The one about the stolen shoelaces.

This is the one about the stolen shoelaces.
The one about the devil, and the troubles he faces.
This is the one where I tell you a secret,
only you’re not listening, so you don’t even hear it.
This is the one that’s just one from a bunch,
just one, like the many times we’ve both had lunch.
This is the one with the things you should know,
so without much ado, let’s get on with the show!

*applause*

Who’s clapping?

Sorry, it’s just me. Dramatic entrance and all.

Well, well, well.. look what the cat dragged in.

Ah, I missed you too, dear friend.

Soo.. I see your lame rendition of poetry, is it safe to assume you’re a broken-hearted bitch again?

Hahahaha! You crazy, dawg! Nah, I’m just waxing, you know how it is.

No, not really. I’m sure you’ll remedy that.

Word. However, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to rhyme. Wutcha think?

I guess, if you have to.

Very well, let’s begin!

Lately I’ve been searching for that with which to bind the loose bits and pieces that rattle my mind. As I looked at the ground, as I’m known to often do, I couldn’t help but notice the top of my shoes. The laces were there, holding things together, but they looked pretty frayed.. nay! I’d say they were weathered. It was time for new kicks, so I ran out and replaced them. My new kicks were awesome, half black and half white, but there was just a small problem, they were one size too tight! I tried to return them, but the guy laughed in my face, he said “Sorry, you’ve worn them. Now, get out of this place!”, I said, “Listen here, fucker”, with quite a mean glare, “I guess I’ll just buy another fucking pair.”

So I bought a size up and everything was good, but now I have two pairs, no thanks to that dude. It all got me thinking, the shoes and their fit, bout how I can’t return them once they’ve been where they’ve been. About how I’m now the devil, where once I was a man. I’d been filled with hatred, and I had valid reasons, but I held on to shit for way too many seasons. It was time to let go, to put shit to rest, to drop all my anger and to take a deep breath. I did what I did, and then shit got worse, I was starting to think that perhaps I was cursed. I got sad, and worried, and lonely, and scared; and that’s when I realized that nobody cared. Nobody cares if I live or die, now that makes me ask myself, “What the fuck? WHY?”

I asked those around me and got plenty answers.. “You’re crazy.”, “You’re selfish.”, “You’re not much, but a cancer.”, “You’re scary.”, “You’re creepy.”, “You’re a pretty mean guy.”
Well shit, if I knew that guy I’d probably WANT him to die. I sat down with myself and tried to look inside, trying to see myself through someone else’s eyes. I’ve been trying to change since the day I was born, but there doesn’t seem to be a standard to which I conform. OMG, does that mean there’s something wrong with me? Or will people just see what they want to see? Then, at the right moment, there’s this thing that I read..

It’s not what people call you, but what you answer to instead.

..and that’s when it hit me, I don’t answer to a motherfucking thing. I make my rules, I am who I am. That’s who I am. I live my life by what I feel is right. Am I always right? Hells no! But am I always wrong? Fuck. That. Noise.

Dude, you’ve stopped rhyming.

What?? Oh.. right.. who cares. There are a lot of people out there who don’t like the way I live my life. I should watch what I say, I should be more.. what’s the word.. malleable. What-motherflipping-ever. I didn’t get here by bending over. I didn’t get here by mincing words. I say what I feel, when I feel it. Sometimes I have no idea what the feeling is, and I say something that’s hurtful or confusing. I can only apologize, but I will not restrain myself for anyone. I dare anyone who looks down upon me to imagine their world without me in it. Go on, for one second, do it. What would be different? Where would you be? Is it a better place? Awesome. Get the fuck off my blog and cut me out of your mind entirely. Live a happy, better life. Did I bring you something of benefit? Did your life get better because I said or did something? You’re welcome.

Dude, calm the fuck down.

I’m calm. I’m as calm as I’ve been in ages. I’ve let go of the anger. I have no more enemies. Life is motherfucking wonderful. Those out there that wanna talk about me, let them. The more they speak my name, the more the universe fuels me. I don’t hate them. I’m the protagonist. I’ve blasted through adversity much worse than someone talking negatively about me. Haters are going to hate. Talkers are going to talk. I still stand tall.

You need a puppy.

The one about stress

Wasup, Party People!

Yo! What it be like, homie?

