Saturday, October 25, 2008

Returned To Sender

Evan Tanner, former world champion figher--and one of the world's last "warrior-poets", may you rest in peace. May your soul be free to trek to the elusive corners of heaven--and your courage guard the integrity of our Holy Father.

Evan Tanner fought in many "Ultimate Fighting Championships." He wasn't the biggest, nor the smallest in size. His record reflected the battle tempo of a real-life Samurai--good but never perfect. He was in his mid-30s during the most of his UFC exposure--when most of us accept our bellies and begin drinking beer and WATCHING fights--as opposed to starting them. "Thirty-something" is when our ACLs tear, our discs slip out and our fatigue-level drops by like some ill-reputed inlaws. "Thirty-something" is the realization of our eventual demise. Oh, except for Evan Tanner.

Evan Tanner appeared to his fans with long hair, then corn rows, then short hair. From top knot to crew-cut... those who knew Evan Tanner knew that he was more than an image. He didn't care about contracts and superficial trivialities. He also never vocalized these anti-corporate or hardline standpoints. He didn't have to tell you anything. You just knew. That, to me, is one of the single, greatest facets of a champion. I don't want to be told to form an opinion of you. I will surely weigh you out on my own--and never a boast from Evan.

Nearly all professional fighters have a nickanme or monicker. Be it a "pride-thing" or a ego-booster--these brawlers usually are dubbed "The Something-or-other Assassin" or something quippy and stupid ." When you can systematically kick that much ass, you can call yourself "Joe 'Jewish Payback' Blow" and no one can poke fun. Evan never needed a nickname.

Evan died doing his own, one-man "Survivor" series in the eastern Californian desert. He succumbed to heat exhaustion after his water and gasoline sources dried up. He bought the best equipment. His body--honed to endure the harsh heat and stinging elements of the Mojave desert." Still--his sudden death serves as a reminder that even rocket launcer-toting superheroes and real life Ironmen can die. We can die all alone--despite how many loved-ones or admirers we have.

Evan's death has made me realize a few things:

1) I love an underdog. The older, average or more different you are--the more you're like me. Test yourself after it is safely your time to do so. DARE to carry the balls that Evan Tanner did, become a cage fighter in your 30s and test your body in extreme climates. However, do it safely... because your tender testacles do not carry the spiney skin that Evan Tanner's did.

2) Never talk--always act. Talk is great if you're trying to sign a multi-million dollar contract. Let's face it though, you're not. Everyone who knows you for five minutes has already figured you out. Quit with the theatrics and stick your neck out there. True Greatness is always witnessed--never declared.

3) Don't fear your sensitivity. Do the silly shit. Everyone knows that you still cry at Hallmark commercials. Boldness is a characteristic only contrasted to the real person you let the rest of the world see. Remaining in touch with ourselves is what makes a man who he is.

4) You don't win all of your fights. Hell, we dont even win most of them. Evan was at about 66%. Thats not even enough to keep the UFC presidents interested in having him return to the Octagon. The biggest lesson learned after 40 fights is that you only win some of them. Make sure they're the important ones. When you are defeated, you never lose. For it is t
he coward that is never tested that will never know his true mettle.

Evan Tanner-- thank you eternally for all that you were and were not. Thank you for being real and thank you for dying on your feet--with your boots on. Thank you for remaining an example that men need to remain tested. I am sorry that your last two fights are a loss, but who cares? No one remembers who they were anyways.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Life In Limbo

As many of you know, Reese and I are moving soon. We consider this a good thing. Sometimes, as much as you are reluctant to change, you know you must. An inconvenience--probably. I hate moving. I don't mind sitting around on the couch and waiting for the day to come though. Luckily for us, we are being afforded the luxury of having a moving company to do our dirty work for us. Course, that doesn't keep Reese from bagging and boxing random things.

No matter--onward to Georgia.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Older By Proxy

Our aging minds work in mysterious ways. I enjoy placing value on people, places, things or scenarios by finding a correlation between that and something... obscure that I can relate to. You, know... how can your younger co-worker even talk "smack" to you when he was born the same year that "Back To The Future" was released in theaters?! The nerve!

