Miscellaneous

The Story Of Me and A Piano

There was once a piano–well, more of a decked out keyboard–and a boy who wished to play that piano. Blah-De-Blah-De-Blah. That intro’s kinda boring to me, let me retry:

In the last week or so, I have been trying my hand(s) at the piano, in the off chance that a change of mindset will trigger solutions for a problem in my second novel; however, it is also therapeutic, in a way.

Letting your fingers dance along the keys, one-two-three, three-two-one. Timing perfectly  the exact moment when you snap the pedal with your toes. It’s oddly interactive; and, I say oddly, but really, is it not crazy that a bunch of strings and keys can produce such interesting effects?

In no stretch of the imagination am I a professional. I don’t even think I qualify for a rank amateur. I’m just…playin’, man…playin’ the good songs. Sometimes, though, there are those moments: the Oh-My-God-I-Am-The-Reincarnation-Of-Beethoven moment, then the Oh-My-God-I-Totally-Suck-At-This moment.

I am working little by little on this nifty piano suite from a game known as Heavy Rain. It is a beautiful composition by the late Normand Corbeil, and, though the melody is simple to learn, the tempo and the notes are murder.

There’ll be a quarter note, quarter note, then a whole note; and then a note that looks as if a fountain pen has vomited all over the sheet music. What do they feed those guys? String Beans?

Eh-heh. I hope you got that…

Now, let’s not forget I am still learning, so these notes are slowly but surely making sense in my mind. It’s like I’m carving a new section in the Foreign Languages section of my brain, one entitled Sheet Music. The excavation is taking its time, but it is paving a path, so don’t knock me for that.

It also takes your mind off things, you know? When I’m practicing a song at the piano, much the same as writing, all of my previous worries disappear for the time, only to resurface in droves after the composition, or paragraph, has ended. Hey, you can’t beat ’em all.

Hopefully, some of you can relate to what I am saying. Music touches us in ways stronger than all other forms of art. It pierces your heart instantaneously, rather than build to a climax as in a novel; or the serenity in a beautiful painting.

It can be anything: Frightening. Exciting. Chill-Inducing. Heart-Breaking.

All of those emotions accomplished in the movement of a few keys–a few pitter patters to form a melody.

Beautiful.

What else is there to say?

I got a piano suite calling my name, what about you?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Life–Well, It’s A Cheesecake, Isn’t It?

Life–well, it’s a cheesecake, isn’t it? I’m not talking a single piece of cheesecake, no; in fact, I mean a pie of cheesecake. See, you can say you love every flavor in one of those creamy things, but we all know you’re lying. No one, no one likes all those pieces. There’s always the singularity–the missing link, if you would, that we all wish would get the hell out of Dodge, you know?

Life is interesting for me. It has been interesting for me. I work a pretty fair job in the field of manual labor. I’m a regular blue collar, sweeping brooms and wiping out toilets. It’s meh, to be truthful–and if there is one thing I have learned from this job, it is the sometimes nasty truth.

Drugs, for example, are nowhere on my to-do list. Day in and day out, I see people ravaged by constant drug use. Their faces are old, older than their age; and in their eyes is a haze that never seems to dissipate. I can see the blankness in some of their faces, and it is hard to watch at times.

These folks do this for fun, mind you; and, hell, perhaps it’s to find an escape. But, for me to know what it will do to them in the long run…it can be heartbreaking to see someone throw away their potential like that.

I speak from no experience; and, yes, I might also be speaking from a safer perspective, but I am innocent, after all.

I come from a small town where the craziest thing I have ever witnessed is a bleeding lady taken away on a stretcher after her husband’s psycho ex-girlfriend drove her motorcycle into the back of their car. Before this job, before this peek into another life, that was the craziest crap.

I have seen stuff since then. People who absolutely loathe their lives. Temper tantrums that can get way out of proportion. Worms swimming in some worker’s shit, and let me tell you, that was in two different Porta-Potties.

It is disgusting, but at the same time eye-opening. Would I have experienced this bit of life, this slice of cheesecake, if I had not taken this job? Would I be less of an innocent man than I am now? Would I even be writing this post?

The answers aren’t clear. When are they?

Life is a lot larger, a lot nastier. There are tendrils where I used to see sunshine. Adults can be total assholes, immature for that matter; or, they can be some of the best of the best.

A cheesecake? How about a loaded die? I’m serious. You don’t get to choose what happens in this world. The die is rolled–the numbers are chosen, and you either deal with the unfair, or you get out and do the best you can to force those numbers into your favor.

