Ode to Bacon

I’m unsure where my sincere love for bacon comes from.

Perhaps it’s a childhood memory that sunk in so deep that the mere smell gives me enjoyment. Or maybe it’s the salt/fat/texture combination that makes my tastebuds go bonkers. It could even be the fact that it’s hands-down the best finger food. Or at least ONE OF the best.

Let’s think together…is there any other finger food that trumps a piece of bacon? Sure, it depends on your level of hungriness, but assuming that you’re able to eat enough bacon to fulfill the same amount of food that you could get with something else…what beats it?

Nachos? Eh, maybe they’re a top 3, but they’re so messy you end up using a fork anyways.

Finger sandwiches? Always more bread than meat… it feels like I jumped into a vat of white flour with fixings sprinkled in.

Cheese and crackers? Nonsense. It’s delicious, but you’d have to add to it in order to make it true sustinence. Personally, I’d eat too much cheese and not shit for a week. Which I still do, but that’s a rough week.

Chicken fingers? Sure, fun to dip and eat, but it always relies on it’s dressing/rub to really MAKE the dish.

I’m struggling to find anything that could be better than a piece of slow cooked, super thick, smoked piece of bacon. Or even 5 of them. Once they cool off just enough to bite into them with a full crunch, they’re the most satisfying finger food you could have.

Now, consider ADDING the bacon to any of the other finger foods we mentioned. Nachos? Yes, bacon added is a huge win. It always costs extra at a restaurant, but goddamn is it worth the extra $2. Finger sandwiches? If they DON’T have bacon, I’m going to be very upset. I’ll still eat it, but maaaaaaaaan, I’m going to do it with a scowl on my face. Cheese and crackers? This is the perfect opportunity to add the bacon to make it something you can call a meal. It’s a mini sandwich! Now just eat 20 of them. Chicken fingers with bacon? This is interesting. You could have a maple honey glaze that has chopped bacon mixed into it. Delicious. Absolutely delicious. My mouth is watering.

When a bloody mary arrives at the table and there’s no bacon, it’s almost worth sending back. That’s NOT a bloody mary. That’s tomato juice and liquor. The bartender should be ashamed of themselves. Tail between the legs, make it again.

A Sunday breakfast without bacon is blasphemy. It might as well be Monday. Is that what you want? Do you want to turn a beautiful Sunday morning into a Monday? You’re going to time-travel to the workweek? How dare you. I’m terminating our friendship.

Scallops are great alone, but do us all a favor and wrap the motherfuckers in bacon. They’re better, it adds more flavor. You don’t HAVE to…but it’d be cooler if you did.

Bacon on a pizza is a clutch move. Add some BBQ chicken and PINEAPPLE (come at me) to it and you’re in heaven.

Bacon with fruit blends sweet and salty so perfectly.

Bacon with bacon is just the ideal snack. If you add a little bacon too? Yeah, you’re in the win column. If you have bacon salt, you should add that too…just to be sure that you reaaaaaaaally get that bacon to pop.

It’s a win. I’m not talking about your health by any means, just the satisfaction you get when you’ve really ripped into some bacon. A restaurant near me does a bacon flight. 5 different flavors sprinkled over 5 pieces of thick cut bacon. It’s my favorite FINGER FOOD on the menu.

Bacon will always be number one in my heart for finger foods. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. I suggest you all give bacon the respect it deserves. Bow down to your bacon while it slow cooks at 220 for 3 hours. Drain it’s juices. Let it dry. And then feast on the best finger food you’ve ever had.

Wait…could we consider “pizza” finger foods? Oh shit…

Dinner time!

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Gone Campin’

The universe works in mysterious ways. There is no such thing as a coincidence. Whenever something happens, there’s reason of great importance… of great opportunity. Trust your logic, trust your intuition, trust your gut. I once heard that we have 3 brains – the brain (duh), the heart, and your gut. The goal is to make all 3 sync and work together in harmony. When one doesn’t agree on something, that usually means it’s a “no.” There is a saying that floats around in highly successful circles (not mine, I’m just a good eavesdropper) – “If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a no.”

This is precisely how I’ve interpreted this saying. If all 3 of your brains agree on something, then it is a “hell yes.” If you’re mixed up about something, or paralyzed in a state of continually trying to weigh your options, then it’s a no. This doesn’t mean that sometimes you need a beat to think about something, because not everything worth doing is easy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

If you want a magnificent and breathtaking view of the world, you’ve got to hike your ass up high so you can see it. That shit isn’t going to be easy. But you can google it, but let’s be real…it’s never as good as the real thing. You’re sitting in a computer chair surrounded by the usual life you lead. Now, compare it to porn – sure, you can look it up and play with your fiddlestick… but that was eeeeeeeasy (usually). Not only that, but you’re going to have a distorted view on what intimacy and sex really without earning that dopamine kick. So really, go out, go on a date, form a relationship with someone, and then take out yo’ meat and beat it… just ask permission first with an “Are you sure?” attached to it a la Louis CK.

