Devils Night 2014

brock18…or how most refer to as my birthday. Yep the big four three today. To be honest with you I really don’t feel forty-three. Hell I don’t feel forty or thirty-five. I guess in the grand scheme of things its good I don’t feel my age. I have never particularly acted it, so I guess it only goes to show that I don’t feel it either.

Technically, I am middle aged. I can only hope to live to eighty-six years old in relative good health. ¬†So I am middle aged, and eternally single it seems. I just don’t get out much and meet new people. As far as a mid-life crisis I either haven’t had one, or have been in one the last twenty something years. I haven’t particularly grown stale in long term relationships (although I have been lucky enough to love a handful of some great women and a couple of cunts) and needed to go out and sow my wild oats or buy Corvettes. I have always gone after the women I wanted when I wanted, and as far as toys, I bought them all. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, tools, guns, TV you name it. If I wanted it I bought it.

Sometimes I wonder what if I had done this or accepted and settled down with that? In the end I figure I am right where I want to be. Happy. Could that include someone else in the future? I have no idea and thats what I like the most. Every new day is an adventure. I do know what I won’t give up and thats “me”. I am going to be me and me is content.

When I look back on my first half of life, certainly there are things I would like to have done differently. However in the end everything I have done to get me to this point the good, bad and ugly, has made me what I am today. In the big picture I can honestly say, I am one blessed motherfucker and try very hard to live with no regrets.

My family is golden. We’re no better or worse then any other and frankly most may even consider us functioning at the middle range of disfunction. Thats all ok. In the end I can honestly say through everything we all love each other and have each others back. Its my opinion that you’re basically shit without family. I have mine and thats like winning the lotto.

Friends. You want to judge someone? Easy. Just look at their friends. I have a metric shit ton of them. Some new some old. I can honestly say, if I lined up all my friends whom I think would stand up for me and admit saying “Yes I know him and he’s my friend” I would give the Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, Hunter S. Thompson, and Bob Hope a run for their money in the friend department. I couldn’t be more blessed in this regard.

My dogs seem to love me. Dogs can pretty much sniff out a scumbag at birth. Mine seem to appreciate and love me. I am winning in this subject for sure.

My nieces are a bit young yet, but I figure I’ll buy them their first beer, kick the shit out of the first scumbag boys that try and take advantage of them and teach them how to truly craft a string of profanity that would make any sailor or longshoremen blush. I’m sure they’ll appreciate these things later in life.

I am content, happy and forty-three today. What will the next forty-three years bring me? No clue, but I am looking forward to every one of those years with wide eyed wonder and abandon. I have learned some valuable lessons to get me to where I am today, and if by some chance I get more opportunities to strike with this hard learned knowledge the world is my oyster. If not? Well I’ll sit back, jerk off to some internet porn, pet the dogs, take a nap and call up some friends for dinner or a drink. I mean what else do I have to worry about? Signing up for Obamacare?

In the mighty words of Walter Sobchak, “Fuck it Dude. Lets go bowling.”

Thanks for all the birthday wishes on Facebook, Text messages, Tweets, etc. You know who you are, and I hope you know how much each of you means to me. It’s only 10PM and I still have a chocolate strawberry cake and a hand job coming to me . ūüėõ

Let ‘er rip tater chips.

Eyeballs! Snap Sir!

Today is Memorial Day. While most enjoy the long weekend, sales, family, BBQ I too enjoy those things, but I also think back to my time as a US Marine in service to the country. I often wonder about where some of my old military buddies are now in life and those that never came home.

You see when I was deployed in the early nineties during the first Gulf War and some other small tactical operations around the world protecting American assets in Liberia or Israel most of the men around me physically came home. Its just in some cases that their minds never did.

I had a buddy named Benjamin Antaran. Big Filipino and Samoan from San Francisco. Good guy good sense of humor. We both got out about the same time in 1993. We’d catch up on the phone every few months. His dad was a cop. Ben became a cop and worked in the courthouse. From time to time when talking to Ben on the phone he would ask me about things we saw “over there” and as Marines we’d talk about those things we saw or did which in general we never really could explain or open up to civilians. At the time I wouldn’t classify Ben as being troubled about what happened but the more I talked to him I knew he was going through his own battles reconciling things in his mind. At the time pretty normal I thought.

