My 2017: A Chronicle of Reality Checks and Growing Understanding

This is a month by month recap of the most notable things that occured in 2017. It’s been an interesting year, and I’m hopeful this can be reflective of the worst and best parts of the year allowing for self-growth in 2018.

January

I started off the year continuing my job at as the Creative Director for a non-profit in Austin, really falling into the flow of it and enjoying my time. My friendship with my boss, the CEO of the company was getting stronger. She was appreciative of my hard work, growing influence within the organization, and new marketing strategies that were working. Things were falling in line at work and with my friendships as I started the new year.

Creating things

I had spent that winter break in Washington DC and Virginia — riding on a train for the first time to visit my sister and her family. I remember neglecting my mom and dad during the holiday break, as they decided to stay in Texas while the siblings spent time together. I love time with my sister and the niece and nephew. They’re my favorite people. I wish they lived much closer.

By mid-January I was on an apology tour for having voted for Donald Trump — hahaha — my excuses for doing this fall into three categories: 1.) Hillary and all she represented sucked; 2.) Trump’s election represents something totally new for politics (and that may not always be a positive thing but I embrace change) — I’ll also note that I would’ve voted for Bernie over Trump for the same reason; 3.) I fell into the hype of the memes and bullshit on the internet.

In the end, I cast my vote for Trumpy, not even confident he’d win, but knew he’d likely take Texas anyway, so it didn’t matter…then the motherfucker ended up winning. Come January 20, I was gathered with some other half-hearted Trump supporters at a bar in Austin, Texas to celebrate. I think there was only one real Trump supporter there, the rest of us were in it for the meme culture and tomfoolery.

Picture from a night of celebrating Trump’s inauguration with a bunch of other half-hearted Trump supporters. The memes won that night.

At that point, it had been less than a year since I had returned from Colombia and I was still sporting my long hair, clinging onto a minimalist lifestyle, and still talking about going back at some point. Nothing was permanent, nothing was certain, nothing really mattered in Austin. I had broken up with a girlfriend in September 2016 that cheated on me with her ex-husband and I had begun this sort of personal exploration journey, reading about two books a month; self-growth, spiritual awakening, embraacing my inner-philosophy magician.

January wasn’t really different for me, other than my boss and I getting closer, chatting more about personal experiences — she even kept getting dating advice from me and telling me about her sex life. I wasn’t bothered by any of this, we had been friends for years, but we’d never talked talked so openly about our romantic subjects.

I thought nothing of it, until she invited me to be her date for some gala event in early February. Then, I began wondering what the fuck was on her mind. I didn’t fight it, I just went with the flow. I had always been attracted to her intellect, and she had in a way taught me a lot about leadership and helped improve my design and communication skills. I really admired this woman.

I said yes.

She’s nine years my senior, it was some fancy gala —so, I ended up getting a haircut and losing the long hippie hair.

A picture from my office in Austin; clean cut boi.

February

The month really began with that date to the gala event, my boss and I arrived late, then ended up getting super drunk at a bar nearby where we talked and talked for hours. It was really the first time I’d talked so freely, openly, and philosophically with her. She got some insight into who I truly am. I had trouble admitting to her I had voted for Trump, because she’s a firebrand liberal, not just personally, but in the community. We enjoyed the time, had our laughs, and she even invited me to go out with her on Valentine’s Day to some concert she’d bought extra tickets to. She was determined not to spend Valentine’s Day alone — I almost forgot to mention, I ended up at her house that night, we smoked pot, drank more at her house and danced in the living room, but eventually I ended up knocking out on the twin-sized guest bed. We were friends and that was that.

A week went by and life went on as usual. I didn’t think much of that night; I was actually trying to pursue another gal, Ashley, but that kept going nowhere.

Then a couple days before Valentine’s, my boss asked, “You ready for the concert?”

I had completely forgotten about it, but we decided to have a best friend Valentine’s Day since we were both single. Again, it didn’t faze me too much, I’m a free-wheelin’ son of a bitch, so whatever would happen, would happen.

We met up for some sushi beforehand, this time I brought my pipe and we smoked out in the restroom of the sushi bar like a couple of adolescents, then walked over to the concert venue. I downed about two carafes of saké at the sushi bar and had about four old fashion whisky drinks at the venue (to withstand how shitty the music was.) Boss and I got to chatting again and eventually the venue closed around 10pm. We were both totally hammered.

She wasn’t done for the night, so she invited me over to her house.

I remember thinking and saying to her, “Oh shit this is a bad idea. Some shit is bound to happen.” But I don’t believe that fazed her. We drove our drunk asses over to her house in South Austin and made our way to the drink cabinet.

After more puffs of smoke and drinking, some impromptu karaoke, dancing, and even tarot card readings we fell right into the night. I remember when she pulled out her collection of tarot cards, I suddenly grew more intrigued by her — there’s something about spiritual individuals and mystical shit that really turns me on.

We read our fortunes, danced a little more, and I was even comfortable enough that I peed with the door open. I remember stumbling around the kitchen, with another whisky drink in hand and she leaned over as if she were about to kiss me, but she caught herself and pulled back. I made my way to the living room and played La Bien Querida’s “A Veces Ni Eso” and started dancing alone like a siren beckoning with hip movements. She sat on the couch staring at me, until she finally decided it was time for bed.

I can gather that it was about one in the morning when we decided to hit the hay, we had two important meetings the next day — we had accepted being hungover as fuck, but I don’t think we were both aware of what was about to happen in the bedroom.

I told her I wasn’t sleeping on that tiny guest bed, because I needed a good night’s rest and she has a giant California king mattress I had to test out. We made our way into her bedroom, she got into some night gown — I went straight down to my underwear because that’s how I sleep.

I curled up, ready to pass out on the right side of the bed, she lay opposite me.

Then she asked, “Can I spoon you to fall asleep?”

— I fucking hate cuddling to fall asleep, I’d rather cuddle for a bit and then make my way away from the other person — but I was too drunk to give a damn and I actually felt pity for her, thinking to myself, “Ah man, she’s lonely,” as I allowed her to position herself behind me.

I was the little spoon.

She wrapped her arms around mine and clinched her hands over my knuckles and we fell asleep.

WARNING TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT DON’T WANT TO KNOW MY SEXUAL SHIT, THE FOLLOWING FEW PARAGRAPHS ARE SEXUAL IN NATURE, SKIP TO “WARNING OVER” TO CONTINUE

I may have been asleep for about an hour before I felt her grinding up on my ass, licking my back, breathing hard upon the bottom of my hairline.

“Holy shit, here we go,” I thought.

I began positioning my little spoon ass into her body, using my right hand to push her hips closer to mine. She continued to rub herself over my ass and thigh. Our motion synced up, I turned over to face her and we started kissing passionately.

My hands made their exploratory routes toward the crevices of her body and her more sensitive regions in order to gauge her pleasure points. When I found them I persisted to make her moan, lifting off her gown completely, my left hand locked in motion beneath her moist panties, she kept insisting, “Tell me you want to fuck me.”