Maintaining a friendship isn’t easy. Maintaining and nurturing a relationship is even harder. Hell, even keeping a plant alive can be a bitch. But in the end, it’s worth it. The result will be the fruit of your labors (quite literally with plants). Personal growth isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Recently I had dinner with my parents and I saw a lot of my tendencies in them. I realized where my both gifts and my loveable-insanity initially came from. Yet, I know that it’s my duty as an offspring to work on myself and improve myself DAILY. I’m working on this as best I can. Each day is a constant series of mental and emotional battles. Most of the time they’re instantly won, but their spies break through and can be insidious. We’re born on this planet to get better and evolve, not to revert back to knuckle dragging and scrolling the ineterporns. It starts with unworking the tangled knots of our trauma. We’re bags of Christmas lights that you’ve got to battle at the beginning of December. You can always say, “Fuck it,” and leave the boxes in the attic while sipping your favorite festive cocktail… or you can buy more from Walmart. Oooooookaaaaaaaaay, I’ll untangle them. It’s going to be painful, but it’ll be much easier to deal with when you’re done.

This weekend I completed my 37th lap around the sun. The universe opened up a new opportunity for me so I listened, said “Yes,” and off to the mountains we went. We went camping and then hiking… and I’m curious as to why it took us so long to do it. Probably a fear-based decision that hindered living a fun and exciting life. Easily, it was one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences I have ever had. We arrived to our campsite and were forewarned that the winds at the top of the mountain were reaching 100mph. Oh yeah…Hurricane Fiona was just here. Her tail dragged behind her. You could hear gusts of winds rolling in like a tidal wave, rolling in on the beach of the forest. Eventually the wave crashed and would knock over our chairs, drinks, and fire. She was not playing games.

The mistakes that we made in preparation piled up on us quickly. We underpacked the amount of warm clothing we needed. We didn’t have enough daylight to set up our campsite correctly which resulted in a shredded up tent. Then realized in the morning we have been setting it up incorrectly for years. We had to struggle to get a fire going and then with the wind on top of us, we realized that we didn’t have enough wood so we needed to get more. The knife in my bag had fallen out somewhere so we had to use a hatchet to cut. We drank all the tequila the first night so we had to go out and get more.

Whoops.

But we managed. We lived. Was it stressful for some? Sure was. This was an opportunity for us to understand who we truly are under stress. Under stress, when the greatest quantity of life happens, you can see real personalities and real reactions. You can see the traits of your generations come to the surface, the characteristics that are magnified when mother nature is trying to squish you like a picnic-invading ant. One person is stoically-freaking out to the point of being sick and one is laughing hysterically out of disbelief. These are not good or negative characteristics…they just “are.” Neither is right or wrong, they just seem to be a reaction to a difficult situation.

We are the one’s that give these reactions the title “good” or “bad” based on our perception. Some would say to be stressed would cause them to perform better. Some people only function well when the world is on fire and they calmly work to put it out. Some might do cocaine cartwheels. Which one is “right?”

Mother Nature pulls ZERO punches. There is very few things that is more realistic than the wrath of nature. There’s no beating her, there’s no rules as to what she takes. We can try to avoid it all we’d like by staying indoors, watching TV, going to our bunkers, putting on a generator during the shitty weather, diving deep within the blankets… but ironically enough, the biggest lessons are learned by embracing the chaos and learning who we are within those moments.

If you’re overly stressed, maybe it’s time to force yourself to work under pressure more often? If you’re laughing hysterically, maybe it’s time to wipe the smirk off your face and work to get on the same page as your partner? If you’re in a state of silence, maybe it’s a chance to work on your communication skills with others? The job needs to get done regardless, so formulate a plan then execute together. Be a team. Everything is opportunity. A moment that feeds you some danger is an opportunity to succeed, grow and surpass your bullshit together… or you can succumb to your inability to take the challenge on subsequently keeping you where you are. It’s not necessary, but why wouldn’t you do it for your team? Why not grab your bullshit by the nutsack and tell it who’s in charge? It’s going to be far easier if you’re doing it on behalf of your TEAM. It’s never easy. Nothing worth doing, is. But through the pain is guaranteed growth. And to me, growth equates to happiness.

One thing I learned over the past few days (week, maybe 2), is that communication is KEY. We all have different styles of communication and it is so, SO easy to miscommunicate when you don’t communicate clearly. What’s even worse is when you don’t communicate something at all. People can get lost in their feelings – highs and lows. They can misconstrue a situation or they can exaggerate an issue that never even existed in the first place. Or they can be in the most painful position of all -ignorant. If I’m standing on your foot, totally clueless and in complete darkness, why would I know? And really… all you had to do was wiggle a toe. Trust me, I’ll get off your foot and profusely apologize for doing so in the first place… and then I’ll ask you to stomp mine so I don’t feel like such a pain in the foot. Sorry friend, had no idea.. stomp away. And if you don’t, I’m going to feel the need to stomp myself to feel better. It’s a totally normal thought pattern, I assure you.

