The difference between men and women

My sister recently commented on the fact that no matter what a man looks like, he’s able to look in the mirror, swing his wienie around and proclaim, “yep, still got it!”, while the most beautiful woman in the world will be plagued by imagined faults not based in reality.

I’ve found this to be true. As a woman, I know how we think so this piece of art was easy to create.

I think women with this problem could take a lesson from men in this area.

  • Accept yourself without complaint

  • Love yourself for what you are instead of hating what you are not

  • Complete with no one

  • Fuck what people think

  • Nothing is sexier or more attractive than confidence

Can you find the irony in this picture? If so, comment below!

Can you find the irony in this picture? If so, comment below!

Love yourself and have a gorgeous day!

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How to get away with murder

I’m an annoyingly positive person. I’m the person who makes everyone sick by posting inspirational shit on Facebook all day. These posts never get comments, and rarely get likes, which is fine because I post them for me mostly. 

A funny thing happened awhile back. I think it says a lot about the human race, and my friends in particular. 

I’d had a bad few days, which is rare for me, and found myself having a super shitty morning, wishing a certain someone would disappear. This doesn’t necessarily mean I want them to die. They can disappear to Cancun for all I care, as long as they aren’t in my midst. I jokingly posted the following: 

If you were to kill someone, how would you ensure that you wouldn't get caught? 

The reason no one comments on my rosy, feel good posts is that people don’t want to talk about rainbows and kittens. Death and destruction, on the other hand - that  they want to discuss. The comments began rolling in. 

I’ve listed some of my murder advice in the order in which it was given: 

1. “Feed them to the hogs.” 

Although this idea seems romantic, logistically speaking, this would be an unreasonable avenue for me to take. For one, I don’t even know any hogs. For two, I would leave all kinds of DNA from point A to point B, and for three, how am I going to throw a grown, heavy, squirmy man to the hogs? I don’t think he’s going to be having that shit. So on the surface it seems like a real option, but just not realistic for what I’m looking for. 

2. “Sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide will do the trick in as little as a few hours if done correctly but it's not as easy as one thinks.” 

This one thinks I’m looking for easy murder, not hard murder. Next. 

3. “Actually a few eye drops of Visine in their drinks over a slow period of time will kill them and never be detected.” 

This idea made my heart swell. This is the kind of solution I was looking for. No blood on my carpet, no dragging heavy bodies and throwing my back out. Nice and tidy. This person is a true friend. 

4. "Ice bullets." 

This is pretty genius, really. But where do I buy an ice bullet gun? And there’s still the possibility of being caught on camera or leaving fingerprints on the ice bullet gun. And I live in Texas so the bullets would melt and then that would be called a squirt gun. I don't know about this one. 

5. “Thought this through....because you just never know....let's say they just "accidentally" die...it happens...freeze the body, cut up the froze parts...get your wood chipper and take it and your frozen body out on the lake...around a unpopular area in the water...push the parts through the wood chipper out into the lake....fish will love it....dump the wood chipper and the chain saw you used to cut up the frozen parts into the lake....done....asshole deserved it.” 

There are a couple of things I really like about this comment. First, I appreciate how she’s thinking of the fish’s feelings. Not many people have that kind of heart these days so that gave me the warm fuzzies. Secondly, I like how she immediately takes my side at the end not even knowing the situation. This shows she has confidence that I thought it through and I’m making a rational decision based on facts. That means a lot. Though I feel like the plan could work, there are too many moving parts to this idea. My luck I’d end up tripping and falling into the wood chipper, and that’s the wrong dead person. 

6. “As a general rule a shot gun is a good weapon. Purchase the ammo several months in advance from a bulk sales location (Walmarts are a good choice) and then. ...wait. Um. I don't know. I've never thought about it.” 

I agree that a shotgun is going to get the job done. Again, video, fingerprints, or he takes the gun from me and shoots me instead. This has to be a little more sneaky. 

7. Call Hillary! 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...next. 

8. A girl sent me a link but here’s the gist: “Carfentanil has made its way into the area and onto Cleveland streets. Carfentanil had already been circulating and killing people in Akron and Summit County.” 

This is something I could easily pick up in Bellmead. For those of you who don’t know where Bellmead is, be thankful. This carfentanil is made for tranquilizing or killing elephants. Just a fun little fact. Quick and easy killing. Thoughtful idea. 

For me, the clear winners were number 3 and number 8. I felt like these people were really looking out for me to make sure I wouldn’t get caught, and that was the whole point. So maybe people aren't hitting “like” on my inspirational posts, but when it matters most, they’re going to step in and help me get away with murder. 

Just when you think there’s no good left in this world. 

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Triggers. A short story.

Trigger’s Bar is the kind of place where people come to eat, smoke cigarettes, get drunk, and let their toddlers cliff dive into shards of arsenic. Wanda, the owner, leaves the doors wide open and invites the flies and animals right on in. She says there’s room for everybody. She pops her gum and winks. A fat orange cat named Cheeto licks his ass on the bar top next to the lemons. Survival of the fittest. 

Wanda has gotten one of those fancy new jukeboxes that you can play from an app on your phone. Floyd complains that it’s too damn loud and takes a rocket scientist to figure the damn thing out. The rest of the older men agree. 

“Fool, it ain’t that tough.” Carlos tells him. “I’ll show you how to use it.” 

“It’s the principle of the damn thing”, Floyd argues, checking his flip phone for the source of a beep. Wanda retrieves her coffee from the microwave and chimes in.   

“It’s easier than the other one, dum dum. You just touch the song you want and hit play is all.” 

Floyd flips her the bird and sets his phone down. Stupid technology. Makes a sound like a message, but no message. 

“Fool lookit, just type the song you want and just touch it. You just touch it.” Carlos mimes the movement succinctly.  

“Ah to hell with that.” Floyd grumps. “I’ll just go down to Quittin’ Time from now on. They got a respectable jukebox down there.” 

“Well take your ass.” Wanda points to the door, snapping her gum. Floyd rolls his eyes. “That’s what I thought. Now shut the hell up.” 

Floyd shuts the hell up briefly, until Carlos plays rap out of spite, singing to Floyd that niggas can neither fuck with this nor can they fuck with that. Skully has to step in to keep Floyd from hitting Carlos on the head with his cane, the same way he has to every day for one reason or another.  

Skully wears a red bandana around his head and an Iron Maiden t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off. He’s mostly sleeved out with jailhouse tattoos, one of which is a busty woman who dances when he flexes a certain way. He drives a motorcycle with ghostlike skulls airbrushed on the fuel tank. His hair is long and gray and his blue eyes look like they belong on a movie star. Wanda always jokes that if he wasn’t married, she’d tear his ass up. “Mama wouldn’t appreciate that.” he cautions. Indeed, mama would burn the bar down.  

Skully buys Floyd a beer to calm him down and tells Carlos to play some Waylon Jennings for God’s sake.  

“If you old fools wanna hear something, I guess you better learn how to play the jukebox. Oh, and if you don’t like what I play, you can skip it on the new app.” Carlos adds helpfully, as we learn that the boys in the hood are always hard, and if you come talking your trash they’ll pull your card.  

Trigger’s is open from 7am to midnight seven days a week. The way Wanda figures, essentially three people finance her life. Between Floyd, Skully, and Carlos, she’s got her house paid off and owes less than a thousand on her Mustang. She could count on them to be there at noon, drink all day, and close the place down at midnight, and that’s just how it was. While the quality of their livers concerned her, it wasn’t much her business, much like the rest of the business of their lives. Just because somebody sold a little weed didn’t make them a bad person, she guessed. 

Every day at 12:45, Floyd orders the same lunch special. Chicken fried steak - extra gravy, and mashed potatoes with grape jelly, hold the mac and cheese please ma’am.  

And every day I ask, “Floyd, can I have that mac and cheese since you’re not using it?” 

“No you may not”.  

“But it’s already paid for. You don’t want it, but I do.” 

“And that’s the problem with you people ain’t it. Always want something for nothin.” 

“You people?” I challenge. “You already paid for it.  Jesus.” 

“Jesus gives a helping hand to those that help themselves.”  

I shake my head. “Jesus would give me the mac and cheese, Floyd.” 

