Advocate for yourself

This past February I was hospitalized and put on a 72 hour hold. That was when I knew that I have to get my bipolar under control. While I was on the hold, I met with my psychiatrist for the first time. He wasn’t ready to discharge me at first, which was scary because I didn’t want to be there in the first place. I mean I am grateful that the damage that I may have caused didn’t happen and nothing at a permanent outcome, but he said that he will discharge me if I would agree to this partial hospitalization program (PHP). I was thinking “I will agree to do ANYTHING if it means that I can get out of “jail”, have my phone back, and actually eat my breakfast/lunch/dinner will actual human beings.

Well, in order to get into the program, I have to sign something that says I will commit to not touching marijuana or alcohol while in this type of treatment. I’ve never a regular marijuana user, I just picked it up a few months before my hospitalization. It wasn’t a part of me and I didn’t rely on it. But I signed it just to get out of my hold.

I have now been in this program for 4 months. I went from going 5 days a week, 6 hours a day to the IOP (which is what I am in now) 3 days a week, 3 hours a day. they have me in the drugs and alcohol group. I have asked time and time again to PLEASE put me in one of the mood groups. They keep telling me that I’m supposed to be in this group because of my marijuana use. Well today, 2 weeks before my discharge, I finally exploded and said “I do not, have never, and will never have a drug or alcohol problem. THAT is NOT why I am here. I am here because I WANTED TO FUCKING DIE. I belong one of cognitive therapy groups. Every day on our 15 minute break I see your patients outside on the sidewalk vaping, right before they go into THEIR mood group high. How dare you think I have a drug problem. You are not respecting my needs. I’m graduating from this program in 2 weeks, if I end up back upstairs (inpatient) at anytime, that is YOUR fuck up”. It’s so frustrating.

These therapists, they are amazing. And they really are, I’m not being sarcastic one bit. BUT they have it all figured out, don’t they? They always know what’s best for the patient even if the patient doesn’t have a single trace of THC in their urine, yes, they test once a week.

I won’t deny for a minute that this is not a good program, because it is. It’s an amazing program and I really am absorbing the coping skills that I need, when I am NOT in the drugs and alcohol treatment room just staring at a fucking wall, unable to relate to what anyone is saying.

I guess the purpose of this post is to vent, but also to finally say that you should ALWAYS take your therapists advice, but NEVER be afraid to question it or stand up for yourself if you feel like something isn’t working. Just like medication. If you feel that your meds aren’t working, discuss it with your psychiatrist. Don’t ever just stop taking it, but definitely have that conversation.

Advocate for yourself, even if no one else will. Don’t ever just “accept” the things that you may not feel is right.

But ALWAYS seek help no matter what.

I fucked up

So, there’s this…Riot Fest 2019. The lineup for every single riot fest has always been epic. Living in NJ during the first few years, I was never able to make it out to Chicago for this. A part of it was money, sure, but money has never really stopped me from doing anything like this any other time. Then once I moved to North Carolina, had two kids, and bought a house, money was certainly an issue now. I’ve been to just one riot fest, RF 2016 when the misfits with Danzig headlined. It was an amazing 3 days spent some of the best people who I’ve ever known from New Jersey years after I lost touch with most of them. We caught up, drank a few beers, and watched some of the greatest bands that were responsible for making us the people we are today.

I haven’t been back since 2016, again, traveling isn’t easy when you’re a father of two.

The 2019 Riot Fest lineup was announced today and holy shit. HOLY SHIT!!! Jawbreaker, Bikini Kill, Less Than Jake, Descendents, AVAIL!! Those 5 are enough to get me out there this September. Now you add those 5 to the rest. So insane.

I live in San Diego now. It’s so amazing here. Unlike when I lived in Charlotte North Carolina, and more like when I lived on the Jersey Shore and went to shows in Philly, NYC, and Asbury Park, San Diego has some really great shows here. I’ve always loved outdoor festivals. And between San Diego and LA, we are covered. But although I grew up listening to primarily punk rock and ska, I do keep my mind pretty open when it comes to music. Its still cool to switch it up a bit. Kaaboo in Del Mar is a thing that happens every year. Two years ago Tom Petty headlined, I didn’t go. Last year the Foo Fighters headlined, I didn’t go. So this year I was able to cough up the $300 for a weekend pass. Actually, I coughed up $600 because I begged and begged my wife to go with me just so I don’t look like a lost dickhead wandering the festival asking strangers if they want to be my friend…

If I had known…. ohhhhh if only I had fucking known that this years Riot Fest was happening the same weekend as this buyers remorse bullshit

I would have fucked off with this bullshit lineup and gone to Riot Fest.

