Author: thoughtsofasouthpaw

Welcome to Thoughts of A Southpaw--the place where thoughts and other crazy nothings go down.

An Attempt To Define Fall.

There’s something so strangely satisfying about Fall (or Autumn, if you’re a particularly fancy person). I can’t define it here; I don’t think anyone can really define it, too much of an immense task, in my opinion. The best I can do is throw a few sharp adjectives its way, hoping they stick–let’s see, uh: bittersweet, mildly fantastical, slightly spooky, cold, warm, loving, abrupt, careful, dangerous, joyful, magical. Ah, now we got something concrete, magical? Magic’s a complex concept, isn’t it? Well, sure, if you want to make it that way. For the sake of this post, K.I.S.S, or Keep It Simple, Sally. HA, and you thought I was gonna say stupid! Tricked you.

Fall is magical. How so? Gee, that’s a tough question, but only the hardest hitters…make the target? Yeah, smooth move, X-Lax, real intelligent, as if targets have anything to do with Fall. But maybe they do. I can’t say definitively that they don’t, so, as they say, the jury’s out on that one–and, y’know, I just talked to them, telling me they’re gonna be out for the next five hours, so, hey, that’s cool.

Now, I’m gonna stop pulling my swings (or is it throws?), and go all out. Fall is undefinable, BAM! whoah, how about that big dose of Truth, huh? but, and I want to preface this, if I may, with the concession that although Fall may be undefinable, it’s not entirely abstract. When I think of Fall, these thoughts proceed: carving Jack-O-Lanterns in the blistering cold, with a mug of Swiss Miss hot cocoa and stomping into carefully raked leaves, hearing them crinkle and crunch beneath my feet and pressing my gloves over my numbing cheeks to still the wind-inflicted pain within them and watching fog settle over an empty field, slithering around every grass stalk and tumbleweed in it and admiring a waxing, orange moon, a centerpiece in the sky’s constantly revised canvas and grasping handfuls of wrapped goodies out of plastic pumpkins and jittery animatronic hands and gathering around a food-laden table to just get a whiff of the pumpkin pie’s creamy filling, its flaky (and occasionally imitation-concrete) crust and being fulfilled and being pleased and feeling as if the weather can, like, channel your mood and sitting on a bench in some lonely place and watching leaves snap off tree branches and glide in a see-saw manner to the grass, crumpling.

It’s not perfect, Fall. It’s not even many people’s favorite season, but it’s Fall, guys, and how often do we get as much out of a season as we do this one?

Not often.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Division, The Disease Afflicting America.

The Year TWO THOUSAND-And-EIGHTEEN, An Insight:

I believe there’s a disease in America, and I believe this country’s been sick with it for the last thirty or so years. It’s not a contagious disease, mind you, nor is it an acute type. This particular disease is chronic, and most importantly, it’s confined solely to America. We’ve  tried treating it with all sorts of fantastic medicines and social revitalizations; what we’re unfortunately not realizing, I believe, quickly enough is the ineffectiveness of these so-called “cures.”

I call it, Division, Latin Name: divisiona americo, and it’s a systemic ailment. It’s not confined to New Hampshire or Texas or Ohio or California or Wyoming or Rhode Island or Kentucky. It’s nation-wide, and let me tell you, when something this critical has such a  wide-reaching net, then it’s difficult to immediately diagnose its symptoms. Doctors (not necessarily all MD) have worked tirelessly over the many decades to isolate a possible weakness, some kink in its mechanistic armor. Division has no cure. Its symptoms are wildly inconsistent, and they pop up in the least expected occasions, EX: rallies, fairs, supermarkets, restaurants, the office building at which everyone seems reasonably peaceful and similar-minded. Division is hard to detect. It is both airborne and seaborne, and its greatest (and strongest) form of transportation, Socially Spread. No expected resolution is anywhere in sight, and millions and millions of American citizens are either contracting it, or they’re in slight fear of being affected by Division.

