What I Carried?

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A Place

It would be nice to venture of to a place where I’m anonymous.  I’d like to disappear into a city or culture with no hints or ideas left as to my whereabouts.  I want to know what it’s like to be unknown.  I want to unknow what it’s like to be known.  And as I formulate my plans, a searing pain like a hot needle traverses my extremities and wakes me up to the realization that the place I seek is already here and now.

I’m Sorry

I’m sorry…

that I haven’t done enough with my life

that I can’t be there for more people

that I’ll never be as good as my parents

that I struggle with decisions

that I don’t take more risks

that I don’t help more

that I have an immature sense of humor.

that I have a highly mature world view and life vision

that I wish I was elsewhere

that I pray to die, but most of all

that I ever met you.

The Worst Body Parts (in my opinion) (that aren’t the taint)

  1. Behind the knee

I remember as a kid watching the movie “The Silver Bullet.”  There’s a scene where the main character, a wheelchair bound boy, is jealously (and sadly) watching kids running and playing at a park.  Someone’s leg comes into the shot showing plainly the backside of his knee.  Even as a 7 year old (what the hell was I doing watching a creepy werewolf movie at age 7?) I thought to myself, “For fuck’s sake, that is the dumbest looking thing I’ve seen in all my many years.”

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And I was correct.

It’s stupid.  It looks stupid.  It bends stupidly.  And it’s creases are stupid.  Pay no mind to the hairy legs.  We’ll get to that.

It’s not that this part of the body is offensive or gross.  It’s just a really dumb-looking feature with which we humans are forced to live.  I don’t suggest anything be done about the back of the knees.  They should be exposed at all times so that we can all mercilessly taunt each other.

2. elbow

When I was then a bit older (around 9), I noticed an establishment in my then hometown of Galveston, Texas called “The Elbow Room.”  I had myself convinced that it was an arm wrestling bar, and I wanted to go so badly.  I would have kicked all their asses in there, because I was the reigning 4th grade Parker Elementary arm wrestling champion.

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“Fuck yeah.”

But it wasn’t.  At least, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.  A big takeaway here though, is that elbow is a ridiculous word.  It sounds like shit, and nobody wants their mouth to have to move that way in the first place.  I didn’t think much of elbows for a number of years, really.  Until I got my first job at Kroger, and my coworker, John (who had long, flowing locks) grabbed a bag of macaroni, observed it, then casually looked at me and proclaimed in the most monotone of voices, “Elbows.”  It struck me as funny, and got me thinking about the human elbow as opposed to the macaroni one.

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These bony, pointy-ass bastards are just ugly.  There’s no way to hold your arm so that your elbow looks good.  Don’t try it.  You’ll become quickly frustrated and resort to wearing long sleeves into eternity.   To compound things further, some folks have what appears to be elephant skin on their elbows.  Have these people ever tried using lotion?  Or soaking their elbows in water for six days?

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“Dick.”

3. Man Thighs

These should be banned.  Men’s upper legs are not meant to be viewed by anyone including the man belonging to the legs.  They are hairy and terrible.  These bulky and jaggedly shaped muscles, while quite serviceable, are dreadfully unpleasant looking.  If you give them a close look (don’t), you’ll see that it’s a mess of randomly placed hairs of varying coarseness and color intermingled with strange blemishes and odd folicle patterns.  I was going to insert a picture here, but just scroll back up and look at that guy’s shitty legs!  The front looks worse, I promise.

 

4. Pinky Toe

What is this useless shit?  Not only does it look like a misplaced bodily object, it also serves very little purpose other than to smash into chair legs and bedposts causing excruciating pain and funny facial expressions as long as you’re not the one with the stubbed toe.  It’s not as if we use it to plant, push off, accelerate and make sudden cuts and turns.

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Watch this, Kirk.  I’m really going to utilize my pinky toe on this next turn!