I obeyed.

“I want to fuck you,” I said.

“Put your fingers in my mouth,” she commanded. I unlocked my hand and placed the two fingers that were inside her pussy on her mouth — she started licking and sucking on them. I joined in licking my own fingers, her lips, and tongue as things got more intense.

“Tell me you want to fuck me. You don’t have to. I just want to hear it,” She kept pushing.

“I want to fuck you,” I continued.

I pushed my head down toward her chest, kissing, licking and nibbling on her skin. Our breathing intensified.

“I want to fuck you,” I said without command. I pulled my underwear down, and turned her over.

I was the big spoon.

I slipped right into her wet pussy, kissing, licking and gripping her body— I’d work my mouth up her back straight to her head, nibbling on the tenders of her ear, licking her neck, and breathing my intentions with every new push deeper into her.

— The thing about my drunken self is that alcohol makes my penis super hard, but I can never orgasm. It either never happens or takes at minimum 1.5–2 hours of focused action to make me come and that’s very rare, so I just never orgasm when I’m drunk.

Coffee before sex extends my peak by about 45 minutes.

Sex on edibles varies, I’m either super sensitive or I lose all libido due to paranoia.

Normally, I can go for as long as I want, but I hate condoms — condoms symbolize some level of distrust — trust and honesty are my most important values and condoms betray that, therefore betraying my dick, which usually gets soft the moment I put a condom on. True story.

Anyway, we go at it for about an hour and a half according to my Fitbit, eventually she ends up grinding my cock reverse cowgirl, determined to make me come. I let her know that it probably won’t happen. She keeps going another few minutes, before I just remove her from on top of me, positioning her to my side as I cuddle and plant some final kisses.

— WARNING OVER —

I don’t quite remember what we talked about, we were both incredibly drunk. But it was a very loving conversation, intimate talk about how our feelings had finally been unleashed. She eventually fell asleep. I laid there wide awake.

Whenever I share a bed with a new person for the first time I always have trouble sleeping — that, and the combination of the whisky (which keeps me awake or wakes me up early) kept me tossing and turning all night. Those two important meetings would have to go to hell. I was going to be hungover and tired all day.

We woke up the next morning and while in the shower, I noted, “Well, we took it there.” She laughed. Both of us dazed by what had just happened, she was in a hurry to get to any early morning meeting.

I don’t deal with hangovers very well and sleep is my most important meal of the day. Two worlds were working against me, and I mostly don’t give a fuck, so I half-assed my way through both meetings, and eventually checked out around 1pm that day to sleep my life away.

The month continued on, my boss and I taking about two weeks to flirt with the idea of reenacting that Valentine’s night. We’d meet for lunch or dinner, go on little dates and chat about that night, our feelings, and all the sexual things I wanted to do to her.

We ended up at some hookah bar I like in Austin, there we sat in the back patio, smoking the hookah and making out. It was cold, so we sat there all alone, a safe space for her since she never wanted to be seen with me in public as a couple. That night we flirted with the option of doing it again, but I resisted, saying it was probably a bad idea.

We went our separate ways that night.

March

My dad and I after visiting the San Antonio missions on a rainy day.

That first weekend in March my dad went to San Antonio to get checked by the Texas Liver Institute for a spot they had found on his liver back in the fall of 2016, the spot had grown in size and what was first thought to be a small lesion on his liver was beginning to look more like a cancerous tumor. The doctors in the Rio Grande Valley recommended he get on a wait list for a liver transplant. In order to do all that he had to get registered by the Texas Liver Institute, go through the procedures, do chemo and check every box required to have a chance at a new liver. My dad really wanted to get on the list and he was determined to take every step necessary to prolong his life.

That first weekend of March I got us an AirBNB in the historic district of San Antonio, because I know my parents don’t much like being out and about, I figured it’d be nice to enjoy down time in a cozy little house rather than a hotel room. It was nice. We toured a couple of Catholic missions in the city and listened to some choirs sing Christian music within some nice areas of the old church buildings.

If I had known how weak my dad really was, I’d have never dragged him out there to walk around and tour the old missions. I know he enjoyed his time, but he most likely pushed himself just for me. All his life, he never wanted to look weak in front of me or my sister, he was determined to push through any pains he may have been experiencing and never complained. I had no idea how much pain and weakness he was actually going through. Looking back to that weekend, it was very much like any other time spent with my parents: pretty low key, revolved around eating good food, and I spent a good amount of time catching up with them about work and friendships.

I didn’t mentioned to my parents my relationship with Bosswife (the nickname for her that my close friends knew about). That wasn’t for me to tell my them— I’ve never been comfortable getting detailed about that sort of thing with them — but I kept texting Bosswife the whole weekend, making plans to spend our Sunday together, after my parents headed back home.

Note, we hadn’t yet made love again after that first time on Valentine’s Day, but we’d gotten very close to doing it before our good conscience got the best of us. Well, this Sunday as I returned from San Antonio, we decided to go out to grab some barbecue in the hill country. By the time I arrived to her house, walked to her bedroom, she was undressing.

“Wait…wait…what about the barbecue?” My fatass insisted.

“What barbecue?” She asked.

She had pulled a fast one on me. I suffer from a single track mind, meaning that if I intend to do one thing and all of a sudden that gets sidetracked, it takes a good 30 minutes to get back on the new course. I was caught off guard as I got naked and started having sex with her. I don’t remember enjoying it.

But we did it again—at long last — a good two weeks after our Valentine’s Day rendevous, we were doing it again and it was good. We did end up going out afterwards, but the plan changed and we made our way into the city, rather than the hill country for barbecue. That evening, when we returned to her house, I had a more focused mind to please her in all the ways I had promised I would. Our little secret was beginning to spiral out of control.


A Wednesday night when Kadi’s husband had a meltdown because Kelly never arrived to meet him for a drink

It was sometime around mid-March when I’d had enough of my friend Kadi and her stubborn husband. Our recently-arrived mutual friend Kelly had just gotten to town in either late February or early March and was having trouble getting through to Kadi.

I think Kadi, similarly, but on a larger timescale, is also a one-track individual that focuses on the current state of things and wants nothing to do with disruptions. I think she saw Kelly as a disruption to her routines with her baby girl and maybe even a reality check to her marriage.

It’s no secret to most of our friend group that we don’t necessarily get along with Kadi’s husband, the guy can be insufferable at times, hard headed, and very rude to our Kadi — we, for a long time, had been very critical of the relationship, but this mid-March it came to a boiling point.

Kelly got stood up by most of us on March 8. I was busy entertaining and hanging out with Bosswife and some other coworkers, that eventually I ended up having some really loving and passionate sex with Bosswife, while Ashley (the previous girl I was pursuing) and the husband failed to show up to Spider House near UT where Kelly was waiting. The only one in the group making contact with Kelly was the husband — I think Kadi was out of town during this time, I’m not quite sure.

