The Branding of Fools

What’s up, party people?
As we all know, the iPhone 5 was released just a few weeks ago. Since then, as usual, the social media outlets have been lit up with those saying it’s the worst phone ever, those saying it’s the best phone ever, and those somewhere in-between. That’s the beauty and magic and horror and OMG FML of social media, people are free to blurt out whatever is on their mind, regardless of how [insert adjective here] it is.

All this reminds me of when I was a kid. Back then, before cellphones and the internet, the fight of my day was Nintendo versus Sega. My family didn’t have much money, but my drug-dealing godfather was loaded and nice enough to buy me a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas. My life was forever changed. The NES was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen; It gave me something fun to do other than watching my hamster in a ball getting batted around by stray dogs in the parking lot [he eventually escaped his cage and mated with the local rat population; I saw him again months later, wearing a little leather jacket and an earring].

The neighborhood kids all got Sega Master Systems for the holidays, so I made it my mission in life to show them the way. I would take my NES from house to house and for each Sega game they showed me, I’d top it with an even better NES game. They hated me, but it was hard to argue that the NES didn’t have a much better selection of games [Alex Kidd had nothing on Super Mario Brothers, although Sega did manage to release some classics like Shinobi].

That’s the first memory I can think of where I had brand loyalty. I’d be ready to take someone down if they badmouthed my beloved Nintendo. Soon enough I learned that the games were more important than the console. Sure, Nintendo had some exclusive hits, like Zelda, but most of the games I loved [Contra, Castlevania, MegaMan, Bionic Commando, etc] came from third-party developers who weren’t quite as loyal to the consoles as I was. I started focusing on the games, not the systems. It got expensive; but like another Nintendo franchise, I had to catch them all. I ended up buying consoles from Nintendo, Sega, NEC, and even SNK.

Since then, I try to base my allegiances on something other than brand. You might be thinking, “Isn’t this the guy that’s always wearing Marc Ecko shirts?” Absolutely. I love my Marc Ecko shirts, but I’m just as quick to wear a Sean John, Rocawear, or even shirts; I just have to like the look and feel, I couldn’t care less who makes it. It’s no lie that I’ll recommend an Intel CPU over an AMD one, but that’s only because I feel Intel makes a better product today; I’m not mindlessly dismissing any other products simply because I have a coffee mug with the Intel logo on it [I don’t, I swear].

Sometimes people try to goad me into brand wars, but usually when that happens, I remember a scene from one of my favorite movies, A Bronx Tale. There’s a scene where the mobster, Sonny, first chats with 8-year-old “C”, who’s upset because the press was beating up on his favorite baseball star, Mickey Mantle. The über-wise Sonny says,

Mickey Mantle, is that what you’re upset about? Mickey Mantle makes $100,000 a year, How much does your father make? …If your father can’t pay the rent, go ask Mickey Mantle, see what he tells you. Mickey Mantle don’t care about you, so why should you care about him?

That helps remind me.. I’m the one spending money, they’re not paying me to advertise for them. You love your iPhone? That’s great, I own stock in Apple. I own lots of Apple products, I’m using one right now, but I also use the heck out my Nexus tablet [but yea, I own Google stock too]. I don’t care who made what as long as “what” is [insert positive adjective here]. Do I think Apple products are better than Google’s? A year ago, yes. Today, they’re pretty much the same. A year from now, who the hell knows. But I’ll tell you this, if I spend my hard-earned cash on a product, and it doesn’t meet my expectations, you’re gonna hear about it. On the plus side, if it exceeds my expectations you’ll hear about it too [the nest is awesome!]! That’s what’s so great about social media, we keep companies in check. They can’t get away with sloppiness because the negativity won’t be confined to some snooty reviewer or maybe a nasty letter in the mail, it’s going to be everyone telling everyone. The end result is better products for everybody, and that’s a good thing.

