Saturday, July 31, 2010

So, That book...

There comes a point in every person's life in which they have to either shit or get off the pot. This is a saying that I first heard from my father. I can relate it to the fact that we need to get off the fence and make a decision. For me, I can talk all day about starting something and never doing it or starting something and never finishing it. I think this blog has been a great way for me to advance my writing and I have worked so very hard on editing and make all my posts be as close to perfect as possible. This year, I even went in another direction with my poetry. But, the time as come for me to get this book started.

The reasons that have stopped me have been completely irrelevant because they are all excuses. I could come up with anything that would stop me and it would just be an excuse. So, I will simply say that the main reason has been fear. I think there is a fear that I will not be able to finish it, a fear that it wont be good enough, a fear that even if it is a great book, will I be able to write another one? Again, these are all excuses that I create because success and change can be scary things.

Several people have helped me realize that I need to just do it. They know who they are and when it is all completed I will make sure that I dedicate this first book to those who few people who really believe in my ability. I am not talking about the normal conversation in where I say I am going to write a book and they tell me they want a copy. I am talking about helping me to understand the idea of character development and outlining a book.

So, instead of recreating the wheel, I have decided to expand a short story and build a novel around it. It has taken me a few weeks to get the point that I am right now. I have reshaped the way I want this story to go and have outlined the first six chapters. More importantly, I have started chapter 1 and I think I may be almost done with it. Now, I am a firm believer in constant edits so what I have now will not be what I have a few weeks from now.

For those who may have been reading this blog for awhile may recognize this story. It is called the Angel of Death and I wrote it one night about 2 years ago. I posted the short story last year on this blog and it is very raw. There are typos in it that I now recognize. I have taken that basic shell and expanded it. I feel very confident that I can get a a really good story out of all of this.

There have been other books that I had ideas about. One involving Afro-Latinos and the other my book of poems. I think I can still do what I need to do in regards to my other ideas, but I need to have a real book under my belt. I need to prove to myself that I can do this.

The premise is simple: A woman struggles with the search of the meaning to her nightmares of an Angel of Death that takes the lives of real people. Is she a medium that has been ignoring her gift or is it something more? This novel will delve into the life of a woman who's past may reveal that we all truly pay for the sins of our parents...

So this is what has been really keeping me busy outside of work and the job search...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Salsa Lessons?

My appreciation of music has been increasing more by the day. During my drive down to New York City I listened to a playlist that I created that morning. I usually put together songs that are upbeat combined with new songs and old favorites. I never stick to one genre as it. So in a particular playlist of mine you can hear house music, hip hop, rock, and bachata.

I had a feeling that I should bring my laptop just in case. I find myself in situations where no one has good music and it seems to be left up to me to provide music. But, I decided to leave the laptop behind anyway and just deal with the music I had in my iPhone. The funny thing is that I do not use my ipod much anymore although it is fully updated with all my current music. I think I need to look into doing that more because my music appreciation skills were needed at the family barbecue.

My mother and aunt, who live together, have the old school salsa hits. I have no issue with this because I LOVE the old school salsa. The problem is that this is they have blaring from a Radio/CD player. That is just no bueno because after 12 tracks we need to hear the CD all over again. So, one of my cousins brings her Bose iPod player and rocks out her music. But, still this is just not good enough for me (although I really do love her - in case she reads this lol). Toward the end of the night I decided to use my iPhone to blare my collection in which I am so proud of!

Which got me thinking that night, as I downed my endless bottles of Corona, I really need to take Salsa lessons. I mean, I am ok, but I could be better. I realized that dancing is yet another thing that has suffered over the years because of my lack of confidence. To be perfectly honest, I would rather dance any form of Latino music before I do hip hop, R&B, or house music.

I think this would be a perfect way for me to come back to NYC. I should take these lessons to get really good and just dance my weekends away. Besides, I can dance Bachata and Meringue because quite frankly, they are pretty easy. But, I grew up with Salsa music and I use to love to watch my dad dance and if you give me a few drinks, I think I can come close to emulating

This is all sparked from my cousin Karen, who has deemed me as her official dance partner. She took lessons and gave me a few pointers and I thought to myself...I need to do this. My brother/cousin has also taken some lessons and I have seen his improvement as well. So I think this will be a good investment of my time and money. I must admit that I kinda thought of getting Salsa lessons as being a little embarrassing since I am Latino and my parents have been dancing for a lot longer than I have been alive.

Yet, I consider the whole notion of me having to know how to dance Salsa in the same way I should know Spanish. My parents never really taught me. I would assume they either thought that I would learn through osmosis or that I simply wasnt interested. I can remember being dragged to dance with my mother or my aunts, but I never once remember being told my foot work was wrong or being shown to do whatever it is I needed to do.

