A Mother’s Love…

Troy,

I read your “As Long As I’m Singing.” It really moved me (as all your writings do.) You truly have a God-given gift to share your thoughts in a mind-provoking way!

I hope you continue to write and share with the world. It would be nice if you could get your works published. Please don’t pooh-pooh the idea. Give it lots of thought.

Love & very proud,

Mom

•••

I’ve been delinquent with this blog as of late. And I apologize. I’ve been delinquent even with responding to comments – a much larger sin than the first, if you ask me – and I am sorry for that as well.

My life – after a long dry spell of being emotionally bullied, financially destitute, and legalistically put-upon, is at long last coming ’round that damned dark corner and back into the Light. I need to start sharing that, and I need to do so here.

Sans pooh-poohing, of course.

Thanks for your patience. I love you all more than you maybe know,

t

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Silent Conversations

Sorry kids, but a very busy week means that this week’s Inspiration Monday isn’t arriving until Friday – err – today.

As always, I hope you enjoy…

vw-inmonpromo

The clean, crisply folded clothes sat behind him, pleading to be placed safely back away, deep within their horizontally sliding wood and formica hovels. Begging to be taken out of the broken and rather dreary piece of molded plastic, that at one point had been proud to call itself a laundry basket. But instead of doing so, he sat facing away and inattentive, sipping aggressively at his vodka-straight while he stared into his computer screen.

In front of the screen was a keyboard of no importance, but atop it was a slightly crumpled, possibly tear-stained sheet of scrap paper. Scrap paper that had the word “flight” noted excitedly upon it. Scrap paper that was intended as a reminder for a task that was never realized, never completed. The scrap paper that now mocked him knowingly, as he moved it nervously – unable to dispose of it altogether – from this side to that, across the keyboard which remained of no importance.

To the left of that very keyboard, his phone violently burped out a small blue light, alerting him as to incoming messages, silent conversations wishing to be held. Raising its electronic hand in this fashion meekly, the phone likewise hoped to garner his attention. But much like the laundry before it, it had no success, as he continued to stare – dead-eyed but not numbed – into his computer screen, with one finger aimlessly stroking the rim of the vodka’s tumbler.

The tumbler itself and the vodka had very little to say, as they were both feeling incredibly loved and important at the moment. Seeing that the ice cubes might cause an interruption to the affection being unceremoniously showered upon it, the vodka had already taken careful measures – through the use of its limited knowledge of chemistry – to ensure that both cubes were forever silenced by their watered-down oblivion. Their raucous clinking now abated, still, into the screen he stared, sucking a combination of air and 80 proof through clenched teeth.

A screen that, being unlike the rest, in that it was unable to speak, was feeling very uncomfortable at this moment. For as he stared at it, it in turn was forced to stare at him – forced to gaze deep into his booze-soaked eyes. Held captive as it observed the sadness that created the tears, that in turn slowly strolled down his cheek, into the forest of his absent-minded beard.

The screen realized of course that he wasn’t staring at it, per say, but this understanding did little to make the whole experience any more palatable. And on the occasions when he actually touched it drunkenly – caressing it really – longingly, the screen could almost imagine what it must feel like to shiver with desire. It did not of course, as it was only a speechless screen after all.

While touching the un-shivering screen, he softly wondered why. Why had he made her countenance his screen saver in the first? With his free hand he found himself again stroking the lip of the tumbler, in some hope of finding a nick or a gouge – just something – to make him bleed. Just enough as to remind him that he was alive, and in this space, not hers.

He missed her.

Dammit, he missed her.

And that wasn’t like him. It wasn’t what he said this life would be, moving forward. And yet, here he was – the cacophony of his everyday life literally screaming for attention – and he, being only able to sit and stare. Not blankly at a random and mute screen, but at every nuance of the personage represented there, eyes and hair aglow, coming to life in vibrant 1024 x 768 dpi.

A cat, the only solitary living being within the house besides he (and a growing family of mice that neither yet had figured out was sharing the same roof), silently nudged its head against his shin, hoping as well to begin a conversation of sorts that would involve many strokes to the forehead and maybe even a treat or two.

