Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Power-Up

They say that life is not a video game but they're wrong. Life is very much a video game. It is full of obstacles both small and large. It rewards accomplishments and sometimes it even gives you a second chance. But most importantly life is full of power-ups.

The last video game system I owned was a Nintendo. Not a Wii or a gameboy or even an N64 but a good old Nintendo Entertainment system. Back then the games' goals were simple and the gameplay basic. Do one thing at a time. Shoot. run. Jump. Turn. Go faster. Slow down. That was pretty much it. Power-ups were in the game to help you do one of these things faster, bigger, more precisely or with complete disregard for supply. They were, as any of my old friends can tell you, definitely the most fun part of the game. Seeing your car or your player suddenly transformed from his most basic function into something far more powerful.

The part they don't teach you in school is this: In life you have to search for the power ups. The things in life that amp you up rather than slow you down. The things that give you joy rather than take it away. for this reason alone I returned to The Truth Blog. Simply put, it gives me power. I gain strength from strong words and big ideas. When I write it down the words become real and when I put it up here it takes flight to wherever you are. I don't care who reads it. My power isn't in numbers, it's in the ability to make something new.

If you're a truly lucky one you've found a way to make money of your power-ups. These are the people we look up to. They are the best at what they do because their work gives them power, they put the power into their work and it spirals into something bigger than any one person form there. I'm trying to figure out how to do this myself. Until then I'll be satisfied stealing away a few moments to to scribble down an idea, eek out a post, read a few pages of a new book and pedal up the side of a mountain. These are my power ups and I refuse to let them go.

Oh, and I almost forgot: If your power-ups aren't working just pull out the cartride and blow on it a little bit. Works every time...

Friday, September 17, 2010

One step forward, two steps back


Today, in a fever-induced stupor, I lay in bed and read through this entire blog form start to finish. First impression: Holy shit there are a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Second Impression: It's funny how the same people and places on these pages all the way back to 2004 have continued slipping in and out of my life.

I think I owe you a bit of an update. Before I can pick up rocking where I left off we all need to get on the same page. A list of key characters:

G2K: Still beautiful, now more than 2K miles away and engaged to be wed (but not to me). These days she is the voice inside the computer. Showing up in chats non-stop on my desktop, on my blackberry (yes, I'm now old enough to have a blackberry and yes, I hate that fact so F-off) on my laptop and anywhere else I find myself in the GChat hole. She's always there. offering advice. Offering observations. Offeringa window into a life I decided to leave behind.

Text Message Girl: No Idea. Last I heard she was living in Santa Monica. I have tried to keep out of any of the past trouble I caused there.

The Hyphen: Seattle and happy. Still, much like me, mostly frozen in time all the way back to 2006.

Awkward Girl: Moved to Texas, worked in a cupcake bakery, moved back, called me up, asked to be friends with benefits. Went for it. Met another guy. Disappeared.

Mormon #1: No Idea.

Mormon #2: Broke my heart. Twice. Despite the fact that I saw the whole thing coming from a mile away. Twice.

Sorority Girls: Remembers that I used to work in the kitchen of a sorority house way back in college? Well I run into those girls all the time. Other cities, other states. Doesn't matter. It's not like I go looking for them. Somehow they just seem to find me...

My Grandfather: Still occasionally visits me in dreams. Doesn't offer the same kind of advice he used to. Now it's more just watching on, checking in. A spectator more than anything else. I'm happy to have him watching.

Hawaiian Girl: I did finally get that date. About 1600 miles west and fours years after the place and time I first asked for it. A random encounter on a street corner this summer brought us back together again. Typical.

I think that about rounds it up, doesn't it? Does it? Wait, did I forget someone?

Oh Right. Me.

I continue to do what I do best: Get lost and find my way out again. I worked in journalism for a while. Had fun but didn't love it. I worked in politics for a while. Had fun but didn't love it. I worked as a bartender for a little while. Had fun... Then I did what any good twenty-something does when they need to buy a little time: I went back to school. Two years of precious quasi-freedom working towards my *gulp* MBA. Ya. I know, I know. I don't know know what I was thinking. Actually I do. I got a big old scholarship.

Do I love it? No. Am I pretty good at it? Yes. Good enough to top most of my classmates, bag an amazing summer internship? Yes. Where? In, you guessed it. California. (are you seeing the pattern yet?). This time in San Francisco where I must say all my dreams came true.

If that wasn't good enough I somehow got accepted to study abroad in Central America. When? Now. Did I forget to mention that? I think I did.

And so, here we are. A little older, a little wiser, a little weirder but still the same old Tayden.

Dear Truth Blog,
I miss you so much. I used to love coming here and throwing it all down on the page not worrying about who would see it or why.

A lot has changed since I have been here but a lot also has not. I want to say that I haven't sold out but I think I have a little. I want to say that I'm a better man but I'm not so sure it's true. I want to say that it's all making more sense than it used to but the reality is that it's all still so damn unclear.

