Sunday, November 30, 2014


Warning: this post is graphic.
No shave November!

   It doesn't take a lot to ruin someone's life. We are, for all our power and intelligence, very fragile creatures. Our lives can end quicker than it took to be delivered. Seconds... that's all it takes. For those who lose their lives, while tragic sometimes, it is not really them who seem to suffer, (although since I am writing this, I can't really say I have any first hand evidence to back that claim up!) it is their family and friends who suffer. Those who survive tragedy have theirs and their family's life disrupted too and sometimes ruined completely.

   I am writing this blog with one hand (so forgive any typos) for this very reason. On November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, someone not paying attention disrupted my family's and my life in a split second. As I was driving home from school on my motorcycle on interstate 10 as I always do, a man in a black sedan entered the freeway and without signaling or looking, immediately merged into my lane and hit me from my right side. This sent me into the third lane on my left where I was then sideswiped on my left side at full freeway speeds (about 60 mph). I then fell and slid for a long while. As I slid I could see other cars barreling towards me trying as hard as they could to stop in time.

   When my slide came to a stop I immediately lifted the bike as far as I could and pulled free my trapped and mangled left foot. I took off my helmet which I am glad I was wearing as later I would see that the face shield was ruined and that would have been my face if not for that helmet. (always wear a helmet guys, they even look cool so if nothing else do it for that reason) I then tried to stand. I was stopped though, not only by pain, but two random men who stopped and told me they were trained nurses. One of them called an ambulance while the other helped me to the side of the freeway. After all, I was sitting in the middle of a 4 lane interstate.

The one near my toe goes to the bone.
   I thanked them at the scene, but if perhaps they ever see this post in the future, I hope they understand that no words of thanks can express my gratitude sufficiently. You are heroes in your own respects. Quickly I learned that the lady who had side swiped me on the left side stopped too and apologized to me. Her apology hurt me because I knew it was sincere and I could hear how worried she was, but in no way was this her fault and I told her so. However, the person at fault was no where to be found. He didn't slow down, attempt to pull over, then get scared and change his mind. He just kept going. Before he hit me I looked him straight in the eye. Our eyes met for a split second before colliding. He had no idea if he had just taken the life of the person he had locked eyes with or not, but that did not factor into his decision of cowardice.

   Although I was in pain, I really didn't think my injuries were so bad. I knew I had lots of deep cuts and scrapes, lots of bruising, and a swollen stiff elbow but nothing too serious. I even told my father I'd probably be released that same day. Wrong. In fact my arm was broken near the elbow and the bone was beginning to pierce through the skin. You know people always say, "Oh no, you'd KNOW if you broke it." I'm here to call bull shit on that statement. My elbow hurt a lot, but having never broken a bone, but spraining an ankle and taking many spills before, I really didn't feel like it was broken. Turns out it was broken in one of the worst ways and required surgery. Surgery is a really scary thing. It takes a lot to scare me, but to think that you cannot breath for yourself while under anesthesia and there is always a possibility of death is frightening. That... and a catheter...
That little white spec towards the end of my elbow is the bone starting to show.

   So my Thanksgiving was spent in a hospital room alone and in pain. I had told my mom to leave the night before despite her insisting to stay. Not all was gloomy and dismal though, my family brought me plastic containers filled far too full with Thanksgiving dinner later that day and sat with me as I ate and took pain medication. My appetite is only now returning to normal, but that was pretty good turkey and I ate as much as I could.

   Which brings me to my next point, and one that is probably most important. My family. Before I went to Japan I wrote a post explaining my role in the family as a sort of shield for them. I am the strong one. But recently this shield has bent and broken and in my weakness they have been strong. I really could not do this alone. I am strong, and I will never fully rely on anyone no matter what the circumstances, but even the strongest need a bit of help. They have not let me down. From dressing the wounds I cannot get to, to helping me get a cold soda from the fridge. They are amazing people and I love them more than you can imagine.

   To whoever this man was that did this to me, to my family, you are a coward. I am quite angry to say the least. Not because you weren't paying attention and hit me. Which is ironic since today's post is coming so soon after this post where I remind drivers to be careful with motorcyclists. I am angry because you were too much of a coward to face what you had done. I wouldn't have been mad if he came to me and apologized. In the end it was an accident. One that could have been avoided, but an accident all the same. Now I have hospital bills I cannot pay for, pain doing the most basic things, a plate in my arm, a disrupted life, and a stressed out family.

   I am thankful that my life was not taken. You hear all the time when someone dies, "He/she probably didn't even feel it," "He/she probably blacked out before it happened." If I had died that day, I would have seen everything. I was conscious through it all and I saw every vehicle barreling towards me trying to stop as I was laying on the ground. I would have seen my own death. At the start of this post I mentioned we are fragile creatures and that is true. But we are awkwardly amazing too. The human body can survive an accident that claims many lives every year with relatively little damage, only to be rendered helpless by that little damage doing the most basic things... like peeing. Peeing is a freakin' chore right now...

Friday, November 7, 2014


   Hello everyone, just a quick and raw post tonight because there is something kind of disturbing going on. Some of you may not know about it but there is a certain "pick-up artist," or "dating coach" holding seminars teaching other men how to pick up women.

