New York

I honestly don’t know where to begin. I took so many pictures (approximately 1100) so I don’t feel the need to explain everything that pictures would just as easily state for me. But in short, I went to New York (and New Jersey) for Wrestlemania week with the boys and well, it was in a word, cold.

Very cold.

Like my balls are still twitching because frostbite is real.

I made the bold choice of landing at JFK International Airport while being a true Californian: short sleeves, shorts, and short socks. Does anyone know what the wind chill at JFK is in the spring? I’ll give you a hint: cold enough to make me shiver uncontrollably. I made a quick fashion swap when I arrived at our hotel; considerably warmer, we marched through Queens to find an ATM. Sorry, I forgot to mention our trek was through the slums and projects. Yeah, three black men from California unaccustomed to cold and new locales are wandering through Queens. There was only one thing going through my mind at the time: why did I agree to this?

The rest of the trip was a blur. We saw it all…or most of it. Wherein Miami, my one big regret was not taking a picture outside Marlins Park, this year, my one regret is that Wrestlemania was held at an open-air stadium in one of America’s sphincters. Citi Field. Arthur Ashe Stadium. Times Square. A Red Sox game at Yankee Stadium. Yeah, I’ll expand on that one a bit. We went to see a Red Sox game at Yankee Stadium where I decided to go full heel and dress up as a Red Sox fan. I should’ve bought a hat to complete the look. But since I was wearing a jersey and 1936 stirrups, I was able to generate heat, if not the kind that keeps you warm. Then, the Yankees decided to win their first game of the season. By bringing out Mariano Rivera. Jesus, that was bad. We haven’t seen Mariano Rivera in a year, and tonight, it just so happens that the 9th inning is about to commence when the opening riff of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blares on the speakers. Yeah, not cool.

But back to the sights…Times Square. Coney Island. Barclays Center. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Empire State Building. 30 Rock. Radio City Music Hall. Central Park. Statue of Liberty. 40 Wall Street. Federal Hall. Seeing Bob Backlund go nuts at Madison Square Garden. Great, great evening. 30 Rock. Nintendo World. NBA Store. Izod Center. Wrestlemania XXIX at Metlife Stadium. The show was what it was, save for CM Punk vs. Undertaker. But, it was a pilgrimage. It wasn’t a matter of whether we wanted to, because we needed to. Like a jihad. Or Hajj. Something like that. Wrestlemania is the traveling Holy Land, and where it goes, we go.

As if whether I would live there, the answer is no. I did like the subway system and there’s no way to be bored there. Yet…too cold, too many people, and I didn’t have one remarkable meal in five days. Also, food in Times Square is ridiculous. I’m not paying $10 for a Chipotle burrito. And the lack of Mexican food depressed me. I don’t have many qualms with the trip besides nitpicking over a couple of sites and scheduling, so I’ll consider this trip a success. As far as my favorite Wrestlemania, my favorite one is simple: the next one.

Current Track – Young Guns “Bones”

Starchitect

What job can you get as a communication major without any relevant training? Architect. The answer’s architect.

Or at least, that’s what I’m telling everyone. While it’s true that my job has some architectural leanings, I’m not an architect. Hell, most of the people there probably aren’t architects. But we do quite a bit of fabrication, and by quite a bit, I mean the job is totally fabrication. I’ve been there a week, and I can say I like the environment. Pay’s better than I asked for, hours are favorable, and…well, there’s nothing politically correct about the office. I don’t know how long I’ll stay there, but I’d be comfortable there for a few years if need be. There’s something special about being in an environment where I may not be the most offensive person in the building. That said, I am going to need to learn Spanish. There’s no way in hell I’ll be able to survive otherwise.

