Eyes wide shut

Disclaimer: The following may cause disorientation, vertigo and/or slight panic. If you currently suffer from any of these symptoms for any medical or psychological reasons, do not continue. 

What I am about to show you can have an impact ranging from mild curiosity to altering the way you view reality. 

The first thing I can guarantee is that even after reading the disclaimer, none of you will have stopped reading. Your curiosity won’t let you. Right now even if you wanted to, you couldn’t stop reading this sentence. You’re hearing these words in your mind as you read them and at the same time, anxiety and tension is starting to build up over finding out what the hell I’m talking about. 

Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s continue…

Follow these instructions very carefully!

Close one of your eyes and continue to read until otherwise instructed.

As you read this sentence I want you to focus on everything you can see without looking away. Just stare at this line for a moment. Now without moving your head, look around and analyze everything that you can see with that one eye. 

Okay, now switch eyes and repeat the same process. Become very aware of everything that you can see without turning your head.

 Are you feeling anxious yet?

Of course not you’re probably annoyed thinking this is bullshit, what has this guy got me doing? Trust me just follow these instructions and you’ll understand. 

Now, open both your eyes. 

Blink a few times. 

I want you to answer this simple math question, what is 2+2?

I’ll give you a second. I know you’re probably thinking this some kind of trick to this, but there isn’t. 

The answer is of course 4.

Now remember when you were reading this with one eye and you could see your nose? Where is it?

It’s still there. But you have blocked it out. As you’re reading this you’re becoming aware of it and it’s starting to interfere with your reading. But you will soon notice that you can control it. It may be a little disorienting at first. 

You do this all the time without realizing it. 

This doesn’t just happen with your eyes, it happens with your entire body. Where is your foot? Your elbow? Your ear? 

 Your brain is actually aware of everything that’s happening around you at all times , but you control what you want to process in more detail. 

 Think about this for a while, and as you’re thinking I want you to start to become more aware of what’s around you. Practice this everyday and you will start to soon realize that you have been walking through life with your eyes and mind half open. 

Pass this on to a friend. 

A Lesson Learned

So, yesterday I went to South River Walk Park, one of my favorite places, to do some shooting. It was a particularly cloudy which can make for awesome sunsets. I took a few shots of my surroundings, as I always do, and proceeded to get in the car. I was approached by this young Hispanic kid. He was tapping on the window, so I rolled it down a bit to see what he wanted. He asked me what I was filming and why was I taking pictures of him. So I told him I wasn’t, just taking landscape shots and that I never take pictures of peoples faces unless I ask. He was insistent that I had taken his picture. As we talked, his friend came over. I didn’t feel particularly threatened but cautious. This kid didn’t look like he could take a punch and seemed to be obsessed over having his photo taken. He walked to the front and started taking pictures of my plates saying he was gonna call the cops. So I got annoyed and got out of the car to show him the pictures, which I did. He wasn’t satisfied that I hadn’t switched cards and at this point I was done being nice. I realized that I had turned my back on the other guy and I turned around to see where he was. He was nowhere to be seen. So I get in the car and I realized that my phone was gone. I corned the other guy with the car and asked him where his friend was. He of course claimed he didn’t know anything. At this point I sized up the situation. I don’t know where his friend is..I could beat him to a pulp but he doesn’t have anything. I could grab him but I had no phone to call for help, so I went to the next corner and flagged down a guy to use his phone. Mind you, on the way there, I passed 3 patrol vans right around the corner, so says I, they shouldn’t take long to get here. WRONG. I stood there for another 30 mins then it started raining, so I get in the car. A police van, went right past me so I tried flashing them but they kept going. So, I left.

This park is in Trenton at the edge of a cemetery and a few modern condos BUT up the block, the neighborhood changes character. It’s the hood. Very dilapidated..lot’s of poverty and crime, so you can’t just Sally around. And here I am driving the jag as the sun sets like come take it. So my plan was to go home, switch cars, get my iPad to locate it and take my equalizer with me..along with a hammer. During all this, I made phone calls to ATT and a buddy of mine, by accident actually, but it was a good thing. He talked me down. I went this morning to the last known location and sitting there made me realize that this was an act of futility. I went to the police station to file a claim (tried that last night but they never called back).