In closing [for the TL;DR crowd], don’t be a fangirl. Like a product because it’s good and fills an actual need in your world, not just because you were dumb enough to get a logo tattooed on your forehead and feel obligated to like everything they make. Let people brag/complain when they get something they do/don’t like; it’s their money, not yours.

Oh, and watch A Bronx Tale because it’s better than any movie you like. [I rewatched it while writing this post; I’ve never realized how much that movie has influenced me]
Peace out.

The Blurry Author

Every time I meet someone new, they inevitably toss up a question that’s the Swiss Army knife of conversation starters, “What do you do?” It’s a great question because some people have trouble finding things to talk about with strangers, but what we do is a topic that’s loaded with feeling. We either hate our job or we love our job, regardless we do indeed have something to say; unless of course you’re an introvert lucky enough to also suffer from social anxiety.

Often times I’ve been asked that question and responded with the über-awkward, “nothing, absolutely nothing.” Talk about bringing the conversation to a halt! It’s not that I’m out to make things even more weird for the poor sap that’s taken it upon themselves to try to strike up a conversation with me, it’s quite simply fear. The instant that question is asked, my brain incorrectly deduces that if I do nothing, then there’s no reason for this person to be all up in my face. The alternative, is that I let them know I’m I.T., or a Web Developer, or even that I started up a coworking space, and then I’ll have to elaborate and possibly disclose how little I really know about any of those positions, regardless of how long I’ve been at them. It’s most likely based on my subconscious mind’s affinity for the famous quote,

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

Now the outside me, the one standing in front of a complete stranger, he knows damn well that failing to answer that question honestly affects that relationship forever and ever. Right from the start, I’ve told this person that either I can’t be trusted, or that he/she is not good enough to get to know me. I don’t want that to happen, I actually want more friends, so lately I’ve been trying to train my mind to find a better response.

In order for that to happen, every part of my mind; The Lizard, The Mammal, and Neo; have to agree on what it is exactly that I do do. This requires a few minutes of introspection and mental time-travel as I try to find a way to define myself.

Merriam-Webster defines Author as “one that originates or creates”. Looking back on my life, I can see the pattern of creation.. I remember being a kid, watching Bob Ross on PBS, and grabbing a pen and paper so I could try to mimic his art. I remember playing Capcom’s Legendary Wings on my friend Ed’s NES as a teen, then rushing to call Nintendo Customer Service to ask them how I could make video games. It wasn’t long before Ed and I were trying out every gamedev tool, drawing sprites, blobs, and blits to try and make a game on his Amiga 500. Then puberty hit and music was what I wanted to create. Ed and I pumped out tons of MIDI tracks, sure as heck that we’d one day be making lots of money cranking out tunes [he’s still making music]. My adult life started kicking in, which meant I had to pay the bills. I joined the Air Force and was yanked out of my comfort zone, tossed in a world where the rules were not familiar, and I became depressed. I started writing bad poetry, like this gem from 1995:

Darkness in the Knight

I open my eyes, still, I see no light.
I feel a cold breeze lightly blowing.
Voices are heard,whispers heard,or felt within?
The stars fade in,my eyes are closed,
the voices in my mind aren’t clear,
the stars fade out and darkness once again sets in.
If not for the breeze felt,it would be death,
but still I live…in the dark.

The voices,unsettled,they
seem to argue, they contradict each other,
one speaks of peace,the other of war,
one of love,the other of hate.
The voices are low,they stop,
it’s still cold…and dark.

I’m tired,tired of the darkness,
the voices,the damned cold!

I move,or try to, I can’t feel myself, just the cold.
Have to do something,must fight this, must regain control.
I am not strong enough, and it’s really not that cold…just dark.

It’s a good Knight to die…

Thank goodness I met a gal and fell in love. Soon after, I realized there was a software need where I worked, so I started programming again. I created a few apps while in the Air Force to make our lives easier. Then the Internet arrived, I was up and running creating websites to showcase my other creative habit, my drawings [the site’s still up, kinda]. Now, being a Web Developer has been my livelihood for almost eight years. I have this blog which I write to pretty often, my public diary. My latest dive into creating is the desire to write a book, fiction even.

