Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I'm old greg!

I wake, like most days, grateful, but uniquely from an evening of intimacy I just wasn't sure would ever find my way around my day to day these days.  Her and I banter about purple doors, a ton of "early is the new on time" and a whole mess load of country renditions.  It doesn't take long for effects to be gathered, puppies bellies to be rubbed, and two unlikely hero's hobble out the mouth of the west sides greater hopes.  She treats me to a delicious bagel, cream cheese, and a unusual quick bout of PDA before leaving me to this mountainous day ahead.

The sun in sharp, it scolds me for the sips of whiskey from the night previous, I laugh, flip it the most accurate finger I can fathom before heading back into the train station, and all to soon I'm tucked into one of those silver people movers.  I find a good seat, pull out some Hancock, absorb what I can before my body shuts down to grab what sleep it might need for the impending endeavors.  I wake up next to a mess of a women with many bags and no direction sense.  From what I gather, she is trying to go north south on a train line that only heads west and I can't help but giggle at the resilience of stubbornness.  Just in time, I'm hopping off the train, Geneva stop, and soon enough my good buddy is picking me up in his silver ford focus.

This wily devil, cunning dish of confrontation is one of the greater influences I dare give acknowledgement to along the perplexing novel that will one day be my life but I do it in these following pages with a lightness of heart I may have never known possible.

He's getting married...
...not to say I called it but I remember telling a couple of people.

"That women is the best thing that could have ever happened to him."

This was some years ago, back when waiting tables was the top of all of our priorities...well...everyone except for hers, but we will get to that amazing women later.  For now, the droogs steal the show, the misguided men, mangling mystery and mysticism make their entrance.  We drink shots of wheat grass, pick juices of extremely alarming components, and one of us (the most confident of the two man pack) even get a caffeinated beverage from a neighboring caribou but all to soon we are bidding good-byes and promising to finish a list of tasks etched onto a napkin that I just am not comfortable vouching for.

Once riding around the suburbs I'm instantly reminded why I miss this creature so very much in my day to day.  THE FUCKING BANTER MAN!!!  It's like, cross, hook hook, jab jab, witty comment, and when you least expect it hilarity of a hay maker finds it's mark.  We came, saw, conquered, men's warehouse, best buy, and an old family haunt I'd long forgotten.  In between the robotic sales associates un-equipped with ibuprofen but plenty of homo erotic humor and dogs that just won't shut the fuck up we find a rhythm as friends I was so hoping still existed.

Sean and I go a ways back, like, well, baaaaacccccccck....

It was a dusty ole bowling alley, Mayor Daily had his panties in a bunch about rave children having a good time, so some thoughtful types created a nice little nook for us to get down in at the Drake.  I can't remember who introduced us but it was Bro at first sight and we took to swapping Hip-Hop, philosophy and dance at an alarming rate.  Over the years we had our up's, down's, deceased friends, and variety of prideful push off's.  Still though, the base of what brought us together as brothers has always shined through.  Humor, movement, idealism's most of you are to chicken shit to admit exist, and but of course whiskey.  None of this could have been written without the loving support of that bitter sweet spirit and our tumultuous travels through wrestling it down into something understandable.  From bowling alleys, to basements, and all around the west suburbs our story these past many years has grown.  Still though, the day, well, the day before the day...


I can't say I get it at this very moment, well, unless that one...yeah The only one...wakes up, grabs my hand and realizes these stories are for us as well.  Still...

I remember her coming in for her interview, short, powerful, and still to this date best calves ever, five years running straight in Dupage County and that is clearly saying something.  Back then, I was more so the fool but less aware of what that really meant.  So I remember teasing her before the interview and greatly remember us bonding through out the first summer she became a part of that Jimmy's crew.  Phew, with all the mess I sort through on the daily, it seems like those days spent setting up the patio at Jimmy's are to far gone but I'm still smelling what use to be as I stroke these keys and smirking a bit so I'm greatly o.k. with it all.  Still though, single mother, run through from the promises of a boy struggling with what it might take to become a man, and just hoping distance might provide some sort of answer.  I loved her for a variety of reasons but this really isn't about any of that.  As I fight off sleep, trying to click together a proper appreciation, I still find I loved her for her courage, and to think she found someone as equally courageous to share this amazing adventure with gives me an overwhelming sense of joy I'll just call "rainbow sparkle cookie, no you can't have that pink jacket back you S.O.B."