Win-win, or a lose-lose. No way of telling until you’re standing right in front of it. By then, too, the smell can be so bad, you aren’t sure you want to test your luck.

I say do it, but do it wisely. If you’re dumb when it comes to making those important decisions, you’re going to get landed with a nightmare, one of which you have to climb out of yourself to reach those sweet dreams.

Be smart out there, guys. It will pay off.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

It’s Human Nature…

Blogging, put simply, is spewing out thoughts onto an electronic page. You’re constantly puking and puking until the contents of your stomach are thrown across the Inter-web.

And, yeah, that sounds super disgusting; but don’t any of you find it interesting that, as humans, we crave intimacy? Personal this and personal that–and we need more realism!

A man dies in a car crash, and the video is uploaded to Youtube. Here, I’ll figure this one out for you. This video detailing the gruesome death of some innocent man who never wanted his death shown around the world receives one million views in under five hours.

Another man get his legs chewed off by a shark. Four million views.

What the hell is it with us humans that we can’t bear not to look at the grotesque and the downright sick events that happen in this collective culture? Are we…secret sadists hiding in a closet, or…barbarians who forgot to leave the Stone Age?

No. It’s not that simple. Humans do crave the strange and the scary; it gives us a freaky adrenaline, and it makes us consider how close we are to our own unfortunate demises.

God damn, dude. It pisses me off, for some reason; but, if I’m honest, I do the exact same things. Each of us has, inside us, a desire to witness the unusual–it’s as if a roller coaster built of corpses is being unveiled, but the tickets to see it are speedily selling out. What else is there to do than stand behind the fences and gape in awe, or horror?

Human nature…human nature…

Again and again and again and again, I hear those words. It’s human nature to want to see someone die? It’s human nature to watch massive earthquakes devastate entire cities? Why? I ask everyone, why?

I can’t say screw human nature, ’cause I’m human–at least I think so. I complain about all this stuff, and yet I have no verifiable reason to do so. I’m like a broken-winged duck floating aimlessly in the middle of a gaggle of snickering swans.

My Gosh, am I still going? Most of you are likely bored by now–driven out of your friggin’ minds from weariness. I wouldn’t blame you. It can be dry…for some.

Ah, boy, who knows, though, maybe this meant a lot to you, and maybe it was a bunch of blabber that splattered against the wrong wall; either way, it’s how I feel. It’s how I choose to express this troublesome mind of mine, when a topic of the strangest subject approaches from this forever horizon–whatever the hell that means.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Don’t Hit Cars. It Sucks.

God, let me tell ya: a car is a precious damn thing. They’re like Faberge Eggs with wheels, especially if they’re a rare kind. You get a single scratch on a car–any car–and it can cost you somewhere between 100 to 200 dollars; and that is me just estimating.

I unfortunately did not just leave a single scratch on a car; rather, I was pulling out of the parking lot of a Baskin-Robbins, and I happened to scratch the rear end of a car with the front bumper of mine.

By the way, I dented the bumper and scratched the hell out of this guy’s paint. I cringed at seeing it, even thinking about it makes me all wiggly inside.

It was not one of my finer moments.

I do still wish, however, to point out that the parking space I was leaving was on an incline, and, there were cars blocking my view of both the left and right sides of the road, in and out of which cars were driving.

It was not a well-structured parking lot.

That is my defense. Now, I choose to plead the Fifth.

You can’t do that.

What?

You already revealed information, so…you can’t plead the Fifth.

The hell? Fine. I plead the Matrix.

No one is taking you seriously. 

Geez, dude, if a lady can plead that it was all the Matrix’s fault after she killed someone, then shouldn’t I be able to for scratching a car? The balances, man. Weigh those balances.

You can’t just use a fictional universe as an excuse.

The balances have spoken. Ah, no more–if I hear one more thing out of your imaginary little mouth, I will overrule the judge.

I’m leaving.

All right! Great! Didn’t need that dumbass anyway. I have a whole list of people just waiting to help me get through this horrific car-scratching incident. Therapists. Psychiatrists. Mechanics. Butchers. Bakers. Candlestick Makers.

UUUGGGGHHH! Why do I have to be such a terrible driver? I passed the test, does that mean nothing to you, you disgusting Automobile Gods? Okay, maybe I punched too many people in Slugbug, but, please, be reasonable!

You know what, since you don’t feel like talking, I’m gonna go punch some more people in Slugbug. Oh, and one other thing, I’ve always thought you guys were crap in comparison to the Ten-Speed Gods.

Hey, that’s an idea! I’ll just ride a bike from now on!