Communicate everything as much as possible. Practice the skill. Be interestED, not interestING. Ask more questions, sometimes people need them for guidance. Listen more, because each word they speak could be a total gold nugget that shifts your perspective. To be heard is to be loved. Continue to sharpen your skills of communication just like your knives. When Mother Nature calls, you’re going to need them both. And also… baby wipes for your butt.

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Oooooh, “Dogs.” Yeah… I like dogs.

It’s been a long week. An emotional, tiresome, busy on all fronts… rollercoaster of a week.

Tomorrow I’ll be sleeping in a tent, n the mountains, below the stars, amongst the trees, and beside the person I love the most.

Each night this week has consisted of either 4 hours of sleep or disrupted sleep that left me soaked in sweat (puddles. PUDDLES of sweat) and anxious as cattle ready to be slaughtered. I’m ready to reconnect with nature. It’s been months since we’ve been on a trail or surrounded by trees and animals. The stress of finances, of being a better human, of connecting with friends, of following through with family plans has become too much at this point. This is the perfect time to get the FUCK out of the cement jungle that’s wearing us down. Enough of the cars, the screens, the work…nature is calling (not the potty) and I’ve reached my breaking point with it all. If we didn’t leave this weekend, I was surely going to have a psychotic episode. I can feel it. Anxiety from all angles about everything and anything, not being able to settle down or even breathe properly. In fact, just writing this is making me anxious. I’m getting to 1000 words and I’m stopping. We need a break – both you the reader and me the writer. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?

I plan on bringing a pen and a notebook. I plan on bringing a book to read (probably won’t happen, but it’ll be good to have). I plan on bringing a board game or 2. There were days when Erika and I would sleep in a tent all summer long in my parent’s backyard. From May until October, we’d stay out in this tent every night (barring any crazy lightening storms that could kill us). Not only did we get the best sleep ever, but we could have possibly been the most connected with nature and each other than we ever have been.

Imagine, for 6 months, sleeping outside in the fresh air with Mother Earth below you, the stars above you, the sounds of the crickets and owls, the fright of a pack of coyotes walking by your tent, waking up to the sunrise at 5am. It felt AMAZING. Rejuvenation almost every day. We used a lantern to keep light in the tent so we could read at night. We would have a few drinks and play games together. We didn’t play on our phones, we would occasionally bring out a laptop for a movie night, and we talked. Goddamn did we talk for hours. The most growth we ever had in our lives was seemingly during these months for the few years we did this.

Here’s the secret ingredient – a best friend that you owe your heart to. A best friend that will do everything with you. A best friend that is your ride-or-die bitch. A best friend that listens to you and helps guide you through your problems. A best friend that will endure the tough times because they know that it will bring better times. A best friend that smiles when she sees you and subsequently makes you smile. A best friend that you’d go to war for. A best friend that cooks some of the best food on the planet. A best friend that never judges you. A best friend that believes in you and sees the potential for your greatness. A best friend that continues to be your North Star on the darkest of nights. A best friend that gives the greatest kisses. A best friend that supports you along every step of the way without fail.

A dog. You need a dog.

Obviously it’s your life partner, your companion, your best friend, the person that completes you, the piece of the puzzle that makes you feel whole when you feel broken. When you’re constantly surrounded by people, buildings, cars, and noise, Nature becomes the place of serenity. Because of how few people spend their time out there, you experience the actual world – the one our ancestors conquered and the unique moments that come with it. But if no one’s there to enjoy it with you, did they really happen? You’ll have the memory of it, but memories get fuzzy over time. One day you’re going to look back and question whether it was a dream or if it really happened. Was it really beautiful, or was it a miserable few moments that you looked back upon with great joy? Did you share it with someone? Sharing that great misery, like a rainy day out in the woods and then looking back upon it with someone is what makes it so simultaneously memorable and hysterical. Have you ever tried to tell a story and butchered it? Forgotten some of it? Yeah, wouldn’t it be nice to have that beautiful person with you, the same beautiful person that you can’t take your eyes off of, to fill in the pieces with you? The same person that you’d kill a mountain lion with your bare hands for? Or a bear with your mountain lion hands?

I’m going to wrap up here by telling you my plans. When we have some downtime on Saturday night, sitting in my tent, before sleep washes away all the small moments and unique thoughts from the day, I’m going to write in my notebook. It won’t be lengthy, but I’m going to make sure to document my point of view, the little moments through the day that changed my perspective forever, the joy that I had just being able to hear the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, the birds chirping, the cool brisk air filling my lungs… and the tinnitus-ringing in my ears when I should be hearing what “nothing” sounds like. The sights from the tops of the mountain, the sounds of the crickets at night, and the gratitude that I have for it all will fall into the same entry. I know, I KNOW that with a couple days away from the city life, I’m going to grow great appreciation for what we have at home, but yet a strong appreciation for where, we as humans, come from. Distance from all of our luxuries will remind me how grateful for city life I should be.

I love you all but I love my best friend the most and always will..

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All the Feels

Not everytime that I sit down at this computer do I think, “Oh boy, I get to write! Hooray!”

