Pork

 "She eat pork?"

"No," I said to my sister.

"You stop eating pork?"

"No."

My sister shook her head. "Don't know how you will make it work."

Uh... 

During my birthday dinner, my friends and I were talking about what makes two people compatible. Someone mentioned having things in common.

I shook my head.

"Don't you think we have a lot of things in common?" my girlfriend asked.

I raised an eyebrow like Spock contemplating air coming out of a person's ass as humor. "What do you think we have in common?"

"We like books..." She thought for a moment. And that moment was met with quiet as our friends stared at us.

"See. We don't have nuthin' in common."

She frowned and leaned close to me. "I thought we had a lot in common."

"No. But that doesn't matter. We have fun together."

What else does any couple need?

I'm not sure if love is enough to keep a relationship alive. I've loved all my past girlfriends. And we're not together anymore.

A lot of people make a big deal about having things in common. And others say, "That's like dating yourself."

So who's right?

The group of people that believe commonality is the key to a lasting relationship touts that things like cultural differences can wedge a couple apart. And delving into common interests can pull a couple together.

Others say having more differences allows the couple to share in each other's interests, open up deep conversations, strengthening their connection.

It seems to me, the focus is on the prescription of how to make an everlasting relationship, rather than taking a step back and describing what a great relationship looks like.

For me the one thing that ended all my relationships was when fun had stopped, or the joy of being with that person ended. That often happened a year or so before the actual break up. Sigh. Old habits.

There are three truths:

  1. Men are idiots.
  2. Women are crazy.
  3. But if you both are having fun, do crazy idiots matter? Hint: no.

The first two truths are really just one in that we're all human. We make mistakes. We fail. Shit happens. And that's fine because those things can guide us in life. We also have moments of greatness, success, and when we remember to just be, we'll experience joy. Welcome to being human.

When we see a couple having a lot of fun, we automatically think their relationship is going well, despite knowing if they have anything in common or not.

The vice versa is also true. When we see a couple in a heated argument, I think, how long before I can hit on that chick after her break up?

The key here is fun. People can come from two different worlds and have fun.

My girlfriend is a devout Muslim. I'm a devout heathen. Do we get into arguments? Hell yeah. But do we have fun together? Hell yeah.

However, I think there are basic core values that are important, and they vary from person to person.

I went to a comedy show couple weeks ago and this comedian asked, "Do you need money to have sex with a woman?"

This Asian chick yelled, "Yes!"

If the man in a relationship is a saver, and his wife has $100,000 in credit card debt, then they're going to run into issues. Can they work it out? Sure. It'll be difficult. But money seems to be at the core of many arguments. Nothing's impossible. Breathing in space with no space suit? Good luck.

Point is, any limitation placed is done by the individual. But then, I'd rather not date that Asian chick from the show. Sounds like a fucking bitch.

Our Souls

I told a friend that it was good to see her. She totally agreed and said it was good for the soul. Several of us had gone out to dinner, and we reconnected and talked about life, how work sucks, and love. I love how I put 'work sucks' in between life and love. I'm always curious to know what people are attracted to, what will end relationships, and it's always interesting to hear your friends' perspectives. And how we all can get caught up in everything that seems important and forget to take care ourselves.

I think we don't take the time to reflect on our time here, and not think about our time here, both of which are important. What the hell do I mean by that?

I write a lot of posts about hanging out and meeting new people. I've formed what feels like lifelong friendships, though am not concerned whether they are lifelong. I've also met people that for some reason I don't connect to, even a nemesis here or two, but do put too much time into why I don't connect with them.

What's the plural of nemisis? Nemisi? Nemisises?

What I don't see is people with hobbies. Or passions, or anything that feeds their soul outside of friendships. And this is what I mean by reflecting on our time here. Art helps us do this. Whether it be abstract, writing, painting, film making, sculpting. All of it is an expression of our souls.

Famed photographer Rodney Lough Jr. has said, "Art is the language of the soul."

It's the reason why cave paintings have been a part of our early history. We can tell by those paintings what was important to them. We can tell what occupied their minds, what drove them.

I'm sitting here outside on a sunny day, enjoying a cup of mass-produced coffee, writing this post, working on my story, and feeling content. And it's unfortunate for me, but feeling content has been a rare occurrence. It's only when I write or spend time with close friends do I feel fulfilled. So it sucks that from time to time I have to cut friends out.

