married?
Mir just answered "ha, ha." She knows what she did!

25. At what level does the gas tank need to be filled up?
Quarter tank

26. How do you feel about me keeping items from past relationships, e.g. jewelry, photos?
I have several of these things -- so does she. Never has been even the slightest bit of an issue.

27. What is your stance on having a conversation while one of us is using the bathroom?
It's the only place where you have their complete attention!

28. Who is responsible for insect removal?
Me, only me ... she'll run far, far away.

29. What is your stance on engagement photos?

That I be standing.

30. Will you allow me to name our future cat after a Harry Potter reference?
No, never -- besides, we already mis-named one animal!

31. Are there any TV shows that I absolutely must not watch until you get home?
Cutthroat Kitchen, if there's a second season of Fargo. <<-------Mir's answers, but yes.

32. What level of social media exposure are you comfortable with?

Facebook, but we never use Twitter and while she uses Google Plus, it has never appealed to me

33. Does the cutlery get placed into the dishwasher handle up or handle down?
Mir is totally wrong on this -- she puts the pointy ends of (almost) everything pointing up. I have stabbed myself several times now.

34. How many hours early should you arrive at the airport prior to a domestic flight?
Isn't the standard now two hours? Why is this a marriage question?

35. Do you think it’s ok to buy the giant size mayonnaise container that will last forever and force you to put your entire hand inside the jar to get to the bottom of it six months from now? Or do you think it’s an all-around better plan to buy the very small container of mayonnaise that will run out in a very reasonable amount of time and won’t require you to be elbow-deep in mayonnaise?
It won't stop me from buying the super large one if the deal is right, but yeah, I hate sticking my hand in a jar of stuff.

36. If/when you wear an item of my clothing, how promptly will you launder it so that I can have it back?

Whenever it gets back to me -- I really only ask for laundry to be done if I need/want a specific item. The rest of the time, it gets done when we decide to do it.

37. When you need to order food for both of us, but I’m not available to tell you my preferences, what will you order?
Mushrooms and escargot. LOL -- see...cuz she hates both of those things enough to jump out of a window. But if I was being nice, then seafood. Something seafood-y.

Are we done? I don't mind taking surveys -- in fact, I like them. But this one seems about as disjointed as a scarecrow after a sumo match.

The last 12 years in song
So I haven't posted on here in quite some time. But I was recently inspired by my wife's recent idea to blog about the last 10 years of her life in music form. She summarized that span of time and the important moments in her life by way of song -- songs that she listened to during the moments or otherwise were relevant to the situations. I decided to do the same, but since some pretty memorable moments happened prior to the 10-year-ago mark, I decided to expand mine to 2002, covering the last 12 years. So without any further adieu, the last dozen years of my life in song:

(Mid-2002) Most of you know (some don't) that I was very unstable emotionally in early 2002 and became despondent and suicidal after a particularly bad breakup with my then-ex fiance, Tina. I actually came close to taking my life one night. I fixed a rope to the vent in my room and proceeded to try and hang myself. As I was choking to death, the internet radio I had left running on my computer played this song. It was a band I had never heard before. As the first verse hit, the vent broke and I fell to the ground. Pretty badly injured from the fall and with rope burns on my neck, I remained motionless listening to the end of this song before breaking down in tears. I decided then and there that A) this was my favorite band in the world, B) that they had spoken to me and saved my life and that C) I would never ever attempt to take my own life again (this had been my fourth attempt). Since that day, I have never attempted suicide and have worked hard to get my depression under control.

(Late 2002- early 2003) I had been dating Regina, my new fiance for a few months and already our relationship had hit some rocky patches. I had fallen in love with her, but she was more unstable emotionally than me and had special needs that I thought I could handle. I had convinced myself that love would prevail over rough patches, though inside, I was loaded with uncertainty. While I was never hesitant to do what I could to please her, I never really felt comfortable with the relationship and inside always waited for the other shoe to drop. Seven years later, the inevitable would finally happen. I was six and a half years too late to realize my gut instincts were probably right.

