Archive for the Friends and Family Category

Why I Don’t Hate you…

Posted in Friends and Family, Masonic Insights, Reflections on February 1, 2017 by Verge

I’m in Houston for 10 days.  I’ve never been to Texas.  I’ve never needed or wanted to go to Texas, but here I am.  I’ve nothing against this state or the people that live in it.  I guess some people from “the North” might think that it’s some kind of terrible “South” state where hate is everywhere.

I’ve yet to had even a sliver of hatred pointed at me.  Me, part of a group of outsiders that have literally invaded their city for two or three weeks.

Over the last few years, I’ve never weighed in on what’s going on in our country, either on my blog, or on Twitter, or especially on Facebook.  I’ve kept my opinions to myself and my close friends, my wife, my family (who I most often disagree with).  I haven’t put out ultimatums to my contacts to “unfriend” me if they don’t agree with me.  Perhaps they unfriended me, but the digital friends that they were, I didn’t notice.

I’ve been a Freemason for a long time.  I’m a brother to all of them.  I don’t hate them, I don’t love them, necessarily, but I am their brother because that is a necessity.  Without a doubt, the most important thing I’ve learned is so simple it’s absurd.  We don’t ever talk about religion.  And we most certainly don’t talk about politics.  Those of you who know me well might find it hypocritical that I was the Chaplain of my Lodge for three years, but my brothers always appreciate my words.

Now, I find myself in an awkward place, both physically and in history. I don’t know what will happen this week, this year, this term, or ever.

Tonight, on my way home from a staff party late in Houston, I encountered a woman who just wanted to get back to her hotel, but couldn’t find her way, and just wanted someone, anyone, to help her.  A friend and I went out of our way to walk her back to her hotel so she was safe.  I’m not asking for a medal.   What I am saying is that I didn’t care about who she voted for, or if she went to church, and she certainly didn’t ask those questions of us.  We helped her because she is a human being .  She’ll forget our names tomorrow, but she won’t forget the help that we gave her.

I don’t care about your political or religious beliefs.  If you’re not willing to be human, and be a decent person to others, than you truly are no “friend” of mine.

Dystopia Issue # 2

Posted in Creative Writing, Friends and Family, Reflections with tags on May 31, 2016 by Verge

Back in the early 90’s, the Internet wasn’t really a “thing” so much.  It still sucked.  Not as bad as the Prodigy days, or the simple BBS days, when there weren’t any GUIs, but just a bunch of people tinkering around and even flirting.  But, you know, no youtube, no facebook, no wordpress.

Back then, I started something called a fanzine.  I mentioned this to Chelsea the other day at work, who is 25, and she had no idea what the hell I was talking about.  But Mike, who IS my age, spun around in his seat and was like, “that’s cool, I remember those, what was your’s called?”  My answer…”Dystopia”.”

So for all the people that are older or younger than me by 15 years or so, a fanzine is basically an analog blog.  It’s not made out of technology.  It’s made out of paper.  It can be about anything, but most of them were about bands.  Maybe an entire genre.  Or maybe a sub culture, like skating, or art, or writing, or punk, or goth, or raves.

In High School, I was in a after school club that focused on creative writing.  And, we did publish that stuff a few times a year, but it was kind of limited.  My writing and English teachers at school were wonderful people.  They were the reasons that every elective I could take for three years,  I took extra English courses.  And then I gave up my study hall to take even more English courses.  I took so many extra electives that I could have graduated in 3 years except that the state wouldn’t allow it.

The writing club was cool, but I wanted to be in charge, so I started my own fanzine.  I asked all the people I was friends with who were artists, or poets, or writers, to share what they had been working on and promised to put it all in my fanzine.  At one point, I had a rival fanzine in the school that was called “Bite Mari,” which was published by these two younger girls, Elysa and Jenn, and even though we were my competition, their’s was pretty bad ass and hilarious.  So I went on to date Elysa, the publisher, for 6 years or so.

My parents have just retired, and are selling their house in New Jersey and moving to Florida.  We’ve been helping clear out the house because it’s already been sold and everything either needs to go to Florida or the kids or in the trash.  I’m not sure exactly how my mother hid so much shit in that house, because it always looked amazing clean and organized, but they hoarded a ton of stuff.  It kind of scares me that that gene is in me somewhere.

So, they’ve been going through the piles of memories, and sorting them into boxes for each of us kids.  Mine contained a copy of Issue number #2 of “Dystopia.”  So, for what it’s worth (which is apparently $1), I give you the now, newly improved, totally digital, Blog version of Dystopia.  Thanks to all the people that helped me and had fun with me back in High School.  We always made it interesting somehow, and there was only so much cough medicine us kids could drink together to amuse ourselves.  Cheers!

covercover insidepage 1page 2page 3page 4page 5page 6page 7page 8page 9page 10page 11page 12page 13page 14page 15back cover

If and when I find the other issues of my fanzine, I’ll post them here as well.  I know I have them all, buried in my attic somewhere, to discover when I start to sort through my old memories.

