a little scare

Off from late night shift at Green hell. I just parked the car. As I was about to step out, I noticed a quadruped animal walking by. Thought it was a cat. As I opened the door, I seen it stopped and looked right at me.

It was a fox.

I then quickly shut the door.

About thirty seconds later it turned and walked away.

For safetys sake, I decided to just stay and vape a little and type this out. One thing comes to mind: I should have asked what the fox says.


lite and clear

Couple things.

I’ve been on a diet. Not really a diet per se – More like a lifestyle change. I’ve been relearning how to eat right, and limit myself. Basically, I’m merely counting calories and trying to limit myself to no more than 1500 calories per day. I’m also drinking more plain water, or adding no calorie flavor shots – Limiting soda and sugary carbonated drinks. I’ve done no extra gym work; Merely only changed my eating habits.

The results after about 2-3 months of this practice is that I lost some thirty pounds. I dropped two clothing sizes, which is somewhat annoying because of the need to purchase new clothes (annoying because of money).

So the initial gym work that I started 2 years ago, and having stopped after moving to Virginia – That loss, then gain (sedentary and depressed), then this loss, I’ve dropped over ninety pounds. 9-0 pounds. The problem now is that I need to try and lose fifty more.

It’s not impossible. I realise that now. Of course I am also starting to plateau on my loss, and should go back to the gym to give my body another jump-start; Money tho.

Today also marks one month from my last Camel Crush Menthol Silver – Or rather my last cigarette altogether. As I started to lose weight, I made the conscious effort to also stop smoking.

Usually what happens when a person quits smoking is that they tend to gain weight because of the need to fulfill that oral sensation, or because the muscle memory of smoking remains – And what replaces sticking faggots of burning tobacco in ones mouth is of course food.

I have counteracted food gorging with the help of e-cigarettes. And not just regular cig-a-like e-cigarettes (such as BLU), but with more advanced gear with bigger batteries, tanks, and little-to-no tobacco flavored nicotine juice.

After almost twenty years, I am no longer a smoker; I am now a vaper. And it is brilliant!

I will eventually write another blog on how my vaping started and evolved. For now I will disclose that I currently vape on a Joytech eGo ONE kit and I love Vapor Hut’s Blueberry Cinnamon Crumble flavor.

It is safe to say that with this kit, whatever other gear I may get in the future, and my nicotine level/desire dropping quickly – I will never go back to smoking regular (analog) cigarettes again.

And my lungs are happy.


Mac’s new home


Just a quick update-Built my little vocal recording booth.

It is composed of Duck brand air-conditioning foam insulators, and a small media crate (about 7″x9″). All purchased at Wal-Mart for just a bit over thirteen dollars. No glue applied-the foam-just fits snugly together.

It definitely helps with killing the sound reflections and picking up external noise. And it does not actually sound like it is in a box like I initially thought it would. I will keep experimenting with it of course.




Today was one of those days that started off fairly optimistic and exciting; Then it ended rather sourly.

I’ll start with yesterday, I had finally gotten a decent amount of sleep after my commitments to work graveyard at Green Hell and jobs/commitments to family had worn me out. I was so ridiculously tired that I slept some 11 hours.

When I awoke, I knew it was payday, so I checked to see if my direct deposit payment from work had found its way to my bank account. It did, and it was a bit more than I expected. Seems working the late night shift has benefited, if only ten percent more than usual. I also had extra hours in day shifts, so that contributed too.

In any case, that was a nice surprise. With that extra bit of cash (along with what my sister was paying me to walk her dog and other odd jobs), I had enough to finally make my first major purchase in awhile-A digital audio interface to record my vocals properly into my computer.

After grocery shopping, I spent a good portion of the night researching what I could afford, trying to find the best bang for the buck. I was settling on an old Lexicon Omega for bid on eBay. It was decently priced and enough for my vocal recording needs. However I also would have liked to get a midi controller that doubles also as a control surface to my software (Propellerheads Reason). Again, I had all this stuff, but I sold it to help fund my move here to Virginia.

After running through the possible deals on eBay and Amazon, I made my way to craigslist. That is where I found a listing for a Novation XioSynth 25 key controller. After looking into it, I found that not only is it a controller, it is indeed also an analog modeling synthesizer, as well as a midi controller with assignable hardware (that takes care of the control surface), and is also a digital audio interface with XLR and TRS inputs. Essentially, it’s everything I need one package! And it was also being sold for only ninety dollars, which is what I may have paid for the audio interface alone. Yes, I jumped on that deal, and e-mailed the owner right away.

It was early in the evening, although already four hours since the post had been entered, so there was a good chance that the XioSynth was already claimed. At midnight, some three hours after my attempt to contact the owner, I still had not received any replies, so I gave up and just went to sleep.

Around nine o’clock the next morning, my phone woke me up with an e-mail message, and it was indeed from the owner of the XioSynth, detailing to me his home address and to set up a time.

At noon, I set out to Sterling, Virginia, some twenty miles away, and picked up my new piece of music gear. The drive up was nerve racking because it was somewhere I had never been. The drive back was worse because I was so darned excited to try the XioSynth out.

