Welcome to Pookon's Ill Blog - home of my inner thoughts, creative outbursts and random thoughts. This site features my Podcast "The Drive to Stay Alive", Drunken Movie Reviews and the best Milwaukee Brewers coverage on the Pookon Empire. I'm often a little too raw, truthful and honest at times so proceed with caution, as some of this Ill Stuff might just blow your mind. You have been warned.
When I left the office around 6pm last night the moon was sitting up there in the sky looking down at me. I stopped to stare back. I took a picture but mine didn't turn out despite it being a "smart" phone with an 8 megapixel camera. So thank you internet for the assist on this one. This was pretty much how the moon looked and I was fascinated by it. I've always been fascinated by outer space, planets, moons, the stars and the possibilities that exist if we could ever go to infinity and beyond. But whether I'm staring at the moon on a random Tuesday or lying underneath the stars on KK at Afterglow I can't help but wonder. What's going on out there that we can't see? What does the Universe look like to the human eye? Are there other beings out there right now doing the exact same thing that I'm doing? Do they have similar thoughts about the Universe that is outside of their reach? Man hasn't been back to the moon in my lifetime with the last Apollo mission leaving the surface of the moon in December of 1972. And I doubt we will ever go back in my lifetime.
There were 12 men who walked on the moon and very soon we will sadly exist in a world where no currently living person has stood on another celestial body except for Earth. That's because some of those men are deceased and the remaining members of this exclusive club are old and getting older. Here are the Astronauts who have walked on the moon and their current age or date of death: 1. Neil Armstrong (82, died 8/25/12)2. Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin (83)3. Charles "Pete" Conrad (69, died 7/08/99)4. Alan L. Bean (81)5. Alan Shepard (74, died 7/21/98)6. Edgar D. Mitchell (82)7. David Randolph Scott (81)8. James B. Irwin (61, died 8/8/91)9. John Watts Young (82)10. Charles M. Duke Jr. (77)11. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt (77)12. Eugene A. Cernan (79). That's it. Those are the only people who have stood on a non man-made object in space and looked back upon the home they left behind. What an amazing sight to behold. The pictures are really cool but I'm sure they don't do it justice. What a lonely feeling that must be. To feel so small, so insignificant. But at the same time you must feel so mighty like a god that has done the impossible. To exist in an environment where survival is not humanly possible. To conquer an insurmountable goal and boldly go where no man has gone before. Well, at least for Neil Armstrong. For Eugene Cernan it was more like boldly go where only 11 men have gone before but still it's pretty fucking sweet. Out of the billions and billions of people who have ever lived only 12 people can can claim to have set foot on the moon. That's such an insane concept for me to grasp. I can't imagine what that is like. And I doubt I ever will.
I wanted to be an Astronaut as a child. Shit, I think every child did. To fly outside of the Earth and into outer space. That's every kid's dream. I wanted to do something different, to be special. Be unique. Little did I know that I didn't have to go to the moon and back to be an individual. I'm not like anyone else. I know that because I haven't met anyone else like me. I haven't even met anyone who can put up with me. I don't know who or what I am but I do know that I don't fit in here. Maybe I do belong out in space or on another planet. Maybe I'm supposed to stay here and change the world. Perhaps I'm doomed to stay locked up in my own mind behind my self-imposed prison bars. I don't know if I will ever find the answer. But I'm not going to stop looking. Where would we be today if man had looked at the moon and quit right there knowing that he would never reach it? We'd be stuck on Earth still looking up. So I'm not going to quit. I'll keep trying to find someone who gets me. Even if I DO have to go to the moon and back.
And I'm not talking about taco sauce here folks. Oh we'll get to the sauce, but a completely different kind of sauce if you know what I mean. But let me start out by saying that I don’t completely understand addiction, so let me apologize to anyone who is actually facing a real inner struggle. I don’t want to come off as condescending or insensitive to your problems when I make light of addiction as it applies to me. Let it be known for the record that I speak for myself and can’t even figure out what the hell is happening in my life most of the time. There will never be a time when I speak on behalf of the human race, animal kingdom, league of midgets, circus act The Flying Scoleri Brothers, Genie Childcare on 51st and Teutonia, the original Black Ranger Zack Taylor (played by Walter Emmanuel Jones, Wayne Brady’s half-brother) from Season 1 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Future Farmers of America (The FFA) or any of the other members of this Universe that I don't have time to mention right now. Basically what I'm about to say only applies to myself so don't get all worked up about me trivializing addiction.
I can't say that I'm truly addicted to anything. Everyone knows the usual addictions out there like booze, gambling, sex, drugs and rock and roll but I'm sure there are many other things that people can not do without and become dependent on. If we are talking addiction here then I guess I'm hooked on food, water, oxygen and rage. Can't go a day without those things although my Doctor would probably say that I could stand to go a few days (weeks even) without food. And that leads to my first semi-addiction. We're not talking about trucks here people but I do have a strange affinity for Optimus Prime. I'm talking about some of the cargo those trucks haul - delicious food. I love food. You've seen me. I'm bigger than most people in the state of Wisconsin and that's saying a lot. I can't stop eating even when I am not hungry. Its so damn good man. It's the highlight of my day when I get to sit down and munch and crunch on some goodies. And don't even offer me free eats. If I know something is about to go bad or be thrown away but it is still edible I'll eat it. I cry in movies where people do something like order a pizza then don't eat all of it. Hey pal! Don't waste! Give me some of that shit. I'm like a human garbage disposal when it comes to free food. I have bum mentality where I eat as much as I can when it is available because I never know when I get to eat again. Only there is always another meal coming. I never starve. I have 2 jobs and a family that always feeds me. I never have to worry about going hungry. But still I suck down free eats just in case. I love food more than a lot of things in this world but I still wouldn't call it an addiction.