So, uh, yeah...I'm back at the grill.  It's been a little bit, Dan has had another kid, the hostess is new, still young, but almost as hot as Melissa once was (good luck ever topping that shit).  The tables are the same, the clientele is, and will forever be yuppies with a myopic conception of the global reality we are very well striving to help.  Still though, as soon as I pass through the doors, I feel like it's home and this is confirmed by the large (way to fucking large) glass of Jameson Dan gives me after our brief catching up.  I don't know how they've done it but the entire back room is transformed into something I never knew possible in all my years working there.  I guess, possibly, it's the transformative powers of love that these soon to be newlyweds exude, or possibly the extreme dedication put forth by Brooke and all the lovely friends that wanted to make this particular moment forever memorable...maybe both...Not sure...Just astonished that it's possible and greatly happy to be a part of it.

Various delicious delights dash across my plate, I get to try the rare but tasty baby Spinch, and I must say really amazing.  It reminded me a lot of spinach but for some reasons a bit crisper?  The sweat potatoes were really something to talk about but nothing compared to the amazing steak I sliced up and shoved down my gullet.  Travis is the FUCKING MAN!!!  I think for the first time in a long time he really got to express himself in a way that truly fit his vast vocabulary as a chef and all of our taste buds were greatly appreciative of every dish that came out.

Due to the large drink Dan gave me at the start of our rehearsal dinner I was only able to have one more and that is more then o.k.  I'm still able to creep out various strangers, old co-workers, and a whole slue of beautiful people that just don't know what to do with unhinged honest pointed at their whatever might be's.  Not soon enough though I'm stuffed back into that silver focus and we are high tailing precious cargo back to safety.  In between fruit ninja swipes and what could have been done better I soak in these two love birbs preparing to leave us all behind.  What comes next, most of us may never really come to fully touch but from the website I saw, there are ziplines, sustainable eats, and a whole lot of joy.

The soon to be bride jumps out the ride, the swap sweet nothings, and the groom is quickly back in the car heading us back to the homestead.  Our first convo is greatly about my in ability to keep my mouth shut and realize just what should be shared with individuals.  I blab...if you couldn't tell...but in this evening I find a few lessons coming up to the cleaner parts of my door step, so I accept them, and it set's the tone for the next few hours of our friendship.

We started out as young intellectuals that loved hip hop, dance, marijuana, and the natural back n forth of our combative cadences.  A decade and some change later we come to find that the same things seem to make the engine run.  We swap a couple of funny youtubes, stiff drinks, and not soon enough closets are getting cleaned out.  I'll be eternally grateful for this night, our friendship finds the congestion, and plows right through it with the growth you can only hope will find the tougher parts.  Some years back, we crossed alice through our friendship, he already just about done and me just beginning.  The flux it created couldn't be resolved until many years later, on a night like this, and I'm cackling at the stack of syncronicities I'm sifting through.

We talk about the status of this large global brain we seem to be a part of, he rants about what his hopes are for his family in the height of this vast changing eco sphere, and I do my best to not laugh in his face informing him it's going to be o.k.  Just as long as they love one another, stay alert, and trust the diving driving mechanism that has lead them this far.  It's amazing to hear the protective nature leak out of my friends throat pipes, astonishing really to me, because up until a few hours prior I was unaware just how much he'd embraced being a father.  I'm grateful for so much, blah blah blah, you probably read it through my various social networking mediums but truly and ultimately fully.  I'm extremely grateful for confessions of the soul shared with two great friends, just a bit of Jim Beam, and what will be.  I'm eternally happy to call Sean one of my best friends and insanely delighted to take part in tomorrows amazing adventures.