However, I must have picked up something by the time college came around because when La LUCHA did a  banquet at Syracuse University and the music came on...I was dancing with a hot chick. So, I must have been doing something right. However, I have seen real Salseros do there thing on the dance floor and I truly cannot mess with those. One day, I hope at least get close enough to dance with any woman. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do We Know What We Want?

I was asked this weekend If I knew what I wanted and of course I said that I do. I want to be happy. I know that this is a very vague answer but it is so very simplistic in nature. Not that I consider myself old in any way, but I think that with my age and level of maturity I can really say what it is that I am searching for. I also believe that my fellow brethren who are about my age know exactly what I mean when I am vague enough to say I just want happiness.

Happiness to me is an all encompassing thing that I want to achieve in which my life is as close to bliss as possible. I realize that there are smaller goals that I need to achieve in order to work my way up to this. However, to truly achieve happiness we must first admit that we are unhappy. I think that most people in general hide the fact that they are unhappy and will deal with life because it is what it is. Of course, life is hard and there is no mistake about that.

The other thing is to understand and realize that our lives are not as bad as it could possibly be. Sure, I have my issues. I struggle everyday to survive with bills and the trying to maintain a healthy life as a single man. Not to mention the job search is not all that great. However, I have a roof over my head, I know that I can eat everyday and I have luxuries like a phone and a car. There are people in this world that cannot say that, which is why I try in my heart not to complain too much.

What it really comes down to is that we are not taught how to be happy. We are taught to be ruthless in a job market. We are taught subjects in school that we may or may not use later in life and we are definitely taught that we need to earn that money. Here is the thing: Money cannot buy love nor happiness, but it can destroy both (I am tweeting that as I write this).

Think about this and I may have said this before. We expect 18-22 year olds to decide on a major and what to do for the rest of their lives. What sucks about this is that most us do not find our true selves until our 30s. How are we supposed to manage that? What happens is that anyone us in our mid 20's can end up in a job we went to school for and end up hating it after the first year. Why? Because as soon as we graduate we are told that we need to go right into the workforce to get that money to support our habits of buying things that we ultimately do not need to survive.

This is also effects relationships as well. How many people do you know have married their college for high school sweethearts? I know of one couple who are now married and they were in love since college. That is very rare these days. People will then tell me..."well our parents have been together for so long...why cant we?" Well, genius, it is different generation and different time. Using my father as an example here, he graduated high school and went into the navy which allowed him to travel the world and see things that I never have because I went to college. What that means is that he had 4 more years of actual life experience then I would ever have.

Take that into consideration when thinking about parents who have been together for so long. When we got out of college we had to figure a way to survive at 22-23, our parents were doing it at 18-19 (and sometimes younger). Those are critical years we are talking here. Now, what makes things worse is that when I graduated in the 90s a bachelor's degree was good enough. That isn't the case now, a Master's degree is what we will all need to make the serious money. So imagine now being a college student having to stay 2-3 more years in school for something you may or may not like later in life and having to learn to survive at 24-25.

I bring all this up because I am 36 years old and I think I finally found myself. I think I am at a point in which not only can I make myself happy but I know what it will take to make another person happy. I have come to accept my own faults and deal with my place in this world. I am perfectly imperfect and I am ok with that. I spent my 20's thinking that all I needed was a woman to make my life complete only to find out that only I can fix me. Once you get to that place, fear is just an emotion you can control just like the rest.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


It has been a while since my last post. I took a self imposed break. Much of this had to do with my recent trip to New York City. I needed to unplug in many ways. While I was on twitter and facebook, I specifically took some time from this blog. In many ways, I feel I have been a little too deep even for me.

While I have been thinking so much about how this blog is definitely about my journey at this particular part of my life, I feel that much of this search for a better meaning in life is very much personal. I think that 4 hours of driving each way has a way of making anyone think about life. My drive down was so very refreshing because I was able to clear my head and focus on what this weekend was really about.

This weekend was very much about family as much as it was about me just going with the flow of life. The only descions I had to make this past trip was when I was getting to NYC and when I was leaving. Everything in between was just me going with whatever the days take me. I can say that the days took me to great places.

I went to Six Flags Great Adventure with my brother, nephew and a few of his friends. It was a a real good times to see Justin go on these rides for the first time. He showed no fear like his uncle and I am quite sure it is something that he will not soon forget. He turned 11 this past weekend and it just makes me shake my head thinking about how fast he is growing. I still remember when he was in the hospital on the day he was born.

