Death Is Too Good For the Wicked

Exacting justice
Upon the wicked
Is still satisfying
Even if they’re human
On the outside…

The inside is necrotic flesh
A spirit robbed of any light–
Hopeless, filled with cyanide
Lifelike as only a marionette can be

False in the ways
Of justice
Served out only on dried tree’s corpses
Indelible ink through osmosis
Writ in patterns
To make codes
And defended with equal wooden puppets

Sink into the skin, thou wretched spear
Grave to be thy next home
Hermit
Ye twisted mind, thine crooked smile
Thou look’st upon me
As only Medusa could have

Though not so cursed in thy stare
Thy vile and foul ways be set in stone
And without reasonable purpose
Thou still breathe, a liar art thee
The devil on thy hands and in thine eyes
Thy love affair with Death
Damned as only the Darkness can be

The ink hath dried now
The quill art in resting place
The deed indeed done
Hath changed thy destiny
For imprisonment evermore
Now await thee
No death simple nor gruesome
Shall free thou from thy flesh
Doomed as any wrongdoer hath been

Do thou now
Eat the fecal matter, swallow
Sink into thy belly
Let poison fill thine veins
Let ye sneeze the liquid dung
Drink it again
As only a grim doomed spirit e’er did

A Day in the Life of a Valley Resident

Here in California’s Central Valley, we don’t have the liberty of accepting fall as a separate entity from the other seasons. Right now, there is a thunderstorm going on to the east, and it’s humid even inside the apartment. Here’s the truth: It’s either really hot and muggy, or it’s slightly cool and wet in the winter with chances of morning dew. No such thing as snow in this area.

In fact, I just walked across the street to break a larger bill into a smaller one (I’m not entirely out of shape, as my job requires that I stay on my feet and move around a LOT)– only to find that by the time I got back, I’d already been breaking out in beads of humidity-related perspiration. So what to my wondering brain should appear, than to sit down and write this and report it right here. Last night I was awoken by a rare thunderstorm, complete with brilliant lightning, and a sizable downpour of rain. This does not happen often. This month of October alone, we’ve seen some rain for now the third time. It’s the middle of the month, and the grass is still yellow from being so dry around here.

When living out here in the central valley, it’s important to note that this is not the same climate you would find in the same horizontal (Latitude? Longitude? I’m not a navigator)… Um… If the distance from the equator to here were the same as another region or time zone of the United States, the climate would be vastly different. I mean, even Arizona gets some powerful rains and even snow more often than this bowl of stagnant weather phenomena receives. December here means you can walk outside without a shirt, if you so chose. That’s how warm it stays. In January and February, it cools down enough to give us– and don’t panic– frost. Yes, frost. That’s all we have to deal with for about two weeks at the beginning of any year. And that includes using a plastic ice scraper. No snow shovels or anything else can be seen for miles around here.

Whew, I’m still sweating. That heavy rain was definitely worth it. The dry, dead yellow grass is now wet, dead yellow grass. That’s not to say it doesn’t get like that when we water it, but we water we can’t just let water flow. They have all these corrupt laws against people using water which don’t apply to corporations. Again, that’s another subject for another time.

Well, this certainly wasn’t all that long, now was it? Time for me to get out of here and drink some coffee and cool off a bit. Ugh, shower time. Until the next time I appear here,

Banana peels!

Life, And Related Stuff

Doesn’t it ever seem that the more work you put into something, the higher the benchmark is set for your achievements? I feel that this is what is happening to me at work. I’ve managed to become one of the most diligent workers at my workplace, and although people who work with me also have the capacity to do what I do, I don’t see anyone else actually doing it– so I don’t know if whether I’m conceited about my work or I just happen to generate a lot of comments from the customer base. Maybe I put way too much passion into what others would consider a terrible job.

I remember one day, my shift supervisor was having a hard day, or a bad day– you never can tell with this person. Anyhow, s/he tells me that if I don’t pick up the pace of my work that I’ll get written up. The next day, I amped my speed up and the shift supervisor took notice about it. Later on, at the next “bread bash” (what used to be a quarterly meeting regarding up-and-coming menu items and recognizing employees for their achievements, et al [which I’ll not go into]) I was presented with a WOW! pin to tack to my hat. The reason for it was “fastest improvement of an employee.” It seems one can get a WOW! pin for just about anything, but perhaps it was more to not let me feel left out because all the coworkers whom had been hired alongside me also got themselves some WOW! pins. From that day, I continually worked my way into a routine which was befitting me, and now I’m really able to enjoy speaking with the customers for a bit regarding their meals and even shoot a breeze or two with some regulars because I’ve mastered my particular position.