The sun creeps through the windows, brown bear has a cocky ass grin that is vaguely upsetting in my inebriated state but I know I've signed up for this ride in the rawest of available forms.  Years!  Maybe it doesn't mean shit to you but with every new calender I pay attention to, I clear my throat to brag about the few who make the cut in my life...or should I say...I make the cut in theirs.  Just pleased as pie to let my squirley blues eyes run about these two marvelous human beings lives.  Tomorrow shall be something spectacular and hopefully...maybe...with any luck, Julie will think I'm half as entertaining as I found her handshake to be.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Behind Blue Eyes

This piece was shot back in the Fall of 2012 by the extremely talented Paul Dinh.  It was a pleasure working with him, the weeks leading up to the shoot he got the story, story boarded the vision I wanted, and really put a lot of personal touches into our interactions.

The past five years have been an amazing journey with so many layers, adventures, and apexes that I never thought would be awaiting me.  Since being brought back to my truest of loves (liquid) the ride has been everything from bliss to extreme madness to pain and of course flowtastic.  If you'd like my take on life it goes...

I don't know....
...but let go and see what starts happening

That is precisely what I started doing upon meeting a very special friend some years back.  He started teaching me that lesson in a variety of ways, consciously (in our many early talks near ponds at the tail ends of dates with alice), and unconsciously through his demeanor as a visionary.  The lesson really sank in though when he excommunicated me for reasons I still don't know to this date.  You never get it right the first time, well the lucky do, but to me luck is like wearing a loose fitting shoe on a white sandy beach.  Regardless, sometimes it takes a while and in my case I'm still learning that valuable lesson but after the events of the last year of my life I doubt I'll ever have to learn it with such painful precision.

This video highlights some key locations in the story that I'll be telling in the years to come, it shows off some interesting apparel that maybe only a few people will understand, and ultimately as far as dancing goes it's best.  This however is a tribute to the people who have inspired me most the past five years and definitely a preview into the storytelling aspect I hope to further in grain with the dance I love so much.

I don't consider myself an active member of the "community" these days, surprised I was able to hang around as long as I did and extremely grateful for the experience.  I genuinely have a problem with communities, organizations, establishments or what have you's.  To quote the man who this video is dedicated to...

"You have a problem with authority!"

I find that to be false, my problem doesn't stem with authority but more so the abuse of authority.  I have a hard time trusting the "good intentions" of others, especially when there is monetary incentives wrapped into things.  I do however really pride myself on Family and really attempt to deepen the understanding of family values with every year I'm privileged to spend dancing on this beautiful blue marble.  I of course am not speaking about the family you are born with (even though I'm extremely blessed in that right as well) but more so the ethereal  family that we are all apart of and consciously keep through our lives story.  So why I do support the community (and those in it who are real enough to see a man for a man and treat a man as a man) from a far, these days I lovingly give my most precious resources to my family.  So in a large way this piece is dedicated to them, us, what was, is, and of course what will be (VEGAS BABY!!!).

Finally though, most importantly I should say, this piece is dedicated to my father....
Tall, handsome, soft gentle blue eyes that when excited can pierce right through the very fibers of your existence.  I wish i was talking about me :D  He's an amazing man, always doing the best that he can for his family and the few he favorably has chosen to call friend.  At this moment we aren't on speaking terms (take a number) but I know in the days, weeks, months, or if necessary years to come we will share that amazing bond that has at sometimes driven us to tears of love.  Yep, we are some sensitive sally's but as most of you might know our bite is deep.  I love him!  He's helped shape me into the man I am today in so many ways and even though he's contradicting himself at the moment, he always told me to do whatever makes me happiest.  He told me that I should reach far and stop at nothing to shape the world into the beautiful image I've had cultivated in my heart since I was a tiny tom.  He gave up a youthful rebellion, passed on poetic prophecies to stabilize an existence for me and my very young mother.  Flawed in all the ways you'd expect a young father to be but never was he without a job to bring the resources needed for my growing.  Our story is filled with laughs, shouting matches, wish you were there's, missing photos (i'll never forgive myself for losing that), and some of the best hugs I've ever known.  Dad you are probably one of the only people on this earth who truly understands me and that's why it hurts so much to have to do this.