I wish. It would be so simple if this task always brought me joy, but at 9:30pm after a long, long Wednesday, the last thing that is on the forefront of my mind is how excited I am to write. In fact, it’s really the opposite. It’s closer to, “Goddamnit, I have to write.” This isn’t the greatest perspective, obviously…but it’s an honest and genuine perspective. Staying consistent isn’t always fun. In fact, I’d argue that it’s not fun at all. You’re saying “No” to a lot of the other things you’d rather be doing. I’d rather be laying on the couch watching a movie, playing a game with friends, reading a book, staring out the window just getting lost in thought about how Plymouth Police doesn’t do the best job regulating drunk driving on the waterfront.

The rewards of staying consistent never come in the moments that you’re dreading…err doing* the work. They come after. I’m not in search of a massive book deal or anything, but really just some inner peace, a mentally serene series of moments, and a better perspective on it all. As I was sitting down at the computer, staring at this screen and thinking about what the hell I was going to write tonight and how much I wanted to sit down on the couch to shut down, I was reminded to shift my mindset. It’s not always easy to do and I even felt the urge to smile at something and rejected it. I bit my cheek so that I wouldn’t smile. What a fucked up thing to do to yourself – depriving your soul of enjoying the beautiful life that we live and the joy that comes with it. Now it’s going to be a matter of rejecting the guilt that is coming from rejecting the happiness. Do you see the insanity that I endure? What is this fucking nonsense? AAAAAAAAAAH!

Regardless of that psychotic cycle, I had an epiphany of why I should be grateful that I GET to write. Tonight, while skipping a training session to help out a family member with work, it came to me – he can’t even type if he wanted to. The poor man took a tablesaw to his finger and is totally one handed for who knows how long.

If I chopped my finger in half…how would I write? How would I be able to type as quickly, how would I be able to ride the wave of my thoughts? Would I make it happen by one finger typing? Would I do speech to text? Would I just quit? These are all hypotheticals that crossed my mind. But what really sank in is that I’m LUCKY to write.

Yeah, I know, suck it up buttercup…we all have long days. I get it. But do we all pursue our creative habits afterwards? Do we all sit down after a long day 160 minutes from midnight to delve into our artistic thoughts and passions? Certainly not. But we should. We should somewhere in the day give ourselves a few minutes to be creative. CONSISTENTLY.

Remember – we’re lucky to be able to do so. There are signs everywhere to be grateful. There are days I don’t want to exercise or days I don’t want to go for the long walk. Well, motherfucker, how about that customer you saw yesterday that had one leg? He sits around and drinks all day. His household just carries a weight of misery. The man lost his ability to do a lot of physical things a long time ago… and clearly he lost his will for it too. Reminder – you don’t have to go exercise…you GET to go exercise.

You’re lucky. I don’t give a shit how down on yourself you get, if you’re reading this… you’re still lucky.

And this isn’t to say that you can’t be sad or have emotions…we all have emotions that range from sadness to anger to happiness to total bliss…that’s the human experience. But we need to know why we have them and not just react to them. Being reactive to such emotions helps us in very specific scenarios. If my life was being threatened, a little anger could help me in the moment. It could cloud my ability to perform, but it also could give me the ability to fight through a little pain from a spike in adrenaline. Who knows… but these emotions do serve purpose.

If you lose a family member or someone crosses you…it’s okay to be sad because it teaches you where your boundaries may lie. These things can’t always be defined by law or principle…it can be emotion that teaches you where something lies within a gray area. Now tell me this…is it “gray” or “grey?” I’ll never know which is which or if there is even a difference. I could google it, but where’s the fun in that?

What I’m getting at is we need to be grateful, and by we …I really mean me. I know I post about this daily, but fuuuuuuuuuck meeeeeeeeeee if it wasn’t the most important aspect in our lives that we should focus on. It’s so easy for these emotions to creep up on us and rattle our cages like a jackhammer to a gong, but if we practice feeling them, seeing them, and recognizing them we don’t have to be subject to them. They can be merely a lesson learned in a precarious scenario. If you get kicked in the balls, fight back. If a girl breaks your heart, realize how good you had it. If you win the lottery, celebrate. If someone cuts you off in traffic, take a deep breath and realize you’re a better person than they are.

Emotions are lessons, they are not our masters.

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It’s all Gravy

The days where you feel like doing nothing but manage to accomplish a metric fuck ton are some of the best. You stay on task, you get your shit done, and before you know it the day is over and you’ve got something to show for it.

There are days that this doesn’t happen, but it’s days like today that you’re reminded that the work that you keep putting in is going to pay off. You’re going to be fine if you continue to trust the process and put in the work with a smile on your face. It’s the moment that you stop being grateful for opportunity or start to complain about what you don’t have, that the universe will continue to feed it to you.

