Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kittens and Cougars, Oh My!

Ah....Thanksgiving is here! This is one of my favorite holidays of the year. This is when Cowboys and Aliens can set aside petty differences and break bread mano a mano (I believe that is Swedish for "cheek to cheek"). I have so many things that I am grateful for, that I decided to write a list. Let's see how many of my thoughts make your list.

I am thankful for:
  1. Serving a forgiving and a loving God
  2. My smokin hot wife
  3. Cheech, Baby-girl, and The Boy
  4. My ridiculously good looks
  5. My dance battle skills
  6. My writing skills
  7. My extremely good taste in clothes
  8. The internets/interwebs and The Google
  9. Sugarpop Music
  10. Pirates
  11. My friends
  12. Having a G.O.B. (That's how we say J.O.B. in the ghetto)
  13. Being recognized as Cougar-Bait Kitten Dreams
  14. Being of sound mind
I'm sure that some of you will argue with #14; but hey, you're reading this aren't you.....

Point number 13....it kinda hurts...but I have crossed over from Cougar-Bait to Kitten Dreams. This is the year that everything changed. I'm now 35, and of course older women are attracted to me, but I can longer be labeled as "cougar bait."  That esteemed title now belongs to much younger men (teenagers) like Isak Adamson and The Fresh Prinze.

Before going any further - Cougars are older ladies that like young dudes; kittens are 20-somethings that like older dudes.

As some of you know, I was running a social experiment that I fiendishly dubbed "Project Fauxhawk."  I won't go into the details of said experiment, but I did get some surprising results. Only 2 people ever commented on my hairstyle but so many more were staring. Looking as good as I do, this is a normal day occurrence. The difference was that the kittens were not only staring at me like I was fine ham sandwich, they were no longer pretending not to look when I noticed. They were blatant in their oogling of my goods. I was ready to credit "project fauxhawk" for this change when something surprising happened. As part of corporate restructuring (I got a new G.O.B.) I had to end the experiment and go back to a more "professional" look. I naturally assumed that things would go back as they were - with men cursing me and women undressing me while I was unaware. Things did change...more kittens are making it a point to let me know that I'm hotness.

This usually happens during lunch. If I order a burrito, I get some extra guacamole free of charge. If I get a side of tots, they are magically upgraded and topped with chili and cheese. This last week I ordered a 2-scoop sundae and the girl behind the counter stuffed about a gallon of Mint n' Chip into my little cup.

Being a Kitten Dream is actually better than being Cougar Bait. The older ladies still gawk and make off-hand remarks as I stroll by, and that's awesome, but they are set in their ways and have no need to try to make me happy. The Kittens, by contrast, are still getting themselves established. This means I get free food a lot. The Kittens are also aware that when I'm with my wife or kids that they should not look my way. The cougars take a more "museum" approach and look but don't touch. This, of course, gets Nelly ready to cut someone - meaning me. Is it my fault that the older ladies make it obvious that I'm hot?!

Ultimately, I am thankful that I still look as good as ever and am generally the most attractive man in the room. Sexy isn't easy - but I wouldn't want it any other way.


To all my friends in Cyberspace, I wish you well this Thanksgiving. Eat. Drink.Read. Be Merry!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ooooooh....Reeeaaally?

I know the most finicky man on the planet. He is a Persnickety Little Texan (PLT). Very high-brow kind of guy and is fond of peacocking. He hasn't had an idea or opinion that he hasn't loved. I ran into PLT last week during lunch; he was wearing a hand-tailored, very fitted, cream colored suit with a pumpkin orange Forzieri, a crocodile belt (brown) and stingray boots (black). Every time I talk to PLT he is quoting the Harvard Business Journal or Yogi Berra. To my surprise, and enjoyment, he referenced my blog. You can only imagine my amazement upon hearing this news. PLT has known me for the last 5 years and has seen me accomplish technical and business miracles - the only compliment he ever gave me was on my choice of clothes (I was wearing windowpane pants). To hear that he read my blog was like hearing the Pope say was hooked on 16 and Pregnant. That's when I realized that my blog was his Guilty Pleasure.

A Guilty Pleasure is something that you shouldn't like, but you do anyways.

I'm fairly certain that PLT wants to institute the caste system here in the states, but he thinks my blog is absolute genius. He can NEVER admit that he believes I'm the voice of my generation; but he will read every post (mindful not to comment). In my quest to become famous, I'll take any fans I can get.

That little run-in made me think about the whole "guilty pleasures" thing. I'm sure that everyone out in the world loves doing something that they dont want to admit to. It could be a that a very handsome, ridiculously talented blogger enjoys a nice hot bath at the end of a long ass day. With bubbles. And Candles. That smell like vanilla. Maybe some bath salts. With a chilled Zima. With a pixie stick. I don't know who this guy is, but I'm sure he wouldn't admit to this, even though it's like a little piece of heaven.

My guilty pleasure?  90210. I have seen every episode since it debuted. Every Monday at 8/7 Central. I actually DVR it so that we can watch after the kids are asleep. Every Monday at 9, I have a 2-scoop sundae and am enthralled in the high school drama. I've been waiting for the return of Ethan since the 1st season. I don't think he's coming back, but he was my favorite character. I think that Navid deserves better. I think that making Teddy gay was the wrong move. I think that Adriana will always be her own worse enemy. I think that Dixon and Anny aren't selling me on being brother and sister. I think that I know way too much about this show. I shouldn't like this show, but I do.

Some of my buddies have guilty pleasures of their own.

Dallas Jabbawockee is addicted to Jersey Shore. This may not sound bad since most people like this show. But most people are ghetto and dig raunchy stuff - like Jack Ass. Dallas is an Artsy-Fartsy cat. His entire life is centered around the arts. Very abstract and profound - like a modern day Socrates that looks like Joe Jonas. Because of his stature in the art world, he can't come out and say that he loves watching the train wreck that is Jersey Shore. This would be like Edgar Allen Poe thinking that Stephenie Meyer is pure awesomeness.

Big Ass Guy has a simple, but delicious guilty pleasure: Heath Bars. He is roughly the size of a real-life Shrek and is addicted to this chocolate-covered treat. He sneaks them from his wife and has a drawer full of them next to his bed. He is like a 6'6, 280lb 6 year-old sneaking candy. Awesomeness.

Zergio Jutierrez has some guilty pleasures that puts everyone else to shame. I've said before, Zergio is as close to a clone of me that this world will see. Because of this, I find his general ridiculous logical. Here we go! Zerg is hooked on the Rachel Zoe show. I never heard of this show, but after a quick google, I can see why this made the list. He hates it but can't stop watching it. Like the good husband he is, he watches other chick shows with Zara, but he secretly loves them. Another good one, and probably the best guilty pleasure that I have heard of, Zerg watches the "hot topics" portion of The View.

I'm sure that all of you out there have things that you're embarrassed to admit to - I'm thinking that the comments field will be light today ;)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holy Frijoles!

I am an American-born Mexican from California. This means I have a kick-ass surname, attractive olive-colored skin, and speak absolutely no spanish. It also means, while growing up, all the holidays were spent at Grandma's house. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easters, Labor Day, Boxing Day, Yom Kippur, Teacher-in-Service Day, Saturday, Sunday; all of them spent with cousins, aunts, uncles, and people that were some how related to us via marriage. My parent's cousins and their cousins' cousins were all "family" and introduced as aunts and uncles. The best part of all was 99% of the "family"only spoke spanish. So we would generally have 156 people in a house drinking and eating like only Mexicans can do, talking at each other, and trying to communicate with me as I clung to my mommy. Like a stranger in a strange land, I navigated my youth with all the gumption and care of Magellan mapping out the Straits. As I grew up, beginning my journey to become the FamousRay that you have all come to know and lust after, I put that world behind me.

For those of you that don't know, my wife is a Central American import. From the land of San Salvador she flew on angels wings to be delivered to me. Not really - she rode on the back of a coyote and landed in Los Angeles. Most of her family is in the States and spread across from LA to the Inland Empire. Her childhood was much like mine, but she can actually speak spanish. So every holiday (Sundays included), her entire extended-family would show up at her parent's house and party like it's 1999. Two hundred Salvadorians packed into a house and doing pinatas in the front yard. Nelly absolutely LOVED it and figured that the whole world was this way.

Being Latino, there are just somethings that we must do as a people. The "family-get-together" is just one example. Here are a few more so that you get a better understanding:
  1. We must stay with a family member when we visit...even though I have a million Marriott points
  2. Because someone will end up Butt Hurt if we're at a hotel
  3. We have to eat meals with the family
  4. Grandma, grandpa, tio, tia, and cousins all having dinner together
  5. Every night
  6. If we leave the house, the entire herd is coming along
  7. All in the same car
  8. Even if we don't have enough seats for everyone
  9. Only 1 car is used to transport up to 15 people at a time
  10. Leaving the house without everyone will result in Butt Hurtness and we just can't have that

Since I have lived in the Great State of Texas, we go back to Cali every summer; that's how the above truths were revealed to me. Every summer I find myself in the whirlwind that is Chino aka El Salvador. I can remember a particular 4th of July when I drove from Irvine to Chino to Rancho Santa Margarita to Chino to Montclair to Chino to LA to Chino. For those of you not familiar with SoCal, let's just say that I was on the road for 26 hours that day. I'm sure that looking at the list of places we drove to you can see one place pops up more than the rest. The best part was that the family was Butt Hurt because we weren't making time to be with them. All the holidays are this way. We are split driving between families trying to keep emotions at bay while enjoying my relaxing vacation.

