Posts Tagged with "inspiration"

In a Bad Mood?

April 7th, 2013 at 5:21 pm by Mark
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“A hundred times I was upon the point of killing myself; but still I loved life. This ridiculous foible is perhaps one of our most fatal characteristics; for is there anything more absurd than to wish to carry continually a burden which one can always throw down? to detest existence and yet to cling to one‚Äôs existence? in brief, to caress the serpent which devours us, till he has eaten our very heart?”

Voltaire, Candide Chapter 12

The truth is, no one can make you angry. It is a choice to be angry, to retaliate, to be vindictive towards another. And you can choose not to, so long as you’re willing to let go of your own disposition and prejudice. But until you make that step, there is no hope.

The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood. --- Voltaire

Veterans’ Day 2009

November 11th, 2009 at 8:46 pm by Mark
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aka  Before It’s Over, I Have to Say Something

     I usually write a post on Veteran’s Day.  Last year, I couldn’t.  I’d watched a friend get shipped off and returned a few days later, and had quite a lot of subsequent conversation with him that left me dry.
     He had really high expectations of himself.  He went through his education and training with honors.  He knew where he wanted to be, what he wanted to do.  He’d planned his entire life around his career in the military, and everything was going to be okay.
     When he finally got to Iraq, however, anxiety took its toll.  Sent home, he felt like a failure, like he hadn’t lived up to the expectations his family had.  Though all of them were supportive, he felt that they didn’t, even couldn’t, understand.  
     More than that, even, he wanted the respect of the people with whom he’d served, and knew that he’d let them all down.

     Through the course of the conversation with him, I tried to put it in real-life terms, hoping he could get his perspective back.  I told him to think of it as a job, and nothing more. 
     It was a job he was trained to do, and, many times, trained through repetition.  His job, a lower management position, was to manage and train others, often by repetition, as well.  Sometimes, no amount of training can prepare you for the reality of the job.
     I explained that it was like going to McDonald’s and training to be a run the drive through, and being thrown into it busy as Hell on the first day.  Things will happen, mistakes will be made.  People will be upset at you.  Some will even hate you.  But you do the job until you either get better, or you’re laid off, or you quit.  At either of the last two points, you find another job.
     “But you know,” I told him.  “What you tried to do carried with it a lot more prestige than some crappy job flipping burgers, or even selling advertising a company who’ll never last two years.  You were part of something bigger than yourself, and went duty-bound into something that most people are terrified to even think about.  And that, right there, is why you haven’t lost anyone else’s respect.  Not even the guys you served with.”


     It’s one of the things I always enjoyed about Military.  Guys who worked together consider one another friends.  Sometimes, they only see each other in an aeon, but will still have a clandestine beer, perhaps even in silence for the friends they knew and lost.

     That fact was driven home for me even more over the next few months.  Pretty much all of my uncles were in the military, and I just never was cut out for it.  But I’ve worked with and around them in a civilian capacity for quite a while.
     In December last year, a few of them looked for me, found me, and all but twisted my arms.  “Mark, what?  Man, you were right there with us.  Get your ass out of that damn house!”
     I was going through a really rough time a year ago.  If it hadn’t been for them, I was so stressed I might never have left the house again.  I never really told them what was going on, and just took the opportunity to get away, to get out of Knoxville, even, if only for a little while.
     Almost exclusively, it was just a bunch of us sitting around in a hotel bar.  We told stupid stories about each other, making sure to exaggerate as much as possible, smoked cigars, bitched about politicians, drank copiously and laughed a lot.  And then, there was always the silent drink to the ones who weren’t there…
     Philip, Joe, Terry, JD, Nate, John, Larry, Joel, Paul, Tony, Dennis, Neal… and I know there are more, but I just can’t remember right now…  You guys don’t even know what you did for me.  And I thank you all.