That was the obscure correlation today that I made with a new co-worker. Let's face it... when someone is new... you gotta make em feel new. You've gotta jump them in. In the military... its the only way. If someone isn't verbally slamming you, then you know something's wrong.

So, the young Airman began on a weak line of smack-talk that probably took him 5 minutes to rehearse in his head. I could see it cookin'. So's I beckon to another particularly saavy co-worker (one rich in music and movie trivia)...

(It probably woulda sounded something like this...)

"Hey, Mappy... the new fish over here is talkin' smack again. I can't take anything serious coming from the mouth of someone that was born on the same year as Back to the Future. Hey kid... 1.21 jigawatts! Why dont you run along to the clock tower--the Mr. Fusion will never kick in at 88 MPH! Its not like you were going to get any at the "Fish Under the Sea" dance anyway."

A tragiclly geeky and accurate demonstration of how someone like me would take you down a peg. Now, Mappy, whom is as just a much a douche bag as me... died laughing. See, fortified in our own inadequacies brought on by missed proms and Magic card collections, lies the the disturbing ability to make "zero" even lower.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

When "long" becomes "too long?"

After spending the last 10 years away from home, I have lost touch with some of the people I grew up with. It is a fact of life that the more experiences you partake, the more variety you expose yourself to. Well, after living in a number of different states, countires and hemispheres, I have met some fantastic people. I love keeping in contact with as many people as possible. I will admit--the idea of social responsibility is a burden. I do my best to include as many people as possible in my life. What happens when when the time grows great between us and we have less in common and less interests between us? What happens when the obligation outweighs the exposure? The presents shipped annualy turn into cards or memos. Eventually, they turn into casualvemails and then quickly into nothing. Sometimes this process skips a few steps and goes from best friend to distant acquaintance way to quickly.

Before getting married, one has to concoct a guest list in accordance with the capacity of the venue they're going to rent. Marisa and I opted to go slightly smaller--in an effort to get the right place. I mean, I would much rather party with my friends in a small blues club as opposed to some less-exciting but larger place--like Walmart.

We just could not invite EVERYONE we knew. She and I both have huge extended families and networks of friends. It would have been highly irresponsible to invite more than the capacity of the venue. Two of the three venues we used ended up being over capacity anyways.

So what about my friends that i havent really spoken to in a few years? I dont love them any less... but I dont have room for them in my daily life. They dont have room for me in theirs. Its understandable. I have heard that some of them may be upset that they didnt recieve an invitation to our wedding. I could make a million excuses or valid reasons for why this happened. I feel badly that some of these friends may feel disrespected or negated. Personally, I spent a lot of money and my wife spent enormous amounts of time putting a lot of this together herself. It was stressful. I had to take steps to ensure that this whole process remained even a marginally positive experience. Weddings-- you know how they are.

I don't know if I should worry that much. Maybe I am blowing a lot of this out of proportion... but perhaps I am not. What am I liable for?

What would you do?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Are you comfortable?

Hi. My name is Scott. I was born in Portland, Oregon.

In my early 20's, I tried out for the United States Marine Corps. I didn't end up playing any "varsity" sports in high school; but my recruiter assured me that my athletic medicoraty was not a predisignator for my military service. They were right. 3 months later, I lost 43 lbs, learned to shoot, move communicate, command and follow. I became an instrument. I knew this was what I had become. I had forgotten sorrow and grief. I had forgotten fear and jealousy. I did not stutter. I did not falter. I fired straight--very straight. I burned paths through rain, through dust and heat. I burned paths through exhaustions and dehydration. I cried.

No one here has forgotten that I have served. To me, It's no big deal. Sure, its a lot of discomfort at first--but if you play your cards right--its not intolerable. Our freedom is not an accident. Ask the gentlemen that were recently recovered from the Colombian jungle.

Korea, 9/11, Guadalcanal--offensive or defensive. We are here and free because we cannot be taken lightly. Enjoy your prayers and enjoy your porn. Perfect armies will eventually crumble. The good life cannot last too long. Thank those who have fought. Better yet--if you are not too old, go try it for yourself. You just might find yourself fulfilled.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Today I was PISSED. Not everything went wrong today. I guess I still have my health and I didn't have to bury an animal. Some of today I spent worried... worried about things I thought I could control. Is my job going away? Will I be replaced by freckle-faced nitwits? Who is looking after my family's best interests? How is my house getting clean and WHO is paying for this party?
Why can't I get into my house and why are the dishes stacked as high as yesterday... after 2 hours of processing the old ones?

