Archive for the Drum Roll Category

40 and Confused By Cats (or just not good at “adulting..”)

Posted in adopting a new pet., death of a pet, Drum Roll, Life as a forty-something., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , on 02/09/2020 by Angel D. Vargas

I turned 40 last September. I had a good birthday, thanks to my new wife, Kaitlin.

Some will know this is big news for me. For the rest of you, this blog has been inactive for two years. I no longer know how to change the images on here. I’ll learn.. eventually.

People look at me and they see a man who is forty and doesn’t look it.

People spy me walking down the street and they probably see a man who does what he has to. But they don’t stop to ask me why. The rub of it all is I have this “fuck off aura,” as one of my college friends once put it. Let’s face it. I’d never let them ask anyway.

I lie to my wife every time I tell her I don’t want to talk about work. She rehearses for her dance performances, sometimes late into the evening. By the time she gets home, I’ve kicked multiple dead horses, burned an astounding number of bridges, and asked myself the one question I think every man asks himself at some point in life.

Whatever happened to my dreams?

I never come up with a real answer. Sometimes, when I can’t stand the thought of people or work or my own creative ennui, I have a beer to try to forget.

Inevitably, I remember that I’m forty. Instead of enjoying a beer buzz, I’ll fall asleep on the blue easy chair in my living room. My problems don’t go away. Stout beers make me barf now. They didn’t used to. Ugh.

I’d say, “fuck forty,” but the anger isn’t worth the energy anymore.

By the time my wife gets home during those late nights, all I want to do is go to sleep. How sad.

This is the woman who convinced me to bring a cat into our home. Twice. I wasn’t ready for a cat either time.

The first cat, Chloe lived with us for six years. She grew on me, and I guess I gave her a reason to trust me over time.

“Six years wasn’t really enough time for her to be with us,” my wife and I often say to each other past the lumps in our throats.

I wonder what Chloe would have to say to that?

The second cat is named Zara. Or “Zara Rey Hines-Vargas” according to my wife and fellow Star Wars fan. This cat is growing on me too. Or is that the latest welt on my arm from one of Zara’s random tantrums?

That’s one difference between sweet Chloe and salty Zara. That, and one has never been de-clawed. Guess which one?




Posted in Drum Roll, Please...., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/19/2017 by Angel D. Vargas

So. What happens tomorrow?

Whether or not you can accept that the Forty Fifth President of the United States is none other than Donald Trump, truth is, he’s set to be inaugurated tomorrow in what is sure to be both a momentous and contentious event in U.S. History.

If you’re having a hard time with this fact, that’s okay. I’m having a miserable time grappling with it myself. I fought with myself and my poor memory for years old passwords just to regain access to a blog I’ve not written in for more than a year in order to express that.

Than again, maybe that’s not good enough for some people. I’ve heard it all before. “If you really believed, you’d be out there in Washington for the Million Women’s march,” or I’ve heard “well then, you should have put your vote toward Bernie like all the other cool kids.” The best one I’ve heard yet is “man, our votes never counted anyway, fuck all this happy horse shit. Life goes on, bruh. Life goes on.”

Yes, life goes on, and so often, the best lies we’re told are rooted deeply in the truth. All of the things I mentioned hearing from people in the last paragraph are lies. But they are pretty good lies when you think about it. The power of hindsight lets us all suddenly don our wizard’s hats and wax like Albus fucking Dumbledore about our country’s future. But the reality of it all is that every last one of us is scared of losing something deeply important to us in the coming four years. LGBT rights, women’s reproductive rights, access to healthcare, racial equality, and so many other things seem to be up for grabs in this brave new world of uncertainty.

I once heard some advice from a respected writing mentor, and it’s something that I still keep in mind even when I’m blogging. “Your writing works best when you write what you know.” When I heard that bit of wisdom, I didn’t like it, especially as I was struggling to become a legitimate fiction writer. I still read and write fiction, but nobody can relate to a good piece of writing, fiction or otherwise, if they can’t find something that reminds them of their own lives and experiences. At least, that’s how I’ve experienced success in my own writing.

Funny thing about me is that I only know what I see, hear, and feel.

On January nineteenth, 2017, the night before Donald Trump’s inauguration, here is what I have come to know.

People are angry.