Ah, my bestest friend in the westest end!

That’s me, G. What’s all this about stress?

Oh yea, Well.. let’s see. You know about CoVis, right?

Duh. It’s the awesome new coworking place in Omaha started by mine’s truly.

Yessir! Well, Obviously, dropping all this coin and signing all these contacts in hopes of breaking even or [gasp!] turning a profit.. well, that’s some stressful shtuff!

Understandably so. Good luck to you, buddy boy. ..but I’m sure you knew that’d be stressful?

I did. It’s planned stress, I’m cool with that. The thing is, I’ve had this reeeeallly annoying headache for several months now. I got an MRI, which came up fine, so odds are I’m just stressed to the top. Of course, it could be some odd side-effect from taking ProVigil, but I doubt it.

Anyhoo, as if I’m not already top-heavy, people have decided to start throwing stones at me. I mean, I know I’m not perfect, and I know that sometimes I can come off as a conceited arsehole and whatnot, but I really do try to do good. Ya know?

I do. Don’t forget tho, no good deed goes unpunished.

I know. Last year was nuts, I literally went nuts. I said and did things that I’m not proud of, nothing horrible, but definitely stupid and not well-planned. i wish I could go back in time and undo it all.. all of it. Every goddamn second of it. It was a low spot for me, a Charlie Sheen moment. I didn’t think things through, I let my feelings control me, and we all know feelings are damn unreliable.

Yup, that’s why I don’t have any.

Lucky you. Me, I have them, but I usually let my logic overpower them. Last year, emotions won the battle. Logic took a back seat and just watched as I made a spectacle of myself and burned a path of self-destruction and humiliation.

Well, it’s over now, right?

It is. This year, it’s like I’ve been reborn. I have passion and drive back in my life. I have a desire to be a gooder person, to help people, to be person I know I can be. I’ve been doing good, I’ve been going out of my way to be nicer and to see things from the perspective of others. I’m trying to live my life from the outside-in. I want to erase all the bad from the past. I want to live every day like it’s day 1.

That sounds like a good idea, the past is unreliable anyway.

I know. I’ve read enough to know that our memories are distorted, the human mind is crap.

Except mine.

Right. I know haters gonna hate, and I know it’s hard to convince people of what’s inside you when the outside doesn’t match. I know I have a lot of baggage to overcome. I know I’m not a superhero, I have no business meddling in the affairs of others. I know I need to forgive, forget, and forge ahead. It’s not easy.

So what’s the plan?

I dunno. I guess I just keep trying to be a better person. I want the people I’ve hurt to know that I’m genuinely sorry, that I regret being a source of pain, and that I’m willing to meet with them to start rebuilding relationships and making amends.

I’m not perfect. I can’t promise that I won’t ever do anything stupid again, fact is I have a pretty damn high stupid to smart ratio. I will screw up again, but who doesn’t?

me?

Yea, but besides you? We all make mistakes, that’s no reason to go around hurting people.

Word. Want my advice?

Yea!

Hold your head up, keep moving forward, and work doubly hard to show people what’s deep inside you. You’re a good person, but you let your fears take over and run the show. Kick that shit to the curb, yo. Be fierce, be progressive, actually be gooder.

The one where I start CoVis

I had a plan. I had something like 18 days off of work for the holidays, so I decided it would be a perfect amount of time to write a book. The book was “Words of Visdom”, just a collection of essays concerning the lessons I’ve learned in the last couple years, based on the tweets I’ve sent out under the #visdom hashtag.

It wasn’t a bad plan, use my time off to write a simple, yet meaningful book. The problem, however, was that I knew I’d have a hard time sticking to plan if I did the writing at home. There are just too many distractions.. TV shows, videogames, laundry, dishes, bla bla bla. If I was going to focus, I needed to get out of the house. It didn’t take me long to decide that the perfect place would be CAMP Coworking in Downtown Omaha. I’m an early riser, and I’m well-aware of the fact that the owner of CAMP, Megan, is a night-owl herself. That’s why at 5am, on my first day of vacation, I drove the 20 miles to put digital pen to digital paper.

Unfortunately, my lack of planning, and reliance on the universe to grease my wheels, did not work in my favor. CAMP was CLOSED. I waited around for a half hour or so, but nobody showed. I tucked my tail between my legs and started back home, telling myself that I’d try again later.. after a nap.

