A Year Ago, Today

A year ago today we spoke not of homophobes masquerading as bureaucrats, projecting their personal perversions upon decent folk simply longing to pee in peace.

A year ago today we knew not of divisive poseur tyrants-in waiting, whipping up a delusional privileged few into a bully storm of intolerance, vomiting notions of “building walls” instead of tearing them down.

A year ago today we weren’t yet grieving forty-nine families grieving.

No, a year ago today we touched victory. And love. And peace. Even if only for a spell. A year ago today we flooded the streets in celebration of the revelation that for the first time in American history, most ALL people were finally freed the privilege of plunging heart-first into the marital mistake.

A respite, a ruddy hint of what “We The People” are truly capable of, a year ago today was a very good day indeed.

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#LoveWins

#DamnRightISupportIt

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Eulogy

It’s been 365 days now.

365 days of fun and fuckery, of love and hate, of life and death. Of things going terribly and irreparably wrong, of putting my best foot forward (without always knowing why or what for), and of things finally starting to look up.

365 days in which I was unable to share any of it with you. Being unable to ask you for advice (that I wouldn’t have taken anyway) or support (which I would’ve). I was unable, because even though you were “there” the whole while, you are still gone.

It’s been 365 days now. And I still miss you Dad.

as long as i'm singing

When I was a child, I remember occasionally have night frights that would awaken me, rigid with fear. I would then creep into my parents room, edging my way up to the corner of their bed, while looking intently at my dad’s chest. I would do so until I could confirm that it was rising and lowering with breath, and only then, would I be able to shake the fright and return to my bed.

A little over a week ago, I was reminded of this as I found myself doing very much the same. I stared intently at dad’s chest. This time not so much to confirm that he was breathing, but rather, because I knew it would only be a matter of time until he was not.

My dad was almost there. Almost home. And now he’s gone. His was a very small and private service, but he is…

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And then THIS happened…

Yesterday, I saw a new icon on my notification tab. Well; I thought it was a new icon at any rate. Clicking on it, I realized that I actually had seen it before, exactly one-year prior in fact, as the following popped into existence…

Picture 5

That’s right. As of the 27th of May, this lil blog of mine is now two years old. And to celebrate, I got it nothing.

Abso-freakin’-lutely nothing.

No special posts written, no photos taken, no quotes retrieved. No reviews readied, nor songs chosen. Nothing. Hell, I didn’t even realize that its anniversary was coming due.

What kind of ass am I?

I mean, over the past two years, “As Long As…” has allowed me to share with you my father’s passing, my children’s growth, the struggles I’ve had with my faith, the recent and unexpected death of my 17 year marriage, the oft time battles I’ve had with depression, and of course the efforts that have stock-piled, resulting from my dreams of one day becoming a pretend writer of some sort.

Starting with just one follower – my bestest friend ever whom I’ve never met – this kid has grown slowly to a little over 230 more of you since. And I am as grateful to you all, as I am questioning of your literary taste… More importantly though, since its inception “As Long As…” has provided me with peace and solace during my dark hours. A place to scream, bitch, bemoan, play and flex my mental muscles and – to my albeit grateful surprise – it has brought me strong friendships that have only grown, as the challenges of life have become harder, though eventually overcome. In short, this blog has given me more than a lot of living, breathing people I know have.

And I didn’t even realize that its anniversary was coming due.

What kind of ass am I?

Hey you, As Long As I’m Singing, thank you my friend. I appreciate it… all of it.

As I noted previously, I didn’t have an applicable quote, nor a song chosen for this event. You know, in part because I totally forgot that this event was even to be an event. But I figured the following two will work well enough. The quote, simply because it’s about the truest thing I’ve ever read, and something I am coming to believe. And the song because, as you are an apple that fell pretty close to its somewhat creative tree, I feel it’s a good choice to describe how I feel about us both.

Happy 2nd, As Long As I’m Singing. Here’s to year 3 =)

•••

“Bad things can happen,

and often do–

but they only take up a few pages of your story;

and anyone can survive a few pages.”

~ James A. Owen

Briefly… The December the 22nd, 2002 edition

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not. There is nothing more common then unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world if full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are Omnipotent.”
~ Joe Strummer

RIP Joe.

Picture 1August 21st, 1952 – December 22nd, 2002

•••

The year in review

A strange thing happened a week ago yesterday. A strange thing that I could not address at the time, due to the other very strange thing that also quite suddenly occurred. But had that other very strange thing not occurred, I would have told you a week ago yesterday that my blog turned one.