I’d much rather hang with 1,000’s of non-pretty beautiful people who have a passion of punk rock in their souls than 1,000’s of bros who live at the gym, then flex as their walking down the bar street. Or the 1,000’s of girls who plan their entire wardrobe two weeks in advance for that shit. It’s like the people who go to Coachella, but just not as many.

So yeah, I fucked up.


Fucking goddamn shit.

love, sex, and relationships

This was from an article I found somewhere. I cannot take credit. I just thought it was an interesting read.


Love is a difficult concept to define. It is usually referred to as an emotion and has also been described as a behavior. Both are accurate. If you experienced the emotion love it goes to reason that you would behave accordingly. Nearly everyone agrees that there are different types of love, as expressed to different people. There is love for a child, parent, sibling, friend, and significant other. We will concern ourselves only with love between partners. According to social psychologist Robert Sternberg, there are four types of love in relation to partners. The three components to these types of love can be thought of in terms of the points of a triangle to better illustrate.

The three components of love are intimacy, which can be described as infatuation and a strong desire to be close, and commitment, for which I believe most readers know the definition. Combining the points of the triangle result in the types of love.

Intimacy combines with passion results in romantic love. This is what most partners experience in the beginning of a relationship, and it is usually energizing and exciting. Intimacy combined with commitment results in companionate love. This is what many relationships become over time. The partners are comfortable with one another, have an extensive history together, know each Motherwell, and are committed to the relationship. There may likely be an absence of passion.

Having all three passion or infatuation combined with commitment results in fatuous love. This is the result of getting swept up in passion and committing to a long-term commitment without really knowing the person.

Consummate love is when all three components, intimacy, passion, and commitment are combined together. Of course, it is unrealistic to expect that the overwhelming passion present at the beginning of many relationships will continue forever. This type of passion lasts varying lengths of time, depending on the individual. Most consummate relationships have passion that comes and goes and varies in intensity.

Unfortunately, many people confuse infatuation or passion with love. After a period of time together, and as the passion naturally cools, they find themselves falling out of love. This is where the saying “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore” comes from. Many people end up going from one romantic love relationship to another, and wondering why they can’t find true love.


People may ask the question, well what about sex? Usually they are referring to what is commonly called buddy sex, or sport sex. These both refer to the act of sex for nothing more than the enjoyment of the act. No emotional involvement, no commitment, no strings. Although this seems cut and dry and mostly harmless if two consenting adults are involved, there are few complications that at least should be considered.

The first is that many people have difficulty separating sex and intimacy. Often feelings develop despite the belief that they never would.

Along these lines is the tendency of those that have been sexually abused to sexualize intimacy. This occurs when a friendship develops, secrets are shared, and a sexual attraction becomes apparent even though none had existed prior to the friendship getting closer. Because of the high prevalence of sexual abuse among addicts, and the nature of sharing on a personal level in the 12 step program and groups, this is a very real and serious risk. To begin buddy sex may just be a symptom of diseased thinking, and could prove very detrimental.

Another consideration is casual sex’s effect on self-esteem. Although most of us would like to believe we could have casual sex with no guilt or remorse, this is often not the case. Casual sex often goes against the morals and values that one was taught and may continue to carry. Any time that we behave in a manner that goes against our values, we experience guilt. Guilt can have a detrimental effect on self-esteem.


Most people believe in a spiritual or magical aspect that causes them to fall in love, and enter into a relationship. Many believe in a soulmate that is waiting for them, and that fate can step in at any moment anywhere and deliver their soulmate to them. The words that follow are not attempts to de-mystify love and relationships, but are simply to keep individuals from falling victim to other aspects that can appear to be mystical.

Many people project qualities of their ideal mate onto the person that they are getting to know, and then confuse this with having found their soulmate. A projection is an internal ideal, thought process, or state that is attributed to another person. In other words, I know what I want and need my ideal mate to be, and I place these attributes and qualities into another individual. I observe this other persons behavior and relate it to my ideal. If I do not recognize that there is a projection (and rarely is a projection identified) I then believe I have found my soulmate. Later, when I know the person better, they begin to fall short of my expectations and ideals. Falling short of my expectations they cannot be the ideal, and often the search for my soulmate begins again. This pattern of disappointment will continue until an individual realizes the reality of the projection, and does not give into the fantasy that they have found their soulmate.