I could go into immense detail, but essentially the keyboard worked right out of the box. As soon as I plugged it into the USB port, Windows 7 had recognized it as an audio device, and all the sound was now channeled from the computer to the XioSynth and into my AKG headphones. It was music to my ears-Litereally, I tested it out with some Frank Sinatra tunes.

I was giddy as I was messing about the preset synth sounds-Completely content with this purchase. It was an excellent deal!

After breakfast (in the late afternoon), I set out again to drop some donations to the Goodwill store, and planned on going to Micro Center to look around. I ended up spending close to an hour at Goodwill browsing around, trying to find something to use to build a microphone booth. Came up with more questions than answers, so I abandoned the idea until I could do more research.

However, I found in the boutique showcase there, what looked like a Roku internet streaming box, except it was made by RCA. I had the attendant pull it out for me, and asked if I could test it out on one of their TVs. I found it indeed had apps like Hulu and Netflix, and yes, the wifi was also working. They priced it at only twelve dollars. Yes, I bought it of course.

I was on sort of a consumer buying high. Two great deals today! Could it get any better?


After the Goodwill run, I decided to just skip Micro Center, but go down to Green Hell and check my schedule for next week. Found it really wasn’t much which was a bit of a letdown.

Also while I was there, I was greeted by a certain co-worker whom I have been a bit taken with. We worked together very few times, but in those moments there was left a good impression on both of our ends-At least I felt it was that way. So I chanced it, and attempted to ask her out. Not necessarily romantically, but at least to go out and have some fun, and get to know each other even further.

I suggested taking her to the Renaissance Fair since I had talked at length about how much I enjoyed it, and that she would too. That’s when scheduling came up, and we tried to work it out-And that’s when she mentioned her boyfriend and his schedule.

I can tell you that my heart sank deep into my stomach at that very moment. No, it wasn’t really a rejection, but it still hurt. Sometimes you have these visions in your head-You with that special someone, and it’s so real in your mind that you can absolutely believe it-This could be the one! No, it IS the one! And then she reminds you, completely nonchalant and innocently that you are wrong. You are still alone. You are a loser.   

I played it off of course. There was really no need for drama. Hell, it was my fault for assuming she wasn’t attached. She is after all not just attractive, but overall a very nice, down to earth person. Too good for me. Her boyfriend is a lucky guy.

To add some symbolism-As I walked out of Green Hell, I found it had rained. The cloud cover was heavily overcast with distant sounds of thunder, and sporadic flashes of lightning.

A fitting end to this day as it started out well; Yet ended with me again being broke and alone.

At least I still have my writing and my music.



Yes, mom is in her Insomnia class once again. So it’s time for a bit of blogging as I wait.

As mentioned in the prior post, it was my birthday a couple days ago. I thank everyone, my friends, and family, and acquaintances for their well-wishes toward me. It’s nice to know that people do care.

Now to celebrate my birthday, my sister (Daphne) and brother-in-law (Brian) had taken my mother and me to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. As I’ve mentioned, I normally don’t celebrate my birthday, but I wasn’t about to push away what would be an interesting experience. Yes, It was very entertaining.

For those that don’t know, a Renaissance Fair is a celebration of the Renaissance period in history. People dress up in period clothing and for a short time live out their lives as if it were that time period. They also set up shops to pedal their wares-Anything from clothing/armor to household decor, and even weapons, all painstakingly made in the players chosen profession can be bought by the public.

I suppose players is the wrong term. I dare say some are more fanatical than others, right down to their mannerisms and accents.

It’s not all purely medieval or Renaissance in theme however. I saw plenty of rather odd mashups. Plenty of modern kilts, when there were actually no kilts in those times. (I blame Braveheart.) There were plenty of bodice and corset wearing women with long flowing dress that looked absolutely gorgeous-and men brave enough to wear leotards. The people who worked the festival were all fairly authentic. The King was looking quite dapper looking like he stepped out of a Tudor painting.

The most interesting look, aside from the Turkish belly dancers, were these incredible pirate mashups. I didn’t really get it. These were medieval pirates. They were a mix of gypsy, medieval segmented leather armor, with those baggy pirate shirts with frilly cuffs, and the three pointed hat. Now I’ve seen this look before, on one of my favorite neo-medieval bands, Cultus Ferox, who I believe are out of Germany. Seems the look has taken on a life of it’s own.

Speaking of music. I was ecstatic as I heard the distant drone of bagpipes. So I broke away from my family and followed it. As I paced closer, I heard the melody from Game of Thrones. When I arrived to the stage, I found it was indeed a neo-medieval group playing live. One of their beautiful dancers was walking amongst the crowd with the bands CDs for sale. I stopped her and asked who they were.

They are called Cu Dubh. And here is a short video clip that I took of them

That was easily the highlight of my day there. I had never seen a neo-medieval group play live until then. And I can assure you, it’s far better live than watching it on YouTube or listening to it on some music player. I would definitely like to experience more of this sound in person.

Ooops. It is almost time to pack up as mom’s class is ending soon. I will continue with more of this later.


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.