Friday, December 29, 2006

97.5 FM The Oasis

Lately, while surfing the internet at Gamerzz, I've been listening to 97.5 FM The Oasis. The Oasis is a Christian radio station. If you don't live in the S.L.C. area you can listen to them online at They play a lot of the same music that K-LOVE plays and some that they don't. I really like listening to The Oasis.

I am promoting a New Year's Eve Lock-In (LAN Party) at Gamerzz in Taylorsville. This will be the first time in a long time that I won't be working Security on New Year's Eve. Check out the Gamerzz website for more info.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, My Friend

Merry Christmas, My Friend
by Corporal James M. Schmidt

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

©Copyright circa 1991 by James M. Schmidt
(As printed in the December 1991 issue
of the USMC magazine, Leatherneck)
Thanks to for the correct version
and author of the poem.

Click here for the for the MP3 audio version
of "Merry Christmas, My Friend",
titled "Soldier's Silent Night".
Thanks to BlackFive for the audio link.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


A few months ago, back when I was working at Club Exchange, I was on the highway going to a friend's house when I saw a car on the side of the highway with it's hazard lights on. I almost always pull over and help people on the side of the road unless I am on the way to work with no time to spare. I pulled over and the guy that was driving the car had run out of gas (I'll call him OutOfGas). I offered to give him a ride so he could get some gas. He accepted my offer so we got in my car (the one that's totaled now) and got off of the highway at the next exit.

We went to a Chevron gas station just off of the highway but when we walked up to the door the employee was locking the door and taping a sign to the door that said they would be temporarily closed while he did paperwork for the last shift (I guess he was working a double). We waited for about 10 minutes or so and then the cashier started counting change. I thought it might be a while longer before he was going to re-open so I suggested that we go to a different gas station. We got in my car and headed north on State Street.

We went to a Phillips 66 and I went in to get a snack and a drink while he pumped the gas using his credit card (he had brought his gas can with him). I got myself a snack and a drink and sat them on the counter. Then I decided to get my friend a drink. As I was getting my friend's drink a drunk guy (I'll call him NotVeryBright) came up to the counter and tried to buy cigarettes for his underage brother. As I came back up to the counter with my friend's drink one of the cashiers (there was 2 of them) was telling NotVeryBright that if his brother didn't have I.D. then he couldn't buy cigarettes for him. NotVeryBright said he knew the cashier's manager and said he would tell her about him tomorrow. The smartest thing that NotVeryBright could have done at this point was to leave but, as you will see, he wasn't very bright.

NotVeryBright continued to harass the cashier. I told him that we didn't want any drama and he should just go home. I was wearing sandals, shorts, and my Security shirt from when I did Security for Shoutfest when I was working as a Manny in Virginia last year. He noticed that I was wearing a Security shirt so he said something like, "Why don't you bring you're Security a$$ outside and we'll handle this." I told him that he should just leave. His brother agreed with me and encouraged him to leave. He didn't listen. Then the cashier got on the phone and called the police.

This is the point in the story where a smart person would have just left. As you will see, NotVeryBright was not smart. NotVeryBright moved towards the gap in the counter where he could get to the cashier. I stepped up to him and told him that he needed to leave now. He once again proved that he is not very smart by spitting in my face. I would rather be punched in the face than have someone spit in my face. I grabbed him, spun him around, put him in a sleeper hold, lifted him off of the ground, and then took him to the ground. His brother moved towards me and I told him to back up and he did. NotVeryBright must not have realized that he was being handled because he said that he was going to "get me". At this point I was sitting on his back and had one of his arms locked up. To help him realize that he was in no position to be threatening anyone, I slapped him in his face. He continued to talk trash so I spit in his face (I know that, as a Christian, I should not have slapped him and spit in his face and have since asked God to forgive me).

After a few minutes, NotVeryBright settled down so I started to get up. As I ws starting to get up, NotVeryBright started wrestling with me. I got him in a headlock but because I was in sandles I lost my balance and fell on my butt. We both got up and NotVeryBright wanted to shake hands. I told him to get out of the store. Then the police showed up. One of the cops told NotVeryBright to come outside. Another cop got my story and the cashier's story. It turned out that NotVeryBright had 3 warants so he went to jail. That's why I can not understand why he provoked me after the cashier was already on the phone with the police. The cashiers thanked me.

OutOfGas had come in when NotVeryBright started getting stupid. One of the cops gave him a ride back to his car while I filled out my statement. After I got done with my statement I went to my friend's house.

In the past 2 weeks I've seen a couple of movies and read a couple of books. I saw Apocalypto and Charlotte's Web. I want to see The Nativity Story, The Pursuit of Happyness, Home of the Brave, The Good Shepherd, & Children of Men. I finished reading A Gentleman's Game. I also read For One More Day by Mitch Albom, author of The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I'm currently reading The Modern Bodyguard by Peter Consterdine. I still need to finish The Search for Significance. I read the first part of the book but I need to do the workbook included in the last part of the book.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christian Crew Counter-Strike: Source

I've been playing Counter-Strike for a few years now, ever since I worked at GoodGame, an online gaming center in downtown Salt Lake City. I've been playing Counter-Strike: Source, the latest version of Counter-Strike, ever since it came out in October of 2004. I've had a problem with cursing for a long time now. As a Christian I strive to not curse and I tend to curse the most when playing Counter-Strike: Source. One of the ways that I thought I could cut back on my cursing is to play on a Christian Counter-Strike: Source server where cursing is not allowed. I also wanted to play my favorite game with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

A couple of months ago, when I started going to Gamerzz in Taylorsville, I found the Christian Crew's Counter-Strike: Source servers. They have several different types of Counter-Strike: Source servers: a regular server - The Fish [BIG], a custom map server - The Fish [Custom], two GunGame servers - The Fish [GunGame] & The Fish [GunGame2], an AWP (sniper rifle) server - The Fish [AWP], a Zombie server - The Fish [Zombie], a Deathmatch server - The Fish [Deathmatch], a Surf-Deathmatch server - The Fish [Surf-DM], and a beginner server - The Fish [Beginner]. They also have two Half-Life 2: Deathmatch servers: a SourceForts server - The Fish [SourceForts], and a regular Half-Life 2: Deathmatch server - The Fish [HL2DM]. I play on The Fish [BIG] most of the time. Every once in a while I'll play on The Fish [GunGame] or The Fish [GunGame2].

Shortly after I started playing on The Fish servers I applied to be a member of the Christian Crew clan. Members of the Christian Crew clan have the Christian Crew tag (it is the fish symbol <>< with the letters "CC" in the middle of it*) in front of their online name. In front of my online name, Guardian Spirit, I was allowed to put the tag for a Christian Crew applicant which has an "A" in place of the "CC" in the Christian Crew tag. After playing for about 1 month I was promoted to probationary status. Instead of the applicant tag, I now have a probationary tag which has a "P" in place of the "CC" in the Christian Crew tag. In a few months I will (God willing) be a full fledged Christian Crew clan member and will have the Christian Crew tag. I thank God for the Christian Crew!

*I tried to type out the Christian Crew tag but it looks like html code so I was unable to show it without messing up this blog post. To see what the Christian Crew tag looks like go to their website -

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Two Car Accidents in Two Months

About 10 weeks ago, 2 days after getting fired from Club Exchange, I rear-ended a girl while driving in downtown S.L.C. I didn't have insurance because money had been tight due to the whole situation with Chere. She wanted me to call the cops so I did. When the cop showed up she just had us both fill out a form with our information on it to give to the other person. About 2 months later I got a call from the collection agency for her insurance company and am making monthly payments to pay for the damage to her car.

