A Quick Hit

Good evening, fellow Sh*theads. Happy Friday night. I told myself that I’d never do this… Told myself that I wouldn’t be “that blogger.” You know, the one who updates you daily on everything from what he’s eating to what he’s watching on television. I told myself when I started this that I wouldn’t turn “Random Musings” into an online journal. But…

Well, guys? Times change, and I figure that I have enough of a “fan base” at this point to justify it. That said, I had pizza for dinner tonight (cheese, only; it’s a Friday in Lent and I’m a fairly good Christian) and I’m currently watching “Sofia the First” with my three year old. A quick parenthetical aside: “Sofia the First” is a new, Disney princess show on Disney Junior about a young commoner, turned royal by marriage (her mother married the king, Roland). It’s terrific, and very age appropriate for a three year old. I highly recommend it. End aside.

Lest those of you that have been reading “Random Musings” worry that I’ve given up blogging, rest assured: I have not. Quite the contrary, actually. I’ve got a handful of new writing ideas involving everything from a “Friends” movie (I call it “Friends: Ten Years Later”) to a new rumination on parenthood, double ear infections, pink eye and Bronchitis. But I’m knee deep in novel revision mode, currently. I’m putting the finishing touches on what I hope will be my final, pre-publication rewrite of ENDWORLD. It and my daily routine are eating up a good portion of my time, currently. As much as I’d love to maintain this site, there are people that have been waiting almost 20 years for me to finally finish this book and I don’t want to let them down. That said…

I know a few of you reading this are dying to see the extent of this novel… This labor of love that I’ve been writing about for… Well, forever. Rest assured: You will. While I’m not confident in putting the whole book out here for anyone to see just yet (a combination of low self-esteem and my fear that someone will steal my idea), I feel reasonably confident about giving you a taste.

So, for those of you that have been faithfully following “Random Musings” since I started it four years ago, I present to you a little treat. The Prologue of my novel. please read, and hopefully enjoy at your leisure. As for me? I’ma get back to the grind. About 100 pages left to go until I’m finished. I’ll catch you on the flip side, friends. Have a great weekend.

ENDWORLD – A Novel

PROLOGUE – Alone (“Fear in a handful of dust”)

It is difficult to remember when my life had meaning. When you’re 18 and on the run, the only meaning that your life has is surviving from day-to-day. Any other meaning that my life had vanished that gray and hazy morning, afternoon or evening on the beach.

I look out the window of the old, abandoned office and adjoining warehouse within which I have resided indefinitely. The nameless town below rolls silently away down a steep hill. Houses and proprietorships, long since abandoned dot the landscape. About a quarter of a kilometer away, the black-asphalt spine of the Highway stretches endlessly in either direction like a huge, dreaming python, and while I cannot see it directly I know that it is there. I can always sense its presence no matter where I am. I’ve got to admit that it is a pretty sight. Perhaps one of the last in this cursed place. Still, a python can be deadly if you provoke it.

How long have I been here? I honestly don’t know. The interior of what has been my surrogate home is unchanged. Old, abandoned desks sit in the four corners of the main room. Atop them, what appear to be old, non-touch screen computer monitors grown dusty and dim with age, abandoned keyboards, speakers, computer mice, the occasional cup of dried-out pens and broken pencils and on one desk, a calendar grown so ancient with age that I can no longer make out the month, days or even the year written upon it.

But such concepts no longer matter in 15:CI.

Three of the four walls surrounding me are covered with accouterments. On one, two framed pictures, one which preaches “Teamwork” and the other, “Excellence.” Another has a yellowing and faded poster of what appears to be a rocket. “Taurus II” it advertises, “Brought to you by Orbital Technologies.” On yet another, a single framed picture that advertises “Leadership.” And on the final wall? A vicious mockery of the world as it once-was: A mural of a forest at dusk, upon it painted trees whose tops extend well beyond the water-stained and cracked drop ceiling over  my head.

I have learned from my experiences, both good and bad, not to rely on time here in Endworld. Every time (no pun intended) that I begin to do so— every time that I try to make sense of such an abstract and outdated concept I realize that the passage of what passes for time here is frighteningly different than one might expect. Everything fades. Everything dies and eventually leaves nothing but the equivalent of a yellowing and faded mural of a forest at dusk if you’re lucky. But in most cases? It leaves nothing but a pile of dust. Here in Endworld? The process once referred to as “time” is elongated. A day lasts ten days. A month lasts 100 months. And a year?

A single year lasts a millennium.

You’re probably wondering who I am. I assure you that that question, and any others that you have will be answered eventually and to the best of my ability. For now, all that I can tell you is that I am alone—the last member of a group of companions who were dedicated to liberating themselves from the totalitarian tyranny of The Administration. I say “the last” not because I am the lone survivor of our group. On the contrary, as far as I know the other surviving members of my group have escaped to a safer place: A place away from the influence of the metal and micro-chip enhanced bastards that sit in judgment over the species that created them and over all of Endworld. No. I say that I am “the last” because I am the one who stayed behind…

However reluctantly.

My gaze drifts back to the lone window, inset within the front door of the place I have come to call my “home.” The sun has almost set and the world is bathed in an eerie, golden-red iridescence. I am reminded of a night seemingly an eternity ago when I embarked on a journey just beyond that same sunset. Then, I was younger physically, figuratively and spiritually. Then, I was unscarred by the sorrow that now hangs like a putrid cloud of hour-old cigarette smoke over my head as I write this. Then, I was as optimistic and naive as any child of 17 whose entire life had been spent within the confines of a small town. Mine was called Jefferson, a tiny borough in the Mid-Western Territory, or MWT for short. Now, though? I sit silently pondering the proverbial road that carried me here, to an old, abandoned office and warehouse in the middle of a crumbling ghost-town sandwiched between a nameless river and the Highway. A place that my companions might have called “The Center of Bumblefuck.”

Darkness is slowly infiltrating the world outside my door and consequently the corners of the office that I nightly bunk down in. I reach into my battered backpack and remove a candle, unfortunately the last of my once-extensive supply. I light it with my trusty Zippo lighter and marvel, as I always do, that after all that has transpired and all that it has endured it continues to light without the benefit of replenishment. My Zippo is as metaphorical of me as the Highway is of Endworld, but more on that later. I place the candle near enough to me so that I can see what I am writing but not near enough to risk the destruction of these last, precious pieces of yellowing paper that I managed to liberate from what must have been the old office supply cabinet in the warehouse.