I mean, I have nice things, I have a place to live in, I have a day job, but none of those things feed my soul. Except my midlife crisis caR. Joking. Those things may facilitate it, like my job helps pay for this mass-produced coffee, but it doesn't directly feed my soul. I think the problem for me lies in over thinking things.

Our minds have evolved to process complex information, and part of that skill is analyzing what has happened to either learn from our mistakes or to try and solve a problem. Sometimes our minds will dive into an endless loop of analysis and never get out. And this is what I mean by not thinking. There are so many voices in our heads, or maybe just mine, that we need to sit still, or take a walk, and let those voices go. You can't force them out, they'll just multiply like rabbits or get louder like my mother. Usually a mindless activity will help quiet those voices. It's probably why I take long walks. Or write.

But I yearn for peace. For connection. For happiness. And don't we all?

What Bonds Us

Nice hairdo

Nice hairdo

All artists draw from experiences in life. Not that we must have them in order to be good storytellers, but, like dirty nuggets of gold, they help create space in our minds and allow our emotions and creative and insightful thoughts come to us. And sometimes, outside of any artistic endeavor, it reminds me of what's important to me in life.

Someone's walkin' on water

Someone's walkin' on water

Sitting at the Island Vintage Coffee in my third day living in Hawaii, for a month anyway, my first day filled me with events that went beyond my expectation.

Downtown Honolulu has a first Friday art walk, and it was something I wanted to do, loving the Oakland First Fridays Arts Festival. Think massive street party filled with live street bands, performers, galleries, chains of food trucks, and merchandise only found locally. It's like ten blocks of fantastic experience with alleyways intermingled.

Honolulu's paled in comparison--one live band, two blocks of stuff, and a smattering of artists struggling to find their place in their world. I had met up with a group of people to go on this walk, none of them had ever experienced Oakland's, and my failing to explain to them the grandness of it all, despite Oaktown's murderous reputation, didn't do the other city by the bay nuthin'.

I did meet this beautiful woman with depth and sensed a connection. So we walked and talked and people watched. We slowly got to know each other and things seemed to go well. Then I found out she was leaving the H.I. in the morning following the next day. To make things a little worse, her ride wanted to leave and so she had to as well.

He so fast, he blurry

He so fast, he blurry

While sitting alone in a restaurant, I witnessed someone throwing a bottle at another man's face for reasons unbeknown to me, then watched a Capoeira demonstration, which was awesome, saw a homeless woman drop someteen dollars, pointed at her then her money and she raised her hang loose hand and stared at me, and stared at me, and stared at me for a lot longer than I felt comfortable with, then went back to the hostel to find my young roommates hollering' it up, preventing the sandman from calling. That was my first day in the Hawaiian Islands.

Oh, did I mention the hookers stalking the streets? Yeah, I found them while walking off the main strip of Waikiki. Yes, Hawaiian women are naturally beautiful, so...yeah...and no I did not.

Dude, leave me alone, braddah

Dude, leave me alone, braddah

My diet starts tomorrow

My diet starts tomorrow

Next morning, I looked at my phone and that woman from the night before asked if she could tag along with me to the North Shore. We drove the perimeter of Oahu, saw a sleeping sea turtle, and she treated me to a Polynesian Fire God hamburger, which was as spicy as it sounds, tried the famed Fumis Fresh Shrimp truck, then drove about a quarter of a mile to find another famed Fumis Fresh Shrimp truck, only to find another farther down the highway. "Shady" she yelled, and we both laughed.

This was like the fifth shrimp truck

This was like the fifth shrimp truck

We decided to settle down at a beach and catch some Hawaiian sun and entered Waimea Bay. The winds were whisking up the waves to the point where the current was able to swallow unskilled swimmers into the Pacific Ocean, us, and the lifeguard had to announce a warning. He suggested to us that we hit Turtle Bay Resort, which has sort of an alcove, hint: you two don't belong in here's torrential waves. Good thing we did cuz it was exactly what we wanted. For the next few hours, we talked about life, love, kids, passions, what hers were, told her about my soul search that lead me to writing, and then I found out that she was going to stay for a few more days, but had to leave for personal reasons.

Hmm. Puzzle. Let's see if I can gain her trust enough to reveal what that is.

