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The Remnants of Uncertainty...
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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