I know that because I can feel the tension in the air when I walk past the Apollo Theater in Harlem to get to work in the morning. I hear it in the words of the young black man who accuses me of not shaking his hand because someone who looks like me would “never shake the hand of a black man in a million fucking years.” I see it in the looks of disgust on other people’s faces when I go outside with my girlfriend dressed to kill, and people give us accusing glares. I know what they’re thinking because they’ve shouted it in my face, or whispered it in not too quiet voices to their friends. “He voted for Trump because he’s white.” or “Look at the handsome white man who don’t give a fuck about the black man.”

Would you prefer it I went out and protested? Can I stand next to a crowd of black people and proclaim that “black lives matter?” Because I know they do. I’ve always believed that, even if you can’t see that unless I pull out a knife like a “typical Puerto Rican,” or curse you out in the Spanish you didn’t think I could rattle off with such a Caribbean flair. Only an idiot would judge a book by its cover, but I beg your pardon if I want to dress a certain way, or walk down the street with my head held high because I finally like who the hell I am. Do you know what a struggle it has been for me to even get to that point in my life? Oh yeah, I forgot. You really don’t want to know that, do you?

You’d rather be right than be happy.

But let me share what else I’ve discovered in my own quest for the truth. I’ve been to at least one community meeting that begged the question of “what next?” I’ve signed numerous petitions, written letters to government officials, and plotted out what to do if I witness sexual or racial intimidation or violence on the street. But none of these things are going to change the fact that the Donald is taking office tomorrow. I made my voice heard in my own way. I have two weapons available to me in this fight now. My fists and my words. I can be lethal with both. Unfortunately, it may come to the point in this country where I can be arrested for using either one.

That sound okay to you? It doesn’t sound okay to me.

Here’s something else that doesn’t sound okay to me. Nuclear war.

You can pound the streets demanding rights for every American, legal or not, and none of that will matter when you see a mushroom cloud in the distance, and you begin to feel the heat as a great wall of super radiated air rushes toward you and you begin to shit your pants.

Are we okay with that? Has anyone else been thinking about this, dreaming about it and waking up in a cold sweat? Well I have. So don’t come to me with your judgmental bullshit because of the way I look or dress. I don’t give a damn about Donald Trump, but now I’m forced to hope that he changes his tune rather quickly when it comes to foreign policy because I don’t want to have a nuclear bacon sandwich for breakfast.

And before you ask, I loathe the idea of protesting. I’ve hated it since college, and I went to a liberal arts college quite known for protests. But that’s just not me. I don’t want to pound the pavement and shout until my voice is hoarse. I don’t want to get arrested either. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that my father is a retired law enforcement officer and I already know too much about that side of things.

And who am I kidding? I may not be a pacifist, but I’m fucking scared. I’ve heard enough rumors and seen enough evidence of the tension building in my own city that I can believe that things are about to go from bad to worse. The return of the subtle racist is already underway. I’m not about to ask my gay friends to get back in the closet to protect themselves, and you’re never going to get me to believe that the Donald “didn’t mean that shit” he said about Hispanics coming to this country and bringing their problems, or “not being the best their countries had to offer.” I bet that racist douchenozzle wouldn’t even know I was Hispanic until he read my name on a resume somewhere, or mistook me for a member of the press.

But there’s so much more to this man’s presence that affects me on an everyday level that I can’t even escape when I go home after work. Every night, my girlfriend and I end up talking about what might happen when Trump takes office. And every single time we speak of him, it’s in these harsh and bitter tones, like we created a doomed experiment in a science lab and set him loose upon the world like a fucking Frankenstein. Too bad we all know that Frankenstein hates fire.

Donald Trump can’t even handle a twitter account. How strong could he really be?

That’s just what I know. If I wanted to write another book, I could start writing about the shit I don’t know. But I’m already writing a book of fiction that I’m pretending has nothing to do with what I truly know. Look for it one day. You’ll know it when you read it, I think. And even if you don’t, I hope you like it.

Young Frankenstein – Puttin’ on the Ritz



Chapter 21 – Payday!

Posted in Drum Roll, Short Stories (Some Wicked Little Beats), The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) on 02/08/2013 by Angel D. Vargas

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Friday. There’s a blizzard on its way over here, at least according to the news. I’m trying it ignore its presence seeing as it might spoil my weekend plans.