On top of its idiocy and uselessness, men will grow hair on it like it’s a bodily location that needs hair for any reason.  Guys have enough hair without the pinky toe chiming in on the topic.  Really all these toes are good for is counting at birth to make sure you’re not weird.

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“Great news, Clark!  You’re not a weird bastard!”

That is a cute baby though.

So please do us all a favor and remove these body parts from yourselves if you have them.  It’s your civic duty, not unlike voting.  Go get shit done, mofos!

 

Why We Get Pissed When Someone Dislikes “Our” Music

People respond to music on an emotional level.  These are deep feelings.  The connections made between music and emotions are so strong in fact, that we tend to take it personally when the music we listen to is insulted.  It’s like it’s a personal attack on something we hold dear, or in some cases, an attack on our very identity.

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“Now that we’ve attacked each other’s identities, let’s get a vodka. But I’m still not forgiving you for insulting Kool Moe Dee, Peter.”

So when you tell someone that you don’t like the Beatles, expect them to react harshly with either surprise or anger.  Perhaps both.  Also, if you don’t like the Beatles, you’re a dickhead.  See how that works?  Someone just got offended.  I say that as though I have tons of readers.  I think I have 3.  That includes myself.

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“Guys??”

Anyhow, this strong bond we have to our music is responsible for both the reaction when people hear that you don’t like ACDC, AND the reaction when you hear someone say they hate your favorite artist.  It’s a mild feeling of hurt.

In other words, the fact that you’re a similarly aged human with like interests makes others uneasy when they learn that your musical tastes are different than theirs.  Music is extremely personal, so we first get a little offended, then we become defensive.

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“You don’t like The Weather Girls?!”

Once the defensive nature kicks in, we will then gauge our next step by quickly assessing how much we like the other person. If said person is a friend or more, we will smile and show our incredulousness with well-thought-out, killer statements like, “I can’t believe you don’t like them!”  Or, “WOW ARE YOU SERIOUS?!”   These are the types of compelling arguments that rapidly change people’s opinions.

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“Oh, well since you put it that way!”

If the person is one we don’t particularly like or worse, we might either 1) Engage them in an argument (which is a huge waste of time and energy), or 2) Mentally dismiss them as the uncultured, unoriginal penis face that they are.  People who perform the first option, are the ones upon whom I use the second.

If the person is neither liked nor disliked, you can either engage them in the conversation about their musical tastes and why they don’t like your artist or song.  This is an okay option as you might learn something, although you could get stuck in a conversation with a person who likes to explain all the weird shit their neighbors get up to.  Or you can opt for the second choice in the above paragraph again.  Really, it just depends on your mood.

The fact that we all lose sight of from time to time is that we are all different on an infinate number of levels.  I could try to explain that statement, but it’s really complicated and I don’t know if I have the wherewithall for it.  But if you take me at my word, we are different in so many ways we don’t even realize.  The fact that you like Post Malone and I don’t doesn’t mean either of us is odd.

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No, Post Malone…

It’s music that resonates with us.  We often times can’t explain why.  It’s just the way our brains are wired.  In other cases, it’s nostalgic.  The music reminds us of places or times in our lives that we like to relive.  Irrespective of the reasoning, it’s really a kind of shitty thing to devalue someone else’s musical tastes.  It’s essentially a form of criticizing people on deep levels and in ways that the criticizor doesn’t realize.

So wake up, and start realizing that when you put on your best astounded face and exhale with a puff of incredulity at someone else’s music, you’re really doing something that could be placed firmly in the “Asshole” category of life behaviors.

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Likely asshole.

“Yeah Grant, that song is one my grandfather and I used to listen to while we talked on the front porch before his untimely death.”  You never know why people like or dislike things.  Don’t insult their opinions.  Value them.  Value them BECAUSE they’re different than yours.  Don’t shun them because their tastes differ.  I mean for fuck’s sake, peace starts with acceptance.  Why not start here?