“Don’t even bother”, Wanda tells me. “He’s a shit head.” She snaps her gum and takes a raspy drag off her cigarette. Rivers could flow in the network of channels lining her face. She wears bright lipstick, and dyes her hair orange with red tips. The gray roots are almost always grown out, and the red parts stick out of her cap like chicken feathers. She’s fun to look at. 

Floyd always flips her off when she calls him names. I think he loves her. 

“I’ll get you the damn mac and cheese” she tells me. 

“Now dammit you better not.” Floyd warns her and shakes his finger. “I’m a paying customer and I own that mac and cheese, and swear to God almighty I’ll never step foot back in this dump.” 

“And all these years that’s all it took?” Wanda pops her gum and cranes her neck.  

“Why do you hate me?” I ask him. 

“It’s the principle of the damn thing.” He always says this. “You kids gotta learn to pay your way in life. Honestly, I might add.”  

Floyd thinks I’m a stripper, mostly because that’s what I told him. He has no soft spot for us hard working girls twerking our way through school. I find it mildly hilarious that he believes this, seeing as I’m a little long in the tooth to pole dance and my ass looks like it’s been beat with a bag of nickels. Ass notwithstanding, I’ve been to the strip club and oh my. I once witnessed a young lady pick up a straw out of a drink, turn it around, and slide it back into the drink. Look ma, no hands, type deal. This is when I realized I just didn’t possess the skillset for a career in the stripping industry.  

“But I laugh at your jokes every day.” I try to say this sweetly. It’s harder than it sounds. 

“You’re barking up the wrong sugar daddy, kid.” He takes a sloppy gulp of beer. 

“Always trying to get something for nothing.” He mutters. 

Floyd always lights up about nine cigarettes while he eats his deep-fried lard. Wanda lectures him about his cholesterol while she crumples up her empty pack of Marlboro Reds and lights another from the cigarette she’s putting out. I can actually hear their collective valves sputtering. 

He tells her to bite his ass. He loves her, it’s so obvious. 

“Now Floyd, this is messed up. The mac and cheese comes with the plate. This is not a very Christian way to live.” I admonish. “What would Jesus do?” 

“Jesus would tell you to get a respectable job. That's what the hell Jesus would do.” He sops up the last of his gravy with the free rolls that come out for every table. He won’t give me a roll either.  

Everyday the same scenario plays out, and everyday he stubbornly refuses to show me charity. Everyday Wanda cusses him, and every day I work on different ways to entice him. 

“If I give you a lap dance, will you give me the mac and cheese?”  

Nineteen men offer me their mac and cheese. I say no, it’s the principle of the damn thing. Floyd says ain’t no titty in America that could change his mind. 

When he’s finished up, he gives his dog Buster what’s left over. 

“Now that’s some bullshit.” I’m outraged. Triggered as fuck. 

A collective mmhm reverberates through the smoky bar. 

“Jesus thinks you’re an asshole, Floyd.” Someone says. Everyone laughs. Floyd grunts something about liberal commie something rather, and then they all begin to tell the same stories they’ve been telling each other for twenty-five years, and they laugh themselves into COPD worthy coughing fits. They swallow down their blood pressure meds with wet gulps of beer and make sexual innuendo at Wanda, who tells them to shut the fuck up. Floyd laughs hard. That’s because he loves her. 

I drink a kale, apple, and ginger smoothie that Wanda makes me because I bring my own stuff. They don’t own these things at the bar. They call me a hippie and millennial and things like that, even though I don’t qualify.  

We’re regaled with tales of lot lizards, ex-wives, high school football plays, work day dramas, the he said she saids, close encounters with Bigfoot, and the good old days.

Carlos always has to one up everyone. “Fool please, that’s nothing” he always starts.  

Once we’ve learned about Carlos’s badass, impossible touchdown, or psycho ex, or his supposed tryst with a Honduran transsexual, Floyd and Skully argue about politics. Skully prides himself on being a provocateur, despite not having a political preference either way.  “I'm voting Beto. Nobody needs an AR15, except racists. Besides, it's a phallic symbol of the patriarchy and toxic masculinity.” When Floyd looks red and about ready to pop, Skully looks around the room at everyone and winks, satisfied. It's just too easy. 

On day 685 I come in as usual, but it’s a somber affair.  

“Floyd’s passed on.” Wanda wails. Her blue eyeliner leaks down the crevasses in her face. “He done had a heart attack, right in that chair!” she points, more dramatic than I’ve seen before, and blows her nose into the bar towel, setting it down next to the lemons that are next to Cheeto’s asshole. I suspect to myself that it wasn’t the heart attack that killed Floyd, and make a mental note to pick up some vitamin C. 

Skully says he just can’t believe it, that he just saw him and he looked fine.  

Carlos says everybody just saw him you idiot - we were all here.  

Wanda tells Carlos to shut the hell up.  

Carlos says it’s because Floyd smoked those menthols, they’re worse for you. They leave crystals in your lungs. 

Wanda tells Carlos to shut the hell up.  

Skully says everything happens for a reason. Mmhm, everyone agrees, except for Carlos, who says that’s some bullshit.  

Wanda tells Carlos to shut the hell up. 

People want to know who’s going to take care of Buster. Wanda says she is. Proof that Floyd always wanted her to be his baby mama.  

No one knew that Floyd was married until that very day. We’d seen the man, Travis, occasionally, in an out of the bar to get this or that from Floyd. When asked, Floyd said that was his boy. Now his ‘boy’ was here to pick up his dog. 

When did he have time to be married? This guy didn’t seem like Floyd’s type at all. No blue eye liner, no gum snapping, no vagina.  Nevertheless, he wears Floyd’s ring, and he’s broken. And so we tell him funny Floyd stories and get him drunk.

Before long, out of either loneliness or boredom, Travis began to regularly join us at Trigger’s. He drank bloody Mary’s, and played techno music from his android app, regularly dancing up against Carlos when he played Snoop. Carlos assures him he couldn’t handle it, dawg.  

If it looks like Travis might miss a day, Wanda calls him and tells him to get his gay ass up to the bar, and to bring Buster too. She pulls lemons from the bar that are next to the towel that are next to Cheeto’s asshole, because Travis likes them with his Bloody Mary. She winks at him and pinches his cheeks. She never snaps her gum at him or tells him to take his ass on down the road.  She tells him he’s a good boy for not smoking, and she sends him home with food.

At Christmas, Wanda puts up a tree with an ornament for every regular, including Floyd. Travis is the only one who gets a stocking. “Bite my ass if you don’t like it”, she snaps at the rest of us.

Travis doesn’t take the mac and cheese with his meal either, so I ask him if I can have it. He tells me of course, and I say really? “Well yeah, it’s the principle of the damn thing. Why waste something that’s already paid for?” Why, indeed. Wanda tells him he’s a good boy.

Skully tries to pick a fight. “You ask me, the gays are the downfall of this country. Them and toxic man hatin’ feminists.” Travis tells him he just hasn’t had any good dick, and dances up next to him. Skully runs away guarding his butt, and everyone laughs, descending into coughing fits, and then they take their blood pressure meds with wet gulps of beer. They all make sexual innuendo at Wanda, who tells them to shut the fuck up. Travis laughs hard. That’s because he loves her.

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The Power of Fear

I had a bad case of OCD when I was a kid. Although this disorder was a hindrance in my life, I discovered that I had a certain amount of control over it. I could make it come and go depending on who was standing there, because I didn’t want anyone to know what a little sociopath I was. I was already a buck-toothed, four eyed nerd that received way more attention than I ever wanted based off that criteria alone. Adding mental illness to public opinion seemed a selfish monopoly of their curiosity. So while I knew I was a little nuts, no one else had to. That’s the genius of crazy people and the reason most people don’t realize others are crazy until it’s too late.

So this is sort of a story about how I broke myself of my compulsive habits utilizing fear instead of doctors, medications, or exorcists.

I’ve found that fear is a two-headed monster. On one hand it’s a great motivator; on the other a debilitating, utterly unrewarding emotion. Let’s clarify the distinction here.

When I was a kid I was in love with a boy named Brad. I would pedal my bike by his house with the hopes of getting a mere glimpse of him. These days they call that stalking. Most days it was a phenomenal waste of time because he was never outside, but on one particular day it looked like all my efforts had finally paid off.  This time when I passed, Brad was outside playing around the family’s motor home. He didn’t see me, so I decided to pass again, a little more obviously this time. I pedaled by like an everyday rockstar, laid back, all cool, my fro blowing in the wind. He didn’t notice.

