Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Worn Out

Half hour ticket
Thirty minutes
Typing fast I can
Now signed in
Wrong account
Twenty minutes
Settings change
Fixed link
Photos up
Ten minutes
One sentence
Two sentence
Three sentence
Log out


Gold Rush Gals & Gold Rush Greats
Promulgate & Profligate
This whole town is built on shit
American history, isn't it?


Tired monster man
Traveling where'er he can
Always shod, always dressed
How's he s'posed to feel his best
Endless Wander
E'ry morn feeling dumber
No output a real bummer
Can't stop and take off shoe
Can't rest and sleep 'til two
Endless Wander



I'm goin' man.


Lookin' for a bruisin'?

A shot fired in the night, I'm a streak of sound outside your window.

You couldn't catch me if you tried.




You chasin'?



I'm hip! I'm fly!

I swear that's not a

Monday, August 27, 2018

I know what I want to write about...

Writer's block
What a cock
My dumb pen
Don't wanna talk

Spread some ink
You little fink
'me no write good'
Is what I think

But here I am
Pen in hand
This little book
Word quicksand

Now verse four
I write some more
One more line
I'm out the door

Friday, August 24, 2018

Just wait until the New Library opens!

Tourist Time
Now Stampeding
After all that
Dim Sum Eating
Firetruck Fun
You notice how
They tell you tons?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Canopy Panoply
A beautiful view
So glad I'm sharing
This moment with you

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Most Influential Video Games: A Look Back

Recently I was asked to come up with a list of my top ten most personally influential video games. At first I thought, "Well that's easy. I've already got a list of my top ten all-time favorites." But then I slowed down for a second and thought about it. Being personally influential is different than being a favorite. And the more I thought about it, the two lists are pretty similar. After all, with games it tends to be one game in a series grabs your attention but a sequel down the road does everything better and really hits home. I also realized how well I remember who I shared my gaming experiences with, and the things that were going on in my life at the time.

Anyway, here we go.

1. Final Fantasy Legend (Game Boy)
This little gem for the Game Boy started my love affair with the Final Fantasy series. Funny, because it’s not technically part of the series but was renamed in the USA to improve marketing. But there was no Internet in 1990 so how would I know? It worked. As a 14 year old stranger to DeLand, Florida meeting new people, new to high school and getting in my own adventures, this was a pretty amazing side quest to real life.

2. Super Mario World (SNES)
The chase for 120 stars! It’s not my favorite Mario game - that honor goes to the almighty Super Mario World. But this beast revolutionized 3D platforming and made me dump way too many hours into my N64. I loved the gameplay and it still holds up, even if the polygon graphics don’t. And for better or worse this gave us “It’s a-me, Mario!”

3. Resident Evil (PlayStation)
I remember working at Domino’s Pizza listening to a coworker trying to describe this game. Something about fixed camera angles and shooting a huge monster with a rocket launcher on a helipad. When I finally got my hands on a copy it was totally unlike anything I’d played before. I love bad horror movies and this game has all the tropes, complete with shitty acting as the icing on the cake. The sequel is the best but Resident Evil is an absolute classic that started something huge.

4. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
Simon’s Quest is like the Flash Gordon of video games: awesome soundtrack, fun premise, painfully executed, and so many things wrong with it. Yet it holds a special place in my heart. For all its


annoyances, this game was still a big hit when I was in 7th grade. Before the Internet you had to know someone with a Nintendo Power subscription and have daily discussions between classes to figure out pretty much everything about this game. And I didn’t even have an NES so I had to be jealous that everyone else got to play this train wreck until I finally beat it a few years later.

5. Super Metroid (SNES)
I never played the original, so Metroid II on Game Boy was my intro to the series. But when Super Metroid hit the SNES...holy shizzleballs. I was totally blown away. Everything about this game is damn near perfect and it set a standard for platform adventure games that was almost impossible to match. Even today in my old age I can still cruise through this game like a pro, sequence breaking and wall jumping to minimize overall time. Kids today can have their fancy 3-D graphics, in-game tutorials and hand-holding gameplay. I’ll take Super Metroid any day of the week and twice on Samusday.

6. The Last of Us (PS3/PS4)
I finally broke down and bought a PS3 specifically to play this. It is without a doubt the most mature and intense story I’ve ever experienced in a game. It’s got top notch production value and proved to me that Naughty Dog is the best studio producing games today.