We all settle and come to terms with extreme things whether its scenes of combat, hurt buddies, highway car accident trauma in our own ways. My father was a Marine in Vietnam. I grew up periodically being woken up in the middle of the night by my father moaning or yelling in his sleep and my mother waking him from nightmares. The only time I ever knew what my father did in Vietnam was when I was a late teen when his buddy and best man at his wedding who he was in the Marines with him came to visit and they rehashed some old times. No one talked about combat stress, PTSD, etc. Shell-shock was just a grainy old picture of WWI soldiers with thousand mile stare eyes.

I lost touch with Ben. He stopped calling. A year turned to three. I finally decided to try and track him down. I knew he worked for the San Francisco Sheriffs department. I knew he was married. I started searching the internet. Shit.

He blew his brains out with his pistol in front of his wife and father in-law. Accusations of infidelity, shoved his wife to get away from her during an argument, she calls cops, boom. It’s not the worst.

RochefordMeet my priest. Father Dennis Rocheford. LCMDR USN

I first met Father Rocheford sometime around 1990 when I was with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment attached to the 26th MEU. He was the battalion chaplain. In order to become a chaplain in the USMC you have to be a naval officer. You see Father Rocheford back in the day was a Marine. He was with the 1st Marines during TET in 1968. Fought in Hue City, Hill 881 at Khe sanh, was a radio operator for the famous MajGen Ray “e-tool” Smith. Of one hundred men in Father Rocheford’s company in Vietnam he was one of six that survived. Father Rocheford during Vietnam promised God if he survived he would not waste his life. He made it home, joined the seminary and became a priest. Went back into the service around 1987 and for the most part preached the Catholic faith to Marines who need it the most.

Father Rocheford was a hell of a Marine. Even though he was actually a Navy LtCMDR as far as any Marine I ever knew that knew him he was a Marine. Whenever we needed to get dressed up and put on Alpha’s with ribbons and awards there wasn’t anyone the Battalion Commander included who had more awards or prouder then Father Rocheford. Numerous purple hearts, bronze stars, combat action, unit citations. I think he had a ziplock bag of the ones he couldn’t fit on the uniform in his pocket, so that at least he had them on his person as to not be considered out of uniform. Chesty Puller himself would have given Father Rocheford a pass.

I can barely tell you what I had for dinner Friday night. I can tell you however before going ashore around a rather hostile embassy in civil war torn Liberia, in a mass with Father Rockeford a quote in the homily was ‚ÄúGreater love hath no man than this, than a man that lays down his life for his friends‚ÄĚ. That stays with me and will for the rest of my life.

Father Rocheford went with the Marines as a chaplain to Iraq in 2007 during some pretty fierce fighting around Ramadi. I can’t tell you how many Marines this guy may have brought comfort to during those times.

Unfortunately in 2009, it was too much for Father Rocheford. For the Marine priest who prayed for and gave comfort to thousands of Marines heading into combat for over 20 years, whom only he himself knew what real combat looked like, took his own life by jumping off a bridge in Rhode Island. Who would pray and give comfort for he who gave the rest of us peace?

I have stopped looking up old buddies I served with. I can’t take playing the what if and why games in my head for months at a time when I find out they couldn’t deal with life afterward.

I don’t recount these men, or tell you these stories to somehow illustrate that we should be doing something special for them on Memorial Day, or Veterans day. Pretty much everyone I went in to the service with would agree, we do and or did it so others we love could stay home in freedom and do the good things in life without seeing the “shit” of war. Partly that and boys of a certain age and immortal sense of romantic adventure choose it. I say enjoy your long weekends on these holidays with loved ones but know someone gave the ultimate price. Some mother or father paid the highest price with a son or daughter.

Those that make it home but suffer in private about what they saw or did, are just paying rent on the ultimate price. You’re not going to fix them and in most cases you’re not going to help them. More times then not they don’t ask for your pity or help, but you can respect them. A simple wave, handshake, a nod. Mostly enjoy your weekend with your family and loved ones. Eat, drink, be merry. Shop and get a good deal on a TV. Do it all. As long as you know in the back of your head what was given and someone went forward and didn’t come back, and now more then ever someone went forward, came back, but they may not really be back.

