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The Remnants of Uncertainty...
2009: A Year in Review
12/31/09 at 08:22 PM by cassusriff
I know I already wrote about what I expect from 2010, but that was in a bit of a different vein.

I remember last year around this time I was sitting at work writing a blog similar to this. And 10 years ago there was no such thing as a blog. Things have changed, of course, and this year was no different. Last year at this time I felt like I had just escaped a burning building, eager for a year in which all my hard work paid off and things finally became a bit stable. I had hoped for a year of dividend.

Did that happen? I'd say so. After some soul searching I finally ended up at the college I will graduate from, I settled into a place I know I could live in for a long time, I strengthened my friendships, my relationship with my family, and with a girl that I feel is perfect for me.

The bumps along the way weren't absent though, as I struggled personally with accepting happiness and stability, feeling as if my own life always had to be in turmoil to be function. I held onto grudges and perceptions of things that simply weren't that way anymore. I held onto anger I didn't need to. I made things harder for myself. I fought to get somewhere only to underachieve in my eyes. In the midst of all the good going on in my life, I lost myself.

This all came to a heed weeks ago, when these good things in my life started to slip away. Instead of doing what I did in the past, however, I finally took some action and redirected myself. I fought the urge to be negative and hopeless like I used to be, I dug in deep and found the person I truly am, someone who rises above and makes good out of anything.

I wrote last year that for the first time I felt like I had things together, just a little bit.

I didn't.

Can I say that now? Well, I actually have some sure things coming my way. A degree, a new career, a new way of living. The only thing I need to do? Execute. I said this before, but 2010 is the year of execution. As this new decade begins, I realize that it is probably the most important in my life. My age will span from 21-31 during this decade. I can't even begin to imagine what will happen to me during these next 10 years. In the year 2000, I was 12 years old. I had no idea I was about to meet all the people I did, do the things I did, experience the things I experienced. And these next 10 years will be even more important.

So to recall:

2006 - year of change.
2007 - yaer of fallout.
2008 - year of rebuilding.
2009 - year of dividend.
2010 - year of execution.

It's all in front of me now. I just have to do it. I have to make it all happen now. I got the break I needed. I got the slap in the face I needed. No more excuses. No more negativity. Just execution and happiness.

That's what will lead me into the most important decade of my life.

Happy New Year everyone!

P.S. Entertainment of the year will go up sometime tomorrow, I have been spending time with family and friends and haven't gotten around to it. :)
Tags: 2009, 2010, restrospection, year, personal
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2010: Execution
12/26/09 at 02:24 AM by cassusriff
I have some tough decisions to make for myself.

It seems to me that I am on the right track at the very least. Things about me that have plagued my relationships and my view of myself seem to be disappearing.

Anyone who knows me would tell you that I'm self-aware. Self-reparing? That's another story. But the progress is being made. I decided to try therapy for the third time in the last two years. I'm going to focus on anger management. I have other issues like sleeping at bad times, anxiety, possible OCD, and insecurity, but anger has been the biggest and most damaging of my problems. Anger is what has led me to perform poorly in school, alienate my friends, and cause a (hopefully) temporary break with my girlfriend. I can admit that my childhood wasn't easy. I can also admit that the last few years haven't been a walk in the park. But I can't continue to dwell on these experiences and put them all on my shoulder. Because a chip on the shoulder is one thing, but the whole world is another.

Now back to me being self-aware. I am good at it, but not until I've reacted angrily and caused more damage than I ever intended. I need to be able to accept I've done something wrong without beating myself up or finding fault with someone else when it isn't there. If I forget to do something someone asked me to do, it isn't because I have a shitty dad or because that person wasn't clear enough with me. It's because I got my priorities mixed up. Does that mean I'm a completely useless person? No. Does that mean that I messed up on this specific thing. Yes. I need to clarify that in everything I do. Separate the big things from the little things.

