Archive for Music Video

Not in the Spirit This Year.

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/21/2014 by Angel D. Vargas

Alright. So it’s been a long time. Christmas is upon us in less than four days.  To be honest, I’m having a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. However, it seems I’m not the only Grinch. I’ve been seeing a lot of people in 2014 who just want to throw up their hands and say “bah humbug.”

Why might this be the case for so many of us? If you’re like me, you’ve been watching the racial tension in America build thanks to senseless violence, and the mistakes being made by people who seek the wrong kind of justice. You’ve witnessed the President of the United States reduce our unemployment rate to less than ten percent, kill off a bunch of terrorists, and actually rescue people from Somali Pirates. Yet Obama STILL comes under fire for “not doing enough” or “not bridging the bi partisan gap.” What nonsense is this? The man inherited a hot mess of almost Biblical proportions. That mess is now being compounded by ever increasing racial tension, abominable threats to US safety made by dictators who can’t take a fucking joke, and the ever ready conservatives who would sooner try to pass a 1600 page bill filled with ridiculous pork projects and hidden agendas than to enact any real change.  It would take President Obama a second term just to make some headway repairing the damage. That takes more stamina and courage than most people in this nation possess.

I wouldn’t do it. Would you? Would most of us?

Then there’s the question of money.

According to some sources, the average American adult is planning to spend an estimated 781.00 this year for the Christmas season. This is up from the 749.00 per adult that was spent just two years ago, and the 701.00 total from last year.  According to a recently released gallup survey, this could mean that Americans might spend up to 600 billion dollars this Christmas season.

I have two questions. Who is the average adult in this country, and can I come over to their house this Christmas? I don’t know these people. Most of the adults I know in my age range are working for a temporary staffing agency, living from paycheck to paycheck. The one gift I could afford this year for the love of my life is still sitting, unwrapped, in our clothing closet just above a pair of pants with a hole in the crotch, and a shirt with holes in the armpits. My God, I can just picture the Clark Griswold rant from National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation playing over and over again in my head. I recently took a silly online quiz to see how much of that rant I could actually remember from all those years ago. I scored an 80 percent. I would have gotten a hundred, but I haven’t watched my favorite holiday movies this year. Not one.

Halleluyah! Holy Shit…. Where’s the tylenol?

So what’s the solution to the “Bah Humbug” spirit that seems to be in the air this year? Thanksgiving was harsh enough. I thought people in my neighborhood grocery stores were going to murder one another over frozen turkeys and Stove Top Stuffing. I’ve seen Santa Clause visit my place of employment to give toys out to sick children in the pediatrics ward. Santa handed me a candy cane. I had to smile, though deep down, I would have traded that candy cane for a pay raise.

In my opinion, every one of us (myself included) may want to wake up and start counting our blessings. That’s easier said than done. In a nation where more people would rather vote for American Idol than the average political race, where innocent people are being hurt and killed on either side of a potential race war, and where it’s ok for the “average American” to spend almost a thousand dollars on Christmas, one has to wonder what our priorities actually are, and how we define joy. I myself don’t have the money to even pretend that money buys happiness. I can’t even define what holiday traditions exist in my family. That was somehow lost in my adulthood, and that makes me sad. Perhaps what’s missing for me is the creation of a new tradition with my new loved ones. I live with a woman and a cat somewhere in New York City. If I can’t create a unique and exciting new Christmas tradition here, I probably won’t do it anywhere else.

Living in the Surreal ..

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/14/2013 by Angel D. Vargas

Life is surreal.

“Surreal” isn’t a term I really like. When I use it, I feel like I’m dumbing down a process through which some major epiphany has granted me the power to move on with my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad life with a fresh, “up with people” perspective.

But if you had been in the neighborhood of 125th and Lenox in upper Manhattan at about a quarter to six this morning, life would have seemed pretty surreal to you too.

I was sleeping next to my girlfriend. She awoke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Everything seemed normal. She crawled back into bed next to me and we remembered that it was Sunday and that we really like snuggling together and talking under the covers during a lazy weekend. It helps us remember what matters, even if it’s just a moment in time.

Not five minutes after she came back to bed, a horrible sound of crunching metal and plastic erupted just outside the apartment. It seemed to rattle the bedroom window.  I didn’t know what the sound was. I wasn’t awake enough to make sense of it until a horrible screeching noise followed. Rubber scraped against asphalt, and the squeal seemed to echo into eternity.

“Jesus Christ!”

I think I might have said that twice. I said it once before we both sprang from the bed and ran to the bedroom window to see what had happened. Even now, the fucked up visual doesn’t make any sense without context. I said it again after I told my girlfriend that I had to go take a major piss.

Why I decided to go relieve myself at that moment is still a bit beyond me. All I remember is that I was nauseated, and I still didn’t understand what had happened.

