Living with Depression

Today I had a very unpleasant interaction with a family member who decided that they are going to add their name to the list of people who have decided to tell me that my depression is a choice and if I just believe hard enough and think happy thoughts, it will go away.  I call these people idiots.  These are people, typically of an older generation, who have this weird idea about the nature of mental illness, and I now suddenly feel very bad for their child who is currently dealing with the affliction and wondering if they are telling him the same thing.  That is most unfortunate.  Hopefully he can surround himself with better people when dealing with this.

It’s no surprise to me that the family member in question is very, very religious.  The idea that if you just believe hard enough and think happy thoughts and your ailment will magically go away is an article of faith.  A horrible, horrible article of faith by people who either have never had to deal with this, or who have been indoctrinated by a society that really treats those with mental illness so badly.  Most recently saying that only mentally ill people do school shootings or other violent attacks.  Timothy McVeigh was many things, a lot of them bad, but if you watch the interviews with him after the Oklahoma City Bombing, he shows that he had a very clear rationale for what he did.  He believes the government was evil for what they did in Waco, Texas, and he was fighting back against that injustice.  There are plenty of people who have rationalized evil actions with a clear motivation.  Say how wrong it is, and you are right, but it shows that they thought it out and weren’t just some crack-addicted hobo.

Depression is an illness that is so misunderstood in society.  It kills me inside how so many people are so horribly stigmatized by it and treated so badly by their peers because of it.  I live with this every day, and I will be getting into it.  My goal here is to help those who are either suffering, or those who know those afflicted and are either unclear about what this feels like or are among the ill-informed people like the aforementioned family member.

I’ve had depression ever since I smashed my head open when I was 14.  My head met a rock going down a hill on my bike.  The person who found me was very reticent to call the cops, and I think that they might have hit me with their truck, but that’s a conspiracy theory that will never be solved.  I don’t even know where the bike I was one is anymore.  My depression is caused by brain damage.  I’ve had my neurosurgeon and a neuropsychologist do the due diligence and test to see if this is the case, and that’s where all evidence points to.  Because of that, this affliction is something I am going to have to deal with for the rest of my life.

Not all depression is like this, but that’s just my case.  For those who want to go into detail about all the various causes, there are plenty of quality resources to look into that I would recommend looking into.  Here’s a link to one, but there are lots of others and I suggest doing your research.

How can I describe what it’s like to live with depression?  Imagine, for a moment, that your brain is turned against you.  It is actively fighting back against every happy moment or good thought you have ever had.  That’s what it has been like for me.  The family member I spoke of said that I can choose to be happy, and that just pissed me off so much.  They do not understand what it’s like to be having a perfectly fine day and then to just have your brain do the thing where it makes you feel like shit and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  It can come out of nowhere.  Or I’m having a very good day and then something comes out of nowhere that throws a wrench in it.  Even if it’s something small, there the tumbling down the rabbit hole goes.  Alice in Miserable Wonderland.

I don’t remember what it’s like to feel legitimately good.  Many months back, when I tried edibles for the first time, and it was really high in CBD, feeling the elation and actual happiness in my brain again, it was so joyful.  I cried.  It felt so good, that when the feeling disappeared back into this awful nightmare that is my day-to-day, it hurt me inside.  Alas, I’m too fucking financially conscious to go crazy and load up on the stuff.  That’s the thing about living in poverty.  It’s the same reason that I don’t actively go see a therapist or get on a drug regiment.  I already have to take meds for a condition I have.  Adding more to the mix is money I don’t have.  Not to mention time off work.  I wish there were shrinks around who were open when I get off.  But those visits are also money I don’t have.

When I have someone tell me that I am choosing to be sad, I want to beat them upside their stupid fucking head.  They have no idea how crushing this feeling is.  What it’s like to live with it.  But the aforementioned family member isn’t alone.  I cannot tell you how many friendships I have lost because of this.  I can’t.  How many people who I used to be so close to that now keep me at such a distance because of it.  I suppose I could lie a lot.  Be really peppy and happy and fake being well-adjusted.  I know that most of them would just turn a blind to the problem and enjoy that because as a species we would rather have happy things around than not happy ones.  It’s easier to lie to yourself about a problem than have to deal with it.  Speaking from experience.

My relationships across the board have suffered.  Friendships that dried up when they couldn’t take the negativity anymore.  No matter how loyal I was, that loyalty was NOT returned in kind.  Now matter how much I would go out of my way to help anyone who asked and is a friend, they would treat me like it’s too much to have the way I am around.  Then there are the romantic or sexual connections.  The people in my life who found that even though I was very happy to be around them and be in their lives, my depression snuck in and made my bad days very bad for them.  Once-again, I suppose I could have lied to them, hid it deep under everything and told no one.  Would make me a very popular guy.  But if I didn’t have the release valve, I probably would have killed myself when I was 17.

Which is another thing – thoughts of suicide.  Suicidal ideation is always in the back of my mind.  No matter how good a day it is, there’s always that little thought deep in the recesses of my brain that says that life isn’t worth living anymore and I should end it.  I’ve been fighting this for so long that I sometimes think about that line from Garrus in Mass Effect 3

But how long before the fight’s kicked out of us?

It’s such a struggle.  If I had a social network that was more eager to help, maybe that would make it easier.  Alas, I am born into a generation that will do anything and everything to avoid sad or negative things.  Everyone wants butterflies and rainbows, and the second that they don’t have that, they get very, very angry.

Maybe I should post on depression forums or something.  Find like-minded people.  I think that’s part of the problem.  People who don’t have to deal with this ailment just do NOT understand what it’s like to live with it.  They all just think that you’re not trying hard enough or that if you wanted to be better, you would be.  That societal misconception led to one of my favorite memes that I’ve come across.