So now that I’ve thought it, written it, and read it; perhaps my brain will be polite enough to answer that very simple, friendly question, “What do you do?”

I am an author.

The Tabled Scraps

I’m hungry. Always. I’m insatiable.

The oldest feeling I have is the same as the freshest in my soul. There has to be more. I was raised by two unemployed parents, they’ve never worked a day in my life. The youngest of four boys, raised on food stamps and soup-kitchen leftovers. Wearing the hand-me-downs that would finally make their way over to me. Keeping roaches as pets. There had to be more.

Learning came easy to me. Like osmosis, the words that poured out of my teacher’s mouth would seep into my subconscious while I sat around doodling in my notebook. Angry teacher after angry teacher would be baffled by my ability to ace the tests when I seemed not to care at all. I’m thankful for those angry teachers, who at times resorted to physical violence, for trying to get through to the class clown who actually had potential. They worked hard to encourage me. Unfortunately, my parents saw no value in intelligence. “A true man earns his livelihood by sweating,” my mother would say. I was actively encouraged to drop out of school and get a job, but I wanted more.

I moved away and started another life. Alone. Since then I’ve met many people and I’ve tried to find a place to lay my head. A place to feel at home. The adjustment to this new life has not been easy. I’m often misunderstood, understandably so. I don’t act like the others. I’m not close to my family; though I love them dearly, I’ve not seen them for fifteen years. I challenge authority. I have trouble trusting people. I basically just don’t play well with others. It’s a learned condition, regrettably.

It’s not often I meet someone who captures my mind. Someone who appears as enigmatic as myself, while not outwardly showing any signs of insanity. It happens even less that I find someone like that who feels the same towards me. When it happens though, I start the clock. I know it’s only a matter of time before one of us digs too deep and finds something we don’t like, or something that scares us. Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it takes years, but it’s inevitable. The trick is to absorb as much of this other person as possible until that horrid moment arrives, giving as much of myself as possible in return. To satisfy this other being whom I’ve been fortunate enough to meet. This fountain of experiences. To appreciate every second that I’m able to feel the current flowing through my fingertips, because when it’s over the absence will seem unbearable. I’ll want more.

The good news, perhaps, is that I’m painfully aware of the scarcity of these kindred souls. This knowledge is why I focus on being a source of deep joy when we’re reunited. I appreciate the union. I cherish the moments. I give as much of myself as I can. This tethering of souls exponentially increases the capacity to give; we overflow with love, compassion, generosity, and greatness. It’s a beautiful thing; this saturation of feelings, this tidal wave of hope.

When it does happen, that’s when I finally get to know more.

The one about thinging the wrong say

I need to apologize. A few days ago I posted the one about playing with fire, and while I was writing that, I started to get agitated. I’m not sure if it was the topic, or the absurd heat we’ve been having, or maybe something I read on my twitter feed; I don’t know. I know that by the time I had popped in the final period, my blood pressure was probably pretty high. I recall clicking that Post button as if I were launching a thousand nukes, as if a break occurred as demons threw their weight upon the door to my soul.

As I go back and reread it, I can clearly see the emotional shift in the text. Regardless, I don’t regret the bulk of it. I do however regret one tiny word.


I mentioned that I had left an abusive relationship and that I knew doing so was going to put me on the least-favorable side of a he-said/she-said war. I’ve since gone back and redacted that word, replacing it with a more appropriate adjective, unhealthy.

I’m near-certain that the person involved will never see these words, but I am deeply sorry for improperly identifying that relationship. I was never abused.

I believe abuse is something intentional. Abuse is a man that can’t control his fist, or a woman who says things intentionally aimed at bringing down a man. This relationship contained no abuse, from either side, neither physical nor mental. What it contained, for all interested, was two amazingly strong people who shared more in common than they could imagine. It was those very similarities; decisiveness, fortitude, determination, curiosity, hunger, and drive; that led to the constant yelling and attempts to sway the other’s opinion. Reflections in the mirror, trying to right the left and left the right. It was futile, but not malicious.