I guess I could also can say that I have a gambling problem. But I still wouldn't classify it as an addiction because it's not traditional in the way that you think. I usually only gamble with my life, never with my money. But when I do step inside a casino I just lose my fucking mind and get caught up in the possibility of hitting the big time and solving all of my financial woes in one quick push of the button. I can't walk away. I get caught up in all of the loud noises and flashing lights. I become a spectacle as I cheer on the bonus game. When I win I jump out of my chair, dancing around in a circle slapping my ass like Happy Gilmore after he sinks a big putt. Hours later I realize that time has passed and I have lost more money than I can afford to part with. I have no limits. But it is not just casinos that get me. Oh no. Hang out with me often enough and you'll find yourself on the winning end of several stupid bets that I make. I have paid for portions of Cousin Kevin's tattoos because of a bet. I have purchased juice boxes or beers for my pal Mike Wilhelm because of bets I made against Zack Greinke or Yovani Gallardo. I also bet Mike $100 that I would die before I am 40 and he gets to collect on my 40th birthday or tuck the $100 in my pocket at my funeral. That's fucking insane. What do I stand to gain on that bet? I know there are other examples but I don't want to embarrass myself further.
And then there's the sauce. Once again we're not talking about the one you put on tacos. I do tend to drink more often than most people do but it's not like I do it every day and I don't let it control my life. I can go without it and it's not like I'm drunk 24/7. I know that these sound like excuses or me dodging the issue (don't they say that denial is one of the first signs of being an addict?) but I think I would know if it were true. I bet other people have their own opinion (especially if you ask my Mother) but that doesn't concern me. The big thing for me to prove that I'm in control is that I don't let any of these things run my life. I pay all of my bills, work 2 jobs and take care of my cat. I maintain healthy relationships with my friends and family. To my knowledge I have not destroyed any part of my life through eating, gambling and drinking. The only argument that I can see against my case is that I have ruined my own life for the most part because of my weight, lack of a savings account and unwillingness to socialize with other people. I'd rather stay home by myself. Deal with it. This is just the surface here of what I think are just mild addictions. Everyone has something that they love to do that they know are bad for them. Some are more serious than others but who is to say what is better or worse? Like all things moderation is the key and I know I've done a good job of balancing them. I only go to the casino for special occasions (Las Vegas, Afterglow, bachelor parties) and can't afford to spend a lot so I don't. It's not like I'm pulling down $60,000 a year and I have a lavish lifestyle. A paycheck to paycheck guy can't pay all of his bills then squander the rest at Potawatomi because there is no rest. I don't have expendable income so I am able to steer clear of temptation. Same goes with the food and booze. Does that mean I'm not an addict because I can't afford to be? Maybe. But don't don't real addicts get their fix by any means even if they have to lie, cheat, steal or screw over their friends and family? You won't see me doing that. Do I have a problem? Yes. Can I fix the problem? Yes. Do I know how? Not exactly. Does the problem run my life? I don't think so. So why is this an issue? Because right now I just have a mild addiction which could get worse if left untreated. I'm just going to leave it at that for now. And therein lies the problem...
It seems to me that I'm always the wrong guy in the wrong place at the write time. Story of my life. Let me explain. I'm always the wrong guy. I know I haven't lived up to my potential both inside and out because I can do so much better with what I have been given. No one is excited when I appear on the scene. People are like oh it's that guy. I thought it was gonna be He-Man. I'm not good looking. I'm not an athlete. I'm not model. Although those can be debatable because I was a semi-professional beer pong player and I once signed a model release form to authorize Playboy to use my picture on their website for a feature article on the World Series of Beer Pong II. Basically I'm the wrong guy. I'm what you get when all other options are taken and you've decided that your parents wouldn't approve of you being a lesbian. And even after that I'm still single. Of course I could change this by putting in the time and effort to make myself the right time but that leads to the next part - I'm always in the wrong place.
I'm not comfortable in my own skin or with myself as a person so I'm either awkward around people. so over the top as to make everyone else awkward or sitting at home by myself to avoid the awkwardness. While you may argue that this is not true because I'm guessing if you are reading this we've hung out before I'll let you in on a little secret - it's all a ruse. A cunning attempt to trick you from knowing who I really am. At least in person. Which brings up the next part of the line - the write time. If you follow me on here or anywhere else online you'll see a different side of me than I display elsewhere. On here I can hide behind my words under the false assumptions that no one will ever read this and figure out who I really am on the inside.
Or maybe I'm just bullshitting and I have no fucking clue what I am talking about. Ha ha ha, I say. I was only kidding. I am a chronic liar after all. That way you will never know the real truth. So am I write or am I wrong? Who can tell? I've been living a lie my entire life and I've forgotten which path I have chosen and how deep the rabbit hole goes. I know what you're thinking right now - why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill? Because the world is fake. I would rather see it for what is than not be able to see it at all. That's why I write what I see. That's why I record my life through various mediums. I want to get it all down and try to understand it. There has to be a reason I'm the wrong guy in the wrong place at the write time. God gave me the ability to write coherently and a boundless imagination for a reason and I'm left alone to figure out that reason. But until then here is a recap of what happened this last week here on the blog in case you missed it.
That's what has happened in my life over the last week, or at least in my online life. I'm sure there were a lot of moments that happened outside of this digital space but these were the moments that I chose to share with the world. I know that I shoot myself down a lot and have no self respect but it all comes from having no confidence or self-esteem. I blame myself entirely but you grow up being a fat kid and see how you turn out. But it taught me to find humor and learn how to develop a skill and for me that was writing. Say what you want about my style or word choice but I'm going to ignore you if you are negative. I know I'm a damn good writer and I take a lot of pride in what I do. It's the only good thing in my life and the only thing that could possibly get me out of whatever self created hell I've been living in. So stayed tuned to the blog for more nonsense during June and I promise you that even though I may be the wrong guy in the wrong place, here on my blog it will always be the write time. Yippee-ki-yay, Motherfucker!
