You may as well just follow me on Twitter or Google+, as I never write here and my blurbs are much more informative of how my daily life is. The end. ;]

-me

I’ve started a fad diet. I know, right? I’m sort of bummed about that, too. But this fact is pretty obvious to me: I need to lose some weight and get back in some kind of decent shape.

For various reasons, I haven’t really been able to work out much for the last 18-20 months. There have been very short stretches of time where I was able to, but they were short lived and ended up not accomplishing much because of it. After a recent conversation, I realized that I have gained a fair amount of weight in that 18-20 month period; since I can’t work out, I may as well change my diet for the better… while I’m at it, I may as well start strong.

I know a handful of people who have tried Tim Ferriss’ diet, so I decided to give it a shot. Today marks the 4th day of my 3rd week and I’ve lost 11 lbs. My initial goal was 30 days, but I think I want to cut off a bit more body fat than that would allow, so I’m pretty sure I’m extending it to 60 days; the diet would end the day I leave for England w/ my brother, Troy.

Initially I had intended on making this a 30-day journal to follow the progress of the diet, but I realized 2 days in that it wasn’t even hard to follow this diet, so there wasn’t really anything interesting for me to write about. Haha.

Pros:

  • I’ve noticed a lack of lethargy and increased amount of daily energy.
  • The foods are really healthy and the regiment doesn’t tend to be that of something like Atkins where it’s all “EAT CHEESE AND MEAT!”
  • It’s the first diet I’ve ever gone on that hasn’t left me counting calories and feeling hungry all the time.
  • It’s the fastest I’ve ever seen results from changing my diet.
Cons:

  • I keep forgetting to pack enough food for lunch, which typically results in scrambling for food around 14:30 on days that I pack a lunch for Threadless.
  • I’m actually finding the cheat day hard to pull off. I feel gross eating “normal” foods outside the diet on this day.
  • That said, the rest of the week I tend to suffer from separation anxiety pertaining to the mere taste of shitty, delicious foods.
As mentioned above, I’ve put on some weight in the last 1-2 years; roughly 30-35lbs. Gross. So my goal is to have dropped most or all of that by the end of the 60 day period. Having said that, I’m not judging solely on weight, as I intend on trying to work out whenever I am allowed and/or have the time, so I’m hoping that I’ll lose some size and fat, but gain some more muscle (which would throw off the weight-only gauge).

Fingers crossed that this continues going well.

I truly believe that rules and laws are mere guidelines. They are supposed to be broken, bent, reinvented, re-examined and refined. Why? It’s simple: everything is situational. There is context to every paradigm we live in; a greater context encompassing that, and an even greater one nurturing that within it, etc.

Not to say they shouldn’t be followed, or that everyone is free to break them. But therein lies the conundrum… the catch 22, right? How do you make rules, guides and laws that apply to all, without choking the necessary and needed freedoms applicable to contexts outside the confines of inevitable tunnel vision?

We, as human beings, face this dilemma every day; CEOs, politicians, police officers, musicians, parents… they all have rules. They all have guides. Yet, we all – be it mother, minister, teacher or doctor – find ourselves in situations from time-to-time where the rules just don’t fit; we experience a situation that has expanded outside the scope of a rule, yet still within its jurisdictional reach.

I think it is these situations that help us grow as people… that help us figure out, if even just a little bit, more about ourselves. The unguided decisions we make, no matter how small, can sometimes be the biggest window into who we are.

Still, the question remains:
Do we make rules and laws so vague and broad in spectrum to cover all bases that we leave everything to interpretation?
Or do we, over time, craft finely tuned guides with many needed addenda by presuming that our initial vision will need tweaking as it ages?

Strangely enough, they both have their own merit… it’s situational; it’s contextual.

Hey all.

I’m in Lawrence, KS. We’re on tour to SxSW, played an incredibly fun house show this evening, and are currently sitting in said house telling music business stories with our buddy John.

