Vacation Hijinks

So…

Last time on Thoughts of A Southpaw–

Oooh, dramatic. Are you gonna put up some flashing lights, too? Maybe a fog machine?

No. Enough with the dramatics.

Vacation has been a thrill; in fact, one of the biggest thrills came out of a single gas station on the border of Kansas and Colorado–or somewhere around there. This gas station was no big place; hell, man, it was just a gas station…no big deal. But the bathroom…

The bathroom was filthy, but it was also darkly comedic. Allow me to clarify. Within the small stall, there was your typical baby changing station, however, instead of the word changing being complete, the “c” had been scratched off, leaving it to read as Baby hanging Station. Dark, I know, and I wished I had taken my phone with me, but it was still in our Winnebago.

Did I mention that? We’re driving all across the South in a seventies Winnebago, with classic shag carpeting, shiny plastic decals, and annoying seventies cabinets that always seem to break if you mess up one step in their opening and closure; that, and the bathroom is a pain whenever my dad takes a sharp turn on the interstate and makes me almost dive head-first into a dirty toilet bowl. Yeah, ewww, no thanks.

Another cool event at the gas station–can you guess? Bzzz. Wrong. We did not get to sit on Ronald McDonald’s lap, ’cause that’s McDonald’s, dummies. We–I should say my mom–met a famous blues guitarist by the name of Elvin Bishop.

Heard of him? We hadn’t either, until he told my mother that his band made the song “Fooled Around and Fell In Love;” in fact, Mr. Bishop wrote the darn thing! He had started the conversation by asking my mom about our Winnebago, which, he confessed, his band had used back in the good ol’ days–then, of course, it was less fun when they ended up with a tour bus, but hey, what can a seventies band do?

I admit…I did listen to that song after we climbed back into the Winnebago.

If you’re reading this, Mr. Bishop–I highly doubt it–then I must say you have musical finesse. That song was a nice turn from your regular blues, and it seemed to have worked out well for your band.

Our first campsite, too, had its perks and its oddities. We sat on a peninsula, just surrounded by this gleaming lake–really quite beautiful. My family members and I went down to the lake, swam around, pretended to shoot each other with finger guns that we splashed in the water as we pulled the triggers–yes, we also fell backwards in the water when we were shot, created a more visceral experience and all that.

There were these boats, tons of boats, and there was beer, tons of beer. Everyone with a sail or an engine was sipping on cans of Bud Lite–and I am assuming it was nice and cold, even though I have never drank a single drop of beer. Heh-Heh. Wink. Wink.

Even without drinking the beer, I felt like I had a hangover…’cause of the sunburn all across my back–and, excuse my tangent, but I’m getting really freaked out because right now there’s a giant lizard sitting in its cage and staring at me…and a cricket chirped, and he looked away…phew…oh wait, he’s still there.

Yep. Cold-blooded killer, I tell ya. What, oh, I was talking about the lizard.

Heh.

Think daily, 

A Southpaw

Summer Vacation, Dudes.

What up, my people? I’ve been akin to saying stuff like that lately; of course, it’s probably just a phase. That’s what I say about everything, and, if you’ve noticed, it’s what everyone around you seems to say whenever someone is performing an activity they don’t approve of–in this case, saying something that, perhaps, some people don’t approve of.

No idea.

Any who, I wanted to inform you all of a wonderful vacation. Yes, I have worked so hard, ground my ass into ash–heh, do you get it?–that this vacation is well-deserved, at least I hope so. Going off to Arkansas, and, I’m admitting this, I always want pronounce that as two separate words: Ar and Kansas, but someone had to go and make English much more pronounced than what I believe is the correct linguistic form.

Yeah, screw you, Shakespeare…and your writing pals, like…uh…I’m kinda at a blank–cause I bet you didn’t have any pals! HA! Take it like a thespian, you playwright! What a bugger…

I will be making stops along the way to this marvelous little paradise of Arkansas, especially one campground which looks like a carbon copy of Camp Crystal Lake, so, if I don’t make it back alive, send a search party–unless you could care less what happens to another blogger lost in the American wilderness.

Hell, if Thoreau pulled it off, why not me? I could write Walden: Revamped, or, The Story of the Woods, Again. Bestseller. Triumph. Masterpiece. Rip-off.

Eh, it’s just Kansas. If I get lost out there, I need to go back to Survivalism 101. Seriously, it’s a bunch of fields, and maybe you might run across Oz, but only if you’re near a twister…and wearing red slippers, which is weird, because it never looked like Dorothy was wearing slippers; those things were more like sparkling heels–then again, I haven’t seen the movie in, gee, eight years.

Can’t remember the other place I’m going beforehand–oh wait, yes, it’s called Marvel Resort, unfortunately not a beachside resort where you can look over years and years of superhero memorabilia; nope, it’s a friggin’ camp site in the woods, with no superheroes, mind you.

What a load of baloney, right? I go on vacation and don’t get exactly what I want. What a spoiled brat am I?

Wait, don’t answer that.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Note: That picture’s from Arkansas.