I glance inside my backpack again and take inventory of my supplies. They are almost depleted. Soon it will be time for me to move on but before I can I must tell you my story, regardless of the likely pain that doing so will cause me. Perhaps when I am gone—and trust me when I tell you that one day soon I will be gone—perhaps when I am gone you can read it, study it… hell, maybe you can even learn something from it. What you do with it is up to you. For the time being, however? I write the following account not to heal the ills of a sick and twisted world: A world of lush forests at dusk grown cold by the emergence of chrome and steel. A world in which a concept like hope is extinct, drowned as all things once youthful and optimistic by the rivers of blood that flow down the distant, eight-lane, asphalt super Highway.

Ever onward, William, a familiar female voice coos in my mind, ever, ever after. I close my eyes against the tightening that embraces my chest and my midsection and I sigh.

No, friends. I write the following account to heal myself.

I won’t begin my tale in the traditional way because as someone wise once told me, the phrase “once upon a time” generally signifies a happy ending. I think that it would be better to begin with…

🙂

A Lenten Conundrum

I consider myself a good Roman Catholic, albeit not exactly a practicing one. Most observers would consider me as more of a recovering one. I’ll be honest with you because really, I pride myself on being so in both my life and my writing: I don’t go to Mass every Sunday and I haven’t for some time. I haven’t been to Confession in over a decade and generally when I do go to Mass, I skip Communion because, as Sister Mary Margaret taught me in Grade School (back when we all lived in “J-Town” and no one lived anyplace else), to receive Communion with Mortal Sin on my soul–my aforementioned lack of regular Mass attendance–is punishable by nothing short of the fires of H-E-double hockey sticks.

Despite this, I do consider myself a good, if not a great Roman Catholic. Both of my children were baptized RC; both will attend Catholic School and both will learn the same things that I learned growing up. Why? Because I consider my RC upbringing crucial to the person that I am, currently, and the people I want my girls to be. When they turn 18, they can be whatever they want to be but until that day, guys? They’ll do what I and my wife want them to do. Baptism, First Penance, First Holy Communion, Confirmation… the whole shebang. Hopefully you get the point. If you don’t? This next part is for you.

I believe in God. I believe that His son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins and was Resurrected a few days later.  I’m a little put off by the idea of a Holy Ghost (or anything ghostly, for that matter), but I concede that something changes within us when we are Confirmed. I don’t know whether Mary was a Virgin or not when she conceived Jesus and I don’t care. She is the mother of “the Word made flesh” and that is enough for me. I believe that “faith” is more than just what happens within a building every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. It’s more than giving money to an establishment. Faith is something inherent within oneself. Something that one believes. And me? I believe in all of the above and in Heaven, Purgatory and Hell too boot, though I do not believe that my missing Mass most Sundays dooms me to the latter because for the most part, I’ve lived a good and moral life. At least I hope it doesn’t. If it does, wow. My whole existence seems kinda’ pointless.

In essence, I believe in a secular version of the spirituality that I was reared in. I believe that my relationship with the Almighty is a personal one, and not something I have to dignify to a building full of worshipers or anyone, for that matter. That said, my reason for writing this blog entry is not to profess my faith to you, my loyal reader (or readers; I’m not really sure how many of you there are since the whole “Visitor” versus “View” thing here on WordPress is a little vague). It merely gives you a bit of background… a foundation that sets up what this blog entry is about: A Lenten Conundrum. 

Who here doesn’t know what Lent is? A show of hands, please. Lent, for those of you that don’t, is the period of 40 weekdays leading up to Easter Sunday that are devoted to fasting, abstinence and penitence. In essence, Lent is a time of purification for all Christians, not just RCs like me: Purification of the soul for the day that marks the anniversary of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead which, in biblical times, was also the day new Christians were baptized. Today–Tuesday, February 12, 2013–is the last day of Ordinary Time, pre-Lent and is known in most circles as “Fat Tuesday.” It is a day of excess: Of not fasting, not abstaining and being unrepentant before Ash Wednesday kicks off Lent. It is a good excuse to party and it always has been. But for me in 2013? Fat Tuesday signifies something else. Something much more dire and serious now that my idea of “partying” involves popcorn, sugar-free juice boxes and “Puss In Boots” on a Saturday night with my three and a half year old. Tomorrow, I need to give up something for Lent and this year? I have no idea what in the H-E-double hockey sticks I’m going to give up.

Last year, I gave up Facebook. Don’t all “ooh” and “aah” at once. It is possible despite our seemingly insatiable need as a species to see what our friends are doing and, in some cases, who they are doing, laid out before us in blue and white. The experience, or lack thereof was actually quite liberating. Granted, I spent a lot more time on Twitter than I normally do, but I didn’t feel as locked-in to my Zuckerberg-sanctioned timeline as I usually do. So that one’s out of the question. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. I generally don’t eat sweets–I can’t because of the whole high blood sugar thing–and my only real vice–smoking–is now a virtual non-vice though I’ll admit to sneaking the occasional Cancer stick, but only on special occasions like at a wedding, or on a Saturday night whilst watching “Lock Up: RAW” with my wife. I’m not a big drinker, and the one thing that I could give up–caffeine–is just not an option. I don’t think I could survive one day, much less 40 without it.

Which leaves me with the title of this blog entry: A Lenten Conundrum. I’d give up blogging–and I’m sure one or two of you reading this would be okay with that–but giving that up is the same, for me, as giving up writing. I can’t. I won’t. It’s too much of a part of who I am. I’d give up sex but come on: I’ve got two kids–a three and a half year old and an eight, soon to be nine month old–for chrissakes. How much do you honestly think I’m getting? How much do you think I even care about getting laid at this juncture? I prefer a good night’s sleep or an uninterrupted hour of reading to getting schazzy. This is in no way, shape or form a reflection on my wife who is as beautiful and desirable now as she always has been. It is merely a personal preference. Nor does it make me less of a man. What it makes me is smart. Sleep… relaxation trumps sex. I can function at work on a full night’s sleep. I can not after a tryst-filled night. So sex? Out of the question, too.

What’s left? I think that pretty much uses up all of the broad topics. Social media? No. Sweets? No. Smoking? Not significant enough. Drinking? See smoking. Caffeine? H-E-double HOCKEY STICKS no! Writing? Nothing to gain. Sex? No point. Am I then reduced to actually picking out specifics to give up like Monster Energy Drinks, Mumford and Sons or Words with Friends? Perhaps. There has to be something. The driving precept behind a Lenten sacrifice is giving up a luxury. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a vice. So what luxuries do I enjoy, outside of the ones mentioned above? Here goes:

1. Cheese: I’m a cheese junkie, guys. I love it. American, Sharp Provolone, Cheddar, Port Wine, Gov’ment and Velveeta, if the latter can even be classified as “cheese” and not a “cheese product.” But there’s a problem with giving up cheese. During Lent, one can not eat meat on Fridays. And I really can’t eat fish. So unless I’m going to eat nothing but greens every Friday between this one and the Good one, I need to keep cheese in my diet. Eating nothing but greens would have the same effect upon me as not drinking caffeine. I don’t know who or what I’d turn into, but I know it wouldn’t be pretty. Why is it that I picture myself cowering in a corner and repeating “my precious” over and over again?