Division spread itself over America a number of years ago, and at this current moment, it’s at one of its highest peaks in over eleven years. Citizens who contract Division are defined by the following symptoms:

  • Unaccepting of other people’s opinions.
  • Agressive diatribes against one another.
  • Rhetoric, with the sole purpose of angering other citizens.
  • Over-exaggeration of extremely rare instances of the previous three symptoms.
  • Cruel, bully-like actions used to serve self-interests.
  • Violent outbursts, otherwise defined as Mass Shootings.

As you can see, there’s several symptoms of varying intensity. Citizens rarely experience all of them, only one or two–and it will be an extremely unfortunate day when all citizens experience all symptoms, which, by statistics and common sense, is 99% impossible. That doesn’t mean Division isn’t a relevant issue; in fact, it’s tearing America apart. If any other diseases wanted to afflict American citizens, there’d be no greater time than now, and it’d take a long time to find a cure to them.

Division by itself is quite harmless; in fact, it’s only as bad as it is because American citizens continue to spread it. Talk about not washing your hands, these people aren’t following all the regulatory Health Guidelines of resting up and finding ways to lessen the effects of their ailments. It won’t be long before WHO sets up a National Quarantine and declares Division an epidemic; they may be already working towards such actions as we speak.

To those in foreign countries around the world, Division may seem a trifle compared to your much more significant issues, but here, it’s a large problem, and no one is willing to step up and find ways to combat it. If no one does something about it, it may spread and grow, becoming more than America can handle. Then what? Then what?

As long as Division continues its harsh reign, many of its symptoms will ingratiate themselves further into places of American society, possibly the rest of the world–although, the latter is unlikely.  It’s no wonder, then, that millions of American citizens currently suffer from Division and its ravaging effects. People are content in their sickness; they see no problem in it–and therein, as Hamlet might say, lies the rub.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Credit: iStock.

 

 

 

I Published A Short Story!

Yes, it’s true, I’m finally a published author. It’s so exciting, and I can’t seem to hold it all in–oh, someone pinch me and tell me it’s not a dream. The story’s called “19Sixty3,” and it runs around 20 to 21 pages, in total.

Here’s the summary:

Time is a tricky variable.

It is 3057 A.D, and the Space is the New Frontier. The Milky Way bustles with traffic, advanced space shuttles traveling from planet to planet, galaxy to galaxy. Earth is home to the Brigadier Fleet, an intergalactic armada created to explore both the near and far reaches of Space. Made up of more than a thousand small ships, the Fleet sends out its members on various missions (trade, exploration, conflict, etc), and these ships are dotted across the entire galaxy, waiting for their next orders.

The Vanderbilt is one such ship. Its members, Captain Ian Douglass and John Thatcher are traveling from Earth to Saturn, practically stranded in the Outer Reaches, when they encounter Maintenance Ship 005-30E. It is flashing its hazard lights, and it appears deserted. Douglass wants to think there is nothing to it, but it becomes clearer and clearer that it was no accident the Vanderbilt came across this ship–so he moves to investigate the cause of its distress.

What he finds is more than he could have ever expected.

In a tale of tricks, twists, and shocking revelations, the unsuspecting crew of the Vanderbilt finds itself transcending time and space, face to face with an unexplainable evil, the likes of which Space has never been host to. They cannot understand it. They cannot know it. They cannot beat it. It is all that they never knew to fear, and it poses them an unanswerable question: What are the rules of time, and what classifies as proper and improper uses of them? To preserve a greater good? Or condemn a civilization to endure what has already long been forgotten?

And here’s the link, if you feel so inclined to click it:

“19Sixty3”

It’s one of my favorite stories, and I originally wrote it in 2015. So, to be honest, it’s a long time coming.

It’s going for $0.99 on Amazon Kindle, so go check it out. And I will ask that if you choose to read it, I would be extremely grateful if you leave an honest review on Amazon. This helps me understand where its strengths and weaknesses are, and it helps other people decide more easily if they’d like to read it, as well.

Thanks much.