Rivers and Bruises

Posted in Daily Pictures, Friends and Family, Good Times, Reflections on August 20, 2015 by Verge

Today, during a lull in work, while attempting to solve a puzzle which has nothing to do with life at all, I received a horrible message, which at first I thought must have been an attempt at sarcastic humor, but was instead  a very brutal kick in the side from reality.

And as I lost track of my thoughts, and tried to curb my tears in public, I pretended to search for the answers to clues in the newspaper instead of the ones in life that can never be answered.  Why him?  Why now?  How is this fair?  Or, what is the five letter word for “bluish-greens?”

I still vaguely feel the blow to my left kidney I received when I fell down in the river two weeks ago.  But bruises heal.  We get up, and move on and pretend that it doesn’t hurt quite as much as our insides truly tell us.

I’ll travel back up the river and attemp the journey again.   We won’t always make it to the end of our adventure at the same time, but for parts of it, we’ll drift downstream over calm and turbulent waters the same, together.  And that, in the end, are the parts worth remembering.

richandme

Rest In Peace, Rich. You taught me much more about life than you could have ever taught me about how to brew beer.

All Apologies (eh, it was late)

Posted in Creative Writing, Friends and Family, Reflections with tags on January 6, 2015 by Verge

what if the world were ending

in flames and fire and wrath,

could we ever come to forgive one another…

would we still be enemies in death?

they tell you there’s too much to live for

when you’re drowning under water

and then tell others there’s dignity in death

when a cause or war is what you’ve died for.

and families split, and friends are betrayed

in the worst of times that haunt us

and apologies are often not

enough to help to heal us.

but what if the world and all of us

were coming to the end,

would we find it in our souls

to just let old wounds mend?

The Night before Christmas

Posted in Creative Writing, Friends and Family with tags , , on December 24, 2014 by Verge

Tonight my parents come to visit.

We serve dinner and they bring gifts.

Afterwards, my wife hears stories from the source

that shed light on why I am the man I am.

My earliest memories are of passion…

anger and love the same.

They impressed me for a lifetime.

We’ve set up our tree for eight years in a row.

My in-laws just one time.

And as crooked as it may be,

it’s still the warmest thing to me.

Phillies Game

Posted in Daily Pictures, Friends and Family, Good Times with tags , on August 8, 2014 by Verge

Monika scored field level seats to last night’s Phillies game complete with free VIP parking.  And amazingly, I had the night off.  We pregamed a little bit, grabbed our two friends to come along with us, and headed out.

We don’t watch baseball.  I couldn’t even tell you more that two players on the Phillies, and even that would be a guess.  I don’t know the starters, the manager, the coach.  Shit, I don’t even know all the rules, official or not.  But, I do know that watching baseball during the summer is a great time.

We scored our vegan cheese steaks from the stadium, Sam spilled her french fries, Monika nearly got me in a fight with some punks sitting behind us, I nearly caught a foul ball, and the Phillies ended up hitting a grand slam at the top of the 8th to win the game the next inning.  It was an awesome time, and quite memorable (I also I took pictures).

 

 

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Day Three – Buffalo Trace, Town Branch, Evan Williams

Posted in Distilling, Friends and Family, Good Times, Reflections, Vacations with tags , , on July 26, 2014 by Verge

After a busy first three distilleries on a guided tour, we decided to head out and explore on our own.  Buffalo Trace used to be on the official trail, but it isn’t anymore.  We went anyway early in the morning to check out their delicious libations.  Then we headed out to another official stop in Lexington and included a tour of their brewery as well.  Town Branch was the most modern facility on the tour, but it was well worth the trip.  I doesn’t have the charm of a 150 year old distillery, but it was a really great tour and our host, Steve, was hilarious.  Then we headed back to downtown Louisville to go on the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience tour, which is kind of like Disney for bourbon drinkers.

 

We had vegan chilli dogs and cole slaw for dinner like true Americans at the local ice cream stand

 

Then we watched some fireworks with our new friends (our hosts from BnB and their chickens) while sipping bourbon on the back porch until the middle of the night, and lit off some of our own.

We really couldn’t have planned for a better Independence Day than they way this trip turned out.  We got to see a ton of distilleries by this point, met some great people and hung out at a bunch of local places, and met some really great people.  And got to blow shit up drunk in the middle of Louisville.  Can’t wait to go back.

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