When we finished our set earlier, I felt the sudden need for salt replenishment. There’s a Taco John’s 2 blocks from here, so I decided to walk there for some potato olés and water. Upon arrival, I discovered that they had just closed the dining room; all that was left was the drive-thru. The trouble here, is that our van was in the driveway of the house we just played at, and the driveway sits at an absurdly steep angle – one that would make it rather annoying to have to back the trailer in again later. Confidently, I decided to call Taco John’s. A new manager answered the phone and I explained my situation to him; he replied by informing me that he was too scared to allow me a walk through the drive-thru… defeated, I walked back to the house. I decided upon my return that I needed to stay my course; I needed potato olés! Twan, Nabeel and I detached the trailer from the van and I hopped into the driver’s seat of the van. Remember how I said the van was on a steep incline? The gas had shifted to the front of the tank – we were fairly low on fuel and the van wouldn’t start. I decided to pop the van into neutral and I coasted all the way back to Taco Johns, through the parking lot and through the drive-thru. It was glorious.

I’m now sitting in a rocking recliner, writing this update, missing Lauren like crazy and getting ready to continue re-reading Knightfall.

We drove through a damned blizzard to get here, and it’s 70º in Austin, TX; we’re going to experience most of the seasons on this tour.

Okay, it’s 2:12am and I’m remarkably tired for some reason. I’ll try to post again soon. =]

xoxo,
- Tristan -

Tuesday introduced Chicago to one of the worst blizzards we’ve had in decades. We’re talking abandoned cars in the middle of Lake Shore Drive,  entire vehicles, doorways and roads covered with 3-8′ drifts, the whole nine yards (which, coincidentally, just came on TV). This blizzard, the one everyone freaked out about, is absolutely my favourite part of the week. I got to watch 30-70mph winds blowing snow in an unrelentingly horizontal direction for hours, I got a snow day away from work, and I got to witness as the following day gave me an absolutely surreal look at Chicago; streets mostly devoid of vehicles, crowds of folks walking in the middle of some of the busiest streets, people marking what few parking spots were available with lawn furniture and buckets… it was such a strange sight to behold.

…then came the shit part of the week.

First was my surgery. The actual act of getting titanium installed in my jaw was fine; it was the thousands of dollars I had to conjure up that I minded.

Shortly thereafter, I came home to discover a separate medical bill for $800 in the mail. Not exactly what you hope for after dishing out the cash for a titanium jaw implant.

Not particularly riddled with excitement at the thought of paying out more money I don’t have, I took a couple of days to let it all soak in; tried not to think about it too much. Understandable, right? Lauren and I woke up this morning, both slightly grumpy, though not at each other (she is overwhelmed with loan complications for Vet Tech school), and lounged around. After showers and some dish cleaning, we decided to head out for some coffee and to get her car an oil change. We stopped at WormHole Café; espresso cortado for me, a peanut butter mocha for Lauren. We were half-way to our second destination, turning on Elson from Division, when we heard a powerful snap and some grinding – I threw the car in park and hopped out to see what the hell had happened. Hazards flashing, car parked just barely out of the intersection, I took a look and found that something had snapped on the front passenger side wheel; pretty sure it was the lower ball joint (and possibly the control arm), and the wheel was rubbing into the front part of the car’s body. A tow truck brought us to a shop that was, thankfully, within a mile or two radius. We’ll know more tomorrow.

We walked to Target, where we parted ways. She headed to hang out with some friends and blow off steam, I opted to get some grocery shopping done and catch a cab home. Ooooooh, here’s where it gets even better! Apparently my old dentist believes that I owe $3-400 for work he did over 4 years ago. I’d believe it, if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve yet to receive a single bill for any services rendered. Before this evening, that is. I came home to a bill from a collection agency claiming I owe the money from early 2007 or so.

So, yes, on top of the thousands in jaw surgery, a mostly detached car wheel and $800 in other medical bills, now I’m being charged another $3-400 that I’m pretty positive I don’t actually owe.

With these frustrations in hand, I prepare for the remainder of my Saturday night; video games are my violent window to inhibiting most of my angry brain this evening. I definitely, definitely need to pay a second visit to the archery range; best blowing off of steam I’ve felt in years.