2. Soda: See caffeine. Soda’s not soda, diet or otherwise (and I can’t drink “otherwise” ’cause of the aforementioned, no sugar thing) without caffeine. Anything that masquerades as decaffeinated soda is little more than carbonated liquid in a juice box. I can’t… I wouldn’t survive without it. We’re talking about giving up a luxury, guys, not functionality.

3. Functionality: Both professionally and personally. I could give up being a functional cog in the machine that is my reality on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Give up working; give up going out; give up being a good dad and a good husband. But doing so would be incredibly counter-productive and… well sh*t, just downright wrong. Besides, I don’t think giving up something as crucial to my life as functionality was what my religious forefathers and mothers meant when they came up with the idea of a Lenten sacrifice. I guarantee you that if they did? There would be a lot more of us out there (as if the however many billion Christians that exist in the world, currently, isn’t enough). Admit it: Laziness is attractive. It is to me. I just wish I could be lazy more often. Sadly, there’s not a lot of room for that in my life, presently.

4. Sports: Too, too easy. I mean really? Giving up sports in Philadelphia right now is the equivalent of taking a vacation. The Flyers stink. The 76’ers blow. The Eagles went 4-12 and just resigned Mike Vick, much to the chagrin of 90% of the sports fans in this city. Phillies’ Pitchers and Catchers reported today to Clearwater, Florida for Spring Training but even that does little to assuage the general malaise that exists when one thinks about the local sports scene, currently. After all, the Phillies finished third in the NL East last year (81-81) and are projected to do the same by most pundits going in to this season. I’d do it, but something tells me that the Almighty would look upon it as me, taking the easy way out.

5. One of my many myriad electronic devices: Smart phone, lap top, iPad, Kindle Fire… you name it and I have it. This one could work save for one issue. Actually, multiple issues, one with each. Regarding my smart phone, I’m sure I could go 40 days without it. I could leave it off in my room at home for a couple of weeks and not think twice. But doing so would eliminate the lone means by which most people contact me. Whether via text, email, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter et al, my smart phone keeps me connected to my friends and family. I have a land line at home but I honestly don’t know it’s number. Generally when it rings I concede that the person calling me is either A.) A telemarketer, B.) A robo-call, C.) My Biological trying in vain to re-establish a relationship with me or D.) My sister, who for some reason always calls my house phone. I automatically assume that if the situation is dire they will call my cell. That said, my cell is necessary to my daily functionality. Ooh, functionality: A double no-no. Plus, I have a March upgrade to look forward to. Samsung S3 here I come! Regarding my lap top, I need it for work since I am the on-call guy for my company. If Sister Mary Margaret’s hydraulic system breaks down at 2:00 AM and she calls me I need to be able to check our warehouse stock, et cetera, et cetera. Regarding my… our iPad, I rarely use it. In essence, giving up the iPad would be the same as giving up my work computer: Something that I don’t own but am allowed to borrow occasionally. Insignificant. As for my Kindle Fire, while it might be nice to give up e-reading and go back to reading paper texts for a few weeks, I am constantly using my Fire to work on e-formatting Endworld. Considering my editor just finished her first edit and will be sending her copy back to me to be re, re, re-revised in the next few days my Fire is, unfortunately, a necessity, as well.

What’s left? I honestly don’t know. I’ve covered everything and anything that I can think of. Is it conceivable that at this juncture, on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence there are few, if any non-necessities in my life? There are luxuries, but are there any that I can manage to survive without for 40 weekdays? I guess that’s why they call it a Lenten “sacrifice,” huh? The idea behind it is a secular extension of the original idea of Lent being a time of  fasting, abstinence and penitence in preparation for the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection and by association, the day of Baptism. And I profess to be a believer in a secular approach to the Roman Catholic faith that I was reared in, do I not? How can I raise my girls RC if I’m not willing to lead by example?

Maybe I should give up caffeine. After all, I didn’t think I would be able to give up Facebook for six weeks last year and I did. It would be healthier for me, wouldn’t it? Should I? Would I?

I would not. Because I believe in God. Because I believe that His son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins and was Resurrected a few days later. I further believe that neither the Almighty nor His offspring would ask me to give up something pivotal to my existence on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence as a means of purifying my soul. I can do the same thing through prayer and reflection, can I not? In addition, I remain a little put off by the idea of a Holy Ghost (or anything ghostly, for that matter), but I concede that something within me causes me to think this way at this time of year, even after 30 plus years of doing it. Furthermore, I have believed and always will believe that “faith” is more than just what Sister Mary Margaret defined it as in the Fifth Grade. I believe that faith coincides with belief, and I believe that I have been asked to sacrifice early and often over the course of my life. I have done so with zero debate. I’ve never questioned the motive, I’ve simply accepted that it was something I needed to do. Despite it, or perhaps because of it, I believe that I have lived and that I continue to live a good and moral life. If the Almighty deems it otherwise? Then I guess I underestimated His judgement of what earns one entrance into Heaven, Purgatory or Hell. Still, I am required to give something up for Lent this year and I intend to fulfill that requirement as I have every year since I first learned that I had to. And if I need to pick one of the above listed “necessities” and not caffeine? I choose…

6. None of the Above: You read that right, guys. None of the above. Believe it or not, there is actually a luxury that I have not yet mentioned that I ingest on a daily basis. For lunch; when I get home. In truth? It is likely one of the main reasons why I’m as holly and jolly as I am right now. Chips, guys. Not just potato, but derivatives thereof: Doritos, Fritos, cheesy poofs, Smartfood. All shapes, sizes and flavors. When you combine this with my preexisting inability to ingest candy or anything sugary, I am, in essence, giving up what exists in my subjective reality as junk food for Lent. I figure this will not adversely affect my functionality, nor will the Almighty, His son or that darned Holy Ghost accuse me of “getting off too easy.” Plus, I might drop a few pounds in the process, a not altogether unappealing prospect as Winter begins to wane and give way to Spring and thereafter, Summer.

