Doldrums

“A man had a son who was an anvil.”

Meet Shaun Damien

Let me tell you something about my mother. She has intuition. She successfully predicted the sex of all three of her kids – all boys. She successfully predicted the sex of all six of her grandchildren – we’re still on the fence whether she really predicted the first. So when I announced that Jyg was pregnant and she said – without missing a beat, it’s a girl.

Leave it to my son to prove her wrong.

Wait?! You’re Pregnant?

After of months of secrecy, we dropped the bomb on the social network. Previously, I was censored from saying anything on Facebook and Twitter. I took to Tumblr with the news because – let’s face it – no one really reads Tumblr. I dropped the not-so-subtle hints here, as well, finally coming out with the news when I posted my about me page, which I’m sure several of you rushed out to read.

I can’t explain Jyg’s need for keeping it under the table for so long, but I’m glad we finally came out with it. We’re having a baby. It’s probably the most greatest accomplishment to date (should’ve mentioned that in the interview yesterday).

What’s in a Name?

I don’t know where Shaun came from really, just that I knew I didn’t much care for the spelling S-H-A-W-N. The name always sounded hick-ish to me. And I’ve been one who wanted to push for more cultural names. But when you’ve known a dozen Joses, Marios, Reys, Miguels, Franciscos, etc. you realize that maybe you want something a little different, at least in the area.

I always assumed the fall back name was Michael. Shaun Michael. Apparently, I was wrong. It was William. Shaun William sounded too much like paint.

Damien because it’s my late cousin’s name. Only problem, when we did the name selecting game, we were far from getting pregnant. That allowed enough time for my sister-in-law to birth a son whose middle name is Damien. Jaycob Damien. Nice one.

But cousins can have the same middle name. There’s no rule in that, is there?

Departure from Emma Leigh

Let’s face it. Somewhere deep down I was really looking forward to having a daughter, if only to make Jyg happy. I still love my son just the same. But all those daydreams and images of me holding my first-born are in the process of being edited in my imagination. Still, this is only part of the adventure. Besides. It’s not written that Shaun will be the only one. There’s time yet.

Letters to Shaun

I originally took two urls on WordPress just for safe keeping. One was Letters to Emma and one was Letters to Shaun. Now that I know the sex of the my child, we may commence the show.

The title comes from “The Changeling” by Russell Edson.

Doldrums

It Came from the Spam Page

It could be worse.

Every so often, I get a piece of spam that I think is real ham. Every so often, I receive a spam comment that I mistake for a real comment. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. Focus first on the bottom comment. It threw me off for a second. I clicked on the link provided and everything. Nothing seemed spammy about the page, but I wasn’t about to jump in and reply because I hate speaking to machines – which is why I always hang up the phone with an automated call shakes me awake. Because a spambot doesn’t read posts – because robots are, as we all know, illiterate – the second comment set my suspicions straight. The top comment, of course, confirms no reading was had because the post it responded to contained no video. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my post for the day.

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Doldrums

Op-ed

“A Pair of C’s to be proud of in college”

I never considered The Pan American – the student newspaper produced in the University of Texas-Pan American – as my go to source for the news. Not even when I was a student there. And as sickening as it was for me, I even published an article in the paper. Just one. I dropped out afterwards – the newspaper, not the college. However, earlier this week, someone posted the above picture on Facebook. It appears that Dr. Luis Rios – you can find him at 2101 Cornerstone Boulevard, Edinburg, TX 78539 or call him at (956) 682-3147 – took some ad space in the paper. Now I don’t know which imbecile thought it was a good idea to run the ad, but someone has some explaining to do. Keep in mind, it’s not so much that the paper decided to run an ad for a local plastic surgeon. That’s not the complaint. The complaint here screams off the ad – “A pair of C’s to be proud of in college” with pictures of young, college-aged women flaunting their well-endowed chests. Because the sole thing a woman should be worried about in college is her self-image. That whole studying and graduating crap, well, that’s just silly. Haven’t you heard it’s hard to find a job these days? So just stop trying. Get a pair of nice tits and snag a guy who’s on the up-and-up, on his way to the top and be his trophy wife. Problem solved. It used to be that women only attended college to find husbands and drop out afterward. Things, of course, changed for the better. My Chicana/Feminist professors used to boast about how the university was thriving with women on their way to making a name for themselves. Though it seems that Dr. Luis Rios and the entire Pan American writing and editing staff feel different. Perhaps they’d rather keep women focusing on self-image – idling celebrities like Kim Kardashian and not political women like Hillary Clinton. Defamation of Character Now it’s easy to tsk tsk me about hypocrisy. On Twitter alone, I follow Playboy, Hugh Hefner and several erotic writers such as – but not limited to – Alison Tyler – no connection to the porn star of the same name – Rachel Boleyn and Rachel Kramer Bussel. Let’s not forget that I also follow former porn star-turned-mainstream-actor-slash-musician (she’s doing music, right? I’m not mistaken about that?), Sasha Grey. Anyone with that information can state that I should have no stance on the argument because – so far as connecting the dots go – I seem to objectify women all on my own. That’s not true. If I did, Jyg would’ve pummeled me with her fists a long time ago.

