Categories
Me

It Might Be Time to Retire My Past

I know it’s not entirely possible in this day and age – the past follows you to the grave, but in my case, I can perhaps unpublish my blogs and books and clean the slate a little. It’s been a good run, but none of this stuff is making money and as time goes on, it is probably like wearing an albatross around my neck. I’m on the hunt for a platform to express myself – I’m pretty sure that the platforms I’ve been using these past two decades are no longer the ones I want to use. I’ve already said goodbye to Geocities and Yahoo Groups Lulu and Friendster and a hundred otgher forgotten and forgettable platforms. Now it is probably a good idea to say goodbye to WordPress, Facebook, Createspace, Twitter, and Google Plus – it’s a shame about Google Plus – it was and still is a better platform than the rest but its days are numbered. Yes, it’s going to be hard to give up the $48 dollars this site earns each year – but I think I will manage to get by. Will the world though?

Cheers. Merry Christmas. Probably not the last post, but we’re getting closer.

Categories
America Me

Perspective

I remember back in the early 2000s when I was living on the island of Kauai – this middle aged guy showed up on the island, wife and two young kids in tow. He was likable enough and hustled non-stop to make deals, set up new projects, and get money. Actually, he came across as a shyster…any conversation with him felt like an attempt to get you to do some work for him without pay – he was constantly setting up deals and partnerships where he enabled other people to do the work and then share their profit with him. Myself and all of my single guide friends – we laughed at this guy behind his back and avoided him at all costs – but it was almost impossible to avoid him – he was everywhere.

Back then, it was impossible for any of us to understand what he was doing. Now though, with a wife and child of my own – and a constant need to hustle so that we can continue to live here in this paradise that impossible rents have turned into a kind of hell – I get it. He was trying to find a way to let his children grow up in a wonderful place. He wanted his kids to have the chance to find happy lives and have happy memories of childhood in a wonderful and magical place.

I wonder what happened to that guy. I wonder what happened to his kids. I wonder what happened to all of my single guide friends. I can tell you what happened to me – I’m a middle aged guy with wife and kid in tow trying to find a way to let my daughter have happy childhood memories of growing up in paradise. I’m doing it while trying hard not to do what that guy did – coming across as a shyster or a person who is trying to profit from other people’s work.

But here I am…with perspective I didn’t have a decade ago.

Categories
Me

This world…..

I had a somewhat surreal online encounter with a stranger today. We disagreed and it quickly became personal. This person had the oddest desire to show that he was better than me – which, I suppose is normal in that situation – but it was the weird way he went about it that lingers in my head and made me feel really good about my life and who I am. First he tried to tell me that he was in better shape than me, more physically fit. It struck me as really bizarre – I guess he was basing it on a handful of public pictures I have on Facebook, which, honestly, aren’t all that flattering – but which are also pretty old – but that wasn’t the bizarre part – it was bizarre to see how much that seemed to mean to him. I mean, it’s great to be in good shape, and I suppose it is good if you can win physical competitions with other people – but is that really any way to measure your life? Is that the first thing you weigh when you look at your existence? For this guy it was – but then it went on – he bragged how he was better than me because he had more advanced degrees and owned more real estate and even threw girlfriends into the pot – which again – it’s great if you have an education, it’s great if you have some success in business, and it’s great if you date the kind of woman you are attracted to – but is that the actual measure of your life? As he was throwing all this stuff at me, I was exploiting weaknesses I saw him expose – I wasn’t being nice. I’m not a saint. And, worse – actually, I was enjoying it. It was fun. It was like a martial arts – find the weakness and then hit it. I know – I’m not a good person – a good person wouldn’t have enjoyed that so much – or have become as good at it as I’ve become – but that’s not what this is about. This is about the weirdness of being a human being that will live 60-80 years if you are lucky and measuring the meaning of that with degrees, deeds, sexual conquests, wealth, or power – that’s really fucking weird. I mean, is that all your life is? Just this paper trail mixed with ejaculated sperm? I’ve got great paper too – I have title to 2000 acres on the moon and I’m a hereditary Baron of Sealand – seriously, it’s legit, and it’s worth about the same as this guys advanced degrees and property deeds – turn both our bodies to ashes and the paper is worthless to us. There are things that are worthwhile, things that are a measure of this life we live, things that perhaps make us better or make this life more meaningful when we have gone from it. Love. How much love have you given? Smiles. How many smiles have you shared? Awareness. How many moments have you reveled in the wind blowing through leaves? Respect. Have you ever moved an ant, a fly, a spider, or another living thing out of harms way? Have you saved a life? Respected a life? Have you done something kind just because you could? Anyway, the exchange went on for a while and like I said, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed winning this exchange, but then I started feeling all these conflicting emotions – while this guy was calling me all kinds of offensive names and saying all kinds of ridiculous things in an attempt to make me feel bad about myself or whatever his motivation was (I think he may have been trying to get me to see he was better than me, but it was a bizarre way to go about it which didn’t work – quite the opposite) – while that was going on, I just started feeling very lucky. I’m so happy to be – to actually be – to not be trapped in fog so thick that I don’t know I’m even in fog. I stumble and life is challenging and things change minute to minute and day to day – but it is very nice to be awake – and it’s so weird that more people are not.