The nap turned into a half-night’s rest. When I awoke, there was no way I was going to drive another 40 miles. “Tomorrow.”, I told myself. The next morning, after silencing my alarm, I stared at the ceiling while listening to the debate in my head. It took a few minutes, but finally all the voices agreed on one thing.. take control. It was then that I made the decision to open a coworking spot out west, closer to home.

Not being one to step on toes, I contacted Megan and asked for her blessing. She not only gave it, but she also pointed me towards my first clients. Thank you, Universe! ..and Megan, of course.

Since then, I’ve been wheelin’ and dealin’, trying to line up all the ducks and waiting for the chickens to hatch before taking inventory. Things are progressing smoothly.

The place is called CoVis CoWorking, and it’ll be right off Interstate 680 and Pacific Street in Omaha. This is not only an awesome location due to all the great places nearby, or it’s easy access, but it seems to be where the universe and I collide. You see, There used to be a little club called The Naughty Lounge there, and I used to be a DJ there. It’s where I met Special K, the gal I fell head over heels for. There’s also a Ruby Tuesday across the way, and that’s where I met one of my best friends, ShySpark. And ifso-facto, one of the smartest gals I’ve ever known, GeeketteSpeaks, lives just a block away. Like I said, the universe wants me there.

For the last two months, this has all just been talk. Tomorrow, however, I sign the lease and this all gets real. I’m terrified. I’m bankrolling this all myself, and this is going to be one hell of a costly experiment. You see, I’m an introvert. I spend most of my time trapped in my very own mind. It’s a fun place, there’s hopes and dreams and big explosions and all that, but it’s also a very lonely place.

Coworking is about sharing a space with others, being productive and collaborating. I need this more than anything. When I joined the Air Force back in 1994, I was a caveman. My whole world prior to that was defined by my family, and the isolated community I lived in. The military, and the way it pulls people out of your life and forces new faces upon you, is what made me evolve. By frequently being exposed to such diversity, my mind was forced to learn and dive into new experiences. It’s a great feeling. It’s something that has been severely lacking in my life recently.

I’m excited for CoVis. I will be introduced to new faces, new ideas, new possibilities. That’s all food for my mind, it energizes me. Unfortunately, as an introvert, my social circle is fairly small, and my social phobia sits on my shoulder and tells me that if I build it, no one will come. That’s scary shit.

On the bright side, I’ve failed so much in this life, that I’d probably be more shocked if I succeeded! So I’m going into this ready for the worst. Bring it, World. I’ve been taking punches since before I could walk, and I’m still kickin’.

Anyway, there it is. I’m doing this. CoVis Coworking is set for a soft launch on April 1st, how fitting. I’ll get around to a hard launch when I can find some porn stars. Heh.

For more details, check out the CoVis CoWorking website, and follow the @covisco twitter account.

I ask for your support, and your help spreading the word.
Thanks in advance.

Skid Vis

The Brand New Brand

For Christmas this year, a good friend gave me a shirt. The shirt was nice, it was yet another of my favored Mark Ecko shirts. What intrigued me, however, was the bag that it came in.

Staring me smack-dab in the face was the logo that adorns the vast majority of my shirts. I sat and admired that bag and that wonderfully simple logo. That logo has a story behind it, I suggest you do some digging into it, if that sort of thing interests you.

The bag got me thinking about my own brand and identity. I mean, sure, I have a mascot in my Skid Vis character:

The mascot, which of course I adore, is way too complicated in comparison to the simple rhino. So, I started working on something new..

I had a lot of thoughts running around, trying to think outside the box, and whatnot. Eventually, I settled on what I call “The Devil’s V“. I don’t know why I call it that, but it’s what came to mind when I imagined it on my Jeep a few years ago, and it’s been my go-to V ever since.

I got to work on testing out that version, but the more I looked at it, the more it looked like someone just scored a touchdown.

Not exactly the worst thing ever, a guy signaling “It’s good!”, considering my slogan is “Making Things Gooder.” But it just didn’t feel right. I was just about to give up, when I looked back at my sketches and was drawn to the very first one I put down. This time around, I saw things hidden in it that just made it the obvious choice. So here it is, the brand new brand:

As you can see, it’s pretty damn simple. It works in full color, and even in solid colors. It’s the letter V, for Vis; it also turns out to be someone flexing their muscles, which is perfect because the word Vis is Latin for Strength! But wait, there’s more!