Not diverting his eyes, he rubbed his thumb forcefully against the cat’s head – right where favored, upon the bridge – in blind observance of the tradition. But otherwise the feline as well, found itself unsuccessful in engaging, and decided to stalk off to its favorite corner instead, watching him with disdain, as he slowly continued to caress the random piece of glass that happened to be housed within an equally random piece of plastic. Both of which worked together to contain a countenance – due to its blatant lack of scent – unrecognizable to the cat, but still somehow very real to the man who beheld it.

•••

The post is too relaxed for a title

Sorry to double-dip on the Liza, but she needs to make an appearance here this week as well.

You see, for this installment of Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, Jen tasked us with providing for you, (5) delicious slabs of musical mellow. Just (5) ditties that would relax and soothe, while jamming so, in a slowish-like nature.

Me and slow jams get along about as well as – well – about as well as whatever analogy you’d like to insert here to indicate that slow jams and I just don’t get along well at all. As such, this is most likely the first week where I will not even meet with the (5) song standard, based solely on my belief that it really is all about the quality, versus the quantity.

And those of you who were going to use that last bit, to now make a disparaging comment about Liza, can just go and stuff it! Slowly and soothingly, of course.

Speaking of, here’s Liza, talking about my favorite time of the week…

And here’s Dusty, talking about my favorite look…

And finally, here’s Stan and Charlie, talking about my favorite one note…

For your bonus track this week (what? You don’t actually need 5 songs first, in order to get one, ya know), I decided to avoid Herb, but only because I had already tapped into Stan and Burt. I also avoided a whole host of others that I feel are actually much more mopey than mellow (in large part, this is why today’s post is pretty much new wave-free, in fact). That being said, the following is probably one of my top-ranking “go-to” relaxing slow jams, even though it is neither slow, relaxing, nor jammish in any form or fashion.

It is however, Bobby. So I think that’s pretty much a “nuff said” right there. Here’s hoping your skies are of a similar hue this week…

•••

mixtape-jenkehl1-300x300

Interrupting All Programs.

So on Tuesday, this happened:

I-Won-The-Internet

I Won The Internet, 8/20/13

Just thought you all should know, you know, just how cool it is to be reading me…

Thank you Tracy =)

400

I hesitated only briefly over the “Publish” button before deftly clicking it, thus bringing another piece of my brain to life on the screen, for tens of tens of people to read and enjoy. I’ve done something similar about three times a week for a little over two years now. But this time was different. This time I was met with a jaunty little note that informed me that I had just published my 399th post. Now I’m not terribly good at math, but by my reckoning, that meant that my very next post was going to be the big 4-O-O.

As such, I decided to do something I promised you all I would do quite some time ago. Something I promised myself I would do as well. And here it is. The 100 Word Song originally written for “Car Jamming,” now fleshed out, and ready to become (hopefully), a real-life honest-to goshicles short story.

Ready?

Here goes:

bebe

He had realized early on that any signs of kindness on their part, would be merely accidental. Or worse yet, intentionally cruel, under the guise of feigned affection

Wondering why they were so hellbent on being constantly brutal and mean, he carefully dabbed a stubborn tear away, smudging a bit of smoky eyeliner in the process. Rifling the tissue to the desktop, he muttered “Dammit!” while inspecting the mishap.

It wasn’t enough that he was abused for being true to himself, he now looked like a weepy rank amateur to boot. He knew, or understood at least, why they did what they did. He could see it himself sometimes, when he looked into the mirror. He would hear his mother’s final words, as she had hung up the phone on him for the very last time, “girls don’t shave their faces, and boys DON’T wear make-up. Grow out of it, Gabe!”

He was a child, and her words had seared right through him, as intended. It had hurt. And she knew exactly how to do that. She’d been practicing it for years, in fact. Some would say that she was the first bully he had ever had to contend with. It had hurt, but it was a hurt he eventually used to make himself stronger. Or so he hoped. It was a hurt, but just the first of many. And if he could survive that from the woman who birthed him, then what in the hell sort of power could some punk-ass borderline-barbaric classmates have over him?