So what did I learn?
The police are pathetic. When I was at the station the desk officer didn’t even have a form to file the complaint. She tore a sheet of paper to get my info. Let that soak in..a piece of ripped paper.

That part of Trenton is wow. If I didn’t grow up in the hood, there’s no way I would even get out of my car around there.

It’s not worth it. I could have killed either of them, or been killed over a phone.

A hammer is the weapon of choice for people that go after phone thieves. (I discovered this in my Google search of these incidents)

I’ve gotten better with my temper.

Trying to use a Blackberry as a navigator is not the move if you’re driving through really bad neighborhoods

Get insurance..(I thought I had but no)

Photography can be hazardous

Fatal Attractions

I’m posting this as a result of a tweet someone posted about women. She stated that if a woman is still calling and texting your man, that he is still talking to her. That’s not always the case. There are some women that will do anything to ruin your relationship if they can’t have you. This may apply to men as well. If you have any stories about men, I would be glad to hear them but I will explain to you what happened to me.
Admittedly at this time I had a girlfriend and we were thinking about getting serious but I’d met someone else. It was brief and mostly physical but I was pretty upfront with her about what to expect in this relationship. She was okay with it. After a time I felt that it was an unnecessary distraction and needed to stop so I told her that I didn’t want to see her anymore. She was upset to say the least. We were standing on 34th St in New York City. She started crying hysterically and without warning, ran out into traffic and collapsed in the middle of the street. I don’t know if you know what 34th St. in Manhattan is like, but it is extremely busy. She almost caused one of the biggest accidents I’ve ever seen. I had to drag her out of the street and tried to get her to get herself together. She was inconsolable. I walked her to the Path train, for her to go home and she threatened to jump on the tracks. Realizing that she was serious I stayed with her and rode with her to her station. I spent some time talking to her trying to get her to calm down. After about an hour I decided it was time for me to go. As I tried to go through the turnstile, she grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. There were police officers standing right there. They thought this was hilarious and did nothing. This tug-of-war continued until the train arrived. When the doors opened I got on the train she was still holding on to me. Realizing I had to do this, I pushed her away from me as the doors closed. In doing so she ripped open my shirt. I went to sit down and as I was digesting what had just happened to me, a group of religious people came and stood over me and started praying over me. It was surreal to say the least. The next day at work, I got a call from her brother. He told me that she took sleeping pills and tried to kill herself. He threatened my life and hung up. I felt terrible but she was still alive and I considered it a lesson well learned. My focus was on cementing my relationship with my girlfriend and moving on. Realizing that no good would come from hiding any of this, I sat down with my girlfriend and explain to her what I had done. She was understandably upset but I assured her it was over and I would like to move on if she would be okay with that. She was not exactly enthusiastic. I realized that I needed to reset the clock and so I planned a romantic trip for the two of us. I booked a flight to Hawaii and we went for a week. It was a beautiful experience and she had let it all go and we were back in the zone again.
When we returned back to my apartment, I opened the door and the phone rang. I had luggage in my hand so I told my girlfriend to pick up the phone. She turned really pale and said this is for you. I’d never seen her face like that so I knew it was something serious (she was light-skinned Cuban by the way). I took the phone from her and it was the girl that I had broken up with. What was so odd about that was she didn’t have that phone number. It turns out that while I was on vacation, she called my job, which she did have the number to, and convinced one of my coworkers that she was a relative from out-of-town and she was at the airport and needed to get in touch with me because she had lost my phone number. So, here I am standing in front of my girlfriend who I just spent thousands of dollars getting back in my corner, glaring at me with this look of disgust. So I told the girl that this was not acceptable and that she should never call there again and hung up. My girlfriend was beyond pissed. As I’m trying to reassure her that I did not give this girl my phone number and that I was no longer involved with her, the phone rang again. It was her, I picked it up and told her stop calling me and hung up again. It rang again. And again.
My girlfriend, being completely furious at this point, answered the phone and cursed her out. It was a very hostile exchange to say the least. She slammed down the phone and the girl called again. She kept calling and I would pick up the phone and hang it up. I think I lost count around 35 at which point I just unplugged the phone from the wall. My girlfriend did not believe that I was being sincere with her. Needless to say things were not all that cool. The girl continued to call my job when I was at work until my boss told me that I needed to deal with this situation or lose my job. I told her that it was threatening to call the police and I think that kind of scared her little bit because she stopped calling. I worked nights at the time, from midnight to 8 AM. One day after work I was approaching my building only to find that this girl was sitting on my steps. I was livid. She said that she wanted to confront my girlfriend and tell her that she had to go. So we got into a heated argument and as I was trying to get her to leave, she it me on my arm. I have the scar today to prove it. I pushed her away and I told her that I was going to call the police and went upstairs. I did exactly that but when they got there she was gone. My girlfriend never recovered from that and we broke up. So I wanted to share this because I feel sorry for any guy that ends up in a similar situation. As men, we always accused of being dogs but not all of us are like that. I was wrong for even starting that relationship but I tried to do the right thing by ending it before committing myself to my girlfriend. I’m not trying to justify any of that. It was wrong. My advice is never to do that at all but I felt it was important to share the story so that others would be aware that there are women who will go to any links to destroy your happiness if they can’t have you.

