The Great American Experiment

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Welcome to the Great Experiment!

People got too comfortable playing the game. Picking up where The "Conversation" Game left off...

A lot of what I’ve learned about my life and the world around it makes me uncomfortable.

It makes me happy, sad, elated and doomed – truly doomed – all at once.

It takes us nine months to breathe on our own, but our time on earth is the real womb.

Everyday I learn to adapt, a little more, than the day before. Honestly, that’s all that matters to me.

Life beat the hell out of me before my attempt at beating the hell out of life. Living a life out of hell is worth fighting for.

Hell has no place in my life – inside and out. Real hell.

So here we are, beating the hell out of each other because life and I have a common goal.

My emotions don’t come one by one, they arrive in bundles. Like high speed internet, cable TV, and phone service, the price is too high to start separating my feelings.

If I’ve learned anything on my writing journey it’s that.

The demons are doing jumping jacks now. 

Be the Real Deal

Embrace emotions as they happen no matter what they are.

Feel your moments. Every last one of them.

Live like you were born in an arena. For all intents and purposes, you were. If you were born in America, that’s what this is.

You’ll be shocked how far long ago this was set in motion. More time ago than you can imagine.

For now, let's call them years.

Thunderstruck!

Today, I realize how responsible I actually was as a kid. I’ve managed to justify my earlier existence. That’s the “C” student in me.

It's about damn time! I took that believing children are the future shit seriously.

I discovered a voice and, as a kid, I considered a typewriter a toy.

The Creative Guide

I attribute my evolution to having an open mind and heart.

I remind myself of this simple fact at every turn in this crazy reality.

That’s the only way I successfully began understanding the strange world in which I exist.

There’s only so much time before the thoughts behind this smirk are buried in forever.

Luckily, that's not the direction this is going.
Travis Garrod, Devilish Smirk

The stars aligned. Or not. The planets did. Or didn’t. Whatever it is, it feels like fireworks. Some days. Maybe.

I don’t know.

Moving on.

I feel like I’m crawling out of a steaming pile of extraordinarily colorful crap ashes.

Is it coincidence the Trump conclusion coincides with the final episodes of Game of Thrones which wraps on May 19, 2019 just ahead of the June 7, 2019 Dark Phoenix rise release?

And Sansa Stark stars in both?

Come on!

I’m merely a goose among geese, in a world searching for unicorns.

Don’t get me wrong, unicorns are great! They’re like a horse in permanent drag. However, unicorns shoot rainbows out of their butthole, and they don’t lay golden eggs.

A goose lays the golden eggs.

Where's that goose?

Will Ready Player win? Does Mario finally find his princess? Or prince?

Plot twist!

And all this time I thought I was an owl...
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The “Conversation” Game

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It finally happened; another word made the list of my personal, verbal equivalents to nails on a chalkboard.

It’s a lurking word I’ve noticed inching its way into the everyday Jargonitis of election politics: Conversation.

"Conversation" is the buzzword to be wary of for crafty answer dodging for 2020 campaigns.

The good news is, that’s already obvious.

Don’t get me wrong, communication is key component to building a civilized society, especially a connected one.

I take issue with politicians who refuse to take a stance - for whatever reason. I would never vote for someone waiting for polls to tell them how to think.

When it comes to elections, it no longer matters what candidates say. They’ve had decades to figure out where they stand.

What matters is what they have done and continue to do.

Actions matter more than anything.

Want a conversation? Start a book club.

“Conversations” don’t need to be brought to Washington.

If a politician hasn’t developed an opinion beyond dinner table discussions, they have no business running for president.

That's not to say they have no business in public service. It's just they're not ready for the highest office of the land.

Birds of a Feather

Everyday on my dog walk, I see all kinds of waterfowl. Of course they were going to make it into my stories at some point.

Today’s political scenario – this level of synchronicity between the media, our government’s behavior, and public reactions – appears categorically unnatural.

Unnervingly.

Turn up the volume and wait for the end.
As if...

Motives can yank anything natural from everything. Let’s see where you stand.

The Cautious Goose Lacks Backbone

Nobody needs a new job title to take a stance.

Today, the same, (and more dangerous), tools are used to uproot political discourse amongst all of us since we were born: Political platforms. Both would have us believe we’re all fucked up.

20 years ago, Columbine happened and we’re still talking about guns. Somehow, sexuality is an issue and the Supreme Court is close to weighing in on whether or not I can be terminated for being me.

Abortion, religion, marriage, love, war, and Jesus are still arguments, and women still only make $0.70 to every man’s dollar, another statistic that appears unchanged from 20 years ago.