He felt his fist hit the desk, much more than he heard it. Another “dammit!,” escaped his lips as he realized that that was going to bruise for sure. Quietly laughing despite the pain, he found himself thanking the angels that at least he wasn’t a hand model. Cradling the throbbing hand gently in the other, he took an unexpected moment to look at his natural nails. Finding them gnarled and bitten, he saw a deeper truth to that idea, based on how chewed upon they were, and he quickly began applying his Lee press-ons to cover his insecurity.

“Gabe? Err… Gabriella?” His father called out, concerned over the audible furniture abuse taking place. “Are you OK, honey?” Gabe smiled again. His father was never certain as to which name to call him, having not quite figured out the nuances of the scene just yet. That, and he always felt the need to yell through the apartment as if it were some sort of multi-winged expansive mansion, instead of the compact yet comfortable two-bedroom flat that it actually was.

Never one for needing a lot of space anyway, Gabe allowed his dad this second tendency without complaint, as he knew it was only done to accommodate for his feelings of inadequacy over not being able to provide “properly” for his son.  Gabe truly didn’t mind, and understood the strain of a man who was told by his wife that of all he was, and after all those years, the only thing of worth was his wallet and every penny she could bleed from it. And she had bled both it and he dry, even though there wasn’t that much blood to give in the first. As he had done during their marriage, throughout it all he simply kept his mouth shut and soldiered on, in the hopes that he wouldn’t inadvertently say something that would one day prevent Gabe from having a somewhat normal relationship with her. Gabe was certain that his dad’s efforts, on this front at least, were to be in vain.

Instead of voicing all this however, all that Gabe shouted back was, “I’m OK dad, I just banged my knee on the vanity!”

“Oh, alright then.” His dad responded somewhat skeptically, “Let me know if you need any ice!”

His dad may have been weak-willed, but was too smart as well. Gabe knew he that couldn’t keep this on-campus bullying hidden forever. Couldn’t keep the “strong silent treatment” up for too much longer. But his dad had enough to worry about already as it was, and he didn’t want to add to that burden. Still, he couldn’t not be true to himself either.

Sighing, he looked in the mirror again, coming to firm grips with the fact that the “smudge-proof” style of eyeliner was only different from the other brands in that it cost a hell of a lot more. He’d never make that mistake again. And he realized he’d have to come to grips with those borderline-barbarian boys as well.

He knew one thing. Lauren Bacall wouldn’t have ever let them get her down. And Nana had always said that it was this iconic star that he resembled most, when he was dressed “that way.”  Maybe it was high-time that he started acting like her as well.

Delicately clicking his freshly painted plastic nails against the vanity, to the beat of his favorite Waterboys tune that happened to be playing softly in the background, he sang along as he looked into the mirror one more time, and he smiled.

Tags, Peace & Love

There are certain bloggers who are above playing along with the “tag, your it” posts.

I am not one of these.

Well, not this time at any rate, because this time I was tagged by one of my favorite writers out here, Nowan Zen from I’m Not Lost, Just Weird.

And just as I was beginning to compile the reams of documentation required for these types of posts, who should drop in, but Shannon from The Squeaky Wheel Blog, who also asked if she could tag me (that’s right Nowan, Shannon asked…)

So what will follow will be a Frankensteining of sorts, between the (2) tags, and since both require that additional people are then – well – tagged in a “play it forward” fashion, I am simply saying screw it, and throwing this right back onto the two who first nabbed me, with each being tasked to figure out just what parts pertain to them (if you’d like to be tagged as well, start gathering your paperwork, and just let me know).

OK, ready?

Both require a picture. Both will receive the same one. This is me and my boys at Pride 2013. Simon is an agnostic who believes in Jesus more than a lot of Christians do, and he wanted to express the idea that J.C. was all about love and inclusion, versus hate and exclusion. Hence his marching the parade (as he came be known by the crowd) as “Rainbow Jesus.” I’m the lumpy old guy in the middle.

