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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby Update Aug2013

A quick few lines just to let y'all know that baby girl is growing well.  We have been having so much fun this summer, going to the beach and playing in the tiny play pool in the backyard.  She is really such a water baby, just like her sign (Pisces) says.  She loves reading books, and she's got like 100. Maybe 75. Thanks to wifey on that, she's bought like 90% of them used. She's become so thrifty.  I have to admit, I never saw that coming, but I digress... Baby girl loves spaghetti, beans, grapes, and quesadillas.  She loves Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and it seems like she's digging Despicable Me now too. Unfortunately, she likes Barney and Friends too.  Sorry Barney, wifey and I have issues with your happy ass!  Anyways, I thought I'd share this video of her playing with her new water table.  She's got quite a laugh!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grocery Store Cheaters

Cheaters in parking lots at night.  Late in the evening is when you can find them, as easy to spot as two hobos at a Sotheby’s auction.  If they were a couple, they wouldn’t just be “hanging out” in different cars talking to each other.  So obvious.

So, every once in awhile, being the student of life that I try to be, I see things going on that seem amiss.  The particular thing I see is a man and a woman, in night of the primetime evening, talking in the parking lot of my neighborhood grocery store.  You may be thinking that it sounds pretty normal, which on the surface it does, however, upon closer inspection you can see that it is anything but.  They are very much out of place.

I typically find myself out on weeknight evenings filling up my water jugs or doing my grocery shopping.  I avoid the crowds that way, and most times I find it convenient because I’m getting off work late or coming from the gym.  I have seen, on many occasions, a man and a woman in separate cars, talking romantically to each other.  You know, it’s obvious, with the deep gazes and exaggerated laughing that there is something going on.  The body language speaks mountains of how close they are and want to be, and that’s when you know that these two lovebirds are in deep.

Maybe they are married, or boyfriend and girlfriend, many casual observers might think.  Maybe, but since I spotted my first case many years ago, I have come to look for certain signs, like wedding rings.  Sometimes one or both will be wearing wedding rings.  Now, what married couple would meet up in separate cars outside of Vons and carry on like teenage lovebirds?  Exactly. 

The second clue, often overlooked, is the fact that neither of them has any groceries, and what’s worse, I never have seen them actually come out of or go into the store.  It could be possible that two acquaintances happen to run into each other and carry on a conversation, which would explain the lack of groceries, but it doesn’t explain the body language and deep, longing gazes.  At this point, I’d say they were guilty as shit.  But…far be it for me to jump to conclusions.

Alas, there is one last clue that I look for.  They are always parked far from the store, but not far enough that they look out of place.  This one is pretty smart because they blend in much easier with the rest of the shoppers this way.  And don’t get me wrong, I don’t care enough to hang out in my car and watch, although I may from time to time stay just long enough to make a confirmation.  Usually, they are there when I arrive and still there when I leave.  Or, they are there while I fill up my water and I can actually observe them more closely. 

Anyhow, I think it’s funny to see such a thing in public.  They are obviously cheaters.  It goes to show that real life happens all around us.  Sinners are everywhere –I know, newsflash, right?  I have seen this probably five or six times in my life that I know of, and of course I assume they are cheating, but the chances are good.  Of course, too, I’m looking for it when I’m out and about.  Needless to say, it inspired my short story on the topic, which you can find here.  Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Spirit World According to Me

I wanted to talk about the spirit world, and ghosts in particular, a topic that is somewhat taboo, but certainly sensitive to me.  My family, growing up, was not particularly spiritual, other than they believe in God, and I suppose the devil, although we never really talked about any of it.  So growing up, for me, never involved any connections to the possibility of spiritual beings, ghosts, demons, or even spiritual energy.  Come to think of it, we never talked about much…but I digress.

I bring this up because it’s important to know that I never really had any exposure to anything remotely spiritual -unless you call loneliness spiritual, which I would consider very possible.  Essentially though, going into adulthood, and in the process of shaping the man that I would later become, I realized that I pretty much had to learn, and in many cases, re-learn, everything that I thought I knew about life.  That was a pretty long list of stuff, if you only really knew, and it included spirituality. 

