Updating Your Blog

I completely understand that it’s important to draw traffic to my website. I don’t have social media. I don’t try to sell myself. I forget that I have this blog sometimes. But I know how important it is to update your blog.

I started my website off with a bang, posting as often as possible and announcing on social media with links so people could read them. Traffic was more than double it is now. I was receiving comments and building steam. Blogging is a nice draw. But if you slack you lose traction and its so easy to slack.

When I left social media last year, I knew my traffic would go down even further. I had a meager amount of followers but they were mostly high school friends and family and so I think they were clicking through to my website just to see what I was up to. But my mental health meant way more than clicks. Social media just isn’t for me.

I needed to focus last year, right around this time, on things that were more important than whatever the shitty thing Trump had said or done. When I stepped away from it I felt more liberated than I had expected. I was focused on moving my family across the country and to do so we needed to get rid of everything we owned. It was a difficult time. But the absence of social media and the eventual absence of pretty much everything we owned taught me something invaluable.

I finally realized the things that are most important to me. I don’t mean my family and health, but the things outside of the obvious that I wanted to be focused on. Writing a third novel, writing new music, and fishing was all I came up with. I truly love those things and I wanted to get rid of everything that didn’t help me focus on those 3. Social media has no place in there. Picking up extra writing jobs to get by lines has no place in there.

I got to the West and the first few month were pretty rocky. But I have since settled in with the fam and been more focused than ever.

I know it’s important to update your blog.

New Series of Stories

I started a few series of stories that are getting published by The Good Men Project. I got the idea because there are two things I say often.

“I swear this story sounds made up, but I promise you it is not.”

“My life is a cartoon.”

I have more weird shit happen to me in a month than most people do in their entire life. Yes it makes me crazy, but it also makes me who I am. I’ve often tried to hide these things, choosing instead to only share the parts that make me seem cool, awesome, or scholarly. But that’s not writing. It’s faking it.

The truth is that I’m none of those things above. I’m just a regular person who has had a bunch of weird ass shit happen to him. I’m a riot at the local dive bar. I’m good on long car rides if you don’t mind the sound of my excited voice. I’d be a hell of a guy to get stuck in an elevator with.

So that’s what I’m attempting to do. Be honest and be entertaining while telling the absolute truth. In the past I’ve written articles on sports, current events, and political views. That stuff was real too, and I had read up on the subject and then wrote from the heart, but it wasn’t me. It’s not exactly how I talk. I’m still searching to find that balance between voice and paper.

So TGMP has been gracious enough to allow me to exercise my demons to an audience. 2 have been published so far, with at least 2 more to go. There’s about 300 in the hopper, but I think we’ll start with 4 and see what the reaction is. If people are buying, we’ll keep it flowing. If they fall by the wayside, well then it may be back to the old drawing board.

Here’s the published versions:

My Pot Thing and Murder Friend

I Could Have Been a Drug Dealer

Thanks for clicking and reading.

I’m continuing to work on my 3rd novel, currently called Shoot the Breeze. It’s a story about losing and gaining identity and gun control. It’s a depressing story and it’s been actually difficult to write. But the world is kind of depressed right now and this is what’s flowing out of me, so I continue to go with it.

Homeless in Seattle

What’s amazing to me, coming from the east coast, is the amount of homeless individuals there are here. The reasons are varying, depending on who you talk to and what side of the aisle they vote on, but the reason doesn’t change the truth.

New York City has had a gradual increase in homelessness almost every year since stats on the subject have been recorded. Manhattan and it’s surrounding boroughs have sharply climbed in homeless numbers over the past 5 years as did Seattle. The issues can be attributed to Democratic or Socialist or Republican matters, but again it doesn’t change anything. That’s just finger pointing and blaming.

In Seattle, the homeless shamelessly camp on city sidewalks and in public parks. It’s completely legal since it’s public grounds. This may or may not be true in New York City, but I don’t have to look it up, because there are 2 huge differences between the streets of New York and the streets of Seattle that make why homelessness feels like a bigger issue here in the Emerald City.