I also felt that I was all over the Bronx with my cousin, Karen, who is about to leave NYC to start her PHD over at Harvard. We went to City Island, which I have not been to in such a long time. The family had a party for her this weekend as well to send her off. It was good to be with family on such a blazing day. I was on the grill, which made things hotter. I was ok with it, I had Coronas to keep me cool.

What made this past weekend complete was seeing Inception. I think this is definitely the movie of the year and a must DVD buy for me when it comes out. I do plan on seeing this movie again. I do wish, however, that I had more time to see people and old friends. I will be planning my next trip to NYC sooner than anyone will think. The drive coming back was just as good as my arrival.

I feel very refreshed. While I still have my goals on my mind, I can say that this past weekend was truly enough time for me to do me. There was no worries and no concerns for me at all. I feel refreshed and ready to take on what come next.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How Am I a Met Fan...from the Bronx?

A friend of mine asked me the other day, how can a man from the Bronx be a Mets fan? She has known me for a while and wanted to know how this was possible because I should, of course, be a Yankee fan. I guess in some ways that should make sense. I grew up in the Bronx. I call it home. I feel total comfortable when I am there and would love to move back. I never let anyone forget that this and where I am from. Plus, my father is a Yankee Fan. So why am I a Mets Fan?

Well, since the second half of the season begins tonight, I figured I would answer this question. It all stemmed from my late grandfather. Mi  abuelo came to this country from Puerto Rico and moved to Brooklyn. I often heard stories about how he had to hustle to survive. Back in those times, there were immigrants from all over the world and they were all looking for the same thing, a piece of that American Dream. I remember him telling me that he was able to communicate with the Italian immigrants because Spanish and Italian was so similar. But, the one thing that really united many people in Brooklyn was the Dodgers.

The Brooklyn Dodgers was one of 3 baseball teams in New York and was loved by the people, particularly after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. My grandfather was just as dark as I am so I am quite sure he was delighted to see someone of our complexion running around the bases. One thing for sure was how much he disliked the Yankees. More than any NY rivalry now, the competition between the Dodgers and the Yankees was fierce and throw in additional team...the Giants...and you have a city filled with baseball freaks who have a unique love/hate thing going on.

Oddly enough, when thinking about this, many people of color loved the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants because they were some of the first teams to have black players. Jackie Robinson was the crown jewel for the Dodgers and Willie Mays was the man on the Giants. However, the Yankees were very slow in signing black players. People picketed Yankee Stadium in the early 1950's because of this. By 1955, the Yankess finally called up Eliston Howard to play in for them.

Sadly, in 1958 the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and mi abeulo, like the rest of Brooklyn was heart broken. But it was not just Brooklyn that had their hearts broken, the New York Giants left for San Francisco that very same year too. So up until 1962, New York was a only a one baseball team town. My grandfather refused to root for the Yankees, so when the Mets were created he was loving baseball again. He did still root for the Dodgers when they moved, but he was a New Yorker.

Mi abuleo raised all his kids to be a Dodger/Mets fans. That was just the way it was. I am not sure when the family moved to the South Bronx, but clearly a location change did not matter. By the time I came around, being a Mets fan was just apart of life. My brother followed the Mets and I followed him. Sure, there were other family members who followed the Yankees but it was my grandfather who would watch the games with me and my brother. It was the one thing that him and I could talk about. I remember him yelling in Spanish at the TV for whatever reason. He had a passion for baseball and the Mets that I still have.

Growing up in the 80's just made it easier. I remember the Yankees always seems to play the Dodgers in the World Series and even lost to them in 1981. So, by 1984 the Mets were relevant with the their rookies like Strawberry and Gooden. By 1986, the Mets owned New York. Looking back at it, I am very glad we was alive when the Met's won it all that year considering that my grandmother died that year and the demise of my parent's marriage happened shortly after that.

In his remaining years, baseball was his life and I will never forget how much he loved it and how much I loved him for it. He never judged me or my father (my abulelo is from my mom's side). I remember him coming by with sandwiches for lunch to talk about the Mets and even watch the game. He died in 1992 right before I was set to come up to Syracuse. I miss him and I will say that his love for the Mets will always be in my heart.

I wanted to add something else. I have thought about this for awhile and with the death of George Steinbrenner I had to asses any hatred for the Yankees. While I dislike them, I cannot say I hate them as I used to because, after all, they are from New York (sounding like my dad right now -_- ). I know all the Yankee players by name and how good they are. But, there isnt really anyone one player that I detest, unlike the Philadelphia Phillies, in which I can write a whole blog on Jimmy Rollins alone.