In the process of just beginning to find myself, I was already coming into contact with more spiritual beliefs.  It began with learning about other religions and learning more about science and history.  Those two realms of thought were really the beginning for me, because they taught me to question.  Some questions arose in my head regarding other cultures and religions, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and early polytheism.  I wondered why one single God would ever persecute peaceful Buddhists?  After all, the Buddhists believe in peace and harmony, and they respect all living things on earth.  The Native Americans, with their tremendous respect for mother earth, would be in the same boat.  The God that I grew to believe in would never persecute such peaceful people, and if He or She did, would I even want to follow such a god?

Based on the history of man, scientific empirical evidence, and theories on evolution, I was forced to throw the bible out too. And this was not just a single moment of time or some epiphany that led to these conclusions, but instead, the process of it that opened the door to other possibilities.  My mind was in essence, opening.  I think I should note, that even though I’m “throwing the Bible out”, that does not mean I don’t believe in God. 

Alas, this puff piece is not about God or religion –or is it?  When I grew closer to Allie, I came to learn that she believed in some interesting aspects of spirituality, which included evil spirits, bad energy, and even ghosts.  Needless to say, I was fascinated.  I won’t lie; it was a bit scary too.  The possibility that such a realm of existence was not only for Hollywood audiences was quite astonishing for me.

I feel at this point, it’s necessary to tell you that we aren’t freaks.  Not by a longshot.  And I don’t feel the need to try to prove it either, because I already know (haha).  After so many years though, to when I find myself now, there have certainly been “things” that have happened to support my new revelations of thought.  Notably the first time I think I felt a connection with a spirit.  It was our first apartment together, when during a night of sleeping, I dreamt of a young blond girl.  She was kind of just walking around in my apartment, as if somehow removed in the distance.  She wandered into the bathroom and then that was it.  I thought nothing of it.

A few days later, I saw her again in a dream, outside this time, just kind of lonely and keeping to herself.  This time, I told my wife about it.  To my surprise, she had had been dreaming of a similar girl during the same week.  She immediately declared the young girl a ghost, however, I was quick to dismiss that notion, although the odds of such a coincidence would not leave my mind. 

Nothing else ever happened, except that a few months later, my downstairs neighbors and I had a curious discussion.  We got to talking about the previous tenants of our flat, and they brought up the fact that there was a single mom with a young daughter.  She was often abused, and they often heard the mom yelling at the girl and locking her in the bathroom.  I asked for a description of the girl, and wouldn’t you know it?  They described the same girl.

Nothing else happened for me until probably 7 or 8 years later.  This was when I had the shit scared out of me.  I was living in my new house (newish in general, and new to me, and also my current house) and I was in the dining room working on my computer.  I got up after some time and walked to the kitchen, and as I walked I saw the apparition of a woman speeding across my path, at a distance of about 10 feet.  She then suddenly disappeared when arriving at the counter where the oven was.  I completely freaked out and ran upstairs to tell Allie.  As you can imagine, she was very surprised.  I shat my pants.

The next time something occurred was about a year later.  We were unaware of any presence this time, and instead, Allie was skyping with her friend who was in China at the time.  It was an uneventful night, and I was making food at the kitchen counter.  While Allie was carrying on, her friend could see me clearly in the background.  It was at least 20 minutes later that the friend finally asked who else was over.  Allie replied, “Nobody.  Why?” 

“Who is that with the red sweatshirt next to Adrian?” she asked.  Upon hearing this, I tried to play it cool and act like I wasn’t scared, but I really was freaked out.  We all were.  I mean, there was somebody next to me ‘helping’ me cook food?  Really?  Pretty freaky.