No Such Thing as “If”

If this, then that.  True.  But only if the if happens, right?  So ifs can either occur or not, and by that rationale, they can’t exist.  Here’s why:

“If” is obviously a term used to represent a future, abstract, contingent event.  Already by definition, it’s weak.  There’s no backbone.  It’s like the picture from Back to the Future where the kids are fading out.  “If” is the nearly faded Marty McFly.  On top of that, an event that never happens can’t exist or have ever existed.  In the instance that an “if” does pan out, it’s not an “if,” but a “did” instead.

So where does that leave “if?”  A two-letter abstract transitional state of possible future existance containing a built in contingency.  Pretty damn weak.  Although it does have one of my favorite letters in it.

Fi…n

 

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Your Decision

I stole the title of this blog from Alice In Chains who, by the way, will be featured in my next blog along with nine other bands/musicians.  In the meantime, it’s been a hell of a weird ass summer.

On somewhat of a whim, I applied for a position teaching gifted/talented students in the Seattle area.  Thinking nothing would come of this, I sort of forgot about it.  I mean, who is going to bypass all the applicants from the Seattle area and jump straight to me, right? That is until the next day when I received an email indicating that I was to have an interview via Skype for this position.  Well shit.

So I got through the interview which actually took place over the phone as they couldn’t get Skype to function on their end.  I definitely did the interview in a nice collared shirt and boxer briefs while pacing nervously about my bedroom.  It seemed like the interview was a terrible mess.  Of course you only remember the answers you felt that you stumbled over.

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“How do you reach students who are disengaged?”  “Like this?”

Then, much to my surprise, I received a call directly from the principal.  This was odd, because normally someone from HR would call to inform you of the decision.  He called me 10 days before HR to tell me the interview was great (what the fuck?), and he spent 20 minutes recruiting me.

Now let’s get somthing straight.  I do not, in any way, consider myself to be an amazing teacher, but the way he went on was very flattering and pretty rad, if I’m being honest.  So he said his piece, and I thanked him sincerely and waited for the offical call from HR.

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“Where’s my phone?”

Over the next 10 days, I agonized about “the decision” as it became known.  I had friends referring to me as Lebron James asking if my decision would be televised on ESPN.  It was.

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“Welcome back to the Trivial News Network.”

Quick aside: I’m listening to Stevie Wonder right now, and he’s incredible.  I’m also in Maine.  Life’s not too shabby.

Anyhow, the decision was so grueling, because I have so much at home, not the least of which is an abundance of love and support.  On the other hand, the move offered new and exciting adventures and challeges which I love.  Also, the new job would have increased my net pay after cost of living and all bills by $1,700 per month.  For a teacher, this is hot shit.  My salary would have been almost $90,000 a year.  Why do you need to know that?  Because I turned that shit right down.

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“No thanks!”

“What the hell is wrong with you,” you might be asking!?   I would contend however, that this question would be much more appropriate for me had I chosen to accept the position.  I had the fullest support of my family and friends to make the move.  Everyone I talked to, with the exception of one person, said they’d make the move if they were me.  But they aren’t me.  Fuck, I’m not even me.

It came down to this:  It was sad to think of leaving my family, friends, coworkers and students behind.  Yet, there was excitement in thinking of hanging out with my friends in Washington, and meeting my new coworkers and kids.   Essentially, all things were equal with the exception of pay and family/friends.  This was the crux upon which my decision rested.  It took me until the 11th hour to narrow it down to that.  I mean shit…I’d even requested my fingerprint card from Washington to get the ball rolling on the paperwork process.  So, the very last hour to call HR and tell them of my decision was upon me.

$1700 vs. Family/Friends  —  No fucking contest.