So please enjoy the video, share it, subscribe to my channel there is so much good stuff coming out this year, and above all thank you for your time.  I find it interesting, TIME, for what it's worth doesn't exist but seems to be the most valuable resource we posses on this journey.  I hope to always honor the time you give me and am truly grateful for it.

Much love, many blessings

also known as Poot
also known as TJ
also known as that guy who threatened my family
also known as that lunatic with multiple personalities that drew a knife on me
also known as the other Tom
Also known as TomAsina
also known as Thomas John Dennis

So many stories, choose to read and believe whichever one suits you most.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Loser Wins

Exhausted, just wiped, and I mean it.  I've been going non stop, sometimes his words ring back through my head...
"What the fuck are you going to do with your life?  Because I'm going to go to L.A. and do it up."
This is the tail end of a four year friendship that had been crumbling for quite sometime.  I'm the optimistic type and always hope people will find their way back towards the light.  Even as the above conversation was playing out I had given our friendship quite the bit of distance.  The months before I left he was showing more and more his true colors as a pho friend, we had one last talk, I disclosed some personal information about the next few months of his life and his new roommates and panic struck his face as he left me 6 hours early in the midst of a heavy acid trip.  Few months later I get the call from a crying friend, letting me know its all over, and how her life is ruined.  This on top of the continual soul injuries I'm suturing from losing a good artistic comrade to suicide.  All the while, his words to me across the internets we're validated, and he pressed on in only a fashion that this creature could.  So I'm sure he thought I took sides or whatever highschool fantasy bullshit was cooked up in that underdeveloped noodle of his.  I assure you, I did no such thing, I just sat sidelines and bit my fucking tongue until the disrespect pointed at me start to get a little to testy for what I'd define as "love".  Sooooo, more distance, and then more distance.  I figured at the very least we'd be artistic allies, we had worked on so much together at this point and our scene was so not make waves.  The online community we all shared got put in cross hairs, I watched as both parties took their perspective balls and went to their different regions of the US.  I sat in the middle putting it all on my shoulders and the worst came when I found out he unfriended me from a social networking site that 8 months previous he said he would never join.

"What the FUCK are you going to do with your life?"

There isn't a day that doesn't go by where I'm not forced to hear that splintering weaselly question kick up in my head.  I look around and see....
The same thing I was doing before I let a self centered parasite with no class into my life.  BEING FUCKING AWESOME!  Saving the world with friends that matter most and enhancing the greatest city god placed me in.  Regret is a young mans game, maybe because I'm celebrating my 31st birthday in a few weeks that I find it easier to know I was honest, a great friend, and you were the judgmental prick who destroyed something pure.  Time will let you taste those lessons, I'll be here waiting to work through it all, because I love you and know no other way to be.

Get me my sisters wedding footage you whiney little bratt, I'd love to move on with my life, and put you further and further into the past.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

His name is wayne

His voice reminds me of the narrator from "the Big Lebowski" and he starts telling me what to do.  I hop on a bus, that takes me to a marta station, ride the marta train to it's end point, and beging walking around the Atlanta International Airport.  Full circle!  How the circle complete's its self goes a little something like this...

Wake up bright and whoa what time is it in the morning?  Rocky has to get to his job, so I take the chance to catch a ride to some side of a highway somewhere and get back out on the ole dusty trail.  I buy us both breakfast sammichs as he fills up his car and we swat about a few last jokes.  Then he pulls along side the highway, explains to me the best way to go, and drives up the exit ramp in front of us.  I'm left by myself, the wooshing of the morning commute, and many miles to Tampa.

