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The Remnants of Uncertainty...
An Epic Week
05/19/08 at 01:55 AM by cassusriff
What an EPIC week.

I live for weeks like this. Honestly. I may be exhausted and I may get sick from my lack of sleep and doing something at every moment of the day, but these weeks are SO worth it.

Let's Review:

Sunday 5/11 - Put on the last performance of Reckless at FLC. Great cast, good show, fun times. Brought some stuff back to the college. Afterward hung out with the guys (which was incredibly awesome and made me miss the old times when the guys would always kick it), then bought my mom some gifts for mother's day and went to my parent's house for a bit. Went home and passed out.

Monday 5/12 - Went to work, had a few meetings and just an awful day. Nothing about what we were doing for our new campaign was really making sense and I had a looming day of class waiting for me after. Also I had a terrible case of nostalgia in light of it being my last day of being a teenager.

Tuesday 5/13 - Best day I can remember in a long time. It helps that this day happened to be my 20th b-day. But I was expecting a really disappointing day because let's face it, turning 20 isn't that great. Instead I got to hear from all kinds of awesome people that I don't see often and of course my friends I see regularly. My desk was decorated at work, I got free coffee, itunes giftcards, and a very nice card signed by the office. The only thing that could've been better is if I actually got the day off, but all that nice stuff really brought me up.

Then that night me, phil, colin, jacque, nick, emily, lauryn, spencer, kyle, and amy went to my favorite restaurant Benihana! I got a few more awesome gifts (Madden videogame, Juno ..ay, more itunes giftcards), had a great dinner, got an awesome picture of everyone, and just had a great time. Then afterward we all went to my place and chilled and had fun playing rock band, smoking hookah and cigars, talking, and relaxing. The night ended at 4am.

What made my b-day even better was that Jason Mraz and Death Cab's new albums came out that day. So thank you both for providing the soundtrack to such an awesome day.

Wednesday 5/14 - I definitely was a bit bummed my b-day was over. But I still was feeling good from such a fun day. Unfortunately work wasn't getting any less busy and I had a presentation that night in class that I had only a few hours to put together while I was at work. The day was definitely very stressful and long, but at the end of it all I got home proud of my presentation and ready to get to bed. I would have definitely gone crazy if I didn't take the first half of the day off from work.

Thursday 5/15 - Thursday was maybe one of the craziest days of my life. The stress from over a year was weighing down on me while I was also about to experience a very big moment in my life. So I got to work as usual and had another busy day of calls and applications. That night I had to present my scholarship and then go straight to class for our last meeting.

So in the last hour of work I started to write out what I was going to say at the presentation. I also pulled together a little faux certificate just so the girl who won my scholarship would have something... I worked from 9am - 5:30, went straight to Kyle's house after to rehearse our song for Sunday (more on that later), did that until 6:45pm (we ended up rehearsing at EDMT's place with Tristan and Lauryn), then me and Tristan went straight to Oak Ridge for the scholarship presentation that started at 7:00pm. Tristan was nice enough to park my car for me as I ran to the theatre to ask if I could present first because I had to be at class by 7:30pm and my class was at least 15-20 minutes away if I was driving fast.

I got inside and they said I could present first but I'd have to wait for the Military scholarships to go first. So I talked to some people and noticed interested glances from people I knew in the full house (a lot of my friends didn't know I was giving a scholarship). After talking with some people, the show started and I watched the first few scholarships get handed out. Then I was introduced and I walked up to the podium.

It had been a while since I had spoken to a crowd that big, and the last time I spoke this candidly and emotionally in front of a crowd was when I said my senior goodbye speech at the OREE (theatre) awards two years ago. I was noticeably nervous and I realized my speech was a bit long so I just followed it as an outline and decided to wing most of it. I made some great points, and I honestly can't remember a lot of what I said. But my words were true and my words were honest. I presented my award to the girl and mentioned that I was giving this $1000 scholarship from my own personal funds. The girl came up on stage and her face was so honestly grateful. She shook my hand and gave me a hug. It all happened in a whirl and I sat down right away and started to collect my stuff. I made a funny exit as the host told the scholarship presenters that they could leave if they had other arrangements to take care of... which is exactly what I had. So I begrundingly left the ceremony, knowing I probably wouldn't get a chance to talk to people about what I had done. I was upset because I wanted to know what people thought.

I walked to my car which was parked far away and decided to call my mom. I was filled with pride and righteousness and just wanted to talk about it with someone.

And that's where everything went wrong.

My mom and I talked for a bit and she offerred a gunshot congrats and then turned the conversation to me asking for help with my education. She attacked me for giving out $1000 and then turning to her to help me with my living situation and loans (if anyone doesn't know, I pay for all my school, living, and misc expenses on my own practically). As I got in the car and rushed to a class I was already late for, I slowly started to unravel. Our arguing became more and more intense and it finally got to the point where I exploded and yelled at the top of my lungs. I almost lost control of my car a few times on the freeway trying to control my anger. I finally hung up on her and tried to calm myself down before I got to class.

Lucky for me, this class was just a potluck and there was no final. So when I arrived I couldn't hold in my emotion and I asked my teacher if she thought what I had just done was good... to which the class responded with great appreciation. Then I talked with my teacher for a bit and she gave me hope in the world again. We talked about everything I had said in my speech and she encouraged me to keep going. My mom and I made up and decided to talk tomorrow, and a very good friend of mine listened to me rant when I really really needed it.

When the potluck ended, I had a crazy idea to see if I could get to the scholarship presentation in time to see some of the people after the show. When I got there, I was fortunate to find the girl I awarded the scholarship to along with her family. The words they spoke to me, especially her dad, were among the most gracious and purely complimenting words I have ever heard spoken about me. I was humbled beyond belief but took the opportunity to talk about how much she deserved the money. I ran into a few others who found what I had done very encouraging and amazing. All their words and their reactions literally changed my life. Giving felt so amazing, and inspiring others was more than I ever could've hoped for. The world did have good people.