6 weeks ago, on a Wednesday, I was working at the new Club Vortex when Josh, who used to be a bouncer at the old Club Vortex, came to the club. He mentioned that he was running Security at a new club called Club Shakeys on Thursdays. I told him to give me a call if he needed me. He called me the next night so I left Gamerzz in Taylorsville (my new online gaming hang-out - GoodGame closed down back in September) and headed out to the club located at 4105 W 5400 S. I had a hard time finding it so I pulled into the parking lot at the Mad Greek restaurant and called Josh to find out where it was. After he told me I pulled back out to go to the club. Before I pulled out to take a left turn I looked to the left and saw a red light and no cars. As I was pulling out I looked to my right and back to my left again. All of the sudden there was a car there and it hit me and spun my car around 180 degrees. I got out of my car and the driver of the other car got out of his car. We exchanged some words and then he called the cops.

When the cop got there I told him what happened. Then he talked to the other guy. Then someone who saw the other guy run the red light told the cop what happened. The cop asked him if he wanted to fill out a witness statement and he said no. He did give the cop his information though (I found this out after the witness and the other guy left when the cop told me about it). The cop cited me for Failure to Yield and gave me a warning for my expired Driver's License (it expired on my birthday, September 26th). The cop looked in his system and saw that I had insurance last they checked so I didn't get a ticket for that (but they later cited me for no insurance). After the tow truck came and towed my car away I went to work at Club Shakey's. After the adrenaline wore off my neck, ribs and back started hurting.

After a few days the pain hadn't got any better so on Monday I went to the E.R. That was a waste of time. They told me that I had whiplash, bruised ribs, and a sore back (I didn't need a doctor to tell me that). He gave me prescriptions for an antibiotic and a muscle relaxer but I decided just to deal with the pain. The pain is gone now but my neck is a little stiff. I need to resume my Combat Conditioning & Combat Abs routine that I was doing before the whole Chere thing to get loosened up and in better shape. I have to got to court on Jan 3rd for the Failure to Yield citation and the no insurance citation. My car is totalled. I have to pay another $2,050 on my loan (I've already paid $450 since the accident) and then the dealer will waive $1,500 of what I owe them and add the remaining $1,200 to another loan for another car.

I'm still working at Convergys. I went through 1 week of Technical Support training 2 and a half weeks ago so now I'm doing Tech Support and back-up Mainbank (which is the department I was in before - helping people with billing, programming, & basic troubleshooting). I'm still working at the new Club Vortex on Wednesdays. I've been going to church on a regular basis again and I'm still volunteering at the Information Desk.

I've read a few books lately. I read Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. Gates of Fire is the story of the 300 Spartans that fought the Persian army at Thermopylae. Frank Miller, author of the Sin City graphic novels and Co-Director of Sin City is making a movie based on his graphic novel about the Persian-Greco war called 300. I've also read Holy Terror by Richard Marcinko. I have read all of Marcinko's novels. This one was good but it wasn't as good as his others. I bought More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell for one of my co-workers at Convergys. I also bought myself a copy. It does a good job of explaining who Jesus is and backs it up with logical and historical proof. I recommend it as a witnessing tool and for Christians to back up their faith with facts. I'm currently reading A Gentleman's Game by Greg Rucka. I really liked his Atticus Kodiak series so I bought A Gentleman's Game which is the first novel in his Queen & Country series.

Over the past few months I've seen a few movies. I've seen Jet Li's Fearless. Fearless is the story of Huo Yuanjia, founder of the Jingwu Sports Federation. I give it an A+. I've also seen The Departed (B-), The Prestige (B+), and Deja Vu (A). Paula Patton, who starred in Deja Vu, is gorgeous! I'm planning to see The Nativity Story, Apocalypto, Blood Diamond, and The Pursuit of Happyness.

I renewed my subscription to Blockbuster Online back in October. I've watched the first season of Sleeper Cell (A), Akeelah and the Bee (A+), and United 93 (A). I'm currently watching watching Smallville: Season 5.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Peter's Wedding & 2 New Jobs

After Phil did me the favor of firing me, I started looking for another job. While I was unemployed, I participated in two Patriot Guard Rider Missions, one for Cpl. Adam A. Galvez and the other for PFC Daniel G. Dolan. After job hunting for two weeks, I got hired at Convergys to do Customer Service for DirecTV. They wanted me to start on Tuesday, September 5th but my brother, Peter, who lives in Buffalo, NY, was getting married on Sunday, September 10th so they hired me to start training on Tuesday, September 12th.

My Uncle George used his frequent flyer miles to get me a ticket to Buffalo for Peter's wedding (thanx, George!). I flew out on Saturday, September 9th at 10:05 A.M. I arrived in Buffalo at 7:06 P.M. My mom, stepdad (Spencer), and Peter picked me up from the airport. Then we went back to Peter's house and I met his fiance (Joanna), daughter (Valerie), in-laws, and friends. I hadn't seen Peter, my mom, or my stepdad in 6 years so it was good seeing them. My mom got me some lasagna, took some pictures, and then left. I hung out with Peter and his friends outside around a fire and drank some beer from a keg (kegs are illegal in Utah). I don't drink very often and I've only been wasted twice in my life. Around midnight Joanna wanted us to clean up and head out. Peter was staying at the Holiday Inn with his friend, Arin and he got me a room there too.

Sunday morning Peter, Arin, and I met some of Peter's friends at a bar down the street from the hotel to watch the Buffalo Bills game. Peter has some cool freinds. After the game we went back to the hotel and got ready for the wedding. We took a limo over to the wedding. When we got there my cousin Michelle, Aunt Beverly (Uncle George's wife), dad, grandma (my dad's mom), Uncle Peter, Aunt Diane, and my cousin Jason were there. I saw my dad a couple of months ago when I went to Florida for surgery. I saw my Aunt Beverly earlier this year when she came to Utah to ski. I hadn't seen my grandma in 6 years. I hadn't seen my cousin, Michelle in 7 years. Michelle is my favorite relative. I hadn't seen my Uncle Peter, Aunt Diane, and Jason since our last family reunion 13 years ago. It was good seeing them all again.

I was one of the groomsmen in the wedding. My brother rented me a tux and I looked sharp. After the wedding ceremony, the photographer took pictures of everyone in the wedding party including Valerie who was the Flower Girl. After that we had the wedding reception. The best man, Greg did a toast and Spencer said a prayer. After the wedding reception a folk band played and we danced and drank. There weren't any single ladies there to dance with but I still had fun. After the wedding Peter, Arin, a few of Peter's friends that were staying at the Holiday Inn, and I took the limo back to the hotel. Peter gave me some cash because he knew I was struggling financially. I felt bad because I couldn't afford to get them a wedding gift and he was giving me money on his wedding night but I was very grateful. Monday morning Arin gave me a ride to the airport. It was good seeing my brother get married, seeing my family, and meeting all of Peter's cool friends. He is really blessed to have such good friends.

I flew back home on Monday. Tuesday I started training at Convergys. My brother sent me some more money through PayPal that same Tuesday and then again a few weeks later for my birthday, September 26th (my 31st). My brother is awesome!! There was three weeks of classroom training and 1 week of "nesting" (on-the-job training) which I just finished last week. My regular schedule, which started on Monday, is 5 P.M. til 3:30 A.M. with a half hour lunch (4 10's). My days off are Sunday (so I can go to church), Tuesday, and Wednesday.