I start walking down the road, listening to some Frank Turner to get my feet back in the mood, and I have a great glow inside me.  Making great time, already had some really remarkable moments, and finally doing the thing I've always wanted to in life.  A few miles down the road and I end up passing a police officer whose issuing a happy monday morning ticket to some guy traveling to work.  I get yelled at and forced over the median to talk with him, the highway splits from interstate to local and I end up crossing over onto the local route.

"What are you doing?"

I look at my very heavy green back pack, the road, my feet, back at the road, and then at mr. friendly.

"Umm, walking."

I'm made to give over my ID, so he can make sure there isn't anything to arrest me over, and I'm told to wait in front of his cruiser with my hands where he can see them.  I comply, I don't want any trouble and need to see where all this is going.  He comes back, hands me my ID, asks where I'm going, and the instructs me to walk along the local highway.  This isn't good...
I walk up the exit ramp and set down my bag for a little while.  Oddly enough, I'm listening to Allan Watts, talking about the flow, how all things merge to a point, and starting to wonder where my morning is sending me.

No rides on any of the traffic lights, I keep staring down where I came from, it's a speed trap, I watch him pull over a few more cars.  I think there is a cop further down clocking and he's just cleaning up.  This becomes clear when another cop car shows up and the two officers start chit chatting along the side of the highway.  This is about the time that I realize the highway they are on vears off to the right from the one I was trying to walk down.  If I hustle down the highway, put enough distance from the split, I should be back on my route and well away from the bacon.  Strap my bag back on and trott towards that wooshing sound I'm growing to love.

Some miles down the road an extremely nervous Pakistani man pulls over to give me a ride.  His car is extremely cluttered and there is little room for me or my bag.  He insists, I scoot in, and quickly I try to break the ice.  We engage in religious debate, he talks about what it really means to be a muslim about how all he hopes to do is bring love into everyones lives, and how he wishes the same.  He tells me to prey for him everyday, so he may find true happiness in this world, and he promises to do the same for me.  It's always funny to me, how the aspect of Islam is hidden from us as Americans and even funnier still how many Muslims I've been spending time with on my travels.  So nice, warm, understanding, and completely hopeful for what comes next.  He can't take me far, I don't mind but he starts to tell me about the truck stop he would like to take me to.  He keeps insisting I give it at least two hours and I should find a straight shot to Tampa.  So I set up at the truck stop and start talking with all the various truckers coming and going.  After about an hour of striking out, I start to get really restless, frustrated, and think about hopping back onto the interstate.  So far all my success has come from walking down the interstate and meeting up with people already in motion.  So I stow my urges and decide to follow the advice of that kind, softly spoken man.

After about an hour and a half goes by I see a rather large MegaBus come into the stop.  The sign on it reads, Orlando via Gainsville, and my brain goes to work.  I see the bus driver walking towards me and I do my best to conjure up some Jedi mind tricks.  Sadly she isn't looking for droids and after my best attempts tells me sorry.  I don't mind, it's a lot to ask of someone, especially when you think about the possibility of losing your job.  My interaction with her does cause my phone to pick up the wifi signal on the bus.  I guess once you ride on one Megabus the wifi recognizes you on every bus.  I haven't been able to check my email in a couple of days and decide to seize this opportunity.  I have a bunch of emails, the one that stabs my eye sockets immediately is from the reporter who did the interview in Nashville ( click here if you haven't seen it ) and at the end of the email he tells me about a someone who'd like to get me a plane ticket to Tampa.  I call the reporter, who gives me Waynes number, and I call him up.

