bday MMXIV

In about an hour, thereabouts the clock will toll on August thirty-first, or on another year in my life. My thirty-sixth year. Yes, it is my birthday. Just as everyone else, I tend to reminisce on life. Usually I’m fairly negative and cold on that matter. I’m sure those who have kept up with this blog know this.

When I mention my birthday, people would ask “Oh! Happy Birthday! Are you doing anything special?”

I would then tell these people that I don’t really celebrate my birthday, and I haven’t really cared to since I was in grade-school where I threw a party and no one came. I tell them that that is when I figured out that I am not popular. I am a loner. I prefer a small circle of good friends as opposed to a large circle of acquaintances. That still holds true, mostly. 

Another truth is that I am terribly shy which I have also covered at length on this blog. 

I knew that I was going to write this blog tonight. I just didn’t know how to approach it to where it wouldn’t be so monotonous in featuring my usual (un)happy self. So I went out for a bit to clear my head-To my usual 7-Eleven run-To have a cigarette. 

The thoughts in my mind when taking in my first cancer stick were mainly about how bad things have gotten. Comparing where I was physically and mentally just one year prior. I hated myself then, and I find I still do. However there are some positive changes; Or rather swaps in my predicament. 

Foremost, I am finally feeling …at home, or at least a little more comfortable. Staying with my father in South San Francisco never felt like home. I was welcomed, and I was cared for, sure, but I always had a nagging feeling that I was intruding on my father and his wife. And I just felt I should try and be out of their way as much as possible, which is why I was never home. I would say nine out of ten of these blogs were written not in my room there, but at any other place that had an open internet connection. That room was basically just for sleeping.

The trade off with that situation of course is that I now:

1) Have to watch over my mother, which I’ve noted limits me.  2) Pay rent. 

I feel the sad part of leaving my father’s home was that I was just starting to make friends there. Sure I can keep up to date with them online with social media or a phone call, but you know it is just not the same. 

After I finished that cigarette, I got back into the SUV that I’m borrowing from my sister and brother-in-law, turned the ignition on, laid back, inhaled and sighed . That’s when this came on the cd player:

I then quickly got back out of the SUV and lit the final cigarette in the pack, but kept the song playing.

Now I have heard Anything Goes insurmountable times. This is an excellent recording sung by the great Ella Fitzgerald. I put it on the track list because I do enjoy the tune. This time however, I really felt the lyrics resonate with me. To me it illustrates how times have indeed changed, things aren’t what they were, but we adapt and go on living. That song was written by Cole Porter in the 1930s during the great depression, and I think it’s wonderful that people could keep themselves entertained like that in such horrible times. That there shows how society can buckle down and fend for themselves, survive and eventually thrive from utter chaos. 

It was the perfect song to capture the moment and the feeling that I wanted to convey exude in this blog post.

The song also put a smile on my face. It had gotten me to think for once on what I have as opposed to what I don’t have or had and lost. And although I have little, it is a lot more than some other people out there. I should be thankful for that.

So here’s to another year. Cheers.

I wish I could afford a bottle of Chivas Regal to make that toast, but I guess ginger ale from Green Hell will suffice for now.

Oh! Before I forget …my birthday present to myself:


I bought a new mic stand from all the quarters I’ve been saving over the last two-to-three months. The microphone is my beloved Shure 55SH Mk.II. That along with my tube pa are the only pieces of music equipment that I didn’t sell off before moving here. 

In any case, take this image as a sign of things to come.



It is Tuesday morning. Mom is in her insomnia class; I’m in the Kaiser member’s lounge on the second floor near the deli. Just had an egg and bacon sandwich and twenty ounce bottle of ginger ale. Four dollars, forty-five cents. Too little for that price. At least my hunger satisfied.

Only had about four hours of sleep and I’m thankful for even that much. Because of the staggered schedule at Green Hell-Unloading the delivery truck on Monday morning, leaving when done, and continuing that same shift at night-The eight hour workday limit is still in effect and I’m stuck with whatever remaining time is left from the morning. The truck took four hours, so last night we worked the last four hours. Under normal circumstances, that would have annoyed the hell out of me, but since I have to take my mother class in the morning …well it was nice to some rest. And that is something I needed.

