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SLAM! Five Short Poems About Love

TIMING

Listen close because I mean no disrespect,
But falsehood caused the inhibition in my head.
I failed to see your value and your worth when we were young.
I’d never call, it’d never work was what I thought.

I had this idea that if my girl was real it just couldn’t be you.
I’d share this strange thought but some did not believe it to be true.
In youth we make mistakes and I’ve made many,
The one I don’t regret was this one above any.

To think we weren’t right was wrong,
But to know it was the wrong time at least was not.
It took a summer at a job to know the true you that I love,
Not the casualty of life in years before when all I knew
was nothing but a shadow on the wall.

I fell in love with you for who you are
Not the one I thought you were before.
And now I love you more than ever, forevermore.

ENGAGED

Once upon a quiet August day I pondered at the possible.
The improbable thought that the radically obtuse idea maker in my head
Could comprehend the unlikeliness of the event
That you may gauge my current state
And sublimate my solidness to evaporative gaseousness
And water vapors, from sighs of admiration
And proclaim as your domain my heart and my last name

The tremors in my voice could speak more than words
But as the sentence flowed, cascading through my vocal cords
And pouring out onto the dry and thirsty earth,
You picked your own and you said yes.

All the statistical analysis and cataclysmic calculations
Did not predict our situation, a perfect match so unlikely
That the world would envy our declaration of love and dedication.

WEDDING DAY

The foam of the sea bled through the pebbles and stones
Pushing and pulling the tide moved through the shore

The chairs lined the beach decorated with bows
And flowers adorned both the aisles and the rows

The wind kissed the sand and the sun cast its light
On the day we were wed we had no hitch in the slight.

When I took my place at altar, I paid no heed to the crowd
My eyes set to the hills where upon you would come down.

At last a white dress shining brighter than gold
Came down to the beach and though not within reach
I could feel your heart very near to my own.

Each step that you took brought us closer together
And each breath that you took, would be mine now and forever.

I promised my life and you promised yours too
United as one, man and wife weren’t two.

BOSTON

Desperate times and desperate measures
Nonspecific outcomes based on catalytic decision making

It’s an unforgiving poor rendition of the live we choose to live in
If we don’t accept to opt for future solid stability

We can only make the best of what we get
Lest we decide to fret and fail to place a bet on sure pay.

But that was then and now we look back,
And we wouldn’t have it any different.

Maybe we would but that’s beside the fact
That our path has grown us, transformed us,
Inspired us and required us
To lean not on our understanding of what we once thought was the live that we wanted
But to live life as it came as though that’s how we planned it.

LOSS

There is no one to blame for the events that transpired
No culprit for crimes that will be left unsolved
Those ten hours we spent, quietly sobbing in pain
To be told that there’s nothing that we could’ve done
To refrain from the loss of the life we had made.

Those long nights we spent hoping this feeling would end
But it only got worse.

Yet together we strived and we fought through the tears
And the fears that this nightmare was real
And we’d never wake up.

Today we can look back on that time,
And although we can’t understand why it happened
We know that it wasn’t for nothing.
We’re stronger together and that’s gotta be worth something.
We suffered a loss but we gained understanding.

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“Who we are in the present includes who we were in the past.”

Today I finished the dreaded 8 exam block of dental school. For the last two weeks I’ve had to take a test almost every weekday and today it finally ended. It was such a great feeling leaving that room and actually feeling like I accomplished something.

Times like this remind me of the steps I’ve had to take to get where I am today, and I am fortunate enough to be able to pinpoint a crucial time in my education where the world didn’t seem so big, and anything seemed possible if I just tried hard enough. That time was the first year I was in the United States. In 2000, my family moved to California from Peru and I didn’t speak a lick of English. When I started school, I was placed in a special program for English as a second language, but it wasn’t very helpful considering the school I attended was primarily Hispanic so I never had to use English outside of talking with my tutor, who by the way was from Africa and had trouble speaking English himself.

I was afraid I would never learn English. The thought alone of relearning every word in my tiny brain in another language was daunting and it made me really scared. My parents didn’t really help much, since they didn’t know English and they constantly reminded me that if I didn’t learn English I would not be able to do much in life. Such is the life of an immigrant family and it was their way of encouraging me to succeed.

The educational system wasn’t completely useless however, and out of all of the people that tried to teach me English, one succeeded without even trying. That person was Mr. Rogers. The very first morning after moving to California I remember waking up before anyone else due to the excitement of being in a brand new and strange place, and turning on the TV. I was welcomed by the flamboyant embrace of the Teletubbies on PBS. These giant colorful characters had two catchphrases if that, but they kept me entertained since there was nothing else for kids to watch that early in the morning. For the weeks to follow I would continue to get up early to watch them jump around, get messy with their custard, and watch kids clean their room or make crafts on the television sets in their bellies. It was unusual for a kid my age (I was 9 at the time) to be watching Teletubbies, but the fact that they didn’t speak made it easy to understand.

When school started, I had to get up even earlier, and I would have the TV on while I got ready so I could catch the Teletubbies on TV at 6:00AM. The program that preceded the Teletubbies was Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. At first I couldn’t understand much of what Mr. Rogers was saying, but as I kept watching every morning, I understood more and more. He spoke slowly and intently, always pausing before he started another sentence. He took his time to explain what he was doing and always let the other characters finish talking before he said anything. He was kind and welcoming, and I felt the care and charisma he so perfectly portrayed. I felt like an actual guest in his home, I never felt rushed to learn like I would when I worked with my tutor, and I never felt pressured like I would by my parents. Mr. Rogers made it possible for me to learn English not only because of how he ran the show, but eventually when I was able to understand what his show was about, he made me realize that it was possible for me to learn English because I had put my mind and heart to it. He validated my fear of never being able to learn English well, because feeling afraid is a real emotion, yet he taught me not to be defined by my fear but rather by how I handle myself when I’m afraid.