They were merely two people in a constant struggle to better themselves and provide a positive contribution to the world, attempting to do it together while turning a blind eye to the insurmountable obstacles they knew existed. It was love.

Love is that stupid thing that makes us cling to hope when we know there is none. It makes us chase the sun, although we’ll never catch it. It makes us believe in things we know cannot possibly be true, and fills us with a feeling we dare not cut loose.

Unfortunately, love does not conquer all. Sometimes you need to sit and try to make sense of it all, and accept that the world will still keep spinning if you let go of that which you hold most dear. The hurt will come, and it will be as intense as a thousand fires, and all will feel hopeless. It is then, when you most want to give up, that you’ll have to be just that one bit stronger. You’ll need to remember that there are people around you who love you regardless of your sins. People who will always answer your cries. Remember that you are never alone as long as you’re in someone’s heart and that this, if nothing else, is reason enough to smile.

Thank you.

The one about playing with fire.

What’s up, party people? In today’s installment of “Look At This Motherfucker, Thinking He’s All Wise And Shit”, I’d like to talk about fear.

Now before you get your knickers in a twist, I’m very much aware of my stance on fear. I’m self-admittedly the biggest chicken-shit scaredy-cat I know. If you look back on this very blog I’m sure you’ll find a good half-dozen posts about my fears. Given that, you might be inclined to think that I have no place discussing the topic. However, It’s been said that in order to be an expert at something you should have done it for over 10,000 hours. I can guarantee you that I’ve been a-scared for far much more than that; so as you can see, I’m an expert in fear. So, shut up and listen.

When we were young, I’m sure each and every one of us was told not to touch something because it was hot and would burn us. I’m also sure that each and every one of us has been burned despite that warning. Being young is about being curious. We don’t just let the grown-ups define the world for us, we ask for their input, but we are almost dedicated to exploring it for ourselves. We played in the street, we jumped from heights that we probably shouldn’t have, we yanked on the dog’s tail. Fear was incentive, because back then it wasn’t known as fear.

Somewhere along the way, we grow up. The moments in our life where fear led to something unpleasant, although almost surely outnumbered by just the opposite, have made it so that we actively avoid feeling fear and uncertainty. It works for us as long as we’re just trying to blend in, and most of us are.

Here’s the thing though. Sometimes we get so determined to avoid the fear, that we blindly accept warnings without any proof of anything to fear. “Don’t use your cellphone on a plane, we’ll all die.” Really? Says who? Have you ever seen a news headline, “Fiery blaze kills hundreds in plane downed by cellphone use!” No. It’s just a warning someone made up, just in case.

So now, this new guy moves into town and starts popping up more and more. You ask a buddy, “hey, what’s his deal?” and they don’t know. They’ve heard this, that, or the other.. “Word is he’s a douchebag and eats puppies,” so now you put this guy, whom you really know nothing about, in the blacklist. Empty Fear.

My name is Rich, but I don’t like that name. I’ve been Skid Vis since way before I came to Nebraska. I’m Skid Vis, my brother’s name is Gizmo, although it’s really Gabriel. My best friends were Xen (Edgardo), Vexx (Danny), Pete (Miguel), and BB (Juan). That’s just how it worked. You, or your friends, decided what you should be called. It’s not some ploy, some act, or some secret I’m trying to preserve. I cringe when I hear my real name, it’s just not me.

As for my anti-social behavior? I’m an introvert. Surprise! I was physically abused by my dad, mentally abused by my mother, sexually abused by trusted family members, and then thrown into the streets where I had to cross chalk-marks to get to school. I’ve been bred to not trust people. Leaving the comfort of my home to hang out with people I don’t know, people who I have no reason to expect will have my back in a dangerous situation, that’s not my definition of fun. It scares the living shit out of me. But I’m doing it.