I've been much better about this in the last few weeks. But I've been here before and I won't be fooled by my temporary progress. I'm very weary about therapy again but it is something I need. I'm not going to let them say I'm a good kid who is just stressed or accept any pills. They need to get deeper than that. They need to give me exercises and tips on how to control myself when I get these irrational thoughts. I'm paying for this, I want results. I'm sick of living my life like this and sick of pushing people away. I'm sick of having a short fuse. My career is about to begin and I need to be the person I was throughout the holidays. Fun, happy, exciting, smart, well-mannered, outgoing, and loving.

I've seen the person I can be when I'm clicking in the right way. I even find right now, that sitting here with all this Christmas money, I don't feel the urge to buy a bunch of new toys. I want to spend the money wisely, on practical things that I need. And as smart as I have been with money, I have always been a sucker for frivolous spending. But not right now. I'm picky. Maybe I'm just getting more into my major and starting to see the value of opportunity costs and lowering loss margins. Maybe I'm not relying on retail therapy to make myself happy. Because I feel happy, despite some things that are frustrating and confusing and sad right now. I feel content and confident about where I'm heading and what I'm doing right now.

This isn't where I need to be, I know that. Feeling good about myself, not being angry, and spending wisely for a few weeks during break when I've had a lot of time to relax is progress, but it isn't enough. I want to see how I respond to some actual good therapy for once, while I'm interning and taking 5 classes. I want to see what happens when something doesn't go to plan. Will I falter? Well, I don't want to anymore.

2010 is the year of execution. All the pieces are set, so I just need to go and do what I need to do. Nothing else to it. It's simple. I've been through breakdown and rebuilding and reaping some of the benefits of hard work, but now I need to execute and get results. I don't want anything less than that. So I can continue to wax poetic here, but the truth is...

I just have to go and get it. Now.
Tags: life, 2010, new decade, execution, anxiety, anger, problems, personal
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20x30 (One Year Later)
05/13/09 at 03:35 AM by cassusriff
So last year I put together a list of 20 things I wanted to do before I turned 30. Well, here I am one year later and let's see if I've made any progress.

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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.

Haven't gone to ANY shows this year. Though the plan is to head to the east coast for Bamboozle next year.

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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.

Nope, haven't done this either. Though, ComicCon is still a possibility.

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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.

Training for this currently, hope to do one by the end of this year.

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

This will be the natural progression after my first marathon.

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16. Go Bungie Jumping: I've been skydiving, this is naturally something I should try right?
Not yet. :(

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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.

Well, I didn't do any rock climbing last summer... but I actually live with three of my friends now so maybe that changes this summer?

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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?

I really want to do this.

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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.

Do I think I'm immortal?

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

I don't expect to do this one until my late 20's.

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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!

I was single back then, my desire to go to Mardi Gras is not as great as it was. Though it would still be a fun trip.

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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.

Well, I'm 21 now so this is possible. Will have to wait until we all have a bit more money. I do think this will happen sooner than later though.

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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.

Again, not feeling this as much now. But we will see.

Alright, now for the big goals.

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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.

Didn't end up at UCSD, but I still see myself heading to Europe either this summer (for a short stay) or next summer probably for a month.

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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.

What sucks is that a person's charity is limited by their money and time. I have neither right now. I've been trying to organize charity events but this is something I want to do when I'm more stable.

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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.

This is THE NUMBER ONE GOAL right now. I am working on cramming two years of classes into the next year so I can get this damn degree. 2010 or bust is my goal.

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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.

This will definitely happen before I am 30. Count it.

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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.

This is all relative. I just got promoted at Blue Shield. I will likely take the year off to finish my degree, but I wouldn't be against coming back as long as I came back as an analyst or some higher position like that. I'm done with process work and I am getting my degree so I can start to build my business/analytical/financial career.

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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?

Ideas are constantly floating in my head. I do not possess any capital to begin this, but I do have contacts that I know will be useful in the future. In this economy now though? Not likely. This is years down the road.

