I’m back … and I’m ready to handle it up!

While recently looking at my blog’s incoming-traffic data, I discovered that someone had arrived here through a translation link … which, when clicked on, led me to the page you see above.

Ever since then, I’ve been wearing a mariachi costume, downing tequila shots and spontaneously shouting “¡Arriba!” at all hours of the day and night. So, you know, same as always. The big difference, however, is that I now am insisting that everyone refer to me as Papà Arañazos. Por favor.


In other news: I got sick of blogging. Not only maintaining my own, but reading everyone else’s. I mean, all of these blogs (mine included) started feeling to me like a once-great television series that had gone on for too long. The first four seasons of “Breaking Bad”? Phenomenal. Season 5? Well, it’s still entertaining … and I certainly don’t blame the writers and producers and actors for continuing with the show. If given the chance, I most definitely would do the same. But Season 4 was a perfect story comprised of perfectly executed conflicts that led to a perfect and wholly satisfying climax. Whereas these so-called Mommy blogs and Daddy blogs? (Again: Mine included.) They just go on and on and on and on … generally without the benefit of attention-grabbing storylines and totally-worth-the-wait climaxes.

All of which eventually caused me to contract such an acute case of “Who gives a shit?”-itis that I took an indefinite blogging hiatus and decided to instead try my hand at fiction writing. And after several months of trying to create something out of nothing, I discovered a couple of things:

  1. Making up a compelling and coherent story is difficult.
  2. Discontinuing my blog didn’t result in me having more time to work on my fiction writing; it resulted in me not doing any writing.

So when last week I realized that I missed blogging, I figured I’d dip my toe back in the pool … if for no other reason than to at least do some sort of writing.

Also, I must confess that the following comment recently left on my blog made me realize just how important my writing is to some people:

What I don’t realize is in reality how you are not really much more smartly-appreciated than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. You realize therefore considerably in terms of this matter, produced me personally imagine it from so many various angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be fascinated until it is one thing to do with Woman Gaga! Your personal stuffs nice.

All the time handle it up!

Handle it up indeed, my friend. You’re damn right I will. All the time.

(NOTE: For some reason, the plugin that guards my blog flagged the above comment as “Spam” … which, clearly, was a mistake. I mean, just because the author included a link to a completely unrelated online store doesn’t mean he or she isn’t sincere — and, might I add, overwhelmingly correct — about me being “so intelligent” and having nice “personal stuffs.” And say what you will, but there is definitely no arguing the fact that it truly is a mystery how in reality I am not really much more smartly appreciated than I might be right now. Yer damn skippy I’m not. Even Woman Gaga would agree.)

In conclusion: I have no idea what the future holds for me, my blog, or my writing in general. I might try to be funny. I might just focus on documenting life so that my kids can one day read about their childhood. I might even get all nutty and offer up some social and political commentary that will piss off and alienate a whole bunch of you. Whatever the case, I’ve realized that any kind of writing is better for me than no writing.

We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime: Handle it up, motherfuckers.

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Posted in Inspiration, Life, Writing | Comments closed

This be my bad chariot

This be my bad chariot
Click the image above to view full-size photo.

I searched high. I searched low. (Actually, I only searched low … because I can’t afford high.) And finally… [read the rest]

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Posted in Featured Photo | 17 Responses

This post is pointless, goes nowhere and contains a completely unrelated photograph. Allow me to apologize in advance for wasting your time.

Oh, I’m sorry, were you waiting for me to say something? Forgive me. I wanted to post something sooner, but, well, you see … my life no longer involves doing the things I want to do. It has instead devolved into a series of tasks … the most time-consuming of which as of late is my continued quest for a used minivan that can do two seemingly contradictory things: 1.) Fit into our meager budget, and 2.) Be something other than an embarrassing hunk of shit that compels us to wear bags over our heads while we travel around town.

We haven’t had to buy a new vehicle in over a decade … and I’d forgotten just how unpleasant the entire experience can be. In fact, I somehow managed to delude myself into believing that I was the one who would be holding the cards this time around, and that the used-car dealers would bow to my iron will and empty wallet.

I have now been to a number of used-car dealerships, and at each one, I sat at the salesman’s desk and went through the unnecessarily long and drawn-out charade of them showing me a price, me showing them the lint in my pockets, them taking my offer of lint to the magical Wizard of Oz-like entity who apparently makes such decisions from an office on high, and then returning with a barely altered figure that resulted in my bidding them a good day.

After the third or fourth time this scenario played out, it became clear to me that a broke-ass dude looking to trade in a 15-year-old jalopy with a blown head gasket in exchange for a bargain-basement-priced-yet-practically brand-new minivan shouldn’t expect the dealer to grovel and quake when said broke-ass dude rejects said dealer’s offer and walks out.

That phone you don’t hear ringing? Yeah, that’s the dealer not calling to say he’s now eager to meet my demands.

Here’s a picture of me with a gigantic bear sculpture made out of nails:

I have no idea why I'm showing you this.