People who don’t have this ailment don’t realize what it’s like.  To have your brain constantly fighting against you.  To be your worst enemy.  To hate yourself and think that everyone hates you at ALL TIMES.  To be trapped in your own head creating your own reality that has everyone not caring if you live or die.  No joke, I have that thought a lot.  Thinking that if I died tomorrow, virtually no one would miss me.  On a conscious level, I know that isn’t true.  I have truly amazing parents who have done more for me than they have any reason to, and I wish that I wasn’t drowning in poverty because of a job that I am woefully underpaid for so I could keep my word on paying them back.  As it stands, I doubt I will ever have a life that is financially stable enough to do so.

I know that I have extended family that while I am not close with almost any of them, they would be saddened by my passing.  I know that I have a few very close friends who would be devastated.  There are a couple of people that I have loved or been very close to that even though one of them hates me now for reasons that have something to do with depression, infidelity (not on my part), and the cost of being the rock upon which I stand.  I am sorry she hates me, but I understand the reason.  Even though she hates me, I know that she would still feel sad.  But this disease makes all that go away and those thoughts creep in like a cancer.

Depression sucks the life out of you.  It takes the things you enjoy doing and tells you that they aren’t fun anymore.  It has you desperately wanting to feel good and not being able to.  It’s an iron ball around your ankle dragging you down into an ocean of despair and you have fucking idiots telling you that you can just believe and choose to feel better and that will fix it.  I seriously wanted to scream at this person.  I wanted to tell them that I think they’re stupid and how I wish that I could subject them to how this feels for a week so they could understand what an absolute nightmare this is.

It doesn’t help that my crushing financial poverty has me not being able to actually seek help that I truly do want.  I don’t have the money, or the leave time, or the assistance.  I don’t have any of that, and I wish that I did.  I don’t have a social network that is supportive because I am part of the millennial generation that wants sunshine blown up its ass.  Worst of all, I’m having to fight back the urge to die even though I genuinely don’t feel like I am living for anything.  That is EVERY. SINGLE. Day.

What bugs me the most is that there are people like this family member who have this baffling idea that I want to feel like this.  That I am choosing to be this way and that I somehow want it.  I would give my last 40 years to have this go away.  I’d grab a hacksaw and go all Dr. Gordon on it with my foot if I could make the brain damage go away.  There is no price that I would not pay if it would mean making this horrible affliction leave me alone.  But that’s not how this works.  Not that anyone else would know that.

For those who suffer from this ailment, know that I’m here.  Go onto any of my social media or even leave a comment on here and I’ll talk with you.  Granted, that is opening the floodgates to be fucked with my trolls.  The Internet world we live in. Hopefully this can help some of you know that there are those out there who know what it feels like.  And for those who are stupid enough to actually buy the logic that if you choose to you can be happy, you are woefully ignorant and I am saddened that there are people who may look to you for guidance and you give them that bullshit.

Until next time, a quote,

“Because humans are complicated beasts. You believe comforting lies while knowing full-well the painful truth that make those lies necessary. In the end, Connor, it is not important what you think. It is important what you do.” – The Monster, A Monster Calls

Peace out,



For Love of Tiger, and Family

Taking aim was easy.  The red hull of her target was easy to spot in the darkness.  The enemy was close enough to see.  Her copilot was taking care of their defense.  Now it was up to her to win the fight.  It was a challenge she was up to.  Precise aim.  A maneuverable enemy.  The flashing lights all around.  Such a fierce battle.  The Protectorate was putting up a good fight.  But the Directorate was pushing hard, and cracks were starting to appear in the armor of the enemy.  A defense line of countless battleships, fighters, bombers, armors, and even the asteroid that they were fighting at being turned into a fortress.  The sole base of a planet that was central the Protectorate’s ability to continue their war machine.  If they lost here, it was all over.
Focusing on her target, the red armor danced around with everything it had.  This pilot had skill.  But whoever it was, they knew that their time was running short.  She was right on them, and there was nowhere to run.  Sending out lances of particle beams, a smile grew on her face.
“Stop running and fight, you coward!”
One last particle beam, right into the leg of the enemy.  It blasted it open, sending the armor spiraling out of control.  Now she had it!  Aiming her cannon at the machine desperately trying to right itself, she changed firing mode.  Switching over to the physical ammunition, she send rounds right at the body.  Ripping open the synthetic muscle and machinery, it was a twisted mesh of red and black metal, with red circulator fluid flowing out like blood.  Then it struck the cockpit, and the enemy stopped moving.  A round straight through the cockpit, whoever the pilot was had to have been blown to bits.  Nothing but red chunks inside.
“Too bad he didn’t fight,” her copilot said.  “Maybe he would have lasted longer.”
She shook her head.  “He was dead before this started.  Just didn’t know it.”
On to find a new target.  That red color, with the black metal, it brought memories back.  Of speed, and who she used to be.  The memories were a harsh feeling.