Before those differences, it’s interesting to point out that the total number of homeless in New York City is around 66,000. In Seattle it’s about 12,000. Not surprisingly, these are almost the same percentage of individuals, approximately .03% of the population. Without looking into every other major American city, I would imagine this to be true across the country. It’s a product of the general population of America. Certain people refuse to take their medication, some people have fallen on seriously hard time, and others have let their addictions rule their life.

But Seattle FEELS different. The homeless here don’t try and hit you up with stories like they do in DC (my sister is in the hospital and I’m trying to get bus fare) and they don’t accost you like they do in New York, shaking a cup of change in your face and making you feel guilty. They just kind of hover about, signs adorned, or sometimes leaning against the bench next to them, too weak to even bother holding it. You can feel their lost dreams, lost among the brackish sloughs of Puget Sound.

The two main differences between New York and Seattle are vehicles and violence. In New York City, many people don’t even own a car. Walking is a main transportation option. People are out constantly walking many blocks from their home to shops, work, or other appointments. You tend to live and work close by and your doctors and other appointments tend to be close by. You become near and dear to your neighborhood.

There’s a lot of driving in the Emerald City. It’s a newer city and lots of complexes and other communal style living situations have parking, which allows for more cars. Without walking you don’t necessarily have to come face to face with as many homeless folks. There isn’t the strong need for public transportation, eliminating spots where people can congregate. So it seems like there’s more homeless because the city is small. The areas like Pike’s Place Market where people congregate are fewer, leading to more homeless to be concentrated in areas where people are guaranteed to be walking.

This leads to the violence part. When you feel territorial about your neighborhood, if someone without a home made a tent out of found items on your block, the tendency in New York City to get that person to leave is much higher. I one time witnessed a woman of small stature get harassed by a homeless man of much bigger stature in New York City. She turned and punched him in the face, knocking him on his ass. I haven’t spent as much time downtown Seattle as I have in New York, but this doesn’t feel like a west coast thing to do.

It’s so laid back as compared to New York, that the violence from residents just seemingly doesn’t exist. For someone who has lived here their whole life they may feel different, but the vibe to me is true. I feel that the homeless feel like more of a problem here because the residents of the city aren’t necessarily going to take action to get rid of them (at least on “their” block).

The reasons still don’t change the truth. There are homeless people. Lots of them. America in general lacks the programs to identify and assist individuals who may have mental health problems. Instead of addressing the issue, we blame Democrats or Republicans, City Council or the Mayor, or the lady up the street who feels bad enough to make some of them dinner, and wait around for someone else to fix the problems that we ourselves have created.

How did we create homelessness? Being part of this whacky machine called America is the problem. It is one for all and all for one here. Every day is a grind and all of us are just trying to scrape by daily. The wealth gap is growing, at this point, exponentially, and taxing the rich more won’t do a damn thing unless we convince them by doing so will somehow make them MORE money. What were doing is standing on one side of the aisle and screaming for change, just like the homeless we can’t stand to see. The truth is we know how close we are to being in their shoes and it’s simply to much to bear.

Dreams Exists, Somewhere

My friend Ian texted me the other day to say that he had a dream about me that made him laugh so hard he woke up himself and his wife. He had tears streaming down his face and luckily remembered the dream.

It reminded me that recently I found a hand written sheet of paper. I’m not sure when I actually wrote the thing, but I remember I had found and lost it about 5 times since I first wrote it. I have these really vivid dreams from time to time. Most of my dreams are sporadic and I can never remember them, or just little blips of quotes or something. A while back I kept a notebook next to my bed so that I could write down any of the interesting ones. There’s a couple of dream sequences in the first book I wrote, Path, that reflect dreams from that dream notebook.