Cheers!
- Tristan -

Lauren’s car, the day after the blizzard:

I’m apparently a drunkard ;[

My first bout of archery:

A handful of years ago, I was hit in the face with a 13′ piece of aluminum stage roof trussing. It fell off the back of a truck I was loading for a music festival and slammed into my face. I was knocked on my ass and, upon standing, stumbled around a little before trying to open my mouth. The opening of my mouth resulted in the spitting up of a bunch of blood. I was dizzy, bleeding and had a pretty instantaneous headache, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Fast forward to a couple of years later. It was discovered, through the pain in my face (as well as some x-rays), that I had some small fractures in my jaw; caused by the aluminum to the face, of course. As the cold of winters would have it, the fractures slowly grew longer… and into a tooth on each side of my jaw. To repair the fractures and damaged tooth bases, I needed to have the two teeth extracted so that a jaw bone graft could be done to rebuild my jaw. I’ll tell you right now: even with insurance, this shit is not cheap.

Two bone grafts and a decent amount of healing time leads us to today. I’ve now got titanium in my jaw on the lower left side; I’ll be getting the same thing done to the right side at the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, mainly because I can’t afford it before then. Hell, I couldn’t afford it today when I got it done, either.

The titanium has a dual purpose. On one hand, it can serve as a way to keep the grafted bone strong; the addition of a temporary cap on the titanium lets there be a certain degree of spacing maintained with the teeth around it. On the other hand, the removal of the cap after a good 4-6 months of healing means I can have a tooth there again – fake, obviously.

Working from home today after the procedure allows me to rest, but I’ll be back at work tomorrow… nice and sore.

On a completely unrelated note, how awful would it be if farts smelt like bad breath? Don’t think about that for too long.

I also thought the other night about how crazy near-realtime crowd sourced television would be. Imagine that people like Google continue to develop their search algorithms (as I’m sure they will) and it becomes commonplace for television studios to begin employing similar algorithms to peel away at what people care about at any given moment of a day; they then use the information returned by these chains and performed queries to input subject matter into generated television shows. So, for example, a studio pays a group of writers and artists to create an animated series; they create the characters – their behaviours, looks, personalities, etc – the locations and a general direction/plot for the show. They couple all of this with software that scours the internet for relevant topics of discussion (in near-realtime) and outputs content for the episode like one, big, sense-making Markov chain that airs as a show. The math involved to make such an idea be cohesive in any manner is fucking exhausting – certainly something I’m not capable of – but the idea that something like that could potentially be pulled off is really, really crazy. I’m not saying that it’s going to happen, or even that it should, but you have to admit that it’s interesting to think about.

On that note, this titanium in my face tastes funny… and, just like that, this story ends right where it began – metallic.

Wow.

It has been such an absurdly long time since I updated this place. Do you like the slightly different look? I do. Nothing too fancy, but better all the same.

I don’t even know where to start. Do I write a catch-up on everything that has transpired over the last 21 months? Jesus. 21 months since I last took the time to write anything here. What’s weird is that I don’t even know why. Scratch that… I know exactly why. The thoughts that race through my noggin are so overwhelming most of the time, that it’s all I can do to weed through them at that moment – do I really want to wade through all of that a second time when I sit to write here? I suppose there’s the theory that this could be therapeutic. After all, a quick glance at any of my “recent” posts would certainly be an indication that I have a lot to say whenever I start plucking away at this…

21 months. I took a moment of sipping some peach white tea to reflect on how much that small sentence fails to convey; the events of my life in that span of time which, on any given day, seem to slip away from my memories and feel so taken for granted.

I’m still in Chicago. I moved into an apartment that has, in the time since my last post, changed occupants a few times – the most recent of which included the displacement of m’lady, Lauren, from Madison, WI and plopped her into what is now our home together. Unfortunately, part of the last wave of occupancy transitions also included the departure of friends to other places like Florida and Austria.

Lauren and I have been dating for just under 15 months. I can say with a magnitude of certainty that I’ve never felt this loved in a relationship; I’ve not once been able to trust someone like I trust her… not in romantic instances. She doesn’t cheat on me. She doesn’t lie to me. She doesn’t hide things from me. She doesn’t chastise me for being my true self around her. She doesn’t make me feel stupid for loving her; it’s such a weird (read: good) change of emotional pace within the context of a relationship for me.

