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.