The danger was unbelievable.  The track was suspended 200 stories up.  It was built on the most elaborate skyscraper of all time.  A palace for the opulent, who came to bet on the most dangerous race that has ever been.  If you fell from this place, you died.  It wasn’t a question of if.  It was a mathematical certainty.  There was no way to survive an impact from this height.  Fear was in the air with all the people with any sense.
To her, it made her feel alive.  When the light went green, and she slammed on the accelerator, this was everything she had dreamed of for so long.  The racers all blasted forward at speed that made you barely able to comprehend what you were saying.  A beautiful, sunny evening.  So much ambiance.  It was amazing.  Setting sunlight shimmered on the red paint on top of her racer.  Tiger was its name.  A racer that had passed down through her family for three generations.  Listening to her father talk about it with her and her brother, it was her legacy.  A legacy which stood with her now, as the machine blasted forward.
There was no guard rail.  Just gravity plating that kept them suspended and on the track.  Blasting forward, it was tight.  Every racer knew the score.  Whoever took this race took home the Platinum Cup.  The last race in the season.
Flying forward, she banked through turns.  This course was tight, and with no guard system, any onboard navigation assistance was good as useless.  She never turned that on anyway.  It was her racing skills that were going to carry this!  A voice in her ear, telling her about the track and the position of other racers.  Her crew.  Every racer had one.
A purple racer came up beside her.  It smashed into her side.  So that’s how this is!  She snarled and took the hit.  A turn was coming up.  It was trying to edge her out to get close to the edge and keep it tight on the inside.  Or push her off and kill her.
It made another move to edge her out, when she did the unthinkable.  Suddenly hitting the brakes, it aimed over, flying right off the edge.  That’s one piece of competition out.  Whoever that pilot was, he had a good 30 seconds to really think about how dumb that was.  Smashing the accelerator again, the g-forces hit her like a load of bricks.  A couple racers had pulled ahead, but no matter.  These guys were amateurs.  Hence why she had gotten ahead of them before.
Second lap, and now it was tighter.  The lead racer was a black and green machine.  It got into a bad battle with a very robust blue machine.  A muscle racer.  Not at all like hers.  Made for handling and speed, it wasn’t made to fight it out.  This could be trouble.  The green machine was made exclusively for handling, and had some muscle.  Enough that the two of them were fighting it out at the front.  Coming up behind them, she looked for an opening to make a pass.  Don’t play your hand yet.  Let them fight.  Let them damage one-another.  Her time would come.
That’s when it happened.  A yellow racer was taking the same approach as her.  It had an opening!  Right as she was going to pull ahead, the racer swung on the inside.  Not even made for handling, this tiny thing was built for speed alone.  A glass vehicle.  Taking a clear lead, she swore.  Now her chances were down.  Second place?  The second place purse was no slouch.
No!  This wasn’t how the legacy of the Tiger and her family was going to go down!  Third lap.  One more after this.  Green racer couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and decided to drop back and let the blue racer pull ahead.  Smart move.  The blue vehicle was a monster.  This track had so many turns, though.  Muscle vehicle had to sacrifice speed during the dangerous curves.  Got her closer.  But too close and it would turn its eyes on her.
Meanwhile, the yellow racer was losing some lead.  It didn’t have the handling to take these insane corners and risk falling off the edge.  This pilot was good, but not brave enough to go the distance.  Blue racer was much moreso.  These two were a risk.  At the top of the track again, now a winding way down for the final lap.  She knew this had to be it.  Either she would do something daring, or fail.
Seeing a curve ahead, with a path right below.  She knew what she had to do.  In a flash, she disengaged the gravity controls.  Her pit crew was screaming at her, but that didn’t matter.  This was it!  She steered right at the edge!  Able to hear the crew screaming, she began a swift descent almost straight down.  Seeing the endless abyss below, if she hadn’t timed this right, it was a fact that she’d be dead in 50 seconds.
“Fuck it!” she swore.  Hitting the accelerator, her boosters kicked on.  Just a little further!  Down further and further, then hit the gravity controls.  The machine damn-near smashed into the track, but she made it!  Dropping a Naseel Crystal into the engine, the machine roared back to life and took off with a mind of its own.  This was it!  No one even close to behind.  But that wasn’t enough.  Not just to win, but to fly through that finish line and have the entire Directorate seeing what a master she was at this race.
This level of g-force was crushing her chest.  It was blazing through her entire body.  If it wasn’t for the g-suit, this would surely be killing her.  Keeping the blood flowing.  The Tiger was barely able to be controlled.  It had a mind of its own!  The speed was beyond the ability of the cameras recording and broadcasting the race to keep up with.  Her pit crew was pissed at her.  Who gives a fuck?!  In that moment, she didn’t just feel alive.  She knew she was.
Last leg.  Blue fire coming out the back as the Crystal made its way through the engine liquid.  The final segment was the blaze down the last wall of the skyscraper.  A straight shot down.  So freaky to see the ground coming up at her so fast, but the gravity plating guided her up at the last second.  Through the finish line, blazing through in a way that blasted over all of the spectators and announcers there.  It was chaos!  Sliding in to the winner’s circle, her racer came to a stop.  Smoke and steam was pouring out of every single linking compartment.  The Crystal had done so much damage.  Pushed the machine well past what it was capable of handling.  She didn’t care.
Breathing so hard, the yellow and blue racer tied for second.  It was a perfect tie.  The judges couldn’t call it for either, so both had to be given the second place purse.  But the trophy and Champion’s purse went to her.  Opening the cockpit, she stumbled out and hit the plating, unable to stand.  Her pit crew ran to her side, helping her up.  Taking off the helmet, her ears were greeted to the thunderous applause of the crowd.  Everyone was in awe of what they had just seen.  Announcers could be heard saying this would go down in race history for both the most dramatic finish, and the most insane stunt ever pulled.  The name of the racer was being shouted into screens everywhere – Tiger.
In that moment, her father and brother could be put to rest.  It made her smile.

