Saturday, March 9, 2013

Drinkin' Out of Cups...

Continuing my stint of being a little bitch...I give you the latest chapter in the story...

I'll be one of the first to tell you, I've been a little depressed lately mostly due to things out of my control. It's kind of silly to say out loud because most things in life are out of our own individual control, but the things I've been attributing to my depression fit that particular bill.

I guess we could first define what I think depression to be and right now, that is a feeling of being lost and having a sense of no control in surroundings. Lately, that seems more of a state of being rather than a temporary thought/feeling.

The biggest factor to these new feelings would have to be based on what's happening at work. Back in late December, one of the managers I work with approached me regarding a position opening in his team which he wanted me to fill. Three months later, I'm still waiting and looking forward to the time I can put in my notice to leave my current position. I'm gracious for the new opportunity, but I feel enough is enough. I'm ready to move and to me, three months seems enough time to make this change. As with the last three months, the future will show its hand soon enough, so there is little I can do to change it.

Another factor to this depression mess is the news my significant other will require another shoulder surgery in late April. While not unexpected, it is relatively surprising since I'm the one who has been undergoing physical therapy for shoulder problems over the last few months. It's not a new issue for either of us, but the jump from “ow, my shoulder hurts” to “fuck, surgery scheduled for late April” was initially surprising especially given I was the one to avoid it for the time being after finishing a stint in PT.

In order to offset the incessant bitching in my everyday life, I do have a few things I'm looking forward to in the coming months: 1) a former roommate of mine is getting married in late March, 2) my annual “get the fuck out of the USA” vacation is scheduled for late April, 3) my brother Jared is getting married in August, and 4) one of my best friends recently bought a house.

  1. My former roommate in London is getting married in Denver in a few weeks. I am very much looking forward to attending as it has been a fuck of a long time since we last got together. Granted, most of the night he will be busy attending to other guests, but it won't prevent me from dragging him away from important people for random shots of Jameson at the bar. Look forward to that, buddy.
  1. The girlfriend and I have booked our annual “fuck the USA” vacation and will be headed to Costa Rica for ten days in late April for beach, surfing, and a shitload of sun (and sunburn for me). We'll be climbing volcanoes, walking around rain forests, driving tiny cars on tiny roads, and snorkeling with deadly animals. I can't wait...mostly because my work is required to leave me the fuck alone leaving me to actually enjoy time off. 

  2. Jared is getting married!!! August is the time and it's going to be hot as fuck. I don't know a lot of details, but I'm really hoping he has a light colored suit like the last wedding I was in so I visibly sweat through the cloth. At the very least, I get to see my family and will have a few days of celebration, so we can all be thankful and happy for the soon-to-be married couple. 

  3. Finally, one of my best friends bought a house recently and I volunteered to throw her a house warming party in the fall. She's one of the first I know who has taken the leap to home ownership and I think something of that magnitude should be celebrated. I know I'm nowhere near that kind of commitment to one particular city, so I can certainly appreciate the value of the decision. Way to go, Kate.
Much like previous posts, this isn't all that funny – so I apologize for it. Also, after writing and reading through the whole thing, I realize I don't really have much to bitch about. I would feel bad about it, but you really don't care anyway. It's all just based on frame of reference anyway, so things can always be worse.

Next time you'll know better...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Missing London...

Maybe it's the booze talking (it's probably the booze talking), but lately I've been missing my home away from home - London, England. I think there are a few reasons for this revelation, not the least of which my old roommate in shitty ol' London is getting married in exactly a month. The other reasons in no particular order: I watched a movie tonight that had a few scenes in front of Buckingham palace, a friend of mine is taking a holiday to London in a few days (and I'm jealous), we had some English visitors in the office this week, and I think about and miss it every fucking single day.

Now, don't get me wrong – I'm fully aware this is ex-girlfriend syndrome. There were some really shitty times I had when I was over there I would not wish to repeat. I would say I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy, but I would be lying. Eat shit and die, worst enemies! I think a lot of you know what I'm talking about here – weeks, months, years after you're broken up with a horrible excuse for a human being you've wasted entirely too much time on, you come to think of only the good times and tend to forget the bad. Right now, I'm extremely guilty of this. Just off the top of my head, here are my main “shitty” things to remember: having to reset the hot water every single morning in the other bedroom (waking the other two roommates in the process) to have a luke warm shower experience, getting paid much less than any minimum wage working much more than full time hours, “high speed” internet that worked maybe one time out of ten, and sharing a tiny two bedroom apartment with three other people.