Another aspect of relationships is the bargaining process. This is not an external event, but an internal one. Each person entering a relationship is aware of the attributes that they bring to the table. These can include attractiveness, financial security, a quality of sweetness, intelligence, being a giving person, being attentive, considerate, good in bed, etc. Knowing what attributes’ one brings to the table, the individual wants a comparable partner. This does not mean that individuals necessarily want someone exactly as attractive, nice financially secure, etc. as we are. What it means I that we want an equal or better bargain in line with what we value. For example, how many very attractive women have you seen with menthe are financially secure? The man knows he brings financial well being and security and values an attractive trophy for a partner. The woman in this example knows she is very attractive and values financial security.

This example is simplified although it exists. The actual bargaining process is more complicated due to the amount of aspects to consider, but the example exemplifies the issue.

Insecurities and adventures

I don’t know how to start these things. Sometimes my “creativity” needs a little nudge in order to get started.

So I’ll just start it like this..

Ever since the “reset” button was pushed (refer back to a few posts ago if you’re not caught up), like 2 weeks ago, things have felt a little different in our relationship. Things have felt better. She seems a lot less exhausted, well, other than her body and mind going to shit from working the graveyard shift and sleeping all the next day, then goes back into the graveyard, and a little more calm. I’ve full on taken the roll of a stay at home dad. A typical day in the life of Adam consists of setting my alarm for 5am, showering and getting ready for the day, making coffee, waking the kids up for school at 6am, getting them dressed, brush their hair and teeth, feed them breakfast, be out the door at exactly 6:30 -because at 6:32, the freeway becomes mayhem- drive 30 miles which takes 54 minutes with the morning rush hour, drop Triston off first, then drop Ari off, drive 20 miles to Alvarado Parkway Institute so I can learn how to cope with existing in society, go to the gym right after, drive 30 minutes to get Triston from school at 2:05, go to Barnes and Noble to help him with his homework, drive to Ari’s school, take Triston to one of his appointments, occupational OR speech therapy, check the planner to see if Ari has any appointments that day, stop at the grocery store on the way home, buy a Bouquet of flowers to replace the dead ones, grab the boys a snack, take Bonnie’s clothes out from the dryer and do her a favor by folding them, then do Triston’s laundry, then do Ari’s laundry, then do my laundry, feed them dinner, give them baths, put their pajamas on, brush their hair and teeth, lay out their clothes for the next day, get them in bed, then clean the dishes, wipe the counter down, sweep the floor, feed the animals, walk the dog….. take a deep breath and fuck off on the couch with a candle burning, glass of wine, and re-runs of Breaking Bad.

No, I am not patting myself on the back. I put myself in manic mode because I know that the second I sit down, I will lose all motivation. And not to mention, I just really want to help my wife out with as much as I possibly can. Because I love her. With the way my emotions have been in the past 6 or so months, with the paranoia that she is out there with someone else betraying me and our marriage, I needed to put those demons away. Nothing good will ever come from it.

So, instead of being paranoid and watching every step she makes, I’m going to do the opposite and kill her with love, kindness, and compassion. She may take it or leave it, that isn’t up to me. But at the end of the day I take great pleasure knowing that I’m doing this for her.

Now, let’s talk about my insecurities and how they’ve become the new paranoia..

Yesterday we had a really great day. Together we brought the boys and our dog to the Del Mar dog beach. When we first moved to San Diego, everything was amazing. We were happy, we had each other, and our marriage was solid. Yesterday as we were standing on that boulder watching the waves crash under the big blue sky, I was reflecting on the people we used to be. I was nostalgic even though it’s only been a year and a half. At one point I grabbed her by the waist and put my arms around her and said “do you remember when we used to do this and enjoyed it before everything went to shit”?

First let me clarify that I do not believe she is cheating on me, those demons fucked off. But of course, the old demons were replaced by the new demons. Last night as we were laying in bed, I started to really get carried away with letting my brain take the midnight wheel. We are having financial issues this week. She brings in the only income and I can’t contribute at all. All I can think about was her and her coworkers. She works with people who really have their shit together and aren’t an emotional wreck like me.

“Why is she with me when there are other men out there who can offer her things that I cannot”

“She is a very strong and intelligent woman, and she works with intelligent men, and I’m just Adam. A dope from NJ with no direction”

“I am worthless to her and the kids”

“With her salary and with the salary of someone else, together they can buy the perfect house”

“I am holding her and the kids back”

“I should do the right thing and let her go”

Those were the voices that were going over and over again until I couldn’t take it anymore. I just had to get up and go on the other room. On the dark kitchen floor, I sat up against the cabinet under the sink with my head between my legs hysterically crying, and I couldn’t stop. I felt absolutely useless. My depression took another turn, and this one hurt. When the voices tell me the things I mentioned above, I’m not very nice to myself. I put myself down, I degrade myself. I’m too deep in that hole that I really do, with all my heart, believe these things about myself. I am her idiot husband.