Think daily,

A Southpaw 

Infinite Sonic

Whoo, boy, you guys ever heard of Infinite Jest? Hell of a book; I mean, man, that thing is a masterpiece, even if all masterpieces have their fair share of flaws. Some sections are overlong, and some don’t seem to have any purpose to the overall story. But I will say this: David Foster Wallace knew what he wanted people to feel, what he wanted them to get out of the book. Thing is, there’s no one thing to be taken from Infinite Jest. Like life, it’s a series of ups and downs, good and bad. At the beginning, you think, “Looking forward to this, gonna be so much fun”–then, by around page 600, or the fifth hour of a nine hour road trip, you go, “okay, keep it moving, pal…yep, romance, uh-huh, violence, death, and depression.”

Almost at the end. Eighty pages left to go, and that’s after a period of almost three consecutive months. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a life-changing book, ’cause that’s a trite phrase, but it’s a book that you’ll remember long after you read it. I dunno about you, but when I read David Copperfield, it was an akin experience to this one. Massive book. Loads of characters. Empathy towards said characters. More learned perspective on Life, post-reading. I’m not comparing Wallace to Dickens, as that’s a hard bargain for anyone to push onto me. What I am saying is it takes a good amount of skill to convey truthfully even a small portion of reality in fiction. Writers are always saying we’re nothing but liars, and I disagree. Telling the truth of a story is the hardest part in writing it.

So, why’s Sonic in the title? Why is Sonic there? What the actual hell? It could be that I just got a job at a Sonic, or there’s the smallest chance I’m obsessed with a lightning-fast, blue hedgehog. To save time, as well as words, I’m gonna go with the latter. I’m a Sega fanboy, what can I say? I remember the times when I powered up the old 80’s Sega Genesis–and I’m totally lying, geez, gullible much? I’m a friggin’ carhop, alright? Ya got me.

In the days of yore, I might’ve been a dishwasher, but no longer; I say, NO LONGER! Times are a changin’! Isn’t that right? God help me, I think so, but how can I know? Dishes used to be my friends, but then…then they betrayed me, those dirty, filthy–ooh,  bit repetitive, Boswell, excuse me, those dirty, monkey-brained (OO-OO-AA-AA!) dishes. I won’t go into a convoluted backstory. You get the picture, or you will; I did just mail it out.

Infinite Sonic, heh, me likey.

Move over Mr. Wallace, I got my own Jest to–to jest. Damn. That could’ve been good. Don’t have enough energy to try again, so settle for it, guys. Roll dice, or something, is Rock-Paper-Scissors still a thing?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Cred: Cody Hoyt

 

Our Second Anniversary–A Few Words.

How is everyone tonight? Maybe you’re a bit average, and maybe you’re above average: excellent or enthusiastic or terrific, all those fancy words that lost their meaning the tenth time they were used.

I am doing well; in fact, this long hiatus has done me some good. I am nearly finished with the first draft of my third novel, Society, At Large, and I have got to tell you, it’s one hell of a book. I’m proud of it, as I hope many others will be after publication.

Sophomore year of college, too. Who’d have figured? Comes up so fast, life does, as I’m sure many of you know. Done many things. Met many people. Written many words. Thought about–I’ve thought about quite a bit, much of it good, some of it obsessive.

I’ve learned about the current politics of the U.S.A. Y’know, Donald Trump and Kim-Jong Un; my, that was one historical meeting, wasn’t it? Politics, to me, are so interesting because, with politics, there’s never a clear answer to anything. There’s dozens of factors to consider, people to talk to, and tasks to delegate before making a decision. I question why anyone in their right mind would want to involve themselves in that crazy world seemingly separate from our own.

I’ve noticed they appear everywhere, politics do, especially at college. You can be sitting in the lunchroom, chowing down on a pizza, and hear someone discoursing on the pros and cons of America’s economical situation. I dunno much about the economy, still learning about it; however, I have my friend Adam Smith to help me out. He has one book, but I’ve heard it’s a killer.