After that I hung out with Tristan and Phil and Breanna and unwound for a bit.

Friday 5/16 -After an emotional day like Thursday, I was hoping Friday would be a bit calmer. But it wasn't. I spent most of the day e-mailing my parents and coming to a compromise about how they could help me out a bit. It took nearly the entire work day, but we finally got there. Work was still very busy and it was hard to stay focused with everything else going on.

Later that night I picked up my friend Amy and went to Lauryn's senior recital. The show was very nice but also made me sad as I was brought back to my theatre days.

After that we all hung out at Ihop pretty late. I took Tristan home and fell asleep after another full day.

Saturday 5/17 - I finally got to sleep in a bit on Saturday. When I finally woke up I was greeted by Tristan and Phil. We all decided to go swimming at Tristan's place. First I went to Old Navy to buy some swim shorts and other stuff, then me and Tristan went and got some awesome coffees at Sbux. We got to Tristan's house and made some more coffee drinks and then went swimming. BAD IDEA. I don't know how I managed to not throw up after 2 large iced coffee drinks and about 2 hours of pool basketball and wrestling.

After that Phil, Tristan and I got some icees, ran a few errands and then they dropped me off at Kyle's house so we could rehearse our song. Kyle and I did that for about 45 minutes and then my parents came to pick me up for dinner.

Dinner was interesting, it was mostly cordial and awkward and it turned bad at the end when my parents began to fight about my older brother. They dropped me home after and I wasn't feeling too great. When I got home I realized I had left my sunglasses at the restaurant so I went to go get them and then I went and bought a DVD stand at Best Buy.

When I got home from all that, I left right away to meet Tristan and Phil at the basketball courts, where we played for about an hour or so. Then we got some drinks, went back to my place and played Rock Band for a few hours. When they went to sleep, I stayed up pretty late watching some movies.

Sunday 5/18 - Another crazy day. I woke up and got some food and went straight to the Oak Ridge Theatre for the benefit show for the late Mr. Healy. When I got there, the organization was terrible and I found out there was no one to run sound. I decided that I would step up and run sound. So then I spent the next two hours scrambling trying to figure out how we would disperse 5 mics among over 10 performers. I had to figure out sound cues, when to play music for performers and when to turn on the ambient mics to make the piano loud enough.

The show went off without a hitch, the performers were fantastic and I made very few sound errors. The hardest part was when I turned on the mics for me and Kyle and then ran up on stage to perform my song. Then I ran right back down after my song to run sound for the rest of the show.

My song was awesome by the way. I had a blast performing for the first time in 2 years and I definitely missed it. It felt good to sing again. I got a positive reaction to it as well, everyone told me I had a good voice and that me and Kyle blended really well. Video to come soon...

So the show finished and we all went to Chilli's for a bit to hang out. By this time I was sore and tired and beaten down, so I stayed for a bit and then met up with Phil and Tristan to hang out for a bit and chill. Around midnight we all headed home. And now I've spent the last two hours doing laundry, cleaning up my place, and studying for my final tomorrow night after another full day of work when I need to catch up on a lot of things.

And writing this blog of course.
Tags: epic, week, b-day, death cab for cutie, jason mraz, theatre, rent
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My Proud Moment...
05/16/08 at 11:10 AM by cassusriff
Last night I had one of the most proud moments of my life. The people I have in my life aren't necessarily willing to hear my righteous rant about doing the right thing and all. So that's why I have my blog.

Yesterday, I gave $1000 of my own money to a high school student who deserved it. I am 15k in debt from one year of student loans. I'm most likely about to go to UCSD where I will accumulate another 15k of loans before I go off to grad school to add more to that total. I'll be looking at close to 80k of debt when school is all said and done for me. But that isn't what is important.

Giving this scholarship was never about the money, it was never about making myself look good, it was never about any of the superficial stuff. I honestly just wanted to do something good. I could've used that $1000 to pay off some of my loans or buy myself a new computer or get ahead on my rent. Really, there are many things I could've used that money for. But the most important thing about last night, is that I realized I could make a difference. I can make people think about how they can give back.

I gave a very honest speech when I presented. I wasn't trying to be overly eloquent or preachy. I just wanted people to know where I was coming from.

One thing I said, "In the last two years I've learned many things: College is hard. Adulthood is hard. Life is hard. But the world is what you make it. And despite all these hardships, you can give what little you have and make the world a better place, even if it is in a small way."

Maybe a little preachy. But I didn't really feel the impact of how great it feels to give until last night. I've always donated money to relief funds and charities. I don't have much money, so I usually donate anywhere from $5.00-$25.00. And last night I gave $1000 to a well-deserving student and I still didn't feel like that was enough. But if there is anything I've learned, it's that any small amount or small gesture means a great deal. Just by putting myself out there in front of that audience, I touched many people. Afterward, parents and students alike came up to me and told me how I inspired them. How I made them think about what they could do to help out, whether it be students, charities, impoverished children, whatever.

And that is the true value of what I did last night. I never felt like I could impact people like that until last night. Hearing those things and hearing how people could think so highly of what I did means more than anyone can imagine. It honestly brings tears to my eyes as I write this. I don't consider myself a saint or someone who is above others or anything like that. I'm just a guy who wants to be about more than myself.

So it began with a scholarship. I hope it doesn't stop there. And if one person does something good because of what they saw me do last night, then I have achieved more than I could have ever hoped for.

Now that is something to be proud of.
Tags: charity, scholarship, giving, pride, inspiration
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I swear...
05/15/08 at 03:13 AM by cassusriff
I'm so fucking sick of people not keeping promises. I try to be a good person and I try to keep my word. If I'm not sure I can do something, I don't commit to it. And even when I say I can't but I find a small window of opportunity to do it, I do. When I do commit to something, I do it at least 95% of the time. When I slip up, I make it up in some way.

I've been trying very hard to keep my faith in people. I've been trying very hard to give the benefit of the doubt. I've been trying very hard to not let it get to me.