As an added bonus, there are subtle difference between my extended family and Nelly's. My family plans get-togethers - complete with menu and start time. If they say 3 o'clock they mean 2:55. If we are not there by 2:57 the phone calls start. They will not start eating until we are all there. Together. Nelly's family doesn't plan anything. Ever. People start showing up at her parent's house throughout the day. And they never go home. If we are not at the house when they randomly show up, they get their feelings hurt. Then the phone calls start.

This last trip out I had a revelation. While I took 20 people with me to Sam's Club to buy toilet paper and cereal it hit me. I was surrounded by at least 1 million people from morning to night, all eating and drinking and talking at each other, all in spanish, and I still don't speak a word, people are trying to communicate with me and I'm there clinging to my wife. I was reliving my youth and remembering all the reasons I joined the military when I turned 18. Nelly was reliving her youth and still loving it. She was wondering why we just didn't sell the house and move back in with her family.

The only reference I have of El Salvador comes from watching HGTV's House Hunter International and FX Network's The Shield. I know for damn sure that I'm not at Playa El Suzal but I'm not being chopped up into little pieces either - though Nelly has threatened me a few times. I'm somewhere in the middle of those extremes. I love going home and visiting family. It makes me feel like a kid again. It makes me realize why I love Texas so much. In a twist to this whole thing, I'm contemplating retirement in San Salvador just to get away from them all.

In all seriousness, everyone's family is jacked up. I just get to write about mine. I'm sure my kids and their spouses will say the same about us. For all their dysfunction, I love and miss them all very muchos. I'm sure they will be Butt Hurt when they read this and the phone calls will start. That's why I have Caller ID.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cultural Awareness

I’ve been racially profiled! I know that I should not be surprised. Being raised in the Greater-Los Angeles area I have had my fair share of racially motivated “random” car stops and general harassment from LAPD and the Sheriff’s Department. That was in my youth when I was a young, vigorous, handsome, young Latino-man. Now I am a grown ass Latino with a respectable career; driving a car with current tags AND insurance!

So I’m sure that you can all understand my befuddlement when I received a mailer from my church. IN SPANISH. WHAT THE CRAP!?! I’ve been at that church for 4 years! Everyone that knows me knows that I don’t speak a word of Spanish. I’m from SoCal! Why the crap would I speak Spanish?!?! I gather that they must have seen my last name and ASSUMED that with a Hispanic surname that I spoke a language other than English. This strikes me as odd on a few levels.

1.    I doubt that Justin Beiber gets junk mail in German
2.    I don’t think that Christina Ricci ever got a mailer in Italian
3.    Ikea doesn’t send me flyers in Swedish
4.    Why is it called “Latin America”? They don’t speak latin; they speak Spanish.
5.    Shouldn’t it be Spanish America?
6.    And the people could be called Spanish
7.    And people from Spain could be Spaniards

I guess that list really is only 2 points, but still valid.

I was talking to Mr. Tiny and Big H about profiling a few weeks back. If you remember, they are extremely large black men. We were talking about how the quiet black man is much scarier than the loud angry black man.
With the loud angry black man, you get what you see. No real surprises. They yell and scare the hell out of all non-minorities in the general area. It’s good for a story to tell over drinks or while doing your nails…”and there was this large afro-american man…very very upset…he kept saying he ‘wished’ someone would say something…”
The quiet, calm black man is much more frightening. Let me frame this for you. Mr. Tiny is 6’2 and 260 lbs of bad ass black man. I think he bench presses Ford Explorers and curls VW Bugs for a workout. Let us imagine this large man is upset, yet quiet. This is much more frightening. You imagine that he is plotting your demise…AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO STOP IT. I would much rather deal with a loud person putting on a show than a large, powerful man that I think is calculating how much force it would take to rip my arms off.

I have another friend – Big Ass Guy (BAG). BAG is actually bigger than Mr. Tiny and Big H. He is like a fusion of the two. Except he’s a white guy. See…you are totally not worried about him! See how the brain does that? BAG’s fingers are the size of bananas, but if he pisses me off, I’m gonna take him down. Large white guys aren’t scary. It’s the lil quiet bastards that are just a lil off that we need to keep an eye on.
What is this post all about??? I was racially profiled so I wanted to make myself feel better. It’s like being a bully. I want to put other people down to make me feel good. Did I succeed? No. Did I give you all something to talk about? Mission Accomplished!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Clear as Mud

You may think that I don't know a butt-load about communication, but I do.

Nelly and I attended a "communications seminar" last week to help keep our marriage in check. It was hosted at our local church and was a smaller class - so that we could keep things intimate. Easy readers! It's not that kind of church!

We were looking forward to this for a few weeks. Nelly always enjoys hearing how much I suck as a husband and always finds new ways to point out flaws. Seminars are grand. I enjoy the free food. I enjoy it so much that we arrived early for the spread. Little did I know that it would be fruit and yogurt. I was OK with my whipped strawberry-banana, low-fat, junior size cup. Nelly was not. She was expecting breakfast pastries. So we got off to a fantastic start with our host, Julius. As my wife notices the lack of morning-baked-goodness, she eyeballs poor young Julius. She decided that it was in her best interest to gracefully communicate her displeasure to our gracious host, "Hey. Where are the donuts? I'm tellin' you straight up, man, if don't get me one...oooooh! Man you're gonna put on a little Evil Knievel suit and sell some dimes and nicks on a Big Wheel. You're gonna get my donut some kinda way!"

Now that everyone knows who we are, we decide to take our seats up front. He had already taken a "Communications Inventory" a few days prior. Some of you may be familiar with Myers-Briggs or the MBTI assessment. The seminar was going to use this as a basis of our communication styles and relate it our marriage and other important relationships. Here are my actual, unaltered results:
 The Extroversion is PEGGED! If you didn't know me, you'd think that I am an Attention Whore! Being "extroverts" was the ONLY thing that Nelly and I had in common. She was, of course, an extrovert to a much lesser degree than me.

For every pairing of letters we had little exercises to complete. I think this was supposed to give us an idea of how the other spouse views the world. What actually happened was that this gave Nelly ammunition to fire at me throughout the day.

We were on the same side of the fence for the E's vs I's....so we just had fun making fun of everyone not in the "cool" group. It didn't last long as we were separated for the the S vs N topic. At this point, an abstract painting is shown to us. I am in a very small group of "N's" and clearly I talk too much so I offered up what I saw. Since I cannot find that pic, I will show you something very similar:

Here is what I see when I look at this painting: I see 2 shaolin monks running up the stairs carved into Wudon Mountain. The sun is setting and they are heading towards a temple that is in the upper left corner. In the middle there is a flying dragon and in the bottom left is death. It seems that they are running to their master for help with some evil or dark thing that is coming to the land. The other mountains in the back are already in the shadows, so they must hurry!

Most people will only see the bright orange seahorse at the bottom....

I gave a similar answer when asked in the class of what I had seen. As the debate goes back and forth, Nelly very calmly raises her hand. This was very conniving on her part. The facilitator makes sure everyone is quiet before Nelly speaks. She says, "All I see is a man too old to be playing kung-fu making up a story about messy painting."

We then move on to the T's vs F's. We are again put into our proper groups. A simple question was posed to both groups: You are heading to a party with a good friend; when the friend shows up at your house he/she is dressed ridiculously - do you tell them?  To me this was a no-brainer. F yes you say something - Are you serious!?! You are NOT wearing that! You need to change...NOW.  Satisfied with my answer, I turn to the person sitting next to me. I confidently say, "Nelly and I always ask that before we leave. She wouldn't let me leave the house looking like a fool..."  I wish I hadn't said that. No sooner do I finish my sentence when Nelly's hand shoots back up. Again the room is hushed. Nelly then looks right at me and says, "I can't say that to Ray. He's too sensitive."

So then....here are things that I learned at our seminar:
  1. Nelly is the devil
  2. With Nelly, always assume Prison Rules
  3. Always bring donuts so Nelly's not in a bad mood
Communication is key people! We are all different and we should take strides to celebrate that fact. Learn balance with your spouse - don't cause friction.

The class was awesome. Many thanks to Byron Ricks for the session and thanks to The Grind for hosting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's a Guy Thing

The Fresh Prinze, has been on a roll - he must be butta baby! For being 19 years old, he is very insightful. A few weeks back he began a study on "Marriages of the Bible." The first class was dealing with a passive husband and a controlling wife. The class was great; but I don't want to talk about any of that. I do, however, need to explore something that was said. During the class, the Fresh Prinze caught my attention with this thought:

Every guy has that 1 "chick thing." It can be his hair, or he takes longer to get dressed than his wife...maybe he gets a Brazilian wax...

As I was about to raise my hand on that last point, I looked around and noticed that no one else was in agreement so I sat quietly for the duration. But, this one concept did have me baffled. Do we men really have that "1 chick thing" that the Prinze was so sure about?

I started to really take a look at myself; do an assessment of all that is me. As I looked over all that I am, I was surprised to not be consumed with sheer awesmoness, and I was also struggling to find my "chick thing." I was fairly certain that the young Prinze, with his frosty tips, was onto something...so why was I struggling to find it!? I was driving with Nelly, when I had an epiphany! I knew my "chick thing." In my excitement, I turn to my crazy wife and declare that I have uncovered the 1 chick thing that I have. She looks right at me, eye to eye, and says, "Really Taylor Swift? Tell me about it."