On Saturday I went to the new Club Vortex, which is located at 220 W 1300 S in Salt Lake City. Gary, who was the Head of Security at the old Vortex, has opened up the new Club Vortex as an 18+ dance club (I didn't know it was only 18+ until I went there). The new Club Vortex is a no-drinking and no-smoking club. While I was there Gary asked me if I wanted to work there. I start tonight.

I didn't go to church for about 6 weeks. I went two weeks ago and this past Sunday. I plan on going regularly again and continuing to volunteer at the Information Desk. I recently finished reading a book that Ryan gave me called One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven by Mark Cahill. It's a really good book about witnessing. Now I am reading The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee. It is the best "self-help" book I've ever read. It teaches you how to see yourself through God's eyes instead of teaching the humanistic method taught in books like Psycho-Cybernetics. I highly recommend it for every person, Christian or non-Christian.

In the past month I've seen The Protector (a.k.a. Tom-Yung-Goong) starring Tony Jaa (4 Stars) and The Illusionist (4.5 Stars). I've also seen Mean Machine (a remake of The Longest Yard) starring Vinnie Jones (4 Stars) and District B-13, starring Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle (4.5 Stars) on DVD. I'm planning on seeing Jet Li's Fearless this weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Everyone Makes Mistakes...

When I got back from Florida I gave Phil a call. We met at South Towne Mall to discuss me working for him again at Club Exchange. I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to work for him again for the reasons that I stated in this previous blog post but I figured it wouldn't hurt to meet with him and talk about it. He told me that he wanted me to be a Manager and also run Security. He told me that Brandy would also be a Manager. I would be paid hourly and I would get a monthly bonus starting in August (I wouldn't get a bonus for July because overhead on getting the club going was too high). He said that he wanted me to quit Teleperformance right away so I could focus on the club and offered me a $200 advance. I told him that if I quit right away, I would lose my shift differential of $2/hr which would cost me about $150 (at Teleperformance I was getting paid $7/hr plus $2 more per hour as long as I worked at least 75 hours in a two week pay period). He offered me a $150 signing bonus on top of the $200 advance. Money was tight due to spending way too much money on Chere and her kids and having missed work for surgery so $350 sounded really good so I agreed to work for him again.

The owners of Club Exchange, Trent and Ryan, had bought the club from the owners of Room 32 about 6 months before I started working there. Due to poor management they had to bring Ryan's brother, Travis on board to help out financially. So basically he is a silent partner. Travis was also a silent partner at Players. Travis is the one that hired Phil to be the General Manager at Club Exchange. Ryan was very involved with the club from the time I started there until about 3 weeks after I started when he got really sick. Then Trent started helping out. Both Ryan and Trent were great bosses. They didn't micromanage and were very helpful.

Over the next month things got progressively worse. Phil works at the Ultimate Combat Training Center Monday-Friday from 6-10 so he wasn't around very much. He told Brandy and I that he wouldn't be around much from the beginning. The problem with that is that I had to work with Brandy. Brandy and I have never got along (at Players and at Natalie's) so I have no idea why Phil hired us to be Managers together. Probably because we were the only ones dumb enough to be a Manager at a club that he was running. Brandy, like Phil, is very insecure. Most of the times when I offered to help her or just went ahead and did anything that she thought was "her job" she would let me know in a very snotty, condescending manner that my help wasn't needed. Then when she did need something done, she wouldn't ask me to do it. Instead she would say "I need you to..." as if I had no choice in the matter. She also had a habit of waiting till the last minute to ask me to do stuff like sending me to pick up beer and bar supplies at 9:00 at night when we open at 9:00. When I would ask her a question she rarely gave me a direct answer. She would usually ask why I wanted to know something instead of just answering my question.

Phil and I got along fine the first couple of weeks. The problem started arising when he wasn't there and Brandy wasn't getting stuff done and when Brandy was being rude to the employees. Two of the employees, Dayne (a bartender) and Tony (a barback), were the only employees that stuck around when Phil took over. They were friends with Trent so when things weren't getting done or Brandy was being rude they would call Trent and let him know. Then Trent would call Travis and want to know why the club wasn't being run properly. Then Travis would call Phil and aks him why the club wasn't being run properly. Both Trent and Ryan saw that I was always there and doing a good job so it made Phil look bad. That and the fact that I argued with Phil about letting some ladies who were friends of his that were under 21 into the club caused Phil to start being a jerk to me.

To compensate for him looking bad, Phil started saying that he was getting complaints from the employees about me saying that I was bossy. While I am very direct and don't always use a lot of tact, I am a nice guy and I am good at dealing with people. The only employees that I had a problem with were a couple of Phil's fighter from U.C.T.C. that he brought in to do Security. They would clock in, then sit down and eat, after having been told repeatedly not to clock in until they were ready to work. They would frequently leave their positions and clock out before asking me if they could. They knew we were supposed to help the barbacks haul the trash out at the end of the night but they would frequently ask Phil to clock out and then when I asked them to haul trash they would say "Phil said we could clock out."

One night I went outside where Phil and Trent were talking to complain about his fighters. He didn't even hear me out. He just told me that he didn't want to hear it and to go away. Trent noticed this and talked to me about it later. He told me that he didn't like the way Phil was treating me and would talk to Travis about it. After that Phil mellowed out because Travis told him to.

After I had been working at Club Exchange for a month, Phil wanted to get rid of Dayne and Tony because they were reporting back to Trent about what a poor job he was doing of running the club. So he told me to tell them they were getting a pay cut. They had been getting paid more than the other bartenders and barbacks because they were told that they would not get a pay cut when Phil took over. I told them this on a Monday night. They didn't quit like Phil was expecting them to so the next morning Phil told me to call them and tell them they were fired for accusing us of telling them to work off the clock. They had not been doing this but Phil just wanted to get rid of them. I called Dayne but got no answer. I called Tony and told him. He said that they had never accused us of telling them to work off the clock. I knew he would tell Dayne and that they would both talk to Trent. We were closed on Tuesday.

Wednesday night they both showed up to work. I asked them who told them they were still working there. They said that Trent did. I called Trent and he confirmed that he had told them that they were not fired and told me to call Travis. I called Travis and told him what was going on. He told me to let them work and he would talk to Phil. About an hour later I was down in the office getting their tills ready. Phil came down to the office cussing and yelling at me wanting to know why employees that he had told me to fire were working. I told him that Trent and Travis said they weren't fired. He continued yelling, cussing, and being belligerent. When he grabbed a chair with a fan on it and threw it to the side I walked out of the office. As I was walking out of the office he told me that I was fired too. Then I left the club and called Trent and Travis. Shortly after I walked outside Tony and Dayne came outside because Phil fired them. Trent knew we were getting screwed but because Travis was the one financing the club, Phil got his way.

I had to call Trent several times to have him call Travis to have him call Brandy to get my last paycheck. The following Monday I found out that my previous paycheck that I had deposited got returned to my bank for insufficient funds. I didn't get a replacement check until that Saturday and I had to call Trent and Travis several times to get that check because Brandy was being very difficult (and that's putting it nicely).

There's a saying that goes "Everyone makes mistakes. Smart people only make 'em ONCE." I must not be very smart because I've made the mistake of working for Phil a few times now. I will never work for Phil again!!

To be continued...

