Thursday, August 29, 2013

A trail.

I keep thinking about geography. Location versus state of mind. Because I keep seeing myself living in a wooded landscape in a cabin set far from a road rarely traveled. Except I'm also working in a city making enough money to provide for my wife and child. I keep thinking I can't have both. The cabin in the woods and the well-paying job.

Can I have my cabin in the woods in my mind? Can this tiny two-bedroom cando provide the solace and peace I desire? When I left home for Yellowstone National Park in 1994 to work in a hot, steamy kitchen scrubbing pots and pans, I anticipated "finding myself." And I did just that. Except, I also learned that "the Zen you find at the top of the mountain is the Zen you take up there with you."

We are the decisions we make. We carry around in our minds the world we want to live in. Don't we?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I'm gaining weight. I stopped exercising and now I'm gaining weight. I know how much because I fear facts. The bathroom scale speaks truth like an asshole who lacks empathy. I'm sure the gain is minuscule compared to the amount I lost in the Spring, but still, for some reason I'm hung up on it like some teen aged girl worried about prom.

This world is so confusing. I mean our world. The human world. Specifically, the American world. So much value is placed on waifish, emaciated bodies and yet King Television forces us to worship the almighty Dorito. The fuck? How are we all not mentally ill from the constant bombardment of contradictions? People are losing their feet due to diabetes, and yet Coca-Cola tells me I can't make friends unless I buy them a Coke. Fuck you, Coca-Cola. I love you, but I have to kill you.

So here I am contemplating my large belly and neck fat why? Why am I troubled with it? Whose evil plan am I falling into? Which bait did I take?

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Art of Being Important

2013 is turning out to be a banner year for Jason J. Carlock. First, I was honored with the distinction of being the Best Man at two weddings for my dear friends Ross Herosian and Marcus Barry. And now I've been recently asked to be Godfather for the glorious new son of Max and Christine Cooper. (This afternoon I expect a call from the mayor of Alexandria offering me the key to the city.)

I don't know what I did to deserve such accolades. I'm no hero. I'm just a man. A man making his way through life trying his best to be a good and decent husband and father. I'm not perfect. I'm moody and insecure and could stand to lose about 15 - 20 pounds. Hopefully, what people see in me is someone who recognizes his own faults and desires self-improvement. I don't aspire to be the best. I aspire to be happy.

I'm selfish. I'm emotional. I'm insatiable.

I'm loyal. I'm observant. And I listen.

I'm a challenging human to get close to, but I pay attention to details. And I appreciate beauty in all its subjective forms. If you get close enough to my Main Reactor, I might write a poem about you.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Music Appreciation: Josef Suk

Serenade for Strings in E flat Major

Tie Me Up

I found a new hobby: Buying ties.

I reckon tie shopping is akin to shoe shopping. They're two articles of my work attire that very few people will notice or care about. Maybe that's why I like it. These are subtle nuances in my overall appearance. Only people who really give a shit will notice how much my tie kicks ass today. I like these people. Not because they noticed how cool my tie is, but rather because they pay attention to details.

Paying attention to details is our way of non-verbally communicating to the world, "I give a shit." As they say, God is in the details. We so often look far and wide for peace and balance in the world, when all one really needs to do is notice someone's beautiful tie. The power of a good tie compliment is immense. Go ahead, try it. Find someone wearing a tie and compliment it. You may not see it, but on the inside you made that man soar. And isn't that why we're all stuck here on this floating rock? Is there a better mission in life than to spread cheer  and make people soar?

Spot good ties and leave a wake of joy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Gauge

James is a mirror.

Yesterday I had a low parenting moment. James had every contraption/toy/iPad on and the noise brought my nerves to a boiling point. It was in the evening and I had just completed my daily whirlwind couple of hours of picking up James, walking Leia, feeding Leia, feeding James, preparing my lunch for the next day, washing dishes, and was just sitting down to eat my own dinner when the chaotic noise came to its frothy head. James has a habit of turning electronic toys on and then walking away. In his wake is often a symphony of bleeping, blooping, low-res mush of sound. I yelled at him. And the look on his face brought me to my knees. Literally. I (hopefully) showed him with a hug that sometimes Dad does stupid, impulsive things like yell about toys. But what I saw in his face was a reflection of myself being an asshole.  Yes, people make mistakes. I make plenty. And James is there to show me how many mistakes I make. Or maybe he's here to teach me.

James also helps me know that I can be good, too. I can make him laugh with a goofy face and that's worth everything. His happy demeanor speaks volumes as far as I'm concerned. My goal in life is to bring him joy and happiness. Fortunately, his face proves to me that I might be doing okay with that goal.

Friday, August 9, 2013

God's Needle

Yesterday Lynette gave me a bunch of records for my birthday. Among them was my all time favorite album of all time: The Cure Disintegration. Holy shit, does it sound amazing on vinyl! Among the birthday stack was Van Halen, The XX, Justin Timberlake, The Postal Service, and John Mayer. 