Well, it seems that the hard work I was putting in wasn’t going noticed because I was beginning to feel myself in a rut from which there was no escape. Washing hundreds of dishes in a day while cleaning 31 tables (7 of which are dedicated booths, 5 of which are combination booths and free-standing chairs, and the remaining 19 solely tables, arranged meticulously at 45-degree angles with chairs turned at 45 degrees to allow for maximum walking space)(Yes, I’ve been there too long. This is what the post is about, after all), re-stocking condiments and dry goods to include small, medium, and large-sized lids, three sugar substitutes, two different types of packet sugars, salt, pepper, mayonnaise with olive oil, mustard, spicy mustard, Tabasco sauce, butter, honey and lemons for tea, straws, napkins, drink stirring sticks, coffee lids, and coffee sleeves– as well as brewing four different coffees once per hour, two at a time only, three different iced teas and one iced coffee– and topping off with actually filling a sink with the water that you need to wash four different sizes of bowls (two dedicated to soups and two dedicated to salads, one of the salad bowls being used for broth bowls), large trays, small yellow trays dedicated to pastries, knives, forks, spoons, and a plethora of pans provided by the line people, silicone or rubber spatulas, scoops with the little swingy arm thingy, souffle pans, cookie sheets, whisks, and and assortment of non-serrated chef knives and serrated knives– seems like a lot to memorize for a 6-hour shift and can easily lead to burnout, exhaustion, and irritable moods. But hey, $Dollars an hour seems like it’s worth all the while. This last “bread bash” they recognized my achievements with dining room etiquette, customer service, and I suppose a whole host of comments in favor of my working habits by customers. And it does hang on the wall at this moment.

But if it wasn’t making me feel an eternal sense of entrapment in time, where all of the same exact routine-driven drivel seems to always await me every time I clock in, and impending doom every time I see an irate manager or shift supervisor seems to surge from within on a nearly daily basis, then I would not be sitting here talking about it. For you see, I’m what they call a “human being.” We’re a species that has limits! Recently, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to– nay, today I was HIRED. Screw it, it’s out on the plate now. I am going to my orientation this Monday and Tuesday. They called me after an intensive background check (military base jobs for civilians can be very thorough) showed that I am as clean as a whistle and ready to be trained. What I’m going to do is ensure that I balance working between the two places. Anyhow, back to my human comment– I’m always scheduled to do the exact same job. I’ve reached the limits of all that is exciting in that area of expertise. Whenever they do have me work somewhere else, the manager always says, “You did a good job today. Why don’t you do this more often?” Oh, well maybe if you talked to the schedule-writing person I could. They won’t even let me train for cashier even though I always beat everyone at counting change before they have a chance to push their buttons to give me the purchase total for lunches (Hey, 65% discount! Can’t really beat that perk).

I know I may be getting into a bit of exhaustive life changes by sacrificing a weekend, but at least I’ll be doing something with myself– but ultimately, I’m aiming my perspective towards a greater-paying job that is less physically stressful and more mentally stressful. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about how things are turning out for me, and a low-paying job without benefits is not a future. That is not a sustainable way of life. Knowing my skills in typing were at least enough to submit my typing test to a recent job opening as an Office Assistant, I went ahead and applied for that job last week. The day before the position closed, I took my state typing test and scored 50 WPM at 95% accuracy. Their minimum was 35 WPM.

Some of you may be shaming employees in the workforce who are in menial grunt jobs and always feel that they’re not motivated enough to do anything else. This can’t necessarily be true because I have an image to keep up, and although I work in the restaurant business at the lowest pay for my region and have worked these types of jobs in the past for a majority of my life, I’ve always known that I am far too intelligent for such degrading work– but until recently, I never really saw where my greatest potential lie until I started my Morning Pages routine a couple of weeks ago. It’s not a matter of intelligence, it’s about providing a working environment for many different walks of life. I’m not suited for engineering work and somehow my ASVAB scored me strongest in engineering. Years later I would find out that I don’t have knowledge of advanced mathematics (read: algebra), and this would get in the way of my access to even an Associate’s Degree.