The Last of Us has a perfect balance of intense stealth gameplay blended seamlessly with a cinematic narrative that makes you feel like you’re living the story with Joel and Ellie. And the ending...well damn! It was even better the second time around on PS4 with a headset and that pants-shittingly amazing surround sound. What better way to make a the Pittsburgh hotel basement even more terrifying? I can’t wait to be emotionally broken all over again when the sequel comes out.

7. Mass Effect (X360)
When I was going back to college at UCF in Orlando I eventually decided to pick up an X360. I’m 99% sure it was just to play Mass Effect. Somehow I scrounged enough cash to pick up an X360 and a copy of this game at a Best Buy on Alafaya Trail, and drove back to my apartment to try something new.

Oh hell yes.

What I got was a Star Wars-esque story set in our own future universe with incredible story, cool alien races, and a universe crafted so well you really felt like part of it. Mass Effect 2 is my favorite because of the smaller scope (think Empire compared to A New Hope) but this game exploded on the scene and gave me something amazing. The biggest selling point is that Commander Shepard is your Shepard. The choices you make are unique to your playthrough and over the course of three games the entire experience feels like it’s tailored just for you.

8. The Legend of Zelda (NES)
When I was in 6th grade the NES hit the market and Atari, Mattel & Coleco were promptly shown the door. And then we got this instant classic called The Legend of Zelda. I never owned an NES so I had to head over to a friend’s house to watch him play. I’d act as copilot and try to point out where to bomb and which bushes to burn.

Zelda was unlike anything I’d seen up to that point. It had this killer map, a golden cartridge (shiny!), and was the first game I can remember playing that felt like an actual adventure. The maps were loaded with secrets! It had geographical regions and Hyrule felt like a real place. My buddy let me keep a save file going at his house, and after a while it became the first game of the new 8-bit era that I ever completed. One day in the not-too-distant future A Link to the Past on SNES eventually became my second favorite game of all time. But the original opened the door and captured my imagination.

9. X-Wing (PC)
Fuck. Yes.

My senior year in high school. I was at a friend’s house and he introduced me to this game on MS-DOS. I was immediately hooked. A flight sim game that lets you be a Rebel pilot in the Star Wars universe? Sign me up!

One of the things I’ve always loved about Star Wars is the side stories. Not the Jedi, but the lesser known heroes who did their part in the war. Especially pilots like Rogue Squadron. This is why I loved Rogue One so much. Back in the 90s Wedge Antilles was my third favorite character besides Han and Chewie. So when I found out there was a game that masqueraded as an Incom T-65B flight simulator? Fugheddaboutit.

I got my first PC sometime in 1995. And this was the first game I bought. Since Windows 95 was the New Kid on the Block, it even took me 5 days to figure out how to get this DOS based game to run on my system. And then I had to learn to save my pilot file to a floppy disk after each mission because this game had permadeath. But once it was rolling I was 100% ready to do my part for the Rebellion, and I became the unsung hero. No TIE Fighter or gunboat would escape on my watch.
10 years later Knights of the Old Republic became my favorite Star Wars game by making me feel like part of an exciting new story. But X-Wing was the first game that really captured the magic of a galaxy far, far away.

10. Final Fantasy IV
Story time.

I really, really wanted to include Final Fantasy VI at the end of this list. Screw it, I’ll talk about it a bit anyway since these games are two sides of the same coin and I’m making the rules here. But here’s the deal. While FF6 is my favorite game of all time, and I can talk about it ad nauseam the truth is Final Fantasy IV was more influential. It was called FFII as shown here since the in-between games weren’t released in the USA. Yeah, it’s confusing but I got over it. It helped once the Internet was around to explain these things after this series became mainstream when FF7 took the gaming world by storm.

I’d already played two Final Fantasy Legends on Game Boy, but totally missed Final Fantasy on NES since I didn’t actually own that console. One afternoon I was hanging out at a friend’s house watching him play Final Fantasy IV which he had borrowed from someone and I was immediately hooked. I asked him if I could re-borrow it since I had recently worked many hours at Winn-Dixie in DeLand, FL and saved my cash to acquire the One Console to Rule Them All: the SNES.

And this game absolutely blew my fucking mind.

I mean, look at the box art! It’s just a title! What the fuck even is 8 meg memory? I had no idea, but it had to be important if it’s on the box. And a 76-page strategy guide? This game had to be intense.

