Domino xxx

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“Betting on yourself will only risk the chip on your shoulder.”

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No Monsters

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As a young man my parents would share music with me, their tastes blended with mine and allowed me to evolve the complicated mix on interests that I choose to listen to, even to this day. My music library is well over 100,000 songs and steadily grows as each album release season comes and goes. I have been a fan of many things over the years for many reasons, but there are some artists who will always stand out above the rest. Rush, from my father. The band that was instrumental in creating my passion for music, Coheed & Cambria, He Is Legend, Maylene, Watsky, so on and so forth.

However, among these artists there is a particular one that I want to talk about today. Carman. For those of you who don’t know, Carman is a contemporary Christian musician who has been releasing albums for somewhere around 30 years. Many of his songs encompass the cheesy and over the top dramatization of the Christian faith, with a twangy country styled piece called “Step of Faith” about believing that the plan is laid out for us, and we need to trust in Christ. There is “The Champion” which takes the final moments of Christ’s life and makes them into a title fight for the souls of the universe, with God in the announcer’s box calling the plays of the battle. The “Soap Song” Which is an evangelical piece based around the titles of various soap operas. Then, the one I’ve been railing into my mind lately, “No Monsters.”

I’ve spoken to you about monsters and magic and dragons. I’ve talked about personal demons and so much more, but this song is something incredibly special to me. The premise is that a young man who has seen horror shows on the television is being afflicted by the spirits that he saw, taunting him and terrifying him, in the form of an alligator man and a serial killer cannibal. These demons infest his home and torment the boy as he is trying to sleep and to combat them, he turns to the biblical teaching of calling on the name of Jesus to turn them away.

As I was listening to Carman a few days ago and talking to my mom about stress levels and how frustrated I am at some of the avenues and dragons that had popped up into my life, she told me that “No Monsters” applies to real monsters and demons too. Not just the ones I’ve made up in my head. By that, she meant to tell me that I need to focus more on my faith and my relationship with Christ as opposed to delving so deep into my own head to manage how I feel and figure out what I need to do.

See, every point of pride or sorrow or shame or worse in our lives can form a chink in our armor which will inevitably be attacked by evil. I find new scratches in mine every day, and when I do, sure as I’m living and breathing something grotesque will rear its head and try to destroy me. The fears of failure and ineptitude, the greed of desiring more money than I would ever need, the pride of knowing I am right about something, the jealousy when someone gets a bit too close to my garden. These thoughts and feelings are accompanied by evil spirits that float around my head, more often than not I let their taunting and deceit get to me when I truly shouldn’t.

This same concept can apply to you, even if you aren’t religious. Consider the story of the wolves. It is (possibly) a Native American folk tale about two wolves that are fighting within you, one embodies all good, love, joy, kindness, patience, peace and more. The other is the wolf that carries in its coat the evil in the world, jealousy, hatred, anger, impatience, lust and the rest. A young man asks the elder who wins the fight and the elder replies,

“Whichever one you feed.”

So, to wrap this up for you today, this world is filled with evil that is always going to be at your throat. Each new problem, new point of stress is just another bastion for the battalion of destruction to gain access to your fortress. When that happens, and trust me, it will, just stop moving so fast for a few seconds, look the evil in the eyes and tell it that it cannot defeat you.

No monsters are welcome in your fortress, and you should do well to remember that. You and I are building them as each day passes and they don’t belong here.

Fill it with love instead.

If you want more Polar Bear King love, check out my website!

www.linmtba.com 

Ghost Me

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A bit about social media and how we behave.

I was talking with a friend today about how our generation makes up all of these terms to explain how shitty our attitudes are. We are a society of people who want to explain things with cute words and terms instead of actually talking about how we feel. I even fall into this category. I use a lot of the terms too, not ironically, and as someone who prides themselves on their vocabulary that irritates me.

This might get kind of bloody, I hope you’re not easily upset by the crucifixion of words, because I’m planting stakes.