This morning I came clean with her and confessed what was on my mind (and still is on my mind). What she said to me today is what she’s been saying to me for years…

“You can do what I do if you give it a shot”

-are you serious? Do you really believe that I can do what you do?

“Go to college, it’s never too late for college. You can do ANYTHING you want as long as you don’t sell yourself short”

-yeah but, I was a senior in high school 3 years in a row, I graduated when I was 20. When it comes to math, I can’t go beyond multiplication. I’m just not book smart, I never was.

“Well… you need to find that ONE thing that makes you happy, and pursue it. Do something with your photography skills”

-LOL “skills”??? I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have skills. I bought my camera back in 2010 and I couldn’t even begin to try to understand the settings. I have no idea what I’m doing.

“It doesn’t matter, that’ll eventually come. What you need to do is get the word out somehow and say that you are trying to get a portfolio together, I need people who are willing to let me shoot them for free”

-yeah but, what if I suck and the exposure is all fucked up or something? It’s embarrassing.

“Well, there are photography classes you can take 😁”

So this morning I finally took her advice and started looking at courses I could take. I know my wife. What makes her exceptionally cool is that I know she would support me 110%. Obviously, we need the money. However, if I find that one thing that would make me happy, and I stick with it, and can potentially make it a career some day, she would back me up. It would be different if I didn’t take chances and just sat in my ass all fucking day soaking in my own sorrow. Which is what I’ve been doing. How can anyone be attracted to THAT?

At this point in my life, depressed, anxious, paranoid, on the verge of losing my family, and standing on the edge.. at this point in my life why not just say YES to something and take that leap? Embrace it. I can’t tell you how much I fucking love the word EMBRACE. If I started coming home every evening, with a HUUUUGE stupid smile on my face, completely stoked about my day, things would get better for my family and myself. Even if I’m not getting paid a dime, I can guarantee that my wife Bonnie would enjoy being my wife again. When she and I first met in the winter of ’06, she would see that man again. It’s the only thing I can do with myself and just embrace whatever challenges come my way.

Thomas Edison was one of the most important humans to had ever walked this planet. He was a very inspirational man, and there are three quotes that have inspired for a long time, I just did nothing with it and ended up being a lazy insecure fucking nobody. He said:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”


” many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

So why couldn’t I just listen to him and go for it, even if I didn’t achieve my goals? Let’s fucking go and embrace this amazing world with curiosity, adventure, and heart!

Let’s go!

Dialectical thinking

Dialectical thinking refers to the ability to view issues from multiple perspectives and to arrive at the most economical and reasonable reconciliation or seemingly contradictory information and postures.

When we are extremely frightened or overwhelmed, we do not think clearly. So, learning to practice more balanced, or dialectical thinking, can help to dial down our level of anxiety, see the nuances in situations, and act towards others and ourselves in more effective ways.

I will be the first one to stand up and recognize that I am guilty of reacting to almost every time I feel my chest begin to fill up with anxiety like a balloon ready to pop from too much air. And in order to release that pressure before I explode, I behave in a way that has consequences. I speak my mind without really thinking about it first. And in the end, my only accomplishment was that I dug the hole even deeper, making it even more difficult to climb out of.

Now I’m not saying for a second that I’ve mastered the art of dialectical thinking. I still consider myself the ultimate fuckup whenever I react to any negative situation. My heart may be in the right place, but my thinking is too quick and doesn’t allow me take a step back and breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. And at the end of the day I’ll find myself back where I started, alone and regretting everything I’ve said or done. It can be pretty fucking embarrassing at times as well.

In one of the groups I go to, we are practicing coping skills, and this week we were talking about dialectical thinking. I can identify with every one of these, but I think number 19 stands out the most to me.

Dialectical thinking means that we can practice the beliefs that:

  1. A situation can be viewed in more than one way.
  2. A problem can be solved in more than one way.
  3. Two people can view the same situation in different ways, and both people can be right.
  4. Extreme terms such as “always’, “never”, and “either-or” can be substituted by “frequently”, “at times”, or “seldom”.
  5. We can tolerate confusion and not knowing absolutely everything about a situation.
  6. We can wish things can could stay the same and also acknowledge that change is inevitable.
  7. We can understand why someone might want us to do something and also say no to the request.
  8. We can enjoy being alone at times and also miss other peoples company.
  9. We can have fun at a party and also imagine how nice being at home reading a book might be.
  10. We can love someone and also be angry with them.
  11. We use phrases such as “I feel…” rather than “you are [mean, rude, etc.]…”
  12. We cannot know for certain what someone else is thinking or feeling. We look for clues and ask clarifying questions.
  13. We can be kind and also set appropriate and firm boundaries.
  14. We can accept ourselves as we are and also want to change some things about ourselves.
  15. We can not be in the mood to do something and be willing to do it anyway.
  16. We can question our ability to accomplish a task and be willing to give it a shot anyway.
  17. We can appreciate both the similarities and differences between ourselves and other people.
  18. We can validate why someone else might feel a certain way (i.e., enraged) and also tell them that hitting us is not acceptable.
  19. We can allow ourselves to experience a powerful emotion and also control our behavior.
  20. We can share certain secrets with people and keep other secrets to ourselves.
  21. We can spend time doing activities we need to do and also find time to do things we want to do.

After some time practicing dialectical thinking and acting, we strengthen our ability to:

  1. Anticipate various possible outcomes to a dilemma.
  2. Appreciate other peoples point of view.
  3. Refrain from impulsive words and behaviors.
  4. Make reasoned decisions, having weighed the associated pros and cons.
  5. Have patience, curiosity, tolerance, and humility.
  6. Have more harmonious relationships with other people and ourselves.

I know this is way easier said than done. I personally still have a lot of work to do. But this as given me a chance to slow it down a bit. It’s a challenge, but will lead to a much more positive outcome.

Horror Business

Horror movies. What’s the deal with horror movies? 🤷‍♂️

Nah, I’m not gonna try to do a Jerry Seinfeld bit. But I kind of want to talk about horror movies, and my fascination with them.

The very first horror flick I have ever seen, or that I can remember anyway, was the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I can’t remember if it came out in ‘84 or ‘85, so I was either 3 or 4 when I saw it. I was a new release. My parents and I were spending the night at my grandmas house in Lodi NJ. She had a really cool finished basement that I always loved being in when I was there. It was kind of eerie, reminded me of the the lounge from the Shining. My grandpa, who passed away in 1985, built this really cool bar down there, so maybe that’s where my Shining vibe comes from?

Anyway, It was a finished basement with a a table, reclining chairs, couches, end tables, lamps, ash trays, etc… It sounds like it should be a pretty scary place for a child to play with his Lincoln logs in, but what can I say? I’m fucked up I guess.

One of the couches turned into a king sized bed and that’s where I would sleep with my parents whenever we would stay over. So this one night when we were in bed, my parents turned on the tv thinking I was asleep. Elm Street was a new release and I was about to start on HBO. This must have been a Saturday because if my memory serves me well, HBO always released movies at 8:00pm on Saturdays. So there I was, pretending to be asleep as the music from the intro of Elm Street began. I looked at the TV and all I saw was this guy making a weird looking glove. Oh at this point I was so fucking in! I was intrigued. And that first kill scene where the girl ended up on the ceiling had my flinching and pulling the covers over my face…. but as I said, I was fucking in! I peeked my eyes out and watched this trail of blood go across the wall and ceiling. My parents finally noticed that I was awake, and my mom wanted to change the channel but my dad said no, he wanted to watch the rest of the movie because HE was fucking in! I don’t remember my exact words, but I begged and begged my mom to please keep it on, so she did. Parents in their early 20’s in the 80’s 🤷‍♂️ am I right? So there I was, amazed, terrified, intrigued, Johnny Depped 😆. I loved it. I really did love it. I became a horror film buff at the age of 3 or 4, and that had only been the first horror movie I’ve seen.

A few years later in ‘88 when I was 7, I was walking around the video store with my dad. It was Friday night movie night in the house. My dad picked one movie, I picked the other. I don’t remember which movie I had in my hand, it was probably goonies or gremlins knowing me. But then I passed a stand up pop up movie poster. My jaw dropped to the floor, eyes open wide, WHAT. IS. THIS. I ask. It looked like an Oompa Loompa, but with red hair, a little burn mark on his cheek, and holding up a knife that was red and had a squiggly white line on the blade. “DADDY! DADDY! LOOK!!!”, he takes a look as says “NO! Absolutely NO!” I begged and begged, knowing how much of a push over he is. And he caved. Child’s Play. I didn’t even watch the movie yet and just by looking at the poster I immediately knew that I was so fucking in! Child’s Play is coming home with us tonight. Chucky will haunt me in my dreams and I couldn’t wait. Again, I’m fucked up, what can I say 🤷‍♂️ so I dropped the goonies or gremlins on the floor and ran over to the new releases and BAM! Child’s Play is in my heart. Now don’t think that I went from Elm Street to Child’s Play, there were other movies in between, Halloween, Friday the 13th (which I also loved, but it didn’t have the charm and charisma that Freddy and Chucky had).