I passed again. He still didn’t see me.

Well shit.

What was I going to do if he saw me anyway? Strike up a conversation about my ability to obliterate ants by positioning my glasses in the sunlight just the right way? Or how about whether or not I would need stitches, since on my fourth pass I face-planted after hitting a pothole in the road.

Of course he noticed me then.

And being the nice boy he was he came out in the street to help me up. Not only that, but he also invited me over to see his parent’s motor home and get this…even offered me a 7Up.  I was pretty sure he was in love with me.

So there we were, chatting it up like old pals, when suddenly I had the overwhelming urge to pee.

I thought to myself how, if I asked to use the bathroom, he might think I’m weird. Or what if he misunderstands and thinks I have to poop? Then I think that we’re having such a nice time, if I use the bathroom, the moment will be lost and when I come back he'll tell me that his mom is calling him. Especially if he thinks I went and took a dook in his bathroom. Mostly I was just afraid to ask. So I didn’t.

This is an example of how fear is a stupid, stupid emotion. Instead of asking to use the fucking bathroom, I peed my pants right there in front of him and pedaled home crying like an asshole.

I never looked him in the eye again and avoided him in the hallways. Had I just asked to use his bathroom, I could have come back, resumed playing and begun planning our June wedding.

That type of fear has no place in our lives, but sometimes fear can motivate us to make positive changes, and that’s good. This kind of fear is why I no longer flip light switches on and off 8, 10, or 12 times (but never 7, 9, or 11), or why I don't count cracks, or tiles, or breaths. That’s how I discovered how to utilize fear to my advantage actually, standing in my bedroom flipping the light switch on and off, off and on. I remember thinking that I was getting to the age where I may be invited to slumber parties and other functions with kids from school. I was mortified by the thought of them finding out my dirty little OCD secret. I can recall telling myself, you can’t just keep being a weirdo. You can’t be ugly AND crazy. Nobody bounces back from that shit.

It wasn’t overnight, but eventually I broke myself of my OCD habits by reminding myself that being weird wasn’t an option, which now I think is so stupid because weird is interesting and not stupid. Anyway, I imagined myself doing "normal" things like all the other "normal" people, pretending I was already like all the other girls at school and that soon they would all be my friends and Brad and I would be making sweet love any day now.

They say thoughts become things. The intense need I had to cease my OCD activities manifested with those activities ceasing. My desire to befriend all those little bitches in school manifested into more shallow friendships than I could even count!

*Disclaimer* Not all thoughts become things. There is a loophole in the Law of Attraction. You see, despite my deepest longing to marry Brad, he had an even deeper longing to not marry the girl who pissed in his driveway. So HIS thought became a thing. He basically fucking cancelled out my thought. That book won't tell you that part.

Every once in awhile, some of those OCD tendencies will rear their ugly little heads. These days it doesn’t take much effort to tuck them back away, and I owe it all to that tough, nerdy little weirdo who cared enough about me to not let me endure that crap as an adult. And I love her for it.

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Analyzing a child's art

You can tell a lot about how your kids will turn out by analyzing what they draw as young children. These illustrations can be quite prophetic, in fact. Recently my niece found these drawings of mine in my mom's cedar chest. Let's examine them, shall we?

Jaime art1.jpg

We'll begin with an easy one. I think I drew this somewhere around the age of ten and it's pretty self explanatory. My parents could clearly deduce that I was going to turn out to be the crazy cat lady, which is great if you have substandard expectations for your children.

Let's get inside my ten year old head for a moment. It appears the dream I had for my life was to dress like a hobo and clean up cat shit. And apparently wear Aunt Jemima head scarves because I knew I'd be too lazy to fix my hair. At ten years old, this was my brilliant plan for my life. Today this is, of course, a ridiculous notion. Who has time for a head scarf? I wear my hair in a pony tail.


Jaime art2.jpg

Next we have a drawing of a really big sock and a really little person.

Normally, this would not be a red flag to a parent because there's nothing disturbing about it on the surface. But look closer.

Obviously the sock couldn't be that fucking big, in which case any parent could reasonably conclude that their kid was destined to be a liar, or at best, someone who exaggerates a LOT. Which is a liar.

And when you think about it, all writers are liars because they just sit around and make shit up all day long. What am I? A big fat liar. Next.


Jaime3.jpg

This next one should have clued my parents in on the fact that something just ain't right. Since I can't remember what was in my head when I made this, I can only surmise that it was one of two things.

One, these are witches boiling and dismembering babies, or two, it's an evil baby dismembering other babies while two ladies sit ring-side and clap. Neither of these bode well for little me. Furthermore, this message is clearly directed at my dad. Hey Jim, give me ice cream or I'm gonna start killin' some babies. I mean, that's a pretty grandiose threat for a five year old. I can't spell "from", but you have no idea what I'm capable of mother fucker.


Jaime art4.jpg

Here we have a depiction of a female telling this charming cowboy that she's not "enchrsted".

Most parents might think, great, she doesn't plan on being a hooker. But let's dig a little deeper.

First of all, the woman is wearing a strapless bodysuit, not unlike something you'd see in Stayin' Alive. She's also wearing entirely too much makeup and has already been knocked up which means she puts out.

What's worse, she's obviously an unfit parent seeing that her baby's about to get impaled by a cactus and she’s paying no attention. I think what we have here is a textbook case of a tease playing hard to get. This is not learned behavior folks. My parents were Baptist ministers. Not really. But I obviously had an innate understanding of how to work it at the ripe old age of seven.


Jaime art5.jpg

I don't even know where to start with this one. On one side, we have the obvious "cool kids", and on the other, I can only guess that I was making fun of the mentally handicapped.

What kind of fucking asshole does that? Especially considering that I best fit in group number two when I was a kid.

But I'm obviously celebrating the misfortune of these claw-footed, mentally handicapped folks with no muscle tone, and dammit, I'm ashamed. I think my mother saved this one so I'd always know what a bad person I am.

If you have any fabulous artwork from your childhood that you’d like to share, I’ll be posting and commenting on the best ones. Winner receives (1) free digital download of their choice, so feel free to email me or leave a comment.

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The Beige Army

I’ve never been much of a ruler follower. That’s not to say that there aren’t good rules, there are. Stop at red lights, don’t beat your kids, and don’t kill people. These are examples of good and necessary rules, though there could be valid exceptions to each.

 The rules that piss me off are society’s abstract, made-up conventions for the masses. For instance, the strict list of breakfast food items that I’m told I must adhere to. One can eat oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, cereal, waffles, toast, etc. Well this list is stupid, and who came up with it in the first place, and why are they credible to make such important decisions for my entire life?

 I really love spaghetti for breakfast. Chips and hot sauce is also a staple for me. A lot of times I’ll have a big salad, and once in awhile, I’ll have a patty melt from Whataburger. But never will I ever eat oatmeal because I just don’t like it and don’t want to. The judgment I get from people about what I eat concerns me. It concerns me that people care so deeply, and in such a negative way. And I’m not talking light hearted teasing here. The people who criticize my food choices oftentimes get visibly frazzled and upset about it, as if mad at the sudden realization that I’m not following the rules they’ve so blindly followed their whole lives, and desperately wanting me to fall back in line to make their conformance somehow valid again.

 I once worked with a man who would stop by my desk each morning to see what I was eating just so he could get perturbed and give me a somber sermon on how those foods are in place for a reason. I couldn’t believe a person that petty and strange could exist, but then realized that the people on Jerry Springer exist somewhere also.

 Another one that bothers me is the Christmas tree rule. Some will say the only acceptable time period to have a tree up is between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s. Then, sometime after Thanksgiving dinner and in the time leading up to Christmas Eve, people frantically rush around, stand in lines, fight crowds, and scrape for the best deals all in the name of the sweet little baby Jesus. Bullshit.

 You should see the heads explode when I put my tree up in September. Again, people become judgmental to an alarming degree. How dare you not follow this abstract rule dictated by someone, somewhere that we do not know. But to me, this is just practical. Summer in Texas is brutal and very depressing for me. Fall and winter happen to be my happy place, so by the beginning of September when I’m ready to blow my brains out, the tree goes up. This reminds me of the happy times about to come. Also, this is when I begin doing my Christmas shopping. Instead of cramming it all in to one month and going broke, I spread it out over four months. No last-minute shopping, no crowds, no forgetting anything or anyone, and no going broke. AND I get pretty lights for longer. But I’m the crazy one.