Boil... feel the anger build up... clenched fists... clenched teeth....

Why is the macaroni burning? How can burned macaroni ruin a steel pot? The cat meows every 10 seconds for food...again.

Today--around 10:00PST I broke the threshold of "asshole."

I can't consider that I "acted out", but we can say factually that I did chuck one burned pot into the back yard and one houseguest did sleep in an alternate berthing location.

I was on fire. I was locked out of my house when I returned home from work... again. The housework had manifested itself. Again.

What do you do when you get so mad you could break someones joints? You smile, and clean the bathroom. So that's what I did. I listened to :Throwdown:" on my Ipod and dismantled the bathroom.

No pictures. Just venting.

What do you do when you want to break joints?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Appreciating Beauty

Today... Marisa and I had the privilege of viewing more wedding photos. Therein, I am reminded of all my friends whom have made my blessed life what it is today. As I re-hash the moments here and there, I am reminded of what a wicked-fine group of people I know. I guess you can say--that anyone that knows me, knows that I don't know no ugly people. Either through the projection of their charisma, their strength of character or by the sheer blessing for good geneology... the people I know have got what it takes to win your heart.

We can take all day with a line up of all of you. I don't know how, exactly, I've garnered such a strictly fine dugout of hotties. For the sake of introspection, I'm going to take you on a quick trip to my id to explore a few bona fide reasons:

--I have chased around many a hot female and got lumped into the "friend zone" a thousand times--and they stuck around.

--That attractive people generally draw more people towards them. They, in turn, decide the people THEY want to surround themselves with... the SAFE ones.

--Perhaps I am a sexy mother trucker designed to break hearts and take lives... like they told me when I was in boot camp. Though, thats an awful lot like your mom telling you that you're pretty.

Surely, anyone that has spent any time with me (that includes you, Grandma) has seen me point out an attractive person, oogled a beautiful female--or straight out say some pig-headed trash. You can call it "flirty", but really, its nothing but a very safe and mysoginistic way of appreciating someone. Hello. I AM BLESSED. Risen from the ashes like a hobbit-phoenix, I have found my soul mate in the most attractive, special and worthy woman alive-- my wife, Marisa. If she got in an "attraction boxing match" with anyone.... she would win. Hands down--if there is a God... She looks like Marisa. Physically. Shut the front door. Anti-gravity. Tone. Oh you just eat your heart out. She is as hot as you picture her. Thats my girl. Nuff said. Baseline. Just so the standard is set.

Now that was said, I would like to take some time to publicly appreciate some of the others that I know that are worthy of appreciation... and just in case this becomes a list... this is in no particular order . To those mentioned with significant others that can bench press me--I am armed.

Lets start with one of the most formidable: Mrs. Jaime Kulow
My best "man" at my wedding--we just dubbed "best chick." Jaime is so hot she could clean your oven. Talk about a woman with saavy, charisma and class? Jaime Kulow could sell ice to an eskimo while its melting in the heat. If she's not your best friend then you took a wrong turn. I didn't even know a woman so eligible to win any contest on the planet would think so much of me. Ver flattering. She thinks I am the shit so "neener neener." Hands off, though, boys. Her husband can kill you SO fast. This guy looks like he ATE Arnold Schwarzzeneger and shit out ME. Plus he's a teacher and the world's best wingman.

ANOTHER equally formidable seniora: Mrs. Karinna Muckey-Quizado
Karinna is so hot that I go through the Taco Bell drive through--twice. Karinna is a United States Marine. She out-ranks you. Don't be lulled by her dark curls and ruby-red lips. I've seen her tear off a man's head, shit down his neck and throw the rest to the dogs. Knowing Karinna is like Knowing you have a hot, older sister. On one had she is seductive and sultry... able and confident. On another hand she is writing your evaluation at work, writing you 6 birthday cards and don't you DARE get any ideas. Uhhh. .. sorry about that, Boss Lady.