I am a part of a generation of assholes who are “talking” to one another instead of explaining their feelings, who would sooner smash someone and not see them again despite the implications that it may have on their futures, our guys have side chicks and our girls have sides of bullshit too. When all the drama from relationship gets to be too much we get lit at parties and pride ourselves on blackout drinking. We describe one another with memes meant to throw shade and destroy each other’s public opinion. When a conflicting ideal rears its head we sooner turn to white pictures with text on them instead of talking about our differences, over a cup of coffee or a blunt I promise it would be better than sending “Fuck Trump” memes. I don’t care for him either, but there is a reasonable and intelligent way to discuss it, but instead of searching for validity so many of us choose to investigate the holy words of our almighty Queen Beyonce and the ever revolving pool of drool take your pick, Chris Pratt, Brad Pitt or Chris Evans so on and so on. When we come across someone who aligns with our narrow and shallow idealistic portrayal of reality we choose to bind ourselves to them in moments shorter than milliseconds and they become our best friend. We also aren’t great at making decisions, either. I call three different men my best friend. One woman too. So I make criteria to divide them. My best girl friend + my girlfriend, and then my best friend from childhood and my two best good buddies and it’s all bullshit. We would rather roast one another and disappear when we go too far instead of recognizing that we just dragged someone when they didn’t deserve it. We form allegiances based on religion, political affiliation and educational ideals but not exactly because half of us don’t even understand what the fuck is going on because we were too busy voiding our intelligence in favor of reblogs, retweets, likes and favorites. So many people in my life would rather meet up online with their friends, rather than go outside and talk in person with them. Myself included. I’ve become a hermit who has fallen into laziness with the way I speak and act. Then, to cap all of this off if things don’t go our way in relationships or life, we have no qualms with dropping everything and disappearing without a trace from others lives. We call it ghosting.

Well, I’m here to haunt.

Before I continue I’m going to make this perfectly clear, I am not saying all of this from a place of arrogance. I am just as bad as the rest of us about how we speak and act. I am passive aggressive, I would rather use these bullshit made up words instead of talking about things in a real way unless I’m worried about the outcome. I am selfish and confused, confusing and hardly amusing so I feel the need to take to a blog I’ve been running for four years now to receive the attention I feel I am owed by the public just because I spend hours every week writing novels I haven’t released or really even spoken about for a year and a half.

I am not above this, but that being said, the best way to destroy a tower is to topple its foundation.

Language exists because we as a society needed a way to communicate. Each language and all of the words within, slang or not, serve a real and powerful purpose. Romantics, Encouragement, Dissent and Growth are just a number of the hundreds of things we can achieve with language.

Language itself also inspires something much more powerful. It is the reason we are capable of connecting and being true to one another. So when we dumb things down, like romantics, for example, we turn dating into seeing each other, seeing each other becomes talking, talking becomes nothing. I’ve believed for a long time that the concept of “talking” to another person when used this way eliminates all the possibilities of being hurt. If they aren’t interested, if they screw you over, if they hurt you, it doesn’t matter because it wasn’t actually anything.

“We were just talking.”

Of course on the other hand, we give up all of the wonderful things that come from romantics. Putting your heart on the line for another person and having them accept it. It gives a rush like nothing else in this world. It opens up parts of our heart and mind that couldn’t have been opened otherwise. By reducing romantics down to “talking” “hooking up” etc. we eliminate the possibility for that hurt to happen, but at the same time we limit the ability for us to feel the things that should come with relationships. The same can be said with how we interact with one another. Using digital conversations like twitter messaging and texting instead of truly spending the time with others limits our ability to be hurt, but also limits our ability to be connected. All of these things evolve into a quick recipe for us to lead half baked relationships and still inevitably feel the burn of them falling apart without holding the truly great memories close to heart. Girls I’ve “talked” to have totally shit all over me, and I realized that the moments we had spent together were hollow and filled with nothing that mattered. They were jokes to both of us because neither of us would take them seriously. This even falls into platonic relationships and workplace friendships. We have become masters of wearing two faces. So kind and jubilant to the faces of our coworkers and friends when behind those faces we are scowling, filled with anger or frustrations at their actions.