I also remember that for many years I was embarrassed of the fact that I watched the Teletubbies until I was about 11. Whenever it came up in conversation I would always reluctantly share the experience but it wasn’t something I was particularly proud of. It wasn’t until after I watched the video I have linked in this post that I felt proud of those mornings. Mr. Rogers fought tooth and nail to keep that type of programming available to all kids like me. Whether it was the Teletubbies, Arthur, Barney or his own show, he knew that educational programming was indispensable when it came to the development of young minds. He knew that with the amount of saturation and impact that “Saturday morning cartoons” had, there had to be alternative programs that would not bombard the mind, but nurture it and help it grow.

Mr. Rogers died on a Thursday while I was in middle school, and I remember sitting in my room watching the evening news and crying. Today I am who I am, partly due to the passion that Mr. Rogers had for education, and I will be forever grateful for his dedication and love for kids like me.

Entertaining Angels

A little while ago a friend and I were walking to school from the bus stop, a journey which takes us through Downtown Boston. Along the way we get stopped by a middle aged black woman who asks us for change so she could get something to eat. I typically don’t carry any type of cash on me so I apologetically told her that I couldn’t spot her any money. She then asked if maybe we could buy her some food because she was very hungry. This turned out to be a better situation, I thought, since often when I give people my change I’m afraid of what they’re really going to do with the money, considering one can find a free meal just about anywhere if you look hard enough (churches, homeless shelters, etc).

 

From where we were standing I could see a 7-11 up ahead so I start walking in that direction. A couple of bucks goes a long way at 7-11. She gets ahead of me and thanks me for my act of kindness and I tell her it’s no big deal and that I was just glad she was going to get some food. Suddenly she switches directions and crosses the street to a restaurant that I had never been to before called UDG. She says she can’t have any processed stuff because it’s bad for her, and she would rather have a salad. Again, I tell her it’s no big deal and that I’m just glad that she is looking out for her health. I could not expect what came next. She orders a custom salad, and decides to add the two most expensive toppings on the menu, avocadoes and salmon. I stood a little shell shocked at the shamelessness with which this lady was ordering, as if this was an every day type of thing.

 

By this point she has completely disregarded my presence and she continues to pile toppings on her salad, which after completion is taken to the register. At the register, she continues to shock me by adding a muffin and an orange juice to her order, all of which comes to a whopping $20 and change. I could have easily told her that there was no way I could afford that much. I could have told her that beggars can’t be choosers and that I would get her the salad and that was it. But I didn’t. I was instantly reminded of one of the most heartwarming and moving stories I have ever read, “Today you, tomorrow me.”

 

For those of you unfamiliar with this story, I have copied and pasted from Reddit. It was posted by the user /u/rhoner in response to a question about picking up hitch hikers.

 

Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn’t too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people’s cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn’t loan them out “for my safety” but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like “this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn’t careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Fuck.

No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand but he wouldn’t take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best fucking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by.

Wow…

But we aren’t done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My fucking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won’t take it. All I can think to say is “Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor” with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best fucking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”

 

On that day, it was that lady’s day. She was in need. And hell even if she was just trying to scam someone for a free meal, she wouldn’t be doing it (or at least I hope she wouldn’t) if she was financially stable. Although I am up to my neck in student loans, I knew I could feasibly cut back certain daily expenses to be able to afford this lady a proper meal. It may have stung a little then, but looking back, I wouldn’t change how that day played out.

 

That day her, tomorrow me.

The Ballad of Bilar

This is a short story arranged to fit the music from the album “LP4” by Ratatat (Spotify Album).

Bilar

Foggy morning in December. All is quiet on the surface of the water, the towering beam of light in the distance conducting the parade of ships as they sail into the harbor.

From within the embrace of the shadows a lowly mast emerges, non-menacingly caressing the sea as it glides into its dock.

A dark and mysterious figure exits the vessel, whimsically flaunting his stride left and right, carelessly serenading the wind with a chorus of his own whistling. The keys on his hip jingle along, clinking against the metal plate on his pants and a loaded six shooter shimmering and reflecting the light of the streetlamps he passes when walking onto the lonely pierside road. He enters a dimly lit tavern with intent and persuades the bar keeper to give him a drink on a wish and a promise. He has been waiting for this night and travelled a great distance to meet her. He had imagined it differently, all different with the exception of the coquette smirk welcoming him across the bar. Quickly he finishes his drink, turning his glass upside down onto the stained wood surface and adding his ring to the many.

This night is his night, there are no second chances, no act twos, no intermission and no option to fail. Not tonight. He pays no heed to the chatter of the bar flies, permanently perched upon the proverbial fountain of youth, sucking down the sweet nectar that will soon kill them from inside.

Drugs

In his younger days he would have taken it much slower. He would have flirted with the girl with his eyes before a sound crossed the threshold of his lips. But tonight was not about the game, but the endgame. The boards under his feet creak and cry with every one of his perfectly placed steps. Swiftly he bobs and weaves between tables and stools and sits himself next to her.

He didn’t need to say anything. She was expecting him. With one hand she brushes her hair away from her face and with the other grabs his. Her touch was intoxicating and he became entranced in the mind altering euphoria of his expectations. A rush of adrenaline shoots across his veins until the surge was palpable. He firmly grasps her hand and pulls her away form the flies and the keeper, saving her from the inexplicably dull live she had so craftily created for herself since she left her husband’s home.

Into the night they go, he in front of her guiding her through the unknown and the mundane. They make their way  through the cobblestoned streets, stumbling upon a horse that had been tied to a post by the postmaster’s  station. He lifts her in one fell swoop and together they ride into the woods at the edge of town. Behind them they leave their inhibitions, scattered among the clouds of dust being kicked up by the powerful gallop of their beast.

Neckbrace

As romantic as the encounter may have seemed, the intentions of the man with the plan were anything but. With the most carefully orchestrated charade he had made promises of love and passion to more than one, and tonight one had answered his call. With this one he rode through the woods down a winding path kicking up the dead leaves that posthumously provided precious nutrients to the flora and fauna of the forest floor.

In what seemed like no time at all they arrive at the doorstep of a cabin at the edge of the mountainside. He throws open the clumsily hinged door, nearly undoing the shoddy craftsmanship. He carries her to the bedroom and instructs her to wait while he gathers wood for the fireplace which sat covered in soot in the corner of the room.

