The Ash

And I remember these two things… The project called Phoenix and that song Center of the Sun. The cleansing fire may have been the best solution, but I never thought my soul would burn. The Phoenix is not known for compassion nor apathy, just fire.

Never give up, never surrender!

My dad is the one who I first heard quote that silly Sci Fi movie, Galaxy Quest. He would pop off around the house with, “never give up, never surrender!” When my last long term girlfriend and I were first getting to know each other, I found out she was a GQ fan. I felt right at home. It would seem, however, that we came from opposite sides of the universe when it comes to our understanding of “surrender”.

My father wasn’t much of a “dad” to me in the traditional sense. We never played ball, he didn’t attend any of the my extracurricular activities, etc. If it wasn’t for my brothers, I might not have learned to ride a bike. When it finally came time for the birds and the bees conversation, dad seemed really nervous about it. The memory still makes me laugh a bit.

However, my old man was an amazing father. As a provider and a protector, he took care of his family. He was doing really well for himself in the 80s and decided to go into business for himself. Some bad timing and the total collapse of the oil industry put him into severe debt. My father never took the self pity path, he just got to work. Before he started his own company, he was already the fancy exec as well as company pilot. After his own company failed, the next job he landed was as a fuel truck driver. He worked hard, very hard, to rebuild his career and take care of his family. He took his trashed credit rating, bruised ego, and worked his way to a point where he and my mother are now retired to a beach front home in Mexico.

My dad is a hero to me in this way. It was only more recently that I realized what a hero my mother is as well. I do remember them fighting a bit during the hard times, but they saw it all through. My father grew up without a father, he had no real role model. He left home when he was 16 to escape his abusive mother. To put it lightly, my father wasn’t always the best at being sensitive. Still, through feast and famine, my mother stuck by his side. I know she struggled at times. She went from fancy diamond rings to raising chickens in the back yard so we could survive off of eggs. She could have left, she could have looked for another man. She didn’t, she just jumped in and got her hands dirty too. They’re approaching 40 years of marriage together now.

Everyone likes to talk about what a problem attachment can be. Sure, you could say that my parents are very codependent. (Don’t tell my father that, he won’t like it much.) On the flip side, if you were witness to my life growing up, you could find many brilliant examples of how powerful a dedicated couple can be. My family built the home we lived in through my high school years. My parents lived in that home for over 15 years. We built that home from scratch, all by ourselves. To be completely fair, an extended family member was involved. My mother’s brother Tommy built and installed our kitchen cabinets.

Through thick and thin, my parents never gave up, they never surrendered. I took their bond for granted. I am now 34 years old and am taking on life independently. At least this time I am fortunate in that I’m sharing a living situation with some amazing house mates who feel like family. Maybe there’s a lesson here I have yet to learn before I’ll be ready to meet my own life long partner…

Megan

I fell in love with her when she walked into the room. She inspired me to learn to liquid dance that night, just from the way she used her hands. She was the most intensely beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Normally I would have been scared to talk to her, but I wasn’t in my right mind that night. I asked her out and she said yes.

I brought her flowers on our first date. Turns out, she had a thing for orchids. I introduced her to sushi that night. I even remember the waitress. I used the perks of my job to impress her. I had a parking pass and access to a private basement arcade complete with a soda fountain. I knew she was the one when I heard her get all 4 ghosts in Miss Pacman. We had Amy’s ice cream. I had chocolate and she had vanilla with strawberries chopped in. While we walked down the street, I bumped her lightly with my shoulder. She asked if I did it because I wanted to touch her. I said yes. That night, she kissed me.

I don’t believe I had ever been so happy in my life. The rest of the story you’ll need to ask me in person… It becomes a complicated tragedy.

That was a decade ago. In March of this year, during a trial separation from her husband, all alone, Megan took her own life.

We had no friends in common. I was contacted by a stranger on Facebook who knew her well. He told me about the story of our first date in surprising detail. He was the only person with which I’ve been able to commiserate. He became the only other person I know who understands what made her so beautiful. In his own words, “she was pure light.”