I think a lot of it comes from the fans I have come to know who just love to be assholes about everything Yankee. I am not one to believe in entitlement, but most fans do. However, some of my dearest friends are Yankee fans and I find it hard to hate something that my friends love...

P.S. I really dislike the fact that most women I am really attracted to...are Yankee Fans (go figure...I will deal though! lol)

Monday, July 12, 2010

More on Self Worth...

Sometimes our lives can change by a simple thought. I have been really thinking intensely on the idea of self value in my life. This is like a new concept to me. I have never really thought about how much my time or life is worth. When you place a value on something, it begins to become precious.

I think that I do a great job on placing value on other people and objects. I know how much my dog means to me. I know how much my family means. There is the value I place on my comics and various other things that I have. Then there is the value I place on my friends and loved ones. I know what is is to be in situations in which death is a serious possibility, so the idea of losing people can bother me. 9/11 had that effect on me in which I did not know if there were certain people I would never see again, not to mention that my own life could have been in jeopardy if any more planes came crashing down. Then there is instance of my car wreck where the police told me that had I not worn my seat belt, I would be dead. It is because of those 2 instances that I can tell people that I love them and not have a second thought about that. Why? Because I place a high value on those I care for and I am not sure what tomorrow will bring.

My personal value is something I never thought about. Perhaps because I have been selfless too many times in my life. But, there are the times that I have been selfish and that has cost me dearly. I think in both those cases it can be determined that my self value was never properly assessed. So there are people in my life who have and still do take me for granted because I have allowed them to do so. I have neglected in taking the time to show them how I want to be treated and respected because I never placed a value to that.

However, there are people that I have told. There was a few instances in which I have flat out told some people that I feel disrespected by the way I am treated and that I am so not appreciated. Some times people will acknowledge and change that and other's wont. For those who haven't have found that I have few words left for them. The problem is I do not do this enough. I am not saying that I expect to be appreciated because I do not but, I should expect to be treated the way I treat people. I am worth that much because I love myself.

I have thought about how I could have possibly gotten to point that I do not have a high self worth. It is sad to say but I am beginning to think about my childhood. I think about all the bullshit I went through in grammar school and how ugly I thought I was. The divorce of my parents and how I felt like an object they competed over. I know that some family members will ultimately say that I had a great childhood and I was spoiled because I got everything I wanted. Well, I do not think I was spoiled and even if I was, toys do not equal happiness. Sometimes, as children we look at adults to give us the definition of value outside of the number of toys/video games given in order shut us up.

Anyway, all that is simply water under the bridge now. Self value is now the only thing I want to focus on in my life. My time is precious and those who I choose to fill that with are also valuable. But more that who I choose to keep my time with, it is also important on what I do with my time. Self love means that I also need to maintain my health and mental well being. I will continue to read and write as well as looking for that illusive job that will get me where I need to be.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I am Worth It.

You know...people may shake their head at Lebron James for making this free agency a spectacle. I am one to believe that he should not put himself before the game. But step back and look at what he is doing. This whole show has very much to do with what he perceives to be his worth.  All these teams are courting him hard in hopes that he will sign under their team's name. Sure, call it an overinflated ego, but he thinks he is worth it.

So on that same token, why do we not believe in our own worth? Why do we take the bullshit that life gives us when we know we deserve something better? Is it fear that we may end up in a worse situation? Are we not worth the risk?  I think we are. In fact, I am worth any risk.

Sure, I have made mistakes in my life, but who hasn't? I challenge anyone to tell me that they have lived a mistake free life to come and tell me that I am not worth everything that I desire. We are all human we are not supposed to be perfect. We are worth more than the stress and the drama that we allow in our lives. Just think about what we allow to happen to us. We allow ourselves to be treated like shit by people who think they know what we are worth. They take us for granted because they feel we that we cannot do any better or that out loyalties are so deep they we will not find something better.

I am not saying that we need to start cutting off people who do not appreciate us (although it is a start) or quit jobs that keep us underpaid. What I am getting at is having the awareness to know what is happening in the world around us. We allow things to happen to us based on our own low self worth.

We should all be so lucky to have the world as our stage to announce in a hour special that we got a new job or that we are in love with someone. Sure we can go to Facebook to say all this but sometimes people are not very genuine and will do things to flaunt their egos. But, as someone who has spent the majority of his life searching for something and in the process thought that he was not worth very much...a little ego is a very good thing.