Notice the tabs

Fact of the matter is, I read Playboy every once in a while. That is to say, I read Playboy. Really read it. My favorite issues being – or once were, since I don’t go out and buy them, anymore – the ones published every October. Why? Short story contests. But every guy says he reads the articles. And everyone just knows that he skips them and heads straight for the center where all the naked women lay. That’s an unfair assessment of me. I’m a Nerd – with a capital ‘N’. The last copy of Playboy I bought was the December 2009 issue which featured a sneak peek at Vladimir Nabokov‘s unfinished, unpublished work, The Original of Laura. The issue also featured Chelsea Handler, a woman I absolutely adore for her tongue in cheek humor. As for Sasha Grey. I respect her. I think she’s the best thing to come out of the porn industry since – well, ever. It’s her moxie that I admire, ever since that Entertainment Tonight piece about her when she started out. Nothing and no one will deter her from the path she’d chosen. Now that she’s out of porn, people are once again bashing her. But how many porn stars can you name that have succeeded in switching from the adult industry to Hollywood? Sasha’s once again in the news because of her determination against the people who are protesting her, attempting to keep her from reading to students as part of some literacy program. And do I really have comment on the erotica thing? And Hugh Hefner? Well, the man built something out of nothing. What’s not to respect? And if it had been any other thing, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, would we? Whatever Happened to the Chicanas/Feminists?

Meanwhile on Twitter

So I commented on Twitter. And yesterday, The Pan American replied back. I was a bit shocked that there wasn’t more of a big deal about it. Rather than hearing the roar of women, I heard my voice. So where  have all the Chicanas gone? They filled the school at one point. I couldn’t turn around without seeing one. They’re amazing people, but this is the sort of thing that used to cause them to file complaints. Instead we get a letter to the editor:

Dear Pan American: I would like to express my discontent with the last issue of the Pan American. I call all the contributors to the newspaper to ask yourselves what you think the newspaper stands for. Is the purpose of the newspaper merely to report what happens at school, or is it also to educate the student body by presenting the political issues that affect us all, provide conscious analysis of society, and above all represent the collective brain of the student body? Everything that is published should reflect your ideology. Furthermore, everything in the newspaper speaks for our university and us, the students. Having said this, I ask you to consider removing your ad on breast implants. Why contribute to the proliferation of some prototype based on superficiality? Why do you present an image of beauty that condemns the natural woman who accepts herself just the way she is? I do not mean to say that getting breast implants is wrong. I think that women should have the right to decide what they want to do with their bodies (in the case of a mastectomy I would definitely consider it). However, the ad was directed towards a specific audience: college girls. Apparently, it is no longer enough to be young, wrinkle-free, and thin. Now, we also need a “pair of C’s.” All the girls in the pictures are smiling, showing off their breasts, with the exception of one who doesn’t even show her face, due to the fact that her breasts are the central focus of the picture. Talk about the objectification of women! Is this the image of happiness and beauty that the newspaper stands for? -Lucila Lopez

Single. Just one. Why wasn’t there more? I’m sure there are other men and women out there that share Lucila Lopez’s thoughts, so why was she only granted space? Why wasn’t there a report on it? Just a single, bottom-of-the-page, almost filler letter to the editor. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disgusted with my alma mater than I am at this moment.