I still have pieces of her artwork tucked away in a box. Tonight I looked at some photos from the last time I saw her (one is attached to this post). I thought about parts of our story I’ve avoided for a very long time. I’ve tried to write a blog post about her countless times during these past 6 months. I haven’t been able to finish one. Megan was always someone I could talk to. She was a true confidant. We’d often chat for hours every day, for months at a time. We had a very deep connection.

The whole of what’s happened in my life since her death is difficult for me to comprehend. I’ve changed my mind about how I’m living my life entirely. I’ve realized more options in life than I thought possible. I’ve started seeing people in different ways. I’ve realized things about myself.

However, in these past 6 months, I’ve also lost my job and my girlfriend. The job loss was unrelated. I’m not so sure about the girlfriend. My first date with that girlfriend was as beautiful, powerful, and unique as the one with Megan. For a year and a half, we made beautiful memories together. She’s gone from my life as well, she will not talk to me or see me. I didn’t always deal with situations the way I would have liked.

Today, I’m stable and healthy. I’m stronger today than I have been in a long time. I’m even fairly happy. Life is pretty good and I think I’ll remember these times well. It all still hurts a bit though.

Skull Cracking

It’s two and a half into the am and I can’t leave my conscious state. I haven’t been trapped here in a couple of months. My head feels like it’s going to split open right at the top.

For hours, a series of astonishing yet simple realizations pounded my awareness in the most violent of manors. My imagination poured with blood and rage as the most basic and most obviously integrated-bits of information finally formed together into a cohesive perception. The resolution was low and the data loss high, but there was a definite signal lock.

Perhaps it was too faint to know for sure.

This new perception slaughtered what was left of a beautiful feeling stored deep inside my soul. Beautiful, at least, in my attachment to it. A mental room faintly marked with a flicker of hope suddenly has no doors or windows. Not a single spirit remains standing in a space that was once, perhaps, a little crowded. In the center of this room is an alter to trust, resting silently now in pitch black.

And if this is life, if the signal reads clean, then the dream of salvia was not so much a nightmare but rather the reality. In the nightmare, there was nothing beyond I and I was all there is. In this room exists no one now but myself and it has been far too long since I held regular occupancy. Have I ever?

Something about this seems terribly terribly wrong. This gaping hole left in reality where the meaning falls out, into nothing. This can’t be reality? The purity and intensity of the irony would be far too great.

Is the illusion truly that grand? I certainly hope there’s noise in this signal.

Waking Up

It’s 3:00 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I’m not sure if it’s because of the heat or because I feel like I just woke up. This was a tough year for me thus far. For the first time, perhaps ever, I truly felt disconnected from my parents. Someone who was a heavy influence on my life committed suicide in March. In the beginning of the year, I moved out of my girlfriend’s condo. More recently, we stopped dating altogether. It’s felt like a lot of loss.

The loss of my Nino as my partner in life was my breaking point. I fell deep into self pity for a while. I have amazing people in my life. Some tolerated my pity party while others gave me just the right direction I needed. Tonight I am extremely content with my life. Furthermore, I’m really excited about my future. I haven’t felt this way in some time.

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Egalitarianism

defend-equalityI can’t remember when it started. I can remember male bashing when I was very young. Since then, there have been a long series of confusing and frustrating events. Most recently, I’ve had a number of feminists in my life. This spawned a lot of conversation which deeply frustrated me. I love women, and I believe in equality. Yet, so many talking points brought out a warrior type spirit that wanted to debate points and defend a male point of view. More so, I was legitamitely insulted by the demonetization of men.

As soon as I would begin to debate and argue, I could see immediately that my efforts were at best ineffective, and at worst more damaging. The feminist rhetoric is as powerful as an organized religion and contains a wide variety of deeply emotional justifications for much of the inherent misandry. Once powerful emotions are triggered, a fair and logical discussion grows increasingly difficult if not impossible. (more…)

About Texas – From A Native

Texas Flag

Texas Flag

I’m the only member of my family born in Texas. My parents, sister, and half-brother’s family all still live in Texas. I currently live in Colorado. Recently, governor Rick Perry started a dialog about Texas leaving the union and now NPR is picking it up. I don’t want to get into the issue of Texas potentially seceding from the nation. The issue is widely misunderstood as Texas holds no right to leave, merely to split into 4 individual states.