Final Fantasy IV was the first time I really discovered video games could be every bit as epic as movies like Star Wars. It had characters that developed over time who I actually cared about. Cecil and Rosa are right up there with Han and Leia in my book (see also: Locke and Celes). Kain is an absolute badass. And this is the first time the name Cid was introduced to my vocabulary. This was where I first started seeing references to Norse and Eastern mythology, and themes that would keep showing up as I kept playing Final Fantasy games. Like sacrifice and redemption, and the time-honored classic “we gotta save the world” theme. I even eventually learned about the Prose Edda all because of this game. And in 11th grade I took a trip to visit my dad & grandparents in Salinas, CA and had to bring my SNES and this cartridge (which wasn’t mine) with me just to keep playing. Still have no idea who it belonged to.

The next time a Final Fantasy showed up in America (FF6) in 1994 at the end of my senior year it pretty much consumed my free time for a while when I wasn’t studying music. It took the Final Fantasy formula and cranked it up to 11. The soundtrack to FF6 is the video game equivalent of Star Wars and Locke Cole became my all-time favorite video game hero. But if it hadn’t been for the classic Final Fantasy IV then I never would have had the love that I do for this incredible series.

It started when I picked up Final Fantasy Legend on Game Boy when I was 14. Today I'm 42 and still playing this series. And if you're not? Well that's like, your loss, man.

"What's the most important thing in life? To be free of obligations!"
-Setzer Gabbiani, FF6



Clomp, Clomp, Clomp
you can hear them
rounding corners
that heavy female step

Clomp Clomp Clomp
they announce one's
down the hall
that heavy female step

Is it learned from high heels?
Is it natural?
It's almost as annoying as
those who shuffle
that heavy female step


Are you charging? Are you not?
Are you draining while plugged in?
Tell the truth you little snot.
Else I'll throw you in the bin.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Last Will and Testament

I have a request / for when I do die
Build me a statue / twenty eight feet high
Maybe posed waving / a smile on my face
Definitely set in / conspicuous space
Doesn't much matter / standing or sitting
Though with a top hat / most likely fitting

Monday, August 13, 2018


(or: How I watched a girl go from the reading room to the cafe four times in fifteen minutes)

Turkey or Peacock?

Tinkerbell, sweet Tinkerbell
You've gone and put me in your spell
Come sit with me

An opened door, a little smile
Whisk me to your magic isle
Come sit with me

I've watched you walk to and fro
I beg you please do not go
Come sit with me

I know I'm just some odd stranger
Likely imbued with some male danger
I understand...

I promise I'm just a harmless flirt
I'll just compliment your olive skirt
Come sit with me

The Face on the Metro

There is, in fact, a library here
Black lines like paint
The Face into an asterisk

Recoil, then recognition
The Face was my own
A shudder - my own or not - and
the face turned to place.
Queen Street Station
Time to move on

Locked Out!

Empty seats watching
The locked out workers parade

Sunday, August 12, 2018

In Hiding

"With birds I'll share this lonely view."

Am I really lonely? It's a question I ask myself all the time.

As far back as I can remember I've never really had a problem making friends. Growing up as the fat kid you've gotta sink or swim, so to speak. I had to develop a personality and learn the fine art of wit and comedic timing, or else life was gonna suck. There's a surprising amount of joy that comes from making other people feel laugh and feel more relaxed just because you're there. I can get along with just about anyone, and people generally enjoy being around me. That's not in my head. Over the years I have been welcomed with open arms into many different social circles. But here I am, sitting home and listening to "Scar Tissue" by RHCP and that line about the lonely view always makes me think.

"With birds I'll share this lonely view." The image it conjures up is someone surrounded by life, but utterly alone.

Thing is, lonely is a state of mind. There's a big difference between being alone versus lonely. I'm alone all the time, but I choose to be alone whether or not I admit it. In a city of 1.5 million people it's pretty easy to walk out the door and run into folks if I choose to do so. I enjoy hanging out at bars sometimes to collect my thoughts and feel like I'm still part of a community, even if I'm not talking to someone. Sometimes I'll meet new people through a chance encounter and get in a really awesome conversation seemingly at random, and that's pretty exciting when it happens. It's like getting in a mini adventure you didn't see coming. And forcing myself to be social by going out alone has proven to be one hell of a character building exercise over the years.