I know – it sounds don't have to tell me, I was there. Despite my troubles, I had the time of my life and wouldn't trade it for the world. In fact, I've made it my life's goal to get back to London to live and work and be able to afford it. Recently, that goal has been made to appear relatively attainable due to a potential opportunity at my work. It's by no means a guarantee, but the position I'm looking at has the history and possibility to send me to places I want to go and leave Jacksonville far away. Granted, this won't be for a few years and I'm looking far, far ahead – but dreaming is what keeps us alive, so I'll allow it.

This is not to say I don't appreciate and enjoy my life in Jax, either. I'm employed and enjoying a salary that allows me to travel back to Ohio for holidays, have nice things, travel to exotic places, and not want for much. I'm struggling to word this in a way that doesn't make me sound like the biggest whiny baby on Earth, but, here goes. The problem is this: I want more; I want to be able to go back to the UK and experience everything I wasn't able due to lack of available funds. The funny thing (to me) is prior to my UK year, I gave zero fucks about traveling anywhere. I was happy to stay in my little house in my little town and not worry about anything except the next weekend. Now, I want to experience as much as possible and I have too many empty pages in my passport to fill.

I suppose the biggest issue I have is living in the future and not enjoying the present. I see people doing things, I'm absorbing media, and thinking of my own past and can't wait to see what the future holds. I need to slow down and enjoy the moment rather than think about what may happen next week, next month, or next year. It's difficult to do that when you're performing a job you don't particularly enjoy, but that will be my goal for the next few weeks: enjoy the moment. I heard a saying a few months back I made a point to remember and have tried to incorporate as much as possible in my life. It's embarrassingly basic and has been said too many times to count, but I guess it took that many times to sink in. One of the managers I work with said to“not sweat the small stuff. Life has a way of figuring itself out, so only worry about the things you can control at the moment. Let life live.” Words to live by, if you ask me.

So, for now I'm working to get the new job which will lead me to the job that takes me to my dream. I know I'm at least three years away, but knowing it's within my grasp is enough to keep me going. I'll continue missing my London home, but I know someday I'll get there...and even though it won't be the same as I knew with all the friends I had there, it will still be home.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Clearly, I Lied

Clearly, I lied.

The last time I left you, I was promising the world and failed to deliver like a deadbeat dad (small d) promising to lay off the booze and finally pay for Junior's school books. Unlike the deadbeat, I had good intentions and did actually write the first story (or chapter), but it was absolutely fucking terrible so I threw it in the garbage where it deserved to die.

As a result, I've come to a realization – I'm either really bad at writing about me (likely) or really bad at writing first person in general (even more likely). The first chapter of my horrible proposed book had to do with a story that happened the summer before I left for my year in London. Although I had the best intentions of being objective (you FOX news), it ended up being a sob story of “why doesn't anyone like me???” and I just don't think anyone gives a shit, so I canned it. Trust me, we're all better off.

Therefore, the “book” has been put on hold indefinitely until I can figure out a way to write about my own life experiences and pawning it off as a fictional story with actual (made up) dialogue as opposed to a “this one band camp” style story. Either that or find a way to write more effectively – which...let's be honest, isn't really in my wheelhouse. Being perfectly honesty, I feel like I've failed because it has been roughly two months into this experiment and I've failed to update a single time. Really, in a way, this is kind of your fault since you promised to badger me for said updates and I haven't heard a peep out of anyone. Not even a “hey, fucker – you promised!!” so you only have yourself to blame.

Anyway – in lieu of a story, chapter, etc., I'll instead bore you with my latest pain in the ass: physical therapy. About three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with what doctors call a “SLAP Lesion” which sounds like a fancy venereal disease, but is actually medical speak for a fucked up shoulder. Short story long, whenever I twist my shoulders the wrong way (when driving, sitting, jerking off, etc.), it feels like somebody stuck a shiv in my shoulder and twisted in revenge for me booting their dog off a bridge. As you can imagine, it's not a pleasant feeling.