Categories
America Me Work

#vagothinks

I have strong opinions and good ideas – I’m tired of keeping them to myself. I’m going to be sharing them from now on on twitter using the hashtag #vagothinks – I’m still a week out from completing my 99 day fast from Facebook – I may do another 99 day break from it after I check messages, check up on friends, etc.

Here are the first of my #vagothinks:

#vagothinks The USA should offer Syria to Turkey if they go in and kick ISIS out – just give it to the Turks.

#vagothinks the US economy is failing miserably for everyone who is not already middleclass or higher – I propose locialism as a solution…

@vagothinks locialism is a universal safety net including free medical, food, and housing assistance for anyone earning less than $40k/year

#vagothinks #locialism should be free and available for anyone who asks for it – no proof necessary – those who opt out get special benefits

#vagothinks taxes should be paid by employers before wages – flatly – every employee gets taxes withheld – not an employee=no taxes !

#vagothinks Trash trucks should have scales on them – every household gets charged by weight – less garbage=lower bill, more garbage=higher

#vagothinks No one (including corps) should be allowed to own more than two residences but no limit on commercial or industrial properties

#vagothinks There should be a children’s judicial system where children can safely appeal unfair treatment from adults with no consequences

#vagothinks a person’s record should only reflect judgments against them -everything else should be expunged – including credit data

#vagothinks The US government should wipe out student loans and make all Universities public and free of charge – funded by taxes, resources

#vagothinks the US government should use (and disclose) alternative funding for maintenance of parks, universities, schools, highways, etc

#vagothinks the sale of raw materials to other countries should be outlawed. The USA should export finished products only.

Categories
America Family Me

A Year in the United States of America

Hard to believe but it’s already been a year since I brought my family to the United States. I wasn’t sure we would make it but a year seems like a pretty good indicator that we are and will.

Of course, it’s been a struggle – but we’re making it. Major Ab Adversis – through struggle comes strength. My work with travel blogs has mostly carried us – by the time we were set up in a house and went through the expenses of moving, buying a car, paying utility deposits, and finding where to live – our savings was pretty well exhausted. Through a combination of picking, garage sales, eBay, and selling advertisements on travel blogs – we’ve made it. We’ve managed to pay all of our bills on time (or in the case of student loans, defer one more time) and somehow we navigated through Obamacare and got the three of us covered with health insurance.

We didn’t make it in California’s Bay Area – which was what my initial plan was. A weird combination of circumstances skewed that and put us in Sacramento for a few months while I tried to arrange interviews and land a start up job in travel and social media – unsuccessfully. Even when we considered staying in Sacramento, I found that since we’d been living outside of the USA and we were living on a self-employed income that landlords were unwilling to rent to us without paying an impossible deposit and first and last.

I knew we had to leave and go where the income I was certain I could earn, would pay for a decent place for us to live. We could have gotten a low income apartment in California but I’ve never wanted my family to live in that kind of situation – so I found a dying town on the Oregon coast where rents were dirt cheap and the quality of life was much higher. For the same amount a scummy California apartment would have cost us – I rented a 3 bedroom house with a big front and back yard and a leaky garage.