It’s strange for two reasons. First and foremost, at only one year of age, my lil blog is already fully potty-trained. Secondly, after one year, I still love it. And I find myself oddly proud that it exists. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I know it’ll just end up being one more blip, amongst a sea of blips. But this is my blip, and I made it.

Along the way, you good people have found my lil blog and – apparently gluttons for punishment, the whole lot of ya – you keep coming back. As a result, I’ve enjoyed watching my stats bar grow from the desolate plain it started out as, to the vibrant cityscape that I now see before me. Again, it may sound stupid, but this too makes me proud.

Now, while I don’t expect you to tap all of these, I thought what I would do is go through the year, and hand pick my favorite post for each month (in certain instances I could only narrow it down to two – deal!) It was a fun exercise, AND it was the very first time in my creative life where I was able to look back without seeing imaginary imperfections that drove me to simply tear up and discard my previous efforts.

Ready?

We’ll start of course, at the beginning. But before we do, I just need to tell you, this singular post – this one right here – has been one of my most read posts ever. EVA. I swear, almost every day since it was published, it shows up on the “Top Posts” section on my dashboard. Why is it so popular? I’ve no idea. If you happen to figure it out, tell me. I’d like to incorporate whatever it is into ALL my posts.

OK. Now, the list…

5/31 – I have something to tell you…

6/9 – this little adventure

7/24 – Love, NY Style, 7/26 – Nobody Weird Like Me

8/9 – SPAM & Comfort, 8/19 – Naked Spoons

9/21 – Dear Jesus

10/12 – an unabashed love letter to the people of Saint Ann’s, 10/21 – Muscleheads & Misconceptions (possibly my most favorite ever)

11/30 – last Thanksgiving

12/7 – conversations of Santa & Cybermen

1/20 – Secret Lives, 1/23 – We Will Walk

2/20 – Neither the Prince nor Old Lady Shade

3/19 – All The Sad Men, Roaming Free

4/2 – The Uninspired Chronicles Conversation, 4/11 – I will Refuse…

5/31 – In Memorium (the shortest, and to date, hardest I’ve had to write thus far)

Now, before I let you go, I did want to thank you. For reals. It’s your reading that makes my writing possible. It’s your acceptance – your “tribe” – that keeps me here and happy. I’m blessed to be amongst such a creative crew, and inspired to become a better writer every time I read your blogs (OK, well, not exactly every time – but they can’t all be zingers now, can they?)

So feel free to dip into any of the above, and in the meantime, let’s get our weekend started out right. BD?

Hey man, what’d I tell you about “BD”?

Err, sorry. Bobby?

Yes?

Play us outta here.

It would be an absolute pleasure!

12/21 “punk rock warlord, with ‘warlord’ being one word…”*

While not a Christmas tradition per say, tomorrow will see me performing one more ritual for the holiday season. This one is relatively new, a scant nine years old, and it is a tradition that i would be much happier without. You see, tomorrow, i will place all my Christmas music to the side and spend the day listening solely to decidedly non-seasonal tunes laid down by The Clash, The 101ers and The Mescalero’s instead. Why you ask? Especially this close to the blessed babe’s birth? Well, it’s because all three of the bands noted above were at one time led by a certain Joe Strummer, and tomorrow just happens to mark the ninth anniversary of his death.

“So? Big Whoop – it’s not like you knew the guy or anything, right?” Right. i didn’t know him, but i could swear that he knew me. At least it seemed that way, since he so often spoke almost directly to my concerns, my fears and my outrage. Across space and time he – along with his band mates – helped me to understand at a tender age not only the world around me, but my place in it as well. As i mentioned previously, Joe and the boys defended my right to be me, only after first helping me understand who i was in the first place. Prior to their introduction, i was lost – well, more lost than afterwards – in a sea of confusion, with my floundering about wondering who i was exactly, and why i couldn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Joe helped me to see that we’re all in the same boat. That no one truly ever “fits in” anywhere, so you just have a find a somewhere to your liking. And if none exist that you’re partial too, then just go out and make your own. Sooner or later others will join you, and in the end, you’ll either find your “fit”, or it will find you.