Monday, September 04, 2006


Back in April, when I went to the dentist, the dentist saw some a dark spot on the x-ray that he thought might be a cyst. I have a genetic disorder that causes recurring cysts. As a kid I had about 3 surgeries for cysts in my gums, one for a cyst on my right shoulder, and one for a cyst right below my nose. When I got out of the dentist's office, I called my dad (he lives in Orlando, FL near Gainesville, FL which is where I lived before moving to Utah) and told him about the cyst. He told me that I should call the doctor in Florida that did the other surgeries to remove my cysts, Dr. Graper, and tell him about the cyst. I called Dr. Graper and they told me to have the dentist's office send him a copy of the x-ray. About a month later Dr. Graper called me back and told me that I should come down and have the cyst surgically removed. I told them that i also had another cyst on my left shoulder that needed to be removed. I called my dad and told him. He told me to get it scheduled and he would buy me a plane ticket to fly down there and have the surgery. I called Dr. Graper's office and had the surgery scheduled for Friday, July 7th.

Two weeks after Chere got arrested, Phil called me and told me that he was going to be managing a new club where Room 32 used to be. It's called Club Exchange. He told me that he wanted me and Brandy to come be Managers and he wanted me to run Security. I told him that I was flying to Florida for surgery that weekend. He said he wanted me to start working as soon as I got back. I should have given my 2 weeks notice at Teleperformance but I didn't. I wasn't 100% sure that I was going to quit. I wasn't sure that I wanted to work for Phil again for the reasons stated in this previous blog post.

On Wednesday, July 5th I did Security for the VIP room at Club Vortex for the Rihanna concert. Jeannie Ortega opened up for Rihanna. The VIP room at Club Vortex serves as the dressing room for the artists when they have concerts there. I secured the VIP room during the concert and then escorted Rihanna to her bus after the concert was over.

Shortly after I got done escorting Rihanna to her bus, I was hanging out by the side entrance on the north side of the club when I heard a call over the radio for a Code Red outside. Code Red is the code for a fight. Immediately after the Code Red call Gary, the Head of Security, called for everyone to Stand Down. A couple minutes later the call for a Code Red outside came over the radio again. A few of the other Security came running out the side door and we went running around to the front of the building. There was nothing going on there so we continued around to the south side of the building where there is a two-story parking garage. Gary radioed everyone and told them to fall back to the building. I saw Grant trying to prevent a black guy from fighting 5 or 6 Polynesians. I wasn't going to let Grant get hurt so I went out and tried to help him stop them from fighting. Grant told me to stay back and Gary had told us to fall back to the building but I didn't want Grant to get hurt. Eventually the cops showed up and although it took them a while, they finally got control of the situation.

After it was over, Grant yelled at me to get out of his sight. Then Gary yelled at everyone and told them to go inside for a meeting. When I went inside for the meeting, Gary came up to me and told me to go home. I walked up to Grant and asked him if I was getting paid cash or should I give my hours to Greg, the manager that handles payroll. He told me that I was getting on his last nerve and told me to go home. I later found out from Brandon, one of the Security guys there, that Gary had chewed everyone out for not Standing Down and Grant chewed out Gary and all of the Security guys for not getting control of the situation earlier. So basically, Grant chewed everyone out for not doing what I did, which was try to de-escalate the situation. So him sending me home didn't make any sense.

On Friday, July 6th I flew to Orlando, FL and my dad picked me up at the airport. I had not seen my dad since moving to Utah 10 years ago. He drove us to Gainesville, FL and got us a motel room. At 9 A.M. he drove me to Dr. Graper office and I got another x-ray done on my mouth. Dr. Graper saw that I actually had two cysts in my gums so he took them out as well as the cyst on my shoulder. When I woke up from surgery, I was more coherent than I remebered being when I had surgery as a teenager but I was still very groggy. I slept most of Friday and half of Saturday. I had to wake up periodically to take my medicine. Saturday afternoon dad took us to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I give it a C+. The effects were cool but the story was lacking.

Saturday night dad and I got into an argument. He is a pacifist and believes that Christians should not do Security, Law Enforcement, or be in the Military. He was also giving me a hard time for not having done much with life besides Security work. I lashed out by telling him that him being abusive to me and being too controlling (he didn't let me do things like study martial arts, play football, and join the police cadet program) as I was growing up was the reason I hadn't done much with my life. He kept pressing the issue and I told him that I didn't want to talk about it any more. He didn't respect that and still pressed the issue. I ended up walking out of the restaurant we were eating at and walking back to the hotel room. Sunday morning we talked. I apologized for blaming him and he apologized for being abusive to me as a child. I thought I had forgiven him for that but apparently I hadn't so it's good that we worked it out.

After our talk we went to the house of a lady that my dad knew and then we all went to First Assembly of God which is the church that we went to when I was living with him in Gainesville. After church we went to lunch with his friend. Then we went to the movies. I wanted to see Superman Returns but it wasn't showing at the theater we went to. My dad and his friend wanted to see The Devil Wears Prada. After 10 minutes of that movie, I asked my dad if I could go watch The Break-up instead. He said sure. I give it a B-. After the movies my dad's friend went home. Then we went back to the hotel. I ate some yogurt (my diet for about a week after surgery consisted of mostly yogurt) and took a nap while my dad went to a nearby movie theater and bought me a ticket for Superman Returns. My dad didn't want to see it but he bought me a ticket and dropped me off. I give it a B. After the movie I walked back to the motel.

Monday afternoon we drove back down to Orlando and got a motel room. I was really craving some food from Boston Market (it's one of my favorite places to eat and they don't have any in Utah) so dad went and got me some meatloaf, stuffing, and yams from Boston Market. After eating I went to bed. Tuesday morning dad drove me to the airport and I flew back home.

To be continued...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm Still Breathing

In case you're wondering, yes, I'm still breathing. You might be wondering why I haven't posted in more than 2 months. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that I've become a little disappointed with how many people actually read my blog. According to Feedburner, I have an average of 2 subcribers (readers) per day. One of those readers is me because I view my blog after posting on it. I originally started this blog for two reasons:

  1. To let my family (they all live in other states) know what's going on in my life. The only family member that I know reads my blog fairly regularly is my brother, Peter.
  2. My friend John has told me that I have an interesting life and if I wrote a book it would be a best seller. I haven't really gone very deep on this blog and I haven't talked about my past very much, but 2 readers per day isn't exactly best-selling.

The other reason that I haven't been posting is that I have been very busy and I've also been a litle depressed about what I've experienced the past few months. Read on for details. Warning: this is going to be a very long post.

Twelve weeks ago I was doing great - I had a car (and I still do), I'd bought a gun, I was going to get my Concealed Carry Permit and Armed Security License, and I had a little bit of extra money to get some clothes and catch up on some movies I'd been wanting to see. Besides getting fired from The Depot, everything was great. I had even been exercising 6 days/week for 3 weeks straight (a personal record) and drinking CytoGainer weight-gainer shakes 2-3 times per day.

