Mini Vacation

Three weeks ago, I went to London for a few days with nothing but a backpack (and some underwear). It was a last minute trip that was conceived and concocted purely by impulse.

Why?

I just wanted to get away, even if it were only for a few days.

This was my fifth time visiting London but the first time where I was able to roam around the city for a few days on my own. Previous visits, I would arrive the day of the show, wake up, walk around for a little bit around the venue, load in, play the show, load out, and maybe get a drink somewhere close by if I weren’t tired by the end of the night. 

I never really had the chance to explore and take in the city other than last year where I spent about an hour in central London but that was the extent of my exploration. 

I was pretty happy traveling alone because I could do what I wanted and when I wanted. I didn’t have to schedule things around other people’s plans and vice versa.

I stayed about a quarter mile away from Emirates Stadium in Islington and during my time there, I woke up early in the morning and had a nice run around the stadium. After that, I went to Costa to have a cup of coffee and did some reading. Then, I would hop on the train and went wherever I felt like going. One day, it was Camden Town, the other it was central London because I wanted to visit Waterloo and watch a movie afterwards. 

I spent more money than I thought I would on the trip but it was worth every penny. The only bad thing was that I couldn’t spend more time there but I think five days was enough because I started to get antsy and wanted to go somewhere else. 

I didn’t carry very much with me other than the basic essentials. I thought I had under packed but I didn’t. I was pretty happy I was able to do that because it showed me I didn’t need a lot of things to survive away from home.

Since I’ve been home, I have been thinking about what I wanted to do next. I started writing freelance full time for a few months now and I have even branched off into tech writing, which I have wanted to do for a long time.

Even with these new opportunities, I still want to challenge myself so there are a few things I want to do in the next six months or so. It ranges from sub-letting an apartment in New York City for a month to renting a car and driving across the country. 

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

Cruise Control

Mahalo!
 
Long time no talk. I hope you are doing well. Just wanted to give you a quick update on what I've been since we've last convened. 
 
-The World Cup has come and gone. Congrats to Deutschland for winning their fifth World Cup. 
 
 -I've still been working on my second book tentatively titled "Sorry, I'm Not Sorry (Building a Better Me)." Hoping for a fall release? It is part self-help, self-discovery, and self-loathing.
-I'm also a year older. I hate birthdays. I hate it because I don't like the attention. I feel like I have a good group of friends that I hang out with and I don't need to spend a day or week asking for more attention like some people do.
 
Other than that, I've been on cruise control the last three months or so and not in a good way. I've fallen into a bland routine and it was bad. 
 
I read somewhere a while ago that “comfort is the killer of creativity” and in my case, it was 100% true.
 
My productivity dropped and my creativity was shot. 
 
I didn’t feel like do anything even though it felt like I was.
 
To combat that, I’ve decided to make a few lifestyle changes this past week. 
 
-After a few months off, I’ve started to run again and it feels good. Not only is it good for my body, it’s good for my mind and soul as well. Sometimes, I don’t even listen to music when I run. I just enjoy Mother Nature and her “tunes” (also the honking and the yelling from my neighbors).
 
-I meditate for 5-10 minutes in the morning or whenever I feel stressed out. Our minds are racing at 100 miles an hour every day with social media, emails, work, life, etc., that we forget to disconnect so our minds can take a break. 
 
-I started to take cold showers and not because it’s been scorching hot lately (though it does help). Cold showers are proven to increase mood and alertness because your body will respond to the cold and increase oxygen intake as well as speed up your heart rate. This will also improve blood circulation and help burn fat. 
 
It’s too early to tell if these things are truly working or not but I’d like to think so. Plus, it got me to write this email you are reading, right?
 
More on this later…

Trying Something New

So last week, I decided to try something new. I didn't access the internet on my phone or Macbook until noon everyday. That meant no Twitter, e-mail, or Instagram when I woke up. It was a little hard at first because I usually wake up at around 7AM and I would find myself reaching for my phone. There were a few times when I was bored waiting in line and I would grab my phone and then start checking Twitter without evening realizing it. My mind was wired to open these apps without any thought or hesitation. 

It was a little eye opening how we do things like that everyday without even knowing it. I was able to break the habit eventually especially when I realized I wasn't missing out on anything at all. Everything was still there and my life didn't get any worse by missing out on a few status updates and pictures. 

I encourage you all to try it sometime because this also demonstrates self control. If you can't stop yourself from checking social media for a few hours then there are bigger problems you should worry about in your life. 

Demanding Fans

I wanted to share my first piece of fiction with you guys. I know it’s not the best but it’s a start. I got the idea last month when I was at the Dodgers’ spring training in Arizona.

DEMANDING FANS

Johnny Perez arrived at the training facility earlier than expected. He had a night game and didn’t have to be there until 4PM but he had a late brunch and had nothing planned for the rest of the afternoon.

 His Escalade pulls into the player’s parking lot and Perez waved at Robert, the security guard.

 Once he parked, he grabs his backpack and heads into the clubhouse. There was an early game taking place so there weren’t a lot going on. It was eerily quiet for this time of day.

 Since he was there early, he decided to get a little workout in so he got dresses and headed out to the batting cages. The cages were located close to the public entrance so there were a few people walking by who saw him getting ready.

 “PEREZ!” they yelled. He waved at them as they started stretching.

 “Can we get a picture with you?” asked another fan.

 He just nodded and smiled as he started to hit balls. More people came when word got out he was there and continued asking for autographs and pictures.