Reedsport is a dying town filled with geriatrics and people on disability. There is no industry here and more than 3/4 of the jobs that were here when we arrived have disappeared – but we’re making it. Our little family has a nice garden, a pleasant house, and a wonderful environment all around us including the Pacific Ocean, four major rivers, dozens of lakes, plenty of streams, and beautiful forests and sand dunes. Environmentally it’s heaven. Culturally – it’s not even on the map.

For the past few years, my main income stream has been advertising on my websites and doing SEO for small clients. Changes in Google policies and updates have been drying that stream up and the writing is definitely on the wall as to whether or not it will survive at all – so we have diversified – I’ve discovered that I can usually support us using eBay and we’ve begun experimenting with antique malls and the flea market. We are now vendors in two locations and have a permanent table at the flea market – only time will tell if that works for us or not.

I was planning on having a garage sale today, but the weather turned grey and rainy – so I ditched the plan. Maybe tomorrow – Oregon is like that. Twelve days of sunshine while you expect it to rain but when you count on sunshine the rain comes – if the garage weren’t so leaky, I would have the sale anyway, but we aren’t starving and the bills are paid – so it can wait.

We’ve tried a few other jobs. My wife worked at a hotel as a cleaner for a few months and that wasn’t good at all. The pay was almost as awful as the work and she was repeatedly solicited for sex by weirdos travelling through. I took my insurance license and tried my hand at selling life insurance but the company was such a crock of shit filled with liars and cheats that I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror – and the money was a lie – at least here on the Oregon Coast – maybe it would be a good job in a big city somewhere or anywhere that people have more than the bare minimum they need to survive.

The highlight of our year here has been to reconnect with old friends and family. Being able to see my daughter and wife with my mom, my aunt, my uncle, my sister, my cousins, my brother, and my neices and nephews has been awesome. Seeing those relationships grow has been so good.

One would think that my wife would have learned crafts like knitting and sewing in her native Morocco but it turns out that instead, being in boring Reedsport has given her the time and impetus to learn many new crafts. I am hopeful she can turn her crafting and jewelry making into a business – again time will tell.

The hardest part of being here in the USA is that we just don’t have any money left over to travel or do the things we used to do – even when there is a surplus, we are living so month to month that we need to save it in case the car breaks down, the ebay biz fails, or the antique mall spots don’t earn enough to cover their rent. All of that means that there is very little time for relaxation or enjoyment and almost no money for it – it’s taken a toll on our health and on our marriage – but what can we do? It’s not different for most Americans – although when we watch the $100k fifth wheels and RVs towing dune buggies and motorbikes start to roll through our town, it’s hard not to wonder where they get all this disposable income….

But what the hell – maybe they’ll stop and buy some antiques and collectibles from us tomorrow…

Categories
Me

The Invention of Vago Damitio

I didn’t used to be Vago Damitio – and truth to tell – I’m probably not any more. It’s strange, but that’s the way it goes.

drunk at office party
For some reason, I wanted to be some drunk asshole in a suit

Vago was an invention I created. True story, back in about 2003 I’d written a book called Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagobond. The book was interesting because there wasn’t really anything else like it and I lucked out and made a cover for it that resonated with a lot of people.

The book never did very well. Agents and publishers turned me down over and over. They always gave the same reason roughly “It’s interesting and well written, but there’s no market for it. You’ve written a guide book for homeless people and they don’t buy books.” The other part of the book was a collection of stories heavily focused on being generally fucked up on drugs or booze.  My heroes of the time Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, and Charles Bukowski shine through pretty clearly. Too clearly.

I used to play music with some friends and I wanted to sing. I have a good voice and at the time, I was deeply enamored with Jim Morrison and they gave a line that the polite publishers probably could have “You sound like Jim Morrison, but you sound too much like Jim Morrison.”  The publishers could have said “We see your influences too clearly”

I self published and the book sold hundreds of copies – which wasn’t bad for 2003. I paid my bar bill by selling copies to drunk patrons at my favorite Bellingham, Washing ton bar, Le Chat Noir or as we called it The Shitty Kitty. The bartender there, who was actually named Random started calling me “The Vagabond” and then once or twice he said “Hey Vago” – I liked it and it stuck with me.  Nobody else used it. I wanted to use it but I remembered seeing the Seinfeld where George Costanza tries to give himself a nickname – I’ve always been particularly sensitive to comparisons to George Costanza – I used to wear glasses, I’m 5 and a half feet tall, and I tend towards baby faced. Yeah, avoid Costanza comparisons like the plague because I was a serious dumbshit drunk with a short man complex trying to prove he was cool to the world – which I should have understood from George Costanza – is totally pointless.