In the past 20 years, the Electoral College flipped the popular choice for POTUS results – twice!

What are the odds?

Naturally? Zero. Unnaturally? 100%

The only thing that hasn’t happened, God forbid, is another 9/11. September 11, 2001 will be 18 this year. It’s almost 20.

20 years ago, the Berlin Wall stood in history.

Today, we live in a country declared national emergency over funding of a wall.

Wait…what? Still?

Still.

The Careless Goose Lacks Heart

The presidential field is filled with fodder. I’m trying not to be too critical as there are other ongoing things from which we’re being distracted, so I’ll stick to the main careless goose: Donald Trump.

Trump was elected when Obama was president.

We can’t blame Trump on Trump. Trump happened as a result of something. A lot of somethings. Ever since the 2016 election, it’s been a turmoil spill.

The man who is responsible for “grab ’em by the pussy” in our vernacular is POTUS.

"Never in a million years..."

Welcome to year 1,000,001.

We've got a clean up on all aisles. All staff report for duty.

Pick a poison: Impeachment, resignation, wait, or Civil War? We know where Trump stands.

Our president reminded us how much of a fan he is of General Lee with his most recent defense of his “very fine people on both sides” Charlottesville, VA blunder.

Bill Clinton was impeached 20 years ago. By the same standards, Donald Trump would already be gone.

Before that, though, President Trump must face the music or we’re doomed to repeat something even more unsavory.

If only the Mueller Report would change it's name to either the Benghazi Report or the Starr Report. What would republicans do then? Wait, that already happened.

The Criminal Goose Goes to Jail

Hanging somewhere over us is the truth. It’s been captured. Rest assured things never end well for the criminal.

The challenge about truth is finding it. Once it’s found, it’s better to be on the right side of it, or figure out a way there.

Someone already nailed someone to that cross.

There is such a thing as too little too late.

Karma’s planning her own party. It’s no sweat off her back if she’s late. The last thing she wants to do is disappoint her guests.

The Courageous Goose Doesn’t Give a Duck

The only way out of this mess is to let the mess out of my mind.

The Ill Eagles

America doesn’t soar without Americans soaring.

Would you fly under Trump’s wing in a V formation? Do you trust the lift of the upwash from the wingtip vortices of that HBIC (head bird in charge)?

If anything he's making it harder to fly in this country.

Donald Trump never intended to win the presidency. His entire transition debacle made that evident. That, and his complete inability to keep his most senior positions filled.

It’s been a cascading turmoil slick ever since.

The President is too divisive of a figure at present time.

Plus, I can't imagine there isn't other shit he'd rather be doing. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up resigning. Any advisor to him who’s worth the dirt they walk on would encourage resignation this point.

I’ll be more surprised when this charade ends.

The shark tank smelled fishy before, but now it includes the added downgrade aroma of "carcass rotting in a swamp", which is ultimately what grabbed my pattention.

If it were up to me, this would have been over years ago. But, it’s not. Oh well.

The sooner we rid him from our marred democracy, the better off the country will be.

Mark my words.

What a day that will be.

Until then, brace yourselves for a bumpy ride.

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Beyond the Cliff

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How do you get beyond the cliff?

Leap!

Whatever happened to that iguana on St. John? I think about that iguana a lot. In case you missed the original, Have You Ever Felt Like a Baby Iguana?

Originally posted September 1, 2017. Hurricane Irma directly hit St. John on September 6, 2017. Irma was deemed a Cat5 hurricane only because Cat6 didn't (and still doesn't) exist.

Last we heard about the iguana, he’d taken a leap off the ledge of a villa’s porch on St. John.

Have You Ever Felt Like a Baby Iguana? Pt. 2

I only know what’s happened to me since I left the island.

Did the iguana survive Hurricane Irma?

I can't imagine he didn't. 

Granted, it was only a month and a half after the encounter that Hurricane Irma annihilated St. John. But, if anything would survive a direct hit along a hurricane’s path, it would be an iguana.

This is the stuff of Survivor!

That’s the stuff iguanas evolve to withstand.

I spent 21 more days on St. John. On my feet.

I returned to Arizona mid-August of 2017. I felt my time on the island was up. My soul was rejuvenated and I was ready to get home and write. I left in the nick of time.

I didn't understand until later exactly how just in time my departure was.

The Premonition

A few weeks before the iguana encounter, the island of St. John was in full swing Independence Day celebration. It was, in some ways an end of season shebang. The locals were excited as the vacation destination’s vacation was looming.

The picture below – of the jeep – was taken by me on July 4, 2017 on St. John at the island’s Independence Day parade.

I was living on St. John during the most memorable and impactful summer of my life.

