Black Eyes

You look like crap.

I nearly laughed. It was the first time I really looked into a mirror for a while, obviously. Under my eyes there were black bags streaking across where the smile line was, right above the cheek.

“I do.” My voice was a little rough from an illness, some caugh. “Think it’ll improve?”

With what? The extensive work you have the next four days? The one more flight? Feeling sick? Insomnia that even when you’re run into the ground you can only get a couple hours of sleep?

I grinned, amused. It was right, all right, as I was right. We were one, but it helped to keep myself in check. “I think maybe next weekend. Maybe I’ll sleep next weekend.””

It was difficult to look away from the dark bags under my eyes, so black and extensive I couldn’t figure out what to do about it. I was partially impressed. But man did I look like crap.


The Pool

I saw you in the hot tub today. Your unruly black hair. Beautiful brown eyes. That confusing Asian and Hispanic heritage. Those adorably dorky glasses. I know she wasn’t you, I know a number of reasons she clearly wasn’t you. But when I first glanced, I half expected her to shout my name, or embarrassed she’d walk away.

It’s been a year since you pushed me away. It’s been a couple weeks since you’ve started entering my dreams and then my waking thoughts. Until I had to write Kelst and Ayne. Every episode of Bones has been about chasing the one you love. I tell people I just miss not having someone beside me, but I’ve dated, and none have compared.

Wish you were here.

Guatemala Sept 21st, 2013

Finally, right? It won’t be entirely verbatim, but mostly I’m taking straight from my journal with some pictures inserted.

September 21st, 2013

We are in Guatemala. The women are beautiful. The country is beautiful. the city is beautiful.

The morning started at 4:15am. After getting ready and struggling to find my itinerary, Joel came in at 4:30am and we were at the airport by 5:20am. Our 7:15 flight was immediately delayed over an hour, so we would miss our connecting flight in Atlanta. Forty five minutes later, we were going to Atlanta for our original flight, then making a detour to Miami, and finishing in Guatemala City. We originally were to arrive in Guatemala City at noon, but now it would be after eight. So it began.

While waiting, snacks and soda were given for free, along with a $50 voucher which bought me food and the journal I wrote in when I realized the journal I brought wouldn’t be enough.

We finally boarded and took off into a storm. Each landing was harrowing and into rain, sometimes worse. It was interesting. On the first flight we could actually smell the burning rubber from the tires when we landed.

I saw Miami for the first time. It really is a beautiful city. Guatemala City was breath taking, even at night. Lightning was to our right, and once below the clouds, even in the night, you could tel it was a city of different elevations, built into a mountain.

Once we landed, we went a short way to the bathroom, where a naked Mona Lisa greeted us. A great welcoming. We were through customs quickly, were hustled for tip, and found our way to the Crown Plaza.

On the way you could really see the parts of city build on steep hills and mountains. Despite the terrifying driving speed, it was enthralling. I was nearly in tears from the view.

Being only day one, I can only imagine what the future holds. What I do know is God is good.



Gripped by Fear

I was heading north on I-94. Traffic was bad, for Milwaukee, as we were traveling around thirty. I had lost fifteen pounds, I was active in church life, I would be doing Tough Mudder and Guatemala soon. The woman I loved was coming back to me. She told me how much she wanted to marry me and be out in Wisconsin, I just needed to be patient. With the windows down, the music loud, life was good.

I was passing the Becher/Lapham exit when I felt my chest tighten on the left side. It happened before, especially during strenuous work outs. With traffic moving so slow, I started to stretch it out. But the pain didn’t go away. It throbbed harder.

The seat belt aggravated it, and I moved my hand between my chest and the strap, giving me space. I took in deep breaths. Sometimes I just needed to expand my chest. Still the pain intensified.

The pain was nearly enough to make me cry and I gritted my teeth. The mundane task of driving became a battle. I started moving over from the far left lane to the far right, making my way to the off ramp.

I exited on Lapham, the entire time wondering if I should be seeking out a hospital. But where was a hospital? There was no way I could drive and use my phone for GPS coordinates, not with how much I had to focus to not shut down from the agony bursting through my shoulder and chest.

Once off the highway, I took a right. The area was unfamiliar, but I had to find somewhere to park. It was a warehouse district with very few businesses. I finally found a BP and pulled over, my breathing becoming labored.

Parked, I keeled over in my car, releasing the seat belt. I gripped my shoulder and squeezed my eyes hard. The words were strained, “I’m going to die.” I laughed a little, but even that hurt. “Damn it. I can’t die now.” I rested my head on the steering wheel and sniffled. If I could get into the store, I’d be okay. They could call for help. If it was a heart attack, there was no way it was a serious one.

Outside my window there was a woman with her young daughter getting into their car. I blinked a few times at them, and the pain started to subside until thirty seconds later was gone. They drove away, and I went in to get an apple, then drove off.