 Try making turkey and stuffing in May. People will demand to know why you’re eating that, and they will make a snarly face. They will go tell people how weird you are, not realizing how weird it is to care in the first place.

 Try leaving at 4:55 instead of 5:00 on the dot, and watch your coworkers melt into an acidic pile of disdain.

 Like your white wine room temp? That’s not how you’re supposed to drink it! This needs to go in the fridge asap! Touch it and die bitch.

 I’m only naming a few, but I bet you could think of another ten right off the top of your head. We encounter society’s rules all day but have failed to notice anymore. Blindly falling into societal norms, no matter how dishonest they are to our inner, unique being, and scorning people who don’t do the same.

 I’ve found the same thing happening in my art, which I expected. People often ask why I would paint this, why I didn’t do this instead, and so on. I have to continually remind myself that the people trying to make me eat oatmeal and paint a beige landscape aren’t my tribe and probably aren’t doing shit with their lives.

They’re not the free thinkers of the world, and they can’t have influence in my life. These are the same people who say things like, you can’t, or that will never happen, or you should just – fill in the blank. These are the people who keep us small, and keep us from realizing the greatness in ourselves and in others. The breakfast Gestapo isn’t just here for your spaghetti, they want your soul. If you think I’m exaggerating, just try eating a piece fried chicken for breakfast and I bet I see the aftermath on YouTube. But if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t a member of the beige army, and I’m so happy to have you.

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The artist stuck in the office

It's hell being an artist stuck in a office drone's body. I’ve found there are absolutely no limits to the dumbassery that one experiences in the corporate world.

For instance, the other day we had an important department meeting to discuss critical issues. Chief among these was office chair safety. That's right. Screw the metrics. Some lady leaned over to pick up a post-it note off the floor, bumped her head on the desk and fell the fuck out of her chair. They discussed, at length, safer ways to pick up a post-it note, including getting one's fat ass out of the chair, squatting down to grab the note, and then lifting with one's legs. I wish I was kidding.

Next on the agenda was proper hand-washing technique, seeing as Ebola is lurking around every corner waiting to kill the shit out of you. They wanted each member of the department to demonstrate what they believed to be proper hand-washing procedure. They pretended not to notice the fuck off look on my face, and when it came my turn and I stared blankly at them, they went ahead on to the next person.

Thinking all the riveting subjects had finally been covered, we moved on to talk about if the department wanted to reinstate the secret pal gift program. This is where some secret pal leaves little gifts on your desk for birthdays, Valentine's Day, and your own slow death. The bosses wanted to make it clear that this would be a secret vote, as there tends to be backlash for the people who openly don't want to participate. They wanted to give them a safe way to say no, because apparently you can get your ass whacked for not wanting to leave cheap WalMart shit on your coworkers desk.

After a heated debate on how not everybody can afford five dollars every six months, I woke up from my coma only to discover they had moved on to warn us of the impending threat of birds shitting on people from the tree branch outside the south exit. It was decided that the branch should be cut, but certainly not before my wrists. When the letter opener didn't seem to be doing the trick, I tried to stick my arm in the paper shredder. It just jammed and then I slipped and fell in my own pool of blood. Maybe we should be discussing how to properly kill oneself when standard office supplies fail.

I find it’s these kind of meetings and over-inflated petty topics that really make the weekdays unbearable for me. It’s rough. Being a creative person is pretty challenging when you don't have a soul anymore. When I get home at 5:30 after looking at a screen of numbers all day, switching gears can be an effort. Normally, I partake in a little wine infusion to get the creativity flowing, and to dull the memory of the last nine hours, only to do it all over again the next day. There are times when I literally don’t think I have one day left to give. And then the electric bill is due.

I really feel for the creative people of the world who are stuck at desks, losing hope. I’m in it with you and I feel your pain. For now, let’s dry our eyes and agree to just make the best of it. What’s your stupid office story? Tell me all about it in the comments.

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Non-alcoholic wine review

Artists drink. It’s just what we do. However, awhile back I made the decision to take a hiatus from alcohol. Because I really, really like wine, I decided to give some of the non-alcoholic varieties a shot so I wouldn't have to completely suffer.

So far I've tried five different kinds and, because I'm awesome and I love you, I'm saving you the time and money by providing a thorough review of my fake wine experience.

ARIEL CHARDONNAY

The first wine I tried was the Ariel brand Chardonnay. I found this at the local Twin Liquors and I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. With only 45 calories per 8 ounce serving, I was pretty sure this was going to be a winner. Plus Ariel described it as having a "distinctive combination of buttery apple and butterscotch combined with a toasty French oak bouquet". YUMMY!

Upon my initial swallow of this wine, however, none of these descriptions came to mind. Instead, it tasted more like the bitter tears of starving babies with the nutty finish of death and despair.

To be more specific, and literally speaking, if I had poured a glass of chardonnay one month ago, left it out on the patio table in the rain, then allowed the sun to beat down on it to finish it off, the Ariel Chardonnay would be the result of that.

Ariel says to try it with spaghetti carbonara, mango mahi-mahi, sautéed scallops, or crispy duck. If I were to pair it with anything, it would be a life ending handful of Xanax.

Moving on.

ARIEL CABERNET SAUVIGNON

After the Chardonnay experience, I was very hesitant to try the next wine I picked out. I wept silently as I poured the glass of Ariel brand Cabernet Sauvignon.

After wiping the tears from my eyes, I was able to make out that this was an "oak-aged Cabernet Sauvignon (with) aromas of black currants, cherry, blueberries and chocolate, with soft tannins and a dry finish". At 52 calories per 8 ounce serving, you're still looking at far fewer calories than regular wine, and if you throw up afterward it's zero! It's always important to look on the bright side of things.

My first taste of this wine was far more pleasant than dying babies. In fact, it was actually very nice and didn't necessarily taste like it was non-alcoholic. When I had my friends try it, they didn't seem to notice that anything was missing either. I liked it. I drank the shit out of that stuff, and I would do it again.

Ariel recommends trying this with manchego, carne asada, Texas chili, or wood-fired pizza. For this wine, I would choose to live another day.

FRE MERLOT

I decided to stop at the grocery store and see if they carried the Ariel brand wine. They didn't, but they did have the Fre brand Merlot. After a decent Cabernet Sauvignon experience, I found myself looking forward to my first non-alcoholic Merlot and another company's take on alcohol removed wine.

This wine weighed in a little heavier at 70 calories per 8 ounce glass, but I wasn't too worried about that. After all, "with its plush, luxurious taste, and gorgeous garnet color, (it) delivers plenty of style and grace. With seductive black plum aromas and soft cherry and spice flavors, (it's) velvety smooth, with a full, rich finish—a classic beauty". After reading that, I just wanted to make out with the damn thing. My friend interrupted the whole affair by tapping my shoulder, requesting that I quit french kissing the bottle and take a swig for God's sake.

When I did just that, I suddenly felt like a creepy pedophile. I hadn't been making out with seductive and luxurious Merlot at all! I'd been making out with children's grape juice! I called her son over to take a sip. With the discriminating palate of an eleven year old, he described the wine as "unsweet grape juice, tastes like dooky". Dooky, indeed. Unsweet dooky.

Fre recommends pairing this wine with herb-crusted lamb chops, hearty stews, juicy hamburgers, pizza and movie night. I paired mine with the dumpster.

I do not recommend this Merlot, for it is yucky.

Next.

FRE RED BLEND

Because stopping at the grocery store is on my way home and the liquor store isn't, I decided to give the Fre brand another shot with its Red Blend. If I could give Ariel another try after that near death experience of mine, I could certainly do the same for Fre. Sometimes second chances are good.

After having been burned with that fucking Merlot, it was hard to just put my heart out there and trust again. Like the Merlot, it too was 70 calories per 8 ounce glass. My friend gave me the pep talk, told me to quit acting like a sissy and drink the damn wine.