On Wednesday, June 7th I was going to go to GoodGame to play some Counter-Strike: Source. I had requested Wednesday off to work a show at The Depot, but since I wasn't working there any more I had the night off. On the way there I stoppped by Little Caesars to get a $5 pizza. It was 11:15 P.M. so I didn't think they would still be open. As I pulled up I saw a lady standing next to her pick up truck. I asked her if they were still open. She said "No, I don't think so." Then I noticed that she was holding a gas can. She said "I'm out of gas." I said "Just a minute", pulled up into a parking spot, and parked my car. Then I got out, took her gas can, and told her that I would get her some gas. I went inside paid for $5 in gas, put the gas in the gas can, and then went to put the gas in her truck. As I was pouring the gas, I asked her why she was out of gas. She said that her husband, Kelly, was drunk and he was being abusive so she left to get the kids away from him. I asked her why she didn't just call the cops on her husband. She said that the house had been given to him by his grandma so she didn't have any rights to it (or something like that). She told me that she was on the way to her mom's house in Midvale. One of her kids, her youngest daughter, told her mom that she was hungry. This kid was easily one of the cutest kids I have ever seen. I offered to take them to McDonalds across the street and get them something to eat.

While eating I found out that her name was Chere. She had 4 kids - a 10 year old girl named Ashlee, a 9 year old boy boy named Tristan, a 5 year old girl named Anna, and a 9 month old boy named Haden (cutest baby boy I've ever seen). She asked to borrow my phone to call her mom. As we were finishing eating she asked me for my phone number. I told her that I had planned on giving it to her and gave her my business card. As I walked them out to their truck she thanked me and gave me a hug. GoodGame was closed by now so I went to a friend's house in Midvale. Chere called me about an hour later to let me know that her mom had paid for a room at the Intown Suites in Midvale and gave me her room number. I told her that I would call her the next day.

Thursday morning I went to the Loomis Fargo building in S.L.C. for the classroom instruction for my Concealed Carry Weapons permit and Armed Security Officer license. After the classroom instruction was over, I went to The Depot and picked up my last check for about $200. I deposited $95 in my checking acount so I could use Paypal to pay for the classroom and firearm instruction for my CCW permit and ASO license (it cost $110). After that I called my church to get some information about domestic violence shelters.

Then I called Chere and offered to get her some groceries and take her and the kids to a dollar movie later that night (to get the kids' minds off of what was going on). I heard Anna ask Chere if she could go to the grocery store with me. I told her that I was O.K. with that. She said it was O.K. as long as Ashlee could go with us. I said that was fine. I picked up Ashlee and Anna and we went to the grocery store. I bought them some basic groceries like milk, cereal, bread, bologna, ham, & cheese, some diapers for Haden, and a scented candle because their toilet at the hotel needed to be snaked and was stinking up the room. Then I took the girls back to the hotel, carried the groceries upstairs, and told Chere about the domestic violence shelters. She said that she wasn't going to the shelter. Her experience with the downtown shelter made her see shelters as places where druggies hang out. Even after I explained that the domestic violence shelters were not like the homeless shelters downtown, she still woould not go to one. I told her that I would be back later to take them to the dollar movie. I went to a friend's house for a couple of hours, played some Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, picked up Chere and the kids, and took them to see Eight Below at the Valley Fair Movies 9. It was a little bit sad, but the kids enjoyed it. I took Chere and the kids back to the hotel. I offered to take thier dirty laundry home and bring it back to them on the way to the firearm portion of my training the next morning.

So I went home, did their laundry, got a few hours of sleep, got up, took a shower, dropped off Chere's laundry, and went to the Holladay Gun Club for the firearm portion of my CCW and ASO training. It started to rain so we went inside and took the written test. I got a 97. Then we went to Doug's Shoot 'N Sports to finish the training. I got a 95 on the firearms test. After the training I called Chere. She told me that Intown Suites was going to hire her to be the Head of Housekeeping (a job that includes a big room in the hotel with two beds) but she had to get her I.D. so she could take a drug test. She said that she had to take her birth certificate to the Social Security office so she could get her Social Security card and take it to the D.M.V. to get ger I.D. I offered to come get her and the kids and take them to the Social Security office located in downtown Salt Lake City. By the time they were ready to go it was already 4:40 P.M. The S.S. office closes at 5:00. As I was carefully speeding down the highway, Chere called the S.S. office and found out that in addition to her birth certificate she also needed an I.D or driver's license to get her S.S. card. So in order to get her I.D. she had to have her birth certificate and her S.S. card, but to get her S.S. card she had to have I.D.

Since we were near downtown Salt Lake City, I suggested that we go to the Gateway Mall and let the kids play in the fountain (they have one of those fountains with a bunch of little geysers that shoot up in cool patterns set to music). She asked if we could go to a park instead so I took them to Liberty Park. When we got there the kids wanted to go on a paddleboat so I took Ashlee, Tristan, and Anna on a paddleboat (a first time experience for me). The kids really enjoyed it but Anna started to miss her mom towards the end. After the paddleboat we went to the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts and then the kids and I played on the playground. After a while Chere went to the car to change Haden's diaper. Soon after she left it started to lightning and thunder so we headed towards the car. Anna was scared so I carried her. Ashlee has astraphobia (fear of lightning) so she started to run off. I called her back to me and assured her that she would be O.K. as we ran to the car (it was starting to pour). I took them to get some Little Ceasars pizza, took them back to the hotel, and then went to work to make up for taking Wednesday off. While at work I looked up the requirements to get a Utah I.D. for the first time and found out that in addition to proof of legal presence, you also have to have two proofs of Utah residence.

On Saturday I printed the information about the requirements for getting an I.D. in Utah and took it to Chere. She told me that it would be easier for her to get a duplicate license in Arizona which is where she is from. On Sunday I did some research and found out that the Arizona Driver's License office closest to Salt Lake City is in Littlefield just across the Arizona border four and a half hours south of S.L.C. I bought some more groceries for Chere and the kids and told Chere that I would be willing to take her to the Driver's License office in Littlefield on Tuesday because my paycheck gets deposited around 12:30 A.M. on Tuesday. She said that she would rather go to the Driver's license office in Phoenix, where she is from, because she knew she could get a duplicate of her driver's license there with just her birth certificate. She also said that she needed to pick up a check for $50 and turn in a form so she could get a check mailed to her for $150 for taking care of someone else's kids for a little while. I figured that if it cost me $100 dollars in gas to get down there and back and $50 to stay in a hotel down there then I would spend $150 so she could have $150 and an I.D. to get a job so she could support herself and the kids. So we planned to leave at 1 A.M. on Tuesday morning after my paycheck had been direct deposited. It gets really slow at my work that time of night so I was sure I would be able to leave early. Sunday night I went to work my normal shift from 8 P.M. to 7 A.M.

On Monday, Chere called me and told me that her mother-in-law wasn't going to pay for the hotel room any more. She said that if I paid for the hotel room, she would pay me back when she got the check for $150. I didn't think she would be able to pay me back because she would need that money for the kids but I paid for the hotel room anyway. After paying for the hotel I went home to take a nap. I woke up in time to go to work but decided that if I was going to be driving all night, then I should just call in sick and get some sleep. At 11:00 P.M. I woke up, took a shower, and went to a friend's house to print Mapquest directions from Midvale to Phoenix. At 12:30 A.M. I went to Smith's grocery store to get some drinks and snacks. Then I went to the hotel at 1:00 to pick up Chere and the kids. When I got there Chere was in a bad mood because the kids had stayed up late and I had woke her up from a nightmare. She told me to just let her sleep for a while. I laid down on the floor and let her take a nap. We didn't end up leaving until 2:00 P.M. Tuesday afternoon.