We choose not to talk to them about it and instead, like I have done so many times, passive aggressively try to mediate the inevitable confrontation by making underhanded comments to others that I know will reach the person I want them to reach.

Our personalities can so quickly become hollow and built up to fulfill some kind of social media image that we don’t even notice we have lost ourselves. Instead of voicing true frustrations and engaging in conversation we shortcut all of that by blocking people who disagree with us, telling them they are worthless if their vote cast last November somehow makes them invalid as human beings. I see it on every side of the political spectrum. My conservative friends are just as insufferable as my liberal friends who engage in the playground game of tag.

“You’re the reason our country is going to shit. Unfollow me.”

On the other hand we scream powerful opinions and defame those who stand against us. There are plenty of things I don’t support or approve of, but bringing those to light against the wrong crowds will not get me engaged into a debate or a conversation, it will get me blocked and unfriended like the number next to my twitter handle means something significant to my personal life. My author profile is another thing, and carving those groups out so that I have found an appropriate audience can be frustrating, but most of us don’t run author profiles. Most of us are just us, we don’t have alter egos that write books or make movies or music, we are just us on twitter, a bunch of wet white sheets snapping in the cold winter wind. Ghosts on a timeline.

There is so much more to get into, but I will leave it here with this…

I will consider the language I use. Each word was created for a purpose, some of them are incredibly hollow. I decided that instead of ghosting out on those people who need to hear what I have to say (or, what you have to say.) We should instead, haunt them.

Say something powerful. Be honest. Expose yourself to pain and happiness and don’t hide behind the weak walls of social media. The man or woman you are on the internet is not who you are in real life when you must carefully craft every line you tweet and every picture you post. Just, for a while, take the ghost costume off and look each other in the eyes. Get to know one another, over a beer? Maybe?

I bet you at the end of it, good or bad, you’ll understand what I’m talking about and you’ll stain your costume with spilled whiskey to set it on fire. Maybe we can burn with something other than selfishness and social image. Maybe we can value ourselves based on something other than Twitter favorites, Insta likes and number of sexual partners.

Maybe not, maybe I’ve exaggerated the whole situation.

After all, we are not really who we decide to be on social media.

www.linmtba.com

Darkest Before Dawn (Noose Ends)

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This year, as you will read here soon, has been amazing and stressful and has created the greatest stories. I am blessed beyond measure.

I have nothing else to say, except for thank you for this year. I hope I’ll see you often in the next one.

Happy Halloween again, I’ve come to anticipate these blog posts the most out of all of them. The end of year look back has become one of my favorites to write because I get to look back on everything, It isn’t much as my blog goes, there isn’t a huge motivational message behind these posts, but it has become a tradition.

That being said…

Holy shit this year has been nuts.

Let’s look back on the highs and lows I’ve walked you through with me, terrible heartbreak, a novel re-release, SO MUCH poetry I’ve written, Prepping four more novels. Moving back in with my parents, then back out, A new job, a lost job, a new relationship, a marriage of friends soon, an anniversary or two, new blog themes, YouTube, and there is so much more that I could go over, but I need to stop to get to the message here.

I started Noose Ends because of this dreadful feeling hanging over my head that Elko wasn’t where I needed to be, I wanted to escape. I felt like the city that raised me was strangling me. I was begging for an escape and I was kicking and scratching my way out, I thought.

I found quickly that it is not so easy to escape just by flailing my arms and screaming at the empty blue sky above. I was more concerned with looking at the ground beneath me, seeing an end to things, than I was to look at the stars and the moon, to find a new beginning.

I like to consider the sunrise and the moonrise in times of struggle. At the end of the long day, I think to the coming sunrise and consider that it will begin anew. The sun is the same being, hanging in the celestial space provided for it to spin for years, it comes around each new day and it looks the whole earth in the eyes. It does so confident that the earth will rotate still around it, the planets will feel the heat it casts out into the darkness, the life that lives in our solar system will see it return every new day. The sun is not a being keen on leaving.

So I wonder why we consider ourselves capable of doing the same thing so easily?