A to Z April – D

It was day two of being in the gym again. I forgot how good it felt. How bad work could be, but it all drifted away when I was in this most glorious chapel of strength, speed, and weight loss. I had done well on the elliptical, burned a lot of calories, and just felt manly. I know, ellipticals aren’t the most manly thing, but they’re a good start.

I went with the wind, pumping hard, my arms flying, legs burning, sweat dripping from brow and arms. My shirt and boxer briefs were being tested for just how well they could wick moisture. Then next to me a lithe, attractive woman got  on the elliptical. She wore a tank top which showed a great deal of her side, including the hot pink sports bra. I blushed, but looked forward. I wouldn’t look at her. I would refrain. I wasn’t going to be that guy. I sped up.

Checking my heart beat triggered an internal war. 192.

“You need to slow down. It says you should be around 165,” Reason said.

“Don’t be a pussy,” Testosterone said.

“Don’t be a pussy!” Internally, the chorus had spoken, but many times Reason was right.

“For the pussy!” It took a while, but eventually Penis chimed in, trying to convince me to look over.

“For the pussy!” The chorus echoed. Testosterone and Penis were in cahoots.

“We can’t let her see you being weak,” said Penis.

“You can’t be weak,” echoed Testosterone.

“I think she’s in high school,” countered Reason.

I didn’t get a real good look at her, so I was a horrible judge of this. Was she in high school? Then Reason wins. Was she in college? We all know who wins then.

Reason continued, “Women are hurtful. Women lie. Women deceive. You can treat a woman as well as you can, and she will still back stab you.”

“Quoting video games?” I asked internally.

“Whatever gets through to you. You can’t push over 190 and you can’t do it for women.”

“I’ll do it to become Dovahkiin.” Dovahkiin means Dragon Born, a human born to slay the flying destroyers.

“To become Dovahkiin!” shouted Testosterone. Penis was defeated and went to sulked in the darkness.

Reason approved. “To become Dovahkiin, slayer of Alduin, savior of Skyrim.” I pumped harder. Reason said, “Unless your heart explodes.”

Workout Goals

Reach 170 lbs primarily through cardio and healthy eating, doing strength training two to four times a week. While previously assumed impossible, I’m pretty sure 170 is achievable. I can do this in 10 weeks healthily.

Buy a shield and mace when I reach 170 as a reward. Also, start learning to use them in order to prepare for the coming zombie apocalypse (a mace doesn’t run out of ammo), as strength training, and to really strive for the Dovahkiin vibe.

Begin muscle training. I’ll do cardio three times a week, muscle training at least four times a week, and I’ll be drinking meat milk.

Ideal end weight: 190 lbs (where I am now, but instead of it being in my belly, it’s like on my arms, legs, chest, etc., and looks all ripped and muscley.)

What Floor?

Joel and I got in the elevator. He asked, “What floor were we on?” I did some math. That morning we got on the elevator with a gorgeous blond woman. She had to stop at floor three, which was two floors below where we started. That would mean we were on floor five.

“Five. Hot chick got off two floors below us, at three.”


“You don’t remember? The blond? Like a foot taller than me?” I pushed the button for five.

“No, I remember, but that’s seriously how you figured it out? I just remembered we were two from the top floor.”

“That does take significantly less math.”

“Paul, what would you do if there weren’t any hot chicks?”

The doors dinged opened, “I’d weep, Joel. I’d cry great tears of sorrow. And I would have no idea where I’m going.”

One Ring and Ragnarok Begins

You can't make this crap up.

You can’t make this crap up.

I don’t know if anyone has seen this. Usually we look at science fiction and say “The prophet has spoken!” But now we have fantasy writers and mythologies coming to truth. Let us first gaze upon the great Tolkien.

This woman found the One Ring. Sure it doesn’t quite look the same, but something gets lost in the translation when it’s been over two thousand years since the Ring was last seen. Peter Jackson got the details wrong. Tolkien wasn’t here to warn us directly. But he tried. So did Frodo actually throw it in the volcano all those years ago? Is history about to repeat itself? She already finds herself pulled to it. Already, it’s difficult to give up this treasure. Surely, we shall find her in a cave, screaming “Precious,” and eating raw fish and anyone who happens by on accident. We now have a very tragic tale.

The other bit of news is Ragnarok started February 22nd. There were no large wars. The skies didn’t light up in disarray. Surt has yet to come down and light the world ablaze, aside from two humans, man and woman, and a fist full of gods who no one cares about. However, I refuse to think they were entirely wrong.

If you’re a Vikings fan, or even someone who watches the NFL, basically Valhalla was blown up. Think on that. The day after Ragnarok begins, we destroy the home of vikings.

Now when the Mayan calendar came around to its end, it felt like the end of the world. But a man should only put down so much alcohol, cake, and Skittles in a night.

What have you seen that mimics the fantasy realm? What are some of the cool coincidences in the world that you just look at, dumbfounded, and think “You can’t make this up”?