The last event was very recent, and it prompted me to write this piece in the first place.  Recently, we had another visitor that we could not see.  I assume this visitor to be a “he” although I could be mistaken, since all previous encounters had been female.  Anyways, this one crept up on us sort of stealth like.  It started with some occasional weird noises in the house.  Like when we were downstairs, we’d here the sound of a single crack upstairs.  Then a day later or so, we’d hear a noise, like something falling off the counter, coming from the closet.

This went on for a week or two, gradually intensifying in frequency.  My in-laws, who were at the house at the time watching the baby during the day, were scared to bits.  When we asked them if anything unusual was happening, they said that they could sometimes hear heavy footsteps walking upstairs.

It was around this time that I could feel a presence at times.  The feeling is just like someone is watching me.  It is scary and annoying.  We tried not to talk too much about it while in the house, as we did not want the spirit to hear us or know how scared we really were.  During the final week, things were worse.  Things were dropping constantly.  The TV turned off twice in one day by itself.  While on my iPad, the volume went up all the way on “its own”.  This was where we drew the line.

Allie, the baby, and I all sat in the den upstairs one evening in silence.  Allie and I knew that the spirit was present.  We could sense heaviness in the air, and negative energy.  It was then that Allie addressed the spirit directly by speaking to it.  It went something like, “Listen, whoever you are, you are beginning to scare us, and that is not right.  You are obviously stuck here, but you need to move on.  We did not do anything to you, so please move on.”

I also addressed the spirit, saying something like, “you are not wanted here.  Please move on and leave us alone.  You can see that we are good people,” etc… 

Without saying anything to each other about it, we noticed after a few days that the night we addressed the spirit directly was the last night we felt his presence.  About three days afterwards, I asked Allie if she felt the presence still.  She said no, thankfully.  I brought this story up once to an online message board/forum that I sometimes frequent.  I think they thought I was nuts, but they didn’t say so.  One of them actually chimed in with some comments about smudging my house with sage to rid it of bad energy.  I can recall my mother in-law burning dried laurel leaves, which smelled interesting, but left the house smoky.  Maybe this is similar to sage?  I don’t have a clue.

Additionally, some others suggested that big life events sometimes bring an influx of energy into the home.  That one was interesting to me.  The past year was very strange.  My dear dog died in August 2012, which left Allie and I completely destroyed and distraught.  I still have trouble with it, although it is getting a bit easier to manage.  There have been many nights where I cried deeply in the dark, in my house.  That has been a very strong emotion. 

The other event was the birth of our daughter.  That happened in March of 2012.  This has also been something that has invoked very strong emotions in both of us.  As with the feelings of my Phoebe passing away, the feelings of my baby girl’s entry into our lives continue on strong.  Could these events have triggered something in the spiritual realm that invoked external spirits?  My mind is open to that possibility.  I rule nothing out these days.

I suppose too, that it is possible, because of the location of my house, that spirits are naturally drawn to it.  Not quite as brutal as living on an old burial ground like the Poltergeist movie, but maybe some kind of busy intersection for the undead.  I guess time will tell.  Anyways, being the wannabe writer that I am, this has inspired me to write a book on the topic.  A fictional book about a guy that has some interesting dealings with ghosts.  I have not written it, but I have the whole story in my head just waiting to get penned.  Creepy post, huh? lol…

Cheers to Hunger Games/Movie Update

My wife and I managed to see Hunger Games recently, and we were definitely impressed.  There’d been much hype around it, which anyone even remotely clued into pop culture knows, so we were naturally curious.  We try not to fall for hype, but of course, far be it for us to neglect or completely ignore what stirs the public crazy without at least finding out what it is.  And yes, I know we were way late to the party, but we have a baby so it’s been hard to get out and watch movies.

Anyhow, I was honestly skeptical of the movie.  I had heard some negative things about it being a love story that doesn’t really happen and it being a bit over the top.  I didn’t find that to be true though.  As far as sci-fi goes, it was zeroed in pretty well to that theme with the costumes and technology, at least for the average informed citizen like myself. 