I sometimes wonder why we even have schooling when none of it pertains to actual education in financial matters, business, or arts and music, unless it’s an “elective” class or you go out of your way to find educational institutions which specialize in this type of work. Go to school and get a job? It’s far too generalized when we don’t even always know the best way to teach a child because they don’t know the style of learning they know. I blame television, games, and instant gratification practices. That’s just me and my opinion, but those who agree would be on what I feel is the right track towards reforming the education system.

So, wrapping things up here– not everyone in the lowly fast food job sector looks forward to staying there forever. Because our education system is so screwy, I find that many people simply stay put out of sheer fear for difficulty, or wish to remain in their comfort zones for an extended period of time. I’m only waiting until a new, higher-paying job opportunity comes along, and feel that many are also awaiting the same things. Some people are naturally suited for business ownership, teaching, music, writing, video editing, typist work, philosophy– and some people are naturally suited to accepting what’s given to them and stick to it just because it’s a job. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel that my time for food working has come to an end. I need a more meaningful job, and I’m searching around until it comes along. But I’ll also not stop and settle either. I’m needing access to more money to pay for bills and make it easier for me to discover a hobby which I can turn into a specialization. I feel that a handcrafted item for Christmas is better than anything made in China purchased at a chain store, and that I can actually benefit from creativity– not in the financial sense, but in the sense of well-being and goodwill.

Right. Now go out and celebrate Halloween if I don’t see you here before! And as always, until the next time I show up to write here,

Peach cobbler.

Creative Writing

Hello there, and good morning. It is 5:57 a.m. and I’ve just finished another round of writing my morning pages. If you’ve never heard of the morning pages, it’s a method used by author Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way to boost creative thinking. What it basically entails is the streaming of thoughts to paper to essentially, put bluntly, dump the recycle bin of the brain to clear your mind for the coming hours of the day. You empty the contents of your SIM card to make room for new information.

In this case, it could be new information, new ways of expressing yourself, new ways of thinking, problem solving, writing– just about anything can be benefited by the Morning Pages, depending entirely on what it is you are looking for. According to the book, there’s really no way to mess up the morning pages. All you do is sit down, write your thoughts out for 3 pages, and that’s it. No grammatical rules to follow, no censoring yourself– letting things just flow out is something that anyone wishing for a new path in life can start or maintain for any period of time in order to boost their inspiration to start something. And this makes quite a lot of sense.

For the longest time, people told me I was a good writer, or at least had a solid command of the English language at an early age. What I hadn’t known was where it would be useful. I’m beginning to see that proper grammar isn’t necessary 100% of the time (but I still like to be a grammar Nazi on Facebook just for laughs), but I’m also beginning to understand that writing by hand, even if you don’t have anything to say, can be beneficial. The purpose of the morning pages is to get your hand moving across a page. If you aren’t the writing type, don’t worry– no one, including yourself, will ever see them. If you have some bad thoughts to get out of your system, that’s also a harmless method of venting. Now I’m not known for a foul mouth, but a few words have decided to burst out from time to time. But this is okay. You don’t have to even keep the pages, but it’s important that you do not read them again. That’s probably why you dumped those thoughts to begin with.

So what have I discovered in the week and a half that I have been writing in the morning pages? Well, I remembered times when I was a dumb Navy kid. I reflected on family members. I started gaining insight into my own life. Here’s the thing– I’m a metalhead. I enjoy bands like Cattle Decapitation, Six Feet Under, Cannibal Corpse, Animals As Leaders, among many others. This type of music made me feel at the top of the world at all times of the day (ego). Now some time later, I still listen to music, but with a more finely-tuned ear for quality. “What does this have to do with anything?” you may ask. Well, just as with everything else, maturity does take a bit of time to obtain. When it hits, some people find it far too late. Others discover it in high school, way before their time and know immediately what they want to do with their own lives, and they end up pursuing that field successfully.