Rainbow Jesus

Both require 11 random facts. Why is it always 11, and why must they always be random? Never the mind, here goes:

1. Technically, I suppose the “lumpy” bit could count as number 1.

2. Simon caught a lot of flak from his mother and her family for his decision. He stuck to his guns anyway. Fine, not actually a random fact about me, but I’m proud of him regardless.

3. Yes, our t-shirts say “Jesus Is Not A Homophobe.”

4. “Homophobe” refers to a person who is hateful of Gay and Lesbian people. Apparently scared that this sort of thing is contagious…?

5. Yes, we’ll get off the subject of the damned photo already.

6. Random fact # 7 actually comes in at # 6.

7. See above

8. Sorry – just one more thing. Ian is going next year in full drag.

9. I’m damned proud of him as well.

10. Lookie here, we’re already at the second-to last one!

11. When I was young, I used to suck my thumb. It soothed me greatly. I recently tried it again, but it just didn’t have the same affect. Damned thumb.

Both have a bunch of questions. Some I will answer honestly, others I will simply bullshit my way through, and for none of them will I actually be funny, insightful or in any way engaging…

Nowen asks:

  1. What is your quest? To dream the impossible dream, of course. Duh!
  2. If you could select any character from the Big Bang Theory to describe yourself, which one would you select and why? (Losing Nerd cred), I’ve never watched the show, but (gaining Nerd cred), if this were about Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, I would be the lorry driver who doesn’t realize that he is actually the God of Rain.
  3. When was the last time you laughed hard enough to snort (aka Donkey Honk) and what was so funny? The last time was when Ian (pictured above as not Jesus) came up to me and asked if he could go to Target.com to “buy a set.” Turns out, he was actually talking about legos.
  4. If you could travel anywhere and live all expenses paid for a year, where would that be? (No you may not select Uranus. Stop giggling!) The sky. No lie. Just up there in the blue. Not to get away from it all, but rather, above it. Incidentally, and since neither asked, flying is also my superpower of choice.
  5. What was the last book you read that you actually enjoyed and why would you recommend it? Andrew Davidson’s, The Gargoyle. Because it was creepy, sexual, inspiring and scary. Long before my divorce ever came down, this book showed me that True Love was not what I had. That and it made me cry. Oh, it’s also a nice weight and size to place in the small of your back, should it be aching in the middle of the night.
  6. What is your motto or mantra for your life? To dream the impossible dream, of course. Duh!
  7. You have one chance to witness first hand any event, you cannot alter it only witness it, what would it be? In all seriousness, I would like to be there on Easter morning. Not to prove to myself that it actually happened, but just to be able to give Him a hug and say thank you.
  8.  A book is being written about your life by an observer, what would the title be? Wonder How Many People Are Actually Gonna Buy This Book?
  9. What would creep you out the most? (seeing me naked is NOT an acceptable answer!) The very thing that I most desire – an actual visit from an angel. I’ve known a few who have told me of this experience, and I chose to believe them all. It’s the one thing I’ve always longed for to happen, but it would also creep me right out of my skin if it ever did.
  10. You have a friend who really needs a laugh, how do you get them to laugh? (dress in a hamster suit and dance the Macarena is funny) Depends on the person, but I can usually get people laughing just by walking into a room…
  11. What is the worst pick-up line you have heard used that worked? My little brother used to use it to great success and often, and it really can say a lot about certain members of the female of the species. He would say simply, “Get Away From Me.”

Shannon asks:

1. What smell instantly takes you back to a moment from your childhood?

Sixlets. When we were little, every year Christmas morn found us craddling hollow tube candy canes, packed to the brim with m&m’s. But these m&m’s smelled different. Tasted better. Ma n’ Pa said it was because they were Christmas m&m’s delivered by Santa, but they lied. Not too sure about the Santa part, but definitely about their being m&m’s. They were not, they were sixlets. I still like them better than m&m’s, and I still get mentally thrown back to Christmas 1970-something every time I open a bag. (Incidentally, this simutanlously makes me miss terribly the Godzilla Shogun Warrior I also had from around the same time – yeah, the one with the launching fist.)