     Those little road trips always ended the same.
     “It was great to see you again, man.  If you ever need anything, you give me a call.  I mean it!”
     There’s an unspoken rule of mine, and that is that I respect them too much to ever ask them for anything.

     To my surprise in January, “Mark, I’m shipping out for Afghanistan.  You fixed this Xbox for us, so, uh, we won’t need it, figured you’d want it?  And give me your address… we’re gonna send you some games when we get tired of them.”
     So now you know the root of my other time-waster / stress-reliever…


     And so, back to Lt. Cpl. Jared…

     Jared, you didn’t get to serve your entire time, but you were let out honorably.  You did your job as best you could, and I seriously think it was just bad timing.  But for all that worry, all that being down on yourself, and all that crazy shit you were thinking back then… look at how you’re doing now. 
     You’ve got everything together, just like I told you would. ūüėČ

     And those people you crawled through mud and walked on sand with, even the ones you sat at a computer next to, or sat around all night in the barracks playing Xbox with, they are the salt of the earth.

     And I’ll guaran-damn-tee, after they’re back, given a little time, they’ll call you up and wanna go out for a beer…

     Jared … and everyone else … Happy Veterans’ Day, my friends.

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No, It’s Not a Hoax

November 11th, 2008 at 5:03 am by Mark
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¬†¬†¬†¬† Whenever I think, “I have no heart,” something always comes along to prove to me that I do.

My immediate thought is always to be skeptical of Internet Chain Letters and such, but with this one, I dug a little deeper and found that it’s totaly legitimate…

Why the one million friends challenge? I get asked the questions, Why 1 million friends? What will it achieve? on a regular basis. So I thought I would try to explain. James and I used to come onto myspace to listen to music and look at the videos just before he was diagnosed and added a few friends.

When James was diagnosed and we came to terms with the fact that his cancer and its treatment was going to take over our lives we needed a distraction and the “James and Daddy” page was born. I asked James if he thought we could get one hundred friends and then one thousand and the ten thousand. When we reached ten thousand friends I asked James to set the next target. James said ONE MILLION.

We will gain nothing financially from this page but have gained friendship from people around the world and we have shared our story with you all and in return shared your stories. This page has helped us as a family deal with the tough times and share the good times. Now as a father I feel I have to achieve this challenge as I made a vow to James the day after he was born that I would never let him down and I would only make him a promise if I could keep it.

So there you have it, the reason for the challenge and why I need you to help me get more friends. We have tried the celebrity route with minor success so all we can do is keep sending out the bulletins and searching out the profiles that have loads of friends and big hearts.

I mentioned a while back, I can’t have kids…¬†Rather, not healthy ones, anyway… I have been using my vaginal dhea cream and I can say I found my peace with all of that a long time ago.
But then again, maybe that’s why stuff like this tears me up so bad… Like it did with Ambriel… Like it does with someone else even closer who went through¬†a bout of it herself¬†(I love you, baby girl, I miss you, and I’m proud of you).

There’s the futility factor, wishing I could do something to make it better, and I can’t…

And then, of course, I see their faces¬†they’re smiling right through it¬†most days.


…is one of the few things that I glean hope from.

And I know damn well that despite everything else, those kids are toughter than I will ever be.

If you’ve got MySpace, be sure and add him as a friend.¬† Spread the word.¬† Make a donation.

It’s Official: Diva is a…

July 10th, 2007 at 10:19 am by Diva
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I went into sloth-remission last year and got into excellent shape.¬† I lost more than 70 pounds.¬† I was wearing slutty tight jeans and looking pretty good in them, so I bought new cloths for me and my daughter from the Girls Clothes store online.¬† I had¬†enough¬†self confidence¬†that I even scared¬†me¬†a time or three.¬† I was attracting ample attention from the opposite sex.¬† I wasn’t the fat Pirate anymore.¬† I blended in well with the other girlies.¬† I was becoming a certified hottie patoddie.¬†

Then…¬† around turkey day… I lost my motivation or ate way to much turkey with dressing and punkin pie or something.¬† I started eating everything in sight that even looked like it had a carb attached to it.¬† I quit going to the gym like I was.¬† My butt went from being touchably firm¬†back to jiggly like a bowl of jello.¬† Of course,¬†poured into the jeans, nobody could tell.¬† But I could tell.