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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.

I got closer to finishing a story this year than I ever have. The main thing is that I need to sit and take some time to really make it good. My writing needs some work and I need a story that I can really make into something great. But this dream is nowhere near dead and will get done.

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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.

I like how profound I was. What is funny is how one person changes your perspective. I am in a relationship now and of course I always think optimistically, so now I see myself getting married before 30 and having kids after.

My priorities have definitely been adjusted a bit in the last year. My top 8 goals were pretty right on. I find that the ones before that are interchangeable. Also, I do not fret that I haven't really completed any of the goals in the last year. I've set the framework for many of them and I can see 2 or 3 being done by next year.

So what have I done in the last year?

Amazing trips to LA, finding the girl I've always wanted, moving into a place that actually feels like home, getting a promotion, 49ers game, Giants game, drinking with my friends, fall outs with family and reconciliations, growing up, maturing, enjoying the holidays again, making great friends, losing other friends, listening to great music and watching great shows, discovering new likes and dislikes, life-changing experiences.

So, list or not... it's been a great year.

Oh and btw, I'm 21 now... so uh, I can imagine things are gonna get better.
Tags: 20x30, 21, goals, life, bucket list, year, personal
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Applications!
01/06/09 at 03:24 AM by cassusriff
So many applications!

University of Oregon Fall 09

University of Washington Fall 09

University of Oregon General Application Scholarship.

University of Washington General Application Scholarship.

Navy Degree Completion Program Application.

Navy Officer Program Application.

Blue Shield Tuition Reimbursement Form.


I'm having fun with it though. Hopefully all this stuff falls into place and I can go to school this fall knowing I have a job in two years and not having to work full time. My question for anyone reading this is... Oregon or Washington? Eugene or Seattle? Small Town or Big City?

Or do I stay in CA and go to San Diego or LA (blah)?

2009 is a big year for me.
Tags: 2009, school, navy, choices, applications, work
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Looking Back On Today...
12/31/08 at 12:06 PM by cassusriff
So I'm at work on New Year's Eve. Just like last year. Something is different though. At this point last year I was a wreck. I had lost many things that were dear to me.

I was less than a month away from moving out. I had just ended a three-year relationship. I had just lost a person who was very integral in my growth as a person. My plans had failed. My expectations had fallen. I was alone. I was anxious and downtrodden.

I was pathetic.

So I started writing again. Self-reflective stories and blogs. I revived one of my greatest passions after inexplicably ignoring it for a few years.

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

2006 was my year of change. I graduated high school, moved to Arizona, met new people and did new things. I was a man... or so I thought.

2007 everything fell apart. I truly became a man that year, not because I became self-sufficient or anything, but because I paid for my mistakes. Because I finally had to own up to my actions. Once I had returned from Arizona, I had found that everything I left behind was weaker than before. My support system was falling.

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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.

Then it all fell apart. The last thing I had to hold onto, which sadly was my faulty three-year relationship, finally gave way.

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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.

I think that explains why I had a predetermined hatred toward the holidays.

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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.

It was at that point that I realized how far I had fallen. I had no desire, I had lost myself. I thought I was bipolar. I was all over the place, desperate and fake and outside of who I really was.

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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

This is where I began to turn it around. But even then when I thought I had, everything fell apart once more. I moved to San Diego and was ready to go to a 4-year college again. I was on track to get my Bachelor's degree in 2010 and I was stoked.

But uhh... money?

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I woke up this morning expecting to work another day at my new job in San Diego, then look at a few places where I could rent a room.

I ended the day back in my apartment in Folsom (near Sacramento).

So at this point I'm sitting in my car in the parking lot. I have negative money, a maxed out credit card, no job, no place, no way to attend school. I start thinking about the month I've had and how it was so great and how it taught me so much about myself. I persevered as long as I could... to the very bitter end. I literally tried and tried until I was absolutely knocked out. And the funny part is that I almost made it. I would have had a rough few weeks, but had that job worked out I would have made it.