It's been a very long weekend and I'm exhausted from all the work it took to set up, rage and clean up from the 37th Reck Family Christmas Party. Thanks to everyone who came out and I'm sorry if I didn't get a chance to sit down and talk to all of you. I hope you ate some good food, were not too stumped by the trivia and that you were able to suck down the sweet goodness of a juice box or two. I'm off to meet my Pops for dinner to celebrate Father's Day so I don't have a whole lot of time to write today, so here is my entry for June 16th. Enjoy. Genius. This is without a doubt one of my favorite commercials that I have ever seen. But it did not do its' job because I didn't remember what it was for until watching it again and I never have, nor will I ever go to CareerBuilder.com. So why is it amazing? Because it features a Koala getting punched in the face. This commercial first played at the Super Bowl in 2010 and it still makes me laugh. You can fault it for not achieving the goal of advertising for CareerBuilder.com but you have to admit that it is hilarious. Or am I way off? I wonder how many of you have the same sense of humor that I do. Watch the video and then see if you can get on board with what I'm talking about.
Now before you call the feds or PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or my mother, let me assure you that I don't condone violence. Yeah, I assure you. But I do condone hilarity. And it is beyond funny that a koala is wearing glasses and speaking with an accent. And even better, that furry little marsupial gets punched right in the face. Who hasn't wanted to punch an animal in the face? This is not violence because it's just like a cartoon. Cartoons aren't real. I have a real animal living at my house and I would never ever punch my cat Korben Dallas in the face. But if he ever put on a pair of glasses and started speaking with an accent I might consider it. But I would not be able to punch him because he would probably pull a gun on me and ask if anyone else wanted to negotiate. That's what Korben Dallas does. If I ever came so close as to raise my hand to him, I could see my cat saying, "You wanna play it soft? We'll play it soft. You wanna play it hard? Let's play it hard." And then he kicks the shit out of me. You don't mess with Korben Dallas. He only speaks two languages - English and Bad English. But only if he is wearing glasses.
Sorry for the crudity of the picture but it is a picture of a picture (and like Doug #4 in Multiplicity, when you make a copy of a copy it's just not as sharp as the original) but this picture was the inspiration for this post in a way. My sister Jenny and I are pretty damn random but not as random as this bum. And here's why. Back when Jenny was in High School and dating Dan Wilhelm we used to goof off around town. One night in the summer of 2002 we went down to the lakefront and saw this bum sleeping on a park bench. Dan and I wanted to get our picture taken with him but didn't want to be rude about it so we came up with this genius idea. We approached him and said we were doing a scavenger hunt and said we needed to get our picture taken with a random person. He promptly responded with, "Well, just call me random" and Random the Bum was born. Well just call me random has been a part of our vocabulary every since and that was a day to be remembered if only for its' randomness.
In the spirit of Random the Bum I decided to answer some random questions. Some of them I found on the Internet by doing a simple Google search of random questions and I picked a few that jumped right out at me. Then I sent a simple text message to several of my friends and family with this message, "Ask me a random question. I'll answer it on my blog tomorrow." These are the questions that I received from them along with my response. Of everything that I've done so far during the Write Month this one has been the most entertaining because I couldn't have planned for these questions and my responses are my honest and immediate thoughts. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question and I'm thinking about making this a permanent addition to the blog if it proves to be a success. Lord knows that I love being random.
The Internet: Are you optimistic about the future?
Me: I was looking up at the stars when I went camping with my Dad recently and I asked him what are we more likely to see in our lifetime - Aliens or Nuclear War? We both said Nuclear War. For the record I believe that we aren't alone in the Universe because probability states out of all the planets out there in the infinite beyond there has to be another one besides Earth that is capable of sustaining life. There's billions of possibilities out there yet I don't believe in the possible good of mankind which prevents them from pushing the button that ends the human race. That's sad.
My cousin Brian Kurutz "BK3": What's up with Global Warming?
Me: (I kind of want to answer this question like Harry Caray): Hey! I heard there's this Global Warming thing happening. Just the other day my friend said to me, Hey! Harry! What's with this Global Warming? And I said the World isn't warming up, you're just wearing a sweater. (Back to me): Global Warming is bullshit. Global Warming my ass. If the World was getting warmer then why the fuck is it 60 degrees in mid-June here in Wisconsin?
My brother James Reck: What do you dislike about Wrigley Field?
Me: I'm going to use Russell Hammond's answer when he was asked what he liked about music, "To begin with, everything." Is this a serious question? I had to ask him to clarify if he meant what do I like about Wrigley instead of what I dislike. The list of things that I like about the place would be pretty small. The list about what I dislike could go on seemingly forever. I'll try to limit it to some of the things I dislike the most. First off we have Wrigley Field itself. There's a reason it's called The Neighborhood Dump. People may fall in love with the history or the nostalgia but the fact remains that the place is just old. The concourses are small. Access to the upper level is by ramp. I've never seen any stairs, escalators or elevators. The seats themselves are small and the aisles are cramped. Not very comfortable for a man of size. The support beams that hold the structure together offer a lot of obstructed view seats. And although I hate all of the nonsense they do on the Miller Park scoreboard (Got Milk? Muscle Cam, Kohl's Show Us Your Sign, Topp's Baseball Cards memory match game, find the Stubhub Ticket Oak, Potawatomi Crazy Cap Shuffle game, US Cellular Ringtone Karaoke sing along, Briggs & Stratton Power Roulette Wheel and many other distractions that take away from the game) I do like a giant scoreboard with all of the stats that baseball dorks like me love to talk about. What is Starlin Castro's OPS? How about Jeff Samardzija's WHIP? You mean I have to look it up on the internet? And last but not least we have the people who fill up that joint on a daily basis - Cubs fans. I can't stand them and I'm ok if I never go to Wrigley Field again in my lifetime. It's like a personal hell. Why would I want to spend 3 hours there then go back for seconds or thirds? No thank you. I'm just fine and dandy in the left field bleachers of Miller Park. Fuck Chicago. Fuck Wrigley Field. And of course, fuck the Cubbies.