But I can only keep this unwavering trust for so long... and eventually I'm just not going to trust anyone anymore. I'm already on my way there.

And why the hell am I writing this here? People don't read this and the ones that do aren't going to change their ways because of a stupid blog.

I'm seriously fed up.
Tags: anger, people, flaky, false promises, faith
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05/13/08 at 12:26 PM by cassusriff
In honor of turning 20 (and mainly because I need to make this b-day mean something because 20 is a pretty useless age) I'm going to make a list of "20 things I want to do before I'm 30". I call it my 20X30 list. Don't make fun of me, I may not be an aspiring actor like many of friends are, but I still have the dreamer in me. You're about to find out just how motivated I actually am.

Without further ranting, here is my list:

20. Attend all the big Concerts: Bamboozle, Bamboozle Left, whatever else is out there. I used to go to shows all the time and I've recently started going regularly again, but I definitely need to go to these big ones sometime soon.

19. Attend ComicCon and the Sundance Film Festival: Hate to put these into the same category, but talk about the top entertainment festivals. These are events anyone can go to and enjoy, so I want to do it.

18. Run a Marathon: I know it's crazy, but this is a great way to stay healthy and having a goal like this will require months of training and focus. I really want to do it.

17. Triathalon: Goes hand in hand with the Marathon. Might as well do one of these too.

16. Go Bungie Jumping: I've been skydiving, this is naturally something I should try right?

15. Go Rock Climbing: I'll probably do a smaller scale climb this summer with my friends, but I want to climb an actual mountain at some point.

14. Go Hang Gliding: I'm quite the thrill seeker aren't I? You only live once, so why not put your life in danger to make it more exciting?

13. Shark Diving: Not sure if it's called that, but It's when you get in a cage and lower yourself into a sea with sharks. I hear it's just breathtaking... and again, another risky thing.

12. Go to a Superbowl: Preferrably one in which the 49ers are playing, but it's the biggest sport event of the year, I have to go at some point.

11. Mardi Gras: It's just one of those events that is made for someone in their 20's. Besides, New Orleans is back and needs people to make it what it used to be!

10. Casino Hoppin' in Vegas: I'm going to Vegas in a few weeks... but I'm sure it will be a bit better when I go with all the guys after I turn 21. Sports gambling, stay at a fancy hotel, do all the fancy expensive stuff, start drinking at 10am, just live it up.

9. Spring Break in Cancun: If I end up going to San Diego, this may happen sooner than I think. This is something I have to do in my early 20's or else I'll just look like a creeper.

Alright, now for the big goals.

8. Study Abroad and Travel: If I end up going to UCSD, I plan on studying abroad my senior year, most likely for two quarters somewhere in West Europe. When I eventually go to grad school I'll probably study somewhere in Asia. I'm not expecting to see all of the world before I'm 30, but seeing as how I've only been to the Phillippines, Mexico, the West and East Coast of the U.S. and Hawaii in my first 20 years, I want to catch up a bit.

7. Go on a Mission Trip: Those who know me know that I'm not religious. I'm a humanist though, so I believe in helping people. I have the same desire to help as anyone and I want to make a difference and live for someone other than myself.

6. Get my Undergraduate Degree: It's looking like that will be a B.A in Economics with a minor in Psychology and an International Certification to go with that.

5. Get an MBA from a top 15 program: Pretty damn lofty goal isn't it? I like a lot of the east coast schools like NYU, Columbia, UPenn, and Chicago, but of course I'll look at Berkeley and UCLA too. This is one of the biggest goals of my life. I want an MBA before I'm 30 and I want to go to a pretty damn good school.

4. Work at a good place: Considering most of my goals have been pretty specific, this one is very vague. The point is that I want to do something I love, which is anyone's dream isn't it? I just don't want to be stuck at Blue Shield the rest of my life.

3. Start a Business: I'm not looking for it to be very successful before I'm 30, but I want to get it rolling. I have many ideas: A Record Label, a Publishing Firm, some sort of internet company, a Venue, a Restaurant, etc. I just want to start something, what's the point of an MBA if you aren't going to do your own thing one day?

2. Publish a Book: One of the greatest goals of my life. I have three stories I'm working on that are in my head. I don't care if they are best-sellers or if they appeal to a very small market. I just want to see one of my books on the shelves and online before I'm 30.

1. Live Well: Notice how I don't have marriage or kids as a goal? There are certain things in life that you can't force or plan. If I plan to be married before I'm 30, I'm just setting myself up. I don't want to rush myself into anything as serious as marriage just because of my age. My number one goal for the next decade is to just live. To not settle or fall into anything because it's easy.

And I may or may not achieve all these goals, but at least they are all something to strive and live for. Any suggestions for other things to do are welcome.

And thank you all for the b-day wishes!
Tags: life, goals, hopes, dreams, bamboozle, superbowl
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Lay the teens to rest...
05/12/08 at 03:17 AM by cassusriff
Monday morning, May 12th, 2:30am. I'm sitting in my room surrounded by silence.

...Let's change that. Hmmm, what music would best describe this very insane year of my life? I desperately want to go with The Alchemy Index because it has been passing over my ears for months now, but I've been rolling with it way too much in my blog world lately.

Ah hell, it's my last day as a teenager. I'm going to blast this shit!

So where were we? 2:30am. It's May 12th, the day I was supposed to be born. But I was born on May 13, 1988. And even though it has been 20 years since that day tomorrow, It still feels like it wasn't that long ago. Not that I can remember my birth at all. But 1988 still feels like it wasn't so long ago. But I mean, how much has happened since then? I'll be vague and just say, "A lot".

I'm sitting here thinking about all the shit my 19th year has thrown at me. It even began in a way that foreshadowed all the pain and struggle and other downer adjectives. Last year, my birthday was on Mother's Day. Having just returned home from ASU complete with a nice case of food poisoning from a Carl's Jr I hit up on the 10-hour-drive home, followed by an interview with the temp agency at Blue Shield of California the next day. I hit my birthday weekend wanting to relax more than anything. I had a fun saturday with my then-girlfriend and on my actual birthday, did nothing. Because it was Mother's Day, I told my mom I should take her to dinner. She countered saying that she should take me to dinner.