But, another one of those 'almost' moments in my life wasn't enough for me at that time.

There it was. In retrospect, it was the best thing that could've happened to me. But at that time...

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I guess I'm just sick of the failure. I'm sick of the cards never falling right. I'm sick of the disappointment. I can only stay honest and motivated and pure for so long.

And something about this place makes me feel so alone.

So I sucked it up and moved back to my apartment in Folsom. I signed up for classes at the same damn Community College. I went to work for the same damn company in a different department. But in the midst of all that I found some time to myself. I cut back on the social life and took time to explore my creative outlets. I wrote poetry, read, watched movies, just took time to myself while I waited for my new job to begin and for school to start.

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Have I lost the motivation and drive I used to have? Absolutely not. Have I chilled out and slowed down a bit? Yes.

I've gotten to the point where I will be driving and a smile will come to my face naturally. That is unbelievable. I don't have a girlfriend, I don't hang out with people every day, I'm not out saving the world or anything... but I'm still happy.

For the first time in my life, I'm just happy with who I am and what I do. I don't worry about what people are thinking about me or if they are going to call me back, I just let it roll and enjoy whatever is going on.

Now this is bliss.

I think this is where things began to turn for me. I regained a lot of confidence. I went into the semester and my new job with a whole new outlook, completely recharged. I had my goals set once again and I was finally ready to date again, but only if the right girl came along.

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During my actual summer vacation, I took time to myself to write, watch movies, relax, exercise, play video games, read, and whatever else I felt like. But I also partied, visited many parts of CA, laughed, done crazy things, and just had an amazing time with my best friends.

I topped all of that off with an amazing last week of summer full of good times, good laughs, and good friends.

So I get home tonight and I feel motivated again. I feel like this year isn't going to be about heartache or depression or disappointment, but instead strength, happiness, and success.

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I realize who I am. And I love who I am. This is somewhere I haven't been often. So now I find that I have a lot to do. I'm not scared and I'm not overwhelmed. But you are damn right if you think I'm being a perfectionist about what I want to do with the next year of my life. I feel a tiny bit unsettled right now because I have a lot I want to do.

See how motivated I got? Isn't that great? A couple more bumps along the way though. My roommate situation didn't go as smoothly as I thought, but eventually it settled. I thought I found the right girl for me, but it turns out it was the NEXT girl that was the one who was right for me.

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Life is just moving too fast. For the first time I'm feeling a bit resistant to growing up. I'm scared because my actions mean more and more everyday. This isn't high school anymore, I can't just say something stupid and get away with it. People rely on me. People listen to me and care about what I have to say. People are affected by my actions. It's all a bit daunting.

But that all got figured out (you can read in my story The Defining Phrase) and I had a few more cool moments.

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Just voted for the first time. Feels great. I won't tell you who and how I voted, but I'm pretty sure I picked the right guy ;)

Then everything came together all at once... it was a beautiful moment.

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I've been searching a long time for you clarity...

It's nice to have you.


So I'm sitting here at work, happier than I've been in years. I have amazing friends who are loyal and fun. I have a girl who fits me perfectly, who is everything I've always wanted. I have a good family and have gotten closer to all of them. I have a good job, two degrees on the way, a guaranteed transfer to UCSD or UCLA, a promising situation with my career and life in general, and a nice place with nice stuff.

I can't complain.

2006 - year of change.
2007 - yaer of fallout.
2008 - year of rebuilding.
2009 - year of dividend.

I know there will be more bumps in the road, but for the first time in 3 years I feel like I have it together, at least a little bit. Instead of last year when I was desperate for a new year just so I could get a fresh start. This time I'm just ready, waiting, willing to keep going. Happy about the direction I'm heading.