There you have it! Lenten conundrum solved. I’d like to thank Sister Mary Margret for allowing me to mention her multiple times throughout this composition. I’d also like to thank the Father, the Son and yes, even the Holy Spirit for being the foundation of my spirituality. No matter how secular said spirituality has become in the last few years, I still consider myself a good, if not a great RC. I’d like to thank Mary, the mother of Jesus and her husband, Joseph. Mainly Joseph because really? Mary gets all of the credit, all of the time. I’ll give it to her: The whole Immaculate Conception thing is pretty awesome. But Joseph? Even if Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ Biological he was, seemingly, an attentive and caring father/husband. We should all aspire to be that way, shouldn’t we?

In closing, I’d like to thank my wife, Nicole, who kept Natalie and Cara occupied while I completed this blog entry. She also helped me to decide upon my Lenten sacrifice. She’s giving up sweets–all variations and derivatives thereof–for Lent. No one thinks she can do it but me? I totally think she’s got it in her. Everyone reading this? Please send her your best, positive vibes. Thank you, and have a happy and healthy Easter Season.

A Question of Inherent Goodness

I have always believed in the inherent goodness of most people. My whole life, I’ve held to the belief that, as Luke Skywalker said in “Return of the Jedi” regarding his father, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, “There’s still good in him. I can feel it.” At the end of the movie–and at the time, we thought, the story–we discovered that Luke was right. Vader not only saved his son’s life at the end but in the process “brought balance to the Force” as had been prophesied many, many years before. This idea? Of someone as evil as Darth Vader being inherently good? It is a comforting one.

I’m far from naive on this point, guys. I’ve seen too much to believe that all people are inherently good (hence my use of the term “most” in my opening sentence). They’re not. Jerry Sandusky? Not. Adolf Hitler? Definitely not. Did I just lump a child molester and a genocidal maniac in to the same sentence? Yes, I did. In my mind one is just as sick, twisted and f*cked up as the other and that’s not because I went to Penn State and am disgusted by what he–Sandusky–and his co-conspirators have done to the reputation of my beloved Alma Mater.

Quite simply? I believe and will always believe that evil exists. It can be incarnated in any number of ways. Whether you believe that evil is a tangible commodity, evident in people like the aforementioned ones like I do, or you believe that it is an abstract concept that we use to explain the in-explainable–atrocities committed that defy logical explanation (see: Sandy Hook, etc.)–is irrelevant. In our world on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence? Bad people exist. And bad people do bad things. Which brings me back to the reason that I started writing this blog entry in the first place.

I have always believed and I will always believe in the inherent goodness of most people. Let me repeat that: I will always believe in the inherent goodness of most people. It’s part of who I am as a person. But some days? Believing is hard. Damn hard. Take today. Today, I discovered that someone that I trusted was funneling information to someone else in an attempt to… what? Implicate me? Get back at me? Did said funneler think that he/she was doing the right thing? Probably. Is he/she evil? No. He/she is no more evil than I am. Am I being intentionally vague? Yes, and that’s the extent of what I’m going to say err, write on the matter.

The thing is? This is not the first time this has happened. It has happened before. The names and faces have changed over time but the mentality, apparently, still exists. Perhaps it is a product of the institution, whatever that institution may be and not its individual personalities. Perhaps. Or perhaps it is just a sad coincidence. Whatever it is, for lack of a better explanation, it is. I don’t always question the way things are, guys. I know, shocking, huh? But sometimes, it is safer to just keep my head down and be that living, breathing facsimile of a smiley face that you all know and… I hope… love to some extent. But as some reading this may know and some may not, I’ve got a bit of a history with this kind of a situation.

It goes all the way back to my childhood. Back then, I was not a living, breathing facsimile of a smiley face. I was a depressive, pear-shaped kid who wore a lot of black and constantly sought acceptance from his peers. I eventually found it, but it took me the better part of 15… almost 16 years to do so and it didn’t happen overnight. Oh hell no. It was a rigorous process. But by the time I graduated high school and started my Freshman year at Penn State Abington (known then as “Penn State Ogontz,” and thereafter for a short time as “Penn State Abington-Ogontz” or “Ab-Oz” as we endearingly referred to it) that sad and sordid history? It was a distant memory. I was older, wiser, slimmer and more mature. I was, for the most part, happy. But I never forgot, guys. No way. Never.

Am I bitter? No. I haven’t been bitter in a couple of decades. If anything, I laugh about it now, mainly with my wife and others who suffered through similar situations to mine growing up. But… and here’s the rub… if this kind of thing has happened before, is happening now and will, likely, happen again if I remain in the same situation that I am currently in, why “hold fast” as my screensaver on both my computer at home and at work proclaims? Why continue to believe in the inherent goodness of most people if, per not just my own, personal history’s example but the example of history in general demonstrates that people are not? Why not forcibly remove myself from the situation before things get worse?

All are good questions. Valid ones. Questions that require a little pondering and, it seems, a blog entry. I think that a part of the reason why is this: I ‘kinda get off on it, a little. Yeah, I went there. Don’t avert your eyes and scream that you’re blind because the majority of you reading this have likely never seen me in person or haven’t seen me in anything other than a thumbnail in a long, long time and are unequipped to judge.

I do, though. I get off on being challenged, rising to the challenge and overcoming it. All of you people that quote “oppressed me” unquote back in the day? Guess what? A part of me enjoyed it. Do you know or can you guess why? The answer is pretty simple and it can be summed up in one word: Attention. When you were doing it, you were paying attention to me and I longed for that. I let it go on for as long as I did because I liked the attention that I was accruing. When I grew up, though, and realized that conceding to being a proverbial punching bag was unhealthy? I moved passed it. Put it in my proverbial rear view mirror. Finis. 

The same is somewhat true, now, but only the part about being challenged, rising to the challenge and overcoming it. Trust me. The proverbial punching bag thing? Yeah. I don’t do that anymore. I punch back. Ask the funneler and the funnel-ee if you don’t believe me. But only if you can ring their names out of my cold, dead hands…

Um… yeah. Okay. 

Of course, if this blog entry is any indication, I’m apparently still very good at the whole garnering attention thing. But really, guys? Am I? I average about 20-25 hits per blog entry, and that’s only since I moved “Random Musings” from Google Blogger to WordPress a few months ago. Before that, I was lucky if I got 20 hits per blog entry (on average). I’ve had a few highs–“Dora the Explorer – A J. J. Abrams Film”–and a few lows–“Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish”–but for the most part? My little blog is a virtual non-entity in the greater blogosphere.

If I did this solely for attention I would have stopped a long time ago. Still, though, I toil onward, and have been toiling onward for almost four years now. No. I don’t maintain “Random Musings” for attention. I do it because I enjoy doing it. I enjoy writing. Some people play sports, jog, play “World of Warcraft” or otherwise. I write. And writing, for me, is another extension of who I am. Turn away if you desire to. I won’t hold it against you.