It was on that day that I found out my Mom is absolutely against going out on Mother's Day, she hates the crowds and the waits at restaurants. So, we did nothing. We compromised by agreeing to let our respective holidays wash each other out.

And this lack of enthusiasm, care, eagerness, what have you, would plague the many months that followed in my 19th year.

So the next day I started work at Blue Shield as a temp. I worked there through June and went on a road trip with my three best friends at the time. Admittedly, one of them isn't as close with me anymore, and the other two are closer to me than before. But it was kind of my first and last hurrah, one of the few highlights of the year.

Later that month I decided I didn't want to return to Arizona State. Walking away from my desk with tears in my eyes, I went to my manager and asked about a permanent position. I got hired for that in July. I went permanent in August and I got surgery on my knee. That month I got through the craziest two weeks of my life when I had a surgery performed on my knee, started a new job, got an insurance license at a school that was an hour drive each way, started full time college classes, and walked with crutches the whole time. That ridiculously difficult span of my life ended on an up note when I passed the test for my license. It was one of the true glorious, successful moments of my life. When I finally felt like I could handle anything.

Later that month, my spirit and my mettle were tested when an old teacher, a mentor, and a friend of mine died. I received the news in the worst way, while I was with my girlfriend of the time on a nice date. He was the kind of mentor that made you hate him and pulled every one of your strings until you were completely unraveled. He pushed you to the edge of a cliff and he dared you to jump. He shook your spirit and put it back together just before it would completely disappear. He taught me theatre, and I don't love theatre and I don't want to pursue it as a life goal, but his lessons were transparent and golden. I didn't need to be in theatre to cherish them.

On the day I found out, there was a congregation at my old high school. Nearly a year after I had left this place for what I had thought was forever, I was back again singing and crying and speaking. On that night I feel, my childhood finally ended. Sure, I may have been only a few months into my 19th year, but my friends were all leaving and my high school mentor had passed away. I had already made the greatest error of my life and wasn't even prepared for the ramifications to come.

September was dull and boring. I was on my game and I was owning class and owning work and doing just fine because I was on for the challenge I had brought on myself.

October was my month of fun. I went to a different place every weekend. Chico, Seattle, Tempe. The first trip I should have seen as a clue, but I just partied it up and went home. The second weekend was too fast and too rushed. But it was a good time with my family.

And the third weekend? Well let's just say that's the brick that crushed the spider.
In November I was flying high, flying fierce and anticipating a busy time at work and the finals that were coming with school.

And then I got blindsighted. And my three-year relationship was over. On the day the new campaign began at work. Just when the future was looking up. And this blow knocked me out for months. The holidays were empty and meaningless. I didn't eat for weeks after the breakup so my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) was ruined. Christmas was stressful as usual and I just didn't have the love in my heart to get through it. I hated my families for making me travel so much to see them all. I hated the tug of war for everyone to see me when I don't matter during the rest of the year. But I still bought my parents awesome gifts and my siblings as well. I still drove three different places in three days.

And at least I had that 49ers game, easily the most fun day of 2007.

But this spiral had led me to rebound with a girl who was completely wrong for me. I was looking for something serious again, something to mimic the 3-year committment I had just had, and she was looking for a winter fling.

The winner? Winter fling. We stopped talking right around the time I found out I was bipolar. So again I had no one and I was trying to latch onto everyone. I was liking girls who aren't even right for me. I was forcing things. I was becoming desperate. I could never make up my mind. I was medicated and confused and lonely and insane. I rekindled a relationship that should have been dead and done. And in doing so I fucked it up all over again. I became angry and disposed and a recluse. I hated my job and stopped caring to show up on time. I hated school and dropped a bunch of classes. I resigned myself to a life of mundane redundancy and wasted dreams.

February was awful, I went to a strip club on Valentine's Day. I sought comfort from a stripper. I was pathetic. I was useless and worthless and etc etc etc.

And then in March I just decided it was enough. Right around the time I went to visit a friend in LA. The weekend was good and the motivation came back. The drive returned and the 5-month marathon at work came to an end. I got some time to breathe a bit and I started planning my life again.

And then the letter from UCSD came, and my life exploded once more. I had to add classes at the last minute, my units doubled and work started getting busy again. I suddenly was back in theatre, albeit doing sound for a small-time production, but back nonetheless. I was meeting new people and being involved in drama and going out a lot again. I was social, but best of all, I was fine with being single.

And so now, on this night before my 19th year ends. I'm nearly finished with my classes, on the brink of another big campaign for work, and close to a summer in which I need to make some big decisions, take a few epic trips, and keep things in perspective.

My motivation and my goodwill has returned. I'm done with the bad karma from my 19th year. I can be selfish and selfless at the same time. I want to be more about the world. I feel like I can raise the ground with me instead of flying solo. Soon I will make a list of 20 goals I want to achieve before I'm 30 years old. I've lived two decades and this third one is going to be the most important of my life.

But, as I said before I turned 19, I have two years of purgatory before I reach the milestone of 21. And according to that logic, I still have one more year of purgatory.

Bring on year 20.
Tags: 19, 20, thrice, life, strippers, UCSD, LA, Seattle, Road Trips, Mother's Day, etc
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As I sit here and ponder...
05/03/08 at 11:55 PM by cassusriff
...about the future, I think that maybe it can all work out. Maybe these things do happen for a reason. Maybe everything does fall into place every now and then. Maybe the hard work and the perseverance does pay off. Maybe there is a place that is right for me. Maybe there are new people I can meet who will be great for me. Maybe I can do all the things I want and not stress so much about things.

I can be a good person. I can make a difference. I can be selfless while making a good life for myself. I can think about other things besides my own issues. I can. I really can.

And really, thats the only thing I could ever ask for. The hope to know that I can do these things and that things can work out.