Breaking free

I was married for 11 years. Things deteriorated in the last four years of my marriage to a point where there was almost no communication. We slept in separate rooms for the last year and a half. It was an ugly an uncomfortable situation. There were many factors involved in why that happened. My primary reason was the changing behavior of my ex-wife. She had surgery to remove her ovaries and as a result required hormones. She refused to take anything and as a result her personality changed dramatically. She effectively was going through menopause. She would snap at me for trivial things. We argued a lot. It took some time before I accepted the fact that I needed to do something drastic. I can remember a conversation that I had with a friend of mine. I told her essentially everything about my relationship and how I was miserable. She made it seem so easy when she asked, why don’t you just leave? She said that I should not waste my life being with someone that did not deserve it. I needed to be happy in my life. This may sound pretty obvious but when you’re inside of a failing relationship, and you’re goal is to try to make it work, you tend to forget about yourself. I know so many people in the same situation. My only advice is to let them know that it doesn’t get better. Once you reach the point of complete dissatisfaction with each other, there’s no magic bullet that will take you back to the intensity that you felt when you were dating. At minimum I would try a trial separation to see if that time apart can equalize things, but I wouldn’t put too much confidence in that happening. Experience teaches me that once you do get back together you eventually end up right back where you were when you left. In any case, we had reached a point of no return. I said to my ex-wife that I wanted a divorce and that I would work with her to make it as painless as possible. That didn’t go as well as I planned. I’m explaining that situation to give you a background on the topic of why I am writing this post. It was during that last year that I discovered something about myself that I was completely unaware of. I had become so conditioned to being in that relationship that I had lost all contact with my inner self. During that time I decided to concentrate on things that made me feel better about me. As I said, my ex-wife and I were not talking. Even when we did, we really didn’t have that much in common with respect to the things that I like to do. Our relationship was focused on her objectives more so than mine. I blame myself for allowing that to continue once I saw it was going in that direction but again, it was one of those situations where you’re trying to salvage the relationship at any cost. The relationship becomes bigger than your personal desires. The outward image of maintaining a stable marriage became my focus. As I mentioned before, we slept in separate rooms. My room was a bedroom/office. It was there I spent most of my time online. I was new to online chat. I really had no concept as to the rules of engagement in chat rooms. I was bored so I decided to investigate. At the time yahoo was the big thing. I decided to go into one of the chat rooms looking for advice. That decision would change the course of my life. Initially I would go into the chat room and spectate. That graduated into small conversations. Then I became familiar with what we called “regulars”. These are people who spent considerable time in the chat room. We became friends and shared some very personal details about ourselves. It was okay because it was anonymous. This room was called advice central. Here people would come seeking advice on anything. It was interesting because of the types of questions that people would ask. I would legitimately try to offer advice from my life experience when applicable. It was through this scenario that I met Niki. Nikki was a single mother of two young boys who lived in Australia. She was going through a very difficult time with her children’s father. She had resorted to drinking. He had started getting violent with her. So she would come into the chat room just to talk. Eventually that led to us having private conversations. We connected and I offered as much advice as I could from a distance to her. Things took a dramatic turn when he had been drinking and he attacked her. She had him arrested and he had to move out of the apartment. He took all of the furniture and she, not working, had no way of replacing it. He even took the television from his own children. I thought that was insane and I bought her a replacement and a bed for them to sleep in. We got closer. We connected on many levels. Our conversations got intense and continuous. We spent a lot of time on WebCams talking to each other. I really liked her but the reality of that situation going any further seemed remote because of the distance between us. Then things at home took a turn for the worse. I went to a party for a friend of mine and my ex-wife, thinking I was going to see another woman, decided to try to have me arrested falsely by saying I tried to run over her with my car. That turned into some serious drama. It was a major turning point for me. Realizing that my freedom could be in jeopardy I decided to spend as little time there as possible while we went through the divorce process. It was time for me to take a vacation from work. Nikki and I had discussed meeting during our conversations. Being motivated by the escalation of insanity in my current situation, I decided to put that plan into action. We decided that we would meet at a halfway point between her and myself, which turned out to be Hawaii. I thought long and hard about that decision. I chickened out quite a few times before actually making it happen. I was technically still married but there was no reconciliation happening between us. We agreed that it would just be a trip to meet each other and keep things on the platonic level. She needed to get away from her situation and I needed to get away from mine. I can remember the moment I booked the flight. I said to myself, “I can’t believe I’m doing this”. I bought her ticket and I told her that if for any reason she felt unsure about coming, don’t do it. I booked us a room that had separate bedrooms. We didn’t want this to be a hook up. The day I left I remember sitting at the airport which was fairly empty. It was around 1 AM in the morning when my flight was scheduled to leave. I put on some music that I had on my iPod that she had picked out for me. The first song was by Coldplay, “The Speed of Sound”. That moment was a huge turning point in my life. It was a moment where I had actually gone through with something that I was uncertain of the outcome, but took a chance on happiness. The reason I’m sharing this particular moment with you is because I learned that sometimes you have to step out of the zone of the familiar in order to achieve what you really want in life. Be bold. Take a chance. I will tell you the rest of the story later…