We continued to talk about our experiences with Hawaii, well my love for it, my heartbreaking point of having to cancel my home purchase to stay with my ailing mom (sympathy card, gentlemen), and she blurted out something about a boyfriend.

Sucker punch in the nuts. My nuts. Not hers. Wait. She don't have none. Wait! She doesn't have none--any.

Her trip to Hawaii was a response to his inability to commit. I'll go as far as that.

Doing what I do as a former mentor of children, I told her that she should just end it with this guy, move up to Nor Cal, and date me.

Right. Remember, I have no balls cuz she sucker punched them, flat. Not that I consoled her, but more listened and offered advise when the conversation seemed to point to it. In the end, she left earlier than scheduled to be with him, and that's sweet.

After I dropped her off, there was a feeling of lost connection because I realized something. I wasn't hoping that we would somehow get together, she lives many, many hours away from me, but that I value the connection between a man and a woman. Especially from my point of view, I cherished feeling connected to her, or any woman of depth. Whether she felt that way too, I don't know. Maybe, she was one of those angels, like friends who stay for only a day, to remind me that connection, that being with someone who I want to share life with is important. I mean, isn't that what we all want? Which is a line one of my favorite characters in my book uses.

This connection is probably why I want to write my fantasies so much. For whatever reason, I feel connected to these stories, and I can't help but tell them.

Wherever you are, I hope you find what you're looking for, and I thank you for making my trip here all the better. Ciao Bella.

Forever Moments

In the documentary Spielberg on Spielberg, Spielberg said his main job was to connect his audience to his films. I'd say that's the job of every artist who wants their work to be seen by the world.  How do you do that?

Chinese Connection.  Sorry.  Had a Bruce Lee moment.

Emotional connection.

Underdog stories are very emotional.  All of us can relate because at some point we've been the underdog.  I'm working on becoming a published author.  I feel like underdog.

An artist's initial job is to feel.  Seems obvious, right?

I've asked people about how they felt when they watched a movie, read a book, seen a photograph.  What's the most common answer?

I don't know.

Feel yourself out (get your mind out of the guttah).

Whenever something moves you, ask yourself why it moves you.  If something doesn't move you, then ask why.  The answers will amaze you.  When I started acting, my teachers always said my body was the instrument.  Use it.  Feel it.  Live it.

Forever moments.

Every year the carnival comes to town.  They've been coming since I was a kid.  One year I took my girlfriend at the time and bought a ride-till-you-throw-up pass.  We rode all of the stomach churning rides.  Walked through exhibits like the double headed rubber rat (huh?), a wax figure of a fat bearded lady (what?), and a pickled snake with mutant feet (a lizard?).  Then our nerves were tried at the haunted house.  Only half the stuff worked.  A vampire ain't that scary when it can barely pop out of its coffin.  We talked to carnies.  Many of them stared at my ex through their good eye.

There were two things that I remember most.  It was her first time at a carnival, and she was excited.  Every time she got excited her voice would rise, and she'd sound like a little girl.  Despite the jungle of carnival noise, her voice sounded like music.  Touched me like no other voice has touched me.  Yes, I was in love.

She'd never eaten carnie food, so I bought a tray full.  As we dug in, she wanted a bite of my corn dog.  I dipped it in mustard and she took a bite.   "Mmmm," she said.  In that forever moment, all I remembered was sharing that corn dog.  There was one more bite left.  So I let her have it.

I read something in her eyes.  I got up and bought another dog on a stick.  Another forever moment strolled by as we shared in the goodness.

And every year the carnival comes to town, the sound of her voice and the forever moment sharing the corn dog permeates my mind.

My mom and I went to a restaurant one time.  The hostess sat us at a small side table.  Sheer drapes were drawn to shade us from the afternoon sun.  Old Chinese ladies rolled aluminum carts of dim sum.  Since my Cantonese wasn't great, my mom ordered.  We made small talk as we enjoyed good food and the warm sun.  My mom kept my tea cup filled and continued to order dim sum.  She wanted me fat.  Still does.  When the bill came she pulled out an old leather coin purse, and popped it open.  She meticulously counted each bill and each coin and made sure there was enough tip.  She looked at me and giggled, asking me if I'd had enough to eat.  I shook my head.  That day has become one of my favorite birthdays.

Forever moments.