Tonight, I rest happy. Tired and stressed and busy and uncertain about things... but happy nonetheless.

I live for these moments of optimism... I really do
Tags: hope, future, goals, optimism
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My Struggle
05/02/08 at 12:35 AM by cassusriff
My entire existence is plagued by a lack of constancy. A lack of continuity. I never feel the same two days in a row and I can rarely even come close.

We can blame it on the bipolar... and I guess that would be the safe thing to do. Like when I'm psyched about anything and everything. When I feel like I can do anything. When I love you and I say, "Life is great!" it seems like everything is fine. I'm that happy guy that all of you wish you could see more of. I'm manic.

Then I take every word I hear and over analyze. I feel like everyone is out to get me. I lose hope in the simplest things. I don't see how anyone could ever like me. Unless you are specifically telling me how much you love me, I can't even know it in my heart, and even when you tell me I deny it. It's honestly the worst feeling in the world and it happens regularly. I hate it.

And sure I know what it is and I'm come to find that my 'disorder' is pretty mild at best, but I am quite sure it exists in some capacity. I know that everyone gets sad and happy and one thing can change the course of a mood or a feeling. But it doesn't happen like this with everyone. There is a steady continuum and a steady rise or decline. If things suck you get bummed out about it and then they get better and you feel better about it.

But not with me. I mean, life is absolutely amazing right now. I have a good job, good friends, a good family. I'm healthy and everyone else around me is. The people I care about are doing well for the most part. I'm happily single but happy to meet people. I have the opportunity to go to a great school and move to San Diego this fall. I have a very promising career and life ahead of me. I have nice things. I'm nice to people. People are good to me for the most part. I love music. I love writing. I love business. I love hanging out. I love being busy. I love life.

But despite all that... it hits me 5 or 6 or 7 times a week. When none of that matters. When nothing is good and everything is hopeless. It's so frustrating and discouraging and painstakingly annoying when your own mind betrays you. When a very factual and to-the-point person like myself is presented with these glaring details about how things are just fine can be completely overrun by fabricated reasons as to why the good things are all bad.

You could say something like, "Oh I can't hang out tomorrow." or "You are late to work sometimes" or "I have a huge crush on this guy and he's amazing!" and it will completely crush me. And it doesn't matter if I can't hang out tomorrow either or if I am actually am late to work sometimes or if I even should be upset because I'm not jealous that you like another guy. Honestly, we can hang out another time, I'll come to work on time tomorrow, and I'm happy you found someone you like. That's how I feel about it in my true mind. But on these days... on these damn days when I can't control what my mind feeds me, those words crush me.

And not just words. You could be unintentionally short with me. You could give me a weird look that is so subtle that YOU didn't even notice. You could stop texting me after we've been texting all day. You could talk about when you hung out with someone else. Any single small insignificant thing will make me think you hate me or don't care about me.

And THAT... is torture. I hate it so much. But I don't want meds and I don't want to give up my hard earned money just so someone can tell me the things I know. The point is... when I'm like this, I don't hear reason. I don't see common sense or factual evidence or trust or love. I just see rejection and pain and hopelessness and fear. Life is unbearable to me at these times. Happy people make me jealous. Sad people depress me. Being alone bugs the hell out of me, but talking to someone makes me angry and annoyed.

This part of me that comes out every so often... at random times during a day or for a day or so at a time, this part of me has ruined relationships, friendships, damn near cost me my job, affected my grades, made me miss opportunities, made me unreliable. I am bursting at the seems with potential and work ethic and extraordinary performance. And when I'm like this... I'm practically useless.

And this is the deepest, most painful, and practically incurable struggle of my life. It's like a never-ending war. No side ever wins, but the damage continues every day.

I guess the only thing I can ask of all of you, is to please stick by me. I am aware of when this happens to me usually, so please just help me anyway you can. I will deny all the positive things you say, I will snap at you occasionally, I will be rude and act like I don't need anyone, I will be short and give you one word answers... but please stick by me. Don't desert me when I need you. I think this is why I try to be so nice and such a good friend to everyone, why I pay for stuff and offer to drive and let people hang out at my place. I just feel bad for all the shit I put everyone through.

This is the struggle I put up with almost every day, trying to keep this ridiculous character out of my mind.

But he gets in more often than I would like... and I just keep trying to keep him at bay.
Tags: bipolar, life, frustration
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The Media Medly
04/23/08 at 02:53 PM by cassusriff
So I've been meaning to write this for a while and it finally got to me enough that I felt the need to blog it. Before we continue, I think I've written a blog for every day this week... I like that.
Anyway, once upon a time I was an arrogant kid coming out of high school who had spent four years acting and singing. Maybe I wanted to continue doing that but being the cynical realist I am, I didn't want to be grouped with all the other 'actor' friends I had. So, I did a few things to try to establish myself as a separate entity.

First, I went out-of-state to Arizona State University so that I wasn't another California-dweller. I wanted big change and I wanted distinction.

Second, I wanted to find a way to combine my love for theatrics, my love for writing, and my love for intelligence. I settled with journalism because it was a way for me to be on TV or radio, a way for me to write regularly, and a way for me to stay involved in what was going on with the world.

Those who know me know very well how these ideas failed. There are the countless excuses for why I left ASU; the money, the person I became when I was there, the jumping-without-looking mentality that had driven all my decisions since starting senior year of high school, etc. What isn't mentioned much, and the subject of today's blog, is how my 'dream' major completely failed me.

The media has gone to hell. Plain and simple. The legitimacy is gone. The integrity is gone. The sensibility is gone. 'Entertainment' News is the biggest money maker. Politics have been turned into a game of misquoting and misrepresentation. Regular news has become so morbid that it has desensitized the public. There is no uniting factor anymore, instead the media just divides us.
And imagine being one of the young hopeful, coming into a place where you thought creativity, intelligence, integrity, and truthfulness would be the very essence of the air you breathed and instead finding it filled with deceit, outside influence, superficiality, and lack of morals. It's like running outside expecting fresh, icy cold air and breathing hot, ashy air instead. It smothers you and crushes you at the same time.