Kelly eventually bailed on Kadihusband and he had some weird meltdown. I ended up instigating a whole conversation about it in the group chat where Kadi, Kelly, Ashley and myself were after Kadihusband left the group. I was annoyed by his childish bullshit and just went off on the motherfucker, saying he was an idiot, a pervert that just wanted to creep on Kelly, and a buncha other insulting shit.

That led to Kelly, another friend, and myself having a bashing session in Kelly’s hot tub the next night where we talked so much god damn shit it was unruly. I can be a mean asshole when I don’t much like you, between Kelly and me we riffed on him and affirmed some similar distastes we had for the fellow. It was savage. So savage we had to admit to Kadi how bad it was.

That week we admitted to it. I was also trying to figure out a solution to let Kadi go from her position as social media manager, because I didn’t think she was doing a good job. This newfound rage for anything she touched made it easier for me to just let her go... via email. Hahaha!

I’m the worst.

This taught me never to hire friends to work for you, but also to just approach bullshit like this head-on before it gets out of control.

Kadi and I eventually reconciled about a couple of weeks after, it was a sweet chat and we talked through everything that had been damaged, and then I shared everything having to do with Bosswife. I’m glad for the bond Kadi and I have, despite me disagreeing with some shit she does, I promised not to get involved in her marriage stuff unless she asked for my advice. We left it at that and continued on being badasses.

Me and my Colombian amorcitos, Sara and Jhenny

March brought me Jhenny, Sara, and Mauricio from my Talos Digital days. They came to town from Colombia to work for a month on some projects at the Talos Austin office. They’re a heartfelt joy and I was glad to reignite my Colombian experience with them while they were here.

I played tour guide, shared with them my Bosswife dilemma, and even managed to hit up Fiesta Texas. Good times.

April

My version of sexting.

In April I went up to Philadelphia with my boys Rusty and Jarin to see the Decemberists in concert at the Fillmore Philly. The first night there, before Rusty landed, I sang some karaoke at a bar with Jarin as we waited, then kicked off what would be a slew of Roy Orbinson songs played on repeat that weekend.

One of my favorite songs is “Crying” by Roy Orbison, I had Jarin play that as we drove off to pick Rusty up from the airport.

That week bouncing around Philadelphia, eating all the good food and razzing Jarin for all the silly shit he says was fun. I shared with them my Bosswife saga. They had no advice to offer, nothing but laughs and encouragement.

Rusty thought Bosswife was hot, which was kinda surprising. We spent the week never meeting Jarin’s girlfriend, whom he had recently begun dating, but she kept avoiding us like the plague. Jarin wasn’t happy about this, and it was obviously bothering him. He even snapped at some guy at the concert venue for placing his beer mug on our table. Rusty and I had to calm him down and apologize on his behalf.

We love you Jarin.

We paid way too much for these tickets.

Toward the end of April, things were not going well for Bosswife and I. It was getting a little too real and intense. She was afraid that we’d get too serious and end up hurting each other because of the nature of the situation. We had to constantly sneak around and hide our actions, hide that we went out, she never mentioned me to anybody, and we had some close calls at work from time to time.

Toward the end of the month, I was ready to bounce because I didn’t want to be yanked around and be kept a secret. I lashed out a few times, but the sex was too damn good to just fold it up and quit.

Rusty and I eating at our favorite joint in Austin, Kerby Lane — He was visiting for the Hand Built Motor Show (some motorcycle shit)

Toward the end of April, it was more physically evident that my dad’s health wasn’t doing too well. My sister visited Texas in mid-April and she reported that she saw him be a lot weaker, barely able to hold up my nephew Joaquin, and saw how sunken in his eyes were. My dad had also become super grumpy and unhappy, but it must have been how he was feeling. He was never comfortable and it must have been such a pain for him to interact with others.

My dad’s bitmoji he used in our group chat.

My good dad.

He had recently retired and was spending a lot more time at home, creating a new routine. My sister and I were pretty worried he was depressed, bored, and needed a hobby.

We spent our days in our family group chat talking about family gossip, making fun of people, and catching up. That was how we connected with our dad the last month of his life.

May — Part One

My dad playing dead a day after his chemo procedure — humor has always been our family’s comforting force and we learned it all from him.

I remember laying on Bosswife’s bed some time in the middle of night as she slept. I closed my eyes and meditated just as I had a hundred times before. I focused on the rhythm of her breath rather than my own and what opened up in my mind’s eye as I drifted was a blue blanket covering the sky. I floated off into it at just the right speed and as I flew into the blanket I could feel it’s warmth and material become part of me. Soon all I could see was this soft blue color all around me and there I stayed floating for about thirty minutes in total nirvana. When I came down from my meditation, I felt an overwhelming warmth, peace, and joy.

I turned over and slept.

That was at the beginning of May, my dad would be having a chemotherapy procedure done on May 11. I’d be meeting my parents in San Antonio for support.


Bosswife and I were having trouble: I was fed up being kept a little secret and the proposition she had made of me being a side piece to her real boyfriend. I actually can’t believe she proposed something so obscene. She’s a vain creature, needed an influential older man by her side publically, rather than some dweeb thirty-something. She wanted to have her cake and eat it too. I wasn’t going to be a little fuck buddy. Things got weird. I was getting more emotional about the relationship and she was becoming less attached.

The last time Bosswife and I had sex was May 7, a Sunday.

My dad had his procedure on May 11, a Thursday.

I remember him being incredibly cheerful about the whole thing, we were laughing at his neighbor in the hospital that kept calling the nurses over to scratch his back. Every few minutes, “Nurse! Nurse!” he’d cry out, and follow it up with, “Can you scratch my back?” We laughed so hard every time.

My mom and I sat next to him as the nurses and doctors came over to review everything with him before he went through the procedure to cover the tumor with chemo (none of us really understood the procedure, but it wasn’t a full body chemotherapy, just concentrated.)

I could see his demeanor changing when the nurse listed off all the risks involved with what was in store for the day, on the list: death.

We all nervously laughed at that one, but my dad gave a full acknowledgement to everything. He was ready to go through this step to just get a bit closer to that liver transplant. All he wanted was a new liver, anything he could do to get closer to achieving that prospect was on the table.

My dad moments after the procedure was completed, eating a meal and drinking some juice the hospital provided him

We waited around with my dad for a while, my mom ended up staying there at the hospital, while I walked back to the hotel to take a nap. It’d be another 3 hours of wait time before we’d see him come out of the procedure.

I eventually wandered back to the hospital, grabbed a coffee, and checked out the chapel area.

My mom texted that he was about to be let out of the procedure room and we could visit with him again.

I made my way to where she was in the waiting room and we went back to see him.

He looked fine, he was smiling and joking as usual. They gave him some treats to snack on, being that he hadn’t eaten anything in a long while.

I ended up driving us back to the hotel.