What’s my point here? Am I attempting to sketch out the previous events of my life in uncoordinated fashion? Am I reaching for some truth I can’t ever find in life, but which I hunt down so ruthlessly in words? Is EVERYTHING for the sake of, what, a few views and likes? Put it like that, and it makes it sound like a social scam, a ruse I’m putting up for no known reason. Deception is a word that comes to mind, but–

I don’t know.

I don’t know why I do this, why I continue to do it. Call it energy or life blood, either way, it’s not a matter easily settled in a couple short discussions. At the tip of my tongue every time, it feels like, escaping me, and I never find out the truth. It’s always gone before I reach it.

Thoughts of A Southpaw’s 2-Year Anniversary was at the beginning of this month. I missed it, but I’m making up for it now. This anniversary somehow means more to me than the first. I can’t imagine why it would, but as I said, the truth escapes me when I need it most.

This year was interesting. It was fun, and it was sad. It was exciting, and it was depressing. I discovered many things about myself I wouldn’t have, had I not taken a break. There’s so much I want to say and do, make some change in the world, and writing makes feel like I can accomplish all of that and more.

People can talk about empty promises and holding themselves accountable, and they can be absolutely bullshitting everyone. Only I know if I’m doing that, and I don’t think I am. Writing is my power, and I’m learning how to wield it as I grow older. Above all, I see writing as a tool that when used in capable hands, can make ripples in the waters of the world, be they of good or disastrous intent. It depends solely on the person holding the pen.

Perhaps the truth will always escape me. It’ll scurry away whenever I’m close to catching it, and despite my best attempts to stop, I’ll keep going. We all desire some truth, some ideal we hold ourselves to. Don’t be ashamed of it; rather, be proud of your drive and intellect, your spirit and action. Grab it by its collar and shout in its ear, “I’m coming for you!” Feel it shrivel at your will. Whatever power it holds over you is no greater than the power within yourself, that power you control, that you display.

It’s taken me some time to figure that out for myself, and I can only hope it doesn’t take as long for you.

Years will come, and they will go, but time will always remain within your power.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Emily Lotka

IT’S TIME TO TAKE A STAND!

Just heard about the terrible Santa Fe school shooting that resulted in the loss of ten lives, ten, innocent lives. Shooter was a student there, 17 years old, a Football player–stuff like that’s rough to hear.

My brother’s going into high school; this next year he’s going to be a Freshman. Is this the kind of world he’s going to have to grow up in? Is there any way to prevent it, or at the least, drastically lessen the chances of more shootings occurring?

That’s two major school shootings, Parkland, now Santa Fe, within the span of three months. Those are the major ones, too; I haven’t mentioned the countless other shootings that haven’t made the news for one reason or another. That shouldn’t be an increasing statistic; in fact, it should be non-existent: NO MORE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS WHATSOEVER!

I’ll tell you this, too, I don’t believe guns are the answer. Anyone with the motive to harm another human being is going to do whatever they can to accomplish that. Take away guns, they’ll use something else–take away that thing, and they’ll find another and another and another.

It’s a matter of mental health. These kids and adults that shoot up these schools are either mentally disturbed or in poor social situations. Now, I’m not saying what they did wasn’t wrong, but we need to look at their root causes: what is driving them to kill?

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (Columbine): Bullied, Poor Family Relations, Mentally Unstable.

Nikolas Cruz (Parkland): Bullied, Poor Family Relations, Mentally Unstable.

There are clear similarities between all of these school shooters, and those are what we should be focusing on. Prevention and early detection are key in these situations: but little is being covered about them in the media.

So we need to take a stand and say something about the avenues we should take. There is no definite answer, no miracle solution, to anything; however, we can examine these possibilities and work towards creating a better future for America.

Human lives come above all else.

Stay strong, Santa Fe; measures will be taken.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

People Are Strange

I finished reading Catcher in the Rye, and I gotta say it’s an odd book, a quirky tale. Holden Caulfield is by no means your average teenager, but he is not an alien, either; so many people hate Holden, y’know, something I don’t understand.

The argument, I believe, is that the only people who can relate to him are mentally unstable. Okay, so Mark David Chapman reads it, then, what, people are blaming the book? Isn’t that a fallacy, or at the least, one of those conclusions people create that make no friggin’ sense?