I've managed to surround myself with the kind of people who think in a completely different way. They relish numbers and results. They live for success and accomplishment. I suppressed everything that made this little page great and made me smile every time I stared down the emptiness of the white box waiting to be filled with my words. And I feel hopelessly lost when the world doesn't revolve around ideas and emotions.

There is some good news. I think that my dreams are still intact. I think that there are pieces inside me still moving in the right direction. I think that despite- or in spite- of all of it, we'll still be OK. The goal might not be clear but the hunger is there.

I would hate to say it and have it not be true but I think that I am back. I'm ready to start asking the big questions again and swinging for the fences with some big answers.

So there. Take that.

-Tayden

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Count It

It's tough to lose when so many in your political party are celebrating, congratulating each other and jockeying for that new job sure to be headed their way. It's tough. It's tough.

Every big election year a few people always tell me that they don't plan to vote. They're convinced that with so many millions of votes weighted in some antiquated electoral college of silliness, they just don't see the need. They don't see the point of a drop in the bucket.

Sure I could get all holier-than-thou with them. Tell them that it's their duty. Shame them with the "if you don't vote than you can't complain" argument. Explain that their vote is the true seed and the conclusive victory of democracy.

But this year I saw something new. Sure I'm all for "from many, One." But I also saw something amazing happen. I watched ordinary people with sons and daughters and comfortable jobs and decent homes put it all on the line for what they believed. They stood up and said “we can do better.” And they didn’t just complain about the problem, throw money at it or scribble a line in a ballot. They gathered their friends and family together, they filed the paper work, they hit the streets and they ran for offices as big as senator and as small as school boards.

Some won and some lost. Some did it for all the right reasons and some did it for the wrong ones. But what’s truly amazing about our system and about this country is that anyone and I mean ANYONE can make a go of it. Maybe not for president. Maybe not for senator. But for a position somewhere that they can do some good.

It’s tough to lose. But it’s even tougher to stand up ten months ago and say, “I’m ready. I'm ready to put it all on the line for the chance to make it better. I'm ready to fight.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trouble

She reads faster than anyone I know but she hates to write anything down. She tells me it has something to do with making the fleeting permanent and the auric tangible. "When you write it down you can't pretend it's just a passing thought," she says. "It's there. it's real. You can't take it back."

I start to wonder if she will even commit me in ink to the book of her own history. I would be happy to spend my remaining days as a subtle little footnote on the last strands of paper that close out the chapter on 2008. "xxvii: Tayden made the days between losing the last boy and finally leaving town for good less than nauseating." Of course that would make me real.

When you refuse to write it down it means that it might still pass. That feeling. That thought. It can be ignored in your mind and crowded out by other tasks. but write it down in a old black journal or type it in a little white box and you can never deny it's existence no matter how much you change (and not matter how much you want to).

I, on the other hand, can only wish to make everything that much more real. I'll grab as many pieces of everyday as I can. I'll cast them into the shapes I want to remember for a long time to come. I'll cement it right here: Your timing is so terrible but I already know that you're one of the best thing that's ever happened to me.

The trouble is..sometimes it's much less messy when you just never write it down.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Story 2

It seemed, at first, like a great idea. My room was sparse on decorations and my life a bit sparse on inspirations. I'm not really up for any bird killing but it seemed like the right time for a good rock.

So I rounded up pictures. My Pictures. Pictures of Moroccan sunsets, of my family, if my closest friends, of a beach somewhere far away. I printed each photo with a white border, glued them to neatly cut black posterboard and strung a wire across the sloping wall of my room just below the attic of my two-story house. On the wire I hung each photo, spaced the equally and crossed to my bed on the other side of the room to survey the work. Perfect. just before I put my head down to rest each night I could look across at the photos and grab a little piece of all these wonderful places and magical people.

In some uncharacteristic and hopelessly romantic way I had hoped to divert the uncontrollable currents of my dreams into the photos. Maybe, just maybe I could pick a one out of the lineup, stare into it just a few minutes before sleep and find myself careening down a familiar ski slope or thousands of miles away.

But what happened next was some mutant baby of my idea. I would look at the pictures, my eyelids would grow heavy, I would switch off the lights and my dreams would take me away. Their destinations, however were always those of their own design. The photos made an appearance, just not in the way you would expect. I would be off piloting a vessel in the north pacific, waves crashing over the hull and for a brief moment I would look down to the ship's steel deck just long enough to see the string of photos, still on the wire, lying evenly-spaced at my feet.

I would be two thousand miles away at the foot of some skyscraper and rather than crane my neck to see the top I'd bee looking down at the photos on the ground. And worst of all there would be that epiphanal moment(it's my blog and I'll make up words if I want to) when somehow the subconscious me stand there inside the dream inside my own head laying in my bed across from the true photos would think out loud, "Fuck. Well there's the photos. I guess they made it in my dream one way or another."

