The Great American Experiment

SHARE THIS

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...
Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019
SHARE THIS

The “Conversation” Game

SHARE THIS

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.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019
SHARE THIS

This Country’s Not Ready for An Election

SHARE THIS

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.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019
SHARE THIS

A Perfect Stage to Rattle Your Cage, Pt. 3

SHARE THIS

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

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019
SHARE THIS

Marching to the Beat of a Dog Walk

SHARE THIS

Here’s one thing we all have in common. We wake up, everyday. What happens next is anyone’s guess and, quite frankly, nobody’s business.

The difference between any of us is how aware we are of how we act.

The Daily Dog Walk

I’ve had dogs since 1999. My first two dogs were siblings. I’m on my third, and she has a brother. He belongs to a friend of mine so, by proxy, there’s a fourth.

Throughout the past 20 years of my life, dog walks have been a constant.

Dog walks are woven into the fabric of my daily life.

Everyday, no matter what I do, I take my dog on two, 45-minute walks, mixed with some fetch.

There are rarely circumstances that prevent that from happening.

Morning Routine

I wake up everyday around 7:30 a.m. I don’t set my alarm and lately I’ve been waking up earlier.

The first thing I do is make coffee, then I pop into my home office. I turn on the lights, open the blinds, and pick up where I left off the day before.

That’s how I “clock in.”

Home Office

I still have my old desk from the et alia days so there’s a familiar comfort when I sit down to work. On the surface, it’s not a bad gig.

Fact is, anyone can work from home. The problem is making money from home.

Never under estimate your ability to impact the lives of others.

Then, I do whatever I do all day.

The Road to Writing

I’ve always talked about being a writer, but I never wrote – nothing personal at least. That was a huge obstacle for me in the beginning – deciding what to say, what opinions to share, which vulnerabilities to expose, and most importantly, why.

I’ve written corporate communications throughout my life, but that’s a little different.

At age 40, the right set of awkward situations left me no choice but to explore being a writer for myself.

The circumstances were hard, but the decision was easy.

I didn’t know where the road was, much less where it led. I’m still unsure where it leads.

The reasons why I write, constantly evolve. My enthusiasm for writing ebbs and flows, but my commitment never wanes. To me, that’s an indicator I’m on the right path.

The time was now and four years later, now is still the time.

Aside from writing, every other option felt like surrender, like I gave up on life. Giving up was never an option. Lord knows, I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about it.

Nothing clears your conscience like hitting rock bottom.

I always return to the same spot: No, dumbass, this is what you’re meant to do. Of course it’s hard work, what’d you expect?

Say what you want about hobbies, but this one’s extremely fulfilling, and fulfillment is one of my main motivators. My daily goals evolve with the weather, but my long term goals feel closer than ever.

I live in a desert. Mirages are a problem, or even worse, an oasis.

Nobody rolls their eyes harder at me than myself.
I didn’t make this. I don’t know where it came from.

At some point, everything clicks. It can happen with or without a Bible.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how Devilish Smirk came to be.

Dog Walk

By 9:00 a.m. my dog wants to eat. I turn on The Price is Right. That show takes me to a comfortable place I remember as a child.

I listen to it in the background and I’m usually walking my dog before the Showcase Showdown.

That part of the show always bored me.

That’s how I know I’m on track for the day.

Dog Talk

The connection we have with our dogs feels like some sort of magic. Underneath the blue Arizona sky, I’m locked and loaded into the power of collective imagination.

The future I see is brighter than ever. The sky is the limit and, as far as I know, Earth doesn’t have a glass atmosphere.

Whether or not it happens is up to me. That doesn’t mean it’s colorful, bright, and pretty every damn day.

Dead or alive, you are guaranteed a legacy fully directed by the actions you choose.

This kid is reaching for the stars.

Family Dogs

My grandparents already had a dog when I was born. When I was three, my dad brought Rusty home.

Spiro

Spiro was my grandparent’s dog. He was always around, until he wasn’t. I was seven or eight when he died. I remember melting down.

It was one of my first experiences with death, next to my babysitter’s parakeet; something going away to a different place. In real life. And they had him cremated.

And this was supposed to happen to people too? It didn’t make sense. Not nearly as much sense as it makes today.

Still, it’s never a great topic.

Both Denver and Marco were cremated.

Rusty

Rusty was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He loved to hunt; that was his purpose. My dad is a hunter and Rusty was his dog. Rusty was a big part of my childhood, but I outgrew my relationship with Rusty because I wasn’t a hunter.

It wasn’t until a “condolences” card arrived from the vet that I even knew he was gone.

Lumi

Lumi’s story is a little more complicated. He was my grandparent’s dog at the end of their lives. My grandma died first, and my grandpa followed two years later. Lumi was by both their sides when they passed.

After grandma passed, grandpa slowly, yet all too quickly, lost his will to live.

What about Lumi?

As part of a deal to keep him out of assisted living, Grandpa agreed the family could make some upgrades to his living situation. So long as he could be home, with his dog, that’s the only thing that mattered to him.

My aunt moved in with him for his last year.

By now, Lumi’s out of control. Grandpa couldn’t adequately care for Lumi, much less himself. Lumi started acting out, and regularly peed inside.

Upon replacing the carpet, it was clear that Lumi pissed everywhere, at some point, all over the house.

Lumi was cute, he was a Dachshund. He was not well behaved and never listened. He wasn’t trained any more than two elderly folks can train a dog.

He wasn’t neutered. He had huge nuts and would bite the toes or hump the ankles of anyone seated at the dinner table.

During the process of preparing the house for sale, Lumi was adopted into a new forever home

My Dogs

I’ve written some things about the dogs I’ve had as an adult.

My Dog is My Co-Pirate
When is Surgery Right for a Dog?
Old as Dirt & Under the Knife
Pets and the Responsibility of Euthanasia
Marco’s Goodbye and Bella’s Hello
What Makes Cats so Great?
What I Didn’t Consider When Naming My Dog Marco

Instincts Activate

All I know is this; whenever I’m down I stare into my dog’s eyes and everything, for that moment, fades to black, and I feel loved.

There are two types of people in the world. Dogs and cats.

We sniff out shit, smelling and licking each others’ butts along the way. Eventually, we encounter people who send shivers down our spines. Then we react. Instinctually.

I kid you not. Three little girls just explained this to me on my walk this afternoon. Dogs like to lick each others' butts, but not before they lick their own. Oh Scottsdale.

I didn’t ask God for a butthole metaphor when I went on my walk this morning, but he gave me one anyway.

God does what God wants, and I’m not one to argue.

Inspiration can be found in anything – if you look for it.

Life’s an internal journey. Things always get worse before they get better. The “better” part takes forever. Regardless of how long it takes to feel better, everyone can be better than they were yesterday.

Humans could stand to learn something about unconditional love from dogs. Dogs can be as fucked up as people, have anxiety, PTSD, or been abused. Yet somehow, when they’re loved, dogs love back, unequivocally and tenfold.

Imagine what humanity could do with the power of love.

Do all dogs go to heaven? I believe they do. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say I believe dogs are heaven sent.

Shut up, hippie! Communist socialist liberal scumbag! You've gone off the deep end! Fraud!

Dogs 1, Humans 0

The only reason I don’t have a cat is that I’m allergic to them. Literally, I’m allergic to pussy.

Is it weird that Losing My Religion by R.E.M. just played randomly? I think we're done here.

Until next time, keep reaching for the stars.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019
SHARE THIS