Nelly is the devil.

But she was right. When I looked at my music choice, I noticed my playlist is DOMINATED by Avril Lavigne. When I write, cook, clean, chillax, drive, study, get a brazilian, I am listening to Avril. When I hit the gym, it's all about Brittney. I do dig Taylor Swift - she is more of a cool-down or reflection-of-the-family type music choice. So there it is! I love sugar-pop music! That's my chick thing!

I thought to myself, "Well this ain't so bad. I'm sure other guys have far worse chick things. I bet Julius rocks out to Miranda Cosgrove during his mani pedi sessions."  Pleased with my discovery, I set out to write a great post about the topic. Then the devil stepped in...She says, "Oh PLEASE! You have like 10 chick things!" Before I could tell my loving wife to "get thee behind me," She rattled off a list that she must have composed since hearing the Prinze speak. In no particular order, this is what my adoring wife of somewhere between 7 to 10 years says are my chick things:
  1. You loooove Taylor Swift
  2. You iron all your clothes
  3. You have to make sure that your clothes lay right
  4. You change your outfits 10 times before leaving the house
  5. You won't mix fragrances 
  6. You have underwear for different days of the week
  7. You are crazy about your hair
I think that we can all agree that she is crazy and has a skewed view of the world and of my greatness. Here are my thoughts on her list:
  1. I don't looooove any one but Nelly. Avril is by far my favorite artist and there is no secret about that
  2. I have to keep all this looking good
  3. I have to keep all this looking good
  4. I DO NOT have outfits. An outfit is a pre-arragned pairing of clothing that cannot be mixed and/or matched with other articles. I have clothes...that may or may not need to be changed before leaving the house...because I have to keep all this looking good.
  5. I don't have "fragrances." During the summer I use a "body spritz" and during the winter it's normal cologne or a body spray. I HATE having a foofy lotion smells mixed with either of those...
  6. Ok..here we go. I don't generally wear underwear. So she's dead wrong here too. But, I do have specific types of underwear for different activities. Hanes Classic boxer-briefs for athletics; T-back, banana slings for dress pants....yeah....that's about it. Going commando all other times.
  7. I don't even have enough hair TO style! I have small tuft up top because she won't allow me to shave my head!
 Now that we have dismissed her false claims, I think we need to look at some other men that we all know. With my keen eye (and a lot of input from Nelly), I have found some others have "chick things" that we may want to take a look at. Here we go!

Zergio: Nelly claims that he has all the same things as me (go figure). He did kick it up a notch in the clothing department: He has his own walk-in closet so that his wife's clothes won't get mixed up with his. He is also the biggest gossip that you will ever meet. Wants all the details and surrounding information so that he can draw his own conclusions. Absolutely loves Chick Flicks.

Isak Adamson: Has a thing about clothes...particularly the way the collar lies. Has a lot to say about home decor. Does the basic chick thing..."It doesn't matter" then gets upset because it, did indeed, matter.

Dusty Gardener: Is a chatty-catty. Drives a minivan. Rents a minivan when he doesn't take his own minivan on trips. Packs enough clothes to last 10 days when we go on a 3-day trip (good thing we have a minivan to get all his luggage in). Deathly afraid of bugs of all sizes. Drinks Arbor Mist (Melon White Zin) to chillax. To kick it up a notch while watching the Cowboys, the drink of choice is Zima (complete with sour apple jolly rancher).

Dallas Jabbawockee: If you look up metrosexual in the wikipedia, his picture should surely be emblazoned throughout  the reading. Shirts are tight and usually a mid-drift. The skinny-jeans are tight enough that you'll know the religious preference of his parents. Hair is perfectly coiffed. An attention whore, but with the added twist of being a tease. He doesn't try clothes on, he models them to make sure the fit just tight enough. He once showed me how to wear a jacket 3 different ways depending on the season. Is an amateur hair stylist as the situation call.  I'm fairly certain that he is on Team Edward.

The Fresh Prinze: What can I say? He has a wiki site devoted to the Cullen Coven. Hair is frosted at the tips and is messy just enough to make it look like no time or attention was put into it, meaning it must be at least 30 minutes to achieve the look - has to be hair paste. He wrote, directed, choreographed, and starred in a rock opera based on The Notebook - he was the young Noah. Asked Julius to be his under study so that the show "could go on."


I really don't believe that any guy has a "chick thing." We all have little quirks and differences and preferences that make us who we are. Sure Dallas has to lie on the bed to get his jeans on; but he can rock that ish. Maybe I have to save Dusty when we see lady bugs, but that's ok with me. Yes I have had debates with the Fresh Prinze about Alice Cullen developing a conscience on her own and how that doesn't really fit - but Twilight is a jacked up book that I will never understand. Yes Zergio refers to me as his BFFAE...that's because I am. Isak has wigged-out when British Indian and Country Cottage styles are mixed in a house; but who doesn't?

This is who we are ladies. And you wouldn't want us any other way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Life Lessons

My birthday was yesterday and I find myself reflecting on the magnitude that is me. All the accomplishments, the high-fives, the smacked bottoms...ahhhh, my life is BRILLIANT! I was looking through some old trappings from my MHS days (Cavaliers Bitches!) and I came across a very old list tucked away in my peechee folder:
I'm sure that we can all see 1 glaring feature of this list. No, I am not talking about the authenticity that has been verified by (1) the date of "6/93" in the corner or (2) the lines in the paper showing that it has been tucked away, folded, for years. I speak of the the last item on the list. I am still trying to find 1,000 True Fans. I don't blame myself, I am far too talented to not be noticed and admired. I charge you, readers, for this lapse in my legacy! You are not getting the word out and now we all suffer for it. Thanks fans.

But I digress. Today I want to talk to you about some of the things I learned while on this earth. From my humble beginnings in Monctlair, CA (IE REPRESENT!) to my heyday here in the Big D (The Lone Star State) I have had many lessons. Some were very hard learned, while others came just at the right time. Life is that way - ups and downs will be had; it is important that we holdfast to our values and learn the important lessons.

My dad is great man. Many of the lessons that I still hold to today were taught by my Pop. I am almost a whole generation younger than my brother and sister - 9 and 11 years younger than them. I am thankful today that I grew up with old school parents. This means that I grew up with old school values, ethics, morals, and traditions.

I remember when I was about 11 years old sitting at home when my dad came home from a long day of work. He was a land surveyor; back then it meant he was awesome at math and had to carry a lot of equipment in the field. He walked in mentally and physically fatigue. I was a little punk and didn't know any better, so I started to complain that I was hungry. My mom was not home, just me and Pop. He said to give him a minute and he would make me dinner. After about 10 minutes, I kicked up the complaining again. I will never forget what happened next. Pop walks out of his room and walks to the kitchen. As he walks passed me he said "I'm making this for you because I said I would, not because I want to" - that may seem harsh to some of you, but from that day forward I understood what it meant to be a man. If you say you're going to do something, you do it. What ever it takes. You make sure that you keep your word. In those days, sometimes all you had was your word, and if it wasn't good, what did it say about who you are?

As far back as I can remember, my dad always told me that I needed to where "North" was. It was easy for me to determine back then. We lived at the base of the San Bernardino Mountain range. If I was outside, I just needed to find the mountains and I knew that I was facing north. I loved spending time with my dad. We would go all over the Inland Empire, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernadino Mountains, Los Angeles county and every time he would ask me, "which way is north?" I would look for the mountains and point. He would let me go to job sites with him and he'd unfurl a huge map across the hood of his truck. These maps were massive, even by today's standards. I would look at contour lines, buildings, roads, land marks, etc., and my dad would show me where "north" was on the map. As a kid, I so took this for granted. I didn't even realize what I was being taught at the time. My dad was making sure that no matter where I was in life, that I would always be able to find my way. He gave me something that can never be taken away. Land Navigation in the U.S. Army was easy money. Even today when I look at blueprints and AutoCAD for hours on end, the drawings just make sense. I can be any where on this planet and never feel lost. All because my pop took the time to teach me something so simple. It is very empowering. I'm sure that with the GPS enabled phones, people don't understand the magnitude of this. You will when you're driving in a major city on a cloudy day :)

Every summer and every weekend, my dad would walk in to my room at 7AM and ask me if I was going to sleep in all day. That simply meant that there was a job to do and I was meant to do it. It would be worse if he left before I woke up. My dad is all about manual labor building character (I used this with Bobert Creamer a few times). Once he left me a letter when I was maybe 14 years old:

FIX THE FENCE. BUCKET OF NAILS AND HAMMER ARE OUTSIDE.
-DAD

I had my Lucky Charms and went out back. There was an old coffee can of old rusted nails, an old hammer from when my dad was 14, and a huge pile of wood slats that I needed to get up. That was my dad. We would buy him new tools, electric tools, fancy tools... but he just used what he had and I did the same. He always made sure that I had what I needed to accomplish my job. He would show me how to do it first, then would watch me for a minute, then I was off to take on the world. Even then, he was teaching me about life. I may make a mistake here and there, but he had taught me right and trusted me. He also taught me that as long as I was going to be at his house that there was plenty of work to go around.