(Mid-2004) During good times between myself and Reg, there were other issues we had to contend with. One of them was both of us being accused of seducing and later raping someone. The accusations were bald-faced lies coaxed from a former friend who was under the romantic spell of a complete fucktard, conniving religious freak who was convinced that his new love's former "promiscuity" was the devil's work. We just happened to be among the first friends of hers he met and took us to task as an "open" couple. The friend in question has since removed herself from that situation and made amends with both Regina and I.

(Mid 2005) During another good moment in my otherwise troubled relationship with Regina, I purchased my first house. It was not quite what I was looking for in a house and was in a less desirable neighborhood than I had wanted. But nevertheless, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment upon closing. Little did I know this would come back to haunt me greatly years later.

(Late 2005) Shortly after purchasing the house, I wanted to get a pup of my own. Sparky was technically Reg's dog (even though she would later abandon him). I brought home a Beagle puppy we named Onion. Sadly, Onion had Parvo and died after I had spent only a handful of hours with her. I was deeply depressed for days on end and listened to this song repeatedly. Weeks later, we took home Onion's sister, the only survivor of the litter. We named her Pepper. A few years later, Regina would force me to give Pepper away. Another mistake I never quite recovered from. Again, I played this song.

(Late 2006) My beloved New York Mets were a team to be reckoned with and made it all the way to the NL Championship Series. But a series of bad breaks forced the series to go to seven games and I watched live as the Mets were beaten by the St. Louis Cardinals. It seemed all Mets fans agreed that 2006 was supposed to be OUR year. Instead, we were left battered and depressed. This song was shared on a Mets message board by another fan and it immediately became my depressing marching music for the next several months.

(Late 2007) I had an ongoing feud with a former best friend of mine dating back to actions both of us took in the wake of my relationship with Tina falling apart. We were both to blame, but I held a strong grudge against her for her part. After years of avoiding each other and stewing privately and publicly, I heard this song one night and it brought me to tears. It wasn't too long after that that I mustered the courage to speak to her, apologize for holding things against her for so long and attempt to mend the friendship. Though we are not quite as close as we once were (partly due to geography), we remain friends to this day and she has continued to be there for me when I need her (and I hope I have for her as well).

(2007 and 2008) After years of working for newspapers and trade magazines, I was at the top of my game as Editor in Chief at Casino Journal. However, the magazine and its sister publications and events had been bought and sold over the years by various companies. Each time, staff and resources were cut in order to "improve the bottom line." However, with the last company, a dreadful operation called BNP Media, those cuts were the worst. The staff that survived were demanded to do more with less. Where we once were working with a staff/resources of around 35 people, it was cut to just three (one of them myself), responsible for churning out multiple magazines, custom publications and events. By the end, I was literally working 90- and 100-hour weeks, getting as little as an hour of sleep a night and working weekends. I decided it wasn't worth it, quit, wound up working for a small marketing company that my skills did not fit with and I was ultimately laid off. But quitting the magazine was the best worst decision I ever made. It probably saved my life.

(Late 2007) Despite all the woes and seemingly constant trouble in my relationship, I did have plenty of moments of happiness and silliness. I discovered the Polysics one night and was floored. Their music became my anthems whenever I was in a good mood!

(Late 2007-2009) Among the many troubles in my relationship was trying to deal with the peak of Regina's mental illness and the issues it created. At the same time, I was battling my own growing mental illness and trying to stave off strong recurrences of my depression and emotional problems. I was at the point where I was contemplating suicide again and one night came very close to acting on it -- a fact I never really told anyone about until after I left Vegas. This is a song that illustrates that hot mess brilliantly.

(Early 2009) At the peak of a nervous breakdown, I decided to return to therapy since it had helped me in the past. I tried to get Regina to re-enter therapy as well and while she momentarily embraced the idea, she quickly decided she was not in need, but that I was. I chose to stick with my therapist and thankfully, he helped me through some very troubling times. I wish he was available up here as I would go every week!