In an effort to alleviate this ailment and prevent temporarily life-halting surgery, I've been undergoing torture (physical therapy) to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. It turns out, after my initial screening and subsequent sessions, those muscles offer the same strength and resistance quality as a newborn baby's. As someone who has made a point of being physically active in life, I can personally attest to the embarrassment associated with having a physical therapist laugh at how weak your shoulder muscles have become due to poor form/lack of use. It's kind of like paying someone to kick you in the testes/ovaries and then laugh in your face because your arms aren't strong enough to retaliate effectively.

So, after a few weeks of PT, I have noticed a marked increase of strength and decrease in pain, so I suppose it's working. At this point, I'm optimistic surgery won't be needed, which is always a positive since I don't enjoy spending thousands of dollars on anything that would actually benefit me. As with any debilitating injury, prior to knowing my shoulders were as week as a T-Rex, I never realized how much I was compensating for their lack of strength with lifting even the smallest things like dishes or cooking pans. The bottom line is this: I'm a huge pansy and nobody should ever take any kind of advice about working out from me because they'll be laughed out of the gym and might eventually need surgery to fix my blunder. I should get casualty insurance – it's that bad.

In other not so depressing news, I have an ungodly amount of flights to purchase this year due to weddings, holidays and family events. March and August stand out as exceptionally expensive months which require multiple flights – so...that's fun. Boo hoo...I'm so popular people want to hang out with me...yeah, I know...

Anyway, that's your quarterly update from me: my shoulders are fucked and I'm going to spend an assload on flying all over the country for events where people want me to attend. I'm working on figuring out a way to write my stories without sounding like a whiny bitch, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one – you know how good of a writer I am. Would you expect anything less?

One last point: since it's Super Bowl weekend, I'll do the clich̩ thing and pick a winner. San Fran is getting 3.5 points last I checked, and I have SF winning 31-24 even though Kaepernick is a fucking douche for trying to trademark the bicep kiss. So РSF I guess. Don't use this endorsement to bet the game РI'm horrible at picking any kind of sporting event...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time For My Yearly Update

Ok – here’s the thing: for as long as I can remember, people I know have been telling me I should write a book. One thing you should know about me is I have these grandiose ideas and all the best intentions in the world, but I simply don’t have the patience to undertake something as significant as an entire novel. Weaving one storyline into another and having it all come out at the end in one simple ending with a tidy bow is just not my style. Maybe someday…but for now, I’m going to give it a shot in the only way I think is possible: a book of short stories loosely based on real events. And when I say “loosely based,” I mean “actual events according to my memory with names changed.” To anyone who may be part of these stories, consider this your warning call and let me apologize in advance for my narcissistic view on life and my self-importance in things that in actuality have very little to do with me. What can I say? Not only are we our own worst critics, sometimes we’re our own biggest fans.

Anyway – there’s only one way for this to work and that is to be completely and utterly honest and forthcoming in these stories and adventures. That being said, there are a few things you should know about me:

1.      I like shitty music and it’s a big factor in remembering certain things about certain points in my life (yes, I know – we’re all like that), so occasionally I may reference a song/album/artist or nine to remind me to stay on track.
2.      A lot of these stories will only be interesting to me and those who are an active part of my life. I suppose they may be interesting to those who were part of the stories at the time, but I’m not entirely sure those people will be flattered by my opinion or perspective of them. As mentioned before, names will be changed, so unless you’re a part of the story I’m planning on writing, you may not even know it’s anything but a really boring tale.
3.      I’m selfish in a lot of ways even though I try not to be. I’ll do my best to go back and reread to make sure I’m not making any obvious mistakes, but to be completely honest, I’m really only doing this because I don’t know what else to do right now and I need an outlet. I can’t say for sure this will continue past this one post because my motivation is fleeting and many times it takes a lot for me to open up a Word file and put my thoughts on screen. I don’t particularly care if anyone likes or reads it – it’s merely an outlet for my frustrations and to help me get a decent night sleep.
4.      I’ll probably reference my previous travels a lot because Jacksonville doesn’t really have a whole lot going for it in terms of scenic, historic, or interesting sights. A lot of what I draw on happened a significant time ago and since that is the case, my memory certainly isn’t what it used to be, so I’m giving myself creative range to reasonably fill the stories as I see fit.
5.      By all accounts, I’m not a very good writer, so don’t be surprised to see unfortunate changes in tense, person, etc. Again, I will do my best to catch this, but the continuity effect is widely lost on me.
6.      These points aren’t really in order of importance, but since I have you this far, I think you’ll pretty much read anything I put on the page. I’m not exactly sure how long each “story” will be, but the premise is pretty simple: I have one of those calendars that has a witty saying for each month. So, for each one of those sayings, I’ll write a story it reminds me of. Many of them will be far-fetched and have nothing to do with the actual quote – but here’s where I say “it’s my book and I can do whatever I want, so fuck you.”
7.      I curse a lot. A lot a lot…so if that’s not quite your bag, I suggest you move along quickly. One of my general rules in life is to not censor myself in many situations that don’t require it. My day job is one of those unfortunate circumstances where I’m not allowed to say everything I want or how I want. I’m sure I would be fired by now if I took those liberties, so there’s not much I can do there. This book/blog/whatever the fuck you call it is an entirely different story. Granted, there are not a lot of people out sharing the same name, but anyone who reads this will have some kind of connection to me, so I’m not entirely worried about it. Besides – work is FUCKING BORING, so why would I write about that?
8.      My inspiration for this came along a few weeks ago. Apparently November is “write your own novel” month and the girlfriend said I should take a shot. I gave it some thought and went for a run. On my jog, I went through some of the stuff I would say in this opening and it was all much more clever in my mind than it’s coming out on the page (as is usually the case). In true Justin fashion, I planned out a very brief outline for what I might want to write about according to my little calendar scheme and promptly sat on it for 2 weeks.
9.      So, here’s the plan: tonight is my prologue of sorts and putting my intentions out there in hopes one or two of the people who actually read this will hold me to my pledge. I want to write one story every two weeks to post on this blog to potentially gauge interest and most importantly have an outlet for my personal rage that has been building over the last few months. Some of the best times of my life were described in previous posts in this page and hopefully I’ll be able to relay a few more in the coming months.

Kind of awkward to leave it at nine things, isn’t it? Oh well – can’t be helped, I suppose. Last thing before I leave it alone for now: as with all my previous posts, I’m always open for criticism (constructive or otherwise), so if you have something to say about anything at all, please do leave a comment. Hate it, love it, are indifferent about it – let me know and I’ll take it in, chew it up a bit, then see what gets digested.

As for next time, the first post/chapter is called “It may be the antidepressants talking, but I’m feeling somewhat optimistic about 2012.” Starting off in a nice contradiction, it will focus mostly on the summer of 2010 and my months leading up to the move to London. Some characters you can look forward to meeting: The Energizer Bunny and Twilight (has very little to do with the book/movie series, I promise). Until then…

Friday, December 9, 2011

When Am I Allowed to Bum Around?

When I started writing this blog, not when it originated (because it was a load of shit as a sports based blog), but when I really started writing, the purpose was to allow me to get away from my surroundings and make a little bit of sense of my life once in a while and blow off a little steam in the process. I have seemed to get away from that strategy lately and I think it might be time to fix it. Now, I don't want you to confuse that with a promise of regular posts, but I will make a conscious effort to feel guilty when I don't write a post once a week like I originally planned. Coupled with the fact my next few weeks/months are busy as fuck all, I don't think I could commit the time to write regularly and keep up with this smack habit I've picked up. Priorities, people!

Keeping with the format of giving you literally zero pieces of interesting and/or helpful information, here is a snapshot of what's supposed to happen in my life over the next few weeks. I give no promises of accuracy, though.

I'm fresh off a 12 hour work day (I know, b-o-o h-o-o, woe is me, blah blah blah – fuck you, I'm tired) so keeping that in mind, I'm really not looking forward to the next five work days for a few reasons. Monday and Tuesday (of this week) are the absolute worst days of my entire month when it comes to work related hell. Four times a month, I'm subjected to a torture known as “trap reporting” which means “cruel and unusual punishment” in Latin. Without boring you completely to tears - four times a month, I lead conference calls with all kinds of people who are excruciatingly more important than me with the purpose of making sure they fix the shit they say they will and finding out why they haven't fixed the shit they were supposed to fix. Monday and Tuesday are the more important version of these calls and the last ten days have been dedicated to making sure they go as smooth as possible. Let's just say I'm counting the hours until noon on Tuesday when I can officially be done with this horrific procedure for the calendar year.