If you’re looking at your neighbor’s plate, it should only be to make sure that they have enough on it, not to compare and say that you don’t have enough. I’m sure there are moments that we all have in which we want more. There’s a gap on our plate that we need filled. You know what? That’s opportunity. That’s opportunity for you to remind yourself how blessed you are that you have a plate at all, that you have vision to see it, that you can be on this side of the planet to have anything at all. “To have” is a concept that should never grow old. It should remain in the forefront of your consciousness. And it will fade to the back at times, but that’s the perfect moment to remind yourself how goddamned lucky you are that you even woke up today.

I’ve heard before that people that drink too much don’t have a positive enough perspective to be grateful in abundance. They gravitate to alcohol as a source to amplify an experience because it’s not amazing enough already. Do I agree with this? Sure, to an extent. If it’s a habit that they drink all the time and always to excess, then yes, it’s time to get better control over their vices. If it’s a few moments that they’re celebrating with friends and family? Sure, get a little buck wild… because NO ONE can confidently say that they’re going to take another breath tomorrow… and what fun is it to drive a Ferarri without putting the pedal to the floor once in a while?

We must remain grateful for today and put it out into the universe. Just thanking it for allowing us to live another day reminds the universe that it should keep us around. We’d love to be in full control, but is this reasonable? Can you really control everything? Ask a control freak, they’ll try their best but then when they get caught in traffic they’re ready to rip their steering wheel off. We CANNOT control everything, but we can almost always control how we react to it.

Thanking the universe for keeping us alive allows us to have another day full of opportunities. How can you tell me what’s going to happen tomorrow when today’s not even over? Sure, there are evenings that we’re a little beat up from the day, defeated almost. But we take a moment when we get home to thank our lucky stars that we HAVE a home! Do you have a bed to sleep in? Shouldn’t that be something you’re thankful for?

I watch particular people that will compare their life to someone else’s or constantly speak of their obstacles in life that hold them back… but they’re just that – obstacles. These difficulties give you an opportunity to grow. Perhaps you’re stuck in a rut of some poor habits and your mind is keeping you there. Reminder…it’s YOUR mind. You can change the tune really quickly. It’s not easy, but you can do it. These thoughts that circle in a loop just get louder and louder the more you listen. Acknowledge them and move on. Meditation is key for me, personally. I’m anything but a mentally sound person. My mind hears these chirps of self-doubt daily but it takes a reminder to pull me out of it. Just a simple bracelet, a note to smile, a mission written behind your desk will work. Something. But these thoughts and ideas don’t have to be your own. You’re just entertaining them when you listen too much.

There’s so many chances to grow your heart size, a la The Grinch. Think about that dude…if he can change, why can’t you? That poor guy was covered in green fur and surrounded himself with negative thoughts. He had a poor dog-deer that had to put up with all of his shit because he was grateful just to be fed. Eventually the love of a little girl changed his heart. The lines, lines, LINES are an opportunity to meet some new people and hang out for a few minutes.

We can all change. We don’t have to identify with the thoughts we hear or the ideas that come through our mind. They are not our own, they are simply ideas. Rob Zombie makes some of the most wild and sickening movies that you could ever see, but the word on the street that he’s just a huge nerd with a heart of gold. He has the ideas that create some fascinating movies…but last I checked, he’s not some psychotic serial killer…he’s just an artist who clearly can tune into some sick shit. But he doesn’t IDENTIFY with the ideas, he just makes some movies with them. The thoughts serve him.

We can find solutions if we look and if we want them. You can bring a horse to water but they don’t always drink. You see the water, you can break free of this. Start with a moment of gratitude… just one small, easy thing. Then add to it. Then add some more. Before you know it, you’ll be grateful for time spent with others and for waking up, and for having a couple teeth in your mouth so you can just chew your food. Once you start to look regularly, it get’s really easy to start to see the beauty in everything. And through that, the universe will start to reward you. Trust the process, you’ll be grateful that you did.

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THANK YOU!

I’ve made it a habit to write before dinner… and I’ve stayed consistent with it now for a month or two. And what I haven’t been doing a good job of is reminding the person cooking it how grateful I am for their efforts. They take the time from their evening to expend their effort to cook a delicious and healthy meal for the two of us. She doesn’t have to do it, but she does.

I just woof it down, say thanks, and go about my evening. I should be taking a moment before each meal and telling the world how lucky and grateful I am. I didn’t hunt the animal, I didn’t butcher it, I didn’t even cook the damn thing! We just buy it from a store, throw some seasoning on it, and chow down.

That’s not a good look. Here I am, spouting off at the mouth about how grateful I am for everything and how I count it out on my toes in the morning, being grateful for each breath, blah blah blah…but I’m not taking the time to tell someone else how damn grateful I am that while I write, she cooks.

What a girl. Selfless. And damn, she’s an amazing chef too.

It’s a good reminder that we can never be too grateful, it’s easy to slip. There’s always something to take from any situation. It could just boil down to having a good story at the end of a really shitty ordeal. My toe got smashed against cement over the weekend…twice. The same toe too. The first time hurt, but not a big deal since it didn’t break. The second time though… blood. Blood everywhere. It was like my toe turned into a red-water faucet. What are the chances? I have 10 toes that could have gotten smashed, why did it happen again on the same toe? Do I subconsciously love pain? It’s possible since my reaction was to sit down and start laughing. Just a moment of disbelief, especially since we were visiting someone who had just split his finger open with a skill saw. Why, of all places, on all the days, OF ALL THE TOES…did this happen?