At the awards ceremony, the pilot of the yellow racer went over, eager to meet who had won.  This girl was so cute.  Naturally blonde hair, a product of genetic engineering.  Hadn’t been a natural blonde in three generations.  The girl gave her her number and told her to call.  Sounded like a good idea.  Why not celebrate with a gracious loser?  No point letting that perfect body go to waste.
At the end of the day, the pit crew was taking Tiger back to their base to begin repairs.  Everyone was talking about how after this they’d enjoy some time off.  No other races for months.  Heading up to the apartment above the garage, a voice called after her.
“Can we talk?” her chief mechanic said.
Looking over, she let out a sigh.  “Sure.”
Heading into the office, he poured her a cup of coffee.
“What the fuck was that today?”  It was clear there was barely-contained rage.
“What was what?”
“You know what I mean!  That stunt you pulled on the track!  What the fuck was that?!  Were you trying to get yourself killed?!”
She shrugged.  “It was the best way to get ahead.”
“Bullshit!  You could easily have waited and then used the Crystal to get a last boost on the final leg.  At that speed, you easily would have passed the two from where you were.”
“Maybe.  And maybe that muscle racer would have smashed me to bits as I tried it.”
“No way!  Nobody is that crazy.  Not at the speed you’d be going.  It would have fucked up both of your vehicles beyond repair.”
Another shrug.  “I guess we’ll never know, will we?”
“Spirits, woman!  If you’re looking for a way to die, there are much easier ones than this!”
Looking him right in the eye.  “I was looking for a way to win.  I just didn’t care that I was risking my life.”
“Yeah, and that scares the hell out of me!  There are a lot easier ways to kill yourself than this.  What if you had died?  What would happen to the Tiger?  It’s legacy would be the last racer in your family destroying it in a foolhardy stunt!”
A cold look.  “But it wasn’t!  Its legacy is to go down as the racer the won the Platinum Cup from a pilot who has no sponsors.  Tiger will go down in history!  So will I!  I should have died doing that.  Now, dozens of pilots are going to get themselves killed trying to outdo me.”
He walked away, shaking his head.  “And what will it be next time?  When the next race comes up, what insane stunt will you try?!”
Looking out the window.  “There won’t be another race.”
Genuine shock.  “What?!”
“I’m done.  Me and the Tiger are retiring.  I just did something that should have gotten me killed.  There’s nowhere else to go from this.  I can retire easy on the Champion’s purse, even after paying for repairs for Tiger.”  A little smile on her face.  “You gotta know when to bow out.  I’m gonna go out on top.  Forever have the respect my dad always wanted.  That’s fine by me.”
The mechanic thought for a moment.  “So it was go out on top or die?”
She nodded.  “Yeah, pretty much.”
“You’re insane, you know that?”
A little chuckle.  “I’d rather be known as insane than weak.”

Breaking the news to her crew wasn’t easy, but they took it better than she expected.  A lot of them liked the idea she had.  They would be known as the pit crew for the greatest racer who had ever been, on the best racer ever built.  That was a phenomenal thing to put on a resume.  They’d have no trouble finding jobs after this.
There was a fairly epic party planned to go out on.  Retirement for the now-legendary Tiger.  A call to the cute blonde who had given her her number.  Time for some fun?  Heading over, she took that woman and did things to her that she’d remember forever.  All fun and games.  Getting back home was hard.  Would she see her again?  Why not.  An offer was made for next time she was on this planet to come have some fun.
Saying goodnight to Tiger, it was a slog up the stairs.  The tiredness hit all at once.  Her head hit her pillow at what she assumed was mach five.

What woke her was the blast that sent her and her bed careening toward the wall.  The impact brought her to her senses in a millisecond.  What had happened?!  Getting to her feet on wobbly legs, she looked out the window to see impacts happening everywhere.  An attack?!  Who would attack the Directorate on a core world?!  It was madness!  Then the thought came to her – the Tiger!
Not even putting on pants, she went running toward the garage.  Slamming the sensor to open the door, she was greeted with flame pouring in.  Inside was a twisted mess of burning metal and destroyed parts.  No!  Peering through the burning metal, she saw Tiger.  Or at least what was left of it.  The last legacy of her father and brother.  All that remained of them now.  Tiger was torn up and burning.  It hurt her.  Charging into the fire to reach the last remnant of her family, using her jacket to try and wipe the flames away, she desperately ran to her machine.
The torn parts, broken glass, and hot oil on the floor was murder on her feet, but the pain didn’t register.  It was all about getting to the machine.  There had to be a way to save it!  Coming out of the fire, it was a clear path to it!  Like a demon possessed, she charged toward the cockpit.  The damaged was all on one side.  The one facing the exit that was blasted open.  Could it be saved?!  A dream.  The only dream that mattered.
Hitting the sensor, she brought her regular vehicle online.  All she had to do was hitch Tiger to it and get the hell out of here!  The seconds that the car came over were the longest in her life.  It came in, stopping right in front of her.  Grabbing the gravity tether from the back, she attached it to Tiger’s cockpit block.  Once it was secured to the back of the car, it was time to go!  Running for the entrance, time suddenly stopped.
She registered the rocket right as it impacted at the entrance.  The force hit her like bricks.  Lifting her off her feet, it was blind, stupid luck that she just happened to be right in front of the office door, which opened as soon as it detected her coming.  Sliding along the floor and smashing into the desk, her crumpled, broken body went unconscious.

Her eyes opened in a white room.  She looked over to see flowers on the table by the bed.  Were these real?  That sure was nice of whoever it was who bought them.  There was a screen playing the news.  It talked about something, but she couldn’t focus.  Mobilizing?  A call to action?  That was all so distant.  Black again.
When she woke up this time, there was a voice.  “The whole crew got this.  We had to dig through the rubble of the garage, but we got it.  Figured you’d want it here.”
Her eyes saw metal.  It was the Tiger’s insignia!  Why was that here?!  Where was Tiger?!  That’s when she realized, they had to dig through the rubble to get it.  Tiger was destroyed.  The legacy of her family, destroyed.  Pain gripped her heart, agonizing.  Then she was out.  In her mind, there was a little voice – the people who did this are going to pay!  Oh yes, they would pay.

Three weeks later, she stood at the entrance to the Directorate Naval Enlistment Office.  Still with a limp from the work they had done to fix her legs, she walked inside.
A young man in uniform sat there.
“May I help you?”
“I’d like to know who I talk to about signing up.”
“That would be me.”  His eyes went wide.  “I know you!  You’re-”
“So it’s you I need to talk to.  Good.  I’d like to enlist.  Figure you need pilots.”  The anger was a dull, burning rage.  On her arm, there was a tattoo.  It was the Tiger’s insignia, with a line underneath.