After enduring my punishment filled week (or maybe two days, time will tell), my brother Josh and Ms. Hanni Berger will be making their way down from the frigid northwest to visit warmer climates for the weekend. Aside from the pops helping me move down here in September, this will mark the first visit of friends from Ohio and I'm looking forward to showing them around town. It will be a much needed break from reality and should be very beneficial to all involved. Let's hope for a quick work week and get on with the foolishness and shenanigans.

After the broseph and Berg leave from their weekend visit, I have one more week of work before I make my way back up North to the “fuck you, winter” cold of Ohio. This will be a bit longer of a visit than my trek last month, so I'm going to have to bring a few more articles of warm clothing to not freeze my bells off. It's not too late for you guys to come down here for Christmas, ya know! I'd be more than happy to “miss” my flight provided I don't have to freeze my ass off up there for a week. I'll let you think on that for a bit...just let me know. Anyway, after the reminder of why I moved South is over, I fly back to glorious, warm Florida to make my way to New Orleans, LA for New Year's Eve celebrations. The only solid plan I'm aware of regarding this trip is I will be in attendance as the Saints murder Carolina on their way to a playoff spot and probably a first round playoff bye. This will mark the first time I will witness Panthers action in person, so I don't really give a shit about the outcome, especially since they're well on their way to solidifying the #2 pick in next year's NFL draft ending the year at a stout 4-12. Oh least they're not the Browns.

After New Orleans, it's another three weeks before the trip to China – but that's a whole post in itself, so I won't ruin the fun tonight. Oh, before you read this entire post, I just want to throw out a note that this isn't funny at all, so if that's what you're looking for you should probably move on. What's that – you already read it? Oops...guess I should have put that at the beginning. Suckers...

Friday, November 25, 2011

First Post From Jax

I had a few things on my “to do” list today. Writing this post was one of them, but then I started looking at Tumblr and it all went to shit. I'm not exactly sure what direction this is going to head, but then again, none of my other posts had a point either, so I suppose it works. Just to start things off easy again, I'll do my go-to format and do some kind of a list thing. So, here's what has happened in the three months since my last post:

1. After I left London, I moved to Jacksonville, Florida to work for Deutsche Bank. My job is nothing special, nothing glamorous, nothing spectacular, but it is a job – and for that I can be thankful. It pays the bills and then some, which is more than some people can say and I feel lucky to have it. On top of that, it's in fucking Florida, so I can hardly muster up enough gumption to bitch about it especially given the fact it's currently 65 degrees at 11 o'clock at night. Fuck. Yes. I went for a run today near my apartment while wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Outside. Yes, it is the end of November. No, my situation does not suck.

2. As a supplement to #1, I was just in northwest Ohio a few days ago for Thanksgiving and it was all I needed to confirm I made the right decision to move here. When I stepped off the plane in Detroit, it was somewhere around 40 degrees and colder than I have encountered in about eight months. I was ill prepared for the journey to say the least. I brought a few thermal shirts with me on the journey to the cold-as-fuck north as I figured it would be more than enough to keep me warm. Dead wrong. Not only was I shivering and swearing the entire time, I ended up sleeping in said thermal shirt to keep from freezing to death in my parents' living room. Then on a night out on the town, I was under the delusion I would be just fine in the “you-think-this-is-cold-just-wait-til-December” weather, wearing one of my flimsy shirts that would cause heat stroke down here. Lets just say I'm not looking forward to the trip back next month for Christmas. I'm starting my petition to have the family come down here for Christmas instead.

3. The only real gripe I have about Jax (for now) is the bitchin' traffic. I live something like five miles from work, which would take less than ten minutes to traverse in optimal conditions. On a good day, it takes around fifteen minutes to make the trek from my residence. On a bad day? Hours. I have never missed the London Underground more than I do while driving to work. The worst drive to work I have encountered was about a month and a half ago where there was an accident on every major highway/road around my area. Every single road had an accident taking up at least one lane, if not multiple. On this day, it took me nearly two hours to go five miles. I could have walked it in less time. Yes, I realize major cities have traffic jams and yes, I realize a lot of people have commutes that take an hour plus every single day. However, I do not care. It should never take two hours to drive five miles. Most days I long for the times when I could walk from home to work in fifteen to twenty minutes. But alas...

4. Traffic aside, I cannot think of a single complaint I have about this city. I'm within 30 minutes of nearly everything and there's always something going on if I feel the need to amuse myself. I suppose there is a striking lack of concerts here, but Orlando is about two hours away and has oodles of them for my liking should the need/want arise.