As he exits the cabin alone, another rush of adrenaline bursts through the floodgates of his brain, bathing it, forcefully fueling his fire for violence. From behind his back he draws a meticulously cleaned dagger. He makes eye contact with himself in the reflection of the blade. He indulges himself in his skill and his craft. Were there any loose ends? No. There couldn’t be. This was not his first time, and if history repeats itself he would get away with it again.

When he returns inside, the shriek that bursts through the chimney is carried by the birds that explode from the tree tops. In their wake a wave of blood splatters the windows of the cabin. A bellowing gust invites a blanket of snow as it descends upon the canopy of evergreens.

We Can’t Be Stopped

The smoldering fire crackles through the wood and illuminates the room, it’s light soon dwarfed by the morning sun creeping through the branches and bathing the forest. The man basks in his prize, making sure that no drop goes to waste. This creature, more animal than man, engorges himself in the essence of the young maiden. Her blood hastily painted upon his grin. Her remains charred by the consuming flames. He goes on to live another day.

Since the curse fell upon him he has not had a moment of rest. In his younger days he gambled with his soul, and in his desire for life he traded it to the damned for a taste of eternity. Soon he found himself feeble and weak, unable to enjoy the everlasting life he had been given. Through an act of misfortune he found that the blood of an innocent would thwart his agony, and although the intentions of the curse were to deter the man from immortality and for him to wish death upon himself, thereby making an example of him to any who likewise sought eternal life, he grew to find delight in his pursuit for sustenance.

When his desire to live overcame his desire for life, the voices in his head fell silent, and he killed so that he may not die.

Bob Ghandi

A sudden pounding in his chest shakes the man from his trance. A pounding much unlike the kind he gets before a feast, it is the kind the comes before a storm. Not a pounding of expectation but of fear. Never did he think he would feel this way again.

Quickly he draws his revolver and checks the contents of the chambers. All are loaded, all are ready. A thunderous boom unhinges the door and hurls it against the back wall. Had the man known who the woman was whose blood he had consumed, he would have rather chosen death. Alas the deed was done and through the doorway burst the ruler of the damned, armed to the teeth with precious metals.

“Where is she?” he roared at the man, “where is Persephone?”

The man had never been too good with words and rather than attempt a swift escape he pulled the trigger thrice, each bullet cut through the crisp winter air like a hot knife through butter.  They attempted to pierce the armor of the metalclad fiend but to no avail, his armor absorbing each hit and repurposing  the silver as medals on his chest plate.

“It would not be wise for you to try to run away Bilar, it seems as though you’ve feasted  one last time at my table.”

Paying little attention to his adversary the man called Bilar musters every ounce of force in his being and propels himself through the ceiling and the roof of the cabin sending splinters across the forest. His descent is met by tangling vines of muck sprouting from the ground like tentacles.  The vines absorb him and pull him into a gaping black hole in the ground, and Bilar falls into a deep slumber. Darkness.

Mandi

Bilar batted his eyelids at the intense light that shined through into his eyes. He had no recollection of what had occurred and in a haze of confusion he  focused in on a familiar setting. A tavern not unlike the one he had been in the night before materialized before him, and across the bar a young maiden sat, sipping at a half drank chalice.

“Excuse me miss,” he found himself asking her “can you tell me where I can find an inn for the night?” Before she could open her lips to reply their eyes met and for an instant they exchanged more than words could say, a moment still, discontinuing the continuum of space and time. Like flint to iron the sparks flew in a colorful array, splashing onto open glasses and closed minds.

He hadn’t much experience then in the ways of courting a lady but with her it was different, with her it was easy. “Miss, if you don’t mind me asking, could I sit with you a while?” It was as though he knew everything she was going to say before she said it, so he spoke through her responses without waiting. Every word felt like an embrace in her ears, gently holding her with each new syllable. In total disbelief she accepted his advances and together they spent the evening, exchanging stories by the light of a kerosene lamp in a dusty tavern.

Mahalo

As the years went by Bilar grew bored. Bored of his job, his love and his life. Outraged by the lackluster plaster façade of his being, he burned bridges with friends and became a daredevil of sorts. Some may have confused his endeavors with adventure but to him it was simply the possibility of death that fueled his passion for mischief. One fateful night some equally bored but half as intrepid men of wealth dared him to jump from atop of a bridge into the freezing cold waters of a merciless river. The bet was simple, if he lived he would receive his weight in gold and if he died they would raise a statue in his name with a plaque that read: “The Most Fearless Man That Ever Lived and Died.”

It was a win-win. Had he died he would be remembered not as a bore, but a hero. But he didn’t die. Upon his decent he knew his fate. He could almost feel his vertebrae collapsing within his spine and his limbs being torn from their sockets by the pounding pressure of the water. With all intent he wished that he may live, no matter the price.

His mind went dark. A pillar of salt erupted from the blackness and perched on top was a vulture. It’s eyes gleaming bright red and its beak oozing with gore. From underneath its tattered wing a hand stretched out, holding out its palm. An amorphous blue plasma pooled on its palm and it rose as an orb hovering above. It opened its beak and from within came an ominous hum, oscillating slowly, then rapidly, slowly, then rapidly.  Bilar knew what it wanted. It wanted his soul, and considering his fate he took its offer and reached out for the orb. Just then a could rush of water threw him into consciousness and he sank deep until he reached the riverbed. He could see the water rushing past him above, branches and rocks whizzing by nearly striking him. He could hear the men by the shore laughing at his misfortune.

He didn’t surface to claim his gold. Instead he wandered along the riverbed, treading through forests of algae. Slowly he made his way home.

Party With Children

Mandi knew her husband had changed. He had not said a word but his stare had grown cold and his embrace just the same. His words were more of a strike than a hug, and his mind always elsewhere. “Perhaps sickness,” she thought,” was the cause of his illness.” He felt impotent and powerless,  not being able to eat daily or go to sleep nightly. He became angry and passionless, constantly  exploding in rage at poor Mandi, constantly leaving her battered and bruised.