To be honest, I never minded my given name very much – Christopher, shortened to Chris by most people, but it bothered me that it was a name shared by so many. It was a name that was easily forgotten. People used to forget my name frequently. I was always offended by that.

Fast forward to 2008. Nobody had called me Vago since Random. I was living in Hawaii and then as almost always – everyone called me Chris.  I had a blog called ChrisDamitio.com – it was doing surprisingly well – not with money, mind you (never my strong point) but with readers, engagement, and traffic.  I’d been through a really painful breakup over the previous year and I was on the verge of graduating from University. A whole slew of inferiority complexes had led me to pursue a University degree and to want to travel all over the world and be a backpacker. I was set on proving that I was as good or good enough or equal to or something – in any event I wanted to prove something and the girl I’d been involved with had said something about how when our relationship ended she thought I would just forget about her and reinvent myself – I couldn’t do the one so I decided to do the other and to leave everyone who had ever known me behind.

When I left Hawaii – I would tell everyone my name was Vago the world traveling anthropologist from Hawaii and then I would become Vago the world traveling anthropologist from Hawaii. And that’s what I did. It started on the plane from Hawaii, went across the USA by train, stayed on couches and in hostels, and then crossed the Atlantic to Spain. By the time I went to Morocco, I was comfortable introducing myself as Vago. I started a blog called VAGObond.com and I sold ChrisDamitio.com for $1200 and registered VagoDamitio.com.

To everyone I met, I was Vago.  I asked friends and family to call me Vago. Some did, some refused, and some were resentful – I’ve never understood that – why should anyone care? Everyone new I met, knew me as Vago.  Vago the world traveling anthropologist from Hawaii, Vago the travel blogger, Vago the traveller, Vago of the mad drunk adventures.

Of course, paperwork never cooperates. I’m still Christopher David Damitio to my mom, on my passport, and to the government. My wife calls me Vago. Friends from Hawaii and before call me Chris except for those extraordinary souls who made the effort to change their perception, and those I’ve met since leaving Hawaii (including my wife) call me Vago.

And there’s the rub – I’m not sure how to reconcile my two identities. I’m not sure I have to, actually, but I feel like Vago is quietly slipping into his grave. Vago was a construct of a guy who had something to prove, a guy who was desperately trying to get over a painful relationship, a guy who felt like he wanted to be someone else. That’s just not me anymore.

I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I’m a husband, a dad, a guy who has written several books and traveled to a lot of places.  I’ve failed at making a bunch of money or having a big impact on the world and —here it is — I don’t care.  I don’t care what the internet thinks of me. I don’t care what the world thinks of me.  I care about the people I love and I imagine that means they think good things about me.

Here’s something funny – people never forget the name Vago but they sometimes mispronounce it Vargo – but you know what – I could care less if anyone forgets my name now. So, while Vago slips quietly into the night – and I try to figure out who the heck I am and what lights me up these days – feel free to call me whatever you like. For those who wonder, Christopher is what I prefer but you can call me Chris, Vago, Vargo, Damitio, Ugen, The, or whatever you want. I don’t care.

By the way, as you’ll notice when you read his books or blog – Vago is a bit of an asshole.  That’s what I was trying for. I’m not sure why I wanted that – but now I don’t care to be that person.  So, I’m not. Now, I’m just me. No pretense, no act, no intent to offend.

So now you know.

On a happy note, I contacted the guy who bought ChrisDamitio.com in 2013 and bought it back for $350 – all the traffic and community was gone, but maybe they’ll come back – we’ll see.

 

Categories
America Me

It’s Been A Strange 10 Months in the USA

father and son 1992It’s been almost 10 months since we arrived in the USA. I’d been gone since 2009 and for my wife and daughter – that was their first arrival here. It hasn’t always been easy – in fact, sometimes it’s been very hard – but here we are – still persevering and still making it.