I’m still down several sizes from where I started.¬† Thank God, because I gave all of my fat clothes away and bought new.¬† They just don’t fit as comfortably as they did.¬† I find myself having to hold my breath… ALOT!¬†Didn’t take long before¬†I started to get more and more miserable.¬†

Now here it is summer.¬† The season I spent the whole of last fall dreaming of, only to wake up and realize… I had failed.¬† I’m not beach worthy.¬† I’m not bathing suit worthy.¬†

I honestly do know what the problem with my motivation is and I am actively working on a resolution to it.¬† I couldn’t beat¬†’em, so I joined¬†’em.

I have quit with the Taco Bell, Papa John’s and Booger King.¬† I have stopped sneaking into the kitchen and scarfing down a couple cookies here, a few chips there.¬† And most importantly, I’m not just spending ungodly amounts of money on a gym membership. No longer will it just be an expense sucked out of my bank account.¬† No.¬†

I have started doing cardio and group exercize classes again.¬† I have started eating healthy again.¬† For my health’s sake.

I had forgotten how good I felt when I was working out and eating right.¬† It wasn’t just the ability to wear skanky clothes.¬† It’s more internal than that.¬† I liked the way I felt.¬†¬† I had energy. I had attitude.¬†

So, here I go again.¬† Wish me luck.¬† I have a wedding dress to fit into in 2 months and 19 days…

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Thoughts from a Booth at the Bar

June 21st, 2007 at 11:03 am by Diva
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Just imagine.¬† Diva is sitting in a quiet, corner booth at Catscratch Jane’s.¬† It’s 9:30pm on a Wednesday night.¬† Diva is occupying this booth solo.¬†¬† This is surreal, and I started thinking, which is usually not a good thing when beer is involved.

My 1st thought is this:¬† I am sitting here, alone.¬† Am I bummed that my friends aren’t here?¬† Am I feeling as if my friends have deserted me for bigger and better things?¬† Do I feel like I am being neglected?¬† Am I getting bitter?¬† No. No. No. No. And no.

I am actually quite content with my life and the way it’s turning out. I’m glad to see all of my friends are happy, content and satisfied in where the last year has taken them.¬† I am totally capable of amuzing myself and having fun in the situation I find myself in.

My second thought:¬† Yes, I miss my friends.¬† But, we have a lifetime of memories made in the short span of approximately one year.¬† It’s not often that a group of mis-matched people come together like we did.¬† Every single one of us had some sort of need that this rowdy, loud bunch was filling.¬† Why, it was only a year ago that we all magically morphed to Catscratch Jane’s.¬† And dear Lord, the place wouldn’t be the same for several months.

Then something happened.¬† We all started to settle down.¬† Some of us fell in love.¬† Some of us found satisfaction in our careers… Regardless of what it was, we all started to find what we were looking for in life.

All of this brings me to a minor crash in self-analyzation.¬† I’m 100% secure to know that, although I’m sitting quietly in a corner watching the goings on around me, we all meant and still mean alot to each other.¬† In some cases, we’re far apart in our physical being. In some cases, we’re just right down the road.¬† Regardless, we are still together in soul.¬† Pirates deep down?¬† Maybe just a little… that Pirate dwells in each one of us forever.

We are really fortunate to have had the opportunity to build bonds that keep us close enough to have a quick lunch, early dinner, a cold beer, or even just a comment on MySpace.  God bless technology.

I really do love where my life is now.¬† But I still thank God every day that I’ve been blessed with a bounty of friends ~ near and far~ ~old and new~

Sappy, yes.  But, sometimes even Pirates can be sentimental.