In this ever expanding age of tiny devices and compressed data, I am proud to say that when I go home I will turn on my Audio Technica SL120 record player, slide a record out of a large, art-adorned sleeve, and sit down on my couch while Robert Smith's haunting voice envelopes me. 

We the music consuming people of the world, need to go back to the roots of what it means to listen. Music has turned into that noise you ignore while shopping for groceries. Music was not invented to make awkward elevator rides a little less (or more) awkward. Listening to music -real music-  is not a passive activity. 

We've grown into such an efficient sound bite world that we've forgotten about our souls. Our starving souls. If going to church bring you closer to God and opens your hearts to His love, then hearing The Cure's Swimming the Same Deep Water as You on vinyl greases the hinges of the door to my soul where I can step out into the world naked and alive and ready. 

Listening to vinyl is like being aware of every breath you take. Of course, our bodies are designed to breath involuntarily and without the need of conscious thought, but that just makes its awareness that much more meaningful. Perhaps the word I'm alluding to is gratitude. Miles Davis' Kind of Blue on vinyl might bring a tear to your eye if you actually listen to it.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wild Nights, Wild Nights

By Robert Creeley

It seemed your friend
Had finally others to attend.
My time was yours alone to spend.

I leaned against the fence and waited.
Our love, I felt, was unequivocally fated.
To go sans word would leave all still unstated.

Hence scurrying hopes and pledge at last! Now here—
With all the fading years
Between—I wonder where

Time ever was before we
Walked in those towering woods, beneath the ample clouds,
Bathed in that wondrous air!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


By Stuart Dischell

She plans to be a writer one day and live in the City of Paris,
Where she will describe the sun as it rises over Buttes-Chaumont.
"Today the dawn began in small pieces, sharp wedges of light
Broke through the clouds." She plans to write better than this
And is critic enough to know "sharp wedges" sound like cheese. 
She plans to live alone in a place that has a terrace
Where she will drink strong coffee at a round white table.
Her terrace will be her cafe and she will be recognized
By the blue-smocked workers of the neighborhood, the concierges,
The locals at the comptoir of the tabac down the block,
And the girl under the green cross of the apothecary shop.
She plans to love her apartment where she will keep
Just one flower in a blue vase. She already loves the word apart-
Ment, whose halves please her when she sees them breaking
The line in her journal. She plans to learn the roots
Of French and English words and will search them out
As if she were hunting skulls in the catacombs.
On her walls she'll hang a timetable of the great events
Of Western History. She will read the same twenty books
As Chaucer. Every morning she will make up stories....
She looks around her Brighton room, at the walls,
The ceiling, the round knob of the rectangular door.
She listens to the voices of the neighbor's children.
A toilet flushes, then the tamp of cigarette on steel,
The flint flash of her roommate's boyfriend's lighter.
When she leaves she plans to leave alone, and every
Article she will carry, each shoe, will be important.
Like an architect she will plan this life, as once
The fortune in a cookie told her: Picture what you wish
To become, if you wish to become that picture

Monday, August 5, 2013

This is 40

This week I turn 40.  I'm not sure the implications have hit me yet. Forty years old. I am a forty-year-old man. Is this what I thought I'd be when I turned 40? What do 40-year-olds look like? Or act like? There's a voice in my head yelling, "I'm not ready!"

But I'm not sure I know what I'm supposed to be ready for. Perhaps that old stereotyped way of thinking of aging has faded away. Because honestly I still play video games and yearn to touch boobies. (Not particularly in that order.)

Sure, I'm sporting some extra weight in my abdomen, and my hair is graying. But I've got wit that kills and my wedding tackle is in tip top condition. I'm looking forward to introducing my son to Star Wars and Lego and comic books. I may not know all there is to know about football and sports in general, but I feel the imagination is our most precious asset. No age is going to stop me from pretending to be Han Solo flying the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field on a Wednesday afternoon as I navigate traffic on the Beltway.

And when it comes to love, well, let's just say the pursuit to get my wife to send me sexy text messages is never ending (see above re: boobies).

Then again, I do finally drive a nice car and all my pants have been tailored to fit me perfectly. I actually enjoy wearing ties and subscribe to the moist wipes philosophy. I go to bed early and wake up before dawn. And I have no qualms about wearing cheap $9 boat shoes when I walk the dog.

But... I'm learning how to play the banjo and I use my Nintendo 3DS on a daily basis. I have my own Lego sets and I get angry at myself for forgetting to pack fruit snacks in my lunch. However, I'm pretty sure 40-year-old me and young-at-heart me both share similar thoughts regarding girls in yoga pants. Oh baby. Show me a woman with a great ass and I'll show you a man who's going to live forever!