Next horror film that stole my heart and curiosity came out that same year I think. Now THIS one truly did scare the daylights out of me because it was a horrible way to die. The Blob. At the time, I didn’t know the Blob was a remake. So after seeing the Blob a couple dozen times, it was time to rent the original. The original was so different, but I wasn’t bored. I was intrigued. Dude, that diner scene was the greatest.

Fast forward many years into the future, I’ve seen some really great horror movies, and some really bad ones. I started to get tired of the predictable “jump scares” and needed something to really mess me up again. But there weren’t anything like that, until Saw. Saw is the most brilliant horror film I have ever seen. They didn’t introduce the mindset of Jigsaw until the 2nd film, but after watching the 2nd I knew that it was a different type of horror. It isn’t that far fetched, these types of things can actually happen. There is no supernatural villain. And the thing I loved so much about it is that you actually get into the mind of John Kramer. And for a moment, you kind of feel sorry for the guy. You want to know more about his origins, you even want to see him survive even though you don’t want him to win. It’s weird, but brilliant.

I’m waiting for a new genre of horror to come. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead in the 20’s… the 2020’s, that’s so weird to say 😯

We should hang..

Just a brief little understanding of my social awkwardness, and my younger personality:

As young as I can remember, I’ve always had a difficult time making and holding onto friends. Not that I was bullied or anything, well, I may have been bullied from time to time, but we were kids, kids are assholes. But truthfully, I was just a very shy little boy. My best friends were my mom and dad, and my cousins whenever I would see them. My cousins were actually my best friends. We were all one year apart in age, I was in the middle. But man, I loved seeing them. Even my aunts and uncles were pretty bad-ass too. But sadly, I would only go see them two or three times a year since I lived on the Jersey Shore and they lived in North Jersey.

For the most part, I kept myself pretty busy. I had a solid collection of G.I. Joes and Nintendo games. And every now and again, a kid of two from my neighborhood would ring the doorbell for me to either come out and play, or join me inside to play video games. I was content with my childhood, I adapted to being an introvert.

My teenage years were a little more awkward. Middle school was hell for a shy, timid loser like myself. I couldn’t wait to enter high school. But freshman year at Howell High School was by far the worst. I started getting a sense of slight depression, and I felt the loneliest that I’ve felt in my life. The summer of ’96 was terrifying. My parents officially split by this time and I had no choice but to leave the house I grew up in and relocate to Brick Township two towns over, where I really wouldn’t know anyone. It was summer. I should be out enjoying it with other friends, but there was nobody. Going from a huge house to a crappy small 2 bedroom apartment difficult for me to process. So I would hop on my bike and peddle as fast as I was able to. No destination in mind, I just wanted to get out of the apartment and try to at least make the best of my lonely summer. That was also the summer where I started getting into ska-punk. So I spent a lot of summer days laying on my bedroom floor listening to bands like Reel Big Fist, Less Than Jake, Suicide Machines, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Rancid.

The first day at my new school. I had major anxiety that day. I purposely missed the bus so I wouldn’t have to face the new faces. After finding my homeroom, I claimed the seat/desk closest to the teachers desk in the very front row so I could talk as low as I can, but just loud enough so the teacher can hear me. Years later I self-diagnosed myself with social anxiety.

A few months in at my new school, a couple of girls felt bad that I always sit alone at the lunch table, so they came over to sit down with me. I immediately thought they were great, but that’s only because I wasn’t used to people approaching me wanting to be friends. So we hung out a little after school. It was different. I don’t remember exactly what it was about them, but at some point I decided to stop hanging out with them. I caught a bad vibe. So I turned my back to them and chose to be on my own yet again. By the spring time, there were a couple kids I would talk to in the halls between classes or in gym. We hit it off because we listened to the same music. I secretly wanted to be friends with them, but didn’t know how to do that.

I believe it was May 3rd 1997 that The Offspring was coming to the Stone Pony. I didn’t want to go alone, but accepted the fact that if I want to get out once in a while and go to a show, I better stop worrying about being alone and start enjoying life my own way. So there I was, at the Stone Pony. I ran into those kids from school, and met their friends as well. That was the night that started a chain reaction of the many people who would be entering my life over the next 10 years. We became a family. In their eyes, it was cool to be a loser. I had never heard of that before. They new I was shy and unsure of myself, and they took me in. As it turned out, we all had similar problems.

As we eventually grew up, went to college, got married, had kids, left NJ, or whatever.. we still, 22 years later, will always be there for one another.