I think the worst part was the lack of hope, the lack of anything to be excited about. And when excitement was generated, it was because someone famous had died, or because a school had a mass shooting, or because a political candidate made 'elitist' remarks.

People wonder then, why the switch to business? I get it. Business is just as evil if not more. The business I am part of now determines who gets health insurance by whether or not a person is healthy. I get to tell people who have similiar problems to me that they can't get help from us. So, what's better about that? I guess it's the nature of things. The political system is why the health insurance industry is the way it is. It's a result of our capitalist society, our emphasis on individuality, flourishing business, lack of governmental control, and lack of wanting to help anyone but ourselves.

And that is fine. That is how we choose to be in America, it works and it makes sense. Why should we all work so hard for ourselves AND pick up others along the way? Let a person be a product of their own work ethic. A poor person earned his place and a rich person earned his.

I guess with business, there is some sort of hope. There are jobs to be had, an economy to be tended to, product to get out. Sure, someone always gets hurt, but there is good that comes from it. I mean, in the end, my company does help many many people. There is trade-off and compromise and, one would hope, a dedication to improvement. In business lies the American Dream, the idea that a homey bed and breakfast can succeed. The small venue that helps up-and-coming bands get recognition. The start-up internet website that gives people the resources to find fun things to do. Yes, there are the Enrons and the Wal-Marts... but every good has an evil attached to it.

But I don't see the good with the media. The media has perpetuated an obession with entertainers to the point that it drives them to arrogance, insanity, drug-use, and inappopriate behavior. The media has driven politics to the ground with a focus on over-analyzing every action a person makes and scrutinizing every single aspect. There are senior military advisors who never served in the military. There are people paid by whomever to go on TV and spew nonsense. There are anchors who achieve their dream by reading a teleprompter influenced by whatever billionaire pays to keep the studio running. There is no good news. No one cares about humanitarian efforts or groups who strive to make the world better. Instead we hear about who has killed whom, why every aspect of our lifestyles are failing, and how everyone we elect is letting us down.

We become separated by what we are shown. It's all bipartisanship, it's all about taking sides. Clinton supporters call Obama an elitist, Obama supporters call McCain a Bush Jr, McCain supporters call Clinton an overexagerrated liar. Then people start to base their opinions on the most ridiculous things. They don't like Clinton because she voted a certain way or Obama because he knew someone or McCain because he's old.

I don't ask people to take away their opinions of a candidate or an issue. I ask people to not be so influenced by the media's bullshit. Even sports media has become ridiculous, telling people a player won't do well because of his lack of experience.

And thats the other thing... why the big focus on experience? Experience is important, but not as much as people like to think. All the time, people come in with less experience and succeed at their jobs. It's why some rookies play better than 7 year veterans in sports, it's why a younger person can be someone's boss, it's why a student can discover things that 20-year scientists can miss. Every person is different, every aspect of success is differentiated.

Stop believing age-old formulas that simply don't apply to every situation. Stop believing something just because you read it online or heard it on TV. Form your own opinions, do your own research, or simply be apathetic in your own resentment. Whatever you do, just don't let the media fix your mind.

And if you want honest thoughts without outside influence or perpetuated, bipartisan ethics, then read a blog. You may not agree and you may not like, but you can bet it has more integrity than what you see on TV.
Tags: media, politics
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Faith and Accessibility
04/22/08 at 11:55 AM by cassusriff
I hate being so flimsy with my emotions. Yesterday I wanted nothing more than for everyone to talk to me and be with me until I went to sleep. Today, I don't want to talk to anyone or see anyone or have to engage in any kind of awkward conversation.

I've been hanging out with really cool people lately. The kind of people who like to talk about stuff that really interests me. People who like to vent about how difficult life is out of high school. People who like to watch movies and listen to music and all that stuff. Not that I know anyone who doesn't like movies and music... but I'm talking about people who REALLY enjoy that kind of stuff.

And though a lot of people will say music is their passion and all that stuff. But I'm skeptical... how many people actually listen for the nuances? How many people analyze the structure of an album? How many people read the lyrics and find inspiration? Anyone can listen to a catchy song and sing along. I do it all the time. But there aren't many people who LOVE music in the way I just described.

I want to run somewhere, go out and explore. I've been on a "do good things" kick for a while. I want to help people and make a difference. I'm kinda sick of this whole idea of making a lot of money and being amazing just because I can do something really well that happens to pay really well. Call me an idealist, and I guess I am, but I know I'm going to pursue high paying jobs and all that. I know I'm going to want what's best for me and my potential family. I know I'm going to eat these words one day. But whatever, I can always chalk it up to my young idealism. I'm sure one day we will all look back on who we were at 20 and laugh at our naivety.

I hope not.

I'm so sick of being accessible. But I always feel the need to explain myself to the dozens of no one who read my blog.

Like religion. I get grouped into this Athiest category because it's the closest title to describe my beliefs. But honestly, I go to church and I agree about everything except the whole "God" thing. I mean, most religions have the same basic principles: Be a good person, don't do bad things. I'm giving $1000 of money I don't have to a graduating high school student just because. I'm willing to help a person I've never actually met get through hard times. I suck up my feelings a lot of the time if it makes my friends and family happy. I honestly try hard.

So get off my back if I don't want to limit myself to a certain interpretation of the bible or a certain practice of beliefs. I don't need all the external stuff. I don't need the faith. I'm fine with helping build homes for the needy. I'd love to donate money and resources to the needy and I do it whenever I can. I try to find the good in everyone. If I can do that without the influence of a higher power or the promise of eternal happiness, but just because I feel it in my heart... isn't that good enough?

Seriously, get off this idea that religion is needed to make a person good. I don't believe in any religion and I could stand next to any person and feel confident that I have just as many flaws and just as many great qualities.