In my universe, much like in Star Wars, Spawn, and heck, even traffic lights; Red is the color of Bad, and Green is the color of Good. They are both a part of us, so the “head” being green and the “body” being red represents the eternal struggle we all deal with.

Anyway, I just wanted to jot down how I arrived at this new brand, mainly for me, but hopefully you enjoyed tinkering with the inner workings of my lunatic mind. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll have a fancy bag of my own?!

The Last Year

Wow, This last year, right? It’s been.. what’s the word?

Tumultuous?

Yea! Totally. Wow. I fell in love, but that all went horribly awry. I pushed all the wrong buttons and was left to the reality that I’m just not meant to have that sort of life.

Aww c’mon, it couldn’t have been all bad?

No, that’s true. There are tons of great memories. But goodness, remember mid-summer??

I could hardly forget, the time your were a po-et.

lol, yea. But wow, those were dark times. In all my life, I’ve never had to endure such pain and dispair. I didn’t think I’d get back out of that. To lose someone that seemed to be an extension of your soul, that’s just such heartbreak. Eventually, with the help of some friends, I was able to accept that, as Mickey Rourke said in Barfly, “That’s just the nature of the way things work.”

I made my mistakes, I ruined many a good thing, but I cannot sit around in sorrow. I still have to live because, true to my moniker, life undeniably goes on.

Indeed. So now what?

Well, I’m glad you asked. This summer was hard, as they usually are. You see, since the age of twenty-two, I’ve been living birthday-to-birthday. I never looked beyond my next birthday. However, I once heard said that those who achieve greatness, usually do it in their thirties. In eighteen months, I’ll be hitting the big 4-0. That doesn’t leave me much time, as evident in that counter on the right.

Oooh, that’s what that is!

Yessir, a countdown to my most important birthday yet. It’s sure to be a blast. It’s my finish line. I’ve decided to go all-in and all-out for the next eighteen months. I’m going to pull out all the stops and follow every dream I can. I have less than 600 days to find my grail.

Hey! This year wasn’t all bad, you got to see Spamalot again!

Yessir, and wasn’t that just a barrel of monkeys! XD
Anyways, buckle up and wish me luck. I plan on it being a very bumpy ride.

Well, I can hardly wait.

The Right In What’s Left

The world has ended.

The impact has caused an uprising of debris that’s blocked out the sun. Your nightmares have ripped through your soul and now stand before you, smiling, taunting you. What do you do?

What can I?

Nothing. You sit there, you watch the timer as it counts down the end of your miserable existence.

Yes.

They were all right. Remember them? The ones who said you’d never amount to much? The ones who predicted you’d die by a gutter?

Yes.

Way to go, champ. You’ve made psychics out of those bitches.

Yes.. I suppose.

You’re a fool. Look at me. Listen to what I have to say.

Fine.

Do not fear the wolves when they’re pups.

Yes, I know. I said that just the other day.

You did, but did you fully understand it?

Yes, we shouldn’t fear things when there’s still time to make changes.

Exactly. You can still make the pack yours. You can still rule the world, your world.

Yes, I can, but so much has gone wrong. I’ve lost control.

You’ve never had control, That’s an illusion. You’re a reactionary beast, you’re born to adapt.

You’re right. I did not get here by following.

Yes.

I still have options.

Yes.

I still have my strength.

Yes.

I am a force, light and nimble.

Yes.

Stop dwelling on all that has gone wrong, find yourself, find..

..the right in what’s left.

“Feels better to be lost, but haven’t felt the choice” — Chevelle, Revenge

The Last 18 Months

I’m in the eye of the storm.

The last 18 months have been quite turbulent, they’ve been a testament to the range of human emotion. I’ve felt happy, hopeful, angry, sad, loved, abandoned, useful, and useless. This is the cost of being the spirit that I am, ducking and weaving in and out of the lives of many.

The last 18 months have been hard to face. I found many moments where life finally made sense, where I had hope. Like bubbles floating in the air, they were gone as quickly as they appeared. The memories of the laughter we’ve shared almost makes it all seem worthwhile. I like to think that I’ve left a positive mark in your life. I like to imagine that your world is a better place because I’ve been there.