We celebrated her birthday on Friday by inviting a bunch of our friends over. We made tacos and pico, and followed it up with cupcakes and ice cream cake. It’s actually the first time we’ve really ever had a large group of people over for a party in our apartment. Two guys that I don’t know showed up and sat at our dining room table for about 2 hours; they didn’t talk to anyone and it was incredibly awkward. I think they were high as hell, so I gave them cake. Haha. After a while, they disappeared without a whisper. I wish you luck, stoned weirdos.

The rest of the weekend has left me feeling sick. Not emotionally; not trying to be overtly dramatic. I just feel weak, shaky, feverish, warm and the team of a headache and some coughing seem to float in and out. I’m hoping that some more rest will leave me feeling better by morning, but I’ve digressed… I was catching up on my life and got sidetracked by a short weekend.

Jan of 2010 ushered the release of Sever Your Roots, the second full-length album from my friends and I that make up The Felix Culpa. After leaving our former label (and taking an incredible amount of time to gather ourselves and complete the new album), we decided to go the route of self-release. It’s funny how, with next to no promotion or in-store availability this time around, we managed to make more money than we ever have from a release. That said, we sort of hit the end of our rope in terms of capability on our own. A couple of months ago we found a new home with No Sleep Records. They’ve been nothing short of amazing to us and I’m excited for the re-release of Sever Your Roots in less than a month. Our first video from the release will be unveiled shortly as well; I recently saw the final edit and am excited to see what everyone thinks!

I’m just shy of three years at Threadless. Still working in the Technology dept; my current, unofficial title being EngineerWithNeckTattoo. Catchy, right? ;]
A lot of things have changed since I started working for Threadless. Staff, my title, our location… but I still love it there. It’s interesting being able to go to an office every morning and sit in an area with people that I call friends; it’s more like hanging out with buddies and doing a job together than it is like showing up to a daily grind that you don’t love at all. They understand that I tour every once in a while, but I still struggle to find a balance. I’m sure I’ll get it all figured out eventually; in the mean time, I think I’ll stay for a bit ;p

Not exactly the most enthralling entry I could have made for my return to this blog, but I’m sick, tired, hungry and my battery is about to die. I’ll do my best to keep this thing updated more frequently; promise.

This one’s for you, Doug ;]

Cheers!
- Tristan -

It’s my last night in Stokenchurch for a while… and as I sit here, I really cannot help but be frightened by how close to losing my mind I’ve come in the last 24 hours.

To back track a little, a really good friend (and all around great guy), Ric Ruiz, has been battling his health pretty fiercely for the last few years. I found out in the early Monday hours that he had been admitted to the hospital, couldn’t speak, and most likely wouldn’t make it even a week or two. Knowing full well that my plane lands back in the US on Thursday, I had started to make plans to visit him in the hospital during his last days with us; plans that, quite quickly, were ripped from my very grip at 01:13 GMT. In an IM conversation with another close friend, I mentioned my plans to see Ric in the coming days – a statement that was quickly greeted with, “I’m so, so sorry. Ric passed away today.”

Thirty-five minutes went by. Thirty-five minutes that, even now, I don’t have a single memory of. I jolted back to awareness and realized that I hadn’t moved an inch, spoken a word, typed a letter or passed a single thought through my head in half an hour’s time; I was completely catatonic.

In all honesty, I think I just shut down. Four deaths in four and a half months; three of which were people I was close to and cared for a great deal. All of them being people that I was too late to say goodbye to. Even now, with 24 hours having passed to place in  retrospect… I have no idea what to say about all of this. That being said, instead of trying to figure out my current psychological state, I will list off the first memories I have of this most recent trip home.