And here’s the part of the entry that bugs me. I’m making money now for the first time in over a year, and generally have the freedom to do as I wish. Yet, being single still gets to me. Talked to a friend who said we had the same conversation six years ago. Despite the annoyance factor, I can appreciate that I’m remarkably consistent. Although being consistently single isn’t something I’m proud of…damn it, I mindfucked myself again. I do hate having this conversation. I’d much rather win and be done with it. But eh, life’s not that simple. Ironically, I think the job was the way of the universe saying “sorry for the shitty lovelife.” Sure, I can buy all the pants, shirts, and belts that I want. Wait…I mean regular belts, I have all the title belts I want…but that’s not the point. I hate getting drilled about waiting for the right thing to come along, being too aggressive, being too passive, it isn’t my time. Et cetera. Et al. I foresee a lengthy absence from friends outside of wrestling. Let me rephrase that; I foresee a lengthy absence from salsa. Fuck the seven years I spent dominating. Last night, I went dancing specifically to meet a particular girl, who didn’t show up. So, I got dressed up, put on my stripes, title belt, the whole nine, only to be alerted that she wouldn’t be there. I promptly left since I had a goal in mind, and that goal went unfulfilled. I get crap from people about where I stand with my friends and the scene in general. The thing is, I’ve always had the same core group of friends for years. The same two knuckleheads from high school who I occasionally would like to put a bullet in, but my limited to average interaction with them keeps me satisfied. Salsa’s a bonus. I don’t necessarily have any lingering compulsion to go dancing when being around people makes me uneasy. My departure last night was quick as it should have been because the goal should always comes first. Winning before all else. Some people don’t understand why I fixate on the most banal of minutiae. There certainly are easier ways to go about finding a significant other. I’ve read about them in history class…and I also read about harder ones. The things is, I’m prepared to go to any lengths to succeed. And if I fail, then I resign myself to that fate.

For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice.

Skibbedebebop. Much later.

Current Track – Neon Trees “Everybody Talks”

Realism

Heroes are only as good as their villains. That means if you are anywhere near me, you will automatically become the best hero around. You know, if you can actually beat me.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled a great scam. I decided to use my trip to Arizona to make people realize how much they love me. Was it an attention ploy? Nah, I’m definitely secure enough in my own skin that public adulation means nothing to me. It makes me wonder: what gets me off? Guessing from the porous reaction of sympathy, grief, and abandonment, I guess that’s what gets me off. In my friends’ defense, the web I spun was quite believable. If I was to abandon my home for a fresh start, very few, if any would know. I’d even manage to pack up my stuff at home without my mother realizing I’m leaving. As for the spiritual journey of returning to Arizona, I think it moderately well. The first time I was there, life was about to take a turn for the worst. In fact, hours after touching down at the university, shit happened. Three years later, I’m hoping the bad juju has dissipated. I want to be happy again; if it took me driving six hours east to reverse my fortunes, then I’ll take that trip any day of the week. While convincing others that somehow, I ran off to Arizona State University on a whim. Hashtag you were all trolled.

Leveraging friendships to my advantage is another trait I have. Such as getting three letters of recommendation in 24 hours when the deadline is three days away. I’m sure I’m going to hell for the things I’ve done. I don’t think I particularly mind at this point. Skibbedebebop. Much later.

Current Track -The Shield “Special Op”

The Holidays

I would make a promise that I’d chronicle my thoughts more often. But we both know I march to the beat of my own drum. And currently, the drum is set to waltz.

I’m not a fan of the holidays. I walk around depressed for approximately eight months a year. Traditionally, the mourning period starts at Halloween and ends one day past my birthday. Judging by today’s date (at least for roughly two hours), today is New Year’s Day. While fortunate people have their significant others, family, and friends, I have a borrowed Netflix account that seemingly has a veritable amount of foreign language offerings that double as skin flicks. There were some films I saw that weren’t borderline pornographic, but I feel divulging my more cultural leanings might make me appear soft. And appearing soft would jeopardize years of development. I just cannot take that risk. Yet, I can proudly state that I’ve now seen every episodes of Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother.

What I’m about to do may seem cowardly…damn Big Bang Theory. Anyhow, Christmas and 2013 have passed leaving me remarkably bitter, discontent, and as usual, the best person dressed at the ball. Although, I have no idea what look I’m going for, at least consistently. I guess that’s part of the thrill of wearing clothes I’m not swimming in. Speaking of clothes I’m not swimming in, someone broke into my storage a few weeks ago. Took a lot of stuff. Like my Captain America shield. And clothes I’d swim in before getting them altered. Even my vodka. Hilariously enough, they left the television in there, which is a decent sized, but far from modern and cutting-edge. Darn. Better luck next time.