Kill Everyone Now

Until next time, a quote,

“Kill everyone now!  Condone first degree murder!” – Divine, Pink Flamingos

Peace out,


In Memory of Riley

The things that happen one Sunday afternoon while you are completely unaware.  Just a normal Sunday afternoon where I am doing something really cool, and find out something happened suddenly.  The way life is, most days.  There’s this great video I watch anytime I am having a bad day and while it may not make me feel better, it makes that day suck a little bit less.  In that video there’s a line that says that the real worries in your life is something that will find you on some idle Tuesday.  It also says that your life is 50% chance, just like everybody else’s.  I just got finished putting a peanut butter cheesecake in the oven and decided to call to wish the old man a happy birthday.  That’s when I found out what happened.  The family dog, Riley, had seized.  It was bad.  Now his mind appeared to be gone and he was running around smashing into things.  He wasn’t getting better.  There was nowhere they could take him.  After all his health troubles up to this point, it was clear what had to be done.  Call my old man callous for ending the dog’s pain with a bullet instead of an injection, but it was quick and he didn’t suffer.  That’s more than most can say.

Riley was the offspring of our old dog Zoey, who I did an In Memory post for.  She was given to me after a major surgery.  A pure-bred lab, she was an awesome dog.  But she was not my dog.  Not by a long shot.  Just like her puppy, she was my old man’s dog.  Everywhere he went, she followed.  We bred her with another pure-bred lab and had a whole bunch of puppies.  Riley was unique among them.  The whole lot of them were black as obsidian, except him.  He was white as a sheet.  Little albino dog.  The only one from the litter the family kept, he was the most loyal dog you could imagine.

More than a little of a momma’s boy, everywhere that Zoey went, he went.  Everything that she did, he did.  Make no mistake, for how much bigger he got than her, it was clear that she was the top dog.  It was so fun to watch when he would finally get on her nerves and she would run his big ass down and bowl him over and get on top of him in an act of dominance.  Like the wolves they descended from, she is the alpha dog.  Of that there is no question.  And he was a good kid.

However, like I said, he was most definitively the old man’s dog.  I told this story in the post for Zoey, but I knew who everyone was at the house on the lake by how they walked.  My cave was in the basement, and everyone in the family had their own walk.  Sally (my mother) was always slow and plodding.  She was never in a hurry.  My sister’s walk was angry.  A fitting theme, since anger is her stock and trade.  But the old man always had the clickety-click of doggy feet behind him.  Everywhere that he went, those two were there.  If he was out plowing snow, they were in the plow truck with him.  If he was on the 4-wheeler doing work outside, they were on the back.  It was kinda cute how the two would fight over who got to sit on his lap when he would be watching the news at night.  Never would he have let that be the case when he was younger.  My old man got so much more lenient as his years are getting on.

For example, every day that Sally would leave for work in the summer and he didn’t have to go to work, the two would be up on the bed.  He would bemoan how spoiled the two are, but deep down I knew that he kinda liked having two big pals to do stuff with.  I was never big on the outdoor stuff or the vehicle stuff, so he got to have a couple of happy helpers to be with him.

When Zoey passed, I think it hit Riley hard.  Dogs process death differently than us, and he was a very lonely dog for some time.  But then he came back and life resumed for the big white mutt.  For a couple years he was the only family dog and he was just like Zoey.  Everywhere the old man went, there he was.  If anything, he was much more insisting than his mummy-dog.  He had to absolutely be involved with everything.

Then things took a turn.  He had a health problem which caused one of his eyes to be in a massive amount of pain, all the time.  This was on top of digestion issues and fatty deposits he had.  Pure-bred dogs have a lot more health problems than mutts, and he was no exception.  After surgery to remove the eye that was in pain, he was a happy dog again.  But his health had been declining more and more.  Today, it all came to a head.  As was told to me on the phone, he started having seizures and then subsequently running around and losing it.  He was smashing into things, like he couldn’t tell where he was or what he was doing.  I was told that the old man took him outside to where he wanted to lay him to rest, next to Zoey, and ended it.  Once-again, think him callous, but he did what had to be done to stop his pain.  My family isn’t rich, and his mind was gone. I can’t imagine how much it hurt, but the deed is done.

Riley was a good boy, and while he wasn’t my dog, I am going to miss him.  He was a good boy, and now my parents only have one pet left – my cat.  And her health is declining fast.  She’s completely deaf and I think she is really scared at night.  She yowls like she is in pain, but I don’t think she is.  During the day she is alright.  I think her vision is going too and she’s scared.  Her hair is getting matted and she sleeps virtually non-stop.  I think this will be her last winter too.  I suddenly am feeling very alone out here. But all that is a post for another day.  I’m really tired right now, and I got laundry to do.  Being an adult sucks.

Until next time, a quote,

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

Peace out,


In Memory, In Ink

I have a friend named Quinn.  Ever since she was ten years old, she lost the ability to speak.  She got incredibly sick.  It was a disease that caused massive inflammation all over her body.  She nearly died.  A fever of 104, death nearly came for her but she came back from it.  Now she no longer has the ability to speak.  It’s been a very hard life for her.  You don’t really think about the value that the ability to speak has until you lose it.  So much of her life was hurt, and she has been trying to come back from it for as long as she could.

Through all of that, there was her incredibly supportive mother.  Even when she found out that her daughter was gay, and her father kicked her out of the house, her mother did everything she could to help her.  To the point that they ended up getting a nasty divorce because the mother hated the father for how he treated their daughter, which in turn translated into how well he treated her sister because she was the child he had always wanted.  Meanwhile, Quinn had her mother.  When she was really little, as I understand it, Quinn was a very talkative little kid.  Her mother called her “Chatty Monkey.”  It was with this in mind that when she died, Quinn had an idea for a tat.  But since she has no artistic talent, it just stayed as an idea, until now.  With the help of my dear friend Kathryn, it has finally come to fruition.  As it will when it is immortalized on Quinn’s skin forever.  One of three tats, all of which have great significance for her.