On the way down to Phoenix, as we were driving through the forest south of Zion National Park, I noticed some dark shapes on the road. I breaked hard and stopped just short of a herd of cows. Around 11:00 P.M. Chere offered to drive. I had already ran over a couple of rabbits that ran under the car but knew it couldn't be avoided. After Chere had been driving for a little while, she ran over a rabbit. Running over the rabbit upset her so she turned around to see if it was O.K. I told her that it wasn't a good idea. We got out and sure enough the rabbit was suffering. It upset her and the kids. I told her that, if she wanted me to, I would put it out of its misery. They got into the car and pulled forward a little bit so they wouldn't have to see me do it. I stomped on the rabbit's neck to kill it quickly. Then I stood on its neck to make sure it was dead. After driving for about an hour Chere's eyes started to hurt so I drove again. Around 2:00 A.M. we were driving through Flagstaff, Arizona and Chere suggested that we get a motel so we could get some sleep before we had to check out. We stopped at Motel in the Pines in Munds Park, AZ and got a room. We slept in separate beds when we were staying at the motels.

Wednesday morning I woke up at 11:00, woke Chere up, took a shower, and cleaned out the car. Then we woke the kids up, got gas and drinks at the Chevron across the street, and headed towards Phoenix. After we stopped for a late breakfast, Chere drove the rest of the way because she knew Phoenix better than I did. We got to Phoenix around 3:00 P.M. We went to the building where Chere had to turn in the form to get the check mailed to her. We went to the nearest Driver's License office but they didn't do I.D.s past 12:30. By this time it was after 4:00 P.M. As Chere was asking for directions to the other DMV, the blower fan for the A.C. quit. As we headed towards the Driver's License office that did I.D.s until 5:00, Chere called and found out that you had to "get a number" (get in line) by 4:30 or they wouldn't help you. So Chere asked me to get a motel and said she would pay me back. We ended up going to a Motel 6. After we got the motel room, Chere asked to borrow the car so she could go to a friend's house to ask them for money but she didn't want to take all of the kids with her. The motel had a pool but Ashlee and Anna didn't have swimsuits so I offered to take them to the K-Mart next door to get swimsuits while Chere went to her friend's house.

We got back to the motel before Chere did. When we got to the hotel Ashlee saw her uncle who had been convicted of statuatory rape walk by. We got in the elevator and went up to our room. Just before we went into the room, Ashlee saw her Grandma's car parked at the motel. She was upset because she wasn't supposed to see her Grandma. We went into the hotel room and waited for Chere to get back. When Chere got back she said that she needed to talk to me. She told me that she hadn't gone to a friend's house to borrow money - she had gone to her ex-byofriend, Dale's house to get some pictures of her kids that she left there but he wasn't home. This is the ex-boyfriend who she told me had "abandoned" them (leaving her with the truck) at a rest stop in Colorado.

She also told me that she had run into her mom at the motel and when her mom went to hug her she pushed her away and told her that she couldn't deal with this right now. Chere told me that Tristan and Anna's dad, Chad, did drugs. She told me that her mom had been hanging out with Chad and doing drugs so she didn't want to see her mom. I told her that we could just stay in the motel room. She said that she didn't want to keep the kids from having fun swimming so she was going to let them go swimming. This didn't make sense to me but they're her kids. I asked her to wait for me. She said she would be O.K. They went down to the pool. I changed and then met them down there. I had bought Anna some floaties but she was still scared to step off of the steps. I helped her get more comfortable swimming on her own by letting her swim to me and gradually increasing the distance. Then Chere asked me if I could hold Haden and let him play in the pool. I said sure. Then Chere went up to her mom's motel room. Haden really liked playing in the pool. During the day, while Chere had been driving, I had been able to keep Haden from crying more easily than anyone in his family.

A little while later Chere came back down to the pool with her mom. Her mom's name is Cheryl. The kids said hi to her and then continued to play in the pool. Chere took Haden and went back up to the hotel room. A little while later, Chere waved for me to come up to the room. I left the kids with their Grandma. When I got to the room, Chere told me that she wanted the kids to have some time alone with their grandma. Chere was acting very different. I figured she was either drunk or dealing with some internal issues. I found out later that I was right on both accounts - Cheryl had some Tequila in her room and Chere had drunk quite a bit of that. Chere went down to here mom's room. After changing I went down to Cheryl's room and met Chere's family - her sister, Tina, Tina's 14 year old daughter, Chelse, and her dad, Harry. I found out that the reason that Cheryl and Harry were staying at the motel is because their water main had broke. Chere was crying a lot and so was Tina. It was an accidental family reunion. That night Ashlee went to Cheryl's house to spend the night with Chelse because Cheryl was taking care of Chelse (I guess they didn't mind not being able to use the bathroom because there was no water).

The next morning (Thursday) Chere, Tristan, Anna, Haden, and I went to Cheryl's house. Chere needed to go to the DMV but she was worried that Chad would come by because he had been coming by to ask Cheryl where Chere and the kids were. She had told me that he had tried to kidnap Tristan from school. I offered to stay with Cheryl, Anna, and Haden while Chere, Chelse, Ashlee, and Tristan went to the Driver's License office. Cheryl noticed how good I was with Haden and appreciated me staying.

An hour or two later Chere and the kids returned. Chere had her I.D. Soon after they got back, Chad showed up. Ashlee had been outside and came running in to tell us. Chad had not seen her. Chad came to the door and knocked. We did not answer the door. One of the kids that lived in one of the neighboring apartments told Chad that Chere and the kids were here. He knocked on the door a couple more times. Anna was upset so I held her until she calmed down. After Chad walked away from the door Chere peaked through the blinds and saw that he was on the phone. About 15 minutes later, the police knocked on the door. Cheryl was in her room when the police showed up so I said, "Just a second, sir." Somehow, one of the police officers interpreted that as, "I have a shotgun". They said, "Put the shotgun away." I said, "I don't have a shotgun." Cheryl came and opened the door and I held my hands up with the palms showing so they could see that I was unarmed. They asked Chere some questions. Chere told them that Chad was the father of Tristan and Anna, they were never married, and she had a restraining order against Chad that prevented him from contacting and coming near her or the kids. The police went back outside and talked to Chad. He had brought a revised copy of the restraining order which allowed him to be near the kids but didn't allow him near Chere (but since they were in Chere's care, he had to stay away from all of them). The police came back in, told Chere about the revised restraining order, told us to stay inside, and went outside to tell Chad to leave. A couple minutes after the cops went outside, Chere asked Cheryl to go outside and tell Chad that she was O.K. with the kids coming down to see him (once again, this didn't make sense). When Cheryl did this, the cops got mad at her and told her to go back inside. They made Chad leave and then came back up and explained why they were mad - they basically had the situation resolved, but Chere changing her mind and Cheryl coming outside could have made the situation worse (they had told us to stay inside).