Ring-a-ding-ding, baby.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

An Ice Cream Miracle

Ahhh! It’s so friggin’ late! I might just fall asleep at the keyboard and never finish this post! Luckily, this is actually a normal time to me, since I have to wake up at 3 in the morning, every morning.

So, no biggie.

Alright, let’s get to this posting crap. Uh, okay, I know what I can talk about. Here goes.

I work in a pretty negative environment.

Let me rephrase that.

I work in a disastrously negative environment.

Yes, I sound so much more sophisticated now that I have used an adverb. Kudos to all those who spotted the improvement, and I hope all of you are proud of your being English nerds–even though, adverbs are the simple stuff.

Any who…

Construction sites are not the places most people choose to work, save for, you know, an idiot, like yours truly. They are stinky, for one, and the porta-potties are beyond disgusting–I once saw worms in someone’s–well, their…leftovers. I got the hell out of there and patted at myself for dangerous butt worms.

The workers barely communicate with each other, especially not with other crews. They just listen to their radios and chop wood and saw things and throw garbage away. Some will toss dirty glances my way, for whatever reason. I think it’s because I stink up their potties, but who can tell?

When they do talk, it’s fuck this and fuck that, and I start to wonder whether or not they know many other words than their choice term; although, hey, it’s a neat slang. I bet you could form a killer song out of all their varied combinations.

Then, there came a day, a glorious day, disregarding my being a little in the dumps. I was working in a neighborhood near a beautiful mountain range, finishing up vacuuming in a house, when I heard a cheery chime, those kind you hear at carnivals and on carousels; and so I looked out the window to see an ice cream truck slowly chugging its way up the already truck-infested street.

“Yippee!” I said. Did I really say “Yippee?” Gee, that’s kinda lame…

“Guys,” I shouted to my coworkers, “there is an ice cream truck out there! It’s so awesome! I gotta to go get some!”

Now, understand, we were working in eighty degree weather, so I had good reason to be freaking out over ice cream. It’s not often when you’re cleaning out a piss-stained toilet that you see an ice cream truck pulling up to the curb to save you from the horrible smell.

I eventually convinced my boss to let me go buy ice cream and ran out to the car to grab my wallet–but I stopped short. It turned out I was not the only customer interested in frozen happiness, as there were those grumpy forty to fifty year old construction workers waiting eagerly at the door, with dollars in hand and smiles on their sunburnt faces. The driver greeted each of them in a raspy, yet gentle, voice, and he pulled treat after treat out of his mini-fridge–waving to them as they walked back, licking ice cream and chatting to one another in engaging conversations.

I was witnessing positivity in a climate I thought entirely devoid of such a feeling. The workers were smiling at me when I ran to catch the truck before it left. These grown men stuck doing tough work and, who had, only a moment, been adrift in a funk, watched me with the eyes of children surprised at anything new or nostalgic.

Such a shift in attitude should have been impossible, but with a simple jingle and a cold cone to lick, the impossible was overridden. The mood stayed in this lull until I left the construction site. All of the workers smiling with their teeth, a jovial atmosphere unfamiliar to the location and its residents.

I bought an ice cream sandwich, but the worthwhile part was, for certain, watching the workers turn from men to children in a single minute, just because of an ice cream truck appearing at the right time.

And now I’m craving Rocky Road, so alls well that ends well, right?

Go treat yourselves, why don’t you?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Oh, America…

Ah, what the hell. Independence Day is tomorrow, and this blog will end up saying I posted this on the Fourth of July, so why not celebrate the American Spirit in the grandest  way possible?

Through song!

No, no, I won’t subject you to that horror. It’s enough of a pain on the people around me to hear this voice that the angels threw into the refuse pile to rot and grow moldy; although, I can confess that the mold has not yet set in. I am guessing it happens sometime soon, however–but what do I know?

Oh, America, you big, fat blueberry pie, you. Actually, would we be more suited to a pecan or an apple? As I understand it, blueberry is far too limiting: why, those things are dangerous! Didn’t you hear how Little Jack Horner got all bloated–it’s because he ate a bunch of blueberry pies.

What a fat-ass; seriously, kid, watch the pies! I’m pretty sure R.L Stine wrote a Goosebumps book about them, and you know how those end.

You know, we can do whatever we want to do here in America. That’s what I like about it.  You can be an old man in a wheelchair scanning the porn films in a record store–yes, I saw this, but not on Independence Day–or you could stand nude in the middle of Central Park because you’re practicing natural yoga. It is to be noted; however, if you do stand nude in the middle of Central Park–this I did not see–you are liable to be arrested, for the sake of those innocent animals trapped in the zoo, forced to watch you try on your birthday suit.