What happened next rocked the worlds of everyone I’d just met.

Sometime after the unreported international border and customs scandal between the US and British Virgin islands, a succession of storms were brewing, literally. Secrets, secrets...

Along Came Irma

Now this? Life finally caught up with reality.

One of a host of Harbingers as of recent history.

Circle Back to Something Great

Two years ago today, I’d yet to embark on my trip to St. John. It seems appropriate to write a follow up to the original iguana story.

It’s been, after all, nearly two years since he took a leap off the proverbial cliff.

Reading the words I write is a bit like eavesdropping on the conversations I have with my imaginary friends. Except, here I am, handing you the recordings. Optimism. It's cute, isn't it?

A Part of My Soul Stayed on St. John

St. John changed my outlook on life. The people there, that summer restored my faith in humanity. I never felt more home away from home.

Ghosts and spirits are ever present on St. John. I met a lot of people there. Shadows play a funky role in your imagination.

I chose to roll with it.

The shadows played tricks on my eyes, so I had no choice but to see.

Iguana Piece of Me

I caught glimpses of them in the corners of my eyes.

You’re out there somewhere, lurking in the shadows. Don’t stay in those.

I don’t think the iguana from the first story even realizes who he is. All I know for sure is it was a bright, brilliant green and very young.

For the friends I met, three weeks later, St. John was in a much different place. Much like the iguana among them, they landed on their feet, stood still for a minute, and analyzed the situation. They persevered.

St. John survived.

The love for that island proved gravitational. The locals rose to the call of their one love, Love City.

They taught me about getting to the top the right way.

The Write Way to the Top

They taught me what it meant to follow your dreams. I learned what taking risks was all about. It becomes fun when you begin to question everything.

Then it snowballs. Writing is easy when you’ve got nothing to prove.

However, much like Irma, there are powers well at work way above anyone's ability to control, much less sense.

Hunker Down and Pray for Daylight

Listen up, folks. There are too many hypocrisies laying around to count. It’s time to see it for what it is, it’s hypocrisy. It’s never ok.

How long before we realize that’s what this is all about?

Astounding and Too Convenient

Our sitting president has been on record disrespecting women left and right, but Joe Biden gets a pass for pleading ignorant? What Pelosi? No Pelosi.

What Pelosi should have said is "nobody from the past should be elected, and we need to hold leaders to a higher standard. Otherwise we're doomed to repeat history, which would be great because I'm getting paid to do this."

And we act surprised when the past repeats itself. We quickly forget that Biden was part of the administration that led to Trump. Way to hit that Trump reset button for 2024.

Has anyone announced for 2028 yet? Talk about prime political real estate.

Washington stalwarts. They’re like fucking barnacles. Old, crusty barnacles.

Not So Green Anymore

Do I miss any past president? No.

Every last one of them has to do with the paved road that led to Trump. All while trying to pave it for Hillary. Whoops, backfired.

What happened, Obama?

We can’t change our old ways with the old players on the field. Want election reform? How about this? Reform the politicians.

Any official in an elected office before Trump was elected President of the United States, should never run for political office again.

If you currently hold office and have held an elected position in Washington D.C. longer than Trump, you’re the problem.

Bye.

That goes for both sides.

You’ve always been and will always be a problem. You’re (at least part of) the reason why we’re in the mess we’re in.

You’re part of the machine that made Trump possible. Then he won.

Yes, good people can be problems too. They only worsen once their intent far surpasses their ability to deliver, and their story only becomes more painful.

A true public servant offers themselves up for the people without collecting a tax payer funded salary.

An honest public servant can take a step back and realize they hit the iceberg years ago.

I can buy rose colored glasses. Empty words add no color.

The question is, can you solve the problem you’re in before it’s too late?

If you want change, then change.

Take Us To Your Leader

Wait, screw the leaders. Take me to your people. Let’s be real for a second. We are so much more than our leaders.

We are the ones our leaders strive to be.

I Woke Up

Checkmate!

What? It was only April Fools Day yesterday. Late, as usual.
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This Country’s Not Ready for An Election

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Not Today, Satan!

What the hell is going on in this country? I’ll tell you. A bunch of bullshit.

Repetitive bullshit.

The 2020 narrative is a 1974 scandal coupled with an upside down list of 2016 contenders. This time it’s heavy on the D side.

The 2016 election was nothing more than a recycled 1992 ballot with the popular vote winner ultimately losing.

The only difference worth noting is that Florida decided the 2000 winner.

Never Say Never

What’s wrong with this picture?

If this doesn’t make you nervous, you forgot to never forget.

How do you prevent history from repeating itself?