  • I helped 3 strangers (two girls, one guy) carry their drunken, limp friend back to their flat in central London. his name is Pablo, I believe.
  • I saw Duplicity. I enjoyed it a lot, but (even as involved as it was) something felt empty about it.
  • I buried my loving, wonderful aunt Tracy; I also took part in re-writing and editing her eulogy.
  • bought a remarkably comfy and remarkably well priced (£15) spring  jacket, as I don’t have one
  • met a guy who was 100% identical to my friend Aaron Trentadue. they looked so much alike that it was genuinely creepy. his name is Scott.
  • realized, once more, that nothing is as beautiful as the view of a clear, starry sky from the English countryside.
  • got to see my beautiful little cousins, Helena and Safiyyah.
  • met some new family members from my grandfather’s side that I never knew existed.
  • ate some of the most amazing Japanese and Indian food ever. EVER.
  • went people watching like crazy.
  • missed saying goodbye to Ric Ruiz before he passed away. I’m going to miss him and his dirty jokes so very much.
  • stressed out daily about how much work @ Threadless I’ve missed.
  • drank a fair amount of alcohol (mostly snake bites) the day of my aunt’s funeral; it was the first time I’ve been drunk since December.
  • felt lazy not working out every day.
  • found out that Sprint will be releasing their first GSM phone later this year and it’s the exact phone that I was looking to get upon it’s release. it will be nice to use my phone while visiting home from now on.
  • realized that, for some reason, I seem to find attractive English women more appealing than attractive American women.
  • had a long, half intoxicated conversation with an old man about Jeeves & Wooster. Also, he had many questions pertaining to whether or not America had such an over-abundance of CSI agents, since he sees so many shows about it.
  • found out that England is apparently nuts for Dexter. good job, everyone. =]
  • decided, once again, that not having a “best friend” is a really lonely and awkward thing when you have so much to share and need to pour yourself out to someone.
  • spent days upon days getting angry/laughing hysterically with family and friends about how remarkably dysfunctional my family is.
  • discovered the wonders of lychee sorbet.
  • reminisced with my cousins James and Tara about our childhood times together.
  • watched all three Bourne films on what was a very, very lazy day for us all.
  • managed to stay healthy, regardless of the fact that mum and Tara were coughing up their insides.
  • got to hear mum exclaim, “oh no! I sat on something hard!”
  • wizards in London still try to fight trees.

that’s all for now.

xoxo,
- Tristan -

I’m currently sitting on a plane about 2 hours away from Heathrow Int’l Airport. I’m listening to From Monument To Masses and desperately seeking for the thoughts that will eventually lead to words I must inevitably deliver to my family upon arrival in Stokenchurch. For someone who unintentionally talks a lot, I find myself at an inexplicable loss for words; something, I’m assuming, that can only be attributed to being simply overwhelmed.

I can honestly say that I have no idea how much humanity is left inside of me these days. I find that I am unable to attach to people anymore; that I have no real connection with most human beings these days; that I look at all the terrible, hurtful and hypocritical things that people do to each other and I really just want to play as little part in that as possible. I label it as strange, then, that the recent passing of two family members has left me feeling so emotionally wounded. For a someone who has grown so accustomed to considering himself a robot as of late, I feel unquestionably sad and undeniably regretful at how certain things in my life have played out over the years.

Obviously a lot of this stems from the fact that, for years, I felt no real connection with my family. Mum and I fought a lot and so I alienated myself, my sister lived in AZ for years, I haven’t seen my brother Todd in something like 8+ years, my father and I had a rocky handful of years where I resented him, and (until recently) my brothers Troy, Ray and I hardly ever spoke. Add to this the fact that, for a ridiculous 13 years or so, I had very little contact with the entire rest of my family in England. Mum and dad didn’t exactly have the money to fly themselves back for visits, let alone another ticket for me; I certainly couldn’t afford it, either. I am happy, however, that in the last couple of years I’ve been able to really re-establish relationships with people like my cousins Tara and James, as well as my aunt Tracy and the rest of my family. I will say, though, that I missed out on a lot of great opportunities to get to know Nan a lot better in the last of her years. I’m not really sure if it’s due to her shutting everyone out, mum trying to somehow protect me from Nan’s influence, or me just not trying – I’ll bet it’s a fair amount of them all, to be honest.

I am, as I was 4 months ago, faced with the responsibility of owning up to whatever circumstances lead to me this place; another page in an entire chapter that I wish to Christ I could rewrite.

Less than 2 weeks ago, my aunt Tracy was checked into the hospital in Guilford, Surry for some pretty extreme health problems. The root of these problems was discovered quite promptly; Tracy was not only diagnosed with advanced stages of lung and bone cancer, but thrust into the grim reality that she had less than 2 weeks to live. We got the call on Sunday, the 15th of March and I instantly began making plans for a return trip home.