16901932_10155070158909111_1716337255_nThe monkey is to stand for the nickname that her mother had for her all her life.  The gun is because her mother was a crack-shot, most specifically with a revolver.  The smoke is because, the unfortunate truth is that her mother was a chimney.  You can extrapolate how she died based on that.  Woman went through a pack a day.  I try not to judge how people live, but as her coughing got worse, even Quinn felt terrible.  The woman left our state to go be in a warmer climate, and it did help.  But it only went so far.

A wonderful woman has passed away.  She left a legacy of a connection between mother and daughter that is unmatched, from a girl who life has been horribly unkind to.  How people keep their memories close.  Quinn is putting this memory on her hip.  So when you see this image, keep in mind the connection it symbolizes.  Let me know the connections that you have with people who have left your life and how you keep that alive in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live.” – Norman Cousins

Peace out,


A Hard Question

Another long day comes to an end.  I put Ellie to bed and now was settling in to watch some news before going to bed.  My days of being a journalism student in college still catch up to me.  The urge to keep informed about what is happening in the world.  Another Presidential election over.  The infotainment that is cable news has to find some new thing to milk into the ground with the fact-free reporting that they do.  The modern Fourth Estate is a joke.  I truly do believe in what it was supposed to represent, but now it is just a shadow of what the great journalists fought for.  When Edward R. Murrow took on Joseph McCarthy, when Walter Cronkite took on the government over the Vietnam War, when Ted Koppel took on the government over the Iran hostage crisis, they fought for what the news was supposed to mean.  But they were gone.  Sorry if I preached, but I still think about things like that, even now.
They said that becoming a dad would totally change me.  Sure, it changed my routine and how I look at the choices I make, but it didn’t magically turn me into a curmudgeon who is uber-conservative and believes that liberals are stupid.  I still believe the things that I believed then.  Only difference is that now I get to try and be the best dad that I can be while believing what I do.  I have taken a hard stance that I want to impart my values in a way where I give all sides their due.  I wasn’t going to teach my little girl what to think, but rather how to think, and let her come to her own conclusions.  Sure, it meant that for a while there, she believed that her deity was Santa Claus, but now she is at the top of her class and is the smartest child I have ever met.  Makes me wish she could see her.  I look at the pics on the wall, and my mind goes back.

I met her when I was in college.  The two of us immediately clicked.  Our weirdness meshed so well, and we were fast friends.  For a few years, life was good.  We would go out, have dinner, go to movies, see random things that happened in town that got both of our attention.  Was even dragged to a couple cultural festivals by the girl.  I was always a little apprehensive about going to things like that.  So different and random.  Really was my father’s son.  He hated new things, and would complain up to the point that he actually was there.  After that, once he was in the middle of whatever it was, he was enjoying himself.  Made for vacations where my mother would have to put up with him complaining all the way there, but I could tell that she knew that it would be worth it once he was there, just as excited as the rest of us.
One night, at a Japanese culture festival, the two of us were sitting and eating some noodles.  It was fantastic.  There was music playing and I didn’t want to be anywhere else.  That’s when I look over, wanting to say something to her, but she is already looking at me.  A look in her eyes, telling me that she had been looking at me for a while.  We just look into one-another’s eyes, and I don’t need to say anything else.  Her hand goes to my cheek, and I move in closer.  Each movement brings new rounds of butterflies inside that are driving me crazy, but I don’t stop.  Then our faces are so close.  When did this person who was nothing but a friend to me become something more?  I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.  Everything about this moment felt right.  Our lips met, in a soft embrace that I never wanted to end.  It was the first night that I felt like I was living since high school, where my last relationship ended.
It’s five years later.  We’re at the church that she grew up in.  I’m not a religious person, but she is.  I can put aside how I feel about it all, because this makes her and her family happy.  I’m saying “I do,” and tears are going down her face.  We embrace again, and everything is wonderful.
Two more years later, and we are pregnant.  She is so excited.  I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared out of my wits.  We both have good jobs.  Money isn’t something to be afraid of.  We made sure that we were ready before taking this step.  But even with all of that, I’m still scared to death.  What does it mean to be a dad?  Both of my parents have advice for me.  Hell, everyone has advice for me.  The entire fucking world is suddenly an expert on having children.  Not helping.  Not one bit.
We are sitting in a room, listening to a doctor.  She is telling us that my wife has cancer.  Due to the pregnancy, it is making her immune system weakened.  It just happened to come in at the right time.  My wife is scared for the baby, but the doctor said that it hasn’t gone to her reproductive system.  Facing her own mortality, the first thing she thinks about is the baby.  Admirable.  I wonder why.  I just want to save her.  The options we have are limited.  We can’t do chemo with the baby in there.  We’d kill it.  By the time the baby is done, it might be too late for more radical treatments.  It’s already in the second stage.  My wife is crying.  I think I am too.  Hard to tell.  My whole body feels numb.
It’s just after dawn when she goes into labor.  I get her to the car and drive like a bat out of hell to the hospital.  It’s not close.  She looks terrible.  The treatments for cancer that are safe, along with the progression are making her so sick.  So scared that delivering the baby will be dangerous.  Told her to do a c-section.  It’s safe, easy, and then it’s over.  She says no.  Wants to deliver this thing the normal way.  Stubborn woman.  Stupidly stubborn.  What’s the point of doing things that way if it’s an unnecessary risk?!
Being right never feels like a victory, for me.  I am watching as my baby is being wheeled away, while they get the crash cart.  Over and over, they attempt to restart her heart.  It doesn’t work.  Holding my newborn daughter in my arms, I watch my wife die.  What should be the most wonderful night of my life is when my heart is breaking.  I have so much that I have to do, only difference is that now I have to do it all on my own.  Never have I felt more alone.