A couple hours after the cops left (because we were waiting for the sun to set so we wouldn't be hot since the A.C. was broken) we got ready to leave. Ashlee asked Chere if Chelse could come with us. Chere asked me if we could bring her with us. I told her that I thought it wasn't a good idea because she would be bringing another mouth to feed and we didn't have room in the car, which meant that Tristan and Anna would have to share a seat belt and Tristan has a habit of picking on Anna and I didn't want to have to deal with that all the way home. She argued that Chelse could babysit while she worked. She also said that the Tristan & Anna problem wouldn't be a problem (I think she was lying to herself). I told her that it was a bad idea, but I would do whatever she wanted to do. So she decided to bring Chelse with us. Chere drove when we first left. Soon after we left Tristan started pushing on Anna because he was uncomfortable sharing a seat belt with her. I told him to quit, but he kept being mean to her. After about 15 minutes of Tristan whining, I sat on the floor and let Anna use my seat belt. Shortly after that, Chere's eyes started hurting, so I drove. It was a long trip because:

  • No one got much sleep except Ashlee, who laid on Chelse's lap and put her legs across my lap.
  • Chelse repeatedly asked me if I was going to fall asleep while driving so I pulled over twice to get her to quit worrying.
  • Tristan and Anna kept fighting whenever they were awake.
We got back to Salt Lake around noon on Friday. According to Chere, the Manager of Intown Suites had told her that she would get a free room when she got back because of the problem with the toilet. Well we had been in Arizona a day longer than we had planned and since it was the weekend the Manager wasn't there so they didn't have a place to stay. I suggested a domestic violence shelter and again she declined. She told me to just take her back to Kelly's house. I told her that if she went back there, then everything we had done would have been for nothing (I should have just taken her back there - you'll see why in a minute). She asked me to get them a hotel room and she would "pay me back". I ended up paying for a hotel for them for 2 nights. I continued to help them out as much as I could until Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon, Chere came to my house (I rent a room in a house) and asked to use my phone because her check had not arrived at my house yet. While she was on the phone I looked at the documents she was holding (each document had 2 pages) and noticed that the second document (the one she was supposed to be getting the check for) was for the same amount as the first document, $48. So she had lied to me about needing to go to Arizona to get that check for $150. If I had known the check was only going to be for $48 and that it was going to cost me $200 in gas (not $100 as I had estimated), I would have taken her to the DMV in Littlefield, AZ and just given her $48. While she was on the phone she found out that the second document was actually a duplicate of the first document. After looking at the documents some more, I saw that anyone who took the time to look closely at the documents would have seen that.

At this point I owed my bank $333.61 ($150 of that was for my car payment and $41 of it was for my monthly TFT payment). This means that in two weeks I spent $750 on myslef, Chere and the kids, most of which was spent on Chere and the kids. I decided to no longer help Chere because she had been lying to me and she was unwilling to get help from the State. I found out why over the next few days.

Wednesday night I went to work (I had gone back to work on Sunday). Around 1 A.M. I got a phone call from an "Unavailable" number. It was Chere. She said that the cops had pulled her over because the truck was stolen. She claimed that she had no idea. She claimed that Dale had told her that he had been making the payments on the truck to buy it and she didn't know it was stolen. She told me that she might get arrested and asked me to come get the kids and their stuff. I took my lunch break and went to get them.

When I got there I talked to the police and found out that the truck was reported stolen because it was a rental and had not been returned. It had been reported stolen a few weeks before. The detective told me that the car rental companies usually wait a couple of weeks before reporting the vehicle stolen so Chere had stolen the truck over a month ago. She claimed that her ex-boyfriend had told her that it was being paid for. I'm pretty sure she was lying. The police decided not to arrest her because she had the kids, but they were pressing charges. They were charging her with Grand Theft Auto, which is a felony. The detective told me that she would have to go to court in a couple of weeks. I loaded all of their stuff into my car. The police helped her get a good deal on a motel. She paid for all but $7 of it, which I paid. I helped Chere get most of thier stuff out of my car and take it up to their room. Before going back to work I spent my last $2 on a half gallon of milk for Haden.

Thursday afternoon I got a call from Tina telling me that Chere was in jail and the kids were with the Department of Human Services' Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), which is the child protective agency for Utah. The DCFS case worker called me on Thursday and Friday but I never talked to her because we just played phone tag. I also got calls from both of Chere's husbands (yes both of them - Chad and Dale, the "ex-boyfriend") and from Kelly - the one that she claimed was her abusive husband. They wanted to know what was going on with Chere and the kids. I told them as much as I knew. I also told them that I was not in a romantic or physical relationship with Chere - I was just in it to help the kids. I told them this out of respect, not out of fear.

Chere got out of jail on Saturday. She called me and asked me to bring the rest of their stuff to Kelly's house - "the abusive husband". I drove over to his house and he met me outside to get their stuff. Later that day Chere called me asking me why I told Dale that we had slept together. I told her that I had told Chad, Dale, and Kelly that we did not have a romantic or phsical relationship. A couple of hours later she called me again and left me a message saying that she wanted to know what I had told the kid's case worker (with DCFS) because I shouldn't be talking to her because I "had nothing to do with her and the kids". I called her back and told her I hadn't talked to her and set Chere straight on the bit about "having nothing to do with her and the kids".

I ended up having to pawn my gun for $200, sell my X-Box for $50, and borrow $400 from a friend to get out of the financial hole I had dug for myself. My motives were good (helping the children) but I shouldn't have spent so much money doing it. I should have realized that Chere was in the situation she was in because of the choices she makes and because she is dishonest and is too picky about what type of help she receives. I learned from my mistake but it was a very expensive one.

To be continued...

Monday, June 05, 2006

An Interesting Weekend

This past weekend was very interesting. On Thursday night I got a call from Fate, who now lives in Vegas, telling me that he was in town for a few days. I used to do Personal Security for Fate and his brother, Theorian (a.k.a. Disaster) when they lived in Utah. I was at work, at The Depot, when he called. It was a slow night so I asked if I could get off early. I left around 8:30, went home to change, and went to meet Fate at Cisero's in Park City for karaoke. After Cisero's we went to our friend Jeff's house. Jeff's friend Mandy, who has been working in Alaska recently, was in town so we got to see her too.

On Friday night, Fate was not planning on going out so I went to work at The Depot. Around 9:00 Sean called me down to the office. Scott was there too. They wrote me up and fired me. The 3 reasons they gave for firing me were:

  1. Last week, during the Warrant concert, a server was uncomfortable with the way that I let her know that we were cutting-off (no longer serving drinks to a customer because they had already had too much to drink) a customer. Last I checked, cutting people off is part of my job. I was not rude to the server, so I'm not sure what her problem was. I know that I did not mistreat her.
  2. At the Warrant concert Laurie, an aquaintance of mine from when I ran Security at Natalie's, got drunk and her sister got even more drunk and was throwing up. I asked Sean if I could give them a ride home. Sean and Scott saw this as a "liability". I saw it as showing concern for a customer.
  3. Last week after the One Self concert, I was in the dressing room showing Yarah Bravo how to set up a url for her My Space account. Scott said that I "crossed the line". If you read my post about Yarah, anyone could see that I was not bothering her and I was not asking her for anything. I was helping her and she was completly O.K. with me being in her dressing room with the other members of the band and some of their fans. Whenever fans are in the dressing room of an artist, I think that it is important for Security to be in there. Apparently Sean and Scott want me to secure the dressing room from outside even if the artist is O.K. with me being in there.

So basically I got fired for absolutely no reason at all. Nothing I did was worth getting written up for. It was definitely not worth getting fired for. I was very upset at first, but after talking to Fate, I realized that it was their loss and I was better off not working for them.

I went over to Fate's sister's house and then Fate and I went to Club Manhattan. After Manhattan, we went to the Denny's off of I-15 at 45th South. When we first got there, Fate was on the phone and it was very noisy inside so we went back outside. I called John and invited him to join us. While we were waiting for John, a big group of people from the Lazy Moon, a gay bar in S.L.C., showed up. I called Domani and let her know that I had been fired from The Depot. John showed up shortly after I got on the phone with Domani.