I’ve been learning a lot about myself since coming back. First of all – and I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone who has read my books or been following my blogs for a while – but I learned that I’m a bit of a selfish and inconsiderate prick. Believe it or not, I haven’t always known this. I mean look, I’m doing my best to become a better person, to be a better dad, a better son, a better husband, a better friend, a better brother, a better man – and I think I’m making some progress – so I’m not going to be too harsh on myself but I can see some pretty serious mistakes that I didn’t necessarily see before. My dad would say that these kind of insights are just the kind that one should keep to him or herself – and he’s right – but let’s face it – I’ve already gone too far in that direction to avoid embarrassing myself now. So let’s start with my dad.

I’ve written and shared about the fact that we had a big falling out and I haven’t talked to him in years (since 2009). It was really easy to blame him for lots of hardships in my life and I didn’t hesitate to do that. I blamed him for abandoning me and my brother and sister to my mom and her awful choice of a husband after him. I blamed him for not supporting me or keeping his promises to me, not playing little league baseball with me, not paying for my college, not being more of a relevant figure in my life, and most of all for not liking my books or supporting me as I told every embarrassing detail of my life. It was easy to blame him for those things but what I didn’t do was take responsibility for myself because of that blame. Let’s face it – I’m responsible for me, not him. In truth, he’s a pretty neat guy in a lot of ways and while I imagine our relationship can never be salvaged, the truth is that I’m just as responsible for our adult relationship failing as he is. I made the choice to be a dick about things with my dad. I didn’t have to do that, I chose to do that.  And it turns out – I think he was right – I probably should be keeping all this stuff to myself.  Hey, it would have been great to be one of those guys with an awesome parent who paid for my university and got me a start in business and always loved me no matter what – but not having that, I chose instead to be a resentful jerk about things. My responsibility, not his.

brothers 2006Coming back to the US, I had a similar falling out with my brother. We’ve been mutually ignoring each other since the last time we saw each other when I unfairly blamed him for messing up my game plan upon arriving in the USA. Again, my responsibility, not his. He surprised me with a very kind offer to take us where I wasn’t planning on going, I should have manned up and said no thank you. All he did was attempt to help me and then get shit on for it on this very blog. No matter the circumstances, I never should have thrown the blame at him for things not working out for us in the Bay Area. Not his fault, mine for lots of reasons.

I am fortunate though to be growing – I feel like the relationship with my mom is better than it’s been since I was ten years old. I finally figured out how to forgive her for the mistakes she made when I was growing up and in the process, it became clear that I’d been blaming her for lots of things rather than owning them and taking responsibility for them. I’m really grateful for the Mom she is today and the Grandma she is today.

I’m also very grateful to have the opportunity to strengthen the relationships with my sister, my aunt, my uncles, and many friends. Man, I’m so grateful to have the friends and family I do. I’m also grateful to have the opportunity to be a father and to be a husband. When I wrote Not My Morocco, I can’t begin to tell you how miserable I was. I blamed my wife for me being trapped in Morocco, trapped in a town and a country I didn’t want to be in, trapped in a religious culture I didn’t want to be in, trapped in a life I didn’t want to be in. Again, not her responsibility, but mine. I think about how unhappy I was and about the horrible trip I had with my friend when she came to visit from Holland – that friendship ended and it ended because I chose to end it, because I chose to blame her for lots of things, because I was a jerk.

friends 2001I did the same thing in relationships and jobs. Me. Yes, I did that. I was responsible. I made the choice to be a jerk.

Are you seeing a theme here? I am.

In my life, I have often taken the weak and easy way out. I have found it easier to blame others and end relationships than to take responsibility for my own problems, for my own issues, for my own mistakes and errors in life. My father, my brother, my friend – all relationships that I ended in the most public and awful way possible – it was me – I did that. Vengeful acts of awfulness that masked my own guilt and failure. No more. The relationships may be destroyed beyond repair – but it is me that is responsible, it is me that made things worse, it is me that failed and then decided to blame those who loved me. I did that.

I don’t want to do that any more. I don’t want to be that person.

It’s been a strange 10 months in the USA and this wasn’t the post I thought I was going to write.  I had no idea I was going to write this, but here it is.