So that’s one reason why. Kind of a gross one, I know. I promise I’ll never reference “getting off” again. How about another reason? Okie-dokie, then. Another reason why I continue to believe in the inherent goodness of others despite the fact that some days, believing is hard. Because hidden within the nastiness that graces the static page of every news site from CNN to Fox News, to MSNBC to C-SPAN is proof.

I understand the media. I understand that sh*t sells. I’ve seen “The Running Man” a dozen or so times. And while I disagree wholeheartedly with profiting from other people’s misfortune and turning dictators in to modern day, dime store paperback anti-heroes, I’m not going to tell you how to do your job. You’ve got to feed your families ‘same as I do. But…

But look no further than the teacher that hid her students from the Sandy Hook shooter a little over a month ago and lost her life because of it. Or the bus driver that ended up dying because he tried to stop a gunman from kidnapping a student. Or the pilot that safely landed his plane in the Hudson River a few years ago and saved over a hundred lives. Or “Gabby” Giffords. Or the woman… hell, the women that defy the traditional, submissive roles forced upon them by their respective societies.

See what I mean? For every Jerry Sandusky there’s a Malala Yousafzai. For every Adolf Hitler there’s a “Kid President.” For every bad person doing bad things there’s a good person showing the world that despite how horrific things can get, there remains hope. For society. For us. I’m not going to lie: Humanity is pretty far gone presently. If you believe otherwise that’s your prerogative but I’m sorry: I require your proof. Me, personally? I remain a believer in the inherent goodness in most men and women because of the Gabbys, the Malalas and the “Kid Presidents.” For me? As long as one true hero or heroine exists in the midst of the political strong men, women and profiteers that choke the life from this world there is hope. So I’ll never stop believing. Until the day rolls around that I watch or read the news and see nothing but negativity I’ll never stop. That said…

Somewhere, on another side of the proverbial wormhole of existence Luke Skywalker just informed the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi that “there’s still good in [Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader]. I know it.” We all know how that story ends. Vader throws the Emperor over the railing and in to the abysmal heart of the second Death Star and he and his son have a touching, last moment together. Cue me crying (yes, when I first saw it I cried), the funeral pyre and the Ewoks, dancing to the “Yub Yub” song. But what about this story? Ours? How will it end? Am I correct in my assessment that at its core, most human souls retain some semblance of good despite how some have been corrupted by everything from the media to the desire to be accepted by their peers? Am I just as naive at 37 as I was at 13? Only time will tell, I guess. But as for right now? I believe what I believe. Despite funnelers and funnel-ees, I still believe it, and will continue to do so…

Long after these credits have rolled. Finis. 

Written and Directed by Frank Marsh.

🙂

What Christmas Means To Me

This is probably the last thing that I should be writing, right now. As of this particular moment in time on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence  the question, “What does Christmas mean to me,” can be answered with one word and one word only: Pain. As in sinus, head and throat. As in I woke up this past, Monday Morning–Christmas Eve for those of you that have been living under a rock or do not celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday–with virtually the same ailment that both of my girls had last week. But wait, you may argue, didn’t your girls have two, separate ailments? Yes. They did, and I got the best of both worlds, i.e. Cara’s fever and Natalie’s congestion. I am a walking, talking, barely breathing, woozy headed, medicated facsimile of a smiling face, right now, and the smiley face? I’ve only got that on for my customers. I’d much rather drink a bottle of Nyquil and crawl up in to a corner for the next day and a half. But I can’t. I won’t. ‘Cause as Freddy Mercury so aptly sang despite his foreknowledge of his own, personal condition, “The show must go on!”

To be honest with you? The only reason that I’m here and not at home, in bed right now is because I need to ensure that the dozen or so moving parts of the massive cylinder order leaving the factory for my biggest OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) this PM get off without a hitch. That’s the kind of thing that I do for my customers, guys. Most Inside Sales/Customer Service people punch in quotes, punch in orders and talk on the phone only when unnecessary. They take sick time when they’re sick (and sometimes when they’re not). But me? I throw myself bodily in to my work. I persevere despite how incredibly sh*tty I feel. I go out and visit my customers. I get to know them on a personal level and not just a professional one. I’m not sure why I do it that way, I just do. And it seems to work pretty well so really, why f*ck around with the system?

Because the older I get, the worse I feel. Yes, I know I’m only 37 years young but “getting sick” can’t be cured by 30 Jello shots and a bottle of champagne anymore. I need real medicine and I need rest. And consistent rest is something I have not been getting these last few weeks.

So why? Why chose now to write a blog post about what Christmas means to me? Won’t your answers be skewed by your condition, you may argue. They may. But I just popped a couple of Tylenol Severe Cold and Flu that I picked up at 7-11, along with a low sugar, Monster Energy Drink and I can already feel my nasal pathways, my head and my chest drying up. It’s amazing what Acetaminophen can do when combined with an antihistamine and caffeine. I’m not saying that I feel 100% better… I don’t. But I’m feeling a bit more functional than I was a few paragraphs ago and some things? Well, I’ve waited a few days to write this and I don’t want to wait any longer lest I forget them. So damn the pounding in my ears, I’m goin’ for broke.

This past Christmas–or this past Tuesday for those of you that have been living under a rock or only celebrate Hanukkah–was my 38th on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Mind you, I really don’t remember the first couple but I can remember from roughly my fifth or sixth on. I can’t recall every gift… every detail of those earliest Christmas mornings but I can remember how they felt. In short? They felt magicalBefore I knew the sad truth about Santa Claus; before I learned that reindeer generally don’t fly, not even with some of Cheech and Chong’s magic dust; before I realized that my then-father now sperm donor had eaten the cookies and drank the milk that I and my little sister had diligently left out for the other big guy, Christmas morning was a time of infinite possibility. In truth? It was the only time. Not even my birthday could match it’s awesomeness.

All that changed as I got older and realized “the truth.” Christmas morning was a time of necessity. It was a time to get up before 10:00 AM–something which I rarely did in my teens–and eat breakfast with my mother and my sister. It was a time to open my significantly smaller pile of gifts with each, passing year despite the fact that all I really wanted to do was kick back on the couch and watch “A Christmas Story” over and over again. Magical gifts like the original Millennium Falcon and the Darth Vader carrying case–both of which are worth bow-coo bucks presently in mint condition; who knew?–were replaced by clothes, more clothes and the occasional novelty gift, i.e. “junk.” All this culminated in my first Christmas away from home–1997 for those of you that are counting–when I slept too late at my apartment, missed Christmas breakfast and showed up at my Mom’s hungover and smelling of tequila and cigarettes around noon. I still don’t know if my mother ever forgave me for that trespass. If she still begrudges me it let me formally state the obvious herein: I’m sorry. And if she forgot about it some time ago? Well, I guess I can’t blame her. Only pseudo-madmen like myself can remember things as mundane and inane as this and can barely remember what they ate for lunch yesterday.