My friend and co-worker Mike Wilhelm: What is the first thing you think of when you wake up on St. Patrick's Day?
Me (5 years ago): Which bar is open at 6am and can I go to work drunk or should I call in sick today?
Me: (now): Damn I'm tired. Why did I stay up until 3am drinking and writing. Oh, today is St. Patrick's Day? Forgot about that. Ah shit, that means Mike Wilhelm is going to wear a green shirt at work today and I'll have another reason for why he annoys the shit out of me.
The Internet: What celebrity do you want to kill?
Me: I don't know if you can really call her a celebrity but it would be Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials. I can't stand her and every time I see her stupid face or hear her annoying voice I want to slit her throat. They play those commercial seemingly every break on Sportsradio 1250 WSSP here in Milwaukee and I've stopped listening to the station some days because I just can't take it anymore. This recent movie called The Purge just came out in theaters and it has a very interesting premise - in the near future the Government has sanctioned 1 day a year where all crime is legal so that evil kind of takes care of itself. Survival of the fittest I guess. Get rid of the weeds to let the garden grow. I've heard the movie isn't great because it focuses more on 1 home invasion instead of showing how seemingly good natured people react to the chance for a "get out of jail card" and what happens to people when the rules no longer apply. Do we carry on like normal or do we succumb to the urge to get away scott-free? If I could get away with murder, I can't say I could actually look Flo in her eyes as I twisted a knife inside her stomach, but I at least would consider it. Now that's fucked up.
My sister-in-law Melissa Reck: Why is South Carolina better than Wisconsin?
Me: 2 reasons - the weather and the history. Let's start with the weather. Saturday June 15, 2013. Columbia, SC - high of 90 degrees with a 0% chance of rain. Milwaukee, WI - high of 74 degrees with scattered Thunderstorms and a 50% chance of rain. I'm supposed to be hosting an outdoor party in the backyard. Need I say more? As far as the history I just need to point out the city of Charleston vs. Milwaukee. Sure we have some pretty cool things up here but the 1800's just can't compete with the 1600's when it comes to old world charm. I only spent a few hours walking around the city but the houses, buildings and streets have a certain style that you just can't duplicate.
My "Cousin" Kevin McKissick:What would you do if you had 2 hours left to live? Sub questions - Who would you hang out with? Where would you go?
Me: Wow. Congrats on coming up with the most serious question. I wouldn't try to go anywhere because the only place I would want to go in that situation would be Afterglow, but I probably couldn't get there in the allotted time. I suppose I would just go over to my Mom's house if I was nearby and ask my family to come over to share those last 2 hours with me. I would ask for them not to be sad and instead laugh with me as we recounted happy or humorous stories of my life. My one request would be for a bottle of whiskey to help me loosen up and accept my fate. Plus I'm no stranger to the sauce so it would only seem right. I would take about 10 minutes to post something on Facebook thanking everyone for everything they have done for me to help shape my life. I would also apologize for anything that I said or did that made you think less of me as a person. Try and right the wrongs if you will. I would not read any responses. I would choose Facebook because it would take way too much time to tell every one individually. I would listen to music, preferably some of Timmy's songs to get me in the right mindset to see him again. I would instruct Jenny to take care of Korben Dallas and for Kevin to carry on the Pookon empire (or at least foot the yearly bill to keep the website running) so people could read the story of my life. I want that and this blog to be my legacy much like Timmy with his Albums. As you know, I operate The Reck Room Studios on Facebook and at TimReck.com to share his music. I would ask Kevin to do the same for me once I'm gone but with my pictures and writings. And as my final minutes approached I would probably say a prayer to God. I've lost my way in faith in the recent years and although I don't go to church often I still believe in God and the existence of Heaven. I would ask my Guardian Angel (Timmy) to welcome me there and with my last words I would hope to say something inspirational or hilarious. Something my family would remember for all time. But knowing me, I would probably quote a movie. I'd pour a shot of whiskey, raise it up in the air and say, "Here's to ya Blacksmith!", drink my last sip, smile one last smile and prepare for the June's Blanket Reunion Tour in the sky.
My Dad Mike Reck: Where is the best place to go for a hamburger?
Me: If you ask people in Milwaukee this question the majority of people seem to have one of these places at or near the top of their list - Sobleman's, Solly's or AJ Bombers. Despite living in Milwaukee for my entire life I haven't tried any of these so I can't comment on them. My best place to go for a hamburger used to be Robert's Custard on 60th and Appleton. It's now called Junior's and I went there back in April and it was awful. I guess that's what happens when new ownership takes over and destroys everything that you used to love. So I guess I would have to say that it would have to be Kopp's.
But the question wasn't "Where is the best place in Milwaukee to go for a hamburger?" it was "Where is the best place to go for a hamburger?" Then my answer is simple - In-N-Out Burger. Ever since the first time I had it in California I have made it a point to stop there any time I am near the West Coast. For many years I was in Las Vegas for the World Series of Beer Pong and I going to In-N-Out Burger was usually the highlight of my trip. When I went down to Phoenix, Arizona for Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training in 2009 I went there. And more recently in late March of this year I was in Las Vegas once again but this time for my friend TJ's wedding. On my last day out there I went to In-N-Out and I got a Double Double with Animal Fries and it was hands down the best meal I've had all year long. I don't know if the burger is really that good or that I just think that it is because I can only get it once a year. I can't answer that question but if I could go get a burger right now with no limitations of time or distance, I would go to In-N-Out Burger.