Alrighty, then. I’ll get back to you after I have this whole van thing sorted out.

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This photo makes me ache for another tropical vacation … but I’ll settle for a really stiff margarita.

This photo makes me ache for another tropical vacation ... but I'll settle for a really stiff margarita.
Click the image above to view full-size photo.

I just realized it was two years ago this month that Wonder Woman and I… [read the rest]

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Posted in Featured Photo, Life, Marriage | 4 Responses

Mark Cuban is totally fucking wrong … unless he’s not, in which case: My bad.

So my Work Wife (who, just so we’re clear, is a dude) sent me this link to a blog entry by Mark Cuban, whom I didn’t know had a blog, and of whom I only am peripherally aware because of his cameo appearances on “Entourage” and the occasional glimpses I’ve had of that “Shark Tank” show (and that really funny legal brief he filed after his Mavericks won the NBA championship). Basically, I know he’s rich and, at least in entrepreneurial terms, successful.

So here’s what Mark Cuban said in the aforementioned blog entry, which he titled “Dont [sic] Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort”:

I hear it all the time from people. “I’m passionate about it.” “I’m not going to quit, It’s my passion”. Or I hear it as advice to students and others “Follow your passion”.

What a bunch of BS. “Follow Your Passion” is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.


The “Follow Your Passion” thing has been the unstated theme of my existence since I decided to part ways with the United States Army some 20 years ago. “Follow Your Passion” led me away from a career in law enforcement and into a career as a music journalist, and guess which one of those two things I enjoyed more? Hint: Driving around the Mojave Desert in a patrol car in the middle of the night with a police dog had its moments, but hanging out with Van Halen was marginally better.

“Follow Your Passion” also led me to launch this blog, which has been the most rewarding experience I’ve had thus far as a writer. And that experience has further solidified for me that creative writing is what I want to do for a living. It is my “Passion,” if you will. And, despite what Mark Cuban says, I plan to follow it … as stated here just recently.

But not long after my recent assertion that I would be taking my writing pursuits to the next level, our 15-year-old Honda CR-V, the odometer on which reads in excess of 180,000 miles, finally sustained an injury so costly that we simply can’t justify getting it repaired. And the blown head gasket in question has brought into even sharper focus the critical nature of the death-defying balancing act known as The Scratches Family Finances (Or Glaring Lack Thereof).

Basically, we’re fucked.

And now I’m at a bit of a crossroads, because on the one hand, I’m all, “Follow your passion, Jon!,” and on the other hand, I’m all, “Hey, Jon, look where following your passion has gotten you!”

Disclaimer: Not really our car. (The one shown above is much nicer.)

For the sake of argument, here’s what Mark Cuban drives:

Disclaimer: I don't know if this is what Mark Cuban drives ... but I know he could if he wanted to, is my point.

I am passionate about writing, and greatly enamored with the idea of getting paid well for it. I have a couple of story ideas that I plan to turn into novels and/or screenplays, I have a sitcom idea, and I am tempted also to write a memoir (which is why I, thus far, haven’t written for my blog the many tales I have to share about my experiences as a teen and as a soldier in the army, among other things). And I have this blog, which continues to be my favorite writing platform.

And everything I’ve mentioned in the preceding paragraph currently yields approximately zero-point-zero dollars.

And I have a 15-year-old CR-V that just died, and a 13-year-old coupe that sooner rather than later will follow in the footsteps of its recently deceased drivewaymate, and an imminent need for a new automobile that we can’t afford, and a family whose options in all areas of life have been, and continue to be, overwhelmingly limited by a severe lack of cash. And that makes me feel like this whole “Follow Your Passion” thing hasn’t worked out so well.

Fortunately, I am still stupid enough to believe that, eventually, my “Passion” is going to lead me to a place of financial security and professional success. So I’m not abandoning that dream.

However, in the wake of my failure to procure a winning ticket in last Friday’s Mega Millions drawing, and barring a sudden and unexpected ability to leverage this blog for some $$, a life-changing financial payoff from my “Follow Your Passion” gamble most likely isn’t going to arrive in, say, the next month or so … which is why, in the meantime, I need to augment my income by diverting some of my energy into a less passionate endeavor.

When I got laid off from my music-journalism gig for the first time back in 2002, I bought a stack of books and taught myself how to build websites. When I got laid off from my music-journalism gig for the second time back in 2010, I landed my current day job as a web designer/developer based largely on a résumé that said I had spent the past 10 years writing about bands, and, oh yeah, did some freelance web work on the side.

It turns out that building websites is a more immediately marketable skill than writing about bands or developing a manuscript or a memoir or a sitcom pilot … or whining about one’s life on a blog, for that matter. So, while I plan to continue doing those things, I’m now also dedicating some of my time to drumming up freelance web-design/web-development work. Which pains me, because I’d rather be dedicating all of my spare time (read: those five minutes) to my “Passion.”

But maybe Mark Cuban’s onto something. For now.

(Hey, Mark: Your blog needs a design makeover. Call me.)

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Posted in Life | 17 Responses