I was convinced, adamant that I was set to leave town by June of this year. I had set the plan in my mind that I would get out and go to Idaho, or Oregon, or Alabama, or somewhere else entirely. First, Alabama was taken off of the table. Then Oregon became a foolish idea. Then, when Idaho was my only option, June was in front of me and I decided that I needed to continue working where I was. I had a feeling that my time to leave was drawing near, but it wasn’t there yet. So I took a lot of walks, found a garden, picked a sunflower and kept going. Days passed and my job came to a halt. I was out of work, I was in love with flower petals and I was sitting on the edge of my bed at five in the morning, thinking about where I am in life, where I wanted to be, where I could have been if I had just closed my eyes and skipped a couple days.

I realized in that moment that my neck didn’t hurt any longer. The things I felt dragging me to the attic had snapped, the rope was lying on the floor of my living room and I was sitting in front of another sunrise, suddenly realizing that everything would be okay. I turned around and I thanked the sun, I thanked the ravens, I thanked the sunflowers, I thanked God for everything that had come to me, everything I thought I had lost.

I turned around and I watched the sun come up, and it hit me.

I am not, as much as I want to be, as much as I may seem like I am, in control of my life. I am being tugged along by people and by opportunities, I am merely searching for the next step to write good words for you, for my friends, my family, and I think, although it is rough to admit this, most of all for myself.

The sun rose over me and I thought of all the things I had put on the backburner, all the things I wanted to do and promised my world that I would get around to eventually. Those things started to fade back, to become less important as time passed by. I allowed desires without purpose to cloud my judgment and I lost focus, and in the end I was still gripping the rope in white knuckles and blood stained hands.

So…

I took the rope, wrapped it around a hewn stone, and started to pull.

I decided that it was time to stop watching, to stop seeing the sun rise above me every day and doing nothing about it, just silently whispering thank yous for my life from the comfort of my office. I decided to stop running from things I felt so passionately about just because they scared me. I decided to stop letting my work treat me like a slave, and I started to build.

There are pyramids coming, so the sun will have something to rise above, my friends will have somewhere to come, my parents will have something to be proud of, and I will make a home where ravens will run, sunflowers will love, and my future, my own sun, will choose to rise above, too.

Thank you so much for another fantastic year on the blog. I’ll be pausing Yours, Truly going into the first few weeks, I brought it back because I felt like the blog needed to be realigned with its original purpose which I thought I had lost along the way, going into Year Five I won’t need those little reminders. I’ll have a new poem out tomorrow, and the first Building Pyramids blog post will be out on the 3rd of November.

You know, every Wednesday and Friday. As much as things change, they still stay the same. Thank you for tuning in every week, thank you for listening, Have a happy and safe Halloween. Remember, Life is not Meant to be Awful.

If you want to see the revamped website click the link below and look around. Some things are still under construction, but it will be finished by the time LINMTBA Comp Vol. 4 is out this Thanksgiving!

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Year Two: Blackjack + The Miller Life (2014.11.14)

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Tomorrow is the last day of Noose Ends, I have come such a long way since last Halloween and honestly, I am so excited to see where my future will be going. I’ll be posting the final blog post for Year Four tomorrow at four thirty, I can’t wait to show you all the great stuff I’ve been working on.

Inkworks, Poetry, Clothing and YouTube are all coming your way still. I hope you’re ready to have fun with me.

Last night after work my friend Mariano + I went out to pick up a bottle of whiskey to split with our friends. We had both had rough days and needed a bit of relaxation. So, we all threw some money together and picked up some Maker’s Mark. Once Mariano + I returned to the restaurant we sat at the sushi bar and split it between five of us. We talked mostly about music and how music affects us, then once Brian had gotten off work we went outside to smoke. While we were out there our boss Mike began a discussion with all of us about belief and faith systems, which has been a topic on my mind a lot recently while writing Helium Constellations, so I relished in the debate.

