Monthly Archives: September 2013

Need vs. Want


Don’t get me wrong; I feel blessed to live in a rich country. My kids don’t have to pick through e-waste to help me buy dinner. And I’ve always been a hard worker, but my body isn’t bent and aged beyond its time in the pursuit of survival. But our culture here in the United States has myriad insidious facets.

We teach our children (who sometimes evolve into adults) to be consumers. Hell, we don’t teach it: it’s present in the very fabric of daily living. Buy, buy, buy. You need a new iPhone, new Jordan’s, a new truck. I don’t let my kids watch commercials (as much as possible) because companies start jamming products in our faces before we can walk (the TV has an “off” button—remember that). They attempt and generally succeed in creating desires for products and services, and through incessant repetition these desires start to feel like necessities.

We need food; we need shelter, and I understand wanting to live in luxury, but I want to remind the three people who read this to stay aware of the little voice dictating to them what they “need”. If you want it, fine, but please don’t tell yourself you need it, because more than likely you don’t.

Due to the preachy nature of this post, I’ll keep it short. I don’t want to tell anyone how to live his or her life, but please try not to get sucked in to the advertising maelstrom of American life. To borrow from Louis C.K., let’s try not to be mindless product sponges, and even more importantly, teach our children not to be. I’ll step down off my soapbox now.

Oh yeah, here’s a picture I drew.

A Haunting from the Garden


What can I say? Despite my best efforts to evolve as a person, I am still prone to macho behavior and making foolish choices. One such instance occurred recently when a friend of mine told me he was growing ghost peppers.

“Ghost peppers?” I asked. “What are those?”

Because he possesses a meticulous, scientific mind he articulated how ghost peppers contain greater amounts of BTU’s or MRI’s than any other pepper (my head fogs up when numbers and units are involved, but I got the gist: ghost peppers are as hot as they come.)

Now, he didn’t challenge me. He didn’t insinuate I was weak. Yet some vestigial adolescent need to prove myself an invincible tough guy prompted me to say, “I’d eat one of those raw.”

My friend instantly recognized the potential for humor, so instead of saying, “Nah, man, you don’t want to eat that,” he goaded me further by pointing out how my kids and friends would recognize what a superb being I would become should I consume one of Satan’s candies. We briefly discussed tasing me while I ate it, or me dropping acid first, or both, but I quickly decided I wasn’t man enough (read: foolish enough) for all that business.

The pepper grew up—big, red, and angry, and at last the time came to stand behind my hastily spoken words. I bit into that sucker, chewed it for ten seconds, and swallowed. “This is not so bad,” I thought. Then the black magic within the ghost pepper contaminated my tongue. I’ll admit: I panicked for a moment. I couldn’t have previously imagined a spice could be so hot.

Milk and water brought intermittent relief, but really there was no escape. Ghost peppers are conscious-altering hot; if you don’t believe me, try a fresh one. Besides, you’re not really a man until you do.

Here’s a link to the video if you want to see me cry:

Haiku Anyone?

my symbol

A Casual Death

You dangle by silk

Trailer park brute smashes you

Little white spider


A Mentor

Tree roots break concrete

With constant timeless patience

This I want to learn



Lucid Dragon wakes

Dancing in the moonlit night

Sand beneath my feet


A Savage Rite

Gather to sip blood

And eat the flesh of their god

Sundays at the church


About the Author

In a punk rock band

I pluck bass guitar and scream

It helps me relax

That’s the Way that the World Goes ‘Round

Sam's Dragon

John Prine, a song writer and low-key wise man wrote and sings one of my favorite songs (vying in my head for first place with Sound System by Operation Ivy): “That’s the Way that the World Goes ‘Round”. Prine imparts to those who are ready to hear, “That’s the way that the world goes ’round / You’re up one day and the next you’re down / It’s a half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown / That’s the way that the world goes ’round”.

When I was younger and believed that the labels headshrinkers applied to me served some function, this song felt like the theme music for my bipolar disorder diagnosis. The doc told me I didn’t have it bad, and luckily I ended up with the kind that manifests its “highs” as anger and irritability. Well, I’m not going to blame a mental “illness” for my problems—truth is I am just not handling business in my precious, boney gourd. Labor is the medicine.

Life is ebb and flow—whether it be the ocean, your personal energy, your good feelings, or your work. I’m not preaching—y’all know this—it’s ubiquitous: ebb and flow, give and receive, create and destroy, on and on in every aspect of existence that I can think of. I endure periodic low times when I find it difficult to work, to be creative, hell even to shower sometimes. I’m generally as pleasant as Dr. Satan during these spells—I feel coated from the inside out with a suffocating, foamy slime of apathy. I feel bad for feeling like this because I am grateful for the numerous blessings I have. What gives me the right to even frown when my home isn’t being bombed by my own government (yet), and my children don’t have to work downwind of a mountain of poisonous industrial waste? Regardless, I feel downright bad—feelings that used to lead to extremely self-destructive behavior before I became a dad.

Just like John Prine states (in accordance with the Tao): sometimes, man, you’re up, and sometimes you’re not. It’s simple, I realize, but it’s the simple stuff I tend to have the most problems with. Someone once told me to be grateful during the good times, and graceful during the bad ones. I don’t need to hold on to my emotions and keep lingering in darkness, and I’m getting better with practice. My son—he’s had a stroke, cancer, brain surgery, infantile spasms, and all before his third birthday. In return he’s got nothing but smiles for the world, and kind words for all (except when scrapping with his brother). I’m the parent, and I am teaching him some stuff, but I swear to Lovecraft he’s teaching me more than ten gurus could. For instance, I drew a dragon wearing a Hawaiian shirt to his specifications and had a GD breakthrough. It’s hard to stay nihilistic when you’re drawing shit like that (and he chose the details as carefully as if we were going to build the sucker next to the Ritz.) Thanks, Sam. I hope any readers who made it this far found something useful amidst this self-indulgence. Maybe you should’ve stopped at the dragon.