   As a hopelessly single guy I might think, hey that sounds pretty cool, maybe he knows something us unfortunate bachelor's do not. But then you see his videos and his... "techniques" and it is quite hard not to be disgusted. The techniques he uses are just demoralizing towards women and borderlines on abuse. In his video he shows a trip to Japan where he grabs women's heads and forces them into his crotch. These are the types of things he is teaching people. This is an excerpt from that video:

"At least in Tokyo, if you're a white male, you can do what you want. I'm just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls' heads, just like, head, pfft on the dick. Head, on the dick, yelling, 'pikachu,' with a pikachu shirt."

   This is not just something that is going on in Tokyo either, he is doing this everywhere and holding seminars around the world.

   So what can you do? Well so far he has had his passport revoked in Australia because of an overwhelming number of people signing a petition against him. Please do us all a favor and sign the petition too. This guy is disgusting and a disgrace to what it means to be a man. Do not let him come to your city and teach people these disgusting "techniques."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween and Day of the Dead


   Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) has come and gone. Are you sad to see it go? Are you the type who stays up all night dressed in a ridiculous costume binge eating sweets watching Hollywood horrors? What is Halloween to you?

   For some it is a day for the kids. For others it is the one day you can be a kid again and get away with it. For others still, it is the Day of the Dead. I haven't really liked Halloween since that time in my childhood where I wanted to dress like nothing but Dracula for so many years in a row. I don't know why but I got out of the whole dressing up thing when I was pretty young.

   In addition to that, I never really understood Day of the Dead even though it is popular with Mexican culture. I am part Mexican and quite proud of that, but at the end of the day I can't really identify with that side of my heritage. I was, after all, raised by my very loving, and very white, mother. (Who ironically knows far more Spanish than I do go figure.) So Dia de los Muertos was completely lost on me. I didn't understand that it was any different from Halloween. I mean, people dressed up, skeletons are all over the place, the only difference I really saw is that it is slightly more colorful.

   This year I figured I would go downtown to see a Halloween costume contest. What I found, much to my delight however, were people setting up little booths and shrines of sorts for the Day of the Dead. Many of these were beautiful and very labor intensive for sure. I even stumbled upon these guys who were glad to talk to me about what was going on that day and took real pride in their work. I have no idea how much of it was set up prior, but I can tell you they were working on it for hours before and after I got there and the result was fantastic. They were kind enough to give me their Facebook page which you can check out here: AlamoBasementSA.

   I saw many different booths and each were highly decorated. I even saw one dedicated to Robin Williams which I thought was pretty cool. He was my favorite actor after all. (Go see his non-comedic movies. That really shows what kind of an actor he was.) Still, seeing all these really didn't grant me any more understanding as to what Day of the Dead really was, beautiful though they may have been.

   That is... until I discovered the most eye opening piece of art work I think I have ever personally seen. Tucked away behind a wall so you may very well have missed it was a piece that was so unassuming I almost passed it by. I am glad that I didn't. A simple dead sapling tree (or branch disguised to look like one) is all it was with ornaments hung from its bare twigs like a very sad rendition of a Christmas tree. Underneath it was a blanket with  figures drawn that were reminiscent of much of what I had seen already that night. I was about to leave because beside it was a 6 or 7 foot tall booth dedicated to John Lennon, when something in my head told me to take a closer look at the piece. Perhaps this "something" comes from seeing so much art over time. When you view a piece, you must always try to see it from different angles, distances, and with different lighting. But perhaps it wasn't that at all, and maybe, just maybe something else called to me, beckoning me to see what this was actually all about. So for whatever reason I walked up closer to see the ornaments. What I saw, or rather what I read, will be in my memories forever. The minute I read some of the notes that were pinned to this poor little twig of a tree I felt that, "Oh it's nothing I just have something in my eye," feeling. Come on guys, you know which one I am talking about. For on these ornaments were messages to passed loved ones. Some were vague, some were written by children, and some celebrated the deceased by explaining to whoever read it what their favorite food in life was.

   I couldn't believe the beauty and sadness in this little otherwise unremarkable work of art. I can't explain to you how surprising and moving this was for me. The words scrawled on these little strips of paper touched a part of my soul I didn't even know existed. None of them were very long, a few words at most, but the love and care put into those few words were powerful enough to humble this average observer. Of all things, that showed me what the Day of the Dead was all about. It's not about ghosts and goblins. It's not about candy and costumes. Rather, Day of the Dead is about honoring, respecting, and remembering those who have left us. It's a time of sadness, but also a time of happiness knowing that we have a day dedicated especially to their memory. It is the Day of the Dead, but it is also a day of the living. On this day we can be thankful we are here to feel the sadness we feel for the deceased. We feel it, not really because they are dead, but rather because they were alive, and we miss them.

   The Day of the Dead is a reminder to everyone that life is fragile and precious. Precious because sometimes you can turn a corner down a path you never expected to go, and find the beauty of the human condition scrawled on a strip of paper hung on a twig.

   As always, thanks for reading everyone. I hope you had a great Halloween. If you'd like to follow me on twitter so you can be updated when I post new blogs, please look me up @thealexscene.