I’m in the middle of my life.

The last 18 months will be hard to face alone. It is my last chance to become a monument to goodness. I have a lot left to do and not a long time to do it. I’ll have to knuckle down, I’ll have to dig in and stand firm in my beliefs. I’ll have to open up and explore new ideas.

The last 18 months are my last chance to prove to the world, to you, that I can follow my own rules. That I can put the needs of the many above my own needs. It will be my self-serving attempt at happiness, to determine if I truly can feel happiness by providing it to others.

I’m in the nexus of my existence.

The last 18 months have led me down a path unlike any I’ve ever encountered. I’ve had to face many demons, I’ve had to deal with how I’ve let my fears hurt people. I feel disgraced by the very thought. I had slid into a mode of self-protection that made me lose sight of how much I affect others. I apologize deeply to those I’ve hurt, and I promise to be more vigilant to avoid further pain on either side.

The last 18 months are an experiment, I’m walking into a void where I can’t help but be afraid. Yet, I have no options. Time will not wait for me. I have to push forward and deliver on my goals and objectives. I have to spread my wings and let my hopes and dreams carry me toward the height of my abilities.

I long to be happy, I long to make you happy.
Thanks for your love in the last 18 months.
Love me in the last 18 months.

“You either fail or you rise and reach to other worlds” — Chevelle, Arise

The Far Side Of Close

They say “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”, but what about those who are neither? What about the people who mean something to you, but have fallen out of favor, or have otherwise become distant?

How do you let them know that they still exist? How can you tell them that they are constantly in your thoughts, that they are a huge part of you? How can you show them that, even though they aren’t around, they heavily influence your life?

How can they see that you miss them so much and want to give them what they want, but you can’t because it would compromise your integrity and dissolve your identity? How do you make them understand that you’re not against their happiness, just saddened that you can’t be a part of it?

How do you explain that the intense pain in your soul pushes you to move forward, because there is no going back? How do you thank them for being a catalyst for your self-discovery, for your growth, for your drive?

How do you prove that their laughter, their hopes, their dreams, their successes, their failures, their life is just as important, if not more, than your own?

How do you apologize for disappointing them, for scaring them, for driving them away? How do you make amends and fix the past while still sticking to your core? How do you prove your goodness and love without surrendering your soul?

Me? I’d prolly blog about it.

Blog, huh? Hmm, I’ll have to consider that.

The Short Walk

Dude, guess what..

Your mom.

No, try again..

Your mom?

Ugh.. no! Tomorrow’s the day!

You mean?! Tomorrow you lose your virginity??

What?! No! Tomorrow I’m going SKYDIVING!!!

Yay!! ..wait, what?! I didn’t approve this!

haha!

Um, can we talk about this?

Sure! What do you wanna talk about?

Ok.. can we not do this?

Why the hell not?

Cuz, I dunno, I DON’T WANNA DIE!!!

Oh relax, you big ninny! Skydiving is one of the safest sports in the world.

Yea, falling out of a plane at 120 miles per hour sounds pretty damn safe!

It is, Serious! First off, you have not one but two parachutes, so you’re almost guaranteed to survive the fall. Once the ‘chute is deployed, you’ll slow down to a measly 20 miles per hour, that’s nothing! At worst, you’ll twist your ankle. Well..

Well what??

Well, I heard of a guy who broke his leg, but he was an idiot who decided to land in a pick-up truck! We won’t be doing that, we’ll just be landing in a corn field somewhere in BFE.

Well.. I dunno..
Wait, weren’t you against stupid stunts like this??

Yes. Things like skydiving and bungee-jumping never made much sense to me. I never quite understood why anyone would voluntarily put themselves in so much danger. Back then, however, my life was pretty dangerous, so adding to that didn’t make sense. I still feel that way about bungee-jumping, but I’ve been reading up on skydiving and it’s gotten a lot safer over the years. I mean, riding my motorcycle is a lot more dangerous! I fell off of that at 45 miles per hours and survived, 20mph should be a cakewalk.

mmm, cake

Yea so, wish me luck. If I do well, I’d like to get certified.

Well, you are certifiable!
Why get certified?