Fre claimed that this wine "offers a deep ruby color and ripe, black cherry scented aromas. Smooth and rich, it offers plenty of bright, grape, and cherry fruit with an intriguing smoky flavor. (It) ends with a long, fruity, lingering finish". I must admit, I was slightly fearful of that lingering finish if it were anything like some of the others.

I decided to just rip the band-aid and take a big swallow. To my delight, I didn't die, nor did I wish to. Instead, in this Red Blend I found yet another reason to live, right behind kittens and payday.

This wine made me want to move to a cabin in the woods, sit by the fire and tell charming stories of that time I found a non-alcoholic wine that didn't make me want to succumb to Tuberculosis.

It's lovely and I recommend it.

FRE BRUT

Last on my list is a little something I picked up from a different liquor store on New Year's Eve. The Fre Brut is non-alcoholic champagne type stuff, and is described as follows:

"From the cascades of tiny bubbles to the effervescent fizz in the glass, our alcohol-removed sparkling wine makes any occasion feel a little more special. A steadily ascending stream of bubbles rises in the glass, releasing a fragrant bouquet. Green apple and ripe pear aromas tickle your nose, while crisp flavors of apple and strawberry delight your palate. Our Brut is beautifully balanced with a pleasantly dry, refreshing finish."

I found this description to be somewhat misleading. In fact, I plan to submit my prose to Fre to replace this bullshit description. What it should say is this:

"The cascades of tiny bubbles are like a motherfucking awesome bomb went off in your mouth. The crisp flavors of badassery and I can't believe it's not wine will easily trick your friends into thinking they're actually boozing it up. This is a no shit winner and is the reason I never actually have to drink alcohol ever again."

I've gone through no fewer than ten bottles of this stuff. It's 90 fat-ass calories per 8 ounce glass make it totally no better than wine, but love is blind. Plus you feel all classy and shit, with all those bubbles. People think you're rich. Buy this now.

If there’s anything else you’d like me to helpfully review, feel free to let me know in the comments. Have a gorgeous day!

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Death by Scrabble

Today I wanted to share with you my favorite short story EVER. Unfortunately I didn't write it, because I'm not that clever. It's called Death by Scrabble, and as far as I'm concerned, Charlie Fish is a genius. Enjoy!

 

DEATH BY SCRABBLE

written by Charlie Fish

 

It's a hot day and I hate my wife.

We're playing Scrabble. That's how bad it is. I'm 42 years old, it's a blistering hot Sunday afternoon and all I can think of to do with my life is to play Scrabble.

I should be out, doing exercise, spending money, meeting people. I don't think I've spoken to anyone except my wife since Thursday morning. On Thursday morning I spoke to the milkman.

My letters are crap.

I play, appropriately, BEGIN. With the N on the little pink star. Twenty-two points.

I watch my wife's smug expression as she rearranges her letters. Clack, clack, clack. I hate her. If she wasn't around, I'd be doing something interesting right now. I'd be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I'd be starring in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. I'd be sailing the Vendee Globe on a 60-foot clipper called the New Horizons - I don't know, but I'd be doing something.

She plays JINXED, with the J on a double-letter score. 30 points. She's beating me already. Maybe I should kill her.

If only I had a D, then I could play MURDER. That would be a sign. That would be permission.

I start chewing on my U. It's a bad habit, I know. All the letters are frayed. I play WARMER for 22 points, mainly so I can keep chewing on my U.

As I'm picking new letters from the bag, I find myself thinking - the letters will tell me what to do. If they spell out KILL, or STAB, or her name, or anything, I'll do it right now. I'll finish her off.

My rack spells MIHZPA. Plus the U in my mouth. Damn.

The heat of the sun is pushing at me through the window. I can hear buzzing insects outside. I hope they're not bees. My cousin Harold swallowed a bee when he was nine, his throat swelled up and he died. I hope that if they are bees, they fly into my wife's throat.     She plays SWEATIER, using all her letters. 24 points plus a 50 point bonus. If it wasn't too hot to move I would strangle her right now.

I am getting sweatier. It needs to rain, to clear the air. As soon as that thought crosses my mind, I find a good word. HUMID on a double-word score, using the D of JINXED. The U makes a little splash of saliva when I put it down. Another 22 points. I hope she has lousy letters.

She tells me she has lousy letters. For some reason, I hate her more.

She plays FAN, with the F on a double-letter, and gets up to fill the kettle and turn on the air conditioning.

It's the hottest day for ten years and my wife is turning on the kettle. This is why I hate my wife. I play ZAPS, with the Z doubled, and she gets a static shock off the air conditioning unit. I find this remarkably satisfying.

She sits back down with a heavy sigh and starts fiddling with her letters again. Clack clack. Clack clack. I feel a terrible rage build up inside me. Some inner poison slowly spreading through my limbs, and when it gets to my fingertips I am going to jump out of my chair, spilling the Scrabble tiles over the floor, and I am going to start hitting her again and again and again.

The rage gets to my fingertips and passes. My heart is beating. I'm sweating. I think my face actually twitches. Then I sigh, deeply, and sit back into my chair. The kettle starts whistling. As the whistle builds it makes me feel hotter.

She plays READY on a double-word for 18 points, then goes to pour herself a cup of tea. No I do not want one.

I steal a blank tile from the letter bag when she's not looking, and throw back a V from my rack. She gives me a suspicious look. She sits back down with her cup of tea, making a cup-ring on the table, as I play an 8-letter word: CHEATING, using the A of READY. 64 points, including the 50-point bonus, which means I'm beating her now.

She asks me if I cheated.

I really, really hate her.

She plays IGNORE on the triple-word for 21 points. The score is 153 to her, 155 to me.

The steam rising from her cup of tea makes me feel hotter. I try to make murderous words with the letters on my rack, but the best I can do is SLEEP.

My wife sleeps all the time. She slept through an argument our next-door neighbours had that resulted in a broken door, a smashed TV and a Teletubby Lala doll with all the stuffing coming out. And then she bitched at me for being moody the next day from lack of sleep.

If only there was some way for me to get rid of her.

I spot a chance to use all my letters. EXPLODES, using the X of JINXED. 72 points. That'll show her.

As I put the last letter down, there is a deafening bang and the air conditioning unit fails.

My heart is racing, but not from the shock of the bang. I don't believe it - but it can't be a coincidence. The letters made it happen. I played the word EXPLODES, and it happened - the air conditioning unit exploded. And before, I played the word CHEATING when I cheated. And ZAP when my wife got the electric shock. The words are coming true. The letters are choosing their future. The whole game is - JINXED.

My wife plays SIGN, with the N on a triple-letter, for 10 points.

I have to test this.

I have to play something and see if it happens. Something unlikely, to prove that the letters are making it happen. My rack is ABQYFWE. That doesn't leave me with a lot of options. I start frantically chewing on the B.

I play FLY, using the L of EXPLODES. I sit back in my chair and close my eyes, waiting for the sensation of rising up from my chair. Waiting to fly.

Stupid. I open my eyes, and there's a fly. An insect, buzzing around above the Scrabble board, surfing the thermals from the tepid cup of tea. That proves nothing. The fly could have been there anyway.

I need to play something unambiguous. Something that cannot be misinterpreted. Something absolute and final. Something terminal. Something murderous.

My wife plays CAUTION, using a blank tile for the N. 18 points.

My rack is AQWEUK, plus the B in my mouth. I am awed by the power of the letters, and frustrated that I cannot wield it. Maybe I should cheat again, and pick out the letters I need to spell SLASH or SLAY.

Then it hits me. The perfect word. A powerful, dangerous, terrible word.

I play QUAKE for 19 points.

I wonder if the strength of the quake will be proportionate to how many points it scored. I can feel the trembling energy of potential in my veins. I am commanding fate. I am manipulating destiny.

My wife plays DEATH for 34 points, just as the room starts to shake.

I gasp with surprise and vindication - and the B that I was chewing on gets lodged in my throat. I try to cough. My face goes red, then blue. My throat swells. I draw blood clawing at my neck. The earthquake builds to a climax.

I fall to the floor. My wife just sits there, watching.

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You'll Die. Period.

The is the true story of the time my father explained my period to me. Every time I tell this story, he gets mad because he says it's not true. But it is true, he just doesn't want anyone to know what a heathen he is. And I have always felt obliged to tell it to the world.