That amount of money a month does not come close to replacing the incredible support system I have here.  One of the few things I know about the world is that money doesn’t make a person happy.  Stupid superficial people will trick themselves into thinking it does, but it doesn’t.  Especially not in the long run.  I could have paid off ALL of my debt within 5 months, but at what personal cost?  Human relationships are simply the most important thing to me in the world.  How could I have left all that behind for the pursuit of money?  The grass isn’t always greener, and the time is simply not right.  I have too much going for me right now to leave everything beind.  However, the principal of the school in Washington did tell me to contact him again in the future should I have interest again.

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“Please feel free to contact me in the future.”

Perhaps in a couple of years, things will be different and a move will make more sense.  For now, it doesn’t.  In fact, I am 100 percent certain that I made the correct choice.  Even my closest friends don’t know all of the inner workings of my mind, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to fully understand, but feel free to judge my decision.  You’ve already done it anyway.  Just know that your judgement comes with a cost.  You pay with the time it takes you to consider what I’ve done and evaluate what your decision would have been.  But in the end, all you’ve done is consume time that could be better spent being productive.

You’re welcome.

How Did I Get Here?

This is a question that I ask myself frequently.   I’ve often wondered if others sit around asking themselves the same thing.  What I mean by, “How did I get here” is how the fuck do I find myself in various situations.  Much of life seems to be a series of unexpected events, while the rest of life seems to be how you deal with those events.

I wrote the above in December of 2017, and now that I think of it, ALL of life is how you deal with events.  All of it.  And even crazier (and in some cases shittier) is that we actually decide how we deal with them; whether consciously or not!

Exhibit A:  I worked in Washington D.C. for a summer a few years back, and tried to take full advantage of being in the Nation’s Capital.  One drizzly, foggy Saturday, my iPod, umbrella and I traveled to the Zoo which is part of the Smithsonian Institute, and therefore free to get into.  I wandered happily about with my umbrella while listening to Rocky Votolato, who is a badass by the way.  At one point the rain let up and my fellow zoo-goers and I confidently unfolded (do you unfold a umbrella?  Take down?  Put away?  What the fuck do you do with an umbrella that you’re done using?  This is a long as shit parentheses) our umbrellas like a bunch of smug cocksuckers.

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“See how I put that shit away?  YOU can’t do it like that.”

In accordance with Murphy’s Law, it started raining again within minutes, but by this time I was walking up the main walkway for the entire zoo.  It’s a massive thoroughfare lined with people, and I strolled confidently down the center giving my umbrella a nice, swift flick of the wrist to extend it.  Unbeknownst to me, the umbrella had enough of that shit and decided to escape.  The flick of my wrist actually caused the umbrella to rocket itself off the handle and slide along the wet pavement for 15 yards leaving me standing there holding a bare metal stick wearing a “hey look at me, I’m a fuckhole” face.  So what was my decision on how to deal with that situation?  I looked at a family with a stroller who were making no attempt to hide that they were laughing at my misfortune and casually proclaimed: “That can sometimes happen.”  I then picked up my gait considerably, fetched my rocket propelled umbrella top and hauled ass to the Zoo Bar across the street to down a shot and a beer and begin umbrella surgery.

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“I know it’s pink, Pendarvis, but it’s 2018!  Drop all the labels!”

The moral here is:  Fuck what anyone who isn’t a family member or a friend thinks of me or what I’m doing.  Everyone judges everyone constantly at all times.  We even do it subconsciously.  We can’t help it.  It’s innate.  But we can learn to not give a shit.  It’s truly wonderful if you’ve never experienced it.  If you’re really in turmoil and under duress, do whatever it takes to get out of that situation, and to hell with what anyone thinks.  The idea is to improve your situation; not worry about the bystanders. How did I find myself in that situation?  I don’t have a damn clue.