I thank you, Pop, for molding me into who I am today. The world thanks you, without you my greatness would never have been. What kind of sad place would this be? No worries, Pop. I'll handle this one for you! You're Welcome Cyberspace - Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Attention Whore vs Drama Queen vs Master Baiter

The great philosophizer Jack G. Gargoylewitz IX said it best: People dont want ambiguity!!! they want to be recognized!!!!

Aside from bad punctuation, I believe that he is correct. Take yours truly for example. I have been on a campaign to be famous for some time now. I want the masses to greet me with a knowing smile and a nod of approval....of my GREATNESS. My quest for fame is to add something to this world. People should equate my name (or likeness) with "the voice of our generation." I'm here to spread the laughter one post a time - webisodes are under development.

Does this make me an "Attention Whore?" Shit yes it does. To me, an Attention Whore is someone that loves the limelight and is totally comfortable with all eyes on him/her. This person understands who they really are at the core and are ready to share it for the betterment of the world. The Attention Whore seeks to be seen, heard, talked about, to be the topic of rumors, etc. Some use their looks to accomplish this (Kim Kardashian), others have real talent (Superman), some pretend to have talent (Brittney Spears), and some are just deserving (me). In my world, the Attention Whore is not really doing anything bad; they want to share who they are with everyone that may look their direction. They have confidence in their looks, talent, fake talent, or just sheer awesomeness. I like these people! Say what you will, but everyone reading this post knows the list of people that I just laid out. They aren't putting others down to get attention. They are not fishing for compliments.

What I don't like is the Drama Queen. Sure, we can call them "Drama Kings" too; but I think it's funnier to call dudes "Queens," so we will stick with it. Drama Queens come in ALL FLAVORS. They are life-force-sucking people - like a weird Jedi/Vampire combo. They can find the worst in all situations - much like the "sour puss" from work, but the Drama Queen can find the suckitude in everyday life....and they never tire of talking about it. Please DO NOT confuse these people with the Attention Whore. They are whoring themselves out, true, but not for the attention. They want to contaminate the world with their bad attitude. The Drama Queen that I absolutely abhor is the Gym Kitten. We all know her. She is the one with the painted on work-out pants with "Smack It" stitched over the derriere (she may opt to wear the ultra small shorts), a shirt cut up to show off the boobage and toned, tanned torso,  hair done in naughty piggy tails, AND A HAT PULLED DOWN OVER HER EYES.....If I walked into the office all oiled up in euro-cut speedos while wearing glasses, I wouldn't expect anyone to comment on my horn-rims. If you are dressed to show the world your goods and services, don't be offended when people notice. The low pulled hat does not mean you don't want people looking at you when you show up wearing pasties and a thong. You know who you are; men know who you are; and yes, women know who you are and they also don't like this type of Drama Queen. We all know some sort of Drama Queen and we work to avoid him/her. There is no such thing as casual conversation with these people. Unlike the Attention Whore that talks about themselves, the Drama Queen can rattle off 15 topics (none of which are their faults or can be fixed) to drown  you with. If you can't think of one.....bad news....it's you.

It may surprise you to know that woman, by far, out number men in the Master Baiter category. Let me give you a quick example: I'm gonna go swimming...I don't want to be wearing a bikini with all these 20 year olds around. Sure thing Brooke Burke! Sound familiar? How about "I just threw something together...let me know if it tastes bad." You got it Gordon Ramsey! I, of course, am talking about the fisher of compliments. The Master Baiter is very crafty in how they extract niceties from people. They know that they are great at what they do or how they look (which I don't have an issue with) but they seek to be complimented...THEN HAVE THE AUDACITY TO PRETEND TO BE SURPRISED WHEN COMPLIMENTED! Are they whoring themselves out? Absolutely. Are they bettering the world or putting others down? No. They are feeding on the words that people throw at them. I'm not talking about people with real insecurities. I'm talking about people that absolutely know their worth, but feel compelled to validate it. Could you really see me saying "Oh...I just threw this post up...let me know if it's good...not really sure about it.." OH HELL NO! This is what I say "Read this. You will be in awe of my greatness. You must then share this greatness with anyone that knows you. And with some that you don't know. Because I am greatness. The world deserves to read this post. Go forth and with this post do my greatness."  That is what I would say.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Deuces Wild

We have found ourselves in the middle of a war, gentlemen. The battle lines have been drawn and we need to choose sides. There will be casualties...Oh, there MUST be casualties. I am speaking about bathroom etiquette, or lack of, that is displayed in America today. Gone are the days when we can just walk into a public/group restroom and handle business without a second thought. The things that we have taken for granted have been turned on their heads. This may very well lead to the moral demise of a once might nation: Man Land.

I have noticed an alarming increase in the number of bathroom conversations. We are not talking about sports scores between urinals or passing the newspaper between stalls. We are talking about phone calls in the potty. Just the other day, I found myself sitting down for a rousing game of solitaire when all of a sudden I hear someone walk in, pull up in the next stall, on a conference call. It is happening all the time! These people are not just listening in; they are active participants with multiple people on the line. They dial-in, walk in to the stall, then proceed to unbuckle, drop pants, sit down, hunker in and go on with business as usual. This of course leaves me in a bad spot. What if I had pepperoni pizza with jalapenos that day? What if I'm on a 2-day cleanse? What if I had bad Chinese for lunch? I'm sure that you can all see the problem here. Am I to knock on the wall and let him know he needs to mute? Do I try a courtesy flush? Do I try to hold it all in until he's done and gone? What are the ground rules for phone calls when you're dropping off kids at the pool??!

There are just some things that shouldn't happen in a Mens Room and that is one of them. The other is the peeing while on the cell phone (this includes bluetooth). Also something that shouldn't happen is the "Superman" in front of the urinal. You can't just stand there looking forward with your hands on your hips like bullets are bouncing off your chest. And....NEVER DO THE ONE-HAND SUPERMAN, ON HAND CELL PHONE COMBO!

I never thought that I would have to actually write down the Potty Rules; I had assumed that these were being passed down father-to-son in the same fashion as Miyagi-Do karate. Yet, here I sit explaining how men should conduct themselves in the restroom. I am not talking about the 1-seater at your house or the single stall rooms that can be found at Starbucks. I am talking about a real Mens Room - multiple thrones to include a handi-capable spot and at least 3 urinals.

Urinal Rules:
  1. Always take the urinal farthest away from the door
  2. If that one is taken, you go to the urinal that is farthest away from the 1 person in there i.e. the one next to the door
  3. If both urinals at the far ends are taken, you may only use an open urinal if there will be a 1 urinal separation between you and the other person
  4. If there are open urinals but you will be next-to, or in-between, then you must pee in an open stall
  5. Never "Superman" a urinal
  6. Never be on a call while in front of the urinal
  7. Never lean over the urinal and lay one hand on the wall
  8. Feel free to write your name or do some simple math
  9. Peeing into a trough negates the freedom to write your name or do math problems
  10. If your cell phone rings, wait till after you shake off, zip up, flush, washed and dried your hands, and left the Mens Room before answering
Rules of taking open urinals may be modified while at the movies or sporting events - this does not give carte blanche to pull up next to someone if there are other open spots. Let's use some sense here!

Stall Rules
  1. DON'T BE ON A CONFERENCE CALL WHEN YOU WALK INTO ONE!
  2. Leave the handicapable stall for last, but feel free to use it
  3. Always flush when done
  4. If you had spicy food, lead with the courtesy flush
These rules have been in place since the first multi-stall bathroom was invented. There we have it! Simple, easy to follow rules that should exercised at all times.

I know that women (I should say "moms") are not really understanding all of these rules. They pee with babies on their laps. They have family meetings while dropping a deuce. They can be in there on the phone with their mom, bff, cable tv guy, or anyone else. They don't view any of what was just outlined as simple rules needed to keep the balance of man in check. They see it as "stupid stuff that guys do and they need to get over it."

I am not asking women to understand these rules. I am reaching out to men. Real men understand the underlying issue. Real men know that something needs to change. Real men read newspapers on the pot, they don't chat about days events. It's time to put the man back into the Mens Room.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wind of Change

I need to work on me. I know what you are thinking citizens...How can you improve on this [I'm motioning to all of me]?  But to not strive forward is to be like stagnant water - you don't move and start to smell pretty bad. Much like my multi-pronged attack to become famous, I need to work on me on multiple levels.

Diet and Exercise: Like an elephant being held over a cliff by a dandelion, my sexiness is holding on for dear life. Since vacation I have been on a food terror. Fried foods. Fatty foods. High-sugar foods. Empty calorie foods. Eating chili-dogs and tater tots 3 times a day wasn't enough for me. I stopped going to the gym. No more Muay Thai. No more lifting. No more fitting into euro-cut speedos. I have noticed a few things since trying to become Jabba the Hutt. I don't have much energy. I wake up and am completely exhausted. My concentration level is slipping. I love donuts. Yesterday I had my last bacon double-cheeseburger with avocado and onion rings. Washed it down with a 100% real ice-cream chocolate shake. It's time to take my sexiness serious. It was a gift for all of man (mostly for woman) that I have neglected. Sure I'm still hot as all get out and am generally the best looking man in the room; but fitting into speedos like stuffed sausage is not very becoming.