Untangled webs

We’ve all done it. We’ve all had them thrown at us.
What is it that makes a person lie? Sometimes it’s insecurity, sometimes it’s to avoid the consequences of the truth and sometimes it’s a mental issue.
I have experienced all of the above in personal and professional relationships. I ask myself what’s worse, knowing that the person is lying or believing the lie? I guess I’d have to say believing the lie, because you can put yourself in a much worse situation. If you know, the issue is motive and trust. Both deep, but I’d say finding out later that a lie was told is more damaging. If you love the person, it can destroy you if you let it.
Learning about the consequences of lies can be a life lone journey. I have had lies told to me that altered the course of my life, decided who I married, and almost made me hurt someone badly.
I used to hear my mother say stuff like, the truth will come to light. I would be cynical because I simply associated it with her zealous religious views or her desire to control me. I never thought it reflected reality. Until I got older.
As I aged and got to see things play out, I would come to a new level of understanding, deeper than anything she would conceive. Words are words, reality is reality. You can alter perceptions, but you cannot change reality. There are laws governing reality that cannot be broken.
I told a lie to my ex girlfriend out of embarrassment over the truth. At the time we really weren’t heavy so I made an excuse in my head that it was ok. It turned out, as it always does, that she found out through a mutual acquaintance. This acquaintance embellished the story and even went to the level of fabricating stuff. This got into my ex’s head and she never really trusted in me. Mind you, she told me some winners too, but I knew about most of them. The point I’m making is that had I not done that, it could have changed things dramatically or maybe not at all. Destiny has a way of making itself happen regardless of your actions. The fact that you’re reading this is connected to that reality.
Anyway, what I want to say is, if you’re confronted with a situation where you are tempted to lie, think of the consequences of the truth coming to light, as it always does, before you open your mouth.