My friend and colleague Matt Werner "M. Thomas Jaynes" of The Daily Burner: What is the first conscious memory that you have?
Me: That's probably the worst question that you could have asked. What was that question again? I have a terrible memory. Historically bad if that makes any sense. I can barely remember my childhood and there's not a lot I could tell you about my life prior to 2000 (when I started keeping journals, got my first digital camera and created my website). But after a bit of reflection I guess I have to pick one. It's probably not my first memory but this is earliest one that is coming to mind at 2:00am. I was in the living room of my childhood home laying on the floor with my head on our first collie or Lassie 1 as I refer to her now. I think she died around the time (if not a little bit before) Jenny was born so I would have been about 4 years old. I remember her being a real sweet and nice dog and she would let me lay next to her on the floor and pet her. There's something about being on the floor that always reminds me of being a little kid and I wish I had more memories of being that young. It's just a big blank sheet of white up there and I hope no one else ever asks me to recollect my youth. I've worn lots of shoes. I bet if I think about it real hard I can remember my first pair of shoes. Momma said they'd take me everywhere. They were my magic shoes. It's funny how you remember some things but some things you can't. I remember my bus ride on the first day of school. You know it's funny what a young man recollects? I don't remember being born, I don't recall what I got for my first Christmas and I don't know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. But I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. She was like an angel. We were like peas and carrots.
The Internet: When I say "pie", what is the first word that pops into your head?
Me: Punch. That was an easy one. Thanks to South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut I will forever associate punch with pie. Want to know the secret to getting more people to attend your event? Tell them you'll have punch and pie. More people will come if they think you have punch and pie.
I've been doing a solo podcast since late October of 2012. I call it The Drive to Stay Alive because I record the episode while I am driving back and forth from work while searching for my purpose in this world; a reason to keep living. I started recording at a very dark time in my life and over the course of the last 8 months I have figured out a lot of things about myself and how to be happy in an otherwise sad world. I haven't got it all figured out yet which is why I keep recording. To my knowledge I'm the only one who has ever listened to an episode of this even though I have posted every single of them in this blog. But I'm ok with that. In fact I don't really care if you listen to them because you don't really have a reason to. It's not your life on the line here. Whatever you tell me to do or try and help me fix my life probably won't work (no offense) because the answer needs to come from within. I have to figure this one out on my own. But I post these episodes to hold myself accountable in the rare case that someone does take the time to know what's going on in my life. At any time someone could stop me and ask if I have stayed true to any of the promises that I have made or if I have quit like I always do. But no one has done that yet. But I do enjoy going back and listening to the previous episodes because each one is a snapshot of my life at that moment. I can also see how much (or how little) I have changed since then. The following episode was recorded at like 3 in the morning when I was in Las Vegas in late March of 2013, which is a bit of a departure from the usual Drive to Stay Alive Podcast.
I rolled into Las Vegas on a Friday night around midnight. My flights had been delayed and were switched around so I got in later than I had expected. For my troubles I received a $600 travel voucher so my trip started out on a very high note. I arrived at my hotel (The Super 8 just off Strip) and met up with my friends where we hung out and sand some karaoke. They went to bed around 230 am but I was pretty jazzed up and not ready to turn in. That's when I started Operation Dawn. I was drinking (and not driving of course) so I decided to record even though it wasn't a traditional episode of this podcast. It's a little on the long side because I just hit the record button and had a hard time paying attention thanks to the booze, flashing lights and obnoxious noises. But now I'm sober and I was able to edit together a semi-coherent representation of my night. It's not as introspective as I usually get and I in no way, shape or form identify a problem in my life or figure out a way to solve it. But I do have some fun. Some good drunken fun. Give it a listen if you have an hour to burn.
When I'm drunk and alone I usually take to Twitter to share my adventures with someone. And that someone ends up being anyone who is brave enough to follow me. I'm 100% honest on there and everything that I say actually happened. I know. Seriously. I don't really believe it myself which is why I put it on there. When I sober up I check my Twitter account to see if I imagined it or if it was real. The following are real things that happened to me that night during Operation Dawn:
Picked up my bottle of backpack rum. My weekend in #LasVegas can now officially begin. I'm gonna be drunk 24/7 bitches!
