Archive for the ‘In Queue’ Category

i-voted

I want you to shine up your “I Voted” sticker real nice, turn that sumbitch sideways, and stick it straight up your candy ass. That sticker will serve the same purpose stored away in your anal cavity as it will do on display.

Casting a vote doesn’t make you special. You haven’t completed some monumental civic duty. It doesn’t mean your voice has been heard. You still don’t count. I’d rather talk to you about your personal opinions and have a substantive discussion about your philosophy of governance than be forced to see some shitty piece of flair.

Politics is not something that happens once every four years. Or even every two years like the Olympics. Politics is an everyday occurrence. Every facet of your life is impacted by politics. This isn’t a discussion that just ends after November 8th. So please kindly shut the fuck up about being tired of politics.

You can be tired of this election cycle. That’s reasonable. But that also means you’re tired of every election cycle. And that means you’re tired of politics. It’s all the same. As long as our election laws remain stuck in the times of the Founding Fathers, nothing substantive will change. We have a system that does not weigh each vote equally. The Electoral College is not direct democracy. The way electoral votes are awarded differs from state to state. A vote in Arizona isn’t the same as a vote in Ohio. Campaigns are increasingly financed by special interests—even from outside our own country. We favor a corporate system where money equals influence.

Your vote within the confines of that antiquated system isn’t capable of that power.

Yet we expect people to be proud of the right to choose between red and blue.

It’s always a lesser of two evils. A convenient choice between two parties. I feel so free.

trump-n-clinton

While people are sick of this election cycle (mostly because of Trump’s toxicity), what I’m tired of is the fear-mongering…from both sides. Trump has been trudging up fear of immigrants, which is a tired old cliché in American history. We’re all immigrants, get over it. But that fear-mongering from Trump has been equaled and surpassed by the “fire and brimstone” talk of a potential world with Trump in charge. Sorry to burst your bubble, but America isn’t going to change whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump becomes President. Hillary is a corporate war hawk who will do anything to finally get elected. Trump is a festering pumpkin that’s been left out in the sun too long after Halloween. Before this horrible reality TV show started, Hillary and Trump were friends. They are two puppets from the same party. The Business Party. No matter what happens, business will continue as usual.

Don’t fear, the establishment is here. Go back to bed, America. Everything will be fine.

I already know what you soulless robots are going to say upon reading this—“Well, you have no right to complain if you don’t vote.” That’s bullshit. If you aren’t passionate about a candidate and are voting for the lesser evil, then you are complicit in this broken system and have no right to complain. My vote of non-participation means more than it would if I voted for the least racist, lesser of two evils.  Join me, friends.

Don’t buy into the fear. If people thought for themselves, then we wouldn’t have a two-party system. Anyone who tries to support a third-party candidate is seen as dangerous and crazy. Even if you ignore the simple fact that the Electoral College makes it impossible for a third-party candidate to get elected, the other options offered up this year (Gary Johnson and Jill Stein) are absolute buffoons. When there was a fantastic third-party candidate who truly stood for something and had ethics, everyone discarded Ralph Nader because you had to choose between the reformed, born-again Christian cokehead (George W. Bush) and The Most Boring Man in the World (Al Gore).

It’s time for us to evolve our institutions, folks. This isn’t something that gets fixed with a vote. If you honestly believe Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are able to address America’s current issues, then you’re fucked in the head and beyond repair anyway. I have no faith in the American people anymore. As much as I want to lose all hope in political candidates, we already had a person of principle who stood for something. No, not Bernie Sanders.

Dennis Kucinich was and is the leader we deserve.

Kucinich consistently opposed NAFTA, which is one of the primary reasons that Mexico is a shitstorm—forcing their people (who cannot provide for their own families as a result of the economic impact) to immigrate to America in search of a better life. Kucinich voted against the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Kucinich supports a single-payer, not-for-profit healthcare system. Even though he’s a Democrat, Kucinich voted against the Affordable Healthcare for America Act because it would only strengthen the for-profit healthcare industry—and it has. Kucinich’s record on civil liberties speaks for itself. Kucinich is a man of conviction with policies to support his ideas.

Kucinich was a magical imp that possessed everything we need. And we laughed at him. Why?

kucinich

Because Dennis Kucinich looks like an adorable card-carrying member of the lollipop guild.

America doesn’t deserve a leader like Dennis Kucinich. People would rather vote for someone who reminds them of themselves. You know, someone they can sit down and have a beer with anywhere. Someone who looks Presidential. It’s fitting that we’re so fixated on looks when we’re picking the best puppet.

Congratulations, a choice between Trump and Hillary is what you people deserve now.

Tomorrow will be full of more fear-mongering followed by widespread relief when Hillary gets elected. It’s finally her time. Now let’s reconcile the fact that she’s so fucking unlikeable that a considerable portion of our population would rather support a pandering racist who has built a real estate empire on a foundation of a house of cards.