After a few minutes of that, Brian decided to head home and since I was far too drunk to drive, I hitched a ride with him. Mariano was close behind me. So there we were, the three of us wanting to go do something else but we had nowhere to go. We hit up a couple friends and got nowhere, and none of us really felt like going out into the hills to drink because it was cold and nobody would’ve been able to drive back home. So, we stopped at Walmart, picked up a few beers and then hung out for a while more. While we were at Walmart, Brian + Mariano had begun talking about something that had been eating one of us up. Then it evolved into a full blown conversation about life and families.

It has been a good while since I’ve gotten to sit with these guys, who are among my best friends in the world, and talk about stuff with them. It has been far too long since I’ve gotten to be a part of their lives and I relished in it. So, we pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex and sat there for a good hour or more cracking open Miller Lite + talking through our bullshit.

Now, for the sake of keeping their privacy the contents of our conversation won’t be repeated here, but we did talk about one important thing that I would like to put out there today.

Mariano was explaining one of his fears to us and Brian + I had begun giving him feedback, because I think both of us are afraid of it to a degree as well. I started off by asking if he had ever played blackjack. After he said no, I explained the premise to him, as I will explain it to you. In case you aren’t informed.

Blackjack is a card game, where the purpose is to get the value of your cards as close to 21 as possible, the ultimate goal is to hit 21 exactly. The dealer will give you a number of cards to make a hand with, and you add up the totals in the set to find your value. It may be 8, it may be 18, it all depends on what the dealer hands you. To which, the dealer also doesn’t know.

If your hand is lower than you would like, you can ask for another card and try to get your number higher. You cannot, however, put down cards that are unfavorable.

Life is a lot like blackjack. I think. Each person is dealt a set of cards that they have to play, regardless of whether or not they want to. We may be the child of a single mother, an influential family member may be struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we might be abandoned at birth or born with a defect of some kind. These are things that we cannot change. Regardless of if we want to, at the end of the day we must play the hand.

If we are feeling brave, we can hit to have the dealer give us another card. This can go a couple ways. If we are sitting at 18 and bounce to 22, we’re toast. We were dealt a bad hand. In Blackjack, we are forced to fold. In life, the option to fold is unfavorable. We must live with whatever new thing our card has presented to us. We could pick up an addiction to drugs ourselves, we could find ourselves in a shitty job or an abusive relationship. We could find ourselves selfish and afraid of life. It could be anything.

The nice thing about life though, is that it is not like blackjack. If we are dealt rotten cards in blackjack we can fold and be done with it. If we are dealt a bad hand in life, we are stuck with it. However, it presents us with a great opportunity to learn. To grow from the challenges that we face. To exist with other people who are facing their own challenges and come out of them successful, together.

That’s the big thing. Life is not like blackjack because we are together.

Togetherness isn’t a part of Blackjack, Togetherness is a part of life. We exist beside a few billion people who are learning how to react to the hands they are dealt. In Blackjack, we are competing at a table with four or five other people trying to make it big. Get the big money and get out.

I’m glad that life isn’t exactly like blackjack. I’m glad it does have similarities too, because if it didn’t I wouldn’t learn. I need to be dealt a bad card every so often to remind myself that I don’t have it all figured out. That I still have a million lessons to learn. I’m thankful at the end of the day that when I play my hand, I have a good number of people playing theirs with me. If we bust, at least we busted together. And that’s the best part about life.

I believe in Happy People Over Everything.

I think that we should strive for that. Not to discount our sadness or depreciate our negative feelings but instead to thrive from them. To take the shitty cards and throw them out. To tell the dealer…

“You gave me this, but look what I turned it into!”

And I love that we can do it together. Because being together is the most important part of life. Don’t go it alone.

 

You do thousands of things every day, if you break it down enough, you could say that you do millions of things. Be proud of the things you accomplish and the things that you overcome. Be proud of the things you do.

 

Just remember that the things you do, or accomplish, or overcome are never as important as the people you do them with.

Lay down that hand. I’ll be right here. If we bust, we’re busting together. But don’t worry, we will get a new hand. We will make the best of every situation.

We are Happy People.

Over Everything.

Life can be a lot to handle sometimes, Just remember that it will all be okay. I promise you that the sun will come back out.

www.linmtba.com