I go whitewater kayaking even though I can’t swim. I’ve piloted a plane, and I’ve jumped out of one all by my lonesome. I ride a motorcycle, even after wrecking on the highway and almost becoming roadkill. I went to BigOmaha, even though I felt as if absolutely everyone there was staring at me the whole time. I ended an abusive unhealthy relationship knowing full well I’d be branded the villain and lied about. I started CoVis CoWorking even though I’d have to be insane to start a business reliant on being a part of a social community and exposing myself and all my flaws to strangers.

I face my fears. One at a time, and step by step. I’m no better than you, I hate myself most days and dislike myself the others. I’m opinionated, blatantly honest, egotistical, and determined to get my way. But I’m also considerate, kind, and compassionate. I try to make people happy and I care too much about the well-being and opinions of others.

I’ve been labeled a “40 year-old child with a violent streak.” That’s not far from the truth. Like a child, I don’t take life too serious. I still explore. I still challenge myself regardless of the high potential for failure. As for my violent streak? I challenge anyone to prove I’ve laid a hand on them. I talk tough, but my strongest belief is that no living creature should ever suffer. That includes dickheads, assholes, and anyone who stands in my way. I talk tough, it’s how I vent, and I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, but I won’t hurt a soul unless I absolutely have to.

What about you? Are you a grown-up? A child? Perhaps you’re still a teenager, caught in the middle and living like you’re still in high school. Are you scared for no reason? Do you believe there’s a monster in your closet?


The one about standing out.

A long time ago, right here on this very planet, I was a soldier.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a fondness for tradition. Once I find something I like, I tend to like finding it over and over. My Sunday breakfasts, my Ecko shirts, this janky haircut I’ve had since the mid-1800’s, redheads; you get the point.

When I lived in the barracks, I had my traditions there too. One of them, was lunch. Every single damn day, I would head to the “chow hall” and order the very same damn meal, two grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Every day, I’d walk up to the very damn same chef, who would ask me what I’d want, and I’d tell her the very damn same thing I said the very damn day before.

I started to get peeved at the fact that she could not tell me apart from any of the other bajillion soldiers she had to cook for. One day, I walked up to her and as she stared blankly in my direction and asked what I wanted, I lost it. I just stared back at her for a second, until it became awkward and she had no choice but to actually focus on me, then I yelled. “AAAAAAH!” She took a step back, with eyes wide open. I then calmed myself, smiled, and calmly asked for two grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

That was the very last time I ever had to ask for them. No, I wasn’t carried away and locked in a padded room. Every time since then, I’d walk up to her, she’d smile and ask, “two grilled ham and cheese sandwiches?”, I’d smile back, “You know it!”

I had stood out.

There are a whole lot of people on this fine planet of ours, and it’s easy to fall into the cracks. Everyone is consumed with their very own soap opera, and sometimes they can’t help but be oblivious to the world around them. I learned a lesson about differentiation that day. If you want to be noticed, you have to stand out.

A shrink once asked me, “If you could have any super-power, what would it be?” I couldn’t pick one, so I told him my top two: The ability to become invisible, and the ability to light myself on fire. He was amused because they are the powers of two completely opposite personality-types. The introvert in me wants to remain invisible, he hates dealing with people; but the superstar in me wants to shine, he wants everyone to take notice, he wants to stand out. He knows that the human connection is extremely powerful. That not only do people need other people, but even more important, people need to matter to other people. It’s when we matter that we go above and beyond, when we lay it all on the line to achieve something greater than ourselves, something epic.

Albert Einstein, The Wright brothers, Abe Lincoln; each of them stood out, they defied convention. They weren’t trying to stand out, but they were doing their damnedest to not blend in. They, and others like them, have paved the world you live in. They refined humanity.

How do you stand out? How will you leave your mark on the world? When will you stop asking for grilled ham and cheese?

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” — Abraham Lincoln

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!


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?


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

Word. Want my advice?


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?!