Yeah sure, I moved to North Carolina with my wife, had a couple of kids, and bought a house. And I knew that I would never replace my NJ friends, but eventually started becoming a little depressed again. This time it was different though. I didn’t feel as lonely as I used to, I had acquaintances, my neighbors were pretty cool, and NJ was only a 10 hour drive if I ever wanted to go home. My wife made all the friends, they all loved her but I could tell they really didn’t like me much. well, maybe they liked me a little, but definitely had no desire to invite just me out for a beer or something, or anything like that. I was socially awkward, had very little interest in sports, and was liberal. They weren’t any of that. All they wanted to do was talk about football and nascar, and all I wanted to do was talk about the Bouncing Souls and Descendents. Whenever we would get together, I would sit there with a fake smile on my face and listen as they talk about the Carolina Panthers, and in my head I would yell “where are my fucking friends??”.

I just knew that I had to get out of NC. 9 years is way too long. So, my family and I decided to embark on a journey cross country and hang our hats in San Diego. It’s amazing here, it really is. And the people, these are the people I need to be around. Everyone here is so open-minded, and its teaching me to more open-minded as well.

Now, the whole purpose of this story was to talk about what comes next.

Almost two years in San Diego and I still don’t have any friends. It didn’t bother me, at first. I am here with my kids and my wife. My wife didn’t know anybody here either, at first. Since it would be foolish for the both of to work because childcare is so damn expensive, we’ve decided that one of us will work, and the other would stay home with the kids. She has been a nurse for 11 years and pay out here for nurses is ridiculous. She works while I be a stay at home dad. She has always been the social butterfly of the family, definitely not me. She gets a long with everyone. She has friends. Her co-workers are her friends. And she has hinted to me from time to time that she may want to go to with her co-workers without me around. The problem with that is that I am so co-dependent on her. I am just fine being a stay at home dad, taking care of school functions, bringing them to their doctor appointments, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, etc.. I’m ok with all of that, in fact I kind of enjoy it. But I’m surrounded by kids day in and day out with NO adult interaction. I need more adults in my life, which is why I cling onto my wife. Maybe its jealousy. Like why should she go out and have adult time without me, and I can’t? No, she really doesn’t go out that much, but I think its because she is afraid of hurting my feelings. If I can just have some adult friends of my own then it would be fine. But I don’t have that. I wish I did, but I just don’t. It’s just the kids and I. She works overnights and sleeps during the day, so we barely even have time for each other as it is.

How does a 38 year old man meet people? How does a 38 year old man go up to someone wearing Alkaline Trio shirt and say “great fucking band. Wanna be friends?”. You just don’t do that, its weird. How do guys make friends? Honestly, I’ve wondered if starting a Tinder account would help. No, not for hookups. I would never cheat on my wife because I’m not a lying scumbag, but Ive thought of something like Tinder and just stating that I am ONLY here for friends, and then just see if that starts a chain reaction like it did for me in ’97. But I couldn’t do that because it would look really bad if I were to join something like that. I would be misunderstood. I feel pathetic.

Hold onto what you’ve got

This ring right here, I’d like to talk about it 🙂

I’m sitting here on the couch, reflecting on my past. I have been doing a lot of that lately. 2006/2007 were some of the most stressful, yet most exciting years that we had ever experienced.

The fall of 2006, we had talked about an engagement. So we went about it in a very non traditional way, we went shopping for the perfect ring together. We went to every diamond shop in ocean county. We couldn’t find it. We had gone to the diamond district in NYC, searched every store. One of the stores offered me whiskey or wine, I declined the whiskey but took them up on the wine offer.

I remember leaving one of the stores when Bonnie stubbed her toe so bad she lost a toenail. I felt so bad. Open toed flip flops should never be worn in the fall, in NYC of all places.

So we left the city with great disappointment and a bloody toe. The ring for her wasn’t up there.

Then, we went to the diamond district in Philly. Again, we searched every store. We almost gave up. We were ready to just settle with an ordinary ring. The last store through our journey through Philadelphia was a place called Stephen Singer. The sales woman, Deena, was incredibly sweet, and cool. She made us feel so comfortable. She took out almost every engagement ring the store had, and simultaneously, the both of us went to pick up the same ring at the same time. I suppose it was destiny. This ring popped out from all the others. THIS was the ring for her.

I put a deposit down on it and put the rest on layaway. Once the ring was entirely paid off, Stephen Singer would send the ring to my house.