What happens next is the question that plagues me. I usually conduct an annual review to see how I’ve done in comparison to prior years and goals and ambitions. Well, the good news is, success is possible on an extremely limited budget. Unfortunately, I don’t dwell on good news. No girlfriend. Need a career. Yeah. Who knows, I’ll probably get this depression thing figured out before I off myself. Or not. Depends on how I’m feeling. Skibbedebop. Much later.

Current Track – Fun. “Some Nights”

Waking Nightmare

I thought Cash America was bad. That was, until I worked at Costco for a period not to exceed two weeks. I guess it’s a feather in my cap to get fired after two weeks of work; I didn’t protest the transaction. What I did protest was the notion of slavery, unquestioned servitude, and incompetence. Or…I think I just repeated myself. I’m not a drinker by any stretch of the imagination. Working there made me want to drink. Being talked down to made me want to drink. Getting fired made me want to drink…in celebration. There are certain business practices that should be common sense, such as making your customers feel comfortable shopping, not rolling carts into a congested area full of people, and not talking down to your employees. I should’ve prefaced this rant by stating that this was the Costco in Inglewood, which presents special socioeconomic factors that should be considered. However, if I continued on this train of thought, I would undoubtedly get branded as a racist elitist, or elitist racist. Not sure which qualifies first, but when your coworkers steal your phone, that is an indictment of the forces at work. I’m certain I’ll write a damning letter in the near future as is my wont. Now, I’ll celebrate that I finally upgraded my phone, which I’m pleased with. I’ll never know why I need a phone with a 3D camera or other bells and whistles, but I won’t deny that I like having a phone with a zero likelihood of cockblocking me. No, it’s not super advanced like an iPhone 5. Yes, it is miles better than what I’ve owned prior.

All of my television shows are gone until February, and even then, it’s only The Walking Dead. Naturally (not really), that means returning (somewhat) fulltime to salsa. Part of my interest stems from not being able to trust the new guard. A small sampling of financial data gives me reason to believe that they’re burying my club. I considered writing a book about how salsa club is really a mafia, and the truth, sadly, is stranger than fiction. Backstabbing. Incest. Treachery. Chicanery. Happenstance. Yes, I did that on purpose. I know I was guilty of certain actions, but it wasn’t by design. Granted, I’m not nearly as guilty as some parties, and my actions were done to preserve the group’s integrity. That said, I wish the current group was as ambitious, because that would show a working mind. I spent hours picking the brain of a comrade that I wasn’t too familiar with, and then…we became very familiar with each other’s thinking in short order. Who’s side are we all on, anyway? History will look back on some of us with fondness, and others…will be forgotten and relegated to footnotes. In my endeavors, I’ve met a charming woman who I doubt that I have a chance with, because that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Sigh. The misery of being single when clearly I want otherwise. Just think, I had a conversation with her that didn’t involve sex. It is possible. Heh. Skibbedebebop. Much later.

Current Track – Taylor Swift “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

The King Holds Court

An eventful week. I’m not sure whether to laugh or grimace over what has happened, but I’m not one to truly linger over how I affect people. My time is better spent reminding myself why I stopped caring about those matters. When did I stop being human?

Birth. The obvious answer is birth.

Who gets offended on a daily basis is a toss-up. I don’t know who I’m going to meet, nor do I know the situation that will present itself. What I do know is that every moment exists in both a vacuum and part of a larger narrative. The goal remains the same: be as consistent as possible. Executioners are given a job to kill the condemned; if the executioner has a change of heart, he’s fired, and the condemned will still die. I don’t see myself as an executioner, but rather as a functionary of the system. And that makes me smile.

It also makes other people smile, such as the social dance party that I attended tonight. Once a semester, we gather, we dance, we reconnect with the past. Everyone takes their familiar places. Everyone exchanges the customary greetings. Everyone talks about how rusty they are, how their bones don’t move the way they used to, and how the new faces outnumber us. And then we get cranky enough to remind the new faces that we were here first, therefore we are still the best. My friends dress like professionals or closer to the party’s theme. I’m expected to be the rock star of the group. I’ve always been the rock star of every group I’ve been in. Tonight’s no different. Zebra pants. Glimmery shoes. Title belt. A dismissive sneer to the uninformed. And a voice that barks instructions to a filled room. People are skeptical, yet when I march to the front of the room, taking my customary position of center-left with my fellow squadmates flanking my sides, the new recruits understand that I am the leader. Handshakes and congratulations ensue. We’ve never seen you before, but we’re glad you’re here. I sign autographs. I invite all to partake in post-dancing feasting. A packed house follows the leader. That’s just how it works.