Doldrums

“A Brand New Scent for Modern Men Invented by Cartoons”

"These are dark and evil days," the mouse told me as he nibbled my ear.

Charles Simic wrote about the absurdities of society in The World Doesn’t End. I wonder what he would think about the world now. When one of the greatest powers in human history has decided that pizza is now a vegetable. In which we help the rich and tax the poor. In which we ship our industries over seas. Where freedom of speech and the right to assemble is being snub out of existence.

Occupy Wall Street

It’s been – what? – two months now, hasn’t it? And while some trust fund babies haven’t aided the cause, only made it look seedy, the true believers – the real 99% – are continuing on. It’s becoming a trend, almost. It’s scary and exciting to see how far this will all go. I’ll keep my bags packed if the empire falls. Because all empires fall. And for such a young country, the power bestowed upon us – or rather self-proclaimed – has been abused for too long.

Occupy Hollywood

Censor the Internet, they scream! Censor it all! Remove the file sharing sites. Remove the torrents. Remove the copyrighted clips that float throughout the web and shut down the sites that host them. WordPress. Blogger. YouTube. Twitter. Tumblr. Facebook. Etc. Censor them all because we have the money and we can buy congress. We can buy the government. We can force the under-paid, blue-collar citizens to watch our movies, buy our albums, and watch our networks because we have the power. We have the money. But we want more.

Occupy the World

Tuition raises. Jobless society. Useless degrees. An unfavorable world we live in when education isn’t granted to anyone but the privileged. We work hard for the grades. We strive with student loans and hope for financial aid. We write on pieces of paper declaring we’re the 99%. We save enough money to buy that iPad. That iPhone. That technology while putting more money in the very pockets we’re trying to cut off. Life’s funny that way.

Occupy Yourselves

Take a breath. Close your eyes and breathe. The hammer in one hand and the chain with the other. The choice, of course, is yours.

Books

Mediocre Me

"The high heavens were full of shrunken deaf ears instead of stars."

I was eight when my maternal grandfather died. No one explicitly told me, they just assumed I understood the rituals of one’s passing. As Catholics, my family held rosaries before and after the funeral. It might have been the first rosary that I learned the truth about my grandfather’s death. A younger cousin – possibly a second or third cousin, I’m still not sure – noted that her elder uncle had died. No sugar-coating there. Naively, I muttered my grandfather was in the hospital. That he’d probably get out any day now. The memories are vague. Shattered images of the mirror upon the wall. Shards of the past, reminding me of who I once was. My brother corrected me, or maybe it was an uncle or a cousin. Maybe none of this really happened. Maybe I imagined the whole thing. It doesn’t matter. When my paternal grandfather passed away, I was told first thing in the morning. This was three years after the fact.

Weltschmerz [velt-shmerts]

Somewhere along the way, I became cynical. Maybe it was always ingrained in my fiber. Encoded in my DNA. I want to imagine myself as a happy kid. As someone adventurous. I never climbed a tree, though. And I never dared cross the street without looking both ways or seeking out a cross walk. Erase that. I was a happy kid. I was content in my isolation. I never went to friends’ houses because I never knew what to do at them. And when I did, I’d fritter away the time wanting to go home. It was more of proof that I could go to people’s houses. I guess in short, I wasn’t the friend type of person. Even though I went, I only did it so I wouldn’t be the weird kid out. Because when I boiled it down, everyone was a moron. Sometimes, I suppose, don’t change.

The world was never a pretty place. I had little hope that anything good could come out of the Valley. It’s a desert masquerading as paradise. That’s how people got suckers to move here in the first place, isn’t it? Promised a paradise and they got stranded in the buttfuck of a desert somewhere between Texas and Mexico. So I can’t call myself a disappointed idealist. I’m far from an idealist. Ideals are insignificant. Sure, it’s one thing to believe humans should be one way, but to believe they can? That’s asking too much. Essentially, everyone’s a moron until proven otherwise.