Oh, America, you nudist, pornographic nation of total independence, except for these clarifications:

  • Four Big Macs stacked on top of each other for your consumption
  • Human food for cats–yes, dogs have their own brand of greasy goodies
  • Recess for high schoolers and college students
  • Christmas EVERYDAY
  • Pets using bathrooms
  • Triple rainbows

Ahem. Point made.

  • Making invalid points

Am I giving America too much of a bad rap? I mean, if you want to me to rap even better–

No? All right. I’ll cut the crap, despite how gross that sounds.

America is a splendid country. There is much fertile land to be had here in the great plains and cities and oceans and canyons of the U.S.A, and much has been cultivated in the years since its birth, but the real question is: who was the father?

Okay, I’m sorry, won’t happen again.

America, sweet, sweet America, with your chocolate fountains and your jelly/ creme-filled/caramel/all different kinds of cereal donuts, your beauty has made my heart soar–that might also be my blood sugar rising…

I tease for fun, only for fun, dear America, and if you wish I can express to you in better words than I can write, rather what I can pour from my gut–and, no, it’s not vomit–and spew out to you in chunks–uh, I mean verses.

Oh, say, can you see, by the rising of the diabetes infested sun–

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Manly Man–At Least I Think So

Hello, all you good citizens of the Earth and everything else in it, not including those damned irritating DMV’s or the absolutely frivolous need to pay taxes…and bills…and debts…and–uhhhh…

Ahem. I am a man.

Yes, gasp in delight, go oooh and aaah, and make sure there’s stars twinkling in your eyes. Your whole routine has done a complete 360 because of the information you have just learned. It is–well, it’s supposed to be–life changing, and perhaps a little funny, or heartbreaking or tragic…or…

I’m doing it again!

I get to buy my own cups of water now; yes, if a feeble, old man were selling paper cups of water at the entrance to Wal-Mart, I would take out my handy-dandy credit card, and I would obtain the water like no other consumer had done before–and never would again.

On a more subtle note, since I am eighteen, the world has opened up to me, except for the part about drinking; in which case, the world has slightly opened up to me, but only enough that the dust has been blown off the bars of the gates. For your information, they are still so closed I cannot fit through the gap.

And that is not an opportunity to make a fat joke! ‘Cause I’m not, really! Does 500 pounds say fat to you? I didn’t think so! Now keep your opinions to yourself, you stupid twig creature!

God, those branches–they get everywhere, and let’s just leave it at that.

Tomorrow, as a matter of fact, I think I might go watch a movie by myself, for the second time! Hell yeah, my man–that is outstanding! Einstein himself could not have come up with something so brilliant and boundary breaking! Please, take the Nobel Prize already; in fact, take them all, cause that idea is just…so…

What was I saying?

Oh, yeah, I’m a big, tough manly man. Hope you’re listening, ladies, cause this is about to get real insane, real fast. I lift marshmallow bags daily. I run from the sidewalk back to my front porch. I eat whey protein shakes for the hell of it…and because they taste nice.

See? What’d I tell you? Nothing but macho; although, I might just be living vicariously through my dogs on that second one. What? No, I don’t drink out of water bowls! Are you crazy? Just leave me alone, and let me get back to eating Milk-Bones, all right? I eat when I’m stressed!

Mmmph…these things are tasty–

Wait, no, you didn’t see anything. Quick, put up the manly defense!

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Dyscalculia: The Reason I Can’t Do Math

Well, I figured it out, folks.

After countless years of striving to perform well in math–that sounds weird for some reason–and busting my ass studying for tests that I end up failing the next day, despite my being an annoying optimist throughout that time, I have discovered my problem–

I have Dyslexia–shit, I mean Dyscalcium.

No!

I have Dyscalculia, which I thought was some fresh way of labeling dunces who can’t make it to Calculus without passing College Algebra. Sure described me well, eh-heh…cough.

Apparently, Calcul–some-random-crap affects a person’s ability to comprehend math equations, perhaps even the ability to recall certain formulas after the person has studied them time and time again. It also prevents them from understanding advanced concepts–they cannot get past the introduction stage.

So, say I write out the Quadratic Formula. I might be able to remember it.

But what if I write out the Hyperbola formula, fifteen times?

Still won’t be able to get it; and this is not only the Calcity-Calc disability, but a symptom of ADHD and math anxiety: not the fear that math mafia gangsters will come steal your abacus–instead, it is becoming uncontrollably nervous before a math test out of fear of, dare I say it, performance issues.