I vow to never forget that Sexy is as Sexy does. Sexiness is not a privileged, it is a gift to be used for the good of all mankind. I will honor God in all that I do - including food choice and exercise. I will get back into my speedo for Christmas pictures.

Fatherhood: I have 2 beautiful girls and 1 bad ass little boy. I have noticed that they are all very different. The girls are night and day in just about every aspect. The Boy is just completely crazy, which I find odd since he is soooo much like me. Being a dad is probably the greatest job on the planet. The only thing better is being a husband to a hot ass wife (check!). Some of the differences with the chi'rens is how they view "rules". Cheech is very militant when it comes to the rules. Black and White with no middle ground. She is all about the letter of the law. Baby Girl sees rules as more of guidelines or suggestions on how things should be done or how she should act. She leaves them open to interpretation. The Boy thinks he makes the rules. Just yesterday he told me that he was in charge. I explained that DAD RULES THIS HOUSE and that he is in charge of the girls while I'm gone and it's his responsibility to protect them. All he heard was, "Boy...you're in charge." Another difference is how easy the girls are at this age. I can say and do anything, and they know the rules. The Boy has this need to say everything that I say and do everything that I do. Until The Boy could talk, I never noticed how much I use the word "ass". Here are a few examples:
  • We're late. MOVE YOUR ASS
  • (while watching a fight) Get his ass!
  • You bet your ass
  • Watch your ass...you'll get hurt
I gave The Boy some nuggets and I told him, "be careful...they're hot." He replied with, "OK Dad. I won't burn my ass." 

I pledge to spend more time with all the kids. I will not FB or post or write or perform until they are all in bed. I will watch what I say at all times. I will be sure to pray with them every morning and every night.

Marriage: I completely adore my wife and we have a great relationship (as far as I know). We are back to taking a "marriage class." We don't have any troubles, but Nelly says it best: Marriage is like a car, it requires maintenance and a tune-up every so often. So we have newly joined the marriage life-group at our church. The leader of the class is a young, established Metro with cool hair - like Robert Patterson. This Sunday was our second visit after a very long time. The young pastor, let's call him the Fresh Prinze of GOC, was very welcoming and even begged to be in the blog. I believe his exact words were, "Don't put me in your blog." I don't think he uses the Kings James bible; he seems to be more in touch with the hippie, street language, hip hop Jesus styles of scripture. I did, however, like how he opened up the class with prayer, "Big Jeezy, in your name we pray..."  The class was pretty cool. I enjoyed being around other married couples that are dealing with the same stresses and pressures. The Fresh Prinze and his Executive Officer, Julius, made us feel very welcome. For that I am extremely grateful. Nelly and I have signed up for a couples seminar coming up very soon. Need to work on that preventive maintenance.

I pledge to take my marriage seriously. I will work to understand her feelings and be quick to listen and slow to anger. I will continue to work on deciphering the code in which all women talk - this will strengthen my relationship with my hot ass smokin hot wife. 

Relationships: As some of you may know, Nelly had a "relapse" for lack of a better term. There is no cure for her condition and every so often her treatment needs to be tweaked. The witchdoctors came in with chicken bones, pigs snouts, and eye of newt to create a new potion that continues to wreak havoc on her innards. This last episode was the worst it's been for a while. Dealing with the ups and downs that come with autoimmune hepatitis has taught me much about life, much about myself, much about my wife, and much about people. There are plenty of people that will laugh with you, but when times are rough, only real friends will cry with you. The people that I thought we could count on were absent and people that I never thought to ask stepped up. I also got hurt during this time; I got cut and started bleeding money! A last minute plane ticket, unexpected medical bills, and my water heater shat on me. I seriously think they build those things to fail.  Many thanks to Danielle and Isaak Adamson and their extended family, to Ann and Danna Seaver, and to Mr. Tiny and his beautiful wife, Christmas Snow for all the help and support. God does work in mysterious ways. I am thankful that my eyes are open enough to see where I should focus my efforts in building lasting relationships.


I pledge to be deliberately generous. I will use my talents to serve. When the Fresh Prinz asks me to display my greatness in a blog or skit for his class, I will do so for the Glory of God. I will work on important relationships with God, family, and friends.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hepcat: Raising Awareness!

Hepcat – 2 dictionary results
[hep-kat]
noun Older Slang
1. a person who is hep; hipster.
2. a very hot woman, usually with double-d’s, that has been diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis.

Origin:
1930–35; Americanism ; hep + cat [1st iteration]
2010; Social Networkism; famous + ray + awesome + ness [revamped usage]



I am here to raise awareness like only I can! Well, maybe Stephen Colbert can do it too, that guy is a genius. Either way, many of you have seen some posting on Facebook between Nelly and me regarding her health and my sanity. Many of you have been concerned and don’t understand what is going on in our lives – this post will clear things up for the masses and at the same time should count as a Public Service Announcement.

Autoimmune Hepatitis is a crazy, wicked condition where the body’s immune system fights against the liver. This is not a pitty-pat Floyd Mayweather type fight. This is a Smokin Joe Frazier vs Muhammad Ali THRILLA IN MANILLA type of throw down. If the liver was a heavybag, the immune system would be Iron Mike Tyson (before Robin Givins and without the face tattoo). The immune system attacks the liver with the ferocity of a spider-monkey going after a cupcake – complete devastation.


Before her diagnosis, I knew nothing about the liver. Here are the big points of what I learned: (1) The liver is necessary for survival; there is currently no way to compensate for the absence of liver function and (2) The liver is the largest and most complex organ in the body. Talk about paradigm shift! I had always assumed something else was my largest organ. After learning these 2 facts, I understood seriousness of this disease.
The symptoms are hell to follow and don’t make much sense until they are looked at holistically. Here is the list:
  • An enlarged liver – how the F am I supposed to notice that one!?!?
  • Jaundice – this set in very late and I’ll get to it
  • Itching – like a dog with ticks. Nelly actually bruised and broke the skin from scratching. Just had this flare back up last week.
  • Skin rashes – didn’t have this one
  • Joint pain – like an old man on a cold winter day, only wanting to eat soft carrots in his stew. We still deal with this one too.
  • Abdominal discomfort – imaging eating chili cheese tater tots, pepperoni pizza, red vines, grape juice, a V8, and a bacon double-cheese burger. All for breakfast. Before a 2 mile run.
  • Spider angiomas, or abnormal blood vessels, on the skin – didn’t get this
  • Nausea – see “abdominal discomfort”
  • Vomiting – not so much
  • Loss of appetite – when things were bad, Nelly lost 15lbs in 10 days
  • Dark urine – I don’t watch her pee
  • Pale or gray-colored stools – I don’t watch her drop deuces, even though she’s asked…
So there it is. These symptoms came and went for about a month. Never any of them together, just 1 would crop up. The real reason that Nelly went to see a doctor was due to fatigue – which for some reason is not listed as a symptom. Damn Witchdoctors.

We had just moved to the Great State of Texas and Nelly wasn’t feeling too well. Everyone figured it was the stress of the babies (the little ones are 11 months apart – couldn’t keep her off of me). The doc decides to run some routine blood work – that’s when things got real bad real fast.

After her results came back, we are off to a GI for a liver biopsy. We didn't know anyone here so I had to drop her off at the surgery and watch the kids at home - crappy huh? We got the results the next day: Autoimmune Hepatitis. It's google time! I research and find out what we are up against.


By this time Nelly's eyes are yellowing and she is looking like Nicole Ritchie or any other cracked-out whore that you can think of (she was losing a lot of weight). The next day her body crashes like the Titanic going into an iceberg - she is going down. She calls her GI and he makes arrangements for a stay at the hospital. We get to the ER and she is immediately hooked up to medicine and machines - like an entertainment center with a bluray player, plasma tv, dvr, xbox, ps3, wii, surround sound, and a vcr all connected in the living room. She is hit with a flood of morphine and steroids that would put a baby rhino to sleep. It's 2 AM now and by this point her body is completely yellow from the jaundice. She actually looked like she was made of wax...I wait it out for 10 hours while she slept. I never left that night; I had to be there if she took her last breath.


Everything was rushing through my mind for hours on end:
  • What am I gonna do with 3 bad ass kids?!
  • How are we going to get back to California?
  • Who is gonna watch them while I have to work?
  • Where am I going to work?
  • How am I going to raise them?
  • What am I going to do without the love of my life?
  • Am I strong enough to deal with this?

I prayed with all that I am on that night. God did answer my prayers. Here we are years later and she is with us. She was in the ER for 48 hours and then moved to a room for a week. We found out a few days later that she had hit stage-2 liver failure and they weren't sure she would make it. The doctor said that after a day of treatment her liver numbers were cut in half and they couldn't understand how well the treatment was going. I serve a Great God.


Now she is on treatment per the witchdoctors that we see on a regular basis. So that we are clear, there is no cure for autoimmune hepatitis. There is no "remission". There is ONLY "treatment". The treatment is meant to weaken her overall immune system so it doesn't go all Chuck Norris on her liver. No one can stand up to Chuck Norris. So she takes a cocktail of pills. Which is awesome because they offer their very own special brand of happiness: side effects.


We have learned to manage these extremely well (when things aren't in flux). When her regular blood work shows that her liver enzyme numbers are high, the voodoo priests start messing with the meds until things look right to them. This causes some issues around the house. It's mostly the steroids. As any one can imagine, being pumped full of steroids has the effect that gamma rays had on Bruce Banner - they make you Hulk up at moments notice. Besides that, there is the sleeplessness, increased appetite, high anxiety, increased spurts of energy, and deep, hard crashes. It's pretty much like living with a tweaker. Except there are no glow-stick shows in the club.....Dizziness and abdominal pain are daily reminders of the new meds.