There’s no going back, I know that. I also know that regret is not a useful emotion or action. I also know that unless you agree to face things squarely, you will never get past them. I am facing my mistakes.

Categories
Me

Heartbreak, Envy, and the Kings of Summer

My wife and I rented a DVD the other night called “The Kings of Summer.” It was a touching coming of age film, not too different from a thousand similar films that have been made – but watching it, there was something different in me. I recognized something that I hadn’t recognized before – or, rather, that I had recognized and identified but never before in this way. In truth, I’ve never been the me I am now before, so how could I have seen it.

I should describe the story of the movie. A young man – still a boy, but not yet a man – lives with his father – a rather harsh intellectual man who can’t see and won’t admit that his boy is becoming a man. That was me. The boy is smart and causes mischief. His best friend lives in an oppressive world where his parents coddle him and also refuse to see he is becoming a man. Boy #1 is in love with a girl who sees him as a friend and has an older boyfriend.

Boy #1 convinces boy #2 to run away with him and build a house in the woods where they will live all summer. The two run away from home with another friend and the three boys discover life on their own. Boy #1 runs into the girl he loves, finds out she is now single, and invites her to the cabin. Of course, she ignores him and falls for his best buddy – boy #2. And the rest of the film is them working all that out with a snake thrown in for good measure and the near death of boy #3 fixing everything.

my broken heartThat part about the girl – that happened to me too. I was in love with a girl – my first love. It was the most hopelessly intense love I’ve ever felt because it was that first love – she saw me as a friend and ignored my overtures of love but I kept on – we spent every moment we could together and I was sure she was almost mine and then she met my best friend – and the two of them smashed my teenage heart into tiny pieces, stomped on it, beat it with dead chickens, and – I think – killed a part of me that was beautiful and kind and warm and filled with hope – they made me think that was dead. Without going into details – I was forced to watch and unable to get away from having to see my friend steal everything that I’d ever wanted from me. Of course, their relationship didn’t last – he broke her heart and though I pursued her still – even when she was in my arms at last – she was never the girl I’d loved and wanted so badly – that girl was an idea and the idea of her was killed and replaced with hate, anger, and envy.

I spent the rest of my teenage years convinced that there was something wrong with me and trying to figure out what that was. I found a lot of reasons why she’d picked him instead of me – he was taller, he was blonder, he was cooler, and on and on. I found so many flaws in myself that there was no way that I could exist without hating who I was. My body, my head, my face, my height, my hair, my self. She picked him and not me and so, I reasoned, there must be something wrong with me.

So, when I saw this in the movie – it really hit me hard. The same thing happened to this kid and the big difference was I didn’t have a goofy friend who almost died from a snake bite and made things better before the summer was over. Nope – I did not have that. I had a father who was going through his mid-life crisis and broke promise after promise to me thus convincing me further that I was a turd. I had a brother who was Tom Cruise handsome and who every girl I ever dated in high school would talk about as if I weren’t standing next to her. I had cousins who oozed self-confidence and had no problems landing girl after girl and telling me about it – and I had intense self hatred that found validation for rage and anger that everyone else was taller than I was or had more money than I did or that women were so shallow and full of shit that they would pick anyone other than me. It was awful and as I write about it and as I realized it the other night – it is more awful than you can imagine.

You see – the combination of these things – they were poison on my soul. All I wanted was to find a woman who would validate that I wasn’t the monster I imagined myself to be but in the process of trying to find that woman, I grew into the monster I imagined. My best friend, the guy who was closer to me than a brother, knowingly used the woman of my devotion as a part time whore. It was never love for him – he had a girlfriend. The woman I was devoted to – turned my best friend against me and stole the one person who I trusted more than anyone. At fourteen, I learned an awful lesson – you can trust no one. I also learned that all women were whores. I also learned that there was no honor among men. I also learned that love opened the door to the most intense pain of them all – heartbreak.

They were awful lessons then, but more so now because it is only now at 42 years old, that I can see how wrong those lessons were. It is only now that I can see how I wasted all of those years – 28 of them – or at least 25 of them – trying to overcome that blow. I used that pain to do terrible things. Instead of using my brain to get good grades or to create a future for myself, I obsessed about finding a woman to validate me, to tell me I wasn’t as hateful and awful as I had convinced myself I was. Then, when I found women who wanted to do exactly that – I could never trust them, never allow myself to love them, never let myself listen to them, never stop wondering if they were whores too, never stop wondering if they were lying to me.