People may thank me or people like me for my service. I generally keep my mouth shut and attempt to be gracious. It aint me. I aint no fortunate son. Much bigger and much better men need to be thanked, but they’re not here now.

2CEB

2CEB 2 MARDIV Somewhere in Turkey about 1992 Antaran 2nd from right kneeling

I’m in this picture can you guess where? Ben Antaran is too. This was how we rolled as Combat Engineers back in the day.

So enjoy the rest of your long holiday weekend. I know I will.

Let ‘er rip tater chips.
Semper Fidelis.

Mother

Mother mother
Tell your children not to walk my way 
Tell your children not to hear my words 
What they mean 
What they say 
Mother -Danzig

Another Monday, another week. We’ve been here before we’ll meet again. An interesting past week. I’ll touch on key points that have been floating around in my head, but I warn some may seen disjointed and not well thought out. I tend to hash these things out when fingers hit keys.

As most know it was mothers day yesterday. I hit the grocery store, grabbed a few racks of ribs a dozen roses and went over and cooked a meal for my mom. Told her I love and appreciate her then we ate and were merry.

As I get older I realize more and more the sacrifices parents make for their children. I realize the true meaning of family and ultimately what real love means. No one is perfect. No family is perfect. Sure there are those that give the impression of perfection, but no matter what we are all flawed. We all have some sort of family idiosyncrasies that are our own. The weird brother, aunt, mother or pain in the ass wont shut up cousin, but in the end that weirdness or blemish is what makes up the family. Its how you accept, look past and deal with it that defines you. We all fail at something at some time in life, but its how you move forward or accept the failing that defines you. If you do the best with what you have and in the end accept others as they may be while still standing with them then I pretty much think you got things in the right lane.

A friend of mine lost her mother about a week ago. Age and failing health which is nothing spectacular or avoidable seem to be cause. ¬†No matter the circumstances having to say goodbye to a mother or parent can never be easy. This year while being able to enjoy my mother on this mothers day, my thoughts were at times elsewhere trying to understand and think about when I will not be able to share these times with her. While its not a pleasant thought it is a fact of life we all have to deal with sooner or later. I don’t take for granted the time I have with my mother, or the fact of the sacrifices she and my father have made for the family but I realize more with each passing day, not to wait. Not to wait to tell someone you love them, wait to take someone out to lunch, wait to tell someone you fucked up, or they are wrong, or simply wait to go see and stand/sit by someone. I know I have work to do.

So Amy while this may be a tough and agonizing time for you, know that your example of the love you have for your mother has had a most positive affect on someone else who has room to improve and realizes that no matter what time we are given with family its never enough in the end. Much love to you.

Lets reverse gears a little.

Ten years ago in the Cleveland area some young girls go missing. It turns out a school bus driver had kidnapped these children, and basically imprisoned them in his Cleveland home the entire time. As you may imagine, there was rape, abortion, a child conceived and other associated trauma.  A neighbor last week hears screams from the house, calls police, gets door open and finds the missing kids whom are now young ladies. Makes a few tv interviews, reports his love for McDonalds and the rest is history.

The man who kidnapped the kids and fathered the child with one of the hostages along with his two brothers who were in the house with him were arrested. The two brothers were subsequently freed and determined not to be involved in this heinous act within 48 hours of the discovery of the crime.

Now think about this for a second. The same police and the same district attorney who couldn’t find these kids for ten goddamn years right under their noses, within 48 hours determine the two brothers of the man who did confess to the crime had nothing to do with or knew anything about it. This doesn’t pass the bullshit sniff test to me.

Could someone tell me how in the hell you go see your brother, live with your brother, or even know you have a brother for ten years, and not know he has three white girls stashed in his attic, bedroom, basement? Oh yeah part of the time one or all of them pregnant and making and aborting babies? Oh yea your brother is a latin dirtbag bus driver and the kids are predominately white caucasian teen girls. What excuses and bullshit does your brother tell you to explain this kind of shit? How does a brother hide this from family for ten years if the other brothers had no clue it was going on?

It took one black McDonald’s hamburger loving man to see the white girl in the house, know the dirty latin bus driver lived there and know shit was messed up within twenty seconds and call police. How did the brothers not catch on for ten f’ing years?