To meet Nelly or to chat/talk/laugh with her, you would never know that she is sick. She never asks for help and does all that she can for everyone else. She is the most compassionate person that I know. She is also crazy; this is not a side-effect of the disease or the treatment. It's her hot Salvadorian blood ;)




Is me writing this some type of therapy for me? Oh HELL TO THE NO! Someone as great as me doesn't need therapy - I need to be famous. This is me sharing my thoughts as I always have; my style with no regrets.


So, why am I truly writing this.....? When I was on my way to the hospital on the 3rd day of her stay, I was talking with a good friend of mine. This is what he said to me:


Imaging how hard it would have been if you weren't a believer - you're church family was there for you. These things happen so that we can witness to God's greatness. People get the flu or get sick and they get over it. No one thinks that's a miracle. She was there dying and God made sure that she was here for you and the kids. What is happening to Nelly and your family is going to be a testament to his greatness. She is going to survive. People will listen to this story.


I am writing this story because it is long overdue.

Pelican State Diary

Day 0 – Dusty is supposed to pick me up at 2. In typical Dusty fashion, he shows up at 5:30. He does, however, come with 2 surprises. Surprise #1 – the swagger wagon was upgraded to a v6, candy-apple red, 2 dvd player model, complete with satellite radio. Surprise #2 – Dane Shagwell is coming with us to the Pelican State. This is already an awesome trip. I grab my gear and jump in for the short ride to LA. The ride is filled with light-hearted fun; centers mostly around the fact that I got a crap Blackberry “curve” and not the sweet ass “Torch” that I wanted. We stop in Tyler, TX for dinner at Chili’s. Dane and I go with a margarita on the rocks; Dusty orders chocolate milk, no rocks, with a bendy straw. Dane and I are glad that Dusty is driving. Today was a good day.

Day 1 – Dusty, Dane, and I arrive at the place of bidness. Due to the deeply technical nature of our work (that I really don’t fully understand) I will compare our technical work to putting together cool little models ex: cars, planes, trains, battleships, etc. We huddle up with the customer and determine our plan of action. It’s now lunch time; we go to the scene of the “incident” from the previous trip. More good news, Jack Sherman is en route and will meet us for lunch. We arrive and are on edge as we are not sure what the Shermanator will do today. I secretly pray that he does not order file gumbo. We all order with no problems. I surmise that Jack is no longer an a-hole and has matured. We head back to the office and give Jack the rundown. If Dusty, Dan, and I are building little models, the Shermanator’s work is like putting together a bicycle. Jack is having issues. At the end of day 1, his bike is just a frame with a loose chain and the handlebars are on backwards. We decide to go to dinner, looking back this was a mistake. The Shermanator orders first….Jack is even a bigger a-hole than before. Seriously. He orders double-shot anejo tequila. Seriously. We are in the middle of EFFEN NO WHERES! Not only does the Shermanator order an over the top tequila, he gives the server a hard time about it…it was worse than the first incident.

Jack (in the most condescending voice you can imagine): Tequila (Spanish pronunciation: [te╦łkila]) is a blue agave–based spirit made primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 kilometres (40 mi) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The red volcanic soil in the surrounding region is particularly well suited to the growing of the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year….

The food is ordered. I’m sure that they spit in it at the very least. To top it off, the Shermanator breaks out his work-issue Blackberry Torch to show Dusty pictures of Carnival. Today sucked butt.

Day 2 - I have breakfast with Dane and Jack. During breakfast convo, I discover that Jack is not only an a-hole, but he is also a topper. No matter what you've accomplished, he's done better; no matter how bad of a day you've had, he's had worse. Dane talks about living overseas for some time when Jack jumps in with how he owns his own island - it is in the shape of his head. Seriously. We get to the customer site and Dane is having some issues with a different customer on the phone and breaks into a mild case of tourettes. Seriously. Straight up. The other team of guys that showed up yesterday are in the office with us. They are "storage" guys, but Dusty keeps calling them "SAN People". This is awesome and brings to mind StarWars:
We now have 3 models complete: a WWII Mustang, a Corvette Stingray, and an Apollo 11 rocket. Jack's bike lost the handle bars but gained a front fork and a rear tire. We go to dinner and the Sherminator has another double-shot of anejo. The more he drinks, the more he likes Dusty. Today was so-so.

Day 3 - We are on a roll. With our plane, car, and rocket complete, we have one more model to complete: the dreaded bullet train. We know that this will take the rest of our time, but we are ready to go! The SAN People seem to be making good progress with their work too. Jack lost the frame, but has the front fork, 2 wheels, a chain, a seat, and brakes. We push through the day and are ready to chillax. A wrench is thrown into tonight's double shot anejo. We are set to meet up with the guy that sold this deal: Bajillionaire. Bajillionaire invites us to dinner along with the SAN People. We arrive and somehow Dusty ends up paying for our food. Bajillionaire is not a class act. We sit down and Bajillionaire starts to "Big Time" Dusty. Big Timing is almost like topping, except that Big Timing doesn't need anything to start with - the success starts getting thrown in your face from the get go. Bajillionaire starts off by telling Dusty he has 1000 accounts and we should be honored that he has time to speak with us. He goes on to tell us about the time he was with the Sha of Iran debating the Lakers chances of a 3peat. He finishes up with showing Dusty pictures of him and SHEIKH KHALIFA BIN ZAYED doing body shots at last years Christmas Party. Straight up. Seriously. I don't like being Big-Timed - today sucked.

Day 4 - The bullet train is almost complete. The SAN people are on track. Jack Sherman has a frame, a seat, no pedals, no wheels, no handle bars. Bajillionaire decides to grace us by coming to the site. He spends his time showing off emails from Queen Elizabeth asking for her cougar-bate to come back to the palace. Before he leaves he flashes his Facebook profile to Dusty - just wanted to let him know that he has more friends than Lady Gaga. Most of our work is now complete. Dane and I have done last minute details to work out. Dusty is on track to make good with the last model. The Shermanater decides he needs to cut out early - his bike lost the front fork, but he did add a bell. Seriously. Last night in LA, today was a good day.

Day 5 - We check in with the customer. Dusty, Dane, and myself dig in and gitter done! We load up and head out. Straight up. In the swagger wagon, while listening to the worst music ever made (80's), we discuss the week. It is then brought to my attention that Jack Sherman always says 2 things after every sentence:
  • Seriously
  • Straight up
The worst part about this (besides the horrible 80's music) is that this is contagious. Shagwell cannot get through one sentence without saying "seriously." Sometimes he starts with it. I'm back home now with my hot wife and little kids. Today was AWESOME.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Google and Jesus

I'm kicking it up a notch! I am on the campaign trail to greatness and am using all available resources; namely Google and Jesus.

All you need is Google and Jesus. If Google don't have the answer, Jesus will. 
- FamousRay 2010

I'm sure that we all agree that I am much too talented to be wasting away my years with nothingness. I am a GREAT man. I shall no longer live below my potential! I will do what it takes to be discovered as our generation's voice! Or at least land a book deal! Or maybe a columnist gig! Or just get published! I will not rest until the world recognizes my writings as deep, intricate works that should be studied next to Shakespeare.

I'm not just blogging. I have started to write a book. I may post the forward/intro to get some talk going. Maybe rumors too - that would be good. And....it will make it easier when I go to my fans for money to actually get an editor. Besides the book, I have 2 more schemes in the works. My 1/2 clone Zergio and I are writing a screen play. It will be pure awesomeness that should at the very least get an Emmy Nod. Lastly, but so freakin far from leastly, I will start a webchannel. Kind of like iCarly, but nothing like it. My lil cousin (Corky) moved from Dallas to LA and does video editing. He's family so has to believe in what I'm doing. My other good buddy, Isaak Adamson, will be taking a very active role in these webisodes. It will be like my blog - no real theme other than my imagination being recorded for the view pleasure of the Internets. It will be like strawberry cake with vanilla frosting for your eyes - pure, delectable viewing pleasure.

Aside from those schemes, some loving, admiring reader has actually started a Facebook "fan page" for my blog! You should be able to access it here. Be sure to "like" and add comments of how much you enjoy being a part of my world. That fan page is now linked to twitter - be sure to follow!

There it all is. Same campaign to famousness, but using a multi-angle attack. Damn becoming famous is hard work!

How did I come into all this you ask? My uber-talent carried most of it, then I had to google some of it. Jesus has the rest. To do what I plan to do takes some research and faith. To wholeheartedly jump into so many diverse avenues of awesomeness for the sole purpose of becoming famous to spread the joy of me to the masses, well that's a great undertaking that should not be taken lightly. The Google and Jesus paradigm is the only one that fits for something like this. Let me explain this concept for you.