After the truck, yesterday I decided to stay awake because I had to walk my sister and brother-in-law’s dog, Kingston in the early afternoon. Figure I’d get to sleep at around four postmeridian.

The dog-walk went smoothly. Typical walk by Lake Braddock to let Kingston do his canine duties. Was done by about two-thirty. Brought him in, and fed him a little, caught a little television (because I don’t have cable), and was out by about three-fifteen.

After a slight excursion to the Goodwill Thrift Store, I arrived at home by 4pm, and got ready to jump into bed, planning to get a nice five hour snooze–Then my sister called and said there was a showing for their house at 6pm, and that I needed to pick up Kingston again for a good hour while the potential home buyers were browsing their house.

So I stayed up again. Picked up Kingston at five-thirty. We drove for a bit, walked for a bit. Got him back by six-fifty. Fed him his dinner. Out by seven-ten.

Took Braddock Road home. Big mistake. Just past Fairfax Station, there was a virtual standstill of traffic. After several minutes of driving at a turtle’s pace, I arrived at the turnoff for George Mason University. After some exploring, I knew how to get around the campus to find a route home, so I took it. Even bigger mistake.

As it turns out, it seems class has started up again. Or perhaps it was orientations, nevertheless, the traffic on campus was probably just as bad as was the highway.

Long story; short, I got home by around seven-fortyfive. And I was hungry, so I made a small dinner, ate, readied my kit for work. By this time my body was just aching for sleep. At eight-thirtyfive I decided to try to at least get a short nap in. That ended up with me basically just staring at the ceiling for about 30 minutes.

By the time I got to work (twenty minutes early) I was indeed aching in pain. More so, I was annoyed to find that someone had already stocked my usual section. I was not in a good mood during that shift.

Mother’s class is over soon. Then it’s straight over to pick up Kingston for his normal noon walk. After that I suppose I’ll get lunch/dinner and attempt to get more sleep–For tonight is the full eight-hour horror at Green Hell.  


stocking blues

Yesterday’s shift at Green Hell is good example of a bad day as a stocker.

Day started as it normally should on truck days. Awoke at 3:30 Antemeridian. I showered. Had a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter. Got my mp3 player/bluetooth speaker updated with a new tracklist, and made sure it was charged. Packed my silly green shirt, black apron, and box cutter, and off to work with James Darren blasting on the car stereo.

Arrived at Green Hell twenty minutes early. 4:40 Antemeridian. The early morning cleaners were making their rounds in the parking lot. I listened to more Jimmy Darren and looked up some vocal booth rigs on eBay. I can’t afford this stuff.

The assistant manager arrived ten minutes later. We got in, I put on my silly green shirt and apron and began to clean up the warehouse, preparing for the delivery truck to arrive, who is supposed to be there waiting, parked and ready for us as soon as we open up the warehouse door.

Well he wasn’t.

He arrived an hour and forty-five minutes late. In fact, he initially drove to the front of the store, not in the rear where the warehouse is. I went out and calmly pointed out where he was supposed to be, out came the excuses why he was late. I said not to worry about it, we’re already behind schedule, let’s just get this done.

My new schedule was supposed to start yesterday. I come in to help unload the delivery truck. When the truck is finished, I clock out for the rest of the day. Then I return in the evening to begin a late-night stocking shift through the early morning..

Unlike my night crew schedule back in California, this is essentially for 2 nights a week, as opposed to 4-5 nights. Another plus is that it keeps me away from that damned cash register, and I won’t have hordes of people asking me questions while I’m stocking. Bonus-I can play music while I’m working.


This truck driver being late ruined that whole schedule. Not only was he late. He had a hard time figuring out how to line up and park the truck properly. It took him some some fifteen minutes to do it. I was really starting to get really upset at the point and smoked a cigarette while I was watching this fool.

Eventually it was lined up, and we rigged the rollers and finally began by about half an hour before we usually finish unloading the truck.

To make matters worse, that driver was pretty slow to load, and he seemed to take many short breaks. I suppose he figures at this point, he knows he’s already in trouble-Knows he’ll be getting written up, possibly fired. Maybe he was beyond the point of giving a damn about his job. Whatever the reason is, we didn’t get finished until eleven o’clock.

At that point, I had basically two breaks to take and a lunch. All of which is mandatory. And in the end, I basically only had time to stock items for less than an hour, which means hardly anything got stocked.