Since everyone has been so busy conveniently decrying Trump (for his several, substantial personal flaws), we’ve barely discussed any real political issues. Hillary has a lengthy record of eventually standing on the right side of some issues when it is to her personal gain. In economic terms, you can expect more of the same awful free-trade agreements, which have negatively impacted American jobs as well as working conditions overseas. Hillary’s policies don’t matter when you’re viewing everything through the “at least she’s not Trump” lens. It’s not like he has the answers. Employing a policy of continuing to leave recreational marijuana use up to individual states is an example of a policy of no governance. Meanwhile, millions continue to be incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses because we’ve incentivized locking citizens up in our military-industrial complex. She has flaws and they are real.

I hope you’re overwhelmed with self-satisfaction as you sit back and enjoy the culmination of your repugnant reality TV show. It’s like everyone is tuning into the finale of The Bachelor. You’re all mindless drones. I won’t bother myself with the incessant news coverage when the outcome is already inevitable. America is collectively dumb, but we haven’t reached the height of Idiocracy…yet. The sun will rise on Wednesday morning and Nine Inch Nails will continue to play “Every Day Is Exactly the Same” as the soundtrack to our lives.

Personally, I’m washing my hands of the whole situation.

washing-my-hands

“You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”
— Charles Bukowski

“Brothers and Sisters:

Humanity lives in the chest of us all and, like the heart, it prefers to be on the left side. We must find it, we must find ourselves. It is not necessary to conquer the world. It is sufficient with making it new. Us. Today.”
— Subcomandante Marcos

“It’s just a ride.

And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.

Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defense each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded. And we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”
— Bill Hicks

An Ode to Deuce

Posted: September 15, 2015 in In Queue
Tags: , , , ,

My writing has always been an act of catharsis. Right now, I need it more than ever after losing my dog yesterday to bone cancer. So excuse me while I engage in a little self-indulgence. Remember: this is for me, not you. Any other eyes that may read this is merely coincidental and not a true concern.

Let me start by saying I don’t understand people who claim they just aren’t “dog people.” I can only assume you are a horrible person if you don’t love dogs. Man’s best friend is a cliché, but a well-deserved moniker. I simply cannot fathom my life without animals—especially dogs.

Every dog that’s been part of my family has had its own personality. Deuce was the kindest and gentlest dog you could find. Always warm to every person. Even if you only met him for a fleeting moment, you couldn’t help but fall in love. You can be sure he would back his ass into you in hopes you would give him the sweet relief of scratching his back. A hand hanging off the couch would surely be welcomed with his head pushing against it to be petted. Deuce loved to chase down a tennis ball. You’ve never seen a dog so graceful. If you left an inch next to you on the couch, he would definitely jump up and squeeze himself into positions that couldn’t have been comfortable. And like almost any dog, a nice belly rub made you his instant buddy. Anyone who owns a dog should understand these things and be able to relate.

The unconditional love from a dog cannot be quantified. They are always there.

Deuce was always there. The one constant in my life when almost nothing else was constant.

Growing up, we always had Border Collies—a whole family named Mandy, Spook, and Patches. A piece of my heart broke each time we lost one. It felt like the end of the world every time fate struck. After that heartbreak, I couldn’t stand to have another Border Collie. Too much pain conjured up.

Enter: Deuce.

Deuce 1

Deuce joined our family a little over 9 years ago—some time after my parents divorced. A beautiful, playful Black Labrador mixed with some type of Shepherd. It was love at first sight. Although I was around 19 at the time, it was the stereotypical relationship of a boy and his dog. One of the earliest memories I have is falling while heading downstairs to the basement. Before I could even gather myself, Deuce comes running and plops down with his head on my chest while I’m still on the ground.

Deuce was so damn smart and dumb at the same time. I taught him to sit, shake, high five, lay down, and roll over. All with the aid of classic American staples like bologna, cheese, and hot dogs. If you put your hand up anywhere near him, you might just get clocked in the face as he tried to give you a high five. He could leap straight up into the air past my head to snatch any snack held at its highest point.

Deuce 2

That dumb goofiness I referred to landed Deuce in danger when he was younger and nearly ended with him on death’s door far too early. Either he got into mop water or some other stupid, horrendous household chemicals. Curiosity almost killed the dog. To this day, I have no idea what happened. But he wouldn’t eat and was fading fast. After taking him to the vet, I had to give him water and food (mostly mashed potatoes) shooting it through a syringe into his mouth so he would consume it. I can hardly remember being so scared. I held him in my arms and thankfully he was nursed back to health.

I’m grateful for every moment we had. Even those times when he chewed up my baseball glove or destroyed a computer cable. Dogs just have that magical ability to make you forget a shitty day. Not all people love dogs and not all dogs love people. Deuce loved people. Whenever he saw me, he was so enthusiastic that his tail would helicopter around. How can that not put a smile on your face?

Deuce 4

I will miss so much about him. I already do. I’m sad that Deuce will no longer be coming when I snap my fingers repeatedly. I won’t be able to say goodbye to him when I go to work. And it kills me that he’s not going to excitedly rush to the door whenever I come home. It just doesn’t feel the same.