My eyes open, as I see a light at the top of the stairs.  Down the stairs she comes.  Sitting up, I see that the TV had turned itself off due to inactivity.
“Dad, you up?” a voice calls.
“Yeah, in the living room.”
In her flannel pjs, I see the girl coming over.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?”
The look on her face, it’s concern, but awkward.  “I heard a noise, from down here.  I think you were talking in your sleep.  Heard you calling out to mom.”
A feeling of shame.  “Oh.  Sorry if I woke you.”
She sits down in a chair across from me on the couch.
“It’s okay.”  There is something more there.  “Can I, ask you something?”
Parent moment – she’s just shy of middle school.  The talk is coming.  Anytime I hear that question, I know that the big one is coming.
“Sure, kiddo.”
Looks down at the floor, then back up at me.  “Do you blame me, for happened to mom?”
It hurts.  I am physically hurting because of that question.  Not because it offends me or something, but because I have to wonder how long she has been carrying that question around in her head.  The girl was always eager to please, her whole life.  Anytime that I wasn’t at work, she would be where I am, doing whatever I do.  To this day, she still is like that.  Part of me thought that it was just a kid bonding with their parent, but maybe it was her trying to atone for what she feels like is her fault.  Maybe this is a talk I should have had with her a long time ago.
“Never!  What happened to your mother was not your fault.  Cancer can happen to anyone, at anytime.  Lady Luck just didn’t shine on her, is all.  It happens to all of us.”  Was that the right way to say it?
Tears started flowing down her face.  “I hear you, but you kept calling out to her, over and over.  You said, ‘don’t leave me.’  How can I not think that you don’t at least blame me a little for what happened to her?”
I motioned for her to sit down next to me.  “Now, don’t you go thinking that way!”  She got over and I put my arm around her.  “You coming into my life was the greatest day of my life.  Your mom was willing to risk getting sicker just so she wouldn’t have to put you in danger.  She told me that if the worst should happen, to promise that I would take care of you.  And I did.  With all my heart, I said that I would be the best dad that I could possibly be.  Not a day has gone by that I regret it.  Not one.  It was the hardest few months of my life, adjusting to taking care of you without her with me.  I needed a lot of help from grandma and grandpa.  But you are the greatest thing to ever come into my life.”  A gripping at my heart.  “And with you here, in a way, it’s like she never left us.  She’s with us both, right now, because you survived and are still here.  Never have I blamed you for what happened to her.  Not one time.  I miss her every day, but it’s not your fault.  Okay?”
All she could do is cry and burrow into me.  I held her close for a long time.  Then, I picked her up and carried her like a big cat upstairs.  Thank Groj I am such a big guy and have worked to take care of my body.  Hefted the big kid like she was nothing.  Laid her down on the bed and pulled the covers over her.
“Good night, baby-girl.”
“I love you, daddy.”
“I love you too.”
I don’t think there is a harder question in the world I could have been asked.  Suddenly, that other talk seems a hell of a lot easier.

Until next time, a quote,

“Grief is like an ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Peace out,


A Smile for Father’s Day

Well, it’s another Father’s Day coming up.  And there’s something to know about my old man – he is unimaginably difficult to shop for.  What do you get the guy who has everything he wants and wants nothing else? (I want to put it out there that I acknowledge that being happy with what you have is a good character trait.  But it still makes holidays difficult.  So sue me) Here’s an example – when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said mousetraps.  Because it seems that my cat is not living up to her namesake and killing a mouse somewhere in the house.  That’s what he told me he wanted.  Now, I could have tried to be creative and really go the extra mile.  But you know what I did instead?  I got him the fucking mousetraps.  Okay, I wasn’t that much of a douche.  I included some candy with them.  But still, I got the guy exactly what he asked for.

Now, with Father’s Day on Sunday, I am at a loss again as to what to do?  I’m currently in crushing poverty due to joblessness, that he didn’t believe me when I said that I put in 4 to 10 applications/resumes per day.  If only I could show him what my Sent folder in my email looks like.  The family would know why I’m depressed.  But I can feel my luck changing.  Things are coming together.  I can feel it.  But I digress.  I’m at a loss again as to what to get the old-timer.  Didn’t even ask.  Partly because I am strapped in the extreme for cash (and being forced to ask for their help for that.  Don’t think that makes me proud for a moment) and partly because I knew that I would likely groan at the answer.  Or at least my mother would.  When she heard him say he wanted mousetraps for Christmas, her reaction was almost vocally-exact to what her mother said to her husband.  I swear, it was almost pitch-perfect.

So what am I going to do?  I thought long and hard, and I figured out what I’m going to give.  It’s the best gift I know how to give – a smile.  How will I do that?  With the written word.  Since I know the parentals read my site, they’ll come across this and hopefully they get a laugh.  I will retell an anecdote for you all, which will make you smile, and hopefully the memory of it makes him.  Here goes.

My father is a hunter.  Pretty good at it, too.  I watched one time where he shot a moose so perfectly that it did a backflip and died.  That was kind of amazing.  Good eating, too.  Unlike hunters who just want a head to mount on their wall, we eat what we catch.  Moose is awesome.  Best burgers in the world are made from it.  Man, I am the king of digressions tonight, aren’t I?

Anyway, it was one fateful night when he was out on the hunt.  Left the dog home.  He’s a giant lug, who has all the brain cells of marbles in a tin can.  Carefully stalking prey isn’t what the albino lab is made for.  Myself, the mother-unit, and the dog were doing whatever, when the mother calls me out to the living room.  I do so, and she tells me that he sent her a text, telling her that he’s on to something and coming our way.  Since the prey is likely to come by the house, the logical thing to do is get a rifle for her to shoot, if she gets a chance to finish the job.  Turns out, she gets that chance.  What happens next is just the first part of a wonderfully-hilarious night.