 

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

Sticking To Your Guns

So, I got into Film a few days back. You know, Film. Movies. Screenplays. Trailers. Special FX, which I used to think was an acronym for an alternate Fox TV channel. I had a desire to make a movie, to film some weird crap, and other random stuff.

Then I stepped right back out.

One thing I have always known I wanted to be is a writer. A legit pen-smith–hey, it’s the best I could come up with. The writing thing is my life; tis’ my breath, and a bunch of different Shakespearean linguistics.

We have film, and we have writing.

I could devote time to teaching myself the art of making films and directing movies, or I could continue to devote my time to pursing a career in writing, one of which I am heading towards as fast as possible. There is a decision, then–what is the answer?

Now, before all of you start shouting at the top of your lungs to tell me your viewpoints, your varied and seasoned perspectives, look at the decisions you have made in your life thus far:

Are each of them making you happy?

Are you good at what you have decided to do?

If your life were to be just that, and only that, would you be satisfied–at least for the first three days?

Writing makes me happy. It is my dream to never want to retire because I am doing what I love to do, so long as I keep up the hard work and strive to be the best, in my eyes. Plus, I’d be satisfied for the first four days before I went looking for people to watch and listen to.

Hint-Hint: We’re writers. It’s what we do.

Not much of that would be true for film, and; in thinking about it from an outsider’s point of view, why shouldn’t I want to stick to what I’m good at in the first place and become a professional in it?

I’m sure there’s tons of people out there who have followed their dreams and followed their talents, cause’ why not? We’re supposed to be better at certain things and worse at certain things. If we were one way or the other, we probably wouldn’t be human; at best, we wouldn’t be from this planet…at all.

Imagine tons of aliens walking past you everyday. The guy at the water cooler today, the one who made the burbling noises right when the cooler was doing so? Yeah, definitely a spacer.

Oh, and the guy who stole your donut off your desk this morning.

Never mind, actually, he’s just of the species Asshole.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Boris Vallejo

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

 

 

This Life of Mine

Recently, I have realized how fortunate I am in this life of mine. I have a caring family, a supportive house, food, and clothes; not to mention, I have the opportunity to experience a university and become educated enough to pursue a lifestyle of my choosing.

My ultimate dream? Be a professional goddamn writer, to see my books on bookshelves; but, the truth of it is–all I want is to be happy. I care not whether I have bags o’ money running out the windowsills, or owning the largest mansion in America, even the world.

Material wealth means little to me; granted, it keeps me alive, but tis’ not my lifeblood.

I am able to think those thoughts and dream those dreams, because I live in a place of good fortune, a place where determination is my motto. I will head off to college in two months with the mindset that whatever comes out of these upcoming four years will be taking me the tiniest step closer to where I want to be in this life of mine.

And isn’t it incredible? We all have our own lives, our own motivations, the somethings no one can take from us without putting up a fight. It is will. It is will, and it is confidence. Those are our superpowers in a universe of chance, since all that happens is determined by the roll of the dice, right?

Or wrong?

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

The Old Song and Dance

I heard the Mexican version of A Devil Went Down to Georgia today, and I have to say it was pretty impressive, despite the howling vocalist who, whenever the fiddle went into its solo, cried to the moon.

C’mon, we’re talking devils here, not werewolves.

The construction workers had their stereo blasting in one of the houses I cleaned; in fact, right when I walked into the place, a singer did the ol’ ai-yai-yai-yai! on his song. What a way to invite someone into an atmosphere is what I say–that, and the workers were singing loudly along to a couple of the songs. Hey, it made me smile. What else is there to do in that situation?

Some of these houses can be so damn filthy, you know? You’d think if the workers spent half of their energy belting out Spanish serenades, they’d be able to use the other half to not mess up a house after it has been cleaned. We then have to re-clean it, if you did not get the picture. Yes, this includes the bathroom and the basement and the garage and anything else capable of collecting dust and carpet worms, or, those pesky wriggling rug scraps I always seem to miss with the vacuum, which is comprised of a dust bag and a single pole, as if we were stuck living in the friggin eighties.

I have become somewhat of a working amateur, what with my speed at wiping out disgusting tubs in which dirt has engrained itself, as well as the craft–I meant to say craft–of window washing: a wash of a sponge, then a rinse of a squeegee. Simple as pie, or easy as cake–oh, what the hell is that phrase?

You also tend to pick up some Spanish when you’re working around Spanish-speaking folk; for example, I have added la extension and no comprende–what they usually say after I foolishly talk to them in plain English–to my vocabulary. It’s pretty easy to tell, too,   who can speak English fluently, and who cannot speak it. Heavy accents sometimes signify more of a comfort in the classic Espanol than in old-fashioned Americana chitter-chatter–vice versa for the other side.

Boy, can full-time work make you tired. Did you guys know I walk up and down stairs almost all day? It is a job in of itself! Jeez Louise and a bucket of cheese, talk about not getting paid enough. I mean, I’m sure I need the exercise, as I’m getting to the point where the Freshman Fifteen is becoming more of fact than fiction, but come on, people!

Ah, well, at least I have writing, without which I’d be liable to crack, or, you know, go completely nutso.

I hear we’re cleaning a sanitarium tomorrow.

Think daily,

A Southpaw