5. Future plans: I'll be heading to New Orleans for New Year's Eve (about an eight hour drive) and since I've never been, I'm very much looking forward to it. While I'm there, I will be in attendance as Carolina ends the season at 3-13 (linebackers or linemen in the draft, please!) and the Saints win the NFC South. Also, I'll be headed to Shanghai and Beijing, China at the end of January for the Chinese New who the fuck needs concerts?!

I guess the bottom line is this: I'm happy. It's been a long time since I could say that and actually mean it. I live fifteen minutes from multiple beaches, the weather kicks ass, and I have a great girl who is everything I've ever wanted and more. In short – life is good.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last Post in London

Well, here we are: the last night in London. Fuck, it came quick, but that's what everyone (including me) said would happen. I guess I never realized how quickly it would come. Those last two sentences are just absolutely rife with sexual undertones...or is that just me?

One of the most common question I've been asked in the last few days is some variant of the following: are you sad? Answer: yes and no. Today was my last day of work at UBS for what I can only assume is forever. I have no prospect of continuing my employment for UBS in the States in the next few days/weeks/months, so the only logical conclusion is this chapter is closed and will stay closed. Sad? Not really. There are people I have met in the past year I will certainly miss, but those who matter won't really be going away; it'll just be months of potential planning to meet up which will eventually fall through and odds are I won't see a single one of them again. Always the optimist, I know. I do have some faith in a select few, though.

So, no...I'm not sad. I'm not really sure how to express what's going on right now, honestly. I'm at a loss for words. I knew this would happen eventually if I talked or wrote enough. At this point, it doesn't seem real. I know I'm leaving tomorrow and I know I'm going to have to say goodbye to some people who have become invaluable in my life. I also know I don't know how I'm going to react. The only solace is I know it has to happen and I can't do a thing to stop it. Every person I've grown close to over the past few weeks/months/year are from different parts of the world. Most are in the US which will make a meet potentially possible, but we're all going to be beyond busy the next few weeks/months and once we get around to it, it'll just be a “well...I guess I could, but why put in that much effort? Seems like a lot of work.” As with everything, time will tell.

Anyway, enough of that bullshit and more of the cynicism you come to expect from this page. Last night, I was at an event cleverly titled “leaving drinks” for a friend of mine. What happens at this event, you may ask? Well, drinks are clearly involved. The reason for the occasion? They're leaving! I know...I was stuck on that one for a while, too. It just so happened that this event was host to just about every person I have come to meet and loathe for the last fifty-ish weeks or longer. There are some I haven't seen or spoken to in months and there are others who I was friendly with previously where that friendliness does not exist anymore. I'm torn up about it, I swear. However, whenever there can be drinking and awkwardness involved...well, fuckin' eh, count me in.

I can sum this night up in just a few sentences: imagine being at a house party complete with three keg stations. In attendance are about two hundred people; one hundred and seventy of which you can't stand while the other thirty are absolutely shit-hammered while you're sober and trying to get to their level. Oh, and two keg stations just dried up.

Following the story so far? Ok, so here's what happens: you end up getting stuck in line with about a fucking million people you would rather have rusty, dirty knives shoved up your pee-hole than speak to, let alone be near in general. Sober. Fun, right? Here's what you can expect from this scenario: fake interactions with those you hate, some getting pissed you're ignoring them even though you've spoken maybe two words to them in your entire life, and fantastic over-the-top reconciliations from those you used to be friends with based on their having new people around them so they can save face and not look like a fuck/dick/cunt/bitch. Where are the people you actually care about, want to hang out with, talk to and see? Nowhere to be found...tumbleweeds. Get me the fuck out of here. Now.

Short story long: I left early after saying my goodbyes to the people I came to see. Shocking, I know...

So it's my last night...I'm done packing...all the flatmates are out of the house...and I'm sitting here contemplating the previous year in this fucked up thing we call life. Seems fitting, I think. This will be my last post written in time you hear from me will be when I'm on US soil for the first time since April. I've said it before and I'll say it's a fucked up ride. Hold tight, ride it the best you can (there's those goddamn sexual undertones again!) and see where you end up.

It's been a great year and for those who have stuck with me for this long, for those who have read occasionally, and for those of you who might be new readers, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Here's to the next one.