 “Man, can’t they see I’m working?” he said to himself as he tries to concentrate.

 Perez was grateful his baseball skills have been able to provide for his family and brought him the attention he deserved but sometimes, it was too much. He was about start his 2nd year in the big leagues so being in the limelight in America was still relatively new to him.

 A few of his teammates talked to him about how to handle and adjust to all of these changes. He basically went from scrounging for lunch money back home in Cuba to a multi-millionaire over night. Especially after what happened to him during the off-season, the team didn’t want him to do anything that would risk the young star’s career.

 As he was finishing up, his friend and teammate, Aaron Rodriguez, walked over with a few people.

 “Yo, Perez! I want you to meet someone,” he said as he started to introduce the people that were with him.

 “This is my sister, Denise. Her husband, Rick, and their daughter, Jessica”

 “Hi, how are you doing?” said Perez as he shook their hands. “It’s a pleasure to meet you guys.”

 “We’re all big fans,” said Rick.

 “Aww, thank you so much,” Perez responded in broken English.

 “More so than Aaron,” Denise added as they laugh.

 “What brings you guys out here in the hot sun?” asked Perez.

 “They are actually from out here. They live 20 minutes away in Tempe,” answered Rodriguez.

 “Oh, wow.”

 As they were talking, more fans started to line the steel gate and were trying to get both players attention.

 “They’re calling for you guys,” said Jessica.

 “I know. I can’t go over there because I won’t be able to sign everyone’s autographs and take pictures with everyone. And besides, I’m hanging out with you guys, I don’t want to be rude,” said Perez.

 As he finished talking, a woman screamed his name at the top of her lungs. He turned and waved at her politely as they wanted at him to come over.

 “Does this happen a lot?” asked Rick.

 “Pretty much everywhere we go,” Rodriguez answered.

 Perez nodded in agreement.

 Perez is actually well liked among fans as he does stop to mingle with the fans throughout the day unlike some other athletes who ignore their fans completely.

 “I’m hanging out with my friends right now, why cant people see that?” Perez thought to himself. “I can’t be signing autographs and taking pictures with every person I see.”

 He motioned to one of the security guards nearby and instructed him to bring all the little kids who were waiting so he can meet them. The security guard walked over and told the crowd to bring only the little children through.

 After about meeting the kids and signing autographs for them, he went back to talking with Rodriguez and his family. More people kept yelling at him asking for autographs and some people got frustrated because he would obey their commands. Some even called him a jerk for not responding to them.

 Just because someone buys a ticket to a game or a t-shirt doesn’t make them entitled to boss the players around. No matter what he did, he was going to be made out to be the bad guy. It was just part of being a major league ball player in the United States.
 
I got the idea for this story because while I was at the fence, these two girls who were in their 20s came up and started yelling his name, trying to get his attention. They said they were Cuban as well and had a Cuban glove they wanted him to sign. After a few more attempts, one of them said “Fuck this shirt” and both of them left.

I don’t know what happened when they got home but I’m sure they told their friends how the player was “an asshole” and “was too cool to talk to his fans.”

You might be thinking, “they are role models and kids look up to them!” While I’ve been on both sides of the fence (pun intended), I can say that some athletes/musicians/famous people are truly assholes but most are not. They are human beings just like you and I. Some people think they are entitled to do whatever they want like getting pictures and autographs just because they bought a t-shirt or a ticket to a show. Then, they throw a fit because they cant get what they want. Those few apples ruin it for everyone else.

Realization?

There are days where I draw a blank and don’t know what to write about. Then there are days where I don’t know if I’m supposed to do something else with my life.

We all doubt ourselves at one point or another and some of us, do it often. I don’t think it’s preventable, it just how you deal with it in these situation.

About 18 months ago, I thought to myself, “I could sit at home and do nothing or get up and make something of your life whether you make money or not. Just as long as I am doing something that makes me happy.” It’s safe to say, I chose the latter option. 

But (there’s always a but)…

Seeing those with families and careers around me doesn’t help but honestly, who the fuck cares.

I had a conversation with a friend not too long ago about how some of our other friends have kids and a family now and we brought up this Aziz Ansari joke. 

My friend called me up the other day and said, “Aziz, I’m having a baby!” And I always have the same reaction I go “HAHAHAHAHA that SUCKS. I’m so sorry that happened. Why weren’t you using birth control? You’re going to have to take care of that thing forever. Oh well, I’ll talk to you later. I’m going to go do literally whatever I want cause I don’t have a baby so all my options, are still options.”

While I have no problems with kids and I do want to have kids in the future, I am glad I don’t have any right now because I couldn’t do what I am doing right now. If I had a child at my age, I would have to work non-stop just to take care of them. 

But I don’t have to this giving me the opportunity to do other things I love. And plus, I don’t even know what I want to do the next few years. I wouldn’t want to get married until it’s legal for everyone to get married in the United States. Maybe I want to adopt a child instead of having my own. I don’t know.

I know it sounds kind of bad and a dig at people that have kids but it’s not. 

Right now, I can’t really complain about anything. I haven’t had a real job in years, I have money saved up so I can spend my days working on my writing and sports blogging career. I have air in my lungs and a roof over my head. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything else.

What I’ve come to realize the last year or so is to not let someone else dictate your life. Whatever they do, don’t let it get to you. Don’t let it bring you down because once you do, it’s a downward spiral. Use it to motivate yourself instead of the opposite.