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 tattoos...you'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.