--Fast-forwarding to today's favorites--

Two girls voted "Most likely take you out and change your religion"... Miss Erin Janke and Miss Veronica Nelson:

I have known Erin since I have met my wife. Veronica-- I have been lucky enough to meet recently. The comic book should have been called "Erin and Veronica" because Archie's lame ass couldn't drink PBR and got sent home. If I were to describe these two... well, lets do it seperate.

ERIN -- ummm, Erin has is one of the most dynamic and talented photographers that I have ever met. Her vision is unparalleled. Professional. Studied... a true craftsman. Now, overlay that onto a Jennifer Biel-meets-Ashlee Simpson-physique. I don't care who you are...

Veronica. Punk Rock boys, beware. If you get fired up by jet-black rockabilly-chick hair and elbow're in trouble. Veronica and I met hung over... both almost puking. We smoked cigarettes in the morning of the Kennedy School courtyard. Even though, when I met her, I was going 100mph... I was instantly comfortable. Her rolled-up black sleeves surrender an "I Love Mom" tattoo on her forearm. If you are a man that has a thing for "edgy punk rock chicks with a pretty, crooked smile" look NO further. On behalf of retired punks, skins and rude boys and hardcore kids everywhere... thank you.

Consider that entry part one... of what could be considered many parts. I am a lucky man many ways over. I believe that appreciation is due to those deserving. Tonight I raise my mug to my girls: you're the best part of me. You've made my life worth while. You've given me reason to believe my own rants. You have set an example. I am only, if but a shell of a person--that with which your grace you fill.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How do you say goodbye...?

My friend died. He was a fantastic man named "Justin." We didn't have that long with him. Here-- we only had a glimse. He passed away a few weeks ago. It was... a surprise. His passing was... intentional.

On wednesday we are going to have a service for him here in Key West. He wasn't born here and he didn't die here. I asked, when presented with the idea of talking about him at the service, if i could say something. I didn't know which angle I was going to take. I thought for a second if I was qualified to act as a spokesman. Would anyone want to hear from me? Those that heard me were going to be from work--and any emotion or weakness I showed on Justin's behalf may be unprofessional or seen as wildly emotive. After all, I am not a pastor or a family member. I couldn't even save his life. I am about as valued as a seatbelt on an airplane... a "maybe-safety."

I've eulogized before; both of my grandfathers. However, that was over 10 years ago. I was only a shell of the spoken man that I am now. I was a whisper of experience; and but mere trail blazer trying to carve out of our younger and tentative generation. I set the standard, though, of the example I have set in my family as the leader of our generation. Now here I have set myself again--in front of a theoretical crowd of "olympic East Germans." I am not here for a grade or judgement... though the pressure of a grating judgement still looms.

Justin, I wanted to tell you that you were loved. I wanted even more for you to see that you were loved. It was a subtle secret here that you needed assistance. Those that knew you and cared--we reached out to you. You responded with a reluctant and solemn heart. Your tired soul was unable to build up any more walls.

Justin, you gave yourself to us in coversation and mentorship. You planned to surround yourself with us... like a cushion of matresses at the end of a slide for life. We traveled easy roads together. We tilled the soft dirt of a smoke pit and we shared glasses of newborn beer at my favorite brewery. You needed me; not to judge you... but to just be with you. In these moments we lived as kings. This is where we cut through the cobwebs of daily expectaions. We broke bread at my dinner table--an honor not so many share.

Justin, when I called you, you came. I never needed you--I only asked for your honest company. When you were alone, I called you to come join Marisa and I for dinner. I made some pretty decent fajitas. That I can do. You were apologetic and almost seemed to want to qualify everything you did around us. You were so worried--though you never needed be. We could be your armor and your food and your shelter if you needed. These things have been provided to me throughout my life at different times. We need these to survive and it is not too much to ask when you need help. In the end, we ended any evening by sharing vulnerable secrets on the porch. I hate cirgarettes; but I smoked them with you. That's just somewhing we did when we decided to bullshit. When you needed someone to get you-- or when you needed a good group to surround yourself with--you only need call out. We were always there. I thought I could see you getting better.

Justin, in the end you had to leave us. Home with family was a better alternative to watching your soul tarnish and wither in the salt water and dimly lit beaches. You were to head westward and upward. Your family missed you and I know your brother couldn't wait to share a place with you. I helped you pick out the coolest apartment. You needed out of here. We all need out of here sometime. We let you go on training wheels--into the trust that you would wobble and weeble... and find a new foundation.