Ramblings of an Asshole

Pardon me for being a snob. No scratch that. If there’s one thing I want to pass down to my child, it’s not to apologize for being who you are. If you hurt someone’s feelings, sure. Apologize for hurting their feelings, but do not apologize for who you are. The truth of the matter is, I think the majority of people are idiots. If you sole ideal of literature are the books of Dan Brown and Stephen King, you’re an idiot. If you’re sole source of cinematic entertainment are films by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, you’re cinematically retarded – for lack of a better term. And if you find the Paranormal Activity film franchise as the scariest movies you ever seen and are responsible for their high gross in money during opening night, not only are you  a flaming moron, but you should be barred from watching any horror movie ever again.

And hey, I can be wrong. Most instances, I probably am wrong. Why? Because none of these things hold any merit. There isn’t any fiber of what I just said as fact because I have no supporting material to back it up. That’s why it’s my personal goddamn opinion. And goddamn you for trying to take that away from me. It’s not in your right to stifle my thoughts, but it is in your right to disagree with me. And I’ll allow it. Will it sway me? Possibly not. Will you be a hero for it? Possibly not.

And what is most commonly thrown in my face is the fact that I graduated college. That I studied English. That my humanities courses have made me this way. Anyone who’s known me for years know that the asshole went into college as an asshole and emerged as an asshole. So no, I don’t like Harry Potter because my literature teachers told me what is popular isn’t good. I don’t like Harry Potter because I don’t fucking like Harry fucking Potter. I didn’t like it in high school when the books first popped up in American culture. Same thing with Stephen King. It has nothing to do with their popularity – I like Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series, for fuck’s sake. And why is that? Because it doesn’t bore me. Not because I believe her as the fantastic writer in the world – that’s Philip Roth‘s title.

While we’re on the subject, stating “in my opinion” or “IMO” is pointless. I know it’s your opinion, there’s no need for it. Of course, what do I know? My composition courses jaded me.

How does this connect with your intro?

It doesn’t. Not really. Or maybe. I do remember being upset with my mother for not telling me the truth, for pussy-footing around it. And I do remember that I was an asshole to her even though her father had just died. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell.

Fuck it. I’m a snob. I’m an asshole. I’m everything label you want to throw at me. If I wasn’t, would you even bother to read what I have to say?

Doldrums

Where Have I Been

I am a stranger to you as you are to yourself

I’ve not abandoned the blog. Not yet, anyway. It should be noted that I have also garnered the moniker the Gypsy Blogger for reasons I’ll never understand.

Who Reads These Posts, Anyway?

Aside from the handful of loyal followers, I don’t think this blog gets a lick of attention. Who needs it? I don’t. I’m over here attempting to make stuff happen, looking for work, trying to weasel my way back into school – I studying for the GRE people! – and, all in all, trying to become a model citizen not go insane.

That Section Made No Sense

I’m going through the change, people. My mind is scattered. I haven’t a single ounce in me to organize my thoughts. Which is part of the reason of the 5 or 6 posts I started, only none of them will get published. Anytime soon, anyway. Each of them directed at certain things that have come up – from double standards to how I’m not ashamed anymore about my snobby behavior, my holier-than-thou attitude and I will not fucking be ashamed for my education!

That aside, what am I studying you ask? Well, the plan was always to get my MFA in creative writing. And I’ve been painstakingly writing that damn letter of intent plus have a goddamn story ready to submit and blah blah blah. I was on my last nerve. It was to the point that I didn’t want to back to school. Truth is, writing and I seem to be on a break. Separated for an indefinite amount of time – hence my not keeping up with this blog.

So What Then?

It came to me like an epiphany. I was at a job fair and I had an inquiry about two positions at the library. Sadly, they were open only to people with their MLS – state requirement.

At that moment, it was as if some inner part of me – long dormant – yawned awake. The heat of clarity swept over me. And for the first time since I decided to become an English major – I know what you’re thinking, “This guy’s an English major?” – I felt clear-headed. All the tension that came with thinking about applying for the MFA program swept away – crumbs on the dirty table. Because I’ve done my creativity. I’ve proved what I was capable of. Maybe it’s time I put aside that dream and work on this new one. Because while writing and I are temporarily on a break, we’re not divorced. And I’m sure we still love each other. It’s just time to see other people/subjects.

Conclusion

Sorry if this made little sense. The state that my mind is in…well, I cannot for the life of me explain. So many new things tossed in there. It’s like a human emotional smoothie.

Conclusion Part II

There’s a book giveaway happening over at the book blog. People should probably check it out.