And then there’s me. I’m 30, soon to be 31, and I’ve been slowly figuring out more about what it is I need to do in order to live an easier life. That can be answered with a simple pair of words: new job. If you have been following my blog for any period of time, you’ll know that I work at Panera. Recently, I had become very ill with a viral infection in my pharynx. I had to miss out on two weeks of work because I was in such excruciating pain that it’s amazing I actually didn’t break down because of the physical burden of this pain. Since then, they have cut my hours down to 3 days a week. This is hardly enough to bay any bills. Yesterday, I had read another blog here regarding minimum wage and bills. I actually agree with Mr. Walsh. I’m working in a job field intended for minors and young adults, and here I am at 30 still working for them. I have more than 70 semester units at a community college (but due to my lack of mathematical knowledge or understanding, I never graduated) and studied psychology, English, some business and good old-fashioned liberal arts. And none of these job fields of which were any interest to me.

My basic college courses included anatomy and some physiology, and a bit of chemistry. I mean, everyone knows these things, right? I suppose. But let’s face it– I didn’t truly learn what I wanted to learn because I didn’t have the inspiration to try different things outside of schooling. Hell, I even received free proper training to become an electrician, and I forgot most of it because I didn’t care about that. My interest has always been in words, and to some degree, just writing and reading in general. But to find a job field which required some adept knowledge of English when in a state of being blind to situational awareness was just as finicky as trying to find a bean burrito in a pile of beef burritos. There were so many options out there, and I wanted something very related to the field, but not once did it occur to me that I should actually begin to write to gain skills in that field.

Not just any writing will do. I have been typing for a long time now. (I’m barely at 50 words per minute at 95% accuracy according to the state typing test I had taken in the last week. I needed to surpass 35 words per minute to apply for a job.) No, in fact, writing on the computer is actually somewhat mindless. You can type and type and type, and the computer will grant you error messages in the form of a red squiggly line. I can be all the grammar Nazi I wish to be, but that only means I can correct people easily without a red squiggly line. The kind of writing I’m talking about here is handwriting. I’ve figured that if one can simply type endlessly and deftly on a compute, one can also write by hand and obtain the same results. This is absolutely not so, and I now know what Julia was telling the readers when it came to saying that handwriting is more personal. What you’re really getting out of life really depends on you. The same applies to writing. What you’re really getting out of yourself depends on you.

So the morning pages help with sparking some creative ideas about work, creativity, art, drawing, speech, cooking– well, pretty much anything in which you find a passion in life can be improved with a bit of creative problem solving. Having a rut in life? Maybe dumping out the bad and starting in with some good should help out. Problem-solving is found everywhere in life. I’m starting to see more about where I’m supposed to be, and I’ve applied for a job dealing with office work. I know some people think that might not be a metalhead’s job, but I’m not too bad with this at all.

I’m just placing this here because I felt that it was something to say while actually explaining how I came around to figuring out where I would like to be in life. I don’t want to work at Panera for the rest of my life, and I know they’ll sabotage my efforts to move somewhere else because I’m such a valuable asset to their company. They did that to two different places already, and so I have learned that telling the superiors anything leads to obstructions. Blockages. “Loose lips sink ships.” I’m learning more how to guard my words carefully around the managers now that I started with the Morning Pages.

What’s the worst that can happen if you begin the morning pages? You just go through a lot more paper than average. It took me about an hour and a half to finish my first one, and this morning it took me 50 minutes, more or less. But that’s only three pages a day. One and a half sheets of lines 8.5”x11” of writing, suspending grammatical knowledge and including fragments as often as is necessary to write out the pages as quickly as possible. I know I rarely type or speak in sentence fragments, and you may not have happened upon any here. I do absolutely overuse abstract writing methods in my morning pages. It’s creative writing. Don’t let anything limit you. Once you break through the chains that bind you, your limits will be greater than your current imagination. I recommend you try these for at least a couple of weeks and see if anything, even your way of thinking, changes. Something will change! Maybe not in the way you expect, but changes will occur.

Home Life

Many of you are like me: you have a menial job, you get paid twice a month, you struggle with some bills, and Ramen noodles are your least favorite standby. And so it is, this life style, for millions of Americans. But how many of you have kids? That number probably doesn’t budge downward much either, but as I’m no statistician, I can’t tell you the answer (and I don’t feel like being a Google ninja right now). I could safely say that a majority of workers over the age of 20 have one child in their household.