One day, Mandi could take his offenses no more. She knew if she stayed with him he would soon kill her, but would rather not stay to find out if she was right. She packed a small satchel with food and some clothes, but hardly made it to the door before being confronted by him. The love that once burned as bright as the sun was nothing but embers now, and in its death a black hole had replaced the star, consuming the very depths of the empty vessel that was once occupied by his soul. He grabbed her by the neck, perfectly molding his fingers around her flesh, and lifted her. “This will teach you not to run from me,” he wailed, and although his intentions were simply to frighten her, a sudden snap of her neck put her to rest at last.

Sorrow overcame him. Whatever light was still within him dimly lit his heart like the kerosene lamp of the old dusty tavern. He knew he had become a monster since the day he traded his soul for his life. Yet suddenly a festering feeling trampled over his remorse and in his head he only felt one thing, hunger. And so he feasted. For the first time since that night in the river he felt alive again. The bags under his eyes stretched out and the flailing muscles on his limbs grew bulk. He loved it.

Had he not been a monster before, he was one now. Then, darkness.

SunBlocks

Bilar batted his eyelids once more at the intense light that shined through into his eyes. Back in the tavern he was, staring into the glass. Everything was too familiar. “Excuse me sir,” a young lady asked, “do you mind if I sit with you a while?” “Mandi,” he thought, “but how do I know her name?” Despite his confusion Bilar and Mandi sat once more and exchanged the same stories. And because history repeats itself, they fell in love again.

Through the years Bilar noticed himself mechanically conforming to an idea of himself that he had somehow expected. He grew bored again. Bored of his job, his love and his life. He found himself at the ledge of a bridge one night while a crowd of sharply dressed men waved by the shore of the river running underneath. He had no idea how his life had summed up to this moment, but he didn’t care. With one step into the nothingness he fell and in his suspension he felt a rush of adrenaline fill his veins, the kind of rush you feel before a storm. He was afraid of death, but a sudden realization prevented him from wishing to live at whatever cost. Suddenly he remembered, remembered it all. The deal, the fall, the afterlife, the sound of Mandi’s neck as it broke, the warmth of her blood as it flowed down his throat. He realized that for some reason he had been given a second chance, a chance to do it all over again and do it right.

He let himself fall into the water and the current ripped through him, thrashing him against the rocks. He welcomed each strike knowing that he would not let himself become the monster that would claim the life of his love. Then, darkness.

Bare Feast

This time when Bilar batted his eyelids, he wasn’t in the tavern. There was no drink, and there was no bar. He was lying in a bed, staring at the wood panels of a ceiling he didn’t recognize. Beside him was Mandi, sleeping on a chair by the bed. “Mandi,” he cried out.

“You’re awake!” she replied with a sigh of relief. She had not moved from his side since he had been found along the shores of the river. He had been mangled by the river, completely battered and bruised beyond recognition. She tended to him day and night and finally he broke through the coma.

They lived happily for many years and they had many children. He never grew bored again and was constantly reminded of the fact that he didn’t deserve this second chance. Instead he grew old and eventually Mandi fell ill to consumption and was buried in a field on the outskirts of town. Like some cruel joke, Bilar outlived his children as well and buried them all next to their mother. With each of their deaths Bilar buried himself deeper and deeper into depression until it crippled him to the point of catatonia.

He wished nothing more than to die to finally be with his wife and his children, but he couldn’t. He laid on his bed, an old feeble man, staring up at the wood panels, and sobbed until his eyes were raw and his throat was dry.  Then, darkness.

Grape Juice City

Looking down onto his hand Bilar realizes he had not aged at all. “Had it all been a dream?”

The night was foggy and cold and he  stood on a dock by a sailboat. He began to walk but could not see ahead through the clouds. It was as though the dock went on forever. Bilar picks up the pace and starts running down the dock, almost snapping the boards beneath him with the intensity of his stride. He dares not dive into the water, fearing that he would not be able to resurface given his experience with water.

As he is running he hears the chirping of birds in every direction. Winged shadows emerge through the fog and pelt Bilar as they pass, each one slicing through his clothes and cutting through his skin. Bilar tries to bat them but to no avail, then suddenly he draws his blade from behind his back and the birds grow silent. With one forceful flap of their wings, the birds clear the air around Bilar, revealing their true number. Hundreds of birds perched in the emptiness of the air, look down at Bilar with judging eyes.

Bilar stares back into their eyes, almost recognizing each bird he sees. Their eyes are warm unlike the eyes of a bird. The eyes belong to the many Bilar has consumed. He knows this and so the adrenaline strikes again. The storm. The birds swarm around bilar, closing in, hoping to catch a glimpse of the fear on his face. Slowly they tear at his flesh, shredding him from head to toe. Blood pools beneath him and his jaw, no longer supported by his face, hinges from one end. His bones slowly give up under him and he collapses on the dock. “I’m sorry! I am so sorry! Please, make it stop! I don’t want this anymore!” cries Bilar in defeat.

But the birds do not stop. Then, darkness.

Alps

Bilar is standing at the edge of a mountainside in front of a door to a cabin in the woods. He is staring at his dagger that he had meticulously  cleaned for this night. Feeding nights are hard to come by since word spread of his existence. Many families have locked their daughters in their homes so that they do not succumb to his rampage.

This time when Bilar awakes he sees his reflection in the blade and he is shaken by the thing staring back at him. He is not the man he used to be, if man at all. He is a monster, a creature of the night. The bridge. The birds. He didn’t know what was real anymore. Does history repeat itself? If he consumes the woman in the cabin will he have to endure it all once more?

“Mandi.”

Before his feeling of hunger could overcome him once more, he swiftly draws his revolver.

“I wish to die, no matter the price.”

He pulls the trigger thrice, painting the door red. The birds in the trees stay put, witnessing the spectacle. From above the night sky, a single bird hovers over Bilar, a dark vulture waiting for his dinner.

And so the curse is finished.