My dad wanted nothing but rest. They decided to leave the next morning back to the Rio Grande Valley. I remember that morning my dad made his way straight to the SUV and sat down rather than hug me goodbye. I knew this was a sign that he wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to be in a resting position. He joked about how wrong the nurse was, because he felt totally fine — “Que pendeja pinche nurse viejita! I don’t have the shakes or feel nauseated.”

They made it home that same Friday, May 12.

Meanwhile, I went back to work for a half-day to meet the new lady starting a position I’d be working closely with. She is some older woman with a glow of hippie nonsense radiating off her, whilst still managing to reverberate anxiety and stress with every new development. I would later learn that’s she’s on panic mode every day. She forgets things constantly and she’s terribly unorganized.

That Saturday morning I texted Bosswife a few things on my chest, feeling that I no longer felt I was being appreciated at work for my work but rather just kept around for the sex. I had for a long while already been totally checked out of the job because it was much of the same bullshit as before. I was learning nothing new, wasn’t being challenged, and was growing bored, wanting to drop my hours and be remote more often.

It was a culmination of sex-with-boss, bored with work, and wanted to be genuinely appreciated. The text bombs landed on her and we met to chat it over. The conversation basically ended with me not wanting to continue our sexual relationship anymore. I called it off sexually, but I think to her that meant the whole relationship was down the tube. As we go into June and July, I’ll explain more in detail.

After that conversation, I went home to work on some old writings I had on my Google drive. Started editing content while drinking coffee and listening to music. I was in an artsy groove, when I received a text from my sister:

Dad had fainted.


My niece’s message to me the night my dad fainted.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

This felt real. This felt like this time it could be the end. This was not a drill, Dad was really sick and hurting.

My mom said his lips had turned blue, he had passed out while putting on his shorts, he was feeling weak and nauseated — pinche nurse viejita was right.

My mom was sending the group chat updates on Dad, she kept us calm, telling us everything was okay. There was a point I didn’t know what to think. If she was hiding how bad his condition was or not. She sent a picture of him and it wasn’t the most inspiring. He looked defeated.

That Sunday, the day after he fainted we kept in touch, but the feeling my mother was giving us was that it was routine, nothing to worry too much about.

It wasn’t the most active day for me, I spent it with some friends watching the Spurs lose at a bar, while I texting with my mom and sister. My mind revolved around thinking about my dad and how I just wanted to head home, but my mom kept insisting I stay in Austin.

One of Mom’s highest values is work ethic, and her seeing me miss work so often crushed her, even if it was on behalf of being there to support Dad. It’s just the way she is. I understood her caution to call us over to the Rio Grande Valley, but I knew the moment she did, it was serious.


Not sure why, but on May 15, Monday night, I decided to peer into my freezer where I kept my weed and started packing my pipe with as much weed as I could get in. I lay on my giant bean bag watching a movie. I don’t remember which movie it was, but I think James Franco was in it. As I took more puffs, time started to slow down — what was a 1.5 hour movie was turning into 4 or 5 hours. I told myself that I was plenty high, but I kept smoking.

Bad idea.

Time and thoughts were skipping forward and into the past, I couldn’t remember if I had done something or was about to do something. I was on a total trip. I started getting paranoid that I’d hurt myself, so I walked around the house hiding sharp objects.

I started imagining impaling myself with scissors or knives, graphic shit like taking a toothbrush through my eye sockets — what the fuck did I smoke?!

I started eating some leftover pasta with my fingers because it felt good on my hands, cold and squishy. And then I’d wonder if I had imagined that I did that or if I had actually done it, because my perception of time was skewed. Nothing was linear. I felt I had the power to look into the future and the past. I kept bouncing back and forth in my mind, unable to lock down where exactly in time I was.

My mom called.

Everything she was saying sounded like an echo, but it wasn’t good news. My dad was doing worse and she was recommending I go down to the Rio Grande Valley to see dad. Whenever I’d hang up I was paranoid that she knew I was high, I think I even laughed at some point out of nerves — I didn’t know if I had actually had the conversation or imagined it. God help me. When was I going to come down from the high?

I started chugging as much water as I could and eating the pasta, writing things on my whiteboard that I had done to keep record of what I had actually done. I had lost my mind for a second.

My mom called again.

This time it was more serious. I think my high self the first time hadn’t confirmed I was going to drive over there. This time I made sure to let her know that I’d be going the next day after I had to changed the car oil.

I was still high, still confused about my perception of time, but I was slowly coming down from it. The paranoia was subsiding, no longer was I going to kill myself with toothbrushes, I could start remembering where in time I was — I was totally relieved, but I had no idea what the hell I had said to Mom, or what she had said.

I had to call her. It was late, maybe 11:30 p.m., but I gave her a call, admitted I was high (she was super concerned about that) and asked her what she had said. I reconfirmed I’d be taking off after a meeting at work in the morning and arriving around 4 p.m. to the hospital.

Holy shit, I was glad to have my mind back, but I was so sad about my dad.


That Tuesday, May 16, I drove down to the Rio Grande Valley, stopped at a Best Buy to buy a charger, then made my way to the hospital where my dad’s brothers were, my grandma from my mom’s side, other relatives — I immediately felt the love. I wouls be staying with Dad that night to give my mom a rest, she had been there every night since he fainted. The family went to grab dinner; I had a quick bite, picked up some stuff from the house, downloaded some games to my iPad because Dad is a gamer, and I even loaded the Holy Bible onto my iPad just in case Dad wanted to read.

I was hopeful he’d bounce back, it was just a rough patch.

I arrived to the hospital and spent time with him at his bed side watching one of his favorite shows, “Forged in Fire”, a contest show where people compete to make the best blades each episode. He was very weak to speak, and he had a breathing mask on, so talking was limited. He would signal me things he wanted, like grabbing the nurse, needing to poop, and at one point he pointed to his right arm making the signal that it was weak and he couldn’t lift it.

I made it a point to hold all my tears in, it was the most difficult thing watching my dad in this condition. After an episode of Forged in Fire was finished, he decided to fall asleep, that was around 10 p.m.

I knew he had been having trouble sleeping and he wasn’t comfortable, hating being on his back all this time. He wanted to sit up and do things. But I think he was ready to just knock out and pass the time, maybe thinking about me more than himself; I sat there at his bedside and held his hand.

I started praying intensely, a prayer that a blanket of peace and warmth be spread upon his body. That the very same blanket of nirvana I had felt just a couple weeks before lay over him, calm him. I prayed for his health, for his mental wellbeing, and for strength.

I must have prayed for two hours before he noticed, signaling me, “What are you doing?” I told him I had been praying for him, the whole time holding his right hand.

I kept on in prayer for maybe another hour. I decided to make my way to the recliner where I closed my eyes for a bit, but by 1:30 a.m. he was awake again. The nurse had come in to change him because he had gone to the restroom. He was peeing and pooping regularly. I could see his pee pouch (that was out of his line of sight), it was not a normal yellow color, but brownish. He was bleeding.