I am a great guy. I have a big heart. I can be very nerdy at times and I can be very silly at others, but you will always know what you are getting from me. I work hard and I play hard. I am a lover and fighter. I come to realize that I do not give up on things that mean the world to me. I do not live in the past and I am always thinking about what I can do to make my life in the present and future better.

I have always said I am on a journey. There is not doubt in my mind right now, that I will get where I need to go. Why? Because I believe in myself and I believe that I am worth the trouble. For those who do not believe that will only come to realize that they are wrong. Maybe that sounds a little full of myself, but if I do not believe in myself and my value...who else will?

We are all worth so much more that what we getting right now. I guarantee it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dating Game

The words the I remember the most from this weekend is "I don't want you to get hurt". These are words uttered to me by my father who called me this weekend because he wanted me to know that he was thinking about me and my upcoming free agency. It would make sense if you think about it. He was there to pick me up during my very first heart break.

I am very interested in seeing what the fuss is about. I want to sit here and say that I have not dated since the 90's, but the real deal is that I have never been good at dating and I pretty much winged it. I met my ex wife through Yahoo personals because I was tired of going to bars and meeting superficial women who would not give me a second glance because I wasn't a thug or rich looking. Granted, I was probably going to the wrong places and I get that, but in when you are single and in the 20's where else do you really go?

Time is on my side and I am wiser. I am more confident in myself and quite frankly anyone woman would have a great time with me on a date. While I do not have much money because it seems that all I do is pay bills, I know how to have fun. I love to drive so the chances of me getting drunk are low.

What I have figured about myself is that I am a very patient person. I have seen loads of bullshit over the course of my life from women I know and have witnessed bullshit that other guys have gone through as well. So, I know there are pitfalls. I love women. I have grown up my entire life with them and I have come to realize that women lie better then men. They remember their lies and keep them together and quite frankly they tell better lies then men do.

I will continue to say that men are dumb. We do the dumbest things and tell the dumbest lies. Women are more sophisticated and will tell lies so that they do not lose ground, such as hiding the fact they care or flat out pretending that they do not care when in reality they do. However, women will also lie to make a man feel better like faking an orgasm. Either way, these are things that I have kept in mind.

My father has been such a great source in this process. I am not trying to figure out women all that much because that task is simply impossible. His simple advice is just to observe and listen. Listen to what a woman says because chances are whatever she is saying is not only important to her but could be important to me as well. Women love it when men listen to them because it shows they are not a sexual object. Observe what a woman does because body language is important. A woman's actions speak louder than her words. She may lie but her body does not.

I have made up tons of excuses of why I have not gone out there and I know the time is coming for me to really start thinking about myself. I used the Hitch reference above because I saw this movie about 2 weeks ago after not seeing it for along time and I realized that anything is possible in the dating game if I simply remain who I am.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Free Agency

NBA Free Agency is upon us and everything named Lebron seems to be dominated all kinds of news. But, there is one free agent in waiting that I am concerned with and that is me. Sure I am not in the NBA and I will not be signed to a million dollar contract but hey...This is me we are talking about.

I have been very leery of women because, let's be honest, most of the one's I have encountered are either crazy or close to it. I use the word crazy is the best possible way. It seems that I have an affinity toward them. Whatever the case, I think that I have not taken anything seriously because of my current status and I do not expect to be taken seriously either.

I fully anticipate my single status to be official by summer's end. I joked to some people that I will be taking resumes with pictures when that comes. But in reality, I think I am going to tread lightly in the dating game. I am not even sure how much I really want to date right now based on the fact that I simply do not have my stuff together. I guess I could date with no strings just for the idea of having fun, but one thing I am not doing is dating in Syracuse.

It is all about perspective and mind set. Just how I started packing up some of my stuff this weekend because I need to get into that state of mind that my stay in Syracuse is now temporary. I need to let the fates know that I am pretty serious about getting up out of here. While the job market is not the greatest, I still need to make those moves. I just thank God that I found at least one roommate that will move in next month.

I am really not sure what is supposed to happen once all the paperwork is done. I would only assume that life will be just as normal as it ever was except that I will no longer have that excuse of not doing anything because I am still married. A friend pointed out to me that I will be able to do anything I want and not have to worry about anyone else. That might be the scary part. For such a long time I have thought about other people and not myself.

I truly believe that loneliness is related to freedom. They are not the same thing of course but I think there is a delicate balance. The fact that I am free to do what I want without having to consult anyone does bring me back to my college days but that freedom has a price. However, being that I am determined to get what I want out of life, being alone is not all that bad.

So being a free agent is exactly Marriage is not a institution of captivity, but if people make the wrong choices then it can be. I am just glad to be able to put things behind me so I can be better in the present and future.


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