And it’s a mess, isn’t it? I just cleaned the apartment today, and now look at the mess that has happened! How many toys did I pick up, and they’re spread around the floor five minutes after you get home? Sucks, huh? But I’ll tell you something else that I may not share with the population of minimum wage restaurant workers.

My step-daughter has cerebral palsy. Ah, yes, the beans are hereby spilled. Daily life here isn’t quite glorious– it’s quite taxing. You see, cerebral palsy is an umbrella term used to describe a neurological condition which affects muscular development (over-firing synapses and motor coordination hiccups included). And there are varying degrees from the mild end of the spectrum to severe, where mild is easily treatable (not curable, mind you) with Botox. Severe cases are more apt to require some surgical treatment to allow limbs to move as freely as they were intended. The good thing about cerebral palsy is, unlike disease, it is not progressive; that is to say, it won’t get any worse over time, it can only get better with practice and dedication.

Back to my step-daughter. At the beginning of this year (January 2015) she received Botox injections in her calves and hamstring areas to treat muscular flexibility limitations. Essentially, with Botox, she now can stretch her legs and not walk constantly on her tiptoes, but there are times when she will overcompensate and correct her balance too much and fall. And fall she does– probably 20 times a day. That’s less than the 50 or so from trying to be mobile before her shots. Now, if she thinks about it, she’ll crawl up a couch or other lower surface such as a table, stand, and then practice balancing on her own and will actually free-stand for about half a minute. This was not possible before her Botox injections, and in tandem with specially-fitted braces which she wears every day to accommodate her stretches..

Now on to her outside of spastic diplegia. She is just like any other kid– she likes macaroni and cheese, hotdogs, bread with mayonnaise (ummm…), constantly asks for soda (which I never give her), watches Teen Titans and Spongebob… And her favorite food is pizza. And I am not kidding that she would much rather have a pizza from Little Caesar’s than from Pizza Hut or Me & Ed’s. She’s a huge fan of Disney, and has been enjoying Anna and Elsa character toys from the movie Frozen on a daily basis for more than a year. And her mom lets her watch Disney Car Toys or something on YouTube. She hates going to bed on time, loves sleeping in when we need her ready for the bus, demands her chocolate cereal and tea in the morning– just like every other kid in the world, she has her morning routine and cartoon routine straight off the school bus. And so you can imagine that we’re a little more than fulfilled for our daily tasks when it comes to caring for her.

My fiance is developing back problems from having to carry her everywhere because she (my step-daughter) still can’t walk on her own, and we can’t have her crawling everywhere on pavement and asphalt. Her wheelchair is really heavy, and that takes some effort to load into the car’s trunk (which already has limited space by virtue of the make and model). But when faced with particularly bumpy terrain, it performs like a champ, so that works out for us in the end. And I have baseline back problems from the Navy, so exacerbating that with heavy lifting as she gets older, heavier, and her chairs have to eventually grow with her, is inevitable.

Is it worth it? Probably hard to say no. Aside from being spoiled rotten before I arrived in her life, she can be sweet. And she has plenty of opportunity to develop her skills as a future artist, writer, movie director, motivational public speaker– the possibilities are endless. And being part of the influence to trying as hard as she has with her already difficult life and utilizing that determination in more aspects will define our parenting quality in the end.

By the way, does anyone have any dish soap or maids to spare for a bit?

Love For All But Death

To he who began to think of her
Who stole his heart, ’twas whence for sure
On glorious mornings
Where given no warnings
The praise he gave her for all but to save her
She left his heart filled with tragedy savored

Love had naught been so dire
Nor a heat felt with the passions of fire
And in these pure times
When, run down to the dime
Each day of pleasure was simply a treasure
Sadly ended with mourning, a grief without measure

For want of a life very happy
Each days with a pipe filled, he’s tamping
The pondering stifled
With a surely-placed rifle
With a click of the trigger he would certainly forgive her
And allow her the solitude of a wandering river

She loved him so deeply, it’s true
Her ghostly heart now struck with rue
The demon inside him
Was cause for to smite him
She wished deeply so but that which we don’t know
Is that she was long already dead, and in his dreams she did show

His memory of her was real
When they kissed on that night fate was sealed
For there they were wed
And that night she was dead
From a crush of a club by a flame once she loved
And a broken heart surely from past days thereof