I went and sat next to him, asked him if he wanted to play a game on the iPad, he said he didn’t. I asked him if he wanted me to read him the bible. He nodded yes.

“Which book?” I asked.

He pulled his breathing mask to his side and said, “Samuel.”

I got about seven chapters into 1st Samuel before we got interrupted a few times and dad said it was okay to go to sleep.

I fell asleep again, woke up around 5:30 a.m. My dad wanted to sit up. I brought the nurses in and they managed to sit my dad up. The bed morphed into a throne and my dad was upright.

“I didn’t know it did that,” I told Dad.

He smiled and mouthed, “Me neither.”

He seemed happy, watching TV in that position, a position he hadn’t been in for maybe two or three days. After thirty minutes or so, he wanted to lay back down. The nurses came back in to lay him flat, changed and cleaned him. It was now early morning and my mom let me know that my sister should be arriving around noon. I had told my dad my sister would be there, he just shook his head with a little sadness in his eyes.

Some time around 8 a.m. I switched shifts with my mom, got a quick update from the doctor; it wasn’t looking good. There was more blood in his urine and they’d have to do a procedure to flush out his kidneys around 1 p.m.

I got home around 8:30 a.m., all alone I walked around the house staring at things and locations that reminded me of Dad. I began to weep. Somehow, I knew this was the end. I pleaded to God to spare him for my mom’s sake. I called upon God, rejecting Death, fighting the unfair nature of that existence. I was completely shattered. My soul was prepared for the pain, the shock. I knew this was my dad’s end. I didn’t know if it was going to be that day, I was already planning to stay with him again that night, but I felt prepared for his death as I came down from the weeping moment.

Around 11:30 a.m. I had gotten word that my sister had just landed, my aunt was bringing her over to the hospital. I had woken up from a nap around 11 a.m. and as I awoke I remember having my lips puffed out in a way my dad used to do when he was resting. At that moment, I had a thought run across my mind saying, “He is becoming part of you.”

I got to the hospital about thirty minutes before my sister walked in. She looked right at Dad, then turned around to us with her back to him watery-eyed. She couldn’t bare to see him this way. None of us could. They were preparing to get him into the procedure room to flush out his kidneys of the blood buildup. My mom says that their pastor had visited in the morning to pray for him and even sang him a song.

The visitors, the family packed in the waiting room, the whole thing was all too certain: Dad wasn’t getting out of this alive.

My sister gave him a kiss on the forehead and told him she loved him, he blew her a kiss back. He made a signal he needed to go to the restroom, and then he decided he didn’t need to after all, we made one last joke as a family, “No mas es un pedo atorado,” my mom joked. He laughed along with us one last time.

The doctors told us to make our way downstairs to a waiting area where he’d be going through the procedure.

There we were sitting with my Mom in the little waiting area, laughing as we typically do when we’re together— humor has been our comforting force as a family, and it was our dad that taught us to look on the bright side of life always — then our joking turned to sudden fear, one my mom’s coworkers at the hospital let us know there was a Code Blue and it was Dad.

They moved us to another station where we could have a level of privacy, the coworker kept running back and forth between the private room and where they were in the other room trying to resuscitate my dad.

“The doctor is still pumping on his chest, there’s a small heart beat. Don’t give up hope yet, Alma,” The coworker would address my mom every time she’d pop in.

A few seconds later would pass, we sat there as a family with our greatest fear looming over us.

“He’s still working on him,” She’d pop in every small while.

Until finally, after three or four rounds of the coworker popping in with updates, she walked in this time with a doctor who had a doomed look in his eyes.

Before he could open his mouth, my sister and mother both cried, “No!”

It was a tragic shriek echoing around me as I sat still for about five minutes, frozen in despair.

People were saying things, speaking consolations but it wasn’t important to listen to, wasn’t worth noting at all.

I couldn’t bring myself to cry. I eventually gave my sister and mom a big hug and held them in their sorrow — kissing the tops of their heads.

It wasn’t until I called my uncle Joe to let him know that dad had passed away that I started to finally cry again— it was the act of announcing it that made it real. I even used the word “died” rather than the euphemism “passed away”.

My friends came through in the days after my dad’s passing. One came down from Philadelphia, the other from Houston, and two (not pictured) came from Austin to show their support. Immense love for all the people in this photo — including myself.

May — Part Two

My dad died on May 17, his funeral service as on May 22.

I decided I wanted to present my dad’s eulogy at the service. I remember Rusty (my best pal) advising me against doing that, saying that everybody would understand if I didn’t have the strength to go through with it. I wanted to. I needed to do it.

The night of my dad’s death, I woke up at 4 a.m. and sat at his computer chair, where he would often sit and I started to pray.

When I was 16 I had decided I wanted to be a missionary, go study the good book and spread a message of faith, love, hope of the Christian god. That dream dimmed out when I was 22, after getting kicked out of a Baptist college, and decided that I wouldn’t pursue something I didn’t 100% believe.

My dad had a similar story, he also felt called to be a preacher, he even held a few sermons and was on his way to being a minister, when he had a disagreement with the head pastor of the church my dad threw his preaching certificate in the face of the pastor and walked away for good.

Neither of us went through with the preaching career. That night I promised my dad I would go through with it for both of us, to fulfill our destiny. My first sermon would be his eulogy and we would do it together.


I stood up there confidently and certain of myself, I presented my father’s story with depth and love. I felt my dad right there with me. The funeral service was beautiful — everything my family and I could have desired of it. My dad was an incredibly funny guy, there was a lot of laughter and storytelling of his life. He brightened up a lot people’s lives. I’m glad for him every single day of my own, he’s made me stronger, wiser, funnier, and more whole. I love you dad.


A couple weeks went by, I took bereavement and a few special days to spend with my family. Bosswife checked in every now and then.

I’ve always had a pretty strong spiritual connection to my dreams, throughout those two weeks I dreamed of my dad several times. One time I was crying and calling out for him and he came running into my room, saying “Aqui estoy mijito!” And his face was right in front of mine. It felt very real. But that wasn’t the most extraordinary dream I had after his passing.

It was the last night I was in the Rio Grande Valley before I returned to Austin, I decided to sleep in the bedroom where I grew up. I had been sharing the bed with my mom and niece to keep Mom comforted those couple of weeks.

I remember laying on my bed trying to meditate, I was intent on dying actually — meditating my way into the afterlife to visit my dad. Something in the room kept interrupting my concentration. I was totally focused, but something in the room was there, pushing me out of it, until I finally just fell asleep.

That night I had a dream we were on another plane, something like you’d imagine heaven to be, in a mansion where my dad was gathered with several people including family at a large dining table. It was a big feast, a joyous occassion and my dad was explaining how time worked in heaven, he told me there’s no past or future, it’s all on the same path and we’re already all dead in the future so we’re right there with him, “I’m not alone, mijito,” he assured me. He didn’t want us to worry about him being lonely, because we were already there spending time with him in heaven.