When I was twelve, I started my period in Literature class and had no damn idea what was going on. I had heard some of the girls talk about this secret club they were in, but I was pretty sure this wasn't it, because who'd wanna be in that shitty club?

Back in the day, we didn't get sex ed or health class until sixth grade, so I didn't recall hearing anything about this particular phenomena. I was scared.

So I went home and my dad was lounging in his favorite chair. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Dad, I need to go to the doctor."

Dad: "What's wrong?"

Me: "I'm bleeding."

He looks up, interested. "Where?"

Me: "Uhhh..." I kind of look down. Then back up at him.

He leans up in his chair, very slowly, restraining a half-assed smile. "Uhh...shit. Don't tell me they haven't talked about this at school."

Me: "Talked about what?"

Dad: "Son of a bitch." He laughs for what seemed like a really long time. "Well sit down."

He leaves and returns with my childhood toys. What were once called pirates and ships had now apparently become tampons and pads. Suddenly I realized why my mom got onto me when I played with them on the front porch. Because they were a part of something evil. Tampons and Ouija boards...not to be fucked with.

So my dad tells me a little something about each of them and then goes into appropriate detail on the basic mechanics of how this stuff works. He then assures me he doesn't know the specifics about the fancy ones, like the ones that have wings and such. He tells me I'll have to take that up with my mother, but for now this should do.

I guess he thought he was done. That that was the grand finale of this conversation, but I'm sorry. This was a blow to the plans I had for my life. I'm twelve and this thing was bullshit. I had questions!

Me: "Why am I having this?"

Dad: "Beats the shit out of me. All girls have it."

Me: "Till when?"

Dad: "Every month. Till you get old."

Me: "What?! Why?!"

Dad: "Didn't you ever read the story about Adam and Eve?"

Me: "That story was about a snake and an apple."

Dad: "Nothing gets by you."

Me: "I don't get it."

Dad: "Well that's just the way it goes. First your money, then your clothes."

Me: "What?"

Dad: "Anyway, do you have any more questions?"

I did have another question. It was the most important question I had ever asked in my life, and my dad would be the person to answer it. We were about to make a memory.

Me: "Well Dad. Does your blood replace itself?"

He looks me straight in the eye.

Dad: "No. After a few more of these, you'll die."

True story.

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Cats and their double standards

Ah kitty cats. We love them. We spend hours online looking at them. But have you ever really given any thought to the double standards cats have in relation to humans? Let’s take a look.

  1. Cats can kill things and totally get away with it. They are natural born killers. Not only is this quality expected in a feline, but it’s encouraged. They often express their love and affection by leaving a dead bird or mouse at the doorstep of their person. Their person will then reward this adorable behavior with a snack, several kisses, and a bragulatory Facebook post. This only works for cats, though. Suppose a person were to drag a dead carcass up to a loved one’s doorstep. People would get all bitchy about that. Adorable is not the word the authorities would use, and it would not be rewarded with a display of affection or a treat. But cats can murder freely and lick their ass right afterward like it meant nothing. They are cold, sociopathic killers that we trust to sleep at our necks at night because they’re cute. So messed up.

  2. Cats can have thirteen baby daddies and have sex in public and nobody blinks an eye. They are exhibitionists like no other, licking their asses, hissing, fighting and indiscriminately screwing. They have eight babies at a time and leave them at home alone right as soon as they’re born. They are the epitome of what my mother would consider to be a heathen, yet they are the most widely adored animal in the world. Cats have the freedom to behave any damn way they choose and no one will judge them for it. In fact, we happily stay behind and take care of the kittens when mom has gone off gallivanting like she owns the place. When she comes back hissing for us to get away from her kids, what do we do? We get away. Like little bitches. Then later, the same cat will jump up and lay on your face like you weren’t even using it. Again, not something people can get by with.

  3. Cats have nine lives. This means they can mortally fuck up eight times without any real and lasting consequences. People brag on cats for how many lives they’ve used up as if it’s a badge of honor, not a mark of stupidity like it would be for a human. If this were a person, it would be a tearful episode of Intervention where some poor grandma would blabber on about how she can no longer watch Jimmy destroy himself. No one would high five him or give him any credit for still having three legit lives left. They would just read their letters and sob, vowing to not let him back in the house until he straightened up. Meanwhile the same judgmental family would build a hole in their door so the cat could get in and out with its latest victim.

  4. Cats don’t have to have any special skills or know the right people to be famous on YouTube. All they have to do is cat things. Even just a regular sleeping cat can cause a rumble across the interwebs. Nobody cares about a regular sleeping person. People have to jump through hoops to get noticed and get famous. A cat just has to be hairy and cute. They need no talents or even a good personality. They can be assholes and go viral in fifteen seconds. Cats can get through life on looks alone. Not people. No, we get wrinkly and old and at some point better either have a good personality or know something. A cat is cute until it’s elderly and dies. It doesn’t have to know shit, be nice, or have any redeeming qualities whatsoever. That is bullshit. 

  5. A cat’s sanity never comes into question when it randomly attacks people and other animals. This is what cats do. They practice for murder. Ankles, other pets, babies and feet in the middle of the night are all fair game, and then some. Afterward, the tired kitty will take a nap. People cannot get by with this shit. Random attacks earn special gifts known as a felonies with the added bonus of a protective order. People just don’t understand when you tell them you’re brushing up on your murder skills. A cat can literally crawl up your leg with its claws sunk into your flesh and you wouldn’t do a damn thing about it. Guess what. I scratch a bitch, I’m going to jail.

These are just a few of the many double standards that cats enjoy. Examined more closely, the little bastards aren’t really all that precious.

But don’t tell my cat I said that.

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Encounters with asshats

I’ve found it can be pretty tough to stay positive and strong when, many times, we’re surrounded by people who are the exact opposite. It’s hard to keep the momentum of positivity going in a world with other humans who don’t always share our delightful personalities and opinions. We have to decide whether or not we let these dirtbags affect us.

I first discovered this when I was just five years old. Several other kids and I stayed with my babysitter Margie. Margie was old school. We either took our asses outside to play or we took our asses outside to play. Those were our options. And we played until she unlocked the door and let us back in, which could be hours. Or worse. Once we went thirty-seven days barefoot in a snowstorm. It was the seventies.

OK. I made that part up. There was no snowstorm, because it was August in Texas. We actually fucking melted to death and then shriveled up into a dehydrated chicharon pile in the middle of the street. Margie would come out, add water and we’d puff right back up. This is how resilient we were. We were free range children before free range presented you with a complimentary CPS case. It was survival of the fittest out there - no place for sissies. We were combating the elements, navigating complicated relationships with neighborhood bullies, and jousting fire ants the size of house cats.

One particular day I was playing in the dirt by myself. This was pretty customary because the other kids were older than me and had many other valid reasons besides age for not wanting to hang out with me. These reasons included, but were not limited to, my bizarre quirks, social awkwardness and sociopathic propensities. I was always keeping my eye out for a kid who didn’t know me yet so I could have a friend for at least a short bit before their instincts to flee kicked in.  

From my dirt pile, I spotted three new kids I’d never seen before approaching a dividing fence just a few feet away. “Hi!” I immediately called out. They ignored me, continuing their conversation and poking at something on the other side of the fence. I determined that they must not have heard me. “Hi!” I yelled louder, this time waving my arms just in case they didn’t see me.

They looked up at me and then exchanged glances, smirking. Happy they’d acknowledged me, I reached out further. “Wanna play?”

They looked at one another again, this time searching the others faces for a silent sign of unanimity. After a moment, the girl let a burst of laughter out and said, “Sure. Come sit down right there.” She pointed to a patch of ground on the other side of the fence. They two boys covered their faces, chuckling as I approached. “Right there”, the girl reiterated, pointing to the ground. “And we’ll sit over here.”

Their side of the fence was a person’s yard, and the grass was green and plush. The spot she pointed to was just a regular patch of dirt, no different than where I’d been playing previously. I sensed no danger and so I consented, taking a seat across from my new friends. I began to chatter to them about my cat’s new litter of kittens when they began to snicker, and then laugh louder. I was a hit! They must have thought I was really funny. This is what I’d been waiting for my entire short little life; someone to come along and finally see how fantastic I was, as they obviously had.