2. What song will make you headbang/car dance/waltz around your living room no matter what kind of a shitty mood you’re in?

There is only ONE song that needs be played for this. “Jesus Built My Hot Rod,” by Ministry of course.

Or, “Got Some” by Pearl Jam I suppose.

And again, there’s also “Dont Fuck Me Up” by Cracker. And you can’t forget “Going Nowhere” by Therapy?, and I suppose I would have to mention my quizzer’s son’s near-namesake, The Exploited’s “Daily News.” And, well, I guess there’s at least a couple that trip my anger trigger.

Oops! Almost forgot “Hell Bent For Leather” by Judas Priest!

3. If you had to pick having to smell roses everywhere you went all the time or never being able to see the color blue, which would you choose?

I hate roses. And no, not because they “really smell like poo, poo-poo.” I hate them because they are so widely regarded as beautiful, with little or no actual reasoning behind this assessment. And in my experience, anything – or one – who is looked upon like this, can quite often have a deep inner ugliness that, when stumbled upon, destroys any semblance of the previously held viewpoint. That being said, if I chose the latter over the former, I would never again be able to look up into the deep azure sky, and long for the day that I will be able fly up there, unaided by man-made plane, controlled by heaven-made pilot. So I will simply have to resign myself to smelling those fucking roses all the time instead.

4. Would you be more afraid of a rhinoceros charging at you or a hippopotamus?

I would be more afraid if neither was charging me in fact. I mean, how could they not? Look at me, I’m freakin’ delicious.

5. Which, to you, would be the most flattering way to finish this sentence: Your writing really reminds me of _______.

The love-child of Douglas Adams and C.S. Lewis. With the full understanding that Mr. Lewis couldn’t actually bear Mr. Adams a child, resulting from his religious convictions.

6. Is it hard for you to stay on task from beginning to end, or do you jump around and do a little of this and a little of that and eventually cross the finish line?

Wait! There’s a finish line???

7. What is your biggest pet peeve about yourself?

43 years later, I still fall into that old trap of believing that my best will never be good enough. “Never,” as in the deepest, bleakest, most worthless never ever.

8. Do you plan to write your own epitaph or let someone else do it? Or, I guess conversely, cremation or burial would need to be answered first. TWO-PARTER! So that’s 8 & 9, because I multi-task like a motherfucker!

I’m going to answer this as a politician would. Which bascially means the answer will have nothing to do with the question. I’ve told my kids I want exactly (3) things for my funeral, and they can do whatever else they want with the rest of the service. 1) no wake. NO. WAKE. I’ve been to many, they’re all creepy, and not a damned one has actually worked. No wake. 2) bury me in pajamas (or if I die in the summer, nude is fine). Seriously, a liftime of corporate strangulation, and then you get stuck in a suit and tie for the big sleep? No thank you! 3) Bobby Darin MUST be played at the funeral. “Artificial Flowers,” to be exact. Don’t ask why.

10. All time favorite curse word, either one you’ve heard or one you’ve made up in the heat of the moment?

Douchery, fuckery, jack-assery. Catching a theme here? Basically, you can take any swear word, simply place a “ery” at the end, and it instantly becomes cool. Now, lets stop dicking around, and move on.

Incidentally “dicking around” could possibly the coolest, most nebulous swears ever. Use it often. People will think you’re smart if you do.

11. What vanity license plate would put “YOU” out there for all other driver’s to know?

“Can you believe that this cat actually thinks it’s cool to say ‘fuckery’?”

Both require a litany of new questions be generated and parceled out. But I’ve only one. Well, more like 2 – 3 in one.

If this is all that there is, and there is nothing else, either after or before, are you happy? I mean, truly happy? If “no,” then what can you do to turn that? And if “yes,” then where can I get what you’re having?

So there we go.

Shannon, Nowen, swap questions and get back to me, ya hear? Oh, and I’m also tagging Twin Daddy because I really respect his writing (though he has no idea I exist), and because He was the one that got me into this mess with Shannon in the first place.

So there.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve a little treat. So here, have a Cracker…

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