Exhibit 2:

One of the worst things you can do is panic.  Really about anything.  Just don’t do it.  What does it help?  It’s completely counterproductive.  Just watch horror movies for examples.  You see the intensely moronic characters tripping over their own clown feet while the killer walks slowly but still catches up somehow.  I’m not sure that was even a sentence I typed just then.  I’d rather explain it away than reread and possibly have to edit it right now.  Roughly 19 years ago, my friend and I went to a Superbowl party at mutual friend’s parents’ house.  It was a large place and had this massive chandelier in the entryway.  I was admiring it when I heard my friend Brandon introduce himself to the home owners.  I heard: “Hi I’m Brandon.”  But I was still so transfixed upon the chandelier for some reason.  Next thing I know, they’re introducing themselves to me, and I was so caught off guard, I introduced myself as my friend’s name instead of my own.  I told them I’m also Brandon despite not being a Brandon in any way.   Why the hell could I not remember my name?

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“Hi, I don’t know who the fuck I am.”

I panicked and the first thing to spew forth was my friend’s name because it was the most recent name I could recall!  I had to pretend to be “also Brandon” for the entire night.  And why?  Panic.  Shitty, useless panic.  It renders you powerless to act, make rational decisions, and in some cases, to mistake your own identity.  A word to the wise (shouldn’t it be a word FROM the wise?  That would make it more credible, I think):  Take a breath.  Hell, take 5 deep breaths.  People may look at you oddly, but again, see Exhibit A.

Exhibit 2392: (I’ve omitted some of the less important exhibits) Please laugh at yourself.  Everyone should.  Perhaps not in an out loud, joke-telling fashion unless you want to look like a completely maniacal lunatic.  Although that does happen to me from time to time.  It’s not that I think I’m that funny, I just find either my memories or the ways things are sometimes worded to be particularly funny.  Nevertheless, it’s important to find humor in yourself. Sometimes I trip or stumble around my house and laugh, because I know I looked like an absolute penis.  Why should it be different if others are around?  Why should it matter if others are laughing too?  It doesn’t.

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“He’s right, it doesn’t.  And how the hell did I get up here?”

All of this is especially true for kids.  Failure to laugh with people who are having a laugh at your expense can be damaging.  The emotional formative years of middle school are challenging enough, and when compounded with shots at one’s self-esteem due to instances perceived as “being laughed at” rather than “being laughed with,” the scars can last a lifetime.  This can dramatically alter a child’s personality when it’s as pliable as it is.

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“Here are my emotions.  I can’t wait to unintentionally rip them to shreds!”

With the exception of injuries and unexpected deaths, situations are only as terrible as you make them.  At its essence, that statement is unequivocally true.  A person’s response to situations only exists in his or her head, and then a decision on how to act is reached consciously or subconsciously.  Generally speaking, these decisions are usually about as useful as a tube sock full of pubes.  So the key is to start learning how to be self-deprecating at a young age and understand that we don’t have to take ourselves so seriously.  If we would all just try to have a little more fun instead of plowing through life with an indomitable seriousness that saps all the life out of a 4 block radius, I think we’d find our anxiety and stress levels decline while enjoying the mundane tasks of daily life much more.

 

Opposing Forces

I think that it’s easier for me to write when I don’t plan what I’m going to write.  I don’t mean to say that when I write this way, it’s better.  However, it takes a whole hell of a lot less time.  Over the last year or so, I’ve had to examine my life in ways that I’ve never had to before and on levels I didn’t even really know existed for myself.  Throughout this time, I’ve learned a great deal.  Rather than list everything, let me delete everything I just typed.

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I delete shit so hard the keyboard gets blurry.

The most important bits of what I have learned have come about from some deep introspection.  Some of these are things I’ve known, but have never applied to myself.  It’s scary to self-analyze which is why a lot of people simply don’t do it.  And those are the people who don’t grow.  They’re the ones who you most likely would emigrate to avoid being around.

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Alright, to hell with you twats!  We’re out!

Now then.  Everything has an opposite.  This applies to emotions, as emotions are part of everything.  Let’s examine meanness, for example.  We all know the world is full of mean-spirited people with obsidian black souls who commit evil acts.  We know this because it’s what we as humans choose to focus upon.  It’s all over the news when something terrible happens, and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be.  But balance is so crucial.  What good does it do the general public to inundate them with shitty stories about shittier actions done by even shittier people?  It’s shit.