The story was good, which is most important.  The movie is an adaptation from a novel that I didn’t read.  I thought the style and costumes were pretty good.  I thought the story was good too.  I find that the whole Lord of the Flies mentality is always an accurate depiction of what happens to people in an isolated and desperate live or die situation.  The story covered that well.  I like that the hero was a female, too.  The actress was indeed tough, and she played the part well.

I could see what people probably meant when they said that the love story was weak.  I didn’t feel a love story.  I saw a guy and a girl fake a love relationship as a means of survival, which not only worked, but was also the key to their survival in the Hunger Games competition for life.  Maybe people didn’t get that?  Who knows.

Anyways, I thought it was worth mentioning, simply because I was impressed with the movie.  I will try to read the book to part II before the movie comes out.  Congrats to the writers and everyone else involved.  Good job!

Other recent movies of note:  We saw So This is the End, which was a surprisingly awesome movie out of the Judd Apatow clan via Seth Brogan.  We also saw Wanderlust, the Paul Rudd/Jennifer Aniston turn hippie movie.  It was ok.  We saw 10 Years, the Channing Tatum movie about a 10 year reunion.  It was pretty good.  That reminds me, I will probably be seeing a lot more Channing movies as the wifey is way sprung on that fool.  I don’t get it.  I don’t see anything special there, but whatevs. 

We also watched Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.  It was ok too.  Nothing great.  I thought the end of days would be a lot more chaotic and violent, but hey, it’s anybody’s guess.  I think Steve Carell is too nice in his movies, but hey, I guess that’s better than him being just another asshole.  Like we don’t got enough of those.  And lastly, I’ve seen Cinderella (the 1950 cartoon version) oh, I’d say about 90 times in the past two months.  What can I say, baby girl loves it.  It had her at hello. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pumps is Out

Pumps is out.  I officially released my next book, Pumps, on Amazon today.  I also pushed it out to most other e-book retailers, but it takes a few more days to show up to retailers like Apple or Barnes n Noble and the others.  The release of this book happens to coincide with the anniversary of the passing of Phoebe, our beloved Shih Tzu.  That makes it extra special.  She was a big inspiration in giving me the drive to write this book.  It’s not about her, but the sadness and emptiness I felt over her passing fueled me in a big way. 

It still hurts that she is gone, just the same as it did a year ago.  I can break down into tears if I start thinking of the sadness, but I purposely try to only remember the happy stuff.  Thankfully, our daughter helps too, by keeping us so full of love.  It has been a strange year, on one side so vastly filled with the pain of sorrow, yet also so filled by the love of our little one.  It is one way that we have found some balance in our hearts.  It feels like that, anyway.

To celebrate Phoebe’s life, we will be taking her box of ashes with us to the drive-ins.  It was her favorite thing to do with us.  I will drive with the window open so she can feel the cool scent-infused air blow through her fine Shih Tzu hair.  I will imagine it so, and so it will be, in my mind, because I really know that she is playing in her meadow, chasing butterflies, keeping God company.  God loves a Shih Tzu, or else She would not have made them so amazing.

Back to Pumps.  As I’ve mentioned before, this is my best work yet.  I’m very pleased that it turned out the way it did, and I’m very surprised that I had all that stuff inside my heart and mind.  During the self-editing I continuously found myself surprised, which kinda seems stupid because I’m basically saying that I entertain myself.  It doesn’t make sense, but it is true.

Either way, this book is for the ladies, whereas LA Ninja was definitely for the fellas.  Of course, I truly think there are plenty of guys and gals that would take interest in both of these starkly different stories.  I’m curious about that, so I guess we’ll see what happens.

I wanted to mention, lastly, that I’m about to announce to all my facebook friends that I’ve been writing books.  They have no idea about it.  Not for any particular reason, it just never came up.  It really just started off as an experiment and an exercise in some kind of self-therapy, which then ballooned into a full-fledged effort to publish full length novels.  I guess sometimes you never really know what’s hiding deep down inside you.  It can take a lifetime to find for some.  So to all of those that have yet to find that something special within themselves, whether that’s putting lipstick on from your cleavage, or being able to sing like Harold Melvin, keep searching!