The Sounds of Animals Fighting – Chapter 1

So I found this short story I started a couple of years ago. I though I would share the first chapter.

Chapter 1

School’s Back From Summer

The world seemed so much smaller just last week, but it always does around this time of year. Penelope entered the threshold of the solid steel doors into a controlled chaos of colors and district approved charts. The carpet was a gray shade of purple with stains from years past of crayons and bubble gum. The swarm of butterflies in Penelope’s stomach was getting more and more aggravated with every step she took and every glance and smile she received from the other kids in the class. She had promised her mom that she would be perfectly fine; after all, Skyler was in her class. She couldn’t let her mom down by running home now. For her age, Penelope was a very particular little girl. She loved the smell of clean laundry and she hated when people mentioned the San Francisco Giants. She secretly hated the color pink, but she knew that if she voiced her opinion not only would she be ousted by a congress of her peers but she would have to get a new wardrobe and a job to go with it since her family had imagined her loving pink since the day she was born. Her room was pink, her sheets were pink, even the hair-clip that so clumsily held her bangs from shielding her eyes from the stares of strangers in the overly pink classroom was pink. Penelope figured that she only needed to pretend to like pink until she was too old to receive free things from her mom.

“Hi antelopee!” cried a roarous voice across the room. Penelope recognized that voice. Lionel Woodard: neighborhood child-king. His parents had moved from a city north of Redlands into the suburbs of Beaumont only two months prior but somehow he had managed to gain and maintain the respect of the kids in the neighborhood. Every summer morning Jason Bloomenshine and Sebastian Hernandez would wait for him to come to his door. By the end of the first month Lionel had trained them not to ring the doorbell because it may upset him if it woke him up. They had to wait at his doorstep, as planned of course, until Lionel stepped out. Lionel, as clever as he is, gave his gang nicknames. Jason was Blue Jay, Sebastian was Heron, and he of course was Lion. To the annoyance of Penelope however, Lionel had decided to give her a nickname too. Antelopee. She despised every syllable in that nickname individually.

“Don’t pay attention to him,” nudged Skyler, “come sit by me!”

“I hope he gets kicked out of school. I don’t really see him as a school type; he seems more of a garbage man type.”

Penelope felt relieved that her only hope to sanity on this dreadful day was there. She and Skyler had been friends since they can remember. Their families had lived in the same neighborhood their whole lives so they knew everyone that had come and gone through it during that time. Of all the people they had seen and met, they disliked Lionel the most.

Before Lionel had shown up, Jason and Sebastian were really good friends with the girls. They all spent summer afternoons playing baseball by the pool and drinking lemonade out of old Coca Cola bottles. It all changed when Lionel showed up. Maybe it was resentment for the loss of her friends, or maybe it was how meticulously Lionel planned every annoyance towards her, but Penelope knew that she would never ever like Lionel, and so it was.

Over the years the situation wouldn’t get any better. Lionel would go on to kill Penelope’s dog halfway through sophomore year in high school, a feat that would put him in juvenile hall for six months. He tried to convince everyone it was an accident. It was an accident, but no one believed poor Lionel after all the things he had done.

“Jackson Clark.”

“Right here!”

“Astrid Jones.”

“Present!”

“Vang schiongpong…schingponch…ong.”

“Songponopochong.”

“Is that you then?”

As if his name wasn’t threatening enough, Vang Songponopochong stood at the doorway with only one strap of his backpack around his left shoulder and a live chicken in his right arm. The look of bewilderment on the chicken’s face was nothing compared to the look on Miss Penny’s face.

“Young man, the fourth grade is no place for a live chicken! You need to call your parents to come pick this up immediately!”

“Can’t.”

“Well why not?”

“Cause. They gonna eat him.”

“Well it’s a chicken. We can’t have a chicken in this classroom. If you don’t call your father right away I will make sure the principal has a meeting with him after school.”

“His name’s Mike.”

“Well Mike Shongpingpongchong is going to meet with Dr. Vernon after school and that’s that. Goodness gracious, bringing a chicken to school. I don’t know what kind of education they’re giving where you’re from but here at Margaret Tha…”

“The chicken’s name is Mike. It’s not just a chicken, he has a name.”

“Mike is not a good name for a chicken, that’s a person’s name.”

“Penny is not a good name for a person, that’s a chicken’s name.”

The whole class sat silent. Not a single word was said and not a single glance was exchanged. All eyes and ears were glued to the impending doom of Vang Songponopochong. Perhaps it was the frustration of having to return to a thankless job for one more year. Perhaps it was the years of spousal abuse hiding behind heavy makeup and stories about shower doors. Or perhaps it was the countless fruitless psychiatric meetings at an attempt to cope with an alcoholic father and an impotent mother. At that moment, a cerebral pressure valve erupted and the impulse traveled down Miss Penny’s bruised arms and struck Vang Songponopochong across the cheek. The slap resonated across the desks, a vibration only comparable to the vocal chords of Miss Penny’s 4th grade class as they gasped in unison and disbelief.

Vang stood motionless as Miss Penny fell to the ground in a quiet sob. He looked down upon her with towering eminence. Startled by the incident Mike jerked himself free from Vang’s arm and hopped onto Penelope’s desk. To her amazement, chickens are much more frightening up close and alive than dead in the freezer. She shrieked in panic, which sent the entire classroom into chaos. Mike spread his wings and hopped from desk to desk, visually and audibly assaulting every kid in his path. With all the commotion, no one had noticed that Vang had stepped out of the classroom. He casually strolled to Principal Vernon’s office. Teachers and students began pouring out of classrooms trying to identify the source of all the screaming and clucking but Vang paid no attention to them. When he got to the principal’s office, the door jolted open and there stood Principal Vernon, the youngest principal to ever set foot at Margaret Thatcher Elementary School. In his constant worry of seeming amicable he constantly wore tacky ties, which in his opinion were good conversation starters. He also never matched his socks so that when he walked, children found him less threatening. That day he was wearing a bright red sock he had received in a pack of socks the previous Christmas and a white sock polka-dotted with faces of elephant seals.