What do you mean?? Think of how awesome our vacations would be! Take Colorado, for instance. We’ve been there, what, a hundred times? Been there, done that, right? But imagine seeing the mountains from a totally different perspective.. FREEFALL!! How about Puerto Rico? A beautiful island, but what about falling from a plane and getting a bird’s-eye view?? Doesn’t that sound awesome??!

One man’s awesome is another man’s crazy.
Well, try not to die; I’ve got more insults I haven’t tried on you yet!

Roger that.

“Show me where forever dies, take the fall and run to heaven.”
— I Will Not Bow, Breaking Benjamin

The Love Lex

Hey, are you ready for more rules??

Golly gee, am I ever! ..not really, but whatevs.

Great!! Well, today I wanna talk about the rules of looooove.

lol! You? Have you seen your love life?

Hey, even the greatest pilots can crash and burn. We all make mistakes, especially me. Just because I know the right way, doesn’t mean I always choose it. That’s why they say, “Knowing is half the battle.”

Go, Joe!

Right.. so today I want to talk about the three things that I’ve come to believe are important for a successful relationship. They absolutely won’t guarantee kittens and rainbows, but they’ll at least give you a fighting chance. I’ve mentioned them before, and anyone who knows me well has heard me go on about them, but here they are for the rest of you.

-Never Stop Dating-

Typically, when we meet someone new we like, we spend months trying to impress them. We share our favorite places and our favorite things in an effort to reveal ourselves and to absorb them. Eventually, however, we usually get to a point where we reach an equilibrium. We start to feel that we’ve exposed all there is, or we’ve learned all we need to learn, and we stop dating and make the transition into routine.

The truth is that we’re all in a constant state of flux. Living is learning, and as such we’re constantly evolving. We will never know everything there is to know about each other, and we will never run out of things to share. When we date, we feed the relationship and it grows. The second we decide to stop dating, the relationship starts to starve, and we open up for the opportunity to have that hunger satisfied by an outside source.

Dating is not just a step you take in the beginning of a relationship, it’s not something you do to just to impress someone. It is more like exercise, it strengthens a relationship and it should be continually repeated in order to keep the relationship healthy and strong.

-Relationships Are A Privilege, Not A Right-

Being in a relationship is great, we feel like we can share everything and anything with each other, we’re free to be ourselves and expose parts of us that we would typically withhold from the public. It’s liberating and makes us feel safe. The problem, however, is that forming such a bond creates a false sense of security in us. We start to feel possessive about the relationship. We start to think that because our partner has exposed such intimate parts of themselves, that we have something to own. We begin to imagine that what we’ve shared commits us to each other unconditionally.

When we feel ownership, our expectations change. We start to think that we can get away with treating our partners in worse ways than we’d even treat strangers. This line of thinking is a horrible mistake. Each of us is a unique individual, trying to establish intimacy with someone who’ll accompany us on our journey through life, someone who’ll be supportive and nurturing. Instead, we find someone who starts off that way, but slowly evolves into someone who is primarily concerned with their own journey, and not at all participating in ours.

We are all individuals, we all have our own hopes and desires. Your mission in a relationship is to share each other’s hopes and desires. It’s a partnership, and if it isn’t treated as such, there is no reason for the relationship to continue. There is no obligation for your partner to stick around if you’re going to be self-centered and not be an active collaborator in their journey.

-Everyone Leaves-

From the very moment you meet someone, the clock is ticking. There is absolutely and undeniably a coming end to the relationship. At some point, the relationship will be severed. It may be caused by failing to follow these rules, or perhaps work separates you, or illness, or tragedy, but it will happen.

We need to keep this in mind at all times. You need to consider every moment with your partner and ask yourself if you’d be satisfied with your current treatment of your partner if you never got to see them again. It’s not a pleasant thought, I know, but it’s imperative to be aware that there are circumstances out of our control. We must be diligent and put the moments within our control to good use.

People fight, people argue. Strife is unavoidable, but don’t let it consume you. Try to put your disagreements into perspective and always consider that the words you say may be the last they’ll ever hear. Give your relationship the respect and care it deserves so that you’re never left with the opportunity to regret your words or actions.

Well.. that’s all I have to say on that.
Hello? Are you still here?

*sniff* *sniff*

Are you crying??

What? No.. it’s.. allergies!

Why the hell are you crying??

I’m not.. I’m..

I love you, man!

You’re such a wuss. ..I love you, too.