I don't fear death, heaven, hell, anything like that. I'm living my life. I'm in my heaven, my hell, and my death will one day come. I'm fine with that. Stop putting me in categories and stop placing me in places created by your own mind. Let me decide that for myself.
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04/18/08 at 02:31 PM by cassusriff
I'm in this place.

This sea of fire deep below the earth with a sizeable lack of air. Encouraged by the signs of beauty and the ground I can set my feet upon, but downtrodden and melacholy from the faint signs of life down here.

There is very little air and I steal it quickly while the flames take the rest. I've escaped, yes, from the terrains and the heavy sun, the thick air and the angry river. I've walked through the life and the death, love and despair, pain and pleasure.

Father left me, mother left me, brother and sister left me, friends left me. The seasons lay their will upon me. I'm weary and cold, angry and sweaty, short of breath and weighed down.
Four different moons glare at me. Four different suns blind me. Some of the moons are partial, some are full. Some suns are barely seen through clouds and haze, some illuminate the sky and set it on fire.

Every step bleeds and breaks my skin. The linens have shredded and faded. The bones have weakened. The eyes have lost color in lieu of water. They drown in beauty and disaster. They die soon if not rested.

inspired by Thrice - The Alchemy Index
I lose touch with the world. I live simply in the depths while searching for the essentials. My weakened eyes look around for answers and for sight. My limbs move progressively slower like a dying engine. My skin a weakened shield about to give way. I clench my teeth, hold my breath, bite my tongue and taste blood.

I live in this place.

I give my body to this place.
Tags: thrice, poetry, life
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Running to an Empty Place
03/12/08 at 12:23 PM by cassusriff

It's all perpetuated by an insatiable hunger, driving us further and further down a path of endless work and strain and lack of substance. We reach our breaking point and something saves us. We reach our goals and something temps us. In happiness we begin the cycle all over again. In pain and rejection and sadness we continue fighting or we give up.

My wishes are insurmountable. I could only dream to have the strength to leave everyone and everything behind. To not feel the need to work or possess money or hold a woman in my arms. To have goals that didn't dress me in faux clothing and faux promises and faux ethics. I've been driven by the money and the security and the comfort. The lack of substance has become my substance. Life is nothing more than a race. A race that you have to run fast while piling on the weight of success and happiness until you made it to the end a skinny man underneath it all.

The substance exists in our hearts. It's the love and the faith and the smiles. I keep these images in my mind hoping that panning for this gold could yield more than empty sand and rocks. That I may find some sparkling trinkets, some substance amidst all this sand. Amidst all these dull and plentiful things I may find the kiss of a true love, the smile of a daughter, or even the ability to be satiated. To one day stand and hear the wind, watch the horizon stretch endless, taste the crispness of air, smell the wet percipation, and feel nothing but the light kiss of atmosphere as it spares me. To find a place in a world where I am nothing more than a quiver, a stray lash, or a grain of sand.

And so I run now. So I run.
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Settling the Risk
02/28/08 at 03:24 PM by cassusriff
Settling the Risk

Introspection seems to come at night.

And it's frustrating because I'm either showering, or I should be sleeping, or I should be doing some homework, or I just want to relax and watch some TV.

But instead I'm in the shower at 1am thinking and trying to get out as fast as I can so that I can write some things down.

I guess thats the hardest thing about being a writer, it isn't a mechanical thing, at least not to me. I can go in and do my job everyday, and if I do it half-assed, the cogs still move. The machine still functions. But you can't half-ass writing. I'm too much of a perfectionist to allow myself to write when I'm not gushing with thoughts. I have so much of my book in my head, I think thats why I feel so good about it. But what is written down is very scattered, it's all over the place and I have notes everywhere and parts of every chapter written and I take blogs I've written and try to incorporate them and...

It's just too much sometimes.

But I blog today about something else. I've been motivated lately. I had lost it for a long time. I didn't even realize it. Sure, I started this whole 'writing a book idea' about a month and a half ago, but look beyond that and there is nothing. I have had no desire to go to class, no desire to really push myself at work, no desire to do anything else but hang out and be young.

And admittedly, I deserve that. I've pushed myself too hard and past 19 that I forget to be 16, 17, and 18 on the way. Now I'm almost 20, and this new motivated me loves to see this 10-year plan ahead of me. But until this point I have really just been harping on what I've missed out on.

Well honestly, I need to get over that. I've done a lot, and my real problem is whether I am settling. Now who knows if I am settling into my current situation: nice place, nice job, buisiness degree at Sac State practically paid for, good friends, etc. I think it's everyone's goal to not be stuck in routine or in comfort. But we all end up that way at some point. My whole issue is that I don't want to be 20 and at that point. It's about happiness isn't it?

And so, while I've judged my dozens of friends who all want to 'make it' with acting or something related to it, I tried to think about my dreams. My dreams that make no sense and have no direction.

My dreams are like a big tree. They all stem from a large trunk. This large trunk is the means to achieve the dream. The money, the opportunity, the support system of family and friends, the passion. Then as we move up the tree, this trunk branches off. This is where it all gets confusing. We have the novelist branch, the business branch, the production branch, the teacher branch. And even deeper out on these branches are the fruit. The amount of books I want to write, the aspects of business I want to pursue, the forms of media I want to produce, the subjects I want to teach.

Then I realized that my tree may be more full and large than any of my friends I was judging. So I sat and wondered how theirs could seem so much stronger. When I finally realized the truth of the matter.

They may have their branches broken off, but they always grow new ones.
My tree is being attacked at the base, at it's strongest but weakest point. My dream is being chopped at the bit, cut at the trunk. And my tree is slowly falling down.

And what chomps at this bit? It's the lack of support from my parents, or the fact that my friends are growing their own trees and need to move to where they want to be, and the fact that the money I earn is used to keep the tree alive instead of growing it even more.

You can't get to the fruits of labor if you don't put the labor in. If you half-ass it, you keep your job security and thats about it. I wouldn't say I've half-assed my life, because I've worked damn hard... but I've settled. I've settled for keeping the tree from falling down when instead I should be growing it like my friends are trying to.