We all have dreams and aspirations. We all come from different backgrounds. We all have unique strengths and weaknesses. But fear not! The Internet is the great equalizer - all this free information for the taking. In my "professional" world I have to deal with some complex crap. Here are a few things that I have to figure out on an average day:
  1. Is Pluto still recognized as a planet?
  2. What would Barbie's measurements be if she were a real woman?
  3. Is it possible to lick your elbow?
  4. What does 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 equal?
  5. Is "jiffy" really a measurement of time?
I can only tell you the answer to #2. I can't answer the rest of the crap! I'm sure a few readers will have an answer for #3 though - you people are the reason that I write this blog :)

Besides Barbie's measurements being 39FF, 21, 33, I don't know ANY of those answers, and maybe you don't either. BUT, I do know where I can find them: www.google.com

Now we get to the hard stuff. The mind blowing abyss that is the unknown. I can hear the naysayers now: What if you don't become famous? What if your webisodes only get 100,000 hits? What if your book is only a best-seller for 3 weeks? What if you screen play goes right to made-for-tv? All I can say is: SUCK IT!

Actually, I can say much more, I just really enjoy saying SUCK IT! The real answer - this is where Jesus comes in. Google can't answer those questions. If Google doesn't have the answer, Jesus will.

Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. I could not imagine your lives more abundant than to share in my awesomeness from reading simple blog posts to seeing my greatness come to life on the silver screen. If that is not the land of milk and honey, then I don't know a butt-load about the gospel.

My greatness is only just beginning. Strap in for the ride!

You're welcome cyberspace

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crazy.Pretty.Cool

Before beginning, I’d like to say that I do not have nor do I support “favorites” among parents. I believe that all children should be treated equally and loved immensely. They are all gifts from heaven and should be treated as equals amongst their brothers and/or sisters. Now, with that out of the way, I’d like to talk to you about my beautiful Baby Girl.

My Baby Girl is our middle child. She is absolutely precious; perfection from head to toe. She is physically stunning and has a heart of gold. I adore my precious baby and she can’t get enough of her daddy. We have an awesome relationship. She loves me more than anything on this planet. Even more than cake. Except for when Grandma is around, then I’m a REEEEAAAALY close second.

If you’ve read about The Boy, you know that God has a way of making us pay for what we did to our parents. I pay everyday with him. Every day. I don’t know what Nelly did when she was younger, but it must have been something serious. Baby Girl doesn’t look like Nelly. She doesn’t look like me either…more of a Hawaiian look than anything else…BUT, somehow all of Nelly’s craziness has been stuffed into her little body. Imagine Nelly’s attitude squished into 3 ½ feet.

My gorgeous lil Baby Girl is a walking force of attitude and stubbornness that is in competition with Nelly. Have you ever seen two animals smash their heads into each other? If you could, imagine two rams (big, mean billy-goats) that are fighting for territory. That’s not Nelly and Baby Girl. Now, imagine two toros (big ass bulls) competing to be the alpha-male. It’s worse than that. If you have ever seen the Discovery Channel profiling rhinos in the wild as they fight for dominance...the sheer power that is unleashed to show the world who’s the boss….then you will have an idea of the relationship.
Don’t get me wrong. Nelly loves my Baby Girl and my Baby Girl loves her mommy. They just are too much alike and it causes them to fight at times (which means every hour that I’m not there to separate them). Just last week we (Nelly, Baby Girl and I) were in the kitchen. Nelly and I were talking when the microwave went off:

BabyGirl: Mommy. The food is done
Nelly: I know. I heard it.
BabyGirl: Then why didn't you get it?

Cheech, her older sister, is all compassion. If you wrong her and apologize, she sincerely believes that you’re sorry and all is forgiven. Baby Girl on the other hand would sooner stab you than accept an apology. She has been known to carry grudges for months. Her stubbornness is also legendary.

I once sent her to room (I don’t remember why) and on the way there she is yelling: I DON’T LIKE THIS FAMILY! I WANT A NEW FAMILY! I WANT TO MOVE! THIS ISN’T FAIR! I DON’T WANT TO GO TO MY ROOM! THIS IS AN UGLY FAMILY!

Once she was in her room, I told her that when she was done being mad that she could come out. She stayed in there for 2 hours. I would ask, “Baby Girl, are you done?” She would just say, “no” and sit on the bed. After 2 hours I sent her sister in there to tell her to come out.

Much like Nelly, my Baby Girl isn’t about justice, she wants revenge. The Boy and Baby Girl are only 11 months apart. Ya, I couldn’t keep Nelly off me. Because they are close in age, they play together and fight together. A lot. When they were 4 and 3, I heard The Boy screaming. I went rushing to find him. When I did, I saw that Baby Girl was sitting down watching TV and eating cheez-its with one hand and with the other she had pinned the boy down by his head. I separated them and asked her why she was being mean to her baby brother. She answered as sweet as can be, “he pushed me Daddy.”

She reminds me of Nelly so much. I absolutely adore my Baby Girl. She lights up the room and melts my heart every time I see her. I know that she's crazy as all hell, but it makes me care for her even more. She is fiercely independent and doesn't want help from any one (remind you of any one). She can do it "all by alone!" This is good and bad. I actually think that it's great - she loves me and wants to be with me, not because she has to be. Also like Nelly, there is nothing in this world that I would not do for her. Nelly is my world; my Baby Girl is my heart.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tropical Paradise My Ass

In September of 1994 I was deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy. There are hundreds of reasons why this 3rd-world-hole sucks, I will share a few of them here. When I arrived I was a svelte 18 year old kid. Part of the famed 10TH Mountain Division, I had arrived and was ready for action! Unfortunately, not only was I the youngest soldier in my unit (hehehe "unit"), I was also the lowest enlisted - a mere private in rank. For those of you that have never served or known any veterans, this means that I got all the crappy "details." A "detail" is military jargon for "crappy work that needs to be done that no one wants to do, so you find the lowest enlisted turd and have that poor soul do everything that sucks."

Not all details sucked, but most of them did. We always talked about having another shit-burning-detail, just a saying that meant we had to do awful work. Being a private, you can imagine that I had plenty of shit work available.

Sat-Comm-link or The Day I almost Died
The VERY first day that we arrived in Haiti, I got tagged to set up a Satellite Communications link. I know, sounds effen awesome huh? It was not. Coming from NY and arriving in Haiti was like being thrown into hell. To date, I have NEVER been in an area like it. Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina are all notoriously humid and I have been to all 3. They have nothing on the suckititude that is Haiti. The weather was horrid. It was always in the high-90's and rained every day. Every effen day. I was in the warehouse that had become our base of operations when Sgt. Glemensky says "Hey Flores, let's get this link up." I think, "oh sweet. Gonna set up some comms and get some things going." That was a stupid thought. You see, our warehouse was a basic concrete structure with a sheet metal tin roof. I was chosen for this task because I was skinny kid. The thought was "Flores is light, we can throw him up there and he won't fall through." As we walk outside, the hot, wet, nasty, world that is Haiti slaps me in the chops. The warehouse is about 20 feet high at its lowest point. Lucky for me there was big rig parked next to it. Sgt Glemensky and I climb on to the trailer. Just a short 8 feet to the ledge. I ground my gear and find that I am losing body weight by the minute - it's so crazy hot that I'm sweating like a whore in church. I am wearing boots, bdu pants, and a brown T-shirt. I grab the sat-comm gear and Sgt Glemensky gives me a boost so that I can grab the ledge. With my incredible strength, I pull myself up easily. This is when things get bad. I went from the hot, wet to the EXTREMELY HOT, DRY. The tin roof was like a frying pan. Had they beer-battered and rolled me in flour I could have been a fried catfish. I gingerly make my way over to the corner (I believe I had to duck walk it) and take about 15 minutes to get the link up and going. In that 15 minutes, sweat is burning my eyes, I'm soaked and feel like I'm going to pass out. I make my way back to Sgt Glemensky and let him know that I'm on my way down. Blind and nauseated, I grab on to the scorching hot ledge with my sweaty palms (think first-date type sweaty hands) and I'm set to dangle over the edge and drop down nicely. My plan went awry. I did not calculate for a less than firm grip due to the water leaking out of my body. I slip off the edge and hit the trailer, my ankle rolls and I am falling head first over the edge. I can see that concerntina wire has been strung out around the big rig and my face is about to pay it a visit. For those of you that have never seen concerntina wire, it is like barbed-wire's big bad cousin. It is a giant slinky of death with little razor t-shapes all around it. Thinking quick, Sgt Glemensky grabs onto to a pole that is mounted on the big rig trailer with one hand and with the other hand reaches out and grabs me by the belt. Thank God that he was a stout guy. On my very first day I almost became a casualty because I weighed 177 lbs soaking wet.