Sound like any of you people?

I had no idea of it until this day. It would have been splendid news six years ago, but, alas, the world of science is slower than molasses–I mean, how long did it take ’em to figure out what molasses was, anyway? I coulda been a better math student is all I’m saying; granted, I’m pretty much done with math for-ever, except for when I have to pay a tip and pay for gas and calculate taxes and pay my bills and…

Aaugh!

Math is EVERYWHERE! There is NOWHERE I can hide!

Somebody, shield me with a Dickens novel! No, not A Christmas Carol, it’s too small!

Is that–

Oh, thank God, I thought you were handing me–

A MATH BOOK?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

An Introvert’s View of the Bar

TV’s everywhere–that’s the way it was at this wing/burger/bar joint thingie. I think it was called Buffalo Wild Wings, or something like that; a pretty insignificant place, if you ask me. Who just eats wings? Hello! Stomach overflow equals throat posing as a sewer drain, except it all goes out, rather than in.

People must like sports, since that’s all I saw on the screens. Baseball and wrestling–two sweaty dudes growling at each other, when they could kiss and get it over with–and golf–I think–and gambling and cock fighting. Don’t worry, I’m kidding on that last one: no poor chickens have to suffer being televised while they fight for their lives and attack with their pointy, grain covered beaks.

There was also a Katy Perry advert, but who cares about that?

I got to see varieties of people; in fact, diverse would sum up the experience. Halfway through dinner, I watched this crap load of folks sit down at two different tables–and they filled both. Musta been a family reunion; that, or they’re scheduling business meetings really late nowadays.

Ah, and now we will discuss the pie chart on page 3480. Please take out your pens–

Sir?

Yes, Schreiber?  What on Earth have you done? Get that barbecue sauce off my hand-drawn graphs!

I ate quite a bit, too. For those who don’t know, window washing can slim you good. I have to’ve lost eight pounds in the span of two weeks! Talk about working overtime…

No? Didn’t get it? Me neither. Wasn’t supposed to be funny.

Heh.

Speaking of funny–

Nope. Got nothing.

Desert was mighty tasty, a delicious platter of ice cream and cheesecake balls–surprisingly, cut from actual cheesecake animals–as well as a couple cinnamon tortillas to finish it all off. Hungry yet? I hope so: that meal description was a bitch to get right.

The verdict, though? Bars, while enjoyable, are not a necessity of life, despite what Greg believes. Oh, and, uh, Greg, is the guy who slipped on those beer stains and decked his head smack dab on the tap. Ouch is what I say; and, if I were older, fill ‘er up.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Credit: Fabian Perez

Without Boundaries

Did you know that, last week, I drove on a road without any markers. There were no yellow lines, nor white lines, not even those funny little hash marks I like to watch evolve into the lines. T’was a blank road, but for these tiny plastic colored boxes that people carelessly ran over. It wasn’t as if those were the only things keeping us from total road anarchy, or anything!

I gotta tell ya, it was frightening. Frightening, why?

I was scared of crashing. I was scared of having no direction.

I was scared of being free.

Eventually, that stretch of road ended, then came the regular, painted pathways for all us  tired drivers. The fear had dissipated, sure; but I felt disappointment creeping within my relief. The adventure had come to an end–now the same ol’, same ol’ repeated itself as it had done so many times.

The blank road left a mark on me, not a mark that you can see; actually, it’s a mark on the mind. An imprint. If being free frightened me, what did it say about my reliance on rules and the general structure? What did it say about the sense of confidence in myself, in my motivations?

Sure, the rules are necessary. Half of the world would probably be brimstone and nuclear radiation if not for those pesky things; however, being without them for barely a minute made me wonder about how terrifying it can be to break the rules, or to go down your own path.

Being a trail blazer, rather than a trail follower, is not an easy task. I would not hesitate to say that pursuing such a path can cause you to feel alone, or perhaps separated from the rest of the common world–and it has those effects, but through them, I realized, comes benefits.

I can join a flock as easy as anything, but to create, to engineer, my own flock…

Why, I’d have to be the craziest person in the world; I would have to be declared mentally insane–have to be chained to the walls of a prison for the nutty–to want to experience so much isolation.

And mayhaps I am the craziest person in the world.

The way I see it, though–if I can have conviction in what I believe, what I feel is honest to my self, then I am fine with being the craziest person in this whole, wild world, so long as  the Earth keeps turning, and the rest of this rolling landscape of truth and lies, of blame and guilt, of honesty and falsity, stays its form, never unrolling out of its original clay.

Think daily,

A Southpaw