For the record, it was leftover Eggplant Parmesan, a meatball and a low sugar, Monster Energy Drink. Anyone else sensing that “caffeine dependency” is a theme for your old buddy the Madchronicler? My neurologist would have a field day with my caffeine consumption, presently. No migraines for the moment. Just a pounding in my sinuses, my head and my chest that already appears to be returning despite the fact that I just popped those Tylenol Cold and Sinuses an hour ago. All together now: Oh f*ck me. Sorry, but I abandoned oh thank God last night.

And then, three plus years ago, something amazing and unexpected happened: My wife and I had a child. Okay, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected. We had been trying for a while. But it wasn’t Cara’s birth that I was referring to as “unexpected.” It was my own renewed interest in Christmas. I remember waking up that December 25th, long before Cara and Nicole did in anticipation of Cara’s reaction to seeing all of her presents under the tree… of her happiness at realizing that Santa had eaten all of his cookies and drank all of his milk. I guess in my elation, I neglected to realize that Cara was only five months and some change old at the time and could barely sit up, much less realize that some jolly and jiggly, red suit clad, cookie and milk loving sot had slid down our non-existent chimney and left her an army of Fisher Price, Playschool and Leap Pad stuff. Still, it was fun opening her presents for her and giving her the paper to play with.

But a fundamental change had been enacted in my life, guys. With each, subsequent year I got more and more “in” to Christmas as Cara realized more and more that something different was happening. This year, my wife and I had our second child (Natalie for those of you keeping score), and Cara turned three. And I knew, even before the season started that this Christmas was going to be as fun as hell.

My anticipation reached a feverish level on Monday night–Christmas Eve for those of you that have been living under a rock or who celebrate Kwanzaa–and that wasn’t because of the temperature I was running. It wasn’t due to the myriad medicines, the two low sugar, Monster Energy drinks that I had consumed or the periodic shots of vodka I was taking when mine and my wife’s families weren’t looking to dull the itch in my throat. Okay, so maybe those factors played in to it a bit but I got very little sleep and was up before anyone else on Christmas morning. I actually had to wait a half an hour for Cara and Nicole to wake up (Natalie is still portable and hence not as much a wakeful necessity) before I could go downstairs. But when I walked down those stairs and saw all of the presents under the tree and against the wall behind and beside it… when I looked over at the end table and saw the cookie crumbs on the plate that Cara had left for Santa, the empty cup that smelled a little like sour milk and the note that Santa had left Cara and Natalie? Well sh*t. I felt the magic come flooding back in to my living room for the first time since I was an impressionable youth despite the fact that I knew “the truth” behind the staged scene laid out before me. It. Was. Christmas! And there was much rejoicing.

Yay!   

In short? I had come full circle, friends. As I turned on the tree and the iPad underneath it which had “Merry Christmas!” written in bold, flowing  purple letters across its face I realized that the reaction that I was about to witness in Cara was the same as the reaction that my own mother and, for a time, my own father turned sperm donor had witnessed in me on those early, Christmas mornings of my life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. The impression of the prototypical, Thomas Kincade Christmas morning was heightened by the rapidly melting, coat of white snow that lay upon the ground outside and the lingering scent of baked cookies that hung over my head from the previous day. Throw in a roaring fireplace which we do not have (the Yule Log is not a sufficient substitute, BTW) and you’ve got a scene to rival any cinematic vision of Christmas morning ever created including my all time favorite, the one that takes place in the Nexus for Captain Jean Luc Picard in “Star Trek: Generations.” Yes, I went there. Don’t believe me? Check it out at your leisure and tell me I’m wrong. I triple dog dare you.

In a word? No. It did not.

Um…

Wow. Talk about anti-climactic.

I’m serious, though. It played out like this: Cara came downstairs, smiled and stated very nonchalantly that “Santa was here” before she seated herself next to where my wife indicated her pile was and began to rip through her presents. She further “assisted” her little sister, myself and my wife with our piles. As the process unfolded she seemed to get more and more “in” to what she was doing but admittedly, the entire outcome was somewhat unexpected considering how sure I had been of her reaction leading up to it. After a whirlwind 45 minutes, everything was opened and she was asking me and my wife to remove toys from boxes so she could play with them.

In all honesty? I should have been prepared for it as soon as she came in to mine and my wife’s bedroom and informed us that she did not believe that Santa had come ’cause she had not heard him or his reindeer on the roof of our house. Which is a legitimate point as the ceiling of her room is directly beneath said rooftop. But I was not. Don’t get me wrong: I was not disappointed. Far from it, actually. I savored every shredded piece of wrapping paper that fell upon our living room floor and every “ooh” and “ahh” that her gifts elicited. And I did not for once doubt her belief that “Santa was here” despite her not having heard him and his reindeer because, as she stated at numerous points over the course of the following day and evening, Santa had gotten her everything that she had asked for and she was very thankful.

Perhaps I simply built the scenario up too much in my mind. Maybe she wasn’t quite as ready to embrace the magic of Christmas morning as I thought she was at three and a half. Or maybe the times have changed and the mentalities of our children have done the same. I’m inclined to lean more toward the latter though the former is also a distinct possibility. Little exists in the way of magic nowadays and what does exist is called “fantasy” by most. Our kids? They learn this from the get go. More attention is paid to the sciences and mathematics than is paid to the arts, nowadays. As for me? I’m not a true believer in magic as it exists traditionally though I am a lover of everything and anything fantasy. Wizards and witches, warlocks and leprechauns? There is no place for such things in a world where everything from a holiday to our national debt is analyzed at the microscopic or, some might say quantum level. Such things now fall in to the realm of “fiction” and not “reality.” Not even “Little Kid Reality.”

And Christmas? Both the story that we all know so well and the fundamental spirituality at the center of it (see: Jesus Christ; Saint Nicholas) have been glossed over by the big box retailers and the idea guys. Case in point: The Elf on the Shelf. While I love ours like a member of our family, albeit one that merely shows up for approximately 30 days at the end of the year, wreaks havoc and then leaves, where is Jingle in the traditional canon of Christmas? What child ever wrote in their “What Christmas Means To Me” essay, “My Elf on the Shelf, Buddy, who likes to TP our Christmas tree and have an affair with Barbie right under Ken’s nose.”