As I’ve travelled, I’ve found as much dislike of Texas inside the US as I have for the US in other countries. No where have I found as much anti-Texas attitudes as the snow covered slopes of Colorado. This past season I got in a gondola full of kids who were skipping school. Their entire dialog on the way up was littered with stories about “dumb Texans.” What’s worse is spending enough time on the slopes to see that they’re largely right. When Texans come here on vacation (and they come in flocks), it always makes for a less enjoyable day.

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My Own Social Media History

There’s a silly link going around to see if someone was on Twitter before Oprah. Seeing the link today, I started doing something I’ve thought about for a while. I did a quick audit of some of the social sites I belong to and referenced when I joined. I also looked at some of my other social media activity in the process. It was surprisingly hard to find some of the information. For example, I can’t seem to find my Facebook join date. The oldest related date I could find was the oldest profile pic I still have up. Anyway, here’s the dirt:

Where When Reference Method
Facebook 7/5/2007 Oldest Profile Pic
Twitter 6/19/2007 First Tweet
Tribe 2/21/2007 Profile Join Date
YouTube 12/11/2006 Profile Join Date
Flickr 10/4/2005 Oldest Image Online
LinkedIn 8/3/2005 Profile Join Date
MySpace 9/17/2004 Profile Join Date
Blogging 1/26/2004 Oldest post online (once I started calling it blogging).
MeetUp 1/20/2004 Profile Join Date
Live Journal 12/30/2003 Profile Join Date
Usenet 9/17/1996 Oldest post I found on google groups.
Blogging 8/8/1996 Oldest post still online (didn’t call it a blog then).

First Backside 180 (Sorta)

A few weeks ago I was at A-Basin with Nino and decided to troll through the park. I didn’t hit any of the big terrain, but I was knocking around on lips and edges a bit. I came up on a toe-edge jump and the felt good for a backside 180 attempt. Probably because I didn’t have time to think about it, I came off pretty clean. I landed before I got around so I finished it off on the ground. To that extent, you might not really call it a 180. However, it’s still the first time I’ve been in the air rotating with my back facing down the mountain. I tried it a couple of more times and found it to be pretty easy. However, I haven’t managed to pull one off on a flat jump. The toe-edge really makes a difference.

In other news, I haven’t been getting out nearly enough. I had to take a business trip to Dundee last week. It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I’ve been on the snow and it’s making me sad. Not sure if I’ve blogged about it before, but I’ve just come out of a stint of “self employment” and am once again “working for the man”…. This whole 40 hours a week in the office thing gets in the way of my play time. Not cool.

The hardest part is seeing the snow reports lately. This season has lacked snowfall. It was only recently that I started seeing 6 & 8 inch overnight reports. With as few powder days as we’ve had this season, I hate to miss one. Luckily, next weekend will bring 3 much needed days of riding down in Wolf Creek. Hooray!

The attached photo was snapped on a hike at Walker Ranch. There was a bit of snow covering some of the tails, but overall it was warm. I wore shorts and took my hoodie off from time to time. There were a number of mountain bikes out on the trails. It’s definitely a sign that the weather is unseasonably warm here. I may have to move further north. I hear good things about Whistler.

Now, I say that… but the idea of switching to surfing keeps poking at the back of my mind. I keep digging through photos of Sayulita and dreaming of living near the beach for a while. I could give up snowboarding for a few seasons if I could surf in my back yard. In terms of snowboarding, I feel myself getting closer to reaching a plateau. I’d like to master the 360 and get some deep powder / back country experience under my belt. Beyond that, I don’t expect to progress much further. However, I’m so extremely new to surfing that I’ve got everything left to learn. All I’ve done is catch a few rollers on a longboard.

Either way, I hope to spend less time in an office soon.

Last Night In Dundee

penguinsIt’s finally my last night here in Dundee. What a week. Monday through Friday were the same day, over and over again – only with slightly different food. We’d meet up early in the morning for the free hotel breakfast and then walk to the office. Once at the office we’d work from one of the conference rooms running off regularly for slews of meetings and presentations. We’d break for lunch in the afternoons and herd off to dinner together in the evening. Somehow, each evening included at least two beers and a fair amount of socializing.
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