I may get over to see my brother once a month at his house. Its about the same for him with me. However if either of us showed up at each others home and couldn’t tell I had three Haitian kids living with me or did know he wouldn’t buy my line of shit that I adopted them or started running some exchange student program. ¬†He’d turn my ass into police within an hour.

In the end I know one thing for sure. The Obama administration loves this story. Not because the kids were found safe. Not because were going to find out just how truly the Cleveland police are a bunch of incompetent cockknockers. No sir. The administration loves this story because the liberal mainstream media will eat this shit up. It’s drawing attention away from how the highest offices of our federal government covered up the Benghazi attack, essentially sacrificed four american lives, lies about the entire thing and keeps the truth from the American people who put them in office. That and the little story about the IRS admitting targeting any political action group looking for tax exempt status with the words “Tea Party or Patriots” in the name of the group. Oh yea or any group associated with maintaining the constitution or bill of rights. You know something totally fucking illegal to the core of what this country has been founded on.

So thats about it. Interesting times or strange times we find ourselves living in depending on  how you look at things.

Let ‘er rip tater chips!

Cops. Come and try to snatch my crops!

EVTime Who you tryin’ to get crazy with ese? Don’t you know I’m loco?

Well it looks like Mr. Peabody has turned the way-back machine dials to 1993 this morning.

War was over
I was home from the Marines
Pearl Jam gave us Vs
Nirvana gave us In Utero and then suicide the following April
Cypress Hill broke us off some with Black Sunday

I catch myself in conversation and sometimes others catch me when referring to someone as old being like forty-five or fifty years of age. Then I, or someone else will go, “Old? Um, you realize we’re forty-something?” Opps! Then I immediately revise my statements to “Oh I mean old like really old, not our kind of old” in a pitiful attempt to not be old myself. Only walking away thinking to myself “Jesus, they’re right I am getting old too…..SHIT.”

Getting old isn’t so bad. Its just a number. You’re only as old as you feel you are. (insert any number of failing to make oneself feel better cliche type sayings here) I feel good. My health is good. My mind is¬†good yeah well my mind is still there.

However sometimes I sit and think to myself. Is this where I am supposed to be? Was this all part of the plans I envisioned for myself? The only problem is, I can’t say with certainty what “the plan” really was for me. You have all the normal life’s goals of course. Do good, be happy, make money, support yourself, but past all that what was “my” plan?

I am at the old or young age of forty-two still unsure what my plan for life really is. Can I invent something that will save the world, or destroy it? Sure I could, but what is it? Can I paint or create the next artistic master piece? Sure I could, but what is it? Can I inspire millions of people, or just one person? Sure I could, but who?

There are so many variables that plot out and or influence either directly or indirectly in our lives to figure out ones place in the world. What do you believe in? What do you have faith in? Do you chase the plan down, does it come to you like a vision while scratching your ass in line at the grocery store? Do you just carry on believing it will find you? I have no clue. I guess I am still in the camp of not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. I am still waiting to see.

I am waiting to see. I have my eyes open. That wasn’t always the case though and at times I still need to remind myself to slow down and look around. Society pushes us in directions which we mistakenly think is normal and “the way we should go”. I used to believe and subscribe to this idea. Go to school, get a job, make lots of money, get married, have lots of kids, go in debt, curse the kids, curse the wife, lose the job, die. I used to believe all this too. Now, not so much. I watched my peers, family, friends do these things and I even did some of these things.

No, now I plot and follow a much simpler course. Do good, be happy, be me and wait and see. Oh, and of course second guess myself at every turn on this wait and see path wondering what it is I am supposed to see. If there is one thing worse then living by simple and sound advice its hoping the shit was right and it all works out. I am ready, willing and able for life, and I know theres more for me, but what? I am in no rush honestly although my age tells a voice in my head “well what the fuck lets get this thing on”.

In the end I cant complain. I am already rich and I am happy. I’m rich simply based on the friends and family I have and the work I do. I am happy with me. I got here honestly and while the road here took many turns, hills and valleys in the end I know I wound up here on my own and with clarity. I know I missed some opportunities on this path, and at times regretted them, but I know now, what I thought I wanted or needed really wasn’t for me. My eyes were closed in those times. Now my eyes are open and I wait and see.