I have never really allowed myself to be too close in my friendships because I never wanted to have a friend destroy me like that friend did. I was so desperate to be validated as good as other men, that there were times that I stole their girlfriends or had their girlfriends behind their backs. It never made me feel validated. I wanted those women to leave their boyfriends and choose me – sometimes they did – but then, I just thought they were awful whores doing the same thing to someone else that I didn’t want them to do to me.

Everything I did was to prove that I was as good as every other man, but every thing I did convinced me of the opposite and demonstrated that I wasn’t. I tried to tell myself it was my height, it was my hair, it was my belly, it was my back – but no – it was this sickness that they caused in me and that I held onto as my only beloved. This hatred of men and hatred of women. I hated the women for not wanting me and the men for having the women that didn’t want me. As I think of it – I can’t believe I survived. I joined the Marines at 17 and at the time this allowed me to drink on base – I turned 18 in Bootcamp and after that it was a 4 year bender of trying to prove to everyone else that I was more of a man than they were while I puked, drove drunk, got in fights, and destroyed anything that threatened to make me a success. Success became my enemy because if I succeeded then I had no excuses, no one to blame my failings on. Happiness became my enemy and I chased it away with benders and anger.

By the time I was out of the Corps, I was a full blown alcoholic and not surprisingly left every job or relationship that had a chance at success. I pursued only the ineffable. I wanted only the unattainable. In other words – I fucked myself. Over and over and over again.

Seeing that movie woke that pain – only now – for the first time – I can recognize what happened. It had nothing to do with me. My friend shouldn’t have gone after the girl I’d told him I loved – the girl I shouldn’t have gone after my friend – but they were kids and kids make mistakes. I shouldn’t have carried a 14-year old’s heartbreak into manhood, I shouldn’t have let two 14 year old kids shape my lifetime of friendships, love, and relationships. I really shouldn’t have hated myself for what other people did – that was my biggest mistake. It had nothing to do with me. It never did – but the good news is that now, finally, it really does have nothing to do with me. I’ve let it go.

I’ve finally figured out what was wrong with me and why I lost again and again – there really was something wrong with me and it wasn’t my height, weight, hair, brain, or even my personality. I was filled with the poisons of envy, hatred, and self-loathing. I was a monster.

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Me

Vago Damitio’s Predictions for 2014

If you want to know the future, you’ve got to go there. Vago Damitio’s predictions for 2014 are for your enjoyment only . Any investments or life changing decisions should only be made after doing your own due diligence. 

Vago Damitio's Predictions for 2014Today is the last day of 2013. I made a number of predictions over the course of the last few years and to be honest, I’m usually pretty far off the mark. The reason for that is that I like to make HARD predictions – not the easy kind like ‘Your shoelaces will come undone” or “Iran will cause problems” or “Someone you love will suffer some hardship.”

My predictions will prove without a doubt that I am looking into the future with supernatural abilities.  Of course, if you are to judge by my predictions of 2011 or predictions of 2012  or even predictions of 2013 – I’m not seeing very clearly. In fact, unless you argue things very broadly, one could even say that I’m not seeing the future at all. Of course, that’s what THEY want you to believe.  Have a look and decide for yourself.

Without further ado….

Vago Damitio’s Predictions for 2014

 1) A ‘Duck’ Party will win seats in congress. Members will wear long beards proudly and wear camouflage suits. They will make the Tea Party look intelligent and liberal. Members of congress will literally start to quack.

2) Gold will drop to $700 per ounce  or less in 2014 . Silver will drop to $11 per ounce.

3) A crazed bug out gunman with an AR-15 will attack the Supreme Court. His manifesto will bring broad based support among quackers.

4) Syria’s civil war will spread into both Lebanon and Turkey. Israel will get involved and commit the worst atrocities since Hiroshima.

5) ‘Obamacare’ will completely fail as the majority of Americans refuse to sign up and those who have signed up realize they are put on the bottom of the emergency waiting list because their insurance is the last to reimburse them.