The dream ended with us taking a family portrait together, it was my dad, my mom, my sister, myself, and two others I didn’t recognize — my brother-in-law wasn’t there in the family portrait (that’ll be addressed in late November).

June

Video shoot for a project announcing El Grito Challenge

June was fuckin’ weird.

Bosswife was being incredibly distant. I can only assume she used the time I was away for bereavement to distance herself emotionally from me. The day I returned to work, she gave me a cold, unfamiliar hug.

That was fucking with me. Between dealing with the emotions of my dad, I was now stacked with trying to understand the new normal in the office — this gross distance from somebody I thought I could come back to and find some level of comfort from — didn’t have to be sexual — I just wanted a fuckin’ friendship and we had shared intimate moments together recently, I assumed incorrectly that I’d be able to lean on her to give me comfort, give me advice, talk through things with me, but that wasn’t happening. She acted as if nothing ever happened. She didn’t talk about the state of the relationship, didn’t address it, showed no emotion. She just kept on as nothing had ever occurred. Cunt.

I had trouble being her secret little fuck buddy — honesty and trust are my highest values in relationships and the secret nature of our relationship hurt just as much as how cold she was being.

It was threefold aches with Bosswife: I was missing the sex — holy hell was I proud of myself for pleasuring a forty-year-old woman better than she had ever been pleased before and I absolutely reveled in that thought ; I respected the lady immensely — she had taught me a lot in my career and had become a close friend apart from being a mentor; lastly, I couldn’t deal with the secrecy — it hurt being scrapped, watching her marching off unscathed from it all, with a cold attitude toward me at work and how I couldn’t express work-related business without intermixing the lingering elephant in the room.

I couldn’t fuckin’ do it any longer. One week back to Austin and I was quitting on her, bouncing back to be near my family, planning to bury myself in books and writing. I was totally in the deeps after my dad’s death, exploring life, death, and reigniting my love for God and philosophy.

I didn’t have time to be pushing along some bullshit work that fulfilled nothing, that lead to no growth, that taught me nothing new. I was done.

I told her my last day would July 3, a Monday — she insisted on doing it July 5 on her birthday, not sure if she did it to fuck with me or what, but I ended up just taking off days and leaving after June 30, because fuck her and her manipulative bullshit.


I got a visit from another Colombia pal in June, Mateo!

In the month of June other things that happened, like my Colombian friend Mateo visiting. I gave him a tour of Austin, showed him some good places to eat and we connected with people he had met before.

I like Mateo, he reminds me of the little brother I never had. I got along with him very well in Colombia, he is much like myself when I was his age. He’s a classy dude for his age and will do great things in his time.

Hanging at the East Texas commune with Kadi (not pictured) and her dad, Robert (admiring his coffee)

Escaping somewhere quiet is usually my best move when things feel chaotic. I go out into nature or solitude whenever I need to reorganize my thoughts and reflect. One of the most special places for me to venture out to is East Texas, a place where I did a lot of growing in my early twenties, where I made strong bonds with incredible individuals.

Those people that still bring me warmth are my best friend Kadi’s family. They’re so special to me in a thousand ways. I fit right into their fold. We can laugh as if we’ve known each other for years, we can chat for long hours and play stupid games together and not tire. Kadi and I have an incredibly special bond, something deep and real. She’s somebody that knows me well, somebody I seek out when I need advice.

I wrapped up my June with them, in the warmth and expanse of the East Texas deep woods.

July

The Broken Obelisk outside of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, TX

Another place I enjoy visiting for reflection is the Rothko Chapel in Houston, and my very best friend Rusty Robinson.

I drove up to Houston that first week of July because I’d be flying out of Hobby to Norfolk, Virginia to spend the month with my sister.

I enjoyed time wandering around H-Town alone for a bit and hanging with Rusty at the Common Motor Collective where he works. I even helped him sort shit at his office.

The sting of Bosswife was pretty much over, I totally cut her off after she pulled some other shit that proved she had no intentions of continuing a friendship. Shit I won’t get into because it infuriates me as to how insecure and childish this lady really is. I’ve learned in life that many people have trouble with communication, being okay with bending the truth, and not being able to just be real with somebody they have been real with in the past — it’s all so god damn frustrating. I let her go, and as of this writing we have not spoken again.

I built a swimming pool with my brother-in-law Remus over a couple of days in July, twas nice.

The majority of my time in July was spent with my sister, mother, niece and nephew. Helping my mom adjust to the new normal: a life reborn in Virginia. She had elected to ultimately move in with my sister and her family, watch the kids when they needed, and be there to support in any way she could assist. She couldn’t bear to stay in the house my dad and her had put together over the years, she went back and forth on whether she wanted to sell the house or not; I elected to move back into the house, but I didn’t want a roommate.

My aunt, Bel, had the clever idea of getting me a roommate to split the house bill. I had more or less been living on my own for the last seven years in Austin. I wasn’t about to get a roommate. I had no job, but I had a very healthy savings reserve and some freelance work coming in. I wasn’t worried about taking on life alone in the Rio Grade Valley. My mom trusted the guy Bel was recommending and somehow I got tied to some dude I didn’t know, and didn’t want to live with.

I came up with the rent terms, came up with the excuse that Mom wasn’t sure if she’d be selling the house soon, and eventually wiggled my way out of having a roommate. Thank God.

In August, I’d be returning to the Rio Grande Valley and I had no idea how it’d be, I had no idea what to look forward to and what friends I’d have.

My buddy Jarin drove down to Virginia to visit me, this year has been the most I’ve seen Jarin in a long time. Love this guy.

August

Anoranisqua and Me on a dessert outing while Kadi and her husband got some alone time — being a good friend

I flew back into Houston on August 4, spent the day there with Rusty and his wifey Jenna before driving to Austin to spend the week with my Austin crew one last time before I headed down to the Rio Grande Valley.

After that week I’d be linking up with Rusty and Jenna in San Antonio to enjoy some more solitude and escape time as we made our way into Marfa, Texas.

That week in Austin, I spent a lot of time with Kadi and Ashley. I got in as much time together with them as I could. They’re a good foundation to cherish, especially Kadi.

Kadi has her ups and downs with her marriage (as any couple does), so it seems like we spend a good amount of time talking through the obstacles of life in relation to her marriage and the life we live. It’s all quite interesting with her. She’s a kindred spirit and I’m lucky she’s there for me always — the trouble with having somebody as good as Kadi as a friend in your life is that the bar gets set really high in relation to other friends I have, I end up expecting a lot more from others.

These two announced they were having a baby! I went along to Marfa with Rusty and Jenna to help shoot photos for their baby blasts on social media.

Marfa holds a special spot in my heart that’s tucked away beneath some nostalgia and curiousity. The beautiful things about that region in the world is how connected to nature, beauty, and isolation it is. There’s not many other places like it in the world.

For several years Rusty and I used to venture out that way to visit and kick some rocks. We took my poor Nissan Sentra through some hellish hills and rocky roads that I’m sure fucked my car up — but she still runs well enough.