I liked it. I really did. I liked that goddamn book.

See, look, now I’m speaking like Holden Caulfield: it’s a spiral, I tell you, and it keeps going downwards. Pretty soon, I’ll be wearing a deer hunter cap and chain smoking cigarettes.

People are strange, though, y’know. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from that book, it’s that people are strange. There’s no logic to it–you can try computing an equation all you want, and nothing’ll come of it but a tired mathematician. Call someone else for that, by the way, ’cause I suck at Math.

There’s strange people at work. at the store, at the intersection right before you turn onto your street. They’re everywhere, man; a bunch of weirdos doing their best to give off an aura of normalcy.

The other day, I saw one in Wal-Mart, word of honor! He had on this bulky cloak and a purple scarf; I also think he was wearing sunglasses…at night. Ah, of course, it didn’t register at first, but now I realize he was an avid Corey Hart fan. Nevermind, dude wasn’t strange, just misunderstood. Then again, I doubt 80’s rock was understood even when it was popular.

You can disagree with me if you want, and I’d like that, truly. You go ahead and think Sunglasses Man was strange, I’m not judging, only writing a blog post about the whole thing.

Yeah, he was strange, but not as strange as Holden. That’s where I think Catcher in the Rye is most effective–its depiction of the ultimate, angsty teen has yet to be rivaled. Could you argue James Dean got close in Rebel Without A Cause? Sure, but ask yourself: would there be a James Dean without a Holden Caulfield?

I dunno, haven’t studied enough of that stuff. Gimme an answer, and I’ll praise you.

Let’s think a moment now. We’ve established people are strange, but we don’t know which people. Is there a certain minority devoted to strange folk? is it why we have all these cults? or is it what we’re denying–we’re all strange in our own freaky way?

Gee, interesting concept, huh? It’s like none of us are the exact same, because that would be super boring.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Cred: Wired Reader

AAAHH! I’m Almost A High School Graduate!

I have a calendar in my bedroom. It’s this giant–well, not giant–calendar, I suppose, that  has all my favorite little due dates and events written all across the days; and they are numbered.

I was looking at this calendar yesterday, flipping forward through time to the month of May and thinking about what I wanted for my birthday when, out of nowhere, it hit me: I am going to graduate high school a week after my birthday, on May 27th!

“Oh, Mamma mia,” I said–then I passed out on the floor.

Correction: I did not pass out. Rather, I screamed in my brain–or my brain screamed in me?–and went to finish that darn math homework that I had been putting off for three days. So, yes, I did freak out. Everyone freaks out. But that’s okay. It’s only high school, after all.

Only high school?

I have to find a college!

I have to buy a house! Or an extremely cheap apartment with a dirtbag for a landlord!

I have to cook! And not Hot Pockets or Pop-Tarts!

I have to be a man!

How does that work, by the way? Do I grow a rug on my chest the night after graduation and find myself speaking like Christopher Reeves in Superman? Is my dad gonna leave a pair of boots outside my door with a note reading, “Son, it is time for these boots to be filled?”

High school is slowly slipping away…I think I might cry, tear up a little. I’m being taken willingly away from this minefield of social cliques where, if you have a wayward opinion, you’ll get the shit kicked out of you and be forced to eat it on a silver platter; where the food is–okay, the food is allright. Oh, sob, sob, tear; waterfalls from my eyeballs. Tell my principal to save a spot for me in the lunchroom for when I–oh, wait, I won’t be coming back.

At least in college, or, hopefully in college, there will be freedom and excellent food and magnificent teachers and Shetland ponies…and four quartz diamonds and…a pool shaped like a brain and filled with money?

Sorry, I was reading from the wrong script.

Someone traded me for Impossible Fantasies For When You’re Totally Broke.

Yay, college?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

I’M BA-AAACK! SOUND THE ALARMS!

Greetings, dear People, I have at last returned to this pleasant planet Earth. Been a while, hasn’t it? I dare say, it’s been almost two months; now that’s far too long to be away.