Stop repeating it. Don't taunt the enemy. Stop inciting violence. Treat people equally. Unite Americans. Honor the Constitution. Fund education. Lead by example. Speak the truth. Solve problems. Stop being dicks. Understand your position, and the power of words.

Navigating a maze of metaphors is no way to live. There’s a very dark side to this story.

I don’t want to tell the deeply personal parts of this story from a Bird Box, but I’ll do what I have to do.

Trump is in the White House for one reason and one reason only: Careless oversight of a plan gone awry.

Instead of addressing the issue, they chose to ignore it.

Too big to fail is a myth. It failed. Too big to succeed? The struggle is real.

The unraveling has lasted four cruel summers so far.

I’m being deliberately vague. Details to follow in short order, including every name I know attached to this clusterfuck.

Brad Nicolaisen and I had nothing to do with this fucked up charade.

We’re just two gay citizens of the United States, and our lives have been shredded. Certain rights and civil liberties are out of our reach.

I'm 15% Native American. My grandmother was born on a reservation in North Dakota. She met my grandfather in the military in Virginia. He was born and raised in Alaska.They were married and had their first child in Virginia, then returned to Alaska.

I’ve explained pieces of the puzzle in past stories, but I’ve only scratched the surface.

It gets significantly worse, and the flood will come.

Jesus, Take the Narrative

Announcing 2020 candidacy today is like eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch, dinner and washing your hair with toothpaste. It doesn’t make sense.

We’re still “investigating” the legitimacy of the last election.

I don't believe that's what this investigation is really about, but let's say it is. Stay on script.

If we don’t have answers sooner than later, Russian hacking is the least of the problems we can’t solve.

Scapegoats, scapegoats, all around, but we have an Amber Alert for accountability and responsibility.

Baby steps, America! The narratives grow and multiply like gremlins. Stabilize our current problems before creating more.

Hey Leaders! Here’s an Idea, Lead!

Voters deserve to make an informed decision based on results, not promises.

I know it’s tempting to run for president while holding current office. The current session started in January.

You can’t do your job effectively and run for president. That’s a disservice to your nation.

Take your pick. Either resign and run a 110% campaign, or stay in your current position. Commit to your country or show up for your state.

Campaigning is not your job. It’s do or die.

If you’re going to change the world, then change it. That won’t happen unless you adapt to a new reality.

I believe this ends well for America, but that doesn’t mean it will. I’ve done what I can. The time has come to stop dicking around.

Lives are on the line.

Back to My Bubble

I have nothing to prove and no reason to lie. The only truth I know is mine. That’s all that matters to me.

If I wanted to invent truth, I'd write about having a sex life, a gym membership, and the waterproof butt swab pregnancy test I invented after flunking algebra.

True Feelings

I can’t imagine a worse career than being a public servant serving their own needs over the people they serve.

The only thing I have absolute control over are my own actions.

I don’t know much about the new crop of Congress members. Time will tell which ones get hog tied to the next 50-year corruption scandal.

If you think you’re getting away with something nefarious, think again. Think long and hard. Remember this word: Eventually.

Silly goose, if you want any attention, you have to pull out your wallet. That's how you make friends in Washington.

And then one day…T

Presidents have no business leading a country if they can’t instill confidence in its citizens.

Hope doesn’t cut it anymore. We’re ready to feel something new.

The law of diminishing returns applies to this lesson. This jet will stall.

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A Perfect Stage to Rattle Your Cage, Pt. 3

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But First, the First Two

In case you missed the first two:
A Perfect Stage to Rattle Your Cage, Pt. 1
A Perfect Stage to Rattle Your Cage, Pt. 2

How Long Have I Been in This Cage?

It’s easy to draw parallels between pop culture, politics, and real life.

When a picture I took four years ago resonates with me more than the day I took it, it’s somewhat spooky.

I took title picture of this blog four years ago.

The stage was set in the basement of a restaurant in downtown Phoenix. At the bottom of the basement stairs was a small standing area, roughly 5×5.

The first thing you notice is the fence. And then there was this.

The fencing was moreso wrapped around the people staring at the dolls than the dolls themselves.

What’s funny is that this particular bar is that it’s a “sister” location to a Milwaukee-based restaurant located by Cathedral Square.

I captured that picture before I moved to the area, but I still moved to the area.

How Long Have I Been on This Road?

If there was ever a foreshadowing to my life that I didn’t think twice about, this was it. Talk about being unaware of your surroundings…

Welcome to the Doll Cage, also known as Devilish Smirk.

All the pieces are coming together. Or came together. Coming together. Whatever it is, I’m further ahead than you think.

#desertlife

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