Justin, you left here on a rocket ship... on a jet pack... on the winds of hope. We left you there. We trusted whomever that recieved you would have your best interests at mind. I know they did. You always had our best interests in yours. I heard that "things" were starting over for you in Denver and that there may have been a "lady-love". I can only hope that she saw you through your better times when we could not.

Justin, someone here thinks about you every day. We think about how your sensitivity and your loyalty impacted us. We are reminded of our own fragility. We stay watchful of the backs of our brothers and sisters. We promise not to take anything for granted. For, like you, and like a candle's flame, our flicker can be gone in a moment. However, the flame in our hearts for you will never be snuffed.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What to expect when you're visiting...

What to expect when you're visiting Key West, FL...

Who doesn't wanna go to spend a week in the Florida Keys? Perfect weather, laid-back attitude, the beer flows like wine. Seafood caught that day. Lawn chairs. Houses made entirely of coral-hued cement. Anyone's idea of paradise.

So when youre a "local"... when youre a "resident"... you can expect a visitor almost every month. Read that as "you won't remember the weekend." These are good times for us. I mean, hell--we love to party. That's a prerequisite on the rental contract. You have to be able to drink, eat out, spend money and last the night. These are things that are expected of you as a host. Imagine if you were invited to the bat cave... and the batmobile wouldnt start up and the butler couldn't bring you a diet coke. Thats what it's like to be a local here. You can be a degenerate alcoholic; which is not a huge positive--but accepatable--even expected when you're the host. Living here and visiting here can be taxing for all of us. So i figured i'd write a list of rules... mainly guidelines to keep in mind when you're visiting. You may not know what you're doing here; but we do. and its going to smart a little bit.

Guideline #1: Save everyone time, money, hastle and heartache and fly into Key West.

Sure! go ahead! Its more expensive. You COULD fly into Miami... or if you hate me, Ft. Lauderdale. We could drive up there and pick you up! I can miss work. I can skip out on the sleep. After all--you're coming to see me and its the least i could do to spend four hours driving 30 mph on the world's most beautiful highway to come and get you! Ill make the time up at work next week--when youre gone and i'm calling in the airstrike.

Guideline #2: Expect that you'll spent a moderate portion of the day by yourself.

Hey--work is for those who haven't beat the system. Thats why youre here! You've got it covered! I am still a little doughnut-humping coffee-jockey. I'm ok with that. I am at home in the "me." I work... although not "strenuously..." it is still time-consuming. I can't hit every meal with you. I can probably hit half... though i only WANT to hit about three. After all, the World of Warcraft doesn't stop just so we can down some oyster shooters at the raw bar. Also I dont want you to see me hung over. I'll put 85% of you in your graves if you come to visit. That requires the Overlord of Bacardi to sleep a little. Perhaps i may just not want to see you all of the time. Its understandable. After all... i know my liver the best.

Guideline #3: Do the boring museum shit during the day when I am at work.

I've actually not done any museum events here on the island. I know they are entertaining-- even fascinating!. I don't like to walk. I want to try and budget my funds to the eating and drinking. That's what we'll try to spend most of our time doing. Its just what we do. Consume and tip appropriately. I know the "pirate thing" is fun. Also, the Mel Fisher thing is completely awe-inspiring. PLEASE do a "Ghost Tour!" Just don't expect me to go :)! I get it! It's fun! I have a house to clean and an entire petting zoo to feed. I have cat shit to scoop and a huge garden to tend to. I'm a "domestic sensitive" (read that "boring" or "closet metro-sexual"). When the daily routine doesn't happen at home because of visitation-related obligations... then that means my house smells like shit when you visit it. I live in a barn but I sure as shit dont like it to smell like one. My life is simple but has many steps throughout the day. You do the tours. I'll feed the cats and scoop the skunk shit. Ill meet you at Kelly's for some wings and brews at happy hour. Best of all worlds.

So here is a visitor's guide for those who don't know if they are imposing... or don't care. We want to show you EVERYTHING we can. We love this place and we want you to love it too. That takes a lot of work.. and a little bit of emotional dedication on our part to be good hosts. After all--we have reputations to uphold.