Let ‘er rip, tater chip!

Happy Almost New Year

JellyBeansEveryone feeling fat and happy? I hope the holidays and Santa were kind to you, the faithful reader. I have no reports of domestic violence or homicide so I can only assume everyone got along with their families and enjoyed each others company. It was quiet and low key here which is the way we like it. When Christmas falls in the middle of the week, unless you take the entire week off as most people do, you really cant or at least I can’t seem to get too into the old Christmas spirit.

I got jelly beans for Christmas.

As another year comes to an end I have been reflecting and thinking about the new year to come. Everyones making new year resolutions, wanting to change this thing or that situation. I really don’t have anything special I want to do differently. I try and live life to the best of my ability. Sometimes my best may not be much, and circumstances in my control and not ¬†in my control may dictate otherwise, but I really try and make the best of what comes my way. What’s the point otherwise? Is there things I want to change? Sure there are. I wish I was better looking with a smaller penis, but guess what? I can’t change those things with which I was born. So I might as well make due with the circumstances as best I can. Right?

What about eating more healthy? Ok sure. If by healthy one means the food I enjoy eating isnt made in some Chinese factory with lead paint and child slave labor pee’ing plutonium into the food, sure. I’ll eat more healthy by not buying that crap. I’ll just make it myself without the lead paint and plutonium pee. Easy enough.

I guess what I am trying to say in a less then articulate way, is if I have a resolution it is simple. Keep on living life without regret. Life’s not going to be perfect and frankly sometimes it may outright suck. I’ll make more mistakes, I’ll live, learn and keep moving forward, but I’ll do it in a way that makes me happy. Oh and if being assholish makes you happy, don’t intentionally hurt anyone else. Its a pretty simple theory.

I had a good conversation with a friend over lunch the other day. Some people grow up, bust their ass every day all day and then go home at night to do it all over again the next day. The predominant thought is once you get to retirement or old age etc, you’ve worked your whole life to enjoy the end of it. You know what I say to that? WTF? Why? By the time I can retire, I’ll be half dead, blind, shitting my pants trying to screw cute nursing home staff in broom closets. Thats not something to aspire to with hard work and a miserable life in the salt mines. I am going to do all that anyway. If I make it that long and get there of course. I say, within reason and good sense, live life now! Enjoy it while you can. You can cross the street tomorrow and get wiped out by an idiot driving a bus, lightning strike, cancer or any number of things. Then what? Its too late. When its time to go and leave this earthly existence, we aren’t taking anything with us. What you got in the end is what you’ve done up to that moment.

Resolve to enjoy your life everyday. Even when it sucks, you have to admit its pretty damn good. I have been fortunate in my life so far to travel this world, see other people and cultures, kill some of them, and come home in one piece to know its pretty nice here. I am going to enjoy it as much as I can every day, not just the last few.

No regrets. Do no harm unless its harm to ensure your own happiness and welfare. If the end is tomorrow or in another fifty years, I know I’ll be able to look my higher power, or god, or unicorn rainbow bunnies in the face and say, “I anted up, played the hand I was dealt and left it all on the table when it was time.” I think thats the best you can wish for in any life.

You accomplish all those things, and you get lucky enough to add the love of family, friends, and a good dog in the mix and you my friend are a king among kings.

Let ‘er rip, tater chip!

Back in Black Friday

I keep lookin’ at the sky
’cause its getting me high¬†

By now we should have made it through another Thanksgiving meal and for those that chose to attempt it, the day after shopping on this Black Friday.

In the end I made up some sides and brought them to my folks to eat this year. Yeast rolls as you can see was one of the few things I made. They came out pretty good and I was surprised how easy they are to make. I also made some cranberry sauce and cornbread dressing. Between this and what my folks made we ate pretty damn good and gluttonous yesterday. I’ll put them all in the recipe section later. I am in the process of reformatting all the recipes into a standardized format thats easily printable so you guys can take them with you.

I didn’t bother with shopping today. Not that I ever would. Saw a few reports on TV of the idiots around the country looking for a deal. The mad rush and push to get a cheap flat panel tv or a video game in this country is beyond sad. I am all for getting a deal and times are tough on people, but its stupid to think the only time you can score these deals is the day after or more accurately this year, at nine pm on Thanksgiving night. Much like our national elections in this country, people are stupid.