While I was on the phone with Domani, one of the ladies from the Lazy Moon group came outside and was yelling at someone inside. I told Domani that I had to go and ran inside to see what was going on. A biker dude was fighting the group from the Lazy Moon. I stepped up and told him to step outside. He did as he was told. Then the Lazy Moon group wanted to follow him out. I told them to stay inside. One of the ladies from that group said "My friend is out there" (it was the lady that I had first noticed). So then I went outside and seperated them. For about 5 minutes I physically prevented this group and the biker guy from attacking each other. I kept telling the biker to leave. Eventually he decided to leave and realized that he had left his keys inside. I escorted him inside and protected him from the rest of the Lazy Moon group. After going back outside I continued to keep them from fighting each other. The biker finally got on his bike with his girlfriend and left. Another biker couple that was with them also left. Then the cops showed up (the Denny's employees had called them). They caught the second biker couple, but since they had not been fighting, the cops let them go. I gave the cops my info and told them what happened.

Afterwards Fate, John, and I went inside to eat. Several ladies from the Lazy Moon group thanked me for helping keep the peace. A couple of other Denny's customers recognized me from the many Security jobs I've had (I get that a lot). Our server, Bill, who knew Fate and I from when we used to go there on a regular basis, thanked me and told me that our food was on the house. We got seated next to the group from the Lazy Moon. I overheard them talking about what had happened. According to them, the biker had made a remark about one of the ladies' thong showing. They got into an argument and then the biker sat down. Then he got up and started harassing one of the guys from their group for being a homosexual. That's what started the fight. A few more people from their group thanked me for keeping the peace. They left before we did. After they left Bill told us that they had covered our bill.

Saturday afternoon Fate performed (he sings R&B) with Lam (a rapper from Utah) for the youth group from Valley Assembly of God. Fate's sister, Tiasha, and her son, "Little Man", came with us. After that I took them back to Fate's mom's apartment. Then I went home, took a nap and got ready to go to the D.J. Quik concert at Harry O's in Park City. I picked Fate up a little after 9 and then we went to Harry O's. One of the owners of Harry O's let us in for free because he wants to book Fate to open up for some upcoming Hip Hop concerts at Harry O's. The concert was O.K. There weren't any fights. After the concert we went to our friend Sarah's house. Then we went to Jeff's house and hung out with Mandy and some of her friend's. We gave Mandy's friend, Tara, a ride back down to Salt Lake City. Fate went back to Vegas Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Yarah Bravo

On Tuesday night One Self performed at The Depot. This was definitely my favorite show at The Depot so far. I especially enjoyed seeing Yarah Bravo perform. In addition to being very beautiful and talented, she enjoys what she does and it shows! Before the show I showed her to her dressing room. Later on, before the doors opened, I asked her if she needed something to drink because she was on the stage working on her laptop. She said that she only drank juice and water so I took a break, went to Barnes & Noble next to The Depot, and bought her some Elliot's Amazing all natural juice. She really appreciated that. Before going on stage she told me that she really liked my vibes and said that I was different from other Security guys. She sang directly to me a couple of times during her performance (since I was securing the stage). She gave me a hug at the end of the night. I'm looking forward to seeing her again the next time they're on tour. It would be really cool if I was her bodyguard someday.

On Friday I saw
X-Men: The Last Stand with my boss from The Depot, Sean, and his wife. I give it a B-. It had some cool special effects and action scenes, but the story was not very good. According to some reviews that I've read on the internet, the writer of this movie strayed far from the comic book story line. Peaceful Warrior has a limited release in select theaters on Friday. Still no word on when it will be released in Salt Lake City. I'm looking forward to seeing District B13 on June 30th at the Broadway Centre Cinemas. District B13 is directed by Pierre Morel, who was the Director of Photography for Transporter 2 and Unleashed. This movie incorporates martial arts and Parkour for some awesome action scenes. Parkour is the art of moving through your environment using only your body and the surroundings to propel yourself. Check out the official Parkour site and the American Parkour site for more info. The Utah Parkour site is

Barry Eisler's new book, The Last Assassin, hits bookstores today! I really enjoyed the other John Rain books - Rain Fall, Hard Rain, Rain Storm, and Killing Rain. After I finish reading the Peaceful Warrior series, I'll read The Last Assassin. I'm also looking forward to reading Richard Marcinko's new book, Holy Terror, which will be released on July 4th.

Monday, May 29, 2006

One Self, Leon Russell, and Smokin' Joe Kubek

On Tuesday One Self's C.O.P. (Children of Possibility) Tour is coming to The Depot. One Self is an international hip hop crew featuring D.J. Vadim, Yarah Bravo, and Blu Rum 13. Click here for the One Self promotional video. Local turntablist D.J. Shanty will be opening for One Self. Doors open at 8:00. Tickets are only $10.

Salt Lake City blues band Ides of Soul, who recently opened for Roy Rogers, will be opening for Leon Russell at The Depot on Thursday. Singer and songwriter Leon Russell has released more than 30 albums over the past 40 years. He has written several hits including George Benson's Grammy Award winning "This Masquerade", which was the first song in music history to occupy the number one spot on the jazz, pop, and R&B charts. Doors open at 8:00. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 day of show.

Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King will be performing at The Depot on Friday and Saturday. Smokin' Joe Kubek was nominated for The Blues Foundation's 2005 W.C. Handy Blues Award for Blues Band of the Year. Kubek partnered up with jazz guitarist Bnois King in 1989 and they have been together ever since. Doors open at 8:00 both nights. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of show. If you buy tickets for both nights by Friday, you get Saturday night's tickets at half price.

Next week The Eels, Eagles of Death Metal, and Acoustic Alchemy will be performing at The Depot. We have several good shows coming up including Yellowman, Rusted Root, and Chris Isaak. There are still tickets available for Queensryche's second show at The Depot on November 28th.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Springfield Armory XD 45 ACP

For a long time I have been wanting to buy a Glock. I have also wanted to get my concealed carry permit and Utah Armed Security Officer license. After doing some research on the internet, I decided that I might want to get Springfield Armory's XD 45 ACP because in addition to being a reliable and accurate gun, it has an ergonomic grip so when you raise it to eye level, you are looking right down the sights. The XD 45 ACP is the winner of the American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Award for "Handgun of the Year".

On Monday I went to Doug's Shoot 'N Sports to buy my first gun. I rented the 4" XD 45 ACP and fired 50 rounds on their gun range. I liked the way it felt. I went back upstairs (their gun range is in the basement) and compared the grip angle of the XD 45 to that of a Glock. Although I did not fire the Glock, I felt that the XD 45 grip was better for me. I ordered the 4" XD 45 ACP because they didn't have it in stock. It is hard to keep the XD's in stock because they are so popular. They will call me when it arrives in a week or two.

Firing a gun for the first time reminded me of something that Socrates said in Way of the Peaceful Warrior, which I'm currently reading:

"Understanding is the one-dimensional comprehension of the intellect.
It leads to knowledge.
Realization is three-dimensional -
a simultaneous comprehension of head, heart, and instinct.
It comes only from direct experience."
I had seen guns fired in movies and thought about what it would be like to fire a gun, but I didn't realize what it was like until I experienced it.

A couple of weeks ago I called Clark Aposhian, who is the firearms instructor at Impact Guns in Ogden, inquiring about dates and rates for his CCW and ASO training. He said that he would email me that info. I called him again on Monday because I had not received his email and he emailed me right away. I am going to be taking his 2-day class on June 7th and 8th. This class will allow me to get both my Concealed Carry permit and my Utah Armed Security Officer license.