Just when I was getting to the good part of the story, I realized that perhaps that weren’t laughing at my witty delivery. The epiphany came in the form of a sharp pain on my back first, and then one after another in places all over my body. My brain was still processing what was happening when I looked down and noticed I’d been sitting in a fire ant pile. Remember that the fire ants in Texas are the size of house cats, and I was now covered in them. I jumped up and began to flail my body in such a way to fling them off, which set the evil trio into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Those fucking criminals had set me in that ant pile on purpose just to watch me die.

By now I was screaming actual bloody murder. Grown-ups can tell the difference in a scream that means one is actually about to die or a scream that means one is melting into a recoverable chicharon pile in the street. Margie sensed the urgency and immediately came outside. I don’t remember what she said to those little fucking assholes, but they took off running and didn’t look back. Meanwhile Margie beat off the ants that still happened to be attached to my body, and then carried me inside to tend to my wounds.

Then she made me a delectable dish christened Margie’s Mess and let me stay inside with her the rest of the week and watch Days of Our Lives. Occasionally I’d look out the window at the poor bastards writhing to death in the Texas heat and hope that they, too, could have a near death experience of their own to award them a little time on the inside.

Looking back, learning about assholes at such a young age properly prepared me for all the ones to come in the future. I imagine that, if those kids kept going like that their entire life, they’re probably in some pretty miserable circumstances right now. When I encounter someone like this as an adult, I always wonder what kind of pain is driving them toward that crappy behavior. But what I know now is, it has nothing to do with me, and it’s nothing personal. Giving away your power to someone who doesn’t even matter is the worse kind of self deception.

Those little shits still came back the next week and shot me in the ass with a BB gun. To this day I don’t know who they were, but they taught me who I never wanted to be, and I’ll be forever grateful for that. What’s your experience with people like this? Do you let them get the best of you, or let it roll right off your back? Leave a comment below.

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5 books that will help you be a happier human

If you struggle to be a happy, well-functioning human like I often do, here are five books that might make the effort a little easier. I know they helped me beyond measure, and I believe there’s magic in each one. For optimal results - listen, rinse, repeat.

THE POWER by Rhonda Byrne

I’m a giant Audible fan, and I bet I’ve listened to this book thirty times. Rhonda talks about what it takes to draw what we want to us. The message is super simple: show love to what you love, and think about what you love rather than thinking about what you don’t love. Think about what you want rather than what you don’t want. Essentially, whatever your focus is on, you’re drawing more of that to you. So if you’re constantly focusing on how broke you are, the universe is giving you more opportunities to be broke. But the real power she’s talking about is love. I certainly don’t explain it as well as Rhonda does, so give it a listen. And I know, the concepts are easier said than done. It takes brain training, but the time’s going to pass either way, so may as well make the best use of your time.

CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsch

This book starts when Neal Donald Walsch was having a shitty time of it and decided to write a letter to God to complain. Of course he never expected a response, but as he finished his letter, his hand kept writing on its own, providing the answers to his questions. This is basically what is called a channeled text, where spirit speaks through someone. Don’t let this be too ‘woowoo’ for you. Give it a chance. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I reread every chance I get. This book gives answers to probably every question ever asked, and most of it really resonated with me. Why are we here? Why do bad things happen to good people? Is there heaven and hell? Why am I so unhappy? What’s the point? I could go on and on. Life changing stuff. Do it.

THE LAW OF ATTRACTION by Esther and Jerry Hicks

This is another channeled text, except these spirits actually speak through Esther Hicks. This is some good shit. The essence of the book is an explanation of why we’re getting what we’re getting in life, and how to turn the tide if you don’t like what you’re getting. These spirits suggest that by setting intentions and amping your wanting and/or believing, there’s no way to fail. They explain the pitfalls people encounter when trying to manifest what they want, and how to avoid these pitfalls. By using our feelings, we can draw the wanted or the unwanted, and they explain how to know if you’re on the right track. This is another I’ve listened to so many times I’ve lost count. When I’m feeling low, this is my go to.

DYING TO BE ME by Anita Moorjani

Oh my God, this book. I’m such a fan of this woman Anita Moorjani and her message. The book tells the story of her being sick with cancer, her near death experience, and her return to a cancer free body. Anita shares all she learned about illness, healing, fear, love, and the true magnificence of each and every human being. Anyone with a fear of cancer or any other illness should own this book and absorb every word. Powerful stuff. This woman is a true blessing to this world.

THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen

My sister thinks Joel is creepy, but I love the shit out of him. He may be a pastor, but there’s nothing preachy about him. He makes me feel like I just took a positive word shower. In this book he explains that whatever follows the words "I am" will always come looking for you. So, when you go through the day saying: "I am blessed"...blessings pursue you. "I am talented"...talent follows you. "I am fat"...a fat ass heads your way. "I am sick"...expect the flu, baby.

Joel tells many funny stories and really explains in detail where he’s coming from. I love this book and I know you will too.

I have all the books mentioned above on Audible, and the narration for each of these is really fantastic. If you can find the audio books, do it! Leave a comment and let me know what you think about these books. God bless!

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How my art journey began

I never painted a picture in my life until I was forty-three years old. I did like to draw when I was a kid, but the last sketch I did was when I was seventeen years old. For twenty-six years, I made no art of any kind that I can recall. I did like to write, and had a couple of blogs over the years, but I always abandoned writing for drinking in the garage. By myself. With only my resentful thoughts of being trapped in the corporate world and my complete inability to write a decent sentence.

My mother oil-painted when I was a kid, and she asked me years later if I wanted her paint cabinet full of treasures. Sure, I’ll take it. I didn’t know what I’d do with it, but I loved the smell of the oils, and the feel of the brushes, and the romantic idea of putting something beautiful on a canvas. That cabinet sat around for about 5 years before I decided to try to paint something.

My first attempt at painting was absolutely shocking to me. This is good, I thought. I didn’t mean it in a braggy way, but in the sweet and encouraging way we would treat ourselves if we weren’t so busy talking shit all day. In all the years of writing, I’d never found compassion for myself the way I found in art. For some reason it was OK to paint something crappy. It was OK to use the wrong colors or overuse the linseed oil, because it was still fun and made me feel great. I could make something ridiculous and know that in a museum somewhere was a piece just as stupid looking. How cool is that.

In writing, it was perfection only, no room for errors. It had become very unfun because of the tyrant behind the keyboard, and I was sick of that bitch.

Though my work circumstances haven’t changed any from the days of drinking alone in the garage, my worldview is completely different because of art. This is not to say there isn’t sometimes wine and a garage in the mix, but there’s always art. Every day when I get home from work, I do something creative. I don’t care how emotionally and mentally wiped out I am, I know the only way to feel better is to create. I’d even go so far as to say that if it weren’t for art, I’m not even sure I’d be alive right now. That’s real talk.

Most of the people I work with have been at the company for 25+ years. The receptionist has been there longer than I’ve been alive, 46 years. Forty fucking six years at the same place, in the same office, with the same people, in the same parking space, doing the same job. I can say without a doubt I’d have slathered myself in pancake syrup and jumped into a den of Ebola-infested rats by now if I knew that was my future.

This is not to say that the place I work is bad, or even that I have a bad boss or bad coworkers. None of those things are true. I’m just not made for it. It’s not in my code. I envy the people who carry on happily for decades in a corporation feeling secure and grounded. For me, nothing makes me more insecure or less grounded than fences, cubicles, monotony, and rules. The absolute suffocation and energy draw is just too much. It takes five hours of art a night to decompress from the previous nine hours in a 10 x 10 cell.

But it’s keeping me alive. It’s giving me hope. For the first time in maybe ever, I’m looking forward to ten and twenty years from now. That is 100% due to art.

The goal? Become a free-range human by doing what I love to do. It’s my wish that every person in this world discovers what sets their hearts on fire and enjoys abundance because of it.

I hope you’ll join me in the journey to becoming a free-range human. I’m sending out good juju to you all! Can you feel it?

Leave a comment. What’s your experience? What sets your heart on fire?

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My favorite poem of all time

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by Valerie Cox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. . .grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

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AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

By Portia Nelson

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Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place
but, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.


I just love this. I just began my walk down another street, and it’s amazing. Much love!

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Live Long and Prosper

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I’m a big Star Trek fan, and especially a fan of Spock. When I think of aliens, I immediately think of the Vulcans and Klingons of the old, funny episodes and movies. This painting reminded me of a story my dad once told me, since we’re on the subject of aliens.