Lost $4, had 2 rum drinks, ate the shit out of some pizza and a $2 local microbrew. This place is awesome. #EllisIslandCasino
My only stipulation for a slot machine is that it has to be as loud and obnoxious and I am. #LasVegas
It's 5am. I won $100 on penny slots and $20 by letting it ride on black. I'm up on the night plus I had plenty of beers. #LasVegas #victory
Fuck. Shit. God damn it. I was up and now I'm back at even. Why did I play blackjack? #GamblingAddiction #LasVegas
I should have left this casino hours ago. I shouldn't have had 10 beers. I've made some mistakes. But fuck it. #rage #LasVegas
I've been in this casino for going on 6 hours now. If I leave even then at least I did something better than sleeping. #rage
I'm just so fucking drunk right now. Creating a spectacle and cheering and laughing over nonsense. Another day in the life... #Iceman
Hanging out with this old dude. I'm drinking beer. He's drinking coffee. This old guy rules! #victory
I don't care if I win money or I lose money. This entire trip is going to be #victory when all is said and done. #LasVegas
The best part about this is that it's 830am back in Wisconsin and I'm talking to @JennyReck and @MPW8279 and I'm wasted. #LasVegas
Every time that I think about leaving this casino I get another round of free games or #victory. I can't lose! #LasVegas
This machine doesn't want me to leave. Every time I get up to go I get another bonus game. And another drink! #victory
This is beyond ridiculous. You would think I was dreaming right now. I have gotten so many free games and so many free beers. #victory
I just left the casino. Didn't sleep all night. Was raging like a banshee. I don't even know what that means. Classic. #victory
Still haven't slept. Drunk as shit, chillaxing in a hot tub. Living the good life. It's good to be the Iceman. #victory
Sobering up by doing laps in the pool. I wish every day could be like this. I truly am living the dream right now. #victory
I know I shouldn't be proud of this, but I'm so fucking drunk still at 9am. My life is insane pal. #LivingTheDream
(Taxi cab rolls up) Driver: you need a taxi? Me: No thanks pal, I'm trying to cut back. #classic
Sitting outside on the street, eating the shit out of some breakfast I got at 7 Eleven. Pretty much a perfect morning. #LasVegas
I'm such a drunken asshole right now. I saw some vomit on the ground, said last night's dinner and chuckled. #classic
I knew #LasVegas had a traffic problem, but I don't remember getting hit by a bus this morning. Good Lord. #GettingOld
This was a really good night. I actually remember a good amount of it despite being so drunk. I love that this happened the first night I was out here because I blew off so much steam and had a blast. I was losing money all night long and then hit a really big score that put me back ahead for the day. And I was drinking. All. Night. Long. When I finally left the casino at like 7am I went swimming to try and sober up. That didn't really work so I went to 7/11 for some breakfast. I sat out on the street corner eating my sausage muffin and drinking some orange juice and I just laughed. It's been a long time since I was that drunk so early in the morning. I just kept laughing to myself that I was a such a drunken asshole. This was a pretty good day. It wasn't the Virgin Islands and I didn't meet a girl. We didn't eat lobster, nor did we drink pina coladas. At sunset we definitely didn't make love like sea otters. I didn't get that day, but this was a day that I wouldn't mind living over and over. How's that for a glass is half full kinda guy?
On Saturday I talked about a song that conjures up a specific memory. But has there ever been a song that really spoke to you and described a certain time in your life? For Anita Miller it was Simon and Garfunkel's "America". It explained why she was leaving home to become a stewardess. The song expressed exactly what she wanted to say in words and it made perfect sense at that moment in her life. I always wanted something like that. Something that described what I was going through. Something that me, the writer, couldn't figure out how to say. When I was lost and didn't know where to turn I looked to my brother Timmy for inspiration. Even after he is gone he is still providing me with the answers. I found this song "Driving On" in The Reck Room archives of songs that he recorded but for whatever reason never made it on an album. There are plenty of songs that I listened to for the first time but this one stuck with me. It was in my head when I went to sleep and again when I woke to face a new day. I carried it with me as I tried to navigate the confusing path in front of me. I never know how I manage to do live another day without my best friend but somehow I'm able to do it. I just keep driving on.
That's all I really have to say that this song doesn't already say. I still can't believe that I found this song at a time when I needed it most. Call it fate, chance, an act of God or whatever you want, but I prefer to see it as my Guardian Angel looking out for me. Timmy always had a way of making things seem ok even when they weren't. He could make me laugh with just a smile. Neither of us had a clue what to do with our lives but we knew that as long as we had each other everything would be alright. So things haven't been alright these last 2 years. But I'm still here. I'm still looking for a purpose in life. So I'll keep driving on towards the rising sun where I know good feelings last a long long time...
I spoke that sentence at work yesterday. I don't know what context it was in or what it was in reference to. I don't even know how I came up with this line. It's so random but it is also a very good way to live your life. It is the truth. I don't hang out out with evil doers who are hell bent on causing damage and destruction to mankind and the World as we know it. I only associate with reputable members of society that have passed my moral ethics test and general code of conduct. That's probably why I've managed to stay out of trouble and out of jail for my entire life. I've never been arrested or even got so much as a speeding ticket. The worst I've even been is when I used to get on the Red Light in 2nd grade and those times that I bit the babysitter. I've been pretty straight-edged for most of my life and I don't plan on changing it. I tried to be dangerous once and I fell off a motorcycle. It was a pretty impressive feat considering that it was parked in the driveway. I try to be badass by swearing in public and in front of my mother but when I am scolded I just run and hide. I'm afraid I'm just not very good at... confrontations.
I wish I could stand up for myself. I wish that I could be a bad guy. I wish I could fight for the woman that I love. I wish I could fight for a woman that I don't love. I'm never going to be a knight in shining armor. They don't make armor in husky size. I'm always going to be a nice guy that finishes last. But I'm not even sure if I am a nice guy. For the majority of my life I've either been an asshole or a complete jerk but I haven't necessarily been one of those guys from the wrong side of the tracks that the girl runs away with. So I'm doomed to walk the Earth alone like The Incredible Hulk without being able to turn into a giant green angry bastard who can smash shit and save lives. I don't know what I am. As long as I've been able to comprehend life and how I fit into it I have realized that I don't fit in. I'm a loner. I'm unique. The only one of my kind. And I shall forever be alone.
I don't consort with nefarious characters. Hell for the most part I don't consort with anyone. For some reason I don't have a problem being alone. That's made single life easier to bear. But maybe I should take a chance; live on the edge for once. Be a little dangerous. I do have tattoos. But none of that really matters if I don't start to believe in myself, to have some confidence for once. I may never be a nefarious character. I just don't have it in me. But in a World where there is so much evil and hate, do we really need another one?