None that I know of though there’s always the possibility that there’s some sick and twisted kid out there that thinks like I do. The fact is, Christmas in 2012 (pushing 2013) is not the same as it was 30 plus years ago, or even 15 years ago in 1997. Our children are not the same. Whereas my generation and I were born in to a world of notebooks, number two pencils and Trapper Keepers, Cara and Natalie’s generation is being born in to a world of iPads and Cloud storage. All one of them needs to do is Google “is Santa Claus real” and “the truth” will be revealed. My generation, disenchanted with the magic of Christmas created the same technologies that our children are now being born with. The Catch-22? We used our imaginations to create such things, the same imaginations that once upon a time believed that Santa Claus and his reindeer flew to and landed silently upon our rooftops despite the fact that reindeer aren’t supposed to be able to fly, not even with a sprinkling of Cheech and Chong’s magic dust…

…that Santa slid down our chimneys despite the fact that 75 to 80% of us, growing up, did not have chimneys and the physics of a 400 pound man sliding through an opening with a diameter of a foot are virtually inconceivable…

…that he ate the cookies and drank the milk that we had diligently left out for him…

…that the Thomas Kincade scenes imprinted upon Christmas and post cards, and popularized in movies like “Star Trek: Generations” were, in fact, actual scenes of the perfect Christmas morning that at some point in time existed on this, or any side of the proverbial wormhole of existence.

We created the mentality that our children are now being born with: That everything once considered magical or fantastical has been relegated to the fiction shelf of your local big box, book retailer (see: Barnes and Noble), or the online store of your preferred internet, big box retailer (see: Amazon.com). Even Christmas. But still, there is that teeny, tiny part of me that was watching Cara very, very closely on Christmas morning and could see, despite her nonchalant exterior, a twinkle in her eyes that had not existed the previous evening when I had put her to bed. She saw all of those presents beneath the Christmas tree, the empty plate that had once held cookies and the cup beside it that had once held milk, the note that was printed in her Mommy’s distinctive handwriting and she knew that something had happened. Maybe not something magical but something special. Someone had come, be said someone Santa Claus or Daddy/Mommy Claus, and said someone had gotten her everything that she had put on her Christmas list…

And she was very thankful.

What does Christmas mean to me? The same thing that it meant to me when I was a child. I drowned it for a while with tequila and cigarettes, not to mention a heaping dose of skepticism, one too many viewings of “A Christmas Story” and one too few mornings simply sitting around the Yule Log, enjoying my family’s company. I forgot about it for a while but over these last few years, I’ve remembered it. Even without magic, Christmas morning has been and always will be a time of infinite possibility.

As for Cara? Well sh*t. She’s only three and a half. I can only remember as far back as my fifth or sixth Christmas.

Who knows?

Happy Holidays, everyone.

 

Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish

Happy, happy December 20th, fellow Sh*theads. Not only are we five days away from Christmas or one day away from the Mayan Apocalypse depending on your perspective (or preference; I don’t doubt that one or more of you reading this would be okay with the world ending tomorrow), but this post, if I am fortunate enough to complete it before the end of the world or Santa’s arrival (whichever comes first) will be the 30th blog post that I have completed since I created “Random Musings” back in 2009. Back then, I and most bloggers that I know (or, as some called us then and continue to call us now, “Proverbial Time Wasters”) lived on Google Blogger and no one lived any place else. No one that I was chummy with even knew about WordPress despite the fact that it has existed, per Wikipedia, since 2003 and is now the “most popular blogging system in use on the Internet.” News to me, folks. I just thought it was a trendy alternative.

I have since put away childish things and moved on. “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 2.0” is, in my opinion, superior to “Random Musings” version one, but my original Blogger site will always occupy a spot in my heart, simply because entries one through 22 of this venture were all introduced via it.

Those entries? Some were better received (see Penn State Proud – A Pseudo-Madman’s Take) than others (see “I guess in a way, you always end up right back where you started…”). All have been imported to this site (hence, the links) and the original “Random Musings” has since gone the way of the Dodo Bird. But regardless of the response to an entry or the lack thereof, I never once wavered in my resolve to write what I want to write, when I want to write it and for as long as I choose to do this? I never will. I don’t force it, as can be evidenced by this blog’s time frame–three years–and its output–29, soon to be 30 entries. If you do the math, that averages out to approximately 10 entries a year which, by blogging standards, is little more than a drop in the bucket. Jesus, I’ve only been on WordPress for a few weeks and some people that I follow have already posted 30 entries in that time alone.

What can I say? For me, it’s not about quantity but quality, a fact of my life which transcends just blogging and writing. Roll snare drum. If you didn’t get that good. Newsflash to any newcomers to these compositions: I often take digs at myself and they are many times obvious. If I can sneak a veiled one in every so often… well, to quote those eminent sages of modern cinematic wisdom Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Logan, “Excellent!” I don’t have to always eviscerate myself, do I?

Um, that was a rhetorical question, guys. Please don’t answer it unless you can support your argument. Gracias. Sin digresiones mas. 

Quality over quantity. I’m not saying that the aforementioned, other bloggers that post every day are in any way, shape or form inferior to me. Quite the contrary: A few of them have a skill and a fortitude that I will never equal. To be honest with you? I’m slightly envious of them. I just don’t have the time or the patience to do this every day. But I have approached and will continue to approach every one of these little ditties that I do find the time to write as more than just a standard, run-of-the-mill, one or two paragraph blurb that can be pigeonholed by one classification and two tags. In truth? Writing is writing, whether you’re blogging or attempting to compose the next great American novel (the last one was “The Stand” by Stephen King; yes, I know that’s my own, personal opinion but I don’t think that I’m alone in my assessment). And I love WordPress but am having a b*tch of a time tagging my work. It defies classification and always has. Still, it would help me to know if there is some veteran, blogger secret that Google Blogger neglected to teach me about how to successfully tag and classify your blog so as to maximize its visibility. If there is and you know it, please message it to me, Tweet it to me or email me it. I’d rather not use a tag like “Valtrex” unless I really, really have to.

No. I approach them in the same way that I approach anything and everything else that I write, be that “anything and everything else” a novel, a short story, a poem or an email (yes, I said “email”; you don’t believe me? Let me know and I’ll send you a copy of “The Collected Couch Chronicles”): With an eye toward perfection. Whether I achieve that or not is your call, not mine. I also like to have a topic in mind when I start writing. It’s not just about… what did I call it a few entries ago? Opening up my proverbial man purse and spilling my problems out on the Intranet for all to see. No. It’s about writing something that I feel is relevant. To a time, a place, a mentality or a situation. And to me. Having a personal connection to what I am writing is crucial to what I view as my success or failure as a writer. Plus, I like to amuse if I can. If I have failed to do any of these things in the last three plus years then I am sorry. I can point you in the direction of any number of other blogs that have effectively achieved all of these goals if you’d like. Just say the word.