The night shift was canceled that night because we’re only allotted so many hours. If my night shift parter/manager and I were to come back that night, we’d only have 2 hours. Ridiculous. So we both just finished a full day shift instead.

I truly hope we don’t get that driver again. Yes, he was new. I understand that. Unlike California, we often seem to get new drivers, and none of them are ever this late. There was the one who was an hour late because he had legit steering problems. Not like this clown that said he was falling asleep.

It only takes one…



Not exactly composing; More like copying. 

I’ve begun working on covering a couple old standards by Harold Arlen-Not saying which ones yet. The mere fact that I’m doing it has sort of taken me by surprise-the spontaneity of it. I had forgotten how fun it is to work on music. The difference between now and before is that I know now that my main instrument is my voice, and that I can adapt it to many styles of music. I don’t need to hide my voice or terrible musical chops behind effects and interesting patches. Right now I’m really keen on vocal standards and I also think I’m pretty good at it. And with this type of music there really is no hiding one (lack of) talent.

You either got it; or you don’t.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

One thing that is a big hindrance is my inability to record my vocals at all. I’m so broke that spending $3.99 on an xlr patch chord on eBay, an xlr-to-trs chord at 1.96 at Goodwill, and a 1/4″ – 1/8″ trs adapter for $2.99 at MicroCenter actually hurt me. That’s food and gas. That’s pathetic is what that is. Even more is that I had dozens of those cables and a proper digital recording interface not more than five-to-six months ago before I moved. Thank goodness, I didn’t get rid of Shure 55sh and the tube pre-amp, and that I still have a decent laptop with Reason and old Cakewalk. It’s just sad that I’m stuck with using the microphone input on my laptop to record the vocals. Well now I suppose I just need a mic stand. I’ll look into how much I have in change tomorrow-Hopefully twenty bux for the cheapest mic stand at the local Guitar Center. I’ll also fashion a spit-screen out of panty-hose and a coat hanger, and try to rig some type of mini vocal booth around the mic.

It’s all terrible, yet somehow refreshing starting all over again. 



Some interesting developments have been happening–Not really to me, but to my sister and brother-in-law, which can read on their blog 610 SouthEssentially, they have bought a new home-Which is a real fixer upper; Yet in a prime location in Arlington, Virginia. I like the place very much, it has good character, and great potential in making it more modern. I am indeed very excited for them and this venture.

Now onto more immediate concerns.

This morning I had taken my mother to see her primary doctor. Of course, I had to try and front the co-pay, and as you know by now, money is something that never seems to be in abundance to me. 

So while we were waiting for the car to warm up, I logged into my checking account via phone app to check my funds. To my surprise, I found that I had a charge at a gas station in Iowa, around 1:30am last night. That’s odd because I’m nowhere near Iowa, which is halfway across the North American continent.

At times like this, I would imagine other people would panic. I know I did the first time my checking account was compromised.

Back in the mid-zeros, when I was living in Santa Clara, California, I believe I must have dropped my wallet outside my car without noticing. The next morning, I checked my account and found that someone spent some six-hundred dollars at the local gas station and some five-hundred or so at a 7-Eleven. It was not a good scene having to make that claim with my bank. There were papers that had to be signed, and it took awhile to clear it.

Fast-forward to now, this wasn’t nearly as bad. The charge wasn’t big, but considering the little I have, it was enough to be annoying. My mother had to pay her co-pay and medicine refills with her credit card; Which is the last thing I wanted to happen, but we really had no choice.

After registering mom to see her doctor, I drove swiftly, but safely to a grocery store, bought a drink, and withdrew the remaining amount from my account for two reasons: 1) a preventative measure in case whoever has accessed my account tries to do it again before I report it. 2) I know my bank is going to shut down that card and replace it as soon as I do report it-And there are no local branches for me to withdraw from a human teller. This is a bank chain that is almost primarily west coast-With the most local branch ATMs being located in a couple big cities in neighboring states some hundreds of miles away.

So aside from my local bank account which has very little money in it at the moment, and my withering credit card, all that I’m worth is in my pocket. And it’s not much.

Well at least I know my account is safe now. 



Just a quick note–

I’ve abandoned that simple hexagon layout for now. It’s just annoying to look at and work with in it’s current uncustomizable form. In order for me to customize it to a design that I would prefer, I would need to spend more money, which quite frankly I don’t have.