Bring on 2009. Happy New Year!
Tags: nostalgia, personal, 2008, year, blog, life
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Change
11/05/08 at 03:38 AM by cassusriff
Yea. Change. It's here. Whether you like it or not.

So, the election wasn't as close as many may have thought it would be, but everything else lived up to the billing. I have so many conflicting thoughts about everything that went down last night. So I'm going to try to get them all out in the most coherent way possible.

First, I am typically pretty quiet about my beliefs. I used to be a bit more vocal and passionate, but as time has gone on I've learned that I like to sit back and watch the dogs fight and take pointers from both sides. I'm always a dog ready to fight, but who would rather watch and quietly keep to myself. I feel very strongly about many of the propositions that California was voting on. I did not, however, feel it necessary to hold a sign on a street corner or sport a bumper sticker on my car. This is not how I influence, this is not the message I want to spread. The message I attempt to spread every day is equality, the strength of individuality, the power of contrast and personal opinion. I do not like to impart my beliefs on others because I don't want to influence them one way or the other. I like people to think for themselves and I like to think for myself, so if I ever inquire about one's beliefs, it is simply out of curiosity. I am MORE interested in why you believe what you do rather than what you believe.

But this election season had a different air to it. Something about it made the process seem somewhat fresh. Everyone had a stake in this election one way or another. Debates were raging across the internet and on the street. Harsh words were exchanged, frustration was at an all time high. I admittedly got caught up in the fracas more than a few times, which I am not proud of. I tried my hardest to maintain objectivity and respect, but when disrespect is thrown you can only dodge so much.

So I awoke on election day determined not to discuss anything, just to vote and quietly use my voice. As the day went on, the election results were polarizing. Barack Obama took the White House and almost everyone was extremely happy or extremely sad/angry.

My initial, very personal reaction was elation. After all, it is not often that a person or team (I'm looking at you, 49ers!) I follow and support actually gets to the promised land. I've been an Obama supporter since 2006, even calling the Obama vs. McCain election when Clinton was the front-runner for the Democrats. I soon after discovered Joe Biden, whom I also have a great affinity for. I studied both and liked what I saw. I got my own personal dream ticket when the two joined up. Even on the Republican side, McCain was my favorite of the potential nominees, though he noticeably became influenced by the party as the campaign went on. His concession speech was the McCain I remember respecting greatly. The McCain I would've loved to see more on the campaign trail. So, my dream ticket won tonight and instead of having my personal celebration and excitement for this, I immediately grew concerned for the disenchanted citizens of my country.

Call me crazy, but I care about the state of EVERYONE in my country. I'm not content with just half of us supporting our new president. I became very angered at the negativity and harsh words thrown around after Obama's win was secure.

I saw so many conflicting things yesterday. I don't know if I saw more positive or negative, but I saw a lot of both. I saw a country that, at least for a day, believed in the political process again. A country that cared deeply about this election and the future of our country. I saw many people who voted McCain voice support for Obama. I saw people preaching unity and togetherness. I saw hope.

Then I saw anger. I saw words of absolute hate. I saw people wanting to flee our great and beautiful country because of a simple act of democracy. I saw insults and unwarranted anger and overpassioned responses. I don't like this side of my country.

We aren't supposed to be quitters. We are a united country that always strives for a perfect union. It doesn't matter if such a lofty goal is attainable, the point is that we are supposed to unite behind our fellow men and women, our leaders, and ourselves. No matter if your vote went to the man, woman. or the proposition that won or lost, your vote was your voice. Democracy is a beautiful thing until someone loses, but thats the point. But we cannot look at anything as a loss, we need to look at this as a new chance for our country to mend itself and come together.

Because our views may be different, but our issues are all too similar. We all worry about the economy, about the war, about the safety and future of our children, about our freedoms, and about our lives. We all have different ideas on how to fix these problems, but at some point we need to just try one idea. And we all need to come together on this, despite our differences.