It's no secret over here on the blog that I love movies. In fact, if you are a fellow cinephile (trust me, it's not a dirty word) like me then you have been able to properly pick out the multiple movie references that I drop in each post. You're welcome. Tonight I went to see the new comedy This Is The End courtesy of free passes from my favorite radio station Sportsradio 1250 WSSP. If you are a fan of these actors from multiple projects including (but certainly not limited to) Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Freeks & Geeks, Undeclared, East Bound and Down, Your Highness, Superbad or any of their individual movies where they show up in cameos you will like this movie. In it all of the actors play themselves and basically make fun of themselves as actors and people. Their friendship is put to the test as the Apocalypse happens and they pretty much have to bunker down in James Franco's house and try to survive. I'm not going to say anything else but this movie went places I never saw coming and got more and more ridiculous with every passing minute. You can tell that these guys really are friends and play off of each other so well. There had to have been some fun times on the set where the improv just gets way out of control. This was the most I have laughed at a movie in a very long time and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves this style of comedy. If you don't like these guys or the movies that they are in then you won't like this. Plain and simple. But I didn't come here to give you my review of the movie. You can get that anywhere. But if you want to enjoy the film please do not read any reviews. You don't need anything from this movie spoiled beyond what you already know. But you came here for something else. You came here for the End of the World.
The End of the World is something that has been talked about a whole lot in the last few years, more so than ever because of The Rapture and the end of the Mayan Calendar on December 21 of 2012. Obviously neither of those happened and we are still here. But there was a time in my life when I wished that God or some Natural Disaster did call me back to Heaven/destroy life as we know it killing me in the process. After by brother Timmy died I didn't want to keep living in fear of what life was like without him and the never ending sadness that was sure to follow. It has been over 2 years since he died and I have made some positive strides but it is important to look back on my past and see where I came from. One thing that I have always done throughout the good times and the bad is to document my life by pictures and words so that I am able to remember everything. I will now present you with some of the things that I have written about the End of the World. Click on the red links for those articles from this blog and The Daily Burner.
Pookon's Ill Blog: The Rapture(October 21, 2011) - I spent almost every day from April 24 on crying or in some form of sadness. Depression had set in big time and I tried to drown myself in a bottle of whiskey, rum or vodka or anything that could take me away from the hell that I started living. On one such alcohol fueled night I wrote one of the more serious things I've ever written. It started off being about me wanting to die but then somehow through God's love flowing through me (I often call myself an instrument of God), it turned around and ended up being more inspirational. I don't remember writing it but I'm very proud of what it became.
The Daily Burner: CNN Signs Morgan Freeman to Narrate The Apocalypse(December 15, 2012) - The Daily Burner is a site that Cousin Kevin and I started to be kind of like The Onion. We create fake news stories and sensationalize the mundane. With the End of the World in the news I figured that it would a make a funny story if CNN announced that they had signed Morgan Freeman to come on the air and act as a calming narrator while the World burned. In some weird way I could actually see this happening and if it did, I would probably watch their coverage. Who doesn't love the sound of Morgan Freeman's voice?
The Daily Burner: Litter of Puppies Prepare for the APawcalypse(December 19, 2012) - With so much in the news on death, destruction and sadness there has to be a cute or feel good story to balance all of that out. That's why I wrote this story. Who doesn't love a litter of golden retrievers coming together to prepare for the Apawcalypse? Especially when those puppies look to their hero Air Bud to show them how to be strong?
The Daily Burner: Tomorrow's Forecast Calls for Highs in the Thousands with a 99% Chance of Death(December 20, 2012) - In the event of the Apocalypse the news would still keep running as long as they could to inform you about the coming end of days. I have a feeling it would be business as usual in order to keep people calm and I can see them trying to give you a 5-day weather forecast. Unfortunately the world is going to burn so the forecast would be something similar to what I wrote. I tried to do in in the style of a weatherman and it works better if you read it out loud in that kind of voice and style.
Pookon's Ill Blog: The Drive to Stay Alive - Ep 9 - The End of My World(December 27, 2012) - The Drive to Stay Alive is a solo podcast that I have been doing on this blog since October of 2012. The whole purpose of it was for me to find a reason to keep on living; to find my purpose in this life. In this one I talk about The Rapture and the upcoming Apocalypse (it was recorded on December 17, 2012) and offer some of my thoughts about it. This podcast has helped me to talk about my problems out loud even if no one is listening. I still haven't found the reason why I'm still here and other people have died young but at least I'm still trying. As long as I am alive I will continue to keep driving on.
I've always been fascinated by the End of the World, Aliens, Ghosts, the unknown, unsolved mysterious and all of that other unusual shit. I want to see all of them in my lifetime and I was hoping this would have already happened because I didn't have a reason to keep living. I don't want to die and I don't want anything bad to happen to any of my friends or family. But if aliens came down and started firing their lasers at us I would be ready for death. If massive volcanoes opened up and fire started raining down from the sky I would stand outside and welcome the end. And that's all because my brother was taken from me at such an early age and I'm struggling to adjust to life without him. It's the worst thing that has ever happened to me and at least if I died we would hopefully be reunited in Heaven. And also if I died I wouldn't have to suffer any longer. I wouldn't feel pain, nor loss and I wouldn't have to be surrounded by sadness. I still have a lot of things left to accomplish in this life but if it were my time to die then I would do so knowing that I was ready. Screw it man - This is the End.
The whole reason that I started this Write Month is so that I could go back to writing in a journal like I used to do back in college. This was before this blog existed and I had a lot of ideas and feelings that I wanted to record so that I could look back on my life and instantly be transported back to who I was on that specific day. When I started this blog I found an easy way to share my thoughts and ideas with others in a method that was a lot easier and faster than the "old fashioned" way. I can type faster and more legibly than I can write. Most people can. But not too long ago I found those old journals and realized that they had so much character. There's something special about the written word and being able to hold a physical copy of my work in my hand. Reading my thoughts on a computer screen just can't compare to notebook paper. Plus I tend to write more personal things in there because they aren't shared with the world. I don't really have anything to hide and if you are a frequent visitor to this blog or if you follow me on Twitter you would know that I really don't hold back. I like to be open and honest about things because I want you to like me or hate me for who I am and I don't want to bullshit you. I'm too old and too ugly to pretend to be something that I'm not. But there are still some things that belong in a notebook that should never appear online for mass consumption. Why would you want to read about my true feelings anyway?