So this look will do for now. Meh.



To conclude the events of yesterday–

Didn’t mention that I woke with a headache. It was noticeable when I drove mother to class. When I went to work it was more mild, and then it evolved into a rather deep headache that was a bit disorienting. I didn’t have access to Tylenol or any pain suppressant-No money to buy any. At home I had one tablet of acetaminophen, but it also had diphenhydramine, and I didn’t want to fall asleep.

Add the fact that I had to do register work at Green Hell, well …you can say that I was not at all in a good mood. Powered through it though.

Got home, took that one last tablet. Hydrated and ate. This morning there’s some lingering bit of headache, but it’s mostly died down. Think I will pull some change together to get some offbrand ibuprofen or whatnot later.



Another week of Insomnia class for mother, and another sandwich and session of blogging for me. Today however is a busy day.

I fell asleep last night at around 8pm. The usual Monday job ritual of unloading the truck at Green Hell always takes it’s toll on me, and my body just wants to shut down early.

Awoke at half passed midnight and couldn’t go back to sleep right away. Ended up reading the first Durham Red series from the 2000 A.D. Prog on my tablet. It’s titled Bitch and is some twenty-two or so chapters-The size of a decent graphic novel. I enjoyed it immensely, and was thankful someone collected it and all the other Durham Red stories onto cbr format, and made them available for download via torrent.

Before anyone jumps to accusing me of pirating-I actually do own the physical copies of the 2000. A.D. Progs and graphic novels featuring Durham Red. I just don’t have them with me here in Virginia. My buddy, Jeff in California is actually housing my collection and my other media for me. Just gotta get some money together for him to send it all to me.

I was done reading at roughly two Antemeridian. Felt hungry. Cooked up some Ramen and meatballs. While consuming, I had downloaded a trial book on Kindle, Sessions with Frank SInatra, a book by Charles L. Granata-Focused on Francis Albert Sinatra’s recording methods as told by one of his sound engineers (Granata). I don’t know much about the personal history of Frank Sinatra, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any of his films, but I always enjoyed the music he performed. And having gone to school for recording myself, this book seems kinda right up my alley, baby. I’m sure I’ll learning plenty from it, and can apply it to my own future recordings.

After eating, I watched a little WWE network, and did some image editing of my Vindictus character. Got in bed at three, tossed and turned til four.

Woke again at eight, got ready, filled up on some gas, drove my mom to class by nine-thirty. Just finished reading the trial of the Sinatra book as I had a Pastrami sandwich from the cafe here at the hospital. And now we’re caught up. 

In about 45 minutes, I’ll pick up mom from class at eleven-thirty, then rush home to get ready for work at one postmeridian in Green Hell.

This has got to be the most pointless or boring blog post ever.

That’s my life.




Just got an e-mail from PayPal stating that an automatic payment was made to WordPress towards another year of use for the domain name. I was not exactly expecting that, although a reminder was sent to the e-mail …which I didn’t check in time. Have to admit that it stung a little because that payment almost overdrew my checking account. Thank goodness it didn’t.

That said, let’s look on the bright side-I own this domain for yet another year. Also this is essentially this blog’s anniversary. So I say lets celebrate this vent with a new look to the site. 

Gone is the top splash image of Ruben’s Consequences of War. Gone is the neutral color scheme, and my vile face staring back at you. In place now is a highly simplistic look and a GUI featuring a grouped hexagon control panel. Essentially what is presented are just my words alone. If you seek eye candy, may I redirect you.  

So this is it folks. One year and a little over a hundred posts, and it seems I’m nearly back in the same situation as I started-Only in a different locale. It has been an interesting ride, or at least I hope it has been for you readers (what few of you there may be). 

I can’t promise any sort of outcome, be it good, bad, or neutral, but I can promise that I will attempt to record and convey with brutal honesty who I am. I ask for nothing in return-Perhaps a few words if you’re so inclined to reply. I somehow hope that though my writing, that my experiences recorded here, can be looked upon in even the most minute way as material that can be learned from. Whether I’m rising or falling, I hope I’m able to clarify why?

To those who have stuck with me, I thank you for continuing to indulge me. To any newcomers, I hope I am worthy of your time.

Thank you.