“Go back to your class..uh…what’s your name son?”

“Vang Songponopochong.”

“Ok…Vang, let’s go back to your class.”

Principal Vernon power-walked his way down the hall, glancing into the windows of classroom doors trying to determine where the noise was coming from. Vang followed closely, also looking into the classroom windows, trying to capture the size and complexity of his new school.

“Mike got loose in Miss Penny’s class.”

“What? Who’s Mike?”

“Mike is a chicken.”

“A chicken? Feathered bird chicken?”

“Yes.”

“What is a chicken doing in the school?”

“He was gonna turn into food, so I rescued him.”

“You brought a live chicken to school?”

“Yes.”

“And where is Miss Penny?”

“Crying.”

“Why is she crying?”

“She hit me.”

Principal Vernon froze midstride and looked down to find Vang staring back at him with a slightly red palm imprint on his right cheek.

“Miss Penny hit you?”

“Yes.”

“What for?”

“Because she didn’t like that her name was the name of a chicken.”

“I thought you said the chicken’s name was Mike?”

“It is Mike.”

“So is Miss Penny’s name Mike too then?”

“No. Miss Penny’s name is Penny. That’s a chicken’s name not a people’s name.”

“And she got mad that you said that to her?”

“Yes.”

“And then she hit you.”

“Yes.”

“I find that really hard to believe. Let’s go see your teacher.”

Once more they powerwalked down the hall, this time ignoring all the classroom windows, filled with peeping eyes and pressed noses. When they got to Miss Penny’s class, they found Miss Penny beginning her lesson for the day, writing on the board.

“Miss Penny, sorry to interrupt, but it has come to my attention that there has been an incident in your classroom?”

Miss Penny looked surprised. She had been an excellent liar all of her life, a coping mechanism she constructed to be able to escape the reality of her miserable life. Her charming blue eyes and coquette messy curly red hair made a great compliment to her slim physique and flauntingly mischievous smile. She glanced at Principal Vernon and began her theatrical performance.

“Class, what do we say when Principal Vernon comes in?”

“Good morning Principal Vernon,” exhaled the class. One could almost smell the fear in their breaths, matching the look in their eyes, filled with desire for the day to be finally over.

“Can I help you with something Principal Vernon?”

“Yes…do you mind if we step outside for a second?”

“Not at all. Class, Principal Vernon and I need to have a word outside. Penelope, you’re in charge while we’re outside. Vang, you stay here while the adults talk, have a seat wherever you like.

Now what can I do for you Roger?”

“Penny, did you hit Vang?”

“Did he tell you that?”

“Yes. He came into my office, said something about bringing a chicken into your class and after an exchange of words you hit him.”

“Well he is lying. It’s true that he brought a chicken. That much is true. We did exchange words and then that beast started kicking and screaming. Fucking savages.”

“Chickens?”

“Yes, chickens.”

“Well why would Vang accuse you of hitting him?”

“Are we seriously having this conversation right now? The kid just showed up to my class today. He’s new. He’s probably dealing with a lot of anxiety and stress and god knows what goes on at home considering his father seems to butcher live animals in front of his children on the dinner table. He did it to seek attention.”

“So if I ask any of the students to corroborate on this issue you wouldn’t have a problem with that?”

“Like I said, the kids went through a very traumatic experience. They are in no position to be corroborating on anything.”

“Ok. I’m going to trust you on this one Penny. By the way, where is the chicken now?”

“How would I know? With all the commotion the damn thing must have walked out the door.”

“Ok. Thanks Penny.”

“Thank you Roger, I know you’re just doing your job, now let me do mine.”

Miss Penny had had a romantic interest in Principal Vernon the year he started working at Margaret Thatcher Elementary School. Whenever there was a school function she would volunteer as a chaperone because she knew that he had to be there. Little did she know that her efforts were in vain. Principle Vernon was not only 10 years younger than her, but he was also a closet homosexual. Her advances made him so uncomfortable that he began to wear a wedding ring and soon after, and much to his relief, she discontinued her pursuit.

The class sat silent. The unpleasantness of the morning had left a bitter taste in Miss Penny’s mouth. She walked to her desk and sat down, staring at a pile of ungraded pop quizzes from the year before.

“Mister Woodard. Would you be so kind as to sit up or do you want to be the first in your class with a hunchback?”

Lionel shot up onto his chair, his back perfectly aligned to the contours of the chair.

“Thank you. Now class, I would like to apologize for whatever it is you think you saw this morning. I’m sure we were all a little surprised by Vang’s pet chicken running amuck but everyone deserves a second chance, so let’s all give Vang here a second chance. Vang, is there anything you would like to say to the class?”

“Where is Mike?”

“The chicken is gone. It flew out the window.”

Without hesitation, Vang jumped from his desk and sprinted across the classroom to an open window. Quickly he slithered through the narrow opening and out onto the lawn where he continued his stride.

“Young man get back in here right this instant! I’m going to call your father!” Miss Penny yelled.

“Can’t. He don’t have a phone,” shouted Vang as he sprinted across the football field.

Sweating the Small Stuff

Last Wednesday was a typical Wednesday. I get up at around 5, take a shower, eat some breakfast and catch the shuttle that takes me to Boston so I can get to school at around 7.

When I get to the shuttle stop, the shuttle bus I usually get on is full and pulling out so I have to resort to taking the shuttle van and I manage to get one of the last few seats. There are other people standing out in the cold who unfortunately were not able to get on. The driver of the van is not one I’ve met before and he pages his dispatch asking if there are any other shuttles coming. The guy sitting shotgun tells him that the next one isn’t for another 30 minutes and so the driver politely rolls down the window and informs the people outside that the next one isn’t coming for a little while and he apologizes. As people keep walking up to the stop, he feels the need to inform each and every one of them that his van is full, but that the next shuttle will arrive shortly.