My eighty-three year old dad is notorious for his crazy stories and super, super lazy ways. He’s come up with some real whoppers, and it seems the older he gets, the more outlandish these stories tend to get. He almost had me…

Dad: You won't believe what happened to me this morning.

Me: What happened?

Dad: Well, I got up to have my breakfast and morning coffee...(my dad wakes up about 1:30 am to have breakfast and coffee)...and while I was sitting out here on the porch, I saw these bright lights up in the sky.

Me: What was it?

Dad: Well who's telling the damn story? Now listen. Here I’m having my coffee when I see these lights off in the distance, and as they get closer I see that they're cylindrical in shape like a saucer of some sort.

Me: No shit.

Dad: No shit. So as it gets closer and closer, I realize, well son of a - it's coming down to land in our yard, and it's the biggest alien spaceship I've ever seen!

Me: You've seen many alien spaceships?

Dad: Now look shithead. Do you want to hear what happened or not?

Me: Yes. I want to hear what happened.

Dad: So as I was saying, it's coming down to land down there near the pond at the bottom of the hill. So I head a little ways down the hill to get a closer look. Now keep in mind I've got my pistol on me; you have to always be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for anything. You never know what can happen, see.

Me: What happened all the other times you saw spaceships?

Dad: You're a bad listener. A very obstinate listener. You'll never be successful in your career if you can't listen and soak in what the speaker is saying, kid. You want an example? This same thing was a big problem with Eisenhower when that son of a -

Me: Get back to the aliens. I'm listening.

Dad: Well anyway, I've got my pistol out, and as they land, all this thick smoke barrels out. I can't see anything. But when it starts to clear, I see these little human-like forms standing outside the ship.

Me: Whoah...

Dad: Well YEAH whoah. So I move a little closer, and one of those little fuckers starts to make a move, see...

Me: Like...it busted a move, or it was going for a light saber? What kind of move are we talking about?

Dad: <gives ultra dirty look> Are you going to take this serious or not?

Me: I am taking it seriously, but aliens probably like to dance too. I thought maybe it could be his way of breaking the ice.

Dad: Well no. He wasn't trying to break the ice. And light sabers are science fiction. Jesus. <shakes head in disgust>. You think Star Wars is the real deal? C'mon kid. Get a grip. The aliens have much more advanced technology than that.

Me: Oh. Sorry.

Dad: So he makes a move for his laser apparatus, and keep in mind it's bright as shit out there, so I can see everything these shady little bastards are trying to do. See, I ain't stupid. I was on to them. Before the little one in front could get me, I got his ass. When I shot him, purple blood spewed out, and that's when the rest of them started shooting. You outta seen it! Sparks were flying all over the yard, so I hid over there behind that barrel.

Me: The barrel with no shooting holes in it?

Dad: You don't even know what you're talking about. Do you understand laser technology? I didn't think so. So anyhow, there must have been seven or eight of them, and I got most of them - there were purple pools of blood everywhere, but then I ran out of bullets...

Me: Oh shit...

Dad: Yeah. So the closest gun I had was up the hill in my shed. So I take off running up the hill...

Me: Stop there.

Dad: What?

Me: This just got a little far fetched for me. You didn't run up any damn hill. This whole story is bullshit.

Dad: Shithead.

I never did hear the end of that story, or see any evidence of slaughtered aliens, but he assures me I'm too simple minded to get it. Instead, I heard the story of how all of Eisenhower's problems stemmed from not listening. Halfway through that story I killed myself, so I never got to be a better listener.

But I will probably work on some more Star Trek characters. Who is your favorite?

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Crazy Cat Lady

I’ve always been a cat person, which of course means I search cat things from time to time to entertain myself. I came across the collage masterpiece below, which inspired my painting of the Crazy Cat Lady. For me, this painting represents the psychosis that so often accompanies individuals with a proclivity for cats. I too, once held the misguided belief that more cats = more fun.

There was a time in my life where I thought I knew what would make me happiest in this world. That was, of course, petting cats for a living. That was the dream.

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However, while basking in the idea of petting kittens all day, something else occurred to me. After a while, wouldn’t even petting kittens get a little old? I bet in the kitten business there are probably politics just like with every other job. Just imagine...

Dear Diary,

 Week 1

Wow! This is the best job I've ever had! I am the luckiest person alive! I can't believe they pay me twenty dollars an hour to pet FUZZY KITTENS! They are so adorable and sweet. I could never ask for a better situation. I will retire from here. I'm setting up my 401k today! I'm so excited. All the cats love me, and I love them. My life is finally perfect. I would do this for free. I can't wipe the smile off my face.

 Week 2

What a great job! I really can't believe my luck. I'm getting to know all the cats better, what they do and don't like, whose stomach you can touch and who will hand you back a nub. You know, it's a learning experience for sure. But I am so lucky and this is great! My paycheck was amazing. They don't provide Neosporin here, but God knows I get paid enough; I'll just drop by CVS on my way home.

 Week 3

I'm so happy. Really I am. Yep...I love this place. Having some issues with this cat named Oscar, but otherwise things are going fairly well. Apparently I'm showing favoritism, or so they alleged in my beginner evaluation. I don't see it, but whatever. I like them all the same, and I'm sure I’m not showing preference. But I will just have to be more careful of it is all. Just a bad week; things will be better I'm sure. How can they not be? I'm PETTING KITTENS ALL DAY!

 Week 4

Going great still. Can an online diary get me in trouble at work? Just asking, because I need to vent. That little bastard Oscar set me up. He's turned half the cats against me, and the rest are wondering if they can trust me. Oscar is saying I'm spreading ringworm, so nobody wants to come near me. I'm sure I got it from his fat ass the first week anyway. He's a nasty little character. And since my insurance hasn't kicked in yet, I had to spend $200 at the doctor’s office trying to get this shit cleared up. OH - and they're docking my pay because all the cats have to be treated now. I think it's BS, but this is still one of the best jobs I've ever had. Maybe if I just reach out to Oscar we can clear this whole mess up.

 Week 5

Turns out Oscar's a real piece of shit. I'll tell you that much. I need a fucking raise if they expect me to put up with all this crap. I'm down to only three cats who will associate with me, and probably only because none of the other cats like them. But it's a blessing to know who my true friends are. I'm sure Tripod, the three legged one, is my BFF to the end. We're tight. I know I shouldn't complain. No job is perfect. I'll hang in there and everything will be better soon! I just know it!

 Week 6

Fuck this place!!! Fuck Oscar, and all the rest of the little bastards! I did not, I REPEAT DID NOT, shit in the litter box as accused. I know it was a big one, but that could have easily come out of Oscar. And just why would I do that anyway? Management doesn't believe me. They've installed cameras and are saying they are investigating alleged 'abuses'. WHAT?!

So I'm on a ninety day probation period now. They say there must be some element of truth to it because, as it stands, it's all thirty cats against me. I HATE THEM ALL. I would quit, but my lawyer says that would be almost like an admission of guilt. And no thanks to Tripod either. The little Judas just continued licking his ass when they asked if anyone would speak on my behalf. God give me strength.

 Six weeks later.....

I know it's been awhile since my last entry. I just came out of the coma, and I'm encouraged by the fact that I still have my writing arm. I don't remember much of the attack, but I hear the video has hit YouTube. Friends and family insist I don't want to see it.

Apparently it all started when I slipped on some cat food. Once I was down they made their move. I never saw it coming. I'm told I'll need skin grafts for the flesh on my thigh that was eaten away, but it will probably never look normal again. I'm not one to wear shorts that much anyway.

I guess I should be happy justice has finally been served. All the accused were justly dealt with, because apparently once they get the taste of human flesh they can never be rehabilitated. Oscar was, of course, the overlord.

Being the optimist I am, the lawsuit will provide for me the rest of my life. And isn't the perfect job really just being able to stay home? I'm so excited. I just know everything will be perfect! I get to watch soaps all day, eat snacks and just do any damn thing I want. Now that, my friends, is the perfect job.

P.S. OH, and I'm getting a dog!!! Turns out the government provides dogs for those with disabilities such as mine. He's going to pull me all over town on that skateboard the hospital issued me. We're going to be best friends! You'll see.

And with that in mind, I think I’ll stick to painting cats instead :)

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