And of course that moment never fails to be followed by the next moment when my eyes snap open just before i can grab the steering wheel of that dream and take it out for a ride.

Story 1

It's not like I go looking for the metaphors. I'm mostly the kind of person who plans to keep to himself. It's just, well, something about this world keeps drawing me out to people's front doors and smiling face. The metaphors for life, they just kind of jump me.

Like the story of Dick, and the people he tries to love. dick is a not-too-distant but not-too-familiar member of my family. The droop in his shoulder and the round scoop of his belly place him well into the second half of his time here on earth. His suits fit well with the big leather seats of the steak houses he frequents most nights a week and his big, black Mercedes.

In fact, that car might very well be the key to understanding Dick. For a good many years he tore around town in that car (or some previous year's model) as if it's phallic significance wasn't quite enough to assert his dominance over pretty much everyone, he had his own name printed squarely on the license plate in those state-regulated capital letters. There was no mistaking when "DICK" rolled around town.

He must have known the aura this black carriage created for him. In fact, I'm pretty sure he relished it. As it turned out, the trait most people associated with Dick wasn't his business prowess, his financial success or his imported suits. It was his complete lack of social subtlety and willingness to spout off about whatever he thought at any given moment about any plethora of topics that left it's most lasting impression.

How Dick came to marry into my family by way of the nicest, most elegant and most kind-heated woman of our clan is a mystery that I imagine stretches back to a time before the X's and Y that would become my generation ever had a chance to meet. Perhaps it was the money, the sense of security or the social status. But there they were. A relationship full of one-sided fidelity. I vaguely remember their house with a pool and the little automatic golf ball return novelty and the funeral where I learned that the nicest woman in our family would no longer encourage the reckless combination of back-to-back eating and swimming

After that time in Dick's life a few other wives came a went. The license plate changed. The suits needed to be let out. But something much more troubling began to occur. This man, who had no ability to connect with people, who had no idea what it meant to listen and be gentle with the criticism, needed someone to do just that.

You could see somehow behind eyes that he wanted to connect. It just that the only tool belt he carried is one full of frowns and wry comments and the other tools barely recognizable even to his family as something to latch onto. some kind of hope.

So the man who had built his lonely castle found that the only tools he wanted were a sledgehammer and a pickaxe to break it down again. I guess I just don't have the heart to tell him that if he hasn't found those tools by now it's nearly certain he never will. But then again, maybe it's something about my heart and his that keeps it this way.

I mostly try to keep to myself and sometimes that's not the worst thing you can do.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What Cliff?

Have you ever felt that thing? The minute where you sit there and start to think to yourself "well this is pretty good." you have to say it to yourself just to seal the deal. Something like, " You know, this is not so bad."

Remember the wave? Oh yes. When everything's cruising and it's too good. you can't help but admit it and, of course, as soon as you admit out drops the bottom.
You can fight it or you can just relish the fall. Money? Don't need a whole lot of spending money. Future? Not too sure about the future. Wheels? gas is cheaper but whether the horn will beep when you mash is is really anybody's guess. Women? Sure I'll take you for some sushi and follow it up with some Guinness and some laughs and some footsies and some ki...wait, where did you say you were from again? Utah? Oh really? The mountains? And are you a natural blonde? So you were raised in what kind of household?

And here's the kicker. You can watch your life savings disappear and it's no biggie. The roof springs a leak and you might not have a job after Nov 4th and oh god so frustrating getting cut off without a honking horn. But then one word and the bottom drops out.

"Mormon."

And that, my friends, is how you lose your shit.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I live in the west and out here we build things. Out here we drill things. Out here we mine things. Or rather they do. All the tall men with broad shoulders and big hats, made by the mountains. I remember feeling something different when I returned a while ago. I couldn't put a thought to the feeling much less words to that thought but over time I started to see the invisible lines that had separated me for so long. This is a land of engineers and oilmen. An economy that churns on the output of material and the use of those materials and thinking up new uses for the material that someone put out. Maybe it's the reason I left in the first place. All the blank stares. All the rolling eyes. All the emotions sent out but never received.

I always privyed myself a builder. My structures were built on the blocks of abstracts, milled by the deeper desires and supported by words that might never be spoken. I must have learned at an early age that no one else saw it that way. saw the emotions and read between those lines. I must have tried to lock it away. It's a tough and lonely existence when you see the world in a way that can't be shared. It's the everpresent irony of that someone who can read people so well must lock his own traits away lest someone else translate him.

But today I know there are places where that all makes sense. It's where words make the mountains and, just like back home, the mountains still make the man. Here. Right here. You don't have to travel to the cities of arts and thought and emotions anymore. They will travel to you. But that's not to say I wouldn't mind a few days in New Amsterdam right about now.