There’s meaning there. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s there. Am I supposed to learn that doing the same thing over and over again is insanity? And insanity causes pain? Pain shouldn’t be funny? Or maybe I just need to get some new flip-flops? That’s the practical lesson I’m going to take from it. Less metaphor and safer all around.

But I guess I had to know how seriously fucked up my flipflops were to know to get rid of them…and this is why. With a broken flipflop, you can cause yourself a lot of pain.

And again, here I am rambling about some missteps I took over the weekend while the girl that was there to clean up all the blood just got a quick “thanks.” I’m really better about this than I say I am, but it’s important to tell our supporting cast how much they mean to us. Without her to clean it up, patch me up, and talk with me, that could have been taken much differently.

At the end of the day, they might know, but just like when we list off things we’re grateful for and say them to ourselves, it’s important to say them out loud to the souls around you. Spread the gratefulness. Let them know why you appreciate them, it could mean the world to them that day.

Dinner’s ready. Thank YOU for reading. And yes, she’s getting a big, expressive “thank you.”

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BJJ eons ago…

I just went onto Reddit and the r/bjj subreddit and saw a posted a video with me in it. Seriously.

I was actually in the stands for a superfight between Hermes Franca and Ryan Hall on the eve of the first UFC event in Boston. Ryan Hall was standing next to me in cargo shorts and listening to an iPod. Legitimately, I had the thought of “Wow, this dude is pretty creepy.”

For those that don’t know… his nickname is Ryan “Creepy” Hall. No, I am not the reason that he has that nickname, but goddamn did it ring true.

That was probably one of the more memorable and exciting weekends of my life. It started by grabbing a sausage egg and cheese sandwich from Dunkies, shooting into Boston, getting raped in parking fees, and then watching grappling superfights all morning and afternoon. I saw Leandro ______ (some super jacked dude that was running shit at the time and I was idolizing), Eddie Bravo, and Thiago Alves. The event was actually pretty small, those were the days of BJJ that very few people actually followed it. There were probably a couple hundred people watching elite athletes fight each other for very small sums of cash or even just bragging rights.

Walking down the main streets of Boston, you’d see lambos, Ferraris, etc ripping around with some overly wealthy dude wearing wildly flashy clothing behind the wheel. The girls even seemed to be hotter that day. Smokeshows. 11/10’s. I was in full creepy mode. This was just the Friday afternoon. I was competing Saturday morning so it was really just about exploring the scene and watching some fun battles. The very next day was the first UFC event in Boston, hence all the commotion. I remember that Saturday actually bumping into Thiago Alves at the Grappler’s Quest and asking to take a picture. He obliged and SOMEWHERE (my old Sony Ericsson phone captured a lot of moments I’ll never get back) I have a picture of us together, him confused and me in a shitty Adidas gi with a cute little white belt with a stripe or 2 across my waist. The dude was my favorite UFC fighter for many MANY years. PITBULL always went to war and made the events worth watching.

Holy shit, I forgot about aaaaaaaaaaall of this until the Reddit post.

Watching the match now, I have a better understanding of what happened, but I really couldn’t understand what the hell was happening whilte I was watching live. Ryan Hall butt-scooting, spinning upside down, it made NO sense to me. Hermes Franca was waaaaay more jacked, he’s going to run through this dude, right? He’s a UFC fighter, he has a HUGE advantage. Nope, apparently not.

I forget how it ends, but let’s rewatch it right now and see what comes up in the ol’ memory banks.

Look for a young dude leaning against the barriers WITH HAIR(!!!!) yellow shirt with a blue duck on it. I wore a blue duck, because I had never seen a blue duck before.

Immediately he drops to his ass. Okay, what the fuck am I watching. Why isN’T hermes thrahing him right now? You’re way more muscular and muscles ALWAYS win, right? Eh…

They engage multiple times, disengage, there’s actually a few moments where 25 year old Kris is wondering what kind of bullshit this is. Now i see a sick deep half guard to a beautiful berimbolo. Ryan now has a strong back control. Hermes doing a great job of defending. Ryan with a slick transition to a triangle but Hermes slips out. They’re holding hands. Gay. Hermes tries to jump guard, can’t. They’re back to holding hands…still gay. HEY! There’s ME!