Guard Duty
Guard Duty, generally speaking, isn't so bad. You set up and for 2 hours you keep a watchful eye on your surroundings. I did this a lot in Haiti. Compared to some of the other details, this one wasn't terrible - or so I thought. Not sure how many people remember Tropical Storm Gordon; but you can bet your ass that I do. The day started out pretty normal, I had my egg sammy and was hanging out with a couple of buddies. The rain started early - the sea was angry that day my friends; like an old man trying to send soup back to the kitchen. It never stopped. We had to sand bag our living quarters (open bay warehouse with a crappy tin roof) to keep from being flooded. We kept filling and stacking bags until it was time for me to go on duty (hehehe "duty"). I show up ready for work when it is announced that "Flores needs to report to guard duty." YOU HAVE TO BE SHITTING ME! They were not shitting me; being the private meant that I had to brave the elements. I throw on wet-weather-gear and head out. This "gear" is plastic pants, tucked into rubber boots, with a giant plastic jacket over it all. The rain is coming down so hard and fast that my wet-weather-gear isn't doing much more than keeping me wet by trapping water inside. I walk over to the SOG and he tells me where to go. It is about 150 meters out (a football field and a half). The entire area is flooded. I am wading to my position. The water is now waist deep. I am seeing giant rats float past me; which strikes me as odd since all the Haitians seem malnourished -  how the F did these rats get to be the size of a French bulldog!? I finally make it to my post. It's a Conex at edge of our perimeter. A conex is basically a rail-car without wheels. I climb up top to avoid the rats and human fecal matter that's floating around. I hunker down and sit in a Tropical Storm. For 2 hours. 2 hours guarding a giant lake of funkiness. That I had walked in. Twice. The area was so flooded by the time my rotation was over, that the HMMWV couldn't make it out to pick me up. So, I got to jump back into the Hepatitis-A stew, now chest high, and wade back to work. I'll always remember walking in, soaked to the bone. I was wearing "jungle boots" at the time. They have 2 air holes near the arch, and every time I took a step, water shot out 15 feet. Sgt Glemensky saw me and burst into laughter, then in his very best Jack Nicholson impression says, "You want me on that wall you NEED me on that wall!"

Worst Detail Ever
Time is passing in Port-au-Prince and I have done just about every crappy detail that you can think of...I had to do water runs almost every day, had to guard trash, I even got to sweep the front of the warehouse so when the General visited, his HMMWV would have a clean spot to park. Life was grand. That was until I got tagged for the worst detail ever. Like any other day, I walk in ready to report for duty when I am told, "Flores, you need to head over for a detail. Report to Sgt Such-n-such."  Being the great soldier, I don't even ask what the detail is, I just set out. I find Sgt Such-n-such a few buildings down and we begin to walk. We are shooting the breeze, not talking about anything particular. We arrive at our make-shift latrines. A "latrine" is military talk for "potty." Being clever as we are in U.S. Army, we took a 50 gallon drum, cut it in half, set those halves next to each other, then placed a large thin board over them. We then cut holes into that board and voila! Instant toilets. Human ingenuity will never cease to amaze me! I figure that Sgt Such-n-such needs to drop a deuce so I hang back. He calls me over, I figure he wants to keep chatting while he drops the kids off at the pool. Looking back, I can only wish that he wanted to talk to me while he pinched a loaf. To my utter amazement, I found out that day that the dreaded "Shit Burning Detail" was an actual, and quite literal, detail. Sgt Such-n-such hands me gloves, a 5 gallon can of diesel fuel, a book of matches, and a stick. For those of you that have never lit a turd on fire, it's not as easy as you think. I had to douse the deuces in diesel then from a distance, launch matches into the drum of turds. Think of your dad at BBQ time; the old school charcoal sets. When he would go crazy with the lighter fluid, then stand back and flick matches at it...pretty much my approach. The fuel would burn up quick, I found out. So my second attempt went much like the first, except I understood why I had a stick. I was meant to stir the flaming poo. Which I did. For hours. In hot ass, wet, nasty Haiti weather. I am finally done and burn the gloves that we given to me for the task. At this point, I figure that nothing can be worse and that's why we hear so much about the "Shit Burning Detail." As I arrive back at my work place, I tell Sgt Glemensky about my hours of fun in this tropical paradise. He gets excited and says, "Oh! I had to do the same thing when I was in Korea. It was winter though, so all the crap was frozen. I had to chip it out like ice then try to light it. Took a long ass time...."

Ahhhhhhh....memories. What is life if not the summation of our experiences? I guess at that point of my life I would have been a Turd-burning-guardian-master-of-communications. Have I grown much since then? Debatable. But it was the last time I lit poopoo on fire.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Twilight: I Have No Idea what I'm Talking About

Right off the bat I have to say a few things:

  1. In the words of a teenage girl, "the movie doesn't do the book justice"
  2. Bella's inner dialogue does not match anything that she actually says
  3. My formula of understanding women is completely wrong
    I've read over 200 pages of the first book [and watched the first 2 movies....again]. If you remember, this was all part of my master plan to finally understand what women find attractive and/or sexy. My theory had to do with the emotional content of a man being the basis of attraction, not pure sexual/physical/animalesque gravity that draws men to women. I also mentioned something about "reachers." I hypothesized that men "reach" for women that are too physically attractive for them and women "settle" on a not-classically-handsome man that is sensitive to their needs. Obviously I have no idea what I'm talking about - reading as much of Twilight as I could stomach proved me dead-ass wrong.

    From the very beginning of the story, Bella is CRAZY infatuated with Edward. He is so beautiful, helplessly attractive, flawless in every way, yada, yada, yada....So, I learned quick my theory was crap. Women/girls that read this book are all about how unbelievably good looking this 17 year old vampire is. And to add to my flawed theory, Edward is a HUGE A-hole to Bella! All they do is argue. She looks at him like he is the meaning to life and he literally wants to eat her - but all they do is take verbal jabs at each other every chance they get.

    Not only do I not get women, I clearly have no idea what a teenage girl finds attractive either. I guess from what I read, if you are a handsome kid with nice skin, you can be a jerk. I think that this actually carries over from the teen years into early women-hood. From there, it grows stronger and stronger. You see, the urban dictionary defines jerk this way:

    The kind of guy most girls ACTUALLY want when they say they want a Nice Guy. Jerks are selfish, manipulative bastards who see women as little more then sexual conquests to brag about to their buddies or mere objects that are there for their personal pleasure. As to ensure the post-sex breakup will be in their favor, Jerks often play the "sensative guy" early on so the girl will make most of the moves on HIM, and after he's done with her and dumps her for some other girl just like her, he can make it look like she's at fault for coming on too strong, and consequently she'll take him back if he chooses to return for seconds.

    It is easy to understand why we have so many nuclear and aeronautical physicists and not very many Experts-of-the-Female-Mind. Everything that is said and done is in code. The code is somehow imprinted into the minds of baby girls at birth. All women (regardless of age, ethnicity, location) know the code. Men that have been around women long enough can get small pieces, but this comes at a very high price. Here are some examples of the code:
    1. "FINE": This is the word women use to end an argument when they feel they are right and you need to shut up. Never use "fine" to describe how a woman looks. This will cause you to have one of "those" arguments.
    2. "FIVE MINUTES": This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football game is going to last before you pay attention to her again, so it's usually an even trade.
    3. "NOTHING": This means "something" and you should be on your toes. "Nothing" is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. "Nothing" usually signifies an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and will end with the word "Fine".
    4. "GO AHEAD" (With Raised Eyebrows): This is a dare. One that will result in a woman getting upset over "Nothing" and will end with the word "Fine".
    5. "GO AHEAD" (Normal Eyebrows): This means "I give up" or "do what you want because I don't care". You will get a "Raised Eyebrow Go Ahead" in just a few minutes, followed by "Nothing" and "Fine", and she will talk to you in about "Five Minutes" when she cools off.
    I didn't even know these 5! I had to steal them from Carlos Xuma. I don't agree with what his site is selling, but I do think he's on to something with those descriptions.

    The code is only part of the mystery. If men somehow are able to decipher the code, they still don't understand what the crap is going on. So it's best to apologize to women every chance you get. You may not know why, but they sure as hell know when, where, and how you messed up and can re-live it in vivid detail. They can can also let you know when you'll do something stupid in the future - it's amazing that they can't predict earthquakes or winning lotto numbers. Just a thought....

    Men, by contrast, are the simplest of all creatures that God has created. We have some basic thoughts: food, sex, sleep, sex, sports, sex. That's it. And the sports part is seasonal. That is the formula to understanding 99.9 percent of all men on this planet. Most of us also mean what we say. When you ask us how our day was and we say "fine" we mean that nothing went wrong and we still have a job. When you ask how dinner was and we say "good" we mean that it was delicious but that is too many syllables to be used to answer a question like that.

    I've also found that word meanings are different between women and men. "Healthy." Zergio's wife, Zara, was under the weather and when she was coming out of it, he said "Wow Zara, you're looking better..ya know, healthy." He has never forgotten it - because no female will allow him to. This was a compliment to the love of his life. Somewhere in the translation from man-to-woman she heard "Wow Zara! You look like a blue-ribbon-heifer!" I still don't know how this  happened; but I have never told Nelly that she looks "healthy."

    I was talking with Dusty the other day about "bunko". From what I gather this is a game used by women to get together, get drunk, and talk about sex. The game also goes by the name "drunko" for that matter. Women actually have to plan to do this! Men need NO excuse to get together, get drunk, and talk about sex. We call this work. Or hangin with the fellas. Or BBQ'ing. Or fixing the car. Or lunch. Or painting the house. Men can get together with no plans, end up drunk, and relive the glory days in the blink of an eye.

    So different in so many ways. I'm not sure who is reaching and/settling if anyone at all. I don't know what women want or find attractive. I am clearly lost on teenage girls. I don't know how a 17 year old vampire that is 200 years old can stay in high school year after year. I don't know how to play bunko. I would venture that most men are in the same place as me - we have no clue why our women stay with us, but we know why we stick around: BREASTESES.

    To all my male compatriots, I wish you well on your journey. May you never say the wrong thing, look the wrong way, wear the wrong shirt, say the wrong thing, or compliment the wrong body part. I would say "live long and prosper," but with the odds stacked against you, I say, "Die a good death."