Some depressed photo I managed to take while on tour at the Chinati Foundation

This occassion was different, Rusty and his gal, Jenna, were all set to announce their pregnancy, the birth of baby Oliver in the new year. We hiked our way into the Fort Davis mountain area to get the perfect shot, we ended up getting a ‘good enough’ one. Marfa doesn’t bring much action with it, it’s actually quite boring. You don’t necessarily go there to be super entertained, you go to reflect, get away, and zone out the rest of the world.

I finally did a tour of Chinati Foundation and saw the pretentious works of art by Donald Judd and others. It’s alright for what it is, a $25 entrance with a guided tour — not bad.

Dropping the boat off in the Addicks region of Houston to do some Hurricane Harvey flood help
A view of Hurricane Harvey as it approached the Texas coast a couple nights before

On a Friday night, August 25, Rusty sent me a text that it was really starting to come down in Houston. Four days later, inspired by the outpouring of support, my buddies Herb and Ruben got all pumped to go rescue people after some hardcore Japanese coffee we drank at Jitterz the afternoon before, we started scheming to see how we’d pull it off.

Herb and I seemed the most intent and serious about it. Ruben was pretty much on the fence, but I think he wanted to just go and see what the hell it looked like out there. Ruben had the boat, so we’d tag along with him in his truck.

We had faith he had prepped the boat, and it was worthy enough to hit the flood waters.

We were wrong.

That morning at around 5:30 a.m. I blasted out a group text to both of them, Herb seemed ready — Ruben seemed to be caught off guard. To this day, I don’t believe Ruben thought we were serious about going.

It started fairly normal, making a trip to WalMart at the early hours of the morning to get supplies we needed. As we we made our way further up north along the coast, we were beginning to see the wreckage and destruction that Harvey had left behind.

Full towns seemed depressed, split apart and broken.

Somewhere along HWY 77, before we go into Victoria, Texas

It was around Victoria, Texas that we need a refill of gasoline. We waited to the very last moment before we decided to pump gas. Ruben and I were confident we’d find a spot in Victoria as opposed to the smaller towns outside the region, because Victoria is a larger town and it just made sense.

But when we entered Victoria we started to assess the situation more clearly. This place was deserted and hit equally as hard as Houston. Herb went into a full Oh-Shit mode.

The view from Rusty’s apartment building on August 29

We made our way into the town, turned on some street and I spotted some older fellow on the side of the road. Herb lowered his window and we asked where we could find a gas station in town, he directed us to some place with the title of Diamond in it, I don’t exactly remember what it was called. But that was a clutch moment, we passed by the HEB and the line was about half a mile long as people waited to gas up — the Diamond place: no line, but it was about 20 cents more expensive. Whatever. We were glad to not run out of gas.

Herb had a buddy that was out in Houston saving lives, he was intent on finding a way to him and casting off near him. Ruben wanted to find a fire station and get more information about where they might need us. I wanted to get on I-10 and just drive into the city until we couldn’t and drop the boat off there. Your humble, disagreeing heroes could not make a decision.

Since Ruben was driving, we ended up spending about 1.5 hours trying to find the Katy, Texas fire station, but every way we took led to flooded streets.

Eventually, we went with Herb’s plan but then we kept running into police telling us that they had enough boats in the area, and we should keep going further into the city (AS I FUCKIN WELL KNEW). We eventually arrived to a region named Addicks that was heavily flooded, it had to be more than ten or twelve feet of water in that region.

I think it intimidated Ruben just a bit to see so much water.

He went back and forth, back and forth making excuses, wasting time for us not to get in the water. When Herb and I finally pushed him on it, he admitted, “I never charged the battery on the boat, but we can charge it.”

He had dragged us all the fucking way out here for nothing. Nothing. He went to a convenience store to buy jumper cables and we setup at a hotel, using their plugs to charge up the battery just to get a kick on the battery to start the boat.

“Fuck it. Let’s go,” Ruben said confidently — even though nobody believed in him anymore.

We arrived to the Addicks region again and quickly turned from would-be heroes to needing help.

Some dolt wearing a faux Vietnam Veteran cap ran up to the truck as we reversed into the water, asking if he could hitch a ride with us on the boat. This poor man became the scapegoat of our misadventure. Since we thought this fool was an army vet (because of the cap) we trusted he was capable of doing shit, like handling a boat while Ruben went and parked his truck after unloading the boat into the water.

We were wrong. He managed to reverse the boat into a medium, damaging the rotor, stalling the motor, sending us floating — we were now the ones needing rescuing. The current was pulling us away from the main area where we could get back onto the highway ramp. I felt embarrassed. The onlookers had turned into the heroes, pulling our paddles toward them so we didn’t drift off into oblivion.

We were amatuers acting like heroes and it showed.

I’ve never been so goddamn cold and wet in my life. The fuckin faux Army vet ended up jumping off the boat and hitching a ride on another more experienced seafarer. Fuck that guy. We eventually dusted ourselves off and made it back to the highway ramp were we tucked our tails, hitched the boat back up and went straight to the local Waffle House — it was 4 p.m. and we hadn’t eaten a real meal in about 7 hours.

We laughed off our defeat, posting photos of our almost heroes tale — a photo of Herb atop the boat waving at the camera with the Addicks flooding behind him ended up making it’s way to Facebook via Ruben.

Like a beacon of light, a mutual friend of Ruben and Herb’s was calling out to them on Facebook to be saved. He had been stuck in an apartment for 6 days and needed out. We were the answer and so, we had our chance to be heroes afterall — relunctantly we made our way toward where he might be.

We followed Herb’s directions to where his buddy was, got a sense for where he was and told him to meet us at a certain location before we could in and grab him. Everywhere we went, we got thanks from bystanders for having our boat hitched up to the truck, most people assumed we were doing miraculous shit. Ruben and I mucked around while Herb hitched a ride on a boat to get to where his buddy was, about twenty minutes later, Herb had successfully extracted his pal and we were confirmed heroes — now we could say we had saved a life.

We drove straight home, tired as fuck and frustrated with Ruben. Unprepared fuck.

September

September wasn’t the most eventful of months. I spent the month building up friendships and rekindling old ones back home. Herb, my barber and highschool classmate, has ended up becoming one of my closest friends in the Rio Grande Valley. He’s a solid ass dude. We share similar values, although I’m a bit more eccentric and obnoxious, he’s on an even keel when it comes to being honest and trustworthy. A good lad, he is.

That’s my buddy Herb in his natural habitat

October

I was growing tired of freelance gigs that I eventually started seeking a job that I could do remotely. I was having a few hits, but nothing that was exciting me. I had some real options as far as how picky I could be. I applied at a few places, got interviews, but nothing was sticking as far as me liking it or them liking me. I had been searching nationally, I then decided to turn my search to the local level.

I saw an ad for a UX Design instructor — and since I’m an arrogant crass that believes he can do just about anything, I applied. I’ve only had about maybe one year of UX Design experience, but fake it ’til you make it right? And how qualified can any Rio Grande Valley person be anyway?