There's a lot to be said for having the luxury to be alone whenever I want. Don't feel like talking to anyone today? No problem. I've got no roommates and can make the day free to do whatever the hell I feel like doing. I can play guitar and sing without judgment. Take an hour and create some art by drawing Zentangles. Drop 4 hours into playing a video game that I've already pumped 200 hours into over the years. Go for a walk around my local park and listen to some 90s rock. I know scores of people that have either been in a relationship or lived with roommates since their college years. And while I used to think being alone is a downer, truth is many other people would love to be able to have the kind of freedom to just be by themselves at any given moment without any social penalties.


I always have this phantom cloud following me around. As if there's something wrong with me because I'm alone. No roommates, no girlfriend, wife or kids. As if there's a social council that condemns me for being a 42 year old guy no attachments. As if I'm a lesser person because I never found another person to be my "better half."

Fuck that. I am my own better half.

 I've overcome what I consider to be some pretty serious shit to get where I am today, and from my point of view I'm doing damn well. There's always things I'd like to improve of course, but sometimes it's nice to step back to appreciate all the things I've accomplished. Even though at the time it didn't seem I was making progress towards goals. Because when you're on a really long road taking one step doesn't seem like you're actually getting anywhere.

So, lonely? Adding other people to your life doesn't fix lonely. You fix lonely by yourself. You fix it by realizing you're the only person who has the power to dictate your state of mind. It's been very hard over the years to learn this and separate the concept of being alone and being lonely. And it's constantly a learning process. I walk a fine line between deciding if all this is really true, or if I'm just buying into my own bullshit. But I think the latter is just when I don't rise above my own negativity.

I just changed the song to "In Hiding" by Pearl Jam. Time to be positive and enjoy the rest of the day. Free to do whatever I want. Because I'm not lonely, just alone today. This moment is mine to enjoy. And it's pretty liberating to be able to realize that.

"It's funny when things change so much,
It's all a state of mind."


Up and up
I aspire
I want to climb
Ever higher

Top the building
Top the tree
I want to climb
All I see

Friday, August 10, 2018

Grump Burger & Machiato

Grump Burger
Steely Stare
Any Seat?
No, you sit there.
No more breakfast (despite the sign)
Four interactions (don't dare whine)
Burnt Burger
Frozen Fries
Empty Seats
I know why.
I should have gone to McDonald's


Oh, Machiato!
Smiles abound.
The game is on.
Pointing, pointing
[Pick a size!]
[For here?]
[Three dollars.]
I already have.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


One's a little dancer
Dancing in her seat
The other likes to squirm
On and off his feet
Both were much excited
Pizza can't be beat
I was most delighted
Dinner theater treat!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

omelette du fromage

I'm sure this'd be a pretty poem
if it were in French.
As I am a monoglot
it has a certain stench.
Ears open I have seen Quebec
my tongue is not so brave.
My mouth's been closed in Montreal
Lest my accent end up grave.*
But cities are cities and my feet still work
a smile can do a lot.
So I've wandered and pointed and nodded my head
Monsieur Polite Monoglot

*GET IT!? Also, alt: "lest my accent misbehave"

Short Order Wizards

"A Smoocher, a Squeezer, and three Firm Handshakes, got it."

I put the ticket in the clip and got down to business. The order was an easy one that I could do without thinking about it, but today's task was to train the new guy. I shot him a glance.

"Translation." I challenged. He paused for just a second.

"Love potion, weight-loss potion, and three confidence boosting potions, right?"

"You got it. I'll pull the oil and the ether, you get that water up to temp and pull the dry stuff." I grabbed two thick-as-thumb vials off the rack and turned to face a wall of spigots. I flicked open the olive oil tap with my left thumb and the ether tap with my right. The glass containers squeezed between my ring fingers and my palms began to fill. At the halfway point I flicked both spigots off. A drop of red food coloring in the oil and I was ready for the powders. I turned to my left and encountered an unanticipated obstacle.

The cramped space filled with crashes and curses. Broken glass, boiling water and a great melange of powders occupied the floor. After a moment of panic, our eyes locked and we both scrambled out the door, gasping for fresh air.


Sunday, August 5, 2018


Am I starting here, Halifax?
Did I start before?
Have I yet to start, Halifax?
As I've not explored.
I've just barely met you, Halifax.
Not walk'd 'round at all.
Now I've got to leave you, Halifax.
On to Montreal.