(Mid 2009) These two songs were among a handful that became the essence of me after Regina broke up with me for good. We had broken up something like seven or eight times before, but had always gotten back together. This time, she meant it -- of course, she had also been secretly engaging with a British guy online who had convinced her to dump me and move across the pond to be with him. And since the "meal ticket" had run out with me losing my job and the house in jeopardy, I suppose it made sense to kick me to the curb in favor of both fantasy and security. While I was devastated at the time (as evidenced by these songs), in the long run, being rid of her and her baggage was perhaps the best thing that has ever happened to me. It took me another half year or so and a big move of my own to fully realize that.

(Mid 2009) Speaking of that big move, my friend Dan decided to get me out of Vegas for a week or so during the aforementioned crisis. Having the big three happen to you (loss of significant other, loss of job and loss of house as the bank was foreclosing) is enough to make anyone crazy. Dan brought be to Seattle to escape and reconnect with friends that cared about me. When I realized how much I loved Seattle and the people up here and with nothing else to lose, I decided to move here. Easily one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life!

(Late 2009) On my last day in Vegas, as I was driving my truck and small U-haul trailer away from my house to get on the road to Seattle, I played this song as a fitting ode to leaving my past behind. The song doesn't necessarily speak to that lyrically, but my personal interpretation of it was "letting go for good."

(Late 2009) I met Miranda just weeks after arriving in Seattle at a party. Though I was SO not looking for anyone and honestly wanted to remain single for a long time, I was nonetheless floored by her at first sight. We had an interesting connection that first night and despite some awkwardness, I was hooked. I pursued her for days and was about to give up thinking there was not interest on her part when she finally got back to me and we agreed to go on an official date. Happy as I could be, I blasted this song!

(2010) Of course, nothing is easy and though Miranda and I had fallen madly in love with each other, there was another element to contend with -- she was going to London for a year to study. Neither one of us were sure if a long distance relationship would work or survive, but we both were completely committed to each other. As the time neared for her to begin her journey, I played, and replayed this song over and over. It had been a key piece of a loving collection of Valentine's Day love songs I compiled for her, but took new meaning when I realized I was going to be without her for so long.

(Late 2010) After Miranda left for London, this was one of my go-to-songs to keep me sane and reminded me that the wait would be over soon enough. It also helped me get through a prolonged period of unemployment, which was starting to wear thin on my ability to survive, let alone plan for a future.

(2010 through 2011) Miranda made me listen to this song before she left and we had a good cry together. Whenever I was really sad or really missed her, I would play this song. It still makes me cry today.

(Mid 2011) Despite all of my best efforts, missing Miranda and being unemployed finally did catch up to me during the summer of 2011. I lost my mind a bit, reverted to some bad habits and let the depression take hold of me completely again. This song is a great perspective into what I was feeling. Thankfully, I had a loving fiance and great friends to pull be back from the brink.

(Early 2012) After Miranda returned, I had a full-time, good job again and things were starting to really look up, I realized I had been too hard on myself all these past years in shitty relationships with shittier women who always tried to change me – then realizing I was finally going to get married – to the best woman in the world. This is when I woke up one day and realized I am a real man and worthy of love and respect.

(2013) Our wedding song. It fits Miranda and I to a tee, and exemplifies just how happy we are with each other and how lucky we both are.

(Present Day) Just one more to show how happy I am today, knowing I am loved, that my depression is at bay, that there is hope for a stable future life and that I am loving married life with Miranda!

That's it! Hope you enjoyed! And I really hope you actually listed to these songs to get into my moments.

I have decided to keep this blog up, but will not be posting anything publicly here for awhile ... at least until some things get handled. I am toying with the idea of starting a separate current events/commentary blog, but as far as my life is concerned, I need to take a step back methinks.

Until then... :)

I have decided to delete this journal. Wearing my heart on my sleeve has been a huge part of who I am, but I think it's time for me to become a much more private person. A lot of things may change about me, and hopefully some good comes from it. But being just myself just hasn't worked.

I will leave this up for a few days, while I decide whether to just delete all my past entries and leave this up or delete the whole thing altogether. Considering the same for Facebook, but I have other issues there.

Much love...


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