Life has become rather busy in the last two weeks. I’ve had to rearrange a few things to get this latest chapter of “Unbreakable” to my present and future readers in a timely fashion. Once again, J. Marie Ravenshaw has been kind and brave enough to help me with the editing process. I can write all I want to, but I cannot continue to infuse my work with excellence without her help. It’s not just about her discerning eye as a reader and a writer. She knows me, she knows my writing style, and she pulls no punches when it comes to her suggestions for improvement. Few can say that about their editors. Even fewer can say that about their truest friends. To me, she happens to be both.


Without further ado, I present chapter 21 of Unbreakable for your reading pleasure. Read it. Vote on it. Tell your friends about the craziness that ensues when two warriors attempt to keep monsters away from a boy with a dark past and no knowledge of his own potential.


Spread the word like butter.




And Then There Were 16 –

Posted in Drum Roll, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) on 01/04/2013 by Angel D. Vargas

Of course, by 16, I mean chapters to my serial, ‘Unbreakable’ which can be found on If you follow the ‘Unbreakable’ link, this will take you to the beginning of my serial. If you follow the ’16’ link, you’ll come to the latest chapter of this ever-growing story. To make things a tad easier, I set up the links so that you can open them in other tabs. This way, you don’t leave my blog right away unless you really want to. It’s a simple thing, but I haven’t been doing it, so my apologies. Anyways, chapter 16 involves a bit more of your friendly neighborhood, rifle toting Asian bad ass. The things I’ve learned about him as he’s told me his story are incredible.

I guess that’s one of the things about writing that always strikes me. Characters are always telling me their stories, and I am finding new ways to sort of translate what they say to me in whispers (or in many cases, shouts). I bring these stories to all my readers in the most exciting ways that I know how simply because my characters deserve that kind of attention.

But they say that real life is stranger than fiction. Think about this, and then ask yourself why so many fiction writers are working so hard to come up with original ideas for their readers? A journal of my time spent in mental health work will always read like something out of a novel, but that’s only because I wouldn’t pull any punches in its writing. I might leave out names for legal reasons, but the stories are no less real, and in some ways, no less heartbreaking.

So I leave you with that tidbit of information about my writing process. I know there are miles to go before I perfect any parts of my writing. Even when I feel I can do no wrong in a serial like this, that doesn’t mean that my audience has to agree with me. I guess in this case, votes tell me a story as well. I’m sitting on 85 votes. That’s not terrible for 16 weeks of work brought to you commercial free (I hope). But I know I can do better. It seems strange to me that I would ever write for votes, but at the same time, it does a heart good to know that my writing is being read and appreciated.

But I will earn every vote that I get. That’s a fact. There’s no excuse for pandering or milking connections. When it comes to the quality of my work, I ultimately leave it up to my audience to decide if it holds up.

So come read and enjoy. If you like what you read, vote on my chapters. Somehow, I don’t think my readers want me to cancel this series. I don’t get to keep it going without your votes.

Chapter 15 of Unbreakable Arrives Post Holiday Madness – Read all About it! Then go READ IT!

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) on 12/29/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Well, actually my holiday was quiet. I wouldn’t have called it all that merry only because I was surrounded by sick people. My loved ones are recovering though, so maybe the new year will have a better beginning.


I’ll make this short and sweet so you can all get back to celebrating with your libation of choice. Read. Enjoy. Vote. Tell your friends.


Happy Chrismakwanzaramakah with a dash of Dia de los Reyes for flavor.



In the Rain

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/09/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

I’m used to writing. It’s odd to me when I open my blog page and I don’t want to write something. When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, first of all, I wonder who THEY are. Then I accept the statement as true.

These are some lucky shots I took in the city just before or during a rain. I suppose I should consider this a new hobby, but I’ve only been at it for about two weeks. Enjoy!

Chapter 12

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/06/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

No, my faithful readers, I have not forsaken thee.

I’m simply tired. This has been a full work week. Yet I’ve managed to come up with another chapter for my Serial, Unbreakable. Be sure to read chapter 12, vote for it (because let’s face it, why the hell wouldn’t you?) and then get your friends to vote on my serial, and get their friends and family to sign up, read it, and cast many votes in my favor.


Bribery doesn’t work when you don’t have any money, folks, so I’ll have to rely on your good judgment.


Fuck that shit. Free Aikido lessons to the next fifty voters.  😛

On another note, it’s come to my attention that links to my current chapter may only work if one is signed in with an account already. This is strange, and not at all convenient. Methinks a conversation with my lovely editor is in order 🙂


Adios for now.



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