For months, I had this ring on my mind. I needed to hurry up and pay for it. I was working for the star ledger at the time, and my co workers couldn’t get me to shut the hell up about the ring. I worked doubles, sometimes triples. I worked overtime whenever it was granted. I would wake up at 3:30 in the morning to begin my 1 hour commute and clock in by 5:45, and sometimes I wouldn’t get home till 1:30am the next night. When it was finally paid off, this teeny tiny ring came in a box big enough to fit a VCR, to this day I’m still not sure why. But the ring was mine, along with all the paperwork. It was sent to my moms house, but I brought it to the beach house where Paul and I were living. I ran up the stairs with ring in hand, Paul was sitting in front of the computer. He wanted to see it and he said “you paid HOW MUCH for that ring???” I defended the price.

I now have the ring in my possession. And she had NO idea when she would get it. It was the beginning of December, she thought I was holding out till New Year’s Eve. But she knows me better than that. I had better plans 😉

Our favorite band was playing in Atlantic City. The Bouncing Souls. At the time, her favorite song was Lean In Sheena. I wanted to propose to her at the show. The only problem was that we were walking in together. They make you empty out your pockets while going through security. “Shit” I said to myself, “she’s going to see the ring!” So I made up something, I think I said that I need to use the bathroom, and go on without me, we’ll meet up in a few minutes.

So here I am, walking around a bouncing souls show with a diamond in my pocket. What balls I had. I was able to track down someone with the band, so I asked to mercy guy if he can pass along a message. I wanted to propose to her on stage right before they play Lean in Sheena. Well, someone else beat me to it because there was already another proposal happening on stage. But Greg still got the message before he went on.

We’re standing stage right watching the show. I kept feeling for the ring, make sure it’s still in there.

Now, this next part will be in my heart forever.

In between songs, Greg says “we have two friends in the audience who are about to share a very special moment. This song is for Bonnie and Adam, it’s called Lean on Sheena”. The look of shock on her face was exactly why I had planned on choosing this particular night to put the ring on her hand. When she turned to me, still trying to process of what had just happened, I slipped the ring on her finger in the middle of the pit.

It was fantastic 🙏

I eventually went to Things Remembered at the mall to buy this ring box and had it engraved to say “hold onto what you’ve got”, the perfect line from Lean on Sheena.

So here we are now, almost 13 years later. The same beautiful ring with the same box. The box got a little rusty over the years, but it’s still as symbolic as it was the day I brought it home. I love this box.

I love this ring. And I love my wife, Bonnie

She has been with me every step of the way. She was with me when my friend passed away. She spent every night rubbing my back whenever I would wake up in a panic after having a dream about Paul. I would yell in my sleep and wake up in tears. She would rub my back and wrap her arms around me every time. This went on for months. His bedroom was right next to mine. It wasn’t easy.

Fast forward 10 years.. She was with me when I was diagnosed with lupus. When the lupus was new and before I knew what was wrong with me, I was stiff as a board from neck all the way down to my pinky toe. I couldn’t move. Every joint in my entire body was damaged by this point. Remember when Dorothy and the Scarecrow found the tin-man, and he couldn’t move because he was all rusted up? It was kind of like that. The pain was surreal. Every morning, while it was still dark out, she would get up to help me out of bed. She would move one leg off the bed slowly, then the other. I now have both legs sticking out of the bed, straight and stiff. You could have used my legs as a table. She would then grab both my hands and go “1..2..3 and go” and she would pull me up so I’m on my feet. She would also help me get dressed. And forget about the shower, I was on my own for that one. It was a challenge to say the least.

She has had my back from day one, and I just want her to know how much I appreciate everything she does for me and our two boys.

I love you Bonnie Kazanjian

Smiling, it fucking works!

When you’re extraordinarily polite to the waitress and bombard her with “yes ma’am” and “thank you”, followed by a charming smile, you’re more than likely going to receive the bill with a heart around the total. I’m going to be mindful today and think about the total with a heart around it, I’m going to think about it all day. I needed this.


Drugs drugs drugs drugs drugs drugs drugs etc…

“Excuse me Mr. psychiatrist, but there seems to be a problem with the medication you prescribed to me 4 months ago. It seems as if, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the Wellbutrin and the Lamictal is having the opposite effect. Again, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe to be even more depressed than I was before. Thoughts?”

Mr. Psychiatrist- “hmm, that’s very interesting. I’ll tell you what, instead of 150mg of the Wellbutrin, I am going to bump it up to 300. And the same for the 150mg of Lamictal, let’s go to 300 with that one as well.”

“So you’re bumping up my meds? Do you think that’s a good idea?”

Mr. Psychiatrist- “LOL, we’ll see… I’m sure everything will work out 🤙”

Doctors 🤷‍♂️, am I right?