So yes, my "guy" won. Yes, I saw an amazing voter turnout, especially amongst my generation. Yes, I saw passion and belief and pride again. But I saw too many bad things as well... and I hope we move more toward the good.

Because the future of our country depends on the attitude, the ethics, the support, and the unity of our citizens.
Tags: politics, election, 2008, president, ca, voting, people, attitude, change
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Music I Need (Revisited)
10/03/08 at 03:56 AM by cassusriff
First thing's first... My Razia's Shadow Preview will be up soon! I'm excited!

About a month ago I blogged about all the albums I still need to or can't wait to get this year. I want to have a really large catalog to choose from when I start making my EOTY lists. I've now updated the list to include albums I want that come out in October. Now, I haven't been doing great financially so I haven't been able to buy too many albums. This list should shrink in the coming weeks.

Most recent purchases:
Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger
Anberlin - New Surrender
House of Heroes - The End is Not the End
Gym Class Heroes - The Quilt

Albums I Want:
Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical
Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Not Animal
Senses Fail - Life is Not a Waiting Room
Funeral For A Friend - Memory and Humanity
Keane - Perfect Symmetry
Emery - When Broken Hearts Prevail
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
The Living End - White Noise
Person L - Initial
Anthony Green - Avalon
The Honorary Title - Scream and Light Up the Sky
Underoath - Lost in the Sound of Separation
Jonzetta - Cruel to Be Young
Portugal. The Man - Censored Colors
Punchline - Just Say Yes
Straylight Run - Un Mas Dos
House of Heroes - The End is Not The End
The Morning Light - S/T
Bayside - Shudder
Joshua Radin - Simple Times
Copeland - You Are My Sunshine
Astronautalis - Pomegranate
Tiger Lou - Partial Print
Quietdrive - Deliverance
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
Snowpatrol - A Hundred Million Suns
Facing New York - Get Hot

Bands I Want to Check Out:
Jet Lag Gemini
Runner Runner
Almost Gold
Set Your Goals
My Favorite Highway
Stages and Stereos

Any bands you guys think I would like, please comment or let me know some other way. I'm open to many types of music, but you can guess what I generally like by the bands listed above.
Tags: music, albums, 2008, money, recommendations, wants
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Music I Need
09/11/08 at 01:23 AM by cassusriff
So I blogged a bit ago about how there is too much music that I want, well I'm going to prove it to you. I buy all of my music, so I'm making this list so that I can hopefully find enough money to get these albums this year. These are albums I want that have already come out or will be coming out soon. If you have any recommendations to add to the list, I'm more than open to hearing them! Here is the list of albums first in no particular order:

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
The Living End - White Noise
Person L - Initial
Anthony Green - Avalon
The Honorary Title - Scream and Light Up the Sky
Underoath - Lost in the Sound of Separation
Gym Class Heroes - The Quilt
Jonzetta - Cruel to Be Young
Portugal. The Man - Censored Colors
Punchline - Just Say Yes
Straylight Run - Un Mas Dos
House of Heroes - The End is Not The End
The Morning Light - S/T
Anberlin - New Surrender
Bayside - Shudder
Jacks Mannequin - The Glass Passenger (Pre-ordered)
Joshua Radin - Simple Times
Copeland - You Are My Sunshine
Astronautalis - Pomegranate
Tiger Lou - Partial Print
Quietdrive - Deliverance
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
Now a few bands that I just want to check out at some point:

Jet Lag Gemini
Runner Runner
Almost Gold
Set Your Goals
My Favorite Highway
Stages and Stereos

Like I said, any bands you guys think I would like, please comment or let me know some other way. I'm open to many types of music, but you can guess what I generally like by the bands listed above.

Donate to the American Heart Association for my Heart Walk.

And vote for my stories "Get Lucky" and "I just play with them!" EVERY DAY so I can win this contest and win $1000!
Tags: music, recs, recommendations, list, albums, need to buy, 2008, releases
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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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