The rifle was a lever-action.  Cocking it should have been the easiest thing.  But did she?  Nope.  Why?  Because for reasons totally unknown, she couldn’t.  I got a laugh while this moose was literally right outside the door.  I should have grabbed the rifle and shot it myself.  I at least know how to cock a lever-action rifle.  But because my mother is incapable of doing so, the old man ended up shooting it.  And it didn’t drop.  It kept moving.  Moving to where, you might ask?  Into a giant grove of trees, that’s what.  A giant mess of old, dead trees that are rotting.  Getting in there was a mess.  It was late at night.  The sun was setting fast.  The light was very limited.  Which means that they had to work quickly.  The animal had to be skinned, gutted, and the vital meat components taken out and hung up.  We couldn’t leave it out there.

Working at night, someone had to have the honorable duty of holding the flash-light.  Believe it or not, but this is something the old man takes very seriously.  Something he apparently got from his father.  If you messed up with the light, that was not a good thing.  Guess who got to hold the light?  Me!  It was deemed my duty.  The parentals would skin and gut, while I held the light.  While the holding of the light is something that my old man takes very seriously, I am in insufferable smartass who is utterly-incapable of stopping myself from being such.  And we were out there for some time.

So what did I do?  I found a way to liven things up!  See, the parents are getting on in their years.  Old couples like the argue.  The parents do it all the time.  While the skinning and gutting of the moose was taking place, they were bickering almost non-stop.  So what did I do?  I found a way to make it into a joke.  I did my best David Attenborough impression and narrated their skinning and gutting as if in a nature documentary.  I was quite proud of myself.  The parents both looked like they wanted to strangle me.  But because I am quite good with voicework and my narrations were funny, they couldn’t bring themselves to stop me.  Who else was going to hold the light?

We ended up getting a crap-ton of moose meat.  It was a good night.  But the thing to take away from this is – if my mother had been able to cock a lever-action rifle, none of that would have happened.  But where’s the fun in that?  To this day, whenever something ridiculous is going on at my house (you wouldn’t BELIEVE how often that happens) I decide to take up the smartass tradition of narrating.

And that’s the Father’s Day story.  None of this happened on Father’s Day, mind you.  But it’s just a story to make people smile.  Hopefully that worked.

Until next time, a quote,

“Here we see the two hunter, stuck in a natural hazard, trying to quickly skin their catch while the light fades.  The hunters do not work well together, and thus there is tension in the group.”  -Lucien Maverick

Peace out,


SIONR: F*ck Disney and Star Wars, In Memory of 1313

For those of you who didn’t know, before Disney bought and bastardized Star Wars by making everything family-friendly, there was a game that was announced that looked fucking amazing.  It was a game about a young Boba Fett, where you followed him on some unknown job to sub-level 1313 on the capital of the Empire (at least I think it’s the Empire by the time of that game).  It was a game that took the mechanics from Uncharted and translated them to outer space.  Did it bother me that this game was basically a direct rif with different weapons of another game?  Fuck no!  Watch this demo and tell me if it bothers you.

Did that not look like the most awesome thing ever?!  Did you not want to see that?!  After how bad Lucasarts games had been, this was almost a breath of fresh air.  You had these fun characters.  You had a great design.  The gameplay looked smooth enough.  I will say that the physical fighting was much less impressive than the games it was riffing off of, but still.  I would have played that until the cows came home.  Especially if there were the hidden collectibles that the Uncharted franchise has.  Let me collect and analyze stuff from the Star Wars universe!  Let me get to know this character who has such a huge cult following, even though he did nothing cool in any of the original films.  His character got so popular that he became a complete boss outside of the main films.  Hell, the prequel films sucked, but then you get Cartoon Network’s series: The Clone Wars.  And in that, we also had a badass Boba Fett.  It’s weird.

Then Disney decided to buy the franchise.  And what happens when they buy something – they make it family friendly.  Cartoon Network’s series?  Gone.  A dark and serious war series (that was getting really grim by the end), that’s not family-friendly.  Now they have this bullshit “Rebels” series, which just retcons the history that Star Wars: Force Unleashed set up.  Oh, wait, they are choosing to ignore the Expanded Universe.  Of course.  And this amazing-looking game died with it.

This is what Disney does.  See, they are an evil corporation that doesn’t give a fuck about creating good content.  They want to make money.  The newest Star Wars film was proof of this.  Unpopular opinion: I think the new film was boring.  It was a movie I had already seen before.  The effects were better, and the new Death Star could blow up lots of planets instead of just one.  But the plot was almost beat-for-beat.  I was bored.  If only that film had had the guts to do something moderately-original.  Like you know what would have been cool – if the “Resistance” had lost the battle.  Like they are doing so well, and then fail.  That would have been a nice change.  And would have gone well with the deal with Han Solo being killed (I’d say spoiler alert, but come one, you’ve already seen it).  A grim first act would have set the stage nicely.

Disney can’t just let a good thing be a good thing.  They took their marvelous animated film, Fantasia, and turned it into a piece-of-shit Kinect title.  Pixar has become a shell of what it used to be.  The Marvel movies are getting REALLY boring.  There’s a reason that Deadpool was such a breath of fresh air to superhero films.  These movies are getting boring and predictable.  I liked Guardians of the Galaxy, but even I will admit how consistent that film is to the superhero formula.  The difference is that it was funny enough for that to work.

Maybe this is just me getting older and my inner child dying, but I feel like I am gradually losing the ability to let this slip past me.  My favorite comic book films this year is the one about the merc with the mouth, the superheroes fighting each other, and a group of villains saving the day.  That’s how sad this is getting.  Meanwhile, stuff that is original and interesting gets cut off because Disney doesn’t want to risk that their squeaky-clean family image might get damaged by a video game where you have swearing in the Star Wars universe.  Oh no!

Though maybe, since people still buy into this garbage, Boba Fett said it best.

Until next time, a quote,

“Fresh air is overrated.”  – Boba Fett, Star Wars 1313

Peace out,