I also recall my knees shaking like the leaves of a quaking aspen in the wind. I sat down on that toilet seat and put my head between my sweating hands. I might have stayed like that for minutes or hours. I didn’t really know or care.

Eventually, I stood up and washed my hands. Like some character out of the show Supernatural, I thought I smelled a Reaper in the air.

I was sure that death lingered close by, waiting to claim the lost soul of the victim of a freak accident.

“Jesus H. Christ!”

I got back to the bedroom and stood next to my girlfriend. She seemed more than willing to give me a blow by blow of what was going on out there.

“Nobody’s gotten out of either car yet.”

“Motherfucker.”

In all honesty, I don’t recall saying that last word. I don’t remember much of what was said after that. But as the haze and the shock of the accident seemed to lift from around us both, things started to fall into place. Out the window, on our side of the street, we only saw two cars. The first one was a silver Charger with its back turned to us like a wounded dog hiding its face.  The second car was sort of sitting to the right of the first. It was a green SUV that didn’t appear to have been even been scratched, at least not from our vantage point. The only thing that seemed to have happened, in fact, was that the SUV was nudged a few feet out of its parking spot.

It made no sense. Such a horrible crash followed by a rubber screech that lasted for at least three seconds just didn’t do … what we saw.

But time ticked by. Some of the neighbors from across the street turned on their bedroom lights and peeked outside like we were doing. Thanks to them, I felt a little better about being some sort of voyeur. The cops were on the scene immediately. The fire department came minutes later. EMT’s never showed. That struck us as odd until we came to the most important conclusion.

Nobody died.

I thought for sure someone was going to buy it. For about a nanosecond I was disappointed. I can’t lie. I’m a horror writer.

Then the stomach ache began.

About an hour later, all sorts of things had happened. The driver of the silver Charger, wearing a black shirt with green writing on it, angrily shouted into his cell phone that the car for which he was responsible was a “fucking wreck.”

“What de’ hell I’m ‘a do wid ‘dis shit?”

His friend, a shorter man with a grey tee shirt on, seemed to be the voice of reason.

“Look, dude, least you’re alive.”

And that was what mattered. When other details fell into place, we learned that nobody, in fact, was dead. A third car was apparently involved in the accident. That unknown driver may or may not have been at fault for the entire catastrophe. We never really got to figure that much out.  A tow truck driver couldn’t even tow the silver wreck out of the way in one try. His truck’s hook lost its grip on the wreckage twice.

I grinned. And call me sadistic, but I was thankful I wasn’t going to have to figure out how to pay for THAT repair bill. The driver and his friend drank two cups of coffee purchased at the deli just below our window.

My girlfriend and I  went back to bed. We didn’t fall asleep right away, of course. We talked about the accident. We talked about how our weekend was going before the crash, and how it might go afterwards. Things like money and job woes don’t matter as much when you’re thankful just to be in one piece. That lesson sinks in deeper when you’re with loved ones.  The problems might not go away, but their importance in the grand scheme of the universe dwindles.

I just got through sending out something like 6 job aps. I took a break to watch a show. I thought about my latest submission of a short story to a magazine for consideration. My girlfriend’s out teaching a dance class. We still have lives to live and things to do to survive in this city. She still has to talk to her dad about her insurance costs, and I still want to start writing the latest chapter for my online serial. At least I know she’ll come home in one piece, and we’ll have an easier time figuring out how to scrounge up enough money for dinner together tonight.

There’s a cat purring in my lap too.

Surreal or serene? Take your pick.

Intent

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/10/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

It’s been a long time since you’ve all heard my dulcet tones. Time to correct that.

Follow the bouncing ball … never mind that there isn’t one 😛

They say that intent is everything. I have a habit of saying “they talk too much.” I mean, who the heck are “they?” anyway? Are these the illustrious Men in Black? Are Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith going to come up to me and blast me with a red light and erase my damned memory? Maybe if they show up, I can get them to erase certain parts of the last few weeks, up to and including Hurricane Sandy. Let’s just say I’d rather have been out  chasing the storm then dealing with my family that night.

But what I was thinking about on my walk through NYC today was intent. What are people’s goals when they get up late on a Saturday morning? It’s not too difficult to imagine that these, along with people, vary in so large a city as New York. Perhaps the young man with the leather jacket and the Elvis-like sneer to my right  thought he was going to score with the gorgeous brunette that’s at least six paces behind me (trust me, I spotted her blocks before he did).  Perhaps the older woman and her husband are on their way to a nice dinner followed by an off Broadway show. Little kids are on their way to Central Park with their tired but otherwise content mothers. The weather is nice, and we all might as well enjoy it.