And granted, I like to really plan and analyze and calculate my risks. But it's about damn time I took one.

I guess it's like this. Many of the people I know all started the race with me. We all had the things we needed to get through the race. As children we had our family carry the things we needed and help us along the way. My family made me carry my things sooner than others... and yes I am falling behind in the race. But eventually I will push through and catch up because I will have gained the strength to carry myself through and I will move faster.

There really isn't a wrong way to run the race, I just realize now that mine is different. I can't measure my successes or my opportunities to others anymore. I need to start making them measure up to me.

I'm just full of metaphors tonight aren't I?

Funniest thing is, I didn't even end up blogging about what I was thinking about in the shower. I was going to call people to action and encourage people to believe in something, no matter what it is.
But, I'm done here for now. So I guess I have another blog coming soon.

Oh and I should probably use some of this random thought overflow on my book huh?
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Here's the thing...
02/25/08 at 11:51 AM by cassusriff
About hate. It's sick and it's tiresome. Avoiding the word isn't avoiding the action. Avoiding the word isn't avoiding the repercussions. Avoiding the word isn't avoiding the feeling.

About hate. It is too prevalent, so prevalent that it's hard to see anything else. It surrounds the world like a cloud. These clouds are thick. The sun has trouble shining through, too much trouble.

About hate. It doesn't escape me. Medication and therapy and faux happiness don't help. Friendship doesn't help. Family doesn't help. Even the false hope of romance doesn't help. It's all temporary. The only constant is the hate. The only constant is the constant disappointment.

About hate. It doesn't end.

About hate. It cancels out the notion of love.

About hate. It rides with me. It stays with me. It follows me.

That's the thing about hate...

it lives longer than anything else.
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Best of 2007
01/11/08 at 06:14 PM by cassusriff

Here are my favorite whatevers from the year that was 2007

Top Albums of 2007

20) Portugal the Man - Church Mouth
19) Iron and Wine - Shepherd's Dog
18) The Higher - On Fire
17) Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
16) Mayday Parade - A Lesson in Romantics
15) The Graduate - Anhedonia
14) Four Year Strong - Rise or Die Trying
13) Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
12) Anberlin - Cities
11) The Academy Is - Santi
10) Straylight Run - The Needles, The Space
09) Far Less - A Toast to Bad Taste
08) Kanye West - Graduation
07) Strata - ...Presents the End of the World
06) Minus The Bear - Planet of Ice
05) Eisley - Combinations
04) Radiohead - In Rainbows
03) Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace
02) Thrice - The Alchemy Index Part I & II Fire and Water
01) Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre

Honorable Mention

Just Off Turner - Long Walk Back
Jimmy Eat World - Chase This Light
Mae - Singularity
Norah Jones - Not Too Late
The Rocket Summer - Do You Feel?
Saves The Day - Under the Boards
The Spill Canvas - No Really, I'm Fine
The Starting Line - Direction
The Used - Lies For The Liars
Yellowcard - Paper Walls

Guilty Pleasures

Paramore - Riot!
All Time Low - So Wrong, It's Right
Fall Out Boy - Infinity On High
Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight
Kelly Clarkson - My December

Worst (Most Disappointing) Albums of 2007

05) Mae - Singularity
04) The Used - Lies For the Liars
03) Emery - I'm Only a Man
02) The Ataris - Welcome the Night
01) Cartel - Self-Titled

Best New Band of 2007

03) The Higher
02) Four Year Strong
01) The Graduate

Best Lyrics of 2007

05) Sam Beam (Iron and Wine)
04) Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)
03) Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)
02) Dustin Kensrue (Thrice)
01) Max Bemis (Say Anything)

Best Vocals of 2007

05) John and Michelle Nolan (Straylight Run)
04) Thom Yorke (Radiohead)
03) Stephen Christian (Anberlin)
02) Dustin Kenrue (Thrice)
01) The DuPree Sisters (Eisley)

Most Overrated Band

03) Sum 41
02) Angels and Airwaves
01) Paramore

Catchiest Songs

05) Fall Out Boy - I've Got All This Ringing In My Ears...
04) Four Year Strong - Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die
03) Cartel - No Subject (Come With Me)
02) All Time Low - Stay Awake
01) The Higher - Insurance?

Best B-Side

01) Brand New - (Fork and Knife)

Band of the Year

02) Thrice
01) Say Anything

Best Movies of 2007

10) 310 to Yuma
09) Superbad
08) The Simpsons Movie
07) Sweeny Todd
06) The Bourne Ultimatum
05) Transformers
04) American Gangster
03) Knocked Up
02) Gone Baby Gone
01) Juno

Best Book of 2007

01) I Am America and So Can You! - Steven Colbert

Best TV Shows of 2007

05) The Daily Show and The Colbert Report
04) Brothers and Sisters
03) The Office
02) Pushing Daisies
01) Scrubs

Most Anticipated Releases of 2008

05) Panic at the Disco
04) The Hush Sound
03) Jack's Mannequin
02) Brand New
01) Thrice - The Alchemy Index (Part 2)

Best Songs of 2007

20) Relient K - Deathbed
19) Iron and Wine - Boy With a Coin
18) The Higher - Insurance?
17) The Graduate - Sing
16) Four Year Strong - Heroes Get Remembered...
15) Mayday Parade - Jaime All Over
14) The Rocket Summer - So Much Love
13) Say Anything - That is Why
12) Strata - Love is Life
11) Straylight Run - Buttoned Down
10) Portugal The Man - Shade
09) The Starting Line - Something Left to Give
08) Anberlin - There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss
07) Bright Eyes - Middleman
06) Far-Less - Forever and a Day
05) Foo Fighters - Stranger Things Have Happened
04) Minus the Bear - Knights
03) Eisley - Taking Control
02) Thrice - The Whaler
01) Say Anything - Plea

All of the lists here were of my own opinion. Feel free to agree, disagree, or have no idea what I'm talking about. If anyone has any suggestions for more categories, let me know. I'm fresh out of ideas. Hope you enjoyed this list!
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