Give me a week… I’ll be back…

30 years later, still memorable…

For some reason, this album has been on my mind lately. I remember the second half being particularly strong. (from Gear Jammin’ Hero to Black Death on a White Horse.)

I suppose the provocative band name is what made me pull the cassette off the shelf. It was probably one of the last pre-recorded cassettes I ever bought. By that time, most of my music was on CD. Of course, I can’t find it streaming anywhere now. Thank god for Discogs.

This is a great example of how great packaging can stop you in your tracks, and a better example of how what’s inside should surpass what’s on the outside.

I have allies. Friends that connect me to opportunities, loved ones who try to take care of me (as much as I’ll allow…), family members who reach out to me, and strangers often surprise me with kindness and generosity. On any given day, there’s at least one other person trying to do the right thing on my behalf.

Sometimes, that’s easy to forget. The struggle is real these days. Beyond wrestling with this nonsense puzzle of a country we live in, my days are filled with the stress and demands of raising a child, trying to make a living, and keeping my debtors at bay. Just like everyone else. Add in the focus required to create meaningful storytelling, and… It’s amazing I can remember where I left my whiskey.

I keep myself so isolated. I have to reach down deep to pull these words out of me. The outside world can feel like a distraction from that. Yet, nothing is created in a vacuum. I need to actively engage in conversation with the world. Otherwise, the whole endevour becomes ethereal and one way. A ghost shouting through the veil.

Some days it’s not enough to believe in myself. It’s important to remember the people who know my value, the ones who care enough to help me keep my head out of my ass. Here’s to you.

Thanks.

R.I.P. Shelby's 2019

By the time you read this, the last of the old school downtown dive bars will be ground into dust. (That’s a lie, but let’s perpetuate it so we can keep the last two, or three, secret.) I don’t have many stories from this place. I’ve been here precisely three times. These are what remains of my memories of it:

This was the one place in Denver I remember feeling overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. It was like a smack to the face when you opened the door. The place still smells like that. I miss second hand smoke.

During the day it was the business lunch crowd, but not for the suits. Clerks, temps, tellers and the like could sneak in an afternoon beer in order to keep from opening their wrists back at their desks.

At night, the crowd was friendly enough, but felt like it could boil over into a mob at the smallest provocation. And they seem to take their cues from the ownership and staff behind the bar. The bookie and the drug dealer that held down stools there would leave at the start of happy hour. It wasn’t worth the trouble.

In the end, that’s the best way I can sum up Shelby’s.

It wasn’t worth the trouble.

this is the end of the fallow days…
this is the end of excuses…
this is the end of silence…
this is the end of impostor syndrome…
this is the end of perfectionism…
this is the end of the bullshit…

I might be limping across the finish line…
at least i’ll finish strong…
with my head held high…

let’s get this out of the way, the first three to six months of this will be straight garbage…not that it’s ever been filet mignon…the main objective will be effort…if sometimes that means posting something to say, “here, i posted something…” well, that’s what it will be…this has always been, and will continue to be, a whipping post for ideas, a soapbox for things that inspire, a place to brag, whine, and otherwise internet emote…for my benefit…if you find some entertainment here…well, good on you…

I’m pushing all in…
let’s hope it’s not too little, too late…

The knowledge that I live in a culture that is hostile to my existence has been background noise for my entire life. Because, for the most part, I have disregarded that low murmur, I consider myself happy.

What about the time i had to crawl under a car to hide from the rednecks that followed me for five blocks as I walked down the sidewalk? What about the cop who threatened to kill me while I was handcuffed in the back of his patrol car? And the handful of other slights and incidents in the last 40 years? That was the price of admission.

What did I get in return for learning how to compartmentalize these existential threats? I managed to avoid the incarceration industry. I earned a degree, and I lived longer than both my father and grandfather. I have a few gray hairs, a family, and a modicum of wisdom. I am a lucky man.

Clearly, things have chganged. It’s always been open season for black men in America. Now, it’s shameless again. I am an adaptable human being and I am adapting to this radical shift in my environment with a radical shift in posture.

If you come at me, and I don’t know you, I will assume you are hostile to me and my family. As a matter of fact, I’m not waiting for you to come at me. I’m looking for you. When I find you, I will deal with you with no half measures. (Rule #6)

I know this is paranoid. I know this will damage relationships with potential allies. If you can prove me wrong, I’ll apologize, and maybe we can move on to build something. If you are truely an ally, you’ll get it.

There is no longer any room in our lives for softness or willful ignorance.

 

1.Know your adversary.

Be willing and able (see #3) to apply disciplined analysis to those who would do you harm. Don’t waste your time responding emotionally. Feel what you must, do not let your emotions color how you see your adversary.

2.Be honest with yourself.

What strengthens you? How can you be compromised and exploited? Be as ruthless in answering these questions as you are in asking them about your adversary. (1) Be sure they are asking the same questions about you.

3.Do. Better.

What are you doing today that your adversary is not? What is your adversary doing that you are not? Is there a new way? Better is a habit you build with practice.

4.Grow your team.

A smart man once said, “Move as a team, never move alone.” Two corollaries: Keep it small. Trust and verify.

5.Wait. Watch.

Timing and preparation are the best ways to control risk. If you are patient and pay attention, your adversary will reveal how and when you can defeat them.

6.Move swift. Fully commit.

When it is time to act, do not hesitate. Do not look back. Let your sword be quick and sharp.

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