Just so’s you know, I’ve been busy. Not like I went off the radar and ate raw fish in the woods–trust me, the raw chicken’s way better. No, no, I have had college and two novels and work and life and a bunch of stupid excuses no one wants to hear.

Either way, here I am. If you could see me, I’m smiling. Or am I? Wait, am I?

Now I am.

What have I done? Well, lots. I got money, assignments, grades; somewhere along the line, I think I picked up a bit of self-esteem? I dunno. Things happen so much around here, it’s hard to keep up with the tiny details.

I went bowling…if anyone cares…

It was in this real seedy joint, Summit Entertainment–well, okay, not seedy in the day, but at nighttime–

Went with a few coworkers, chatted, encountered a guy who hung out in the girls’ bathroom to give out his number. Typical bowling cliches; I’m serious, nothing special.

I got third place, yes, me, Mr. I-Can’t-Catch-A-Damn-Football-To-Save-My…Or-Someone–Else’s-Life. No trophy, no kiss, nothing–and, y’know, I was looking forward to getting a plushie. Nope. Just me and a few sympathetic claps. Oh, there was one “You go, man,” but that might’ve been the weird deejay.

Wait, he left before then, didn’t he? Went to the bathroom, I think.

Now, Laser Tag was a different story. I didn’t get third place. I got eighth. Also, I almost ended up in a fight with these two linebacker-sized dudes ’cause one of my coworkers decided to flip them off.

To be honest, though, I’d have mopped the floor with them. Of course, we’d have to pass the mop off to one another; you can’t expect to mop an entire building without some teamwork.

I suck at Laser Tag, anyway. Always trying to act like I’m in an action movie, then some forty year old guy gets my chest, and–yeah, no, that’s depressing enough.

Making myself cry here. Didn’t know this was going to be such an emotional experience. Let’s bring it in, guys. C’mon, team hug, okay, not too close, no–ouch, you’re stepping on my foot!

Can cross Bad Idea #10 off the list now.

Ah, who am I kidding? All my ideas are bad! Everyone gather around the bonfire! Gonna burn this mother down!

No, we’re not. You can take off your Angry Mob costumes.

What we are doing is reconnecting, right? Heh…get it, ’cause connections and Angry Mobs, eh?

I have no idea what I’m saying.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

P.S: Feels nice to write that again.

 

Image Credit: Golda

 

Mountains

Sometimes I feel like I just want to go into the mountains, say “Fuck it,” and just stay there for the rest of my time. See it as some kinda therapeutic practice–some bullshit excuse for not wanting to deal with all the stress of everything; and man, I dunno, but college is a hard fucking thing.

It doesn’t get easier, that much I know is true. It’s not even fun half of the time. Is it supposed to be? Am I missing some great answer; this grand illusion is obscuring all that I can see?

What am I supposed to be, a nicely dressed, nicely combed college student who swears up and down all of that scholarly shit that’s not even truthful half of the time? What the hell’s with people nowadays, anyway? Half the time, they’re preaching stuff I doubt they even believe; the other half the time, they’re complaining about the truth of the matter, leaning in favor of the candy-coated, cherry-on-the-friggin’-top version.

Truth is, it ticks me off. Oh, yeah, you think I’m into that? Hell no.

I don’t wanna feel like I’m pretending anything, either. It’s like we gotta wear masks everywhere we go in this life, switch them out for different occasions; it’s a load of crap, man, I tell you.

Be who you’re gonna be. Yeah, Barbie sang a song about it, so maybe she’s got the right idea.

Be who you’re gonna be regardless of what people say, think, or do, ’cause the only person it matters to is you.

Sounds easy. It’s not. I’m sure most of you, if not all, know that, might even have trouble with it on a day-to-day basis.

Keep fighting the good fight, though. It’s the best you can do in this world, just keep your head up; but I know most of this will go over most of your heads, as we only listen to the advice that sounds good to us.

Right? Wrong? All of the above?

I dunno.

Think daily,

A Southpaw