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“And now live from Generic Channel 4 News, more shit.”

For every news story that runs about a shooting or another act of violence, for instance, why can media outlets not counter with an uplifting story?  In fact, a ratio of 2 uplifting stories to one shit story would be better!  There are plenty of examples out there of acts of kindness, compassion, empathy and caring.  Watch this:

What a sweet, uplifting event for all involved, and the Oscar Wilde quote at the end is so apropos.  Your soul touches everyone you contact.  Shouldn’t we pass along positive, caring energy if we have the chance?  And did you notice that every hug giver and recipient was smiling?  That says it all.

The most profound thing I heard/learned deals with anger.  What is the opposite of anger?  Everything good.  The list of good things people do when angry looks like this:

Good Things People Accomplish when Angry

  1.  

See?  What a shitty list!  Anger is good for nothing.  I know people may say things like, “Hey man, it’s motivation!”  No dipshit.  Motivation is motivation.  You can use any situation to motivate you.  Anger itself is not a motivator.  The quote I read that has already helped me immensely is as follows.

“The most destructive thing in the world is anger.”

Consider it.  How many events, relationships and even lives have been destroyed by anger?  The correct answer is countless.  We’ve all seen friends and even families torn apart by situations that all stem from anger.  Is it worth it?  It is worth showcasing to someone that you’re so pissed off that nothing else matters but making damn sure they know how mad you are?  Where’s the good in that?

Here are the reasons you pissed me off, Terry.  1. You stole my haircut!

I don’t mean to say that we don’t get angry.  It’s a natural human emotion, but that doesn’t mean we should act on it.  In fact, unless you’re being chased by a killer who is really pissing you off with the whole trying to kill you thing, you really should take time to process a situation that has angered you before reacting.

The real key for everyone is to let go of anger and pain.  This is way easier said than done.  In order to detach, one has to practice and understand that most things are out of his or her control with the huge exception of mood and outlook.  Not only does letting go of anger allow for emotional healing, but it sure as shit will help keep you from stepping on your own feet and having a fart and fall down moment.  Again, this is difficult, but as with anything, it can be achieved with practice and patience.

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There it is.  The old fart and fall down maneuver.

If all of that isn’t motivation enough to try detaching from your anger, in order to balance your anger, you have to find numerous positive circumstances.  Anger is so incredibly powerful, it cannot be balanced with only one opposing positive.  It takes quite a bit to quash angry feelings which is further evidence that it should be let go.

As with anything, there are exceptions to the rule, but I have neither the time nor the wherewithal to attempt to list or explain these.  The moral of the story is that life is better without anger.

So what have I learned?  I’ve discovered that I can’t control everything, nor do I even want to!  I can’t control what fucked up stories the news airs, but I can control what I do.  So instead of watching the news or delving into some other form of media, I can watch uplifting videos on YouTube.  I can play or listen to music.  I can laugh.  I can live.  I’m free.

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The Top 5 Worst Cereals

Updated pics.

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Some cereals are pure shit. The following are in no particular order, and represent cereals that I feel are poor excuses for breakfast food.  This is not due to nutritional value by any means, but I’ve judged them simply in terms of flavor and overall appeal.  That said, I hate every one of these, and they can all kiss my ass.  I’d rather watch the Old People Fucking Network than consume another serving.  Let’s begin with an old “favorite.”

All Bran

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Have you ever wanted an oral enema?  If so, here’s your chance!  Go ahead and scurry out to your nearest Piggly Wiggly and grab a box of All Bran.  Heaven forbid you eat this shit while enjoying normal bowel function!  You may find yourself trying to just squeeze out a tiny bit of gas when this happens:

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Let’s not forget how the name itself really pigeon holes the…

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