Through the pay phone comes a sincere southern voice, comforting, and a hearty laugh.  I tell him about my travels, what I've been doing, and what I'm trying to do this year.  He says he'd like to give me a plane ticket to Tampa and then asks where I'm heading to after.  I explain to him it's tentative, I'm going for my fathers birthday celebration and then anytime after that I was planning on getting back to hitching towards New Orleans.  He tells me that he'd like to get my return flight from Tampa to New Orleans as well.  I debate with him about this, explain how it's a little unsettling for me, my pride and my journey to say yes to these things.  After a little talking I decide that I need time to think about it and will let him know my thoughts after I make the treck to the Atlanta Airport.  The words from my earlier ride making a lot of sense, the bizarre chance of the past 5 days filling my face with a sly smile, I find myself to the ATL airport with no problems.

After locating a ticket agent, getting the correct info to make this happen, I call wayne back from an airport pay phone.  We started to work out arrangements and I reinforce how I don't feel extremely comfortable with this much generosity from a stranger.  He quotes the article where I said "be grateful" and how he'd just like to help out.  I tell him that I'm not going to say no to his help but let him know I'll be fine either way.  I'm told to sit tight while he sets up the reservation, I call him back half hour later, and he lets me know the details.  I spend the evening in the USO office, calling some loved ones, setting up a pick up from the airport, and awe struck that someone would do something so selfless for another.  I've always prided myself on helping people, can't say I've ever been able to extend my kindess forward in such a large way, but hope to one day pay this forward.  Oddly enough, those were his last words to me, "Thomas, don't you worry about anything now, you just make sure to Pay it forward", and I plan on it.  Firstly by letting the world know just what sort of man Andrew Wayne Causey is.

He's a marine veteran, served his country from 1962-66, and is extremely proud to be an american.  Irish and indian, 68 years young, with a full raspy chuckle that follows many of my questions, and is very warming to my ears.  I start to ask him the big three...

1) What's your favorite part about being a human being?

He gives out one of those chuckles and says "being alive".  Normally I try to press the issues when people give that as an answer.  However, wayne elaborates to inform me that he's a cancer survivor and how everyday he gets feels like a blessing.

2)What's the most important thing a person can do with their life?

A short stint of silence and then...
"Best you can, treat everybody well and be true to your truths"

3)Normally I ask people something light hearted for the 3rd question but seeing how it's veterans day, I'm on the phone with a veteran, and I myself am one.

"Wayne, what's your favorite part about being an American?

To which he sharply replys with little hesitation.

"Rights & Freedoms"

We chat on the phone a little more but all to soon it's time for me to make my towards the terminal I'll be flying out of .  He leaves me with an open invitation to come visit him and his wife at anytime.  I'm overly touched, light head from selfless action this stranger has bestowed upon me, and feeling as if everything is definitely meant to be.  Fingers twiddle as the rubber necking normies blue by me and I revisit the various areas of the ATL airport.  Funny to me, I once shot a dance adventure in this very airport, and it's like you blink your eyes a few times in life and end up right back at the same place.   Not much has changed and yet everything is so different.

I come onto the flight, I see my seat is taken by a family, father, mother, and little girl.  So I try to not make waves and select a seat that doesn't seem to be filled, hopefully won't be filled and really come to grips with the fact that I'm on an airplane after all that's just happened the past few days.  It doesn't take long, another passenger comes up and says I'm in his seat.  So I get up, the flight attendant then comes to help me with my seat, I explain about the family, and she brings me over there.  This is when the husband says...
"Oh!  I was suppose to be in 1st class but was hoping whoever's seat this was wouldn't mind switching."

o.O  Yes sir!  The hits keep coming!

Next thing I know I'm sipping a Jack daniels on the rocks, reading, listening to some great chunes, and enjoying leg room you couldn't get with a box cutter on a plane (To soon?).  Watching atlanta fade I'm elated, thinking of how much fun it's going to be, seeing my little sister, getting there early so I'll have time to see some friends, and of course bringing so much joy to my fathers 50th bday celebration.  He's always been a big inspiration to me and a large reason why I've so strongly pushed through all the adversity in my life over the years.  It isn't until we are getting close to Tampa that I start to get a weird sinking in my stomach, a silly thought starts to creep in my head and I finally ask the question...

Why am I getting to my first pit stop on this adventure so quickly?