And we’re back to Hermes trying to pass Ryan’s guard. Disengaged. Hand holding. Cute. Herme’s obviously getting frustrated. Ryan grabbing some sort of X guard. Disengage. Re-engage. Spinning around, inverted guard, still managing to hold on. Man, Ryan from 12 years ago was incredible. Hermes trying to pressure pass and can’t pin the mother fucker down. Hermes looking for a knee slice and can’t get it. Ryan is incredibly strong in some weird positions from his back. Hermes still looking for the knee slice. Ryan reaching for deep half and then moving to inverted. Hermes can’t even get north-south. Knee slice successful but Ryan rolls away. This is a good reason why you should learn both sides of the technique. The tempo is speeding up and Hermes jumped into a backwards mount and slides to side control. 3:15 left. Ryan recovers a semblance of deep half guard. Hermes disengages and now Ryan spins for a heel hook. 2:40 to go. 50/50 (leg entanglement) with Ryan looking far more comfortable. 2 minutes left and they’re both pretty stuck. 50/50 is known for this kind of boredom. 90 seconds left. Ryan taking the back, goes inverted.. keeps spinning, Hermes trying to take N/S but can’t get it. Ryan and Hermes STILL spinning and quickly fighting for position. Hermes smash passing but can’t actually pass. Back to the knee slice, Ryan rolls out. Ryan with the leg at 25 seconds left. Hermes ripping at his with 15 seconds left. Time expires.

Damn. What a wild battle. There I am again! Hermes with the victory 6-3.

It looks like the two of them had fun. 25 year old Kris doesn’t know what he saw, but he enjoyed the fuck out of it. 36 (37 in 10 days) Kris enjoyed it as well, but this time he knew what was happening. It seems that if you don’t give up, you keep showing up, and you keep enthusiasm for shit you love, you’re going to learn and the understanding comes along the way. Had I watched that and gotten stuck obsessing about how I don’t know what’s going on, or thinking I’d never get there… I would have had to bail on the whole sport/art a long time ago. There’s no telling where I would have been now.

But more importantly… let’s talk about the amount of Affliction shirts that are no longer in circulation – what a blessing. Watching this video was going to blind me from all the reflections off of shirts. Guys no longer need to bedazzle themselves for attention. They can just be humble and awesome human beings. Eddie Bravo used to have some sweet hair too. I remember giving him a high five while he was on the phone before this fight. I knew him from being friends with Joe Rogan…and mind you, this is BEFORE his massive podcast. This is back when I was just a member of his forum, talked shit with a bunch of other interesting and openminded creatures, and weed wasn’t legal…so we were rebels. We needed that booming voice that talked about legalizing it. Weeeeeeeeeeed, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

Now, here I am stoned on a Friday evening talking about what life was like for me on a random weekend 12 years ago. Shit man, the time truly flies. And here’s proof that I’ve never been good…I just keep showing up. The progress will come with anything you keep doing…just stay at it.

I love you all. Enjoy your weekend and be grateful for any and all moments with loved ones and friends, for we never know when they’ll be taken from us.

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Take Care of the Backyard

I’ve typed out probably 5 different sentences to start this post and yet, each one is shit. Just absolute shit. It’s like a morning movement after a night of tacos that had been marinated in ghost pepper extract sauce for weeks on end. The critic is ruling right now.

I understand that the critic is at work and sometimes he can make a few calls when he shouldn’t, but when he’s active and you want to shut him off, what’s the trick? “No, Kris, your topic about you having hair was really interesting. Please, elaborate on how you wish you could look like Fabio…dumbass.”

He’s always so ruthless too.

There’s just no specific topic that I wanted to hit on, so I scratched my head and started thinking about what it would be like to have long hair. There’d be extra costs involved if I have to buy shampoo, conditioner, gel…what else would I even need? See, now I’d have to do extensive research, which means I’d be losing even MORE time. Then I’d be in constant fear that someone could pull it whether by accident during a grapple or just on the street.

Having hair is dumb. If I continually shave my head, I guess there’s none of those extra thoughts except every now and again when I’m fantasizing about it. Not one time in my long life was there a kickass head of hair on top of me. It wasn’t until I started getting razor fades did I fall in love with having a head that’s hairless. Cats should have fur, the hairless cats really freak me out. But bald people? Bald people, you have my support. Not skinheads though, they can fuck off. I was once called a skinhead. Whilst picking up a pizza, walking down the street, someone hung their head out and shouted, “SKINHEAD!”

They weren’t wrong.

But wouldn’t they be the really judgmental and toxic person for assuming that I’m a toxic and racist person… because I shave my head? Damn man, I was just going to get some pizza. Is that the kind of world we live in now? The kind of world where you can look however you want, dress up however, identify with whatever…but you can’t shave your head? No, I refuse to believe it. I will just believe that this was an outlier, a really aggressive politically correct person to the point that they think by labeling people immediately and starting fights with random strangers about their appearance is doing a greater good. Black lives do matter, I agree…but all of them do. There’s no need to shout this to the planet, you could easily just do your individual duty of being an amazing human being to all your fellow human beings. Be kind. Be loving. Be supportive.

Let’s suppose I WAS a skinhead with shitty intentions. THIS IS HYPOTHETICAL. I have to be clear with that. But let’s assume that this dorky Irish dope that’s done martial arts his entire adult live is a hardcore skinhead. What is calling me a skinhead going to do? Am I going to rethink my behavior up to that moment? Am I going to say, “Yeah, man…you’re right. I’ve been a dude with skin on his head for far too long. I’m going to be a better person. No more skinhead behavior for me…I’m going to grow out this shitty hair and maybe a porn-stache while I’m at it. And I’ll stop going to those KKK meetings too. They haven’t had pie in forever.”