But it’s all part of owning dogs. If you’re lucky, you get to play with them as a puppy and nurture them into adulthood. When their time comes to an end, you need to be there with them until the last breath. You owe it to them and you owe it to yourself. To some, this may seem like melodrama or an overreaction to an animal passing. They are family. When there’s a being who can look at your face and decipher your emotions, I cannot imagine how you can’t bond and form a close connection.

When the time comes, you know it. A few weeks ago, Deuce coughed up blood. A lot of bright red blood. After taking him to the vet, we found out that he had bone cancer and it spread to his lungs. Never feels good to pay hundreds of dollars to find out your dog is dying. That was a rough day.

But I’m appreciative of the opportunity to truly appreciate these past few weeks.

Thanks to medicine hidden in cheese, we were able to keep him comfortable and enjoy the time we had remaining. It’s difficult to watch a loved one struggle and start to deteriorate. But he was still happy. I couldn’t let things end when he was still so happy. Slowly, his ability to walk decreased and he moved at a snail’s pace. With cancer, you have your good days and you have your bad days. Deuce wasn’t in pain, but you could tell when the clock is winding down. It became a struggle to keep down food and his breathing was more of a chore. Throughout all this, we were also giving Deuce medicine for Valley Fever in the very small, rare chance that it could have been the worst case of Valley Fever in a dog.

Last week, things were looking bleak. Out of nowhere, Deuce rallied near the end of the week and he started moving around as if there was no issue. It was truly remarkable. He gave us one last great weekend with everything he had left. I got to enjoy one final (bittersweet) lazy Sunday of football hugging my dog on the couch. But his panting become more hurried that night. Deuce spent all day burying his head in my hands. One of our other dogs (the intelligent Yorkshire Terrier not the manipulative, fat Chihuahua-Dachshund) could tell something was wrong and he never even truly got along with Deuce.

After holding him in my arms through the night, I knew Monday would have to be the day and I took the day off work. We enjoyed one last day together. You could tell he knew it was time. Cheese was no longer enticing as he sussed out any medicine with his tongue and disapprovingly spit it out.

We had so many high fives yesterday and one more nap on the couch.

Deuce 3

Later that day, we drove to the vet. The typically sunny and violently hot Arizona summer turned into a grey overcast evening where the sunset was peaking through clouds in an odd scene of orange with a slight drizzle. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was all for him.

When we found out Deuce had cancer, he weighed about 55lbs in the office. Nearly a month later, he was down to nearly 40lbs with only a small reserve of energy left. My heart was sinking when he was still trying to wag his tail as we got out of the car. That’s just who he was, a goofy weirdo. A puppy in spirit forever.

You almost take it for granted, but the people at the vet clinic couldn’t have been any more caring and compassionate. It’s important to be walked through the process because it’s difficult and strange enough as it is. And I hope that you too will be there throughout and see the process until the end.

Deuce 5

Deuce was always there for me. I had to be there for him. You should too.

In the middle of the room, there was a big body pillow that I laid near with Deuce’s head on my chest. Like damn near every day for the last 9 years, I held him in my arms. I hope he didn’t hear my heart racing, but the tears streaming down my face gave it away regardless. We knew these were our last moments.

More high fives were had. My wife and I got one last kiss from him.

After being injected with a sedation medicine, he slowly started to drift away. But every time someone knocked or the door opened, Deuce popped his head up. His protective nature still intact. He wanted to make sure we were alright until the end. A few minutes later, he was asleep. Then the final medicine entered his system and he was gone. It was so peaceful and painless. We were together.

One final nap with him in my arms and my wife holding his paw.

For better or worse (for better and worse), I’ll never forget that scene. Saying goodbye was so hard. Leaving to go home didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t. In that moment, another piece of my heart broke off. But I have no regrets. He was family. I will never forget him.

I’ve broken down several times today. That’s why I needed to release this through writing. Leaving for work felt impossible and I dreaded coming home to just two dogs instead of our unique trio. When I was getting ice for a drink, an ice cube fell and I instinctually called his name since Deuce loved chomping on fallen ice cubes. My house is quite literally littered with his shedding hair as a final reminder. I’m sure we won’t ever be able to scrub away every loose hair until we finally leave this forsaken place.

Right now, everything is too raw and fresh. Time will help heal the wounds. With the help of my wife and our little family of dogs, we’ll get through this and continue to make memories. Eventually, I’ll be able to remember all of these moments without hyperventilating. I hope that those of you who have dogs will be able to treasure the moments you share and can also be there when their time ends.

As hard as it is to experience, it is worth every moment. Each person grieves in their own way.

On this occasion, this is how I need to do it. I’ll try not to shed any more tears.

I love you so much, Deuce. I miss you already.

Don’t mind me, just let me be
My eyes so far away
I don’t need no sympathy
The word gets overplayed

I’m alright, it’s just tonight
I can’t play the part
I’m alright, it’s alright
It’s just a broken heart.

Don’t have eyes for the world outside
They’re closed and turned within
Trying to find a light inside
It’s there and growing dim

I’m alright, it’s just tonight
I can’t play the part
I’m alright, it’s alright
It’s just one broken heart…

Sharing Netflix Sucks

Posted: December 13, 2013 in In Queue
Tags: , , ,

Netflix