Yet I’ve had conversations over the years about what the weekend means to people. I’ve had friends and co workers tell me that their weekends are meant to be “fun and games,” or that they plan on “partying hard.” The mentality here is something that I think Bill Cosby once spoke of in one of my favorite stand-up comedy routines. The “I’m going to go out because I deserve to go out, and dammit I’m going to have a good time” mentality kills me!  Hours later when they’re worshipping their toilet bowls after getting drunk and making assholes of themselves, this is what people call “having a good time.” Then I think about my weekends. I spend a lot of time writing, ruminating, and quietly walking the streets of Manhattan, watching people and pretty lights.  I used to think I was doing something wrong. I don’t think so anymore.

That hasn’t stopped me from feeling somewhat isolated of late. It can be a lonely experience to constantly loose myself in a crowd of strangers, shuffling to wherever the heck it is they’re going. Feelings of  “where’s MY special someone to hold hands with and enjoy Times Square,” are only a part of my range of emotions on this issue. As I was walking to Central Park this afternoon, I had to ask myself what my intent was. If you had asked me that question just before I left, I would have jerked my thumb back to the door of my apartment before turning around and giving the door a silent middle finger. Things at home have been … tense.

But intention is funny. The energy behind which an action is taken seems to make a difference. “What am I running from?” verses “Where am I running to?” are both legitimate questions as far as I’m concerned.  These are the questions with which I wrestle every single time I leave my apartment. Am I going to do the laundry to get away from my parents and my autistic brother who won’t stop babbling at top volume right outside my bedroom door as I try to write? Am I going for a walk in the city to get away from the stresses of work? Just what the heck am I trying to do every time I walk through Times Square and catch the eye of some young women?

What is the meaning of it all?

A great deal of that depends on perspective, of course. The glass is half empty for some, half full for others. Life is hard for some, and it is a breeze for other people. When I stop and think about this, natural curiosity begs me to wonder if I ever felt that life was a cakewalk? Have I ever felt like I don’t need to be afraid of people?

Can I ever walk through a crowd without eyeballing throngs of young men as though they are potential threats to my safety?

I’m not always sure this is possible. That I’ve even been trying to do any of the above didn’t become clear to me until today when I was walking toward Broadway for the umpteenth time this week. Glaring at groups of young men and balling up my fists in my pockets is common for me. That’s left over from having been mugged more than a decade ago. Curiously, that never happened in New York. But the surgery I needed to get rid of the formation of traumatic cataracts in both my eyes DID happen here. Not too long after, 9/11 ensued.

Life is replete with ironies, broken promises, and shattered illusions. The illusion of total control is one that I still cling to in more ways than I care to admit. But for today, I tried to let it go. For once in my adult life, I took a breath and slowed down. I didn’t walk with the usual breakneck pace of an angry business man on fifth avenue. I didn’t eyeball anyone unless it was to offer a grin (albeit a small one).  I didn’t snort in irritation when someone cut in front of me. There was no hurry. I had nowhere to go.

But when I have nowhere to go, I wind up somewhere special. How fitting. I happened upon a free Jazz Festival at Central Park. Thirty bands were all scattered throughout the park, and all of them were playing the same sets on the same list. Everyone who heard one band heard the same things that the other bands played, supposedly in the same order. I got to spend time listening to the smooth sounds of a band called “The Yes Trio.” They broke the rules for the final composition. They were supposed to play something called “Autumn In New York.” They played something completely random and improvised.

When I stared at people bobbing their heads in time to the beat, I smiled. Yet the moment I lost myself in the music as I stared at fire-colored leaves, my eyes began to burn. You don’t cry at the sound of smooth jazz unless you’re me. My bones became hollow reeds through which the music could flow. My chest became another drum for my hands.  I closed my eyes and felt safe for the first time since Sandy blew through my city and pissed off so many people.  This is what happiness is. My chest didn’t feel tight, my shoulders didn’t feel heavy, and I didn’t feel so alone anymore.  I was in a crowd of people who all felt the same way I did about the music. They, like me, felt free.

I didn’t expect that to happen to me today.

Goodbye ..

Posted in Drum Roll with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/19/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

I don’t wake up crying in our old apartment anymore.

I don’t see our cats stalking across the living room toward me, tails up and eyes wide, wondering why my eyes are doing funny things like leaking water.

I can’t see the front door the apartment we used to share. I’ve forgotten what color it is.

I’ve been able to recall less and less of our neighborhood walks. My old haunts are still fresh in my mind, but they don’t include the memory of your presence. I don’t feel you near me anymore when I walk in my favorite park. You’re not whispering in my ear when I stare at the ducks at my favorite pond. I no longer think of the touch of your skin when I imagine the smooth caress of a duckling’s feathers.

The tightness in my chest when I think about your absence has faded.