Or is it more likely that it’s going to be like adding fuel to the fire? If that person runs off hate, wouldn’t you want to keep loving them until they finally want to spread the love? If they run off hate…and you feed them hate…doesn’t that just continue the cycle? Isn’t that just continually gaslighting someone? If you dislike the KKK or people of that belief and you want them to stop…tell them you love them. Clearly they got fucked up along the way and a hug could do a lot of good for them.

Be genuine, keep the smartassness to yourself, and try to put a smile on their face. Have a conversation. Give a shit. If you truly want to put an end to injustice…start by spreading the love. Little by little, it’ll find it’s ways to the corner of the world. Start in your backyard and affect the people around you. Your love for Ukraine is great, but I’m sure you’ve walked by a person that could have used a simple “Hello” that day and yet you said nothing. Take care of your backyard and the people who(m? I never understood this rule. I literally missed that day in English – grade 6 and when I came to class the next day they were using it in examples. This fucked me up for life apparently) reside there.

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Dinner’s ready.

I’m finding my desk quite peaceful right now. There’s just something to this seat, the darkness of the screen, and the dimly lit room behind me. Driving back from training after a long day, whining like a little child that has homework to do when he get’s home, the last thing I really wanted to do was sit here.

But I’m enjoying it. There’s something to the consistency of just showing up every time, regardless of how you feel (barring any insanity), and at least doing a little bit of work. Who knows, you could go on for hours and create something beautiful, or you could go for 10-20 minutes and do something else with your evening. That’s fine too, at least you showed up. This isn’t a 9-5, we’re not locked into our artistic pursuits, but we need to show up when we say we’re showing up and TRY to accomplish something.

The clock is reading 21:37 and I’ve never really investigated as to how to change it from military time, but there’s a part of me that’s looking at it thinking that reading it as is will help me in the long run. There’s no military experience but knowing that it’s 9:38 when you see 21:38 is like reading a numeric language, right?

Today was one of the first days in a while where I met a man that was hellbent on telling me I was wrong. He never actually came out and said it, but he dug his feet in the ground and rejected any logic I threw at him. Sometimes a motherfucker just wants to tell us we’re wrong. That’s fine, but it probably explains why you’re a miserable person. If nothing is right in the world and everyONE is wrong, then how could you even enjoy a nice sunny day? In fact, I said “have a nice day” as I was leaving and he said his day was over. “But you can still enjoy some sunshine!” as I pointed to the beautiful blue sky above us and I got a “HRRUMPH I’m going inside because I’m a crotchety old man that needs everyone to get off my lawn.”

Then I met a dude that came out of his house in his underwear. Then after a brief conversation he invites me inside while he’s blaring some old 70’s rock…in his underwear. Fairly intelligent gentlemen apparently are hoarders and love wearing nothing but their underwear. That’s cool…I guess.

The life of a door-to-door salesman isn’t glamorous, but holy shit do I really get to meet the salt of the Earth type of people. At least the guy in his underwear was really friendly. He only grabbed at my pants 3 times. No, not really. It was like 7. I also met some people getting ready for a bridal shower and someone trying to renovate his Mom’s old house so that he could buy it. There are a lot of friendly people out there and they’re receptive to what you have to say when you’re just a jovial human being trying to make a living. The audacity! Especially when a lot of people don’t have a great understanding of why they’re paying more on their bills.

There’s a lot of people out there that will converse without argument when you specifically come from a place of helping others. I’m not entirely sure if that makes sense, but it should. Come with the intent of helping and do it from the heart and good things will come. At least, I keep telling myself that…

Change how you see the world and the world you see will change.

People need some help and everyone should be trying to help everyone. In some way, in some manner, you should be making a conscious effort to help humanity. Your purpose is your own, but it’s always easier when the purpose is for everyone and not just yourself. It’s easy to let yourself down, but to let down humanity? Now you’re a REAL ass.

Dinner is ready, I love you all.

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Let’s go Sportsball, Let’s go!

Once you open yourself to others, the madness of crowds can be overwhelming. Edibles don’t help that either, but man… people really do come in all shapes, colors, sizes and genders. They can’t seem to identify with the usual pronoun, but they’ll be quick to identify with the Red Sox or Yankees.

After spending the night in an overly anxious state in Fenway, I’m drained and energized at the same time. Feeling the vibes of thousands of people around you, chaos in each soundwave, and the girl behind me hit my hat 15 times… I was reminded as to why we enjoy small towns much more. Silence really is golden. What I did come to realize is how grateful I am to live in a little city like Plymouth.

Right now my soul feels vibrated to the core, but I made sure to get something in. It’s small, but it’s something. Keep the streak alive.

Oh, and the Red Sox lost 7-6 in the 10th… but we left before the 7th even started. 2 hours sufficed.

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