6) Miley Cyrus will overdose and almost die, when she recovers she will dedicate her life to Jesus and change her slutty ways. Billy Ray Cyrus will still support her decisions.

7) California will allow citizens to pay federal taxes directly to the state, but then default on paying the bill to the Federal government.

8)  The Internet will wake up and call everyone with a smart phone at once on August 23, 2014

9)  A homeless singer will win the hearts of America  and the world with her beautiful voice and youtube videos.

10)  A new major religion will be born on Twitter.  It will attract more converts than any religion has ever gained in one year.

 

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America Me Work

Reedsport Life

I’ve moved my family from North Africa to Turkey back to North Africa to California and now to Reedsport, Oregon. From here, I’m not planning on moving my family again. Sure, life in the USA isn’t as great as it once was, the days of children having more opportunity than their parents have never existed for me, but I hope they will exist for my daughter.

We have a nice life here. I’ve rented us a pretty house with a pretty yard, a nice garage, plenty of space in a nice neighborhood. Somehow, we’ve filled our little house up with nice things that make us comfortable and happy. We have everything we need – luckily, neither Hanane nor I need to have a lot of friends around all the time. She is happy to talk to her family and friends on Skype when she isn’t working and I’m happy to have the chance to hang out with Sophia, cruise around exploring the area, and once in a while to have an interesting conversation at a shop or a garage sale.

It’s nice that we have friends that will come visit and it’s nice that we live in a beautiful place where people will want to come visit. I am staggered by the beauty of this place. Equally amazing is the fact that this is a dying town – there are 4000 people in Reedsport and most of t hem are senior citizens who live in RVs and come for the good weather and leave with the bad. There are a dozen mediocre restaurants and dozens of empty shops and storefronts both in the old downtown and in the new. This town lived on timber and mills and those days are gone. There is no industry here.

But there should be – I’ve been all over the world and there are few places that have floored me the way this area has. Twenty miles south is Coos Bay and North Bend with cute little downtown shops, a nice bay, and many of the same problems we face here, but with a more diverse population. Twenty miles north is Florence where the snowbirds have built RV colonies   like Florentine Estates where every house has an RV barn. Both are good sized towns with healthy tourist industries. In  between are Reedsport, Gardiner, and Winchester Bay and forty miles of the most scenic lakes and forest of the Oregon coast along with the Smith River, the Umpqua River, the Siuslaw River and streams and ponds beyond mention. Tahkenitch Lake, Ten-Mile Lake, Siltcoos Lake, Woahink Lake, Clear Lake, Eel Lake, Saunders Lake, Beal Lake, Snag Lake, Spirit Lake, Horsefall Lake, Bluebill Lake, Three mile lake, Elbow Lake – and just in case you forgot – Unger Bay, Winchester Bay, Umpqua Beach, the Oregon Dunes. Yeah, the Oregon dunes – the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in the North America. Frank Herbert was inspired to write Dune by being here!

This is my backyard! And it’s populated by pensioners and retirees. I am literally in the vacation wonderland of the Pacific Coast – sure – this isn’t a winter sports or surf mecca – but it is a fishing, hunting, motorcycling, hiking, bird watching elk watching, canoeing, kayaking, horse back riding (Dean Creek has two of the largest Elk Herds on the west coast and viewing areas where you can watch them year round). It’s not unusual for me to see elk, seals, salmon, crabs, deer, or countless birds every day.

The down side is that the garage saling here is definitely not as good as in San Francisco or Sacramento – the retirees live in RVs and have mostly already gotten rid of the junk I like to find and sell and in a rural place – people tend to value their junk a bit higher – but, that’s a small price to pay. The truth is I amassed a nice horde in California that it will probably take me a while to sell anyway (check out Vago’s Treasures). And besides, if I’m going to do this for a living – it’s more fun to go on missions to different places for great sales and rare finds anyway.

So, that’s the reason why there is no one here but me, my family, the retirees, and a few people I haven’t met or figured out yet.  No jobs, no industry. But, the schools are good but small without crowded classrooms, the people are friendly, the crime is almost non-existent, and I’m loving it. My goal though – is to become the tourist bureau for Reedsport. Hell, maybe if i succeed at that, I’ll even become the mayor. To start all that out, I’ve bought a couple of domains for Reedsport, Oregon – coming soon.