I walk into the CEED Building in my hometown of Mission, Texas — a revamped building that houses the economic development corporation of the city. It takes a coworking space model that invites budding entreprenuers to share a space to promote growth in the city.

Interior of the CEED Building, it’s a cool ass little place. (Photo courtesy of Pablo De La Rosa)

I threw my only nice button-up on, dressed it up with a black sport coat, and walked into the building, unsure of what to expect from the totally informal interview process.

I met Jim, he gave me an almost automated tour of the building, selling it off as if he controlled most the building — swinging a big dick around. I was skeptical.

Jim seemed like a shy confidence individual, easily excited, came off as passive aggressive, but smart and totally experienced. I’ve since learned he’s a genuine person, easily leeches onto an idea that presents promise, he remains core to his values, and grows anxious when any criticism is shared with him. I’m excited to have met Jim, he presents a lot of promise to the Rio Grande Valley and I knew the moment I read the entirety of the mission and vision of Valley Technical Academy, I had to be part of it — helping bring great success to the Rio Grande Valley, because my home deserves it. If more people are succeeding here it’s good for everyone.

I agreed to the terms and started right away by redesigning the website on my own terms. I have also learned that’s how you have to approach Jim with a lot of things, just do the work and let it land where it may.

When I first arrived the team was defeated, scrapped, and unmotivated. I remember the first day with the whole team, meeting with one member, Emma, in private and she didn’t sound very confident the whole thing would work out. Another teammate wasn’t suited for the startup life, she is not very smart, not creative, not talented, and doesn’t quite challenge herself. I knew she’d be out, I wanted her out, but I had to get to a position of influence to start making that decision.

Immediately I worked my ass off with all the reserves of energy I had from resting my brain and freelancing for about three months. Jim took note, was impressed and quickly started talking about putting me in at the position of Chief Marketing Officer. Oh damn. Okay.

I had a fun visit from my pals Kelly and Haley and we ventured into Mexico and South Padre Island

November

Art (in the foreground) enjoys taking group selfies. This is the Valley Tech crew at the radio station with Alex and Meri-Dee.

The trouble and experimenting that was occurring in the marketing department of Valley Technical Academy revolved around pitching strategies to get the word out about Valley Tech.

Jim was pursuing the influencer marketing strategy and that wasn’t working out too well. I was on the digital marketing bandwagon and Art, the art director, was all about traditional marketing, using radio and television to reach the masses. Jim and I had our reservations, but we went through with it anyhow. I knew it’d at least be our big coming out moment, a time where we’d be blasted out and recognized. I was a bit nervous, hoping we wouldn’t somehow fuck it up.

We did great.

Phone calls started coming in, applications poured through the website, and it was pretty much a nice win for us. The word was out, the momentum was hot, and we got to rolling on building our brand.

The hardest part of this whole enterprise is inheriting some mish-mash bullshit brand vision, working with a hard-headed art director that uses stock images for everything instead of creating original artwork, and a very young team that has to be constantly pushed to think for themselves. In November, I got the fire I had been wanting, and that weak team member was let go. It didn’t faze the team at all, we were all aware she was the weakest link.

The final weeks of November meant fine tuning an event I had convinced Jim to throw the first week fo December, El Silicon Valle, where we’d have a special guest speaker talk about the trends in digital marketing and how technology is affecting advertising.

We were a week away and the weather reports weren’t looking too good, and to our luck we’d selected an outdoor venue. FML.


That final week after November spiraled out of control for my sister, as she finally opened to both Mom and I that she had long been unhappy in her marriage, and she was suspiscious about her husband’s behavior.

She texted me detailing how he had been acting, the shit he had been pulling in public — flirting with women in front of her, hollaring at other girls, all absolute horseshit.

Remus has cheated on my sister before, back in 2010 he got caught (or admitted to) having an affair. And I’ve recently learned that he’s constantly been struggling with depression.

All I can do is help assure my sister that this behavior should not create any doubts in her own self-image, Remus has long been a dropping weight of disappointment for but it seemed he made my sister happy. He was incredibly lazy and seemed a bit dull — and the motherfucker drank way too much. This all doesn’t help his case for me, watching him defeat himself in sorrow as he realizes all he has given up.

My sister is incredibly strong, raised with the right attitude, she’s looking out for herself and much like myself, our dad’s passing has brought a level clarity toward the things that truly matter to us. She’s focused on improvement and though these next few months will be difficult, I’m very confident she’ll climb out of this wreckage just fine. I love you Sis.

December

Our guest speaker addressing the crowd at El Silicon Valle, December 7

Despite the cold and wet weather, people were curious to see what El Silicon Valle, our keynote event, was all about. We were offering a couple of free drinks, and it was the first time that people could wear out their winter clothes. I was confident about 45 or so would come out from the 110+ that signed up. 44 showed up from our crowd and another 20 or so were there just by happenstance. Shit was lit.

Our speaker, Mr. Priem, did a wonderful job addressing the crowd. I do wish we had prepped more for it and gone through a less willy-nilly speaking format. He seemed a bit nervous and uncertain about it. I also don’t believe he thought anybody would show up, but when they did I could see the cloud in his mind clutter as he asked me, “What do you want me to speak about? I thought I was doing Q&A.”

So we did a bit of a hybrid Q&A anyway. It went as well as it could go.

The night was a success. It was the first sucessful Valley Tech event to be thrown, and I do hope for a bevy more in the future. Valley Tech continues to move forward and we’ll be rocking and rolling in a years time, I’m sure of it.


It’s become a Sunday afternoon tradition with my best pal, Herb, to sit and have a cup of coffee to discuss the mindfucks of the week. And around mid-December, I’d been talking about how I was getting ready to date again. It’s been since June when I’ve had any prospective romance and a kiss. All I’ve been focused on since returning to the Rio Grande Valley is setting some sort of roots and doing my work. I haven’t shifted much focus onto anything else and I think I’m finally at a place where I can run with that notion of investing time toward another person.

With the death of my father, a few things became priority: cultivating a mindset to kickoff my Common Chapel writings and sermons, getting romantic with somebody, and contributing to my community in a lasting way.

I came out of May wanting only the things that truly mattered to me, needing only the things that meant most to me and not much giving a fuck about all else. The chips will land where they will and I’ll always be fine. God is with me, especially if I’m walking in the direction most beneficial to myself, humanity and God. I will not fail.

In conclusion…

Going into 2018

I don’t suppose I’m resolved to anything new in 2018. I just want to secure the reminders about the reality of life and have them constant driving force for my activities, I don’t want to forget the value of life and the limited time I have to make a significant impact on society.

I’m sticking to my system, coordinating anything I do into my routine and being insistent on succeeding, because I can’t afford to foul out at this stage in life. I will use the tools at present to build the future I have envisioned for myself, and I’ll only work toward the things that allow me to reach my goals — everything else falls short.

Happy new year.

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