Towards the end of the night, or more accurately, towards the break of dawn, storytime commences. I always tell stories of past campaigns, present endeavors, and futures past. There are plenty of laughs, stunned faces, and deadpan cynicism. There’s excitement and marvel because people haven’t lived my life. I’ll always contend I’m closer to Forrest Gump than any other fictional character. Not to the extent of a learning disability of course, but Gump was an average man who was always near history. I’m not a chiseled jaw, muscular hulking hero. I’m just the first person to arrive on the scene. That in itself doesn’t make me a leader. I’m a leader because I’m committed to authenticity.

That’s the complexity about being a leader. Sometimes, you have to be boisterous and assert that you’re the best. Other times, you have to listen and guide from a distance. I’ve been doing the latter lately, because it’s easier on my blood pressure and easier on the people I lead. The symmetry in these disparate actions is that everyone knows the buck stops with you. I am the leader among each circle of friends. I start the fire, which is probably the most crucial part of being a leader. I am a cautionary tale regarding what happens when you play with fire. Sometimes, the fire leaves me with burns. Sometimes, I become the fire. Everytime, I have no problem looking for the fire. There are always casualties when being a leader, when being authentic, when being committed to the cause. Over the last few months, I have excommunicated people that I have shared moments with because of authenticity concerns. While not ideal, every person has to make a choice. Some people become victims of their choices. Those same people were not at the table last night, despite years of being there before. But I can’t dwell those who are absent, because my time is better spent celebrating with those who are here. I don’t have the highest number of friends, but it’s not due to my gruff nature. My selectivity rate concerning friends is somewhere equal to Harvard’s acceptance rate. I don’t force people to come to my side. Whenever I hold court, people attend because they want to be there. And I love holding court with a group of eager spectators. Skibbedebebop. Much later.

Current Track – Outasight “Now or Never”

Where We Lay

I get sad when I look at the current state of things. A promising academic career paused. Not as much money as I’m accustomed to spending. And more or less, my lovelife being the punchline to an extremely cruel joke. Some days, it doesn’t bother me as much. Other days, the talk of couples costumes and nights not spent alone get to me. Today is one of those times.

I met Jeana a month ago. Random meeting. Probably wasn’t supposed to be more than that, but we clicked. I liked her, plenty. The part of the job that gets difficult is distance. She’s in Claremont while I live in Hawthorne. And that distance probably was the only thing stopping me from being in my first relationship. She’s seeing another guy. He’s a lucky duck. Who knows how they’ll end. If they’ll end. I generally believe all relationships stay together for the long term, even though there’s quite a bit of logic that says I’m a hopeless romantic who should read the spreadsheets. Relationships don’t last. Only the memories. Even if one of those memories is “I’m not looking for a relationship”, then she starts dating another guy. I’ve come to accept the (500) Days of Summer take on it. That is, I’ll have fun with you while you’re here, but I’m not going to pass up something else.

Sure, I haven’t seen her since that week where I saw her twice, but that instant connection isn’t something that can be ignored. Probably can be faked if you know how to synthesize pheromones, but as we’re not all chemists, you usually feel it. Still, I have reflected on past engagements, and yes, I’ve always fallen hard quickly. One of the benefits of this predisposition is that if it ends horribly, well…it’s better that it ends sooner rather than later.

Rejection in itself is rejection, as in, it sucks, but it’s a way of life. That said, my tendency to completely disconnect from people is a bit on the extreme. I would prefer people didn’t make themselves expendable. I would also prefer if I didn’t have a businesslike view on how to rectify problems. That said, I went through another spring cleaning on my Facebook and my phone. It pains me because I know that I liked these people at one point and time, and now, they’ll just be degraded to memories that I want gone. If Lacuna, Inc. was a real company, I’d probably make them very rich. I just wish things had been different. Not with all, just one. One was all I wanted. For these purposes, Jeana would’ve been nice. But I did tell her to give me a call after she returns from Asia.

I hope she does. If she’s single. Skibbedebebop. Much later.

Current Track – Fozzy feat. M. Shadows “Sandpaper”