That said, this particular blog entry is a bit of an enigma compared to the others. Why? Because I really don’t have a topic in mind this time. Henceforth it’s title, “Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish.” Vague, huh? In truth, my always perturbed mind is perplexed presently (try saying that five times fast) by many topics. Not just Christmas and the 2012 Phenomenon but the Newtown, Connecticut shooting that transpired a week ago, the impending Fiscal Cliff and the problem of when I am going to get my hair cut and my beard trimmed between now and Christmas. Concerning the former two, I’ve considered writing about both but have decided against doing so for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I don’t feel as though I can contribute anything relevant or original to the ongoing dialogue about them. As for the latter, I guess I am holding out hope that the world ends tomorrow and in the process erases the need to be properly groomed for the holidays. If it doesn’t? Well sh*t. I may just take a set of clippers to both my hair and my beard. Maybe my eyebrows, too. Instead of a younger version of Santa Claus I’ll look like a fatter version of Pinky from “The Wall” when my family comes to Christmas Eve dinner. Or a baby rat: Whichever you prefer.

Note to all: That dig was not veiled. I was calling myself portly. End note.

Incidentally, it is now post-12 AM on December 21st in the Far East and the reports coming in from that area of the world are pretty gul’darned saccharine. No fire and brimstone in Sydney, Australia or Tokyo, Japan as near as I can tell. The Earth’s gravitational field appears to be in tact and there’s no sign of Nibiru on either NASA’s long range or short range scanners. Sounds like our New Age interpretation of the termination of the 13th Baktun of the Mayan calendar was about as accurate as our prediction about Y2K. The only difference for me, personally? On New Years Eve, 1999 I was completely fuschnookered at a party and tonight, I will be at home with my two daughters watching “Caillou’s Holiday Movie” or the equivalent. Which is better and which is worse? I’m not really sure, but I know that the 30 Jello shots that I slammed in 1999 would kill me in 2012. Give me death or give me Caillou? No offense, but I’ll take the kid who’s four (’cause each day he grows some more!). End discussion.

Seriously, people? Whether you believe the Bible or not (I, for one, do) you have got to admit at this juncture that in all actuality, no one has any f*cking idea when the world is going to end. As my one friend so aptly put it in response to my Facebook status earlier, “I’ll just wait for the Pope to Tweet about it.”

Incidentally, that status was:

Screenshot_2012-12-20-14-46-05

What can I say? I’ve got grooming on my brain. If you could see me right now you’d understand why. I guess that’s the nice thing about writing something without a specific topic in mind: You can jump from one idea to the next at whim. ‘Course it’s also the bad thing about it because a lot of people won’t read something unless it’s focused. Incidentally, I should insert here a shout out to the two people other than me whose responses are visible in the above screenshot. I did not get their permission to use their names or their profile pics and I hope they will not sue me because of this. Anywhos, you know who you are. Booyakasha. Respect. Pero estoy divagando.

Is the world going to end one day? Of course it is. Everything does. But why live your life in fear of it? Live each day like it’s your last and let the Rapture take care of itself. Stop building doomsday bunkers, training with semi-automatic weapons and stocking up on freeze dried lasagna. Save that kind of energy for more important things like your kids. Look at what happened last Friday. Would it kill you to spend another few hours playing with them and not stringing your compound bow? No. It wouldn’t. So do it, dammit. Dress like Eugene/Flynn Ryder from “Tangled” and play princess with your daughter. Trust me: You won’t regret it.

Me, personally? I’d like to believe that when the end does come… if it comes in my lifetime, I’ll have lived my existence with my wife, my daughters, my family and my friends to its fullest extent. That way when the Pope Tweets about the Rapture and I know, with 100% certainty that it’s coming, I can gather up my family and head for ground zero with no regrets because baby? I’ve seen enough movies and read enough books… hell, written enough books that ruminate on the “after” to know that I want no part of it. The survivalists can have their new world order. I’ll take my wispy place in the Ether next to the remaining 99% of the world’s Sh*theads that didn’t survive the scourge. And as the blinding, white light and hot fire engulfs me like it did David Estes in this past week’s episode of “Homeland,” I’ll be able to smile as I feel the heat singe my unruly beard, my wavy salt and pepper hair and my cheeks and say…

You guessed it: Oh thank God. 

So brings me to the conclusion of “Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish,” otherwise known as “Publicar el Número 30 en los Puntos de Subtitulado en Español.” I’m only doing a little of this translation by memory, guys. Two years of college Spanish does not a bilingual blogger make. I may have forsaken Google Blogger in favor or WordPress but Google Translate is still one of my best friends, along with the people at Wikipedia. I hope you weren’t expecting something momentous from my 30th blog entry. I guess I just didn’t have it in me, today. Maybe I’ll save “momentous” for 50 so long as Saint Nick and the universe cooperate. I’ve always wanted to write something on my own, personal multiverse theory. Perhaps that will be the time. But not now. Now, I’ve got a million and one things to worry about, the least of which is how I’m going to get a haircut and trim my beard between now and next Monday night. I guess I’m going to have to. Why?

Because as I write these words, it is 8:35 AM in Sydney, Australia and 6:35 AM in Tokyo, Japan on December 21st, 2012. The Winter Solstice came and went at 6:00 AM in both locations and guess what? Both cities are still in existence. Mind you, the Mayans weren’t based in those locations but rather here in North and South America, where it won’t be 6:00 AM on December 21st until… well, 6:00 AM tomorrow morning, EST. So there is still a bit of wiggle room for the New Agers who believe that the axis of the planet is going to shift within the next 24 hours and fling all of us in to space. While there is still a degree of uncertainty surrounding whether the world is going to end in a few hours or not there is no uncertainty surrounding my 30th blog entry. It is done. To those of you that have followed my inane ramblings for the last three plus years? Thank you for seeing 30 with me. For those that have just discovered “Random Musings” in the last few weeks thank you for seeing eight with me. And for those of you who have stumbled upon these words for the first time?

Welcome. My name if Frank Marsh but I call myself the Madchronicler. I’m a Proverbial Time Waster and an amateur writer. Oh! And I am a Sh*thead. That’s not me taking a dig at myself which I do often. It’s the truth. And guess what? You’re one, too. The world is full of Sh*theads. To be one in my subjective universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole is not a curse but a blessing. It means we’re alike, you and I. And we are, to some extent. Stick around if you want to know more. 30 entries down, and who knows how many more to go?

“Excellent!”