I stopped keeping that notebook next to my bed a years ago, but had a dream right before I left for the west coast that really still bugs me. I woke from this drea laughing so intensely that tears were streaming down, just like my buddy Ian. The only thing that I could think of is “I can’t wait to tell Kevin that. He’s going to die laughing.” (Kevin is a friend of mine in Seattle.) I thought that I would remember it until the next morning when I could call him, but of course forgot. It irks me that I can’t remember what was so funny and why Kevin would be the one to really appreciate it. I digress

But for a while I was in the habit of writing dreams down and I had found this little half sheet of scrap paper in a notebook and then lost it again. Ian reminded me of my dream about Kevin and that reminded me of this little sheet of paper so I went looking for it and by luck, found it. So here it is exactly like the sheet reads, which I’m not sure if it was written directly after the dream, or later at my old job at QCI (2006?), because it looks like its on QCI scrap paper. (it is actually, I just flipped it over and it’s a purchase order from a school system.) It reads:


Dream –
Blind man who solves serial murder through figuring out palindromes left behind by the killer. He also uses his heightened senses of smell and sound to lead head detectives on trail. He has “inner visions” of what the killer would do by feeling out the landscape of the apartments and areas in which the murders happen. He gets involved at first by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Figures out a palindrome then starts helping w/ investigations.


Maybe I meant there is a list of palindromes and every fourth or fifth letter or something could be rearranged to give the next clue, but a palindrome just wouldn’t make any sense. Palindrome examples: Neil, a trap! Sid is part alien – Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas – Rats live on no evil star – 58285 – in the dd/mm/yyyy style, the 20th February 2002 (20-02-2002) was palindromic.

The odd thing about dreams is that they exist. I mean, this dream about the detective exists, somewhere in the ethos, roaming around, let loose from my brain. Another story that may never be written (I don’t like to read detective stories so I can’t imagine writing one.) Ian had that dream and what’s odd, thinking back to a few weeks ago, I was thinking that I missed having my friends all around all the time, because of the laughter. We would laugh until we cried daily. It happens so rarely now, laughing until I cry, that I actually had that thought.

Maybe Ian feels the same way and that’s why these dreams exist. As if just thinking about it makes it exist in an alternate universe, sneaking through in bursts, only when your mind is at ease enough to accept it.

The Day I Fell Astray

A few years ago a bar and restaurant in Rochester, NY had a song writing contest. I thought I could use it as an excuse to write some new material and get all of my instruments and equipment out, taking over the dining room.

They sent a topic to you although I don’t remember what mine was. I got mine and started writing. The song went through a few different iterations until the day of the contest. I think you had a month or something. The song went from a 50’s doo wop vibe to country to pop. It was a weird wild ride with pages of notes and lyrics. I did not win the contest, but had a fun night with a few friends, drinking beers and performing. I made a little kick drum out of pieces of rafter from my basement and an old bongo and used it to cover Can I kick It by A Tribe Called Quest.

The strangest thing about that is that I never recorded the song. I almost always record myself, a few different times actually, to listen back to the song and make it better. I’ve been doing that since 98 so I’m not sure why for this track I didn’t, or if I did do it I lost it. What’s even stranger is that I’m an obsessive lyrics person, saving the original lyrics and scrawlings, sometimes even stapling them to the finished version so I can look back at the differences. I have no lyrics at all for this song. I can’t even remember what it was called! No idea what it sounds like, no idea what the lyrics are…it’s almost like this song never existed!

This has happened to me before, but not very often. I’m fairly certain I wrote the song for my son, and that it was about being happy for who you are not what you are. But that’s as far as I can get from memory. It was performed once in public at The Lovin’ Cup. I don’t even remember the date. March of 2018 maybe?

What did come from that era was the track that got me into the contest in the first place. In order to be selected you had to send in a track. I hadn’t been writing much since my son was born but was playing a little piano at the time for his entertainment. I used to record a song in the morning that he could dance to throughout the day when I left for work. It was usually something quick and made up on the spot.

But one day I did a little fugue and it stuck with me for a while. I kept whistling at it until I reached an idea for a chorus. After a few beers one night I put it together on the piano and thought it sounded kind of cool. I wanted to pen some lyrics but couldn’t think of anything to say. It sat around for another week or two.

Then one day the line “The day I fell astray” popped into my head. I thought it sounded good enough to be a line in the chorus. But fell astray from what? My school work? My life? The last band I was in? I decided that maybe it was planet earth singing and not me. Maybe earth has always thought of herself as another inhabitant, a self-aware being that sees itself as one of us, just another human trying to survive. So the chorus came out “I’m melting away and I’m staying away, the day I fell astray.”