The designated departure time had come and gone by now, not by much, but enough to make the passengers of the van feels uneasy that they were going to be a few minutes late to whatever job they have in the city. I found myself partaking in their irritability, muttering under my breath some dismay or other. Eventually he drives on, and gets on the expressway which takes us across a bridge into Boston, but to everyone’s continued annoyance, the driver is driving the speed limit. To those unfamiliar with Massachusetts driving, if you’re going the speed limit, you’re going too slow. The speed limit is more or less the suggested speed in case of bad weather or if you’re rubbernecking at a car on the shoulder. Most cars are going 10 to 15 MPH faster than the speed limit, as is the norm, but not our driver.

We arrive at downtown Boston about 8 minutes later than usual and lo and behold, the train most of us catch in downtown Boston is broken down due to weather conditions. Man was I irate. I felt cheated, like the world owed me something or like I was being taken advantage of. I then walked to school in 5 degree weather, uphill, in the snow, both ways, cursing my luck.

Since then I’ve had some time to reflect on how upset I was at things I had no control over for no particular reason. I remembered a chat I had with a camper a couple of years ago when I worked as a camp counselor. This camper, Bryce, was autistic and had a lot of trouble fitting in with the other kids so he spent a lot of time by himself. I made it my point to spend as much time with Bryce as I could, since he had been my camper the previous year. His counselor that year sought me out one day and asked me to have a talk with Bryce. Bryce didn’t want to leave his cabin because he felt inadequate. He felt like the other kids were better than him in some way and that he wasn’t as capable as the other kids. Our conversation went something like this:

“Why don’t you want to come outside Bryce, what’s the matter?”

“I don’t deserve to go outside. All the other kids have friends and have fun. I don’t have friends so I deserve to stay in here and be sorry for myself.”

“I’m your friend, don’t you want to come outside with me and have fun?”

“You have to be my friend, it’s your job, no one is my friend because they want to.”

“That’s not true, I’m not your counselor this year, I want to be your friend.”

“You’re just saying that so I don’t stay in my cabin, I don’t deserve to go outside, all the other kids can do so much more than me, they deserve to go outside.”

“Bryce do you how to dress yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know how to take a shower”

“Yes.”

“Can you climb the rock wall”

“Yes”

“Bryce do you know Aaron? The kid with Down Syndrome in my cabin?”

“Yes. The other kids make fun of him because he is special ed.”

“Yes him. Well he can’t dress himself, or take a shower by himself, or climb the rock wall.”

“So?”

“Well do you know where he is?”

“I don’t know.”

“He’s outside, having fun. You know why? Because even though he can’t do a lot of things, he deserves to have fun just like the rest of us. You can do so much more and you’re going to waste your time in this cabin?”

“Yes.”

“Well if you don’t go outside for yourself to have fun, go out there for Aaron, because if you are in here because you’re not good enough to be outside then you are saying that Aaron is not good enough and he should stay in his cabin. He can’t do a lot of things, and you can, but you would rather stay in here and waste your talents crying in your bunk instead of going outside. He can’t do a lot of things you can do, and the fact that you won’t do them is disrespectful to him because I know he wishes he could do half the things you can do. So you either go out there, and start noticing the stuff you can do rather than the things you can’t, or you stay in here and feel sorry for yourself while also being disrespectful to Aaron.”

“Okay.”

***

Maybe I was a little too upfront with Bryce, but I knew that he would understand what I said. Eventually he came out of his cabin, and I caught a glimpse of him giving Aaron a hug later that day. At dinner time he thanked me for making him realize that even if he thinks he’s not good enough, he has been blessed with much more than others and even if he feels sorry for himself, out of respect he should use those blessings to the best of his potential.

These last few days, reminiscing on Bryce and Aaron, I realized that I had burrowed myself in my anger, rather than counted the blessings around me. I am capable of patience, but chose to be impatient at the van driver. I am capable of walking, but chose to be irate at the broken down train. There are many that are emotionally unstable and not capable of handling anxiety, and there are those physically impaired that wish they could walk uphill, in the snow, both ways. If I sweat the small stuff rather than count my blessings and use them to their fullest, I will be no different than a sad kid, locked in a cabin, while everyone else is having fun at summer camp.

Why do you want to be dentist?

“Why do you want to be a dentist?”

This is arguably the most frequently asked question during a dental school interview. Lately I have been reassessing my feelings towards dentistry, now that I’ve had some time to become more involved in the didactic and clinical aspects of it and not just the idea of dentistry, or at least notions that I had based on third person experience. Fortunately, those ideas and notions have been reinforced, and ironically however, by the experience of others.

In dental school I have met a wide array of prospective dentists, with different dreams and ideals, who have helped me forge my dreams and ideals. There are those individuals who see dentistry as a lottery ticket. They’re desperately trying to get by because they know that the payout is big in the end. They work harder than most at times, not only to get by with their grades, but also to justify their pursuit with minor fruitfulness since they are following this career solely from a reward perspective. If I were striving for a dental degree because of the monetary compensation but lacked the passion for it to the point that learning about it and practicing it was like pulling teeth (pun totally intended), I would quit. There are easier ways of making money than shoving metal into people’s mouths and dropping $400k on a piece of paper I didn’t enjoy getting (talk about an expensive lottery ticket).

There are other people who try so hard to get straight A’s and do perfect preclinical work that they get lost in the attempt and in their struggle to learn, they forget to enjoy the uniqueness of their position in the grand scheme. The textbooks are their bible and the preclin is their chapel as they martyrize themselves for the sake of making the shortlist of glory and praise. I often fear that I may become that way, considering my attention to detail and anal retentiveness in regards to aesthetics, or lack thereof. However, when standing from a distance, the most minute details become much more than a flowchart, and they paint the picture of a person, clinically relevant and emotionally individualistic. At the end of the day, when a patient receives treatment, it won’t matter how many branches we memorized of the carotid artery, but how well we can extrapolate information, not trying to shove patients into prefabricated models, but adjusting and remodeling our models to fit the needs of our patients. The diagrams in the books and models on our benches are one dimensional, cold, and emotionless, and if our learning stops there, we will lack the humanness behind dentistry.