Really? Over a phone, Xbox, waffle iron? Look closely at this video. These imbeciles VOTE, and make more imbeciles.

Folks, understand this right here right now. Mankind is officially on the downward leg, rapidly picking up speed to extinction. Do not fool yourselves for a second that it is not happening.

Other then that I don’t feel too strongly about the whole matter.

I hope that all the rest of you had a good time with your families and had the chance to sit down and relax with loved ones. Its got to be a little more important and gratifying then standing in some line at the crack ass of dawn and putting up with this nonsense. As a small child I loved Santa Clause and getting gifts at Christmas as much as the next kid, but with all honesty from those moments to this very one, none of that shit mattered more then being with family.

Let ‘er rip tater chip!

When tragedy befalls you, don’t let it drag you down

Love can cure your problems,
You’re so lucky I am around.¬†

I havent been fortunate enough to have any children of my own yet so the closest comparison I can relate to are my dogs. They have been as much my children to me as a kid is to a parent I venture to guess. Its with that understanding I relate this story.

Recently I got news of an old friend of mine whom tragedy of the worst kind has befallen. The hows and whys are not important but I’ll tell you when I say the worst kind, yea worst kind. A parent having to burry a child. Even though in this case it was a step child, but knowing this person it hardly would have mattered to her. This person was always an open hearted type woman that seemed to like or at least give everyone a fair chance so biological or step child probably had no real distinction to her anyway.

When I heard the news, of course you go through the emotions of loss and heartache for that person. I couldn’t help but think about my Golden Retriever, Lucille whom I lost this summer to cancer/tumor at only four and a half years old.

I can’t remember my parents or brothers birthdays without looking it up somewhere. I cant remember anniversaries, valentines day (any wonder I dont have kids?). I know my own birthday and the Marine Corps birthday. I also know June 11, 2012.

On June 11th of this year, after dropping my sick dog off to a veterinarian for emergency surgery I got “That” call.

Mr. Kingston we got her on the table and opened her up and it was bad. I worked as fast as I could to fix her up, the mass on her spleen was large. I got it all out, but due to the blood loss and anemia her heart was going a million miles an hour. She arrested just as I was finishing up. We got some meds into her and I got her heart re-started once. Five minutes later she arrested again and nothing I could do would get her going again. I’m so sorry.

That was it. That was all I had left of Lucille. I think I held it together long enough to thank the doctor for trying and hung up the phone. I ah, yea, I collapsed after that and the rest of the day is gone from my memory.

Parenthetically sure Lucille was my “child”. What the hell was I going to do now? I know those deep horrible feelings of loss. I felt horrible for my friend Gabrielle. This wasn’t a pet for her, this was a child. If I felt that way over a dog, a pet, how can you quantify that when its another person? Its not so hard for me. My pets have always been my kids. Maybe if I have a kid one day I’ll see the difference, but I somehow doubt it. So in a way, I know where my friend Gabrielle and her family is right, now. It’s shit.

But I also know something else. Something else I am certain Gabrielle will later get to feel too.

You see after an amount of time, that only you know the amount of, “love” comes back through your door. Love from your family, friends, your pets you lost, and the people you may have lost. That love and time, fixes everything and shines the light of perspective back into your life. All you have to do is let it in.

I volunteer a few hours a week at an animal shelter for an obligation for me and for Lucille. I rescued a dog from that shelter that I connected with. This is how the love I had for Lucille has manifested itself back into my life. The work is sometimes gross and a pain, but I come home and see Lucas jump on a particular couch and look out the window, just like a certain Golden Retriever did her entire life and I know what I am doing and the path I am on is the right one. That is my love.

I have cursed god, cursed doctors, cursed luck, cursed myself, cursed everything over the loss of Lucille. I needed to curse all those things. I needed the time to curse all those things. Now, I am done.

I got plenty of love back in my life and thats good enough. When i see Lucille and Jasper again with Lucas and whatever other four legged children I may have in my life, I’ll be a bigger baller that that bastard Cesar Millan, and I wont be whispering shit with my pack. We’ll be running and swimming with War Pigs turned up to fucking 11.

Gabrielle, If you read this, I miss you and I love you. Be strong and you got this!