I started my new journal yesterday (June 9th, 2013) and I intend to write in it whenever I get the inspiration to do so. I'm not going to tell you what I wrote in there yesterday because that is for my eyes only. And maybe God's too. And that peeping Tom who keeps judging my wardrobe. But let's just say that there was some ghost talk about unfinished business, Casper-style. I hope to use my new journal frequently because I have so many thoughts running through my head at any given moment that I think I might go crazy if I don't figure out a way to get them out of there. Thankfully over the years I have created Pookon.com, this blog, TheDailyBurner.com and started 2 Twitter accounts (@Pookondotcom and @RobertTway) so there is never a shortage of venues for me to work my magic. Writing keeps me sane. If I had to keep all my thoughts and feelings cooped up inside my head I'm pretty sure that my head would explode. You ever see that scene in Scanners when that dude's head blew up? It would kind of be like that. I don't want that to happen. Neither would Marv the Janitor at Washington Dulles International Airport. He'll be damned if he's gonna clean up that mess. So for Marv's sake, for your Daughter's sake, I'm just going to keep on writing. Check back daily in June for a new post here on the blog during The Write Month. You never quite know what kind of nonsense I'll put on here to stop my head from exploding.
I first came up with the idea of the Write Month when I was camping with my Dad. If you missed that entry simply follow this link to check that out. Basically I needed to go back to my roots as a writer and throw some of my ideas down on the page, or on the computer screen if you will. Even though I'm quite proud of my idea and the content that I have come up with so far, I think that I picked one hell of a week to commit to writing every single day. But before I talk about the challenges of trying to come up with some fresh content on a daily basis let me first give you a recap of my week to make me feel better about how difficult it was for me to post something new every day this week.
Saturday June 1st - I was camping with my Dad near Lake Geneva and I promised myself that I would take a break from my phone, which I spend way too much time using. But when I came up with this idea I had to blog about it because I forgot to buy a notebook at Walmart. My whole idea was to go back to the days that I used to write with a pen on paper and have a daily journal that would be a better representation of my daily life than my blog or website does. That night I had a fire and stayed up until 3am. My Dad stayed up until a little after 1am and we just talked for hours. We haven't done that in years. It was great.
Monday June 3rd - Nothing out of the ordinary happened today but that didn't mean today was an easy going day. Worked 930 - 5 at the day job then went to work at Miller Park from 6-10. It was a very uneventful day and the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Oakland Athletics 10-2. It was another small turnout at Miller Park as the Brewers continued what has been a very disappointing season. Since my job is directly related to attendance (I'm an order taker on the Club Level. If there aren't any people there, I can't take orders and make money trough tips) I did a lot of standing around. I felt like my time was wasted and could have been better spent doing other things. But at least I got paid I guess.
Wednesday June 5th - Worked 930-615 at the day job but it was one of those days that I love - when the Brewers play a day game so I have something to do at work that distracts me from how mundane my job really is. Today was the most uneventful day but I certainly welcomed it. After work I went over to my Mom's to do laundry and we hung out. Despite having more time today than I did in the last few I didn't get anything accomplished today. But sometimes you just need a day to rest and recover.
Friday June 7th - Worked the day job from 9-5 then Miller Park from 6-10. It would have been another average day (except for my midday rant about a f****** parking spot) but after work I went out to the bars with my friends from Miller Park. I always forget how much I really love that job because the people who I work with are amazing. There's never a dull moment there and plenty of things to laugh about. These people provided me with one of the more epic nights of my life when "nothing could possibly go wrong". It was a great reminder that people make life worth living. Not things, or money or places you can go. It's who you do it with.
Saturday June 8th - Last night I heard Chicago's Saturday in the Park and it conjured up a specific memory of hanging out with Timmy on the 3rd of July on Milwaukee's Lakefront. Today was a day of parties and I would spend this Saturday in the park. I went up to Lomira for a few hours for my friend TJ's wedding party. Back in March I went out to Las Vegas as he got married to Megan and so now they had a party back home for everyone who couldn't make it out there. It was nice to hang out with all my friends because I stay so busy I often forget to stop and do that. Then I went to my cousin Joey's 6th birthday party where I hung out with my family. When you're with the Kurutz's (my Mom's side of the family) there is never a dull moment. I watched the Brewers game with BK3 and they actually won for a change. At the end of the night I had a nice long conversation with my Aunt Susan about getting older, growing up and figuring out who you are as a person. It was a great talk and I certainly feel comfortable talking to her about some real life issues. I'll keep that in mind for the future.
This was a lot of stuff to get through just to prove this one point - it was difficult for me to find the time to write something new every day here on the blog. But I did it. I don't expect you to be impressed or anything and I am in no way bragging about it. A lot of people have busier lives than I do working multiple jobs and taking care of their children or have other time consuming responsibilities. I get it. But I set forth a challenge and for the first week of the month I succeeded. I believe in celebrating even the little things in life because isn't that what makes life special? I'm going to stay positive in a world that seems to be based in negativity so I don't care what any one else says about me or what I do. As long as I am enjoying my life then it is none of your business. Hopefully you are one of my supporters who will continue to encourage me to live life and write about it every day instead of someone who will hate on me for sensationalizing the mundane. But that's what I do with my life. I make the most of it. And if you don't like you can do whatever you want. I've got enough friends and family who care about me and continue to push me to keep doing what I'm doing. And at this time in this moment, what I'm doing is pretty damn good.