Musically speaking, years before Darin would solidify the thought, Strummer planted the seed in me that it was OK – cool even – to dig all kinds of music, instead of simply keeping to one narrow tunnel or another. Through him, i was introduced not only to punk of the intelligent variety, but also reggae, dub, garage, rap and the groundwork for what would many years later would be called “revival swing”. I could almost make a case for his dabbling in gothic music as well, but my argument just doesn’t have enough teeth to pull it off. Regardless, as a result of his example, i can now enjoy both my punk and my broadway, my metal and my bossa nova. Heck, i could even like country if it wanted to. i just don’t want to.

Regardless of the musical style used to best get his point across at any given time, Joe also helped me to understand that it’s quite all right to announce your disgust over injustices that you see. It’s fine and/or dandy to stand one up against a hundred, as long as you know that the hundred are wrong, and that the One is right. He helped me to recognize that my voice was important, just by it’s mere existence. However, he also let me know that my voice shouldn’t be heard until it was informed, committed, and capable of having a positive effect over a negative one.

Now, did Joe have the same impact on me as other arms-length luminaries such as Martin Luther King, Jr., C.S. Lewis or Jesus even? No. But he certainly let me know – with a very cool British accent by the way – that inspiration doesn’t only come from history books or the bible. It can come from your shoulder-slung boom box or scrawled across the back of a record sleeve as well. He let me know that intelligence is a right that must be exercised by every citizen regardless of their social standing, and complacency is not an option. In short, he – along with a long string of others – helped me to become the man i am today. And while he may be no more deserving of praise than anyone else in that long string, today just happens to be the anniversary of the day he died unexpectedly of heart failure, leaving the world a little poorer in the process. As such, i feel it’s right and proper to celebrate his life – and his impact on mine – by placing all my Christmas music to the side and spending the day with The Clash, The 101ers and The Mescalero’s instead.

i could go on in even mushier detail about the impact Joe has had on me, all while trying desperately to describe his ideology further (and my kinship towards it as a result), but i think he said it much better than i ever could, and as such, i’ll allow him to wrap up this post in words befitting:

And so now I’d like to say – people can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks – I am one of them. But we’ve all got to stop just following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything – this is something that I’m beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other. That’s because they’ve been dehumanized. It’s time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed, it ain’t going anywhere. They should have that in a big billboard across Times Square. Without people you’re nothing. That’s my spiel.

― Joe Strummer, 1952 – 2002

* The title of this post is a comment made by Joe Strummer when being asked how he would like his name to appear during the introduction to the documentary about him called “The Future Is Unwritten.

7/31 Quitter

i know i don’t normally post on the weekends, but today is a very special day for me. Today marks my second year of being a “Quitter”.

butt-free for 2 years!

i wrote the below as a facebook “note” after i had first completed my cessation program, and am re-posting it today in honor of my new-found freedom. If you’re thinking about becoming a Quitter, then get help, get determined and get going! And PLEASE, read the note about the plastic ciggie – it really was a Lifesaver…

 

12 weeks ago…

…I decided to do something I never thought would happen – I decided to undo something I never thought would happen 22 years ago.

I decided to quit smoking.

And here are some random thoughts that popped into my noodle during this time:

• I used the gum this time. I wasn’t successful with patches last time round, but in retrospect, I don’t think I was chewing them correctly.

• They said that you may have occasional depression. By “occasional” they mean about 22 hours out of every day for the first month or so.

• “Occasional” also applies to paranoia.

• Paranoia sometimes really IS based on reality.

• I’m really proud of how well C deals with “Withdrawal t”.

•Thanking God that I don’t have to give up “triggers” such as sex, coffee, sex, booze and sex.

• Laugh if you will, but creating a plastic “cigarette” really helps if you’re addicted to the physical process of smoking as well.

• Days seem a lot longer (sometimes good, sometimes bad) when you’re not waiting for your next fix.

• Ex-smokers are still the worst – but while I used to hate their superior attitude, now I realize that a portion of it is because they are secretly longing after that glowing rod in your hand.

• my little brother will now make a “glowing rod” joke.

• I’m really proud of how well my children deal with “Withdrawal Daddy”.

• I’ve kept my quitting a secret from most everybody to help avoid pressure. And no one who knew (I’m guessing everyone) has ever let on that they knew.

• They said you should take the extra money you now have from not buying cigarettes and get something nice for yourself…

• …but in so doing, I found out that I never actually had the money to buy cigarettes in the first place.