The first of many obstacles was the simple fact that mum could not afford to fly home at this time. I wasn’t about to deprive mum the chance at saying goodbye and showing support for her beloved sister, so I scraped the last of my money together and managed the funds for two tickets; something that lead to obstacle number 2: spring break was afoot, tickets were last minute and (due to this) flights were far from cheap. The only way to overcome this obstacle was to be obnoxiously flexible with our fly dates; instead of leaving the following Friday, we were forced to wait until Tuesday the 24th.

I got the call on Thursday, the 19th of March while on my way to work. We were too late; I was too late. Aunt Tracy had passed away and, for the second time in 4 months, mum and I were both left without the opportunity to say goodbye to someone we were both extremely close to and loved without a doubt in our hearts.

I’m left feeling totally helpless and somewhat responsible. Maybe if I had just bought mum’s ticket, she could have gone without me and gotten to see her lovely sis. Maybe if I had more money saved, both of us could have left earlier. Maybe. What if.

I feel guilty.
I feel slightly sick.

So money can’t buy happiness? In certain cases, I’m going to have to call bullshit on that one. Money would have allowed us the chance to be there for someone who needed us. Money would have allowed my sister to come back with us for the funeral. Blah.

As if my guilt over the aforementioned wasn’t rooted deep enough, there’s still the matter of a certain letter.

You see, upon the discovery of my Aunts situation, I had a very bad feeling that I wasn’t going to make it back home in time to say a plethora of things to her that I wanted to say. I began typing a letter to her. I wanted her to know how happy I was that I had reconnected with her. I wanted her to know how wonderful of a mother she had been; that she gave birth to 3 wonderful children I was proud to call family. I wanted her to know how much mum loved spending time with her; how she was the creator behind some of mum’s fondest memories of home. Most of all, though, I wanted her to know that she was loved and appreciated; that, as much as she had her problems, we understood why and that we wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. I wanted her to know that all these years when she was seeking love from those closest to her, she had it all along.

But, you see, I never finished the letter in time. I missed the one small window of opportunity I had and I think about it practically every second that I’m awake; it’s consuming me.

I’m 0:2, it feels like, in being there for people I love when it really mattered.

The night before the funeral proved to be more full of thought than I believed possible. Sleep is already an issue for me at night, but this particular evening proved to be more overwhelming than I had previously predicted it would be. Sleep finally took the place of exhaustion around 8am and held me to it’s bosom for about an hour.

I awoke, suddenly, to a feeling of blankness; we’d soon be leaving and I still had no sense of closure. After getting ready, we proceeded out the door to Falcon Court (my uncle Justin’s home), where the funeral procession to the church was to originate from. Upon our arrival, our ears fell into the news that my great-aunt Enid had passed away this morning. I admire not my poor great-aunt Dorothy on the day when she has to mourn the passing of her two sisters.

I find it strange that after the passing of my grandfather, Derek, Nan (once she fell ill) would claim to see Derek visiting her late at night in the living room of Bangalore House. Stranger yet, is the completely unrelated claim (after the passing of Nan) by Enid that she had been visited by Nan.

Yesterday was a day of celebrating, mourning, grieving… and drinking. After a beautiful funeral and hours of reconnecting with family I haven’t seen in ages, mum and I joined Tara, James, aunt Tracy and a few of Tara’s friends at the pub across the way from Nan’s house. At one point I wandered out and made my way to the grave site of Betty Edith Giles… Nan. I stood over her in the dark of night, the feeling of regret squeezing me tighter with every failed attempt at thought or speech… until, finally, it all came out. I confessed to her all of the things that I wish she would have gotten to hear from me in life. I let her know how much she was loved by all of her children and grandchildren; that nothing she ever did for anyone was ever forgotten or under-appreciated. I whispered that I saw who she really was inside, even if she had forgotten about that person many years ago; that I understood her fright of people’s ability to use her and how, in turn, she used her money to control other people – to stay at a safe distance. I spilled out that, although the majority of the time she made you want to tear out all of your hair, I understood the path that lead her to such a place… and that it didn’t matter to me – I still loved her for the person she truly was on the inside.

I made my peace. I did in Nan’s death what I never had the opportunity to do in her life; be it out of fear, financial inability, or complete ignorance.

I’ll miss you, Nan. The waves of your actions in life will forever make ripples in the lives of generations to come.

xoxo,
- Tristan -

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