I can’t bring myself to compare the women I meet to you anymore. Their curves no longer remind me of yours. Their eyes don’t sparkle with the same blues.  I am taken by individual personalities. I no longer detest the idea that my newest acquaintances carry similar personality quirks to yours. I evaluate on a case by case basis again.

I don’t remember what television shows we used to watch together.

How did we discover Tai Iced Tea together, or that the word “Pho” didn’t mean “enemy” in Vietnamese restaurants?

It’s time for me to move on.

I’ve stopped reading our letters to the phantoms of one another that neither of us could ever hope to be. I’ve stopped crucifying myself for not being the man I’ll never be.

I’ve stopped wondering what you wear to work. I don’t do your laundry anymore. I don’t wash your dishes. I no longer pick up your crap.

I don’t remember what your hair smells like anymore.

But make no mistake. I will always care.

Just as you were my deepest wound, you were my greatest love.

I’m still recovering my ability to trust. I am still learning the lessons of the heart that you tried to teach me, whether you know it or not.

We’ll always have the Space Needle and White Chocolate Mochas. We’ll always have the first time we made love.

I’ll always know your tender heart as you once knew mine. I’ll always see it in your photographs of roses. I’ll always feel it in the way you care for others. I’ll always remember it in your kiss.

I will always love you.

Goodbye.

In The Thick of It

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/28/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Ok. I’m going to get to the heart of the matter.

Life is weird. Life is hard. I don’t know why, but I’m going through a blue period.

It isn’t as though there’s any reason that I can discern for it. Life may be hard, but I am living my dreams. I am writing for the masses. I hope to make some money at it someday. My work is being read by more and more people. I am having fun losing myself in the universes that I create.

I also feel alone even when I am surrounded by others.

I somehow don’t know how to react to the taste of success. It could be seconds away from my fingertips, and I would have an attack of nerves. I’d get cold feet  if I had to give a speech in public. Maybe I should just read it in someone else’s voice!

I’ve gotten colder. I’m not going to lie. My inner warrior took over. My mind has been on nothing but self defense and survival for so long now, that I can’t seem to shut it off and just breathe. I can’t put down the sword.

How often does one receive an anonymous gift of flowers?

And how did I forget to breathe when I got that gift? It doesn’t seem right to me.

Plainly, I’ve more work to do in learning to accept friendship, gratitude, love, admiration, and respect. I somehow got the impression that I didn’t deserve any of those things. I’m not going to delve into my past. I’ve already been there and done that. It’s time to move on.

I made a video tonight with new free editing software. In truth, I’m not at all sure how I did it. I didn’t add any effects. I didn’t speed anything up or slow anything down. It just sort of came together and turned out pretty well. My writing is the same way.  I don’t know where the fuck the next sentence is going to come from, but I plunk down one and than another. Before I even realize what I’ve done, I’ve amassed more than a thousand words inside of an hour.

I feel like my life has been that way. I don’t have a plan. I just get up, suit up, show up and hope to goodness that something good comes from my efforts.

Life often fucks with me when I make too many plans. So I have to tread with some care, it seems.

I’m awfully tired lately. I have a short fuse. People who waste my time become nothing but irritants.

And I’m worrying everyone around me. Co workers shake their heads and wonder why I go silent. Friends ask me what the matter is. My parents cock their heads and furrow their brows.

I feel like telling them all to back off.

But I won’t. It isn’t anyone’s intention to get under my skin or to try to make me admit to things that I don’t want to talk about. But the only answer I have for such a question is “don’t give up on me.” I can’t speed this along. I’m obviously in it. I’ll figure my way out of it. I always do.

Though I wonder if I’ve spent my entire life living with such a pattern. Perhaps these mood swings are seasonal in nature. It might explain why I brood so much during the fall.

Then again, maybe I brood because I haven’t yet learned to recognize my own progress.

It’s a lesson we might all need to be reminded of. It pays to take stock, but to focus too narrowly on one single detail can be toxic.

I’ll hold onto my flowers. I’ll keep writing my stories. I’ll keep blogging, recording my voice and making my vids.

I’ll keep trucking. With some better rest along the way, even I might learn to see the bright side of life.

Until then, maybe it’s best if I just get through the obstacles in my way and move along until I give a damn again.

Anyways, enjoy the vid. I made this bad boy myself 😉

 

 

 

 

My Best Friend’s Visit ..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/22/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

My best friend, J. Marie Ravenshaw came to visit me in New York. I made this video based on the pictures we took together during her stay.

And I love the song.

Hope you like the vid, J. 😉

-A.

There are many other projects in the works, but I was happy to take the time to do this. 😉

Enjoy!

 

 

Have At!

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/16/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

You want a video to indicate how I feel at the moment, have at this one ..

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