Why then do I want to be a dentist if not for the money or the knowledge and skill? Well, the answer is complicated, because it is about the money, the knowledge and skill, not for their own sake but for the opportunity they will grant me as a professional to make an impact in the lives of others. I legitimately want to help people, and always have. I could have been a mechanic and been happy if that meant I could have generated the greatest amount of happiness possible in a utilitarian sense of the word. I could have been happy shining shoes for that matter. Unfortunately, a sad truth about utility is that it tends to end when accounts reach zero (not that money means happiness, but rather money can yield access to utility). Dentistry provides me with a livelihood that I’m passionate about for it’s own sake, as well as monetary compensation that can be used to increase it’s utility manyfold. Not only is the service I’m providing beneficial for people as individuals, since their needs are being met not with cold one-dimensional molds but rather personalized care, but dentistry gives me an opportunity that perhaps a mechanic or shoeshiner would not have, and that is self sufficiency with an option for generosity. I can have enough for me and my own, as well as enough for many more.

Am I cheating my family by denying them luxuries? No. If I grant luxuries to some I’m denying bare necessities to others. Our lives are woven in the tapestry of humanity, and only by putting the needs of others above our own personal desires do we really appreciate the beauty of the human connection. That is why I want to be a dentist, so that I can be the best human I can possibly be, increasing the availability of universal utility, both with personal connections and with monetary aid, as well as self-fulfillment through work I’m passionate about.

The Salvaged Car

This week during bible study we touched on the subject of salvation, and this idea struck me.

Growing up, most cars my family owned had salvaged titles. Every couple of years, my dad would go with his friend Joe who is a mechanic to insurance car auctions to bid on cars that had gotten into accidents that deemed them not worthy of being repaired by insurance companies because the cost of repair was more than the value of the car.

Some of these cars were in pretty terrible conditions and were hardly worth their price in parts while others were just not fit to be registered under current conditions but after some moderate amount of work they could be up and running in no time. My dad would bid on one that wasn’t too beat up and would pay Joe to fix it up so that we could have it until the next batch of reject cars made their way to us.

Once the car was bought at the auction and registered with the DMV, it had to forever be branded with a big SALVAGE across the top of the title. This would warn potential buyers that the car they were considering had been either totalled or heavily damaged in the past.

Our lives are sort of like those cars. Out of the womb we come brand new and unblemished, but through the twists and turns of life we become battered and bruised, eventually crashing head on with the reality of sin. It’s an unavoidable fact of life that as humans we are not perfect nor holy, and we will commit crimes most foul against a perfect and holy God. We should end up in the grave, just as those totalled cars should end up in the junkyard. Fit only to be picked apart by worms and eaten away by moths.

However, there was a bidder long ago, who bid his own life for the sake of ours. He purchased us at auction, able to pay the ultimate price, and he himself can fix and remodel our lives, if we would just believe. If we choose to remain at auction, the only place we can end up is the grave, but if we accept his offer we can be forever changed.

Once we accept his sacrifice, our title will be changed from nothing to SALVAGE, forever. Salvaged by the only one capable to reconcile us to the Father. Salvaged by his grace and mercy. Salvaged not because of what we’ve done or by how desperately we have tried to fix our own damage but because he paid the full price for our lives and is at work in it, fixing and remodeling us.

The Lapel-Mounted Camera of Gyges

Obama calls for police to wear body cameras as part of $263m reform package 

Let’s think for a second.

Pretend there is a police agency which forces all of it’s officers to wear lapel-mounted cameras. In this agency there are two police officers: Officer A and Officer B. Officer A is a just officer. In and out of uniform he is a model citizen and protector, being beyond his character the ability to act unjustly. Officer B is quite the opposite. He is unjust and cannot act justly because it is not in his nature to act justly. On their first day on the job, they realize that their lapel-mounted cameras are malfunctioning.

What is stopping them both from using excessive force when apprehending a perp if no one is looking? Is it merely the fact that they will not be punished or is it because justice has value for its own sake, without the possibility of punishment present?

If justice is to have value onto itself, Officer A must continue to act justly, regardless of punishment or praise. Suppose that Officer B, acting unjustly, is praised for being just, since his unjust deeds are unbeknownst to the other members of the police agency or the public. He won’t turn down the praise because after all, treating an unjust act as a just one is one of the most unjust things that can be done, which is completely in the nature of Officer B. Similarly but conversely, suppose Officer A acts completely justly but is treated as though he is unjust. If justice is to have value for itself, Officer A must continue to act justly. How long can a person keep this up?

Unfortunately, it seems as though our police agencies have more Officer B’s than Officer A’s. That’s not to say that the police force is unjust, but in the absence of punishment or accountability, there is very little point to be virtuous or act justly since the actions that yield results will produce praise of being just, which is in it of itself unjust. Police officers will be praised for apprehending crooks, but at the cost of categorizing justice as a byproduct of the impending doom of punishment.

Maybe at some point in the future we can have a police force that considers justice to have value for its own sake, but until we do, there is much more lost allowing the Officer B’s to continue being unjust and putting the integrity of justice on the shoulders of Officer A’s, who day in and day out get treated as though they are Officer B’s, than there is to allowing the accountability and impending doom of punishment to at least regulate the actions of Officer B’s. In our current system, too many unjust officers are being left unpunished or are being overpraised, and perhaps all just officers are being lumped with the others. Therefore it is more valuable, for the sake of society, for police integrity, and for the future of justice, that police officers are required to wear (properly functioning) lapel-mounted cameras.

Thanksgiving 2014

This is the first of hopefully many posts.

I haven’t decided exactly how this blog and website are going to go so hopefully writing this will give me a general idea.

Ashley and I just celebrated Thanksgiving with Jason and Deb who visited from Fresno this past week. It was a blast. We went to The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island (where we got our car towed for parking it in a spot reserved for a judge at the courthouse – d’oh!), took our first Duck Tour of Boston, went to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where we bought a growler of double IPA at Portsmouth Brewery which exploded in our car (the manager gave us two growlers for our trouble – score!), went to the Celtics v. Bulls game (Celtics lost…again), and played many games of Mario Kart and Settlers of Catan.

Over all, it was a great week!