Anchors, Aweigh! [Part 1 of my story of making the best decision of my adult life]

In the Spring of 2006, nearing the end of my 25th year, I had experienced my 20th or so failed relationship – this one being a long-distance one with a lady I met through Christianmingle.com. I had been to visit her in Indiana, she visited me in North Carolina, and then she called it off.

2006 me - first time I tried the Amish beard, I think.
2006 me – first time I tried the Amish beard, I think.

I have a tendency to get attached really quickly and really deeply. It was this proclivity that was the primary cause of ending most of my relationships theretofore; not the only cause – I’ve broken a couple hearts and upset my fair share of women, too, but mostly I’ve been on the rejected side of relationships (mmmmaybe about a 70/30 split).

My time with Indiana lady was unlike anything I had experienced up to that point. I don’t know that it was the best experience I had with a woman up to that point, but it really got my attention. Not to devalue or discount previous relationships, but this was the first time I was involved with a bona fide female nerd. When we were together we played video games, watched Battlestar Galactica (2004), talked about Star Trek and music and I just knew (as I had known in previous relationships) that she had to be the one.

When she proved not to be the one, I decided that it was time to do something different.

For years my dad and surrogate mom had encouraged me to go to therapy. Finally, I was ready.

The first try didn’t work out so well. The therapist was a guy who told me porn wasn’t such a big deal, as I was engaged in a rousing bit of self-loathing and self-condemnation at the time for looking at pictures of naked women on the Internet. So, I decided he wasn’t a good fit. My dad, thank God, suggested another he knew of through his network of professionals and I met with her.

Deciding to give therapy another chance changed everything.

You see, in addition to my proclivity for attaching quickly and deeply, I also sometimes tend to give up on something if it doesn’t come easy or natural to me. Part of me wanted to do that in this case, but a stronger part insisted on giving it another chance. At that point I had tried the same haphazard strategy with relationships for years and only had that many years of disappointment and heartbreak to show for it. I had given therapy a chance only for about an hour. Yeah, whatever that part of me was saying, let’s give it at least one more shot.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Once Upon a Time…

Pre-order today!
Pre-order your copy today! Just click on the image!

Once upon a time, Magnami was a world of fantasy and magic. A great cataclysm was brought upon the land when Dalimor, the King of Shadows, attempted to usurp power from Thael, the Star Guardian. As the peoples of the world began to rebuild, they did so not with magic, but with science and technology.

The cataclysm changed the face of Magnami. The Impassable Mountains sprang up between Aenod and Xiriath; the ocean was widened between Aenod and Silespi; the land of the Huma, Avotin, was brought closer to Aenod, the land of the Hara, thus, expediting the proliferation of tools and machines and the diminishing presence of spells and enchantments.

Where there was once a divine paradise, there is now a frozen wasteland where legend has it time itself freezes in the otherworldly frigid climate.

Over time, the era before the cataclysm (B.C.) fell into myths and legends, stories not to be taken seriously, but only considered as fairytales.

And so, in the new post-cataclysmic world (P.C.) a new era of civilizations strive to make sense of their history and initiate the Myth Initiative. The mission is to explore the myths and legends to discover the truth behind the stories. However, within the coalition is a faction with more clandestine objectives.

Led by the mysterious General Krazán, he always has a handpicked man or woman leading each venture.

At the time of the Frozen Wastes, we join Perilea Greyleaf, a 19 year old freshman in college joining in on what’s supposed to be the final mission of the Initiative. She herself suffering from a genetic condition endemic to her ethnicity has been tenaciously researching the history of her people, the Shohara, and discovering more questions than answers in the annals of medicinal history; but when going down a more fantastical road of insight, she learns of amazing new possibilities as well as a potential threat in the Wastes of a most ancient and evil origin…

Pre-order your copy today!

Doors

Lotsa doors, yo...you can only go through one at a time, though.
Lotsa doors, yo…you can only go through one at a time, though.

Three Months…!

Good-ness.

THREE MONTHS!

It’s been three months since one world ended and another began.

Two days old...
Two days old…
Just shy of three months in this'un.
Just shy of three months in this’un.

Dadgummit…makes me misty already…

He’s been with us for three months. I remember thinking three days was a big deal and then three weeks.

His personality is definitely emerging (as are his vocal talents) and…it’s just amazing.

Life just keeps barreling on.

Jenn started back at her job this week after taking off a whole year to aid in Nightstorm’s conception and to allow her a little more time with him.

I’m taking this and next week off from work to help a bit with the transition as well as furthering my own career transition out of the Navy in just a couple more months(!).

And this week we’re getting an idea of what it’s like to have someone else watch our kid for the day while we both work. Spoiler alert: it’s weird.

It’s good in that it’s her parents, so the boy is already getting some good multi-generational exposure in there, but still. To think that he’ll be spending the majority of his days now with people other than his parents.

Jenn felt the melancholy more than I did, at first, because she’s been with him all day everyday (with the exception of a couple date nights and a spa day) since he popped out of her very own body. And her body continues to nourish him, day in and day out – talk about an intimate bond…

But then, this morning I felt it, too. Getting him ready, putting him in the car seat, driving him to his grandparents’ house. A part of me wanted to call and cancel, to say that I’ll be spending time with my son today and everyday the rest of my vacation time. Thing is, it’s just not practical.

Even though I’m off from my day job, I’ve got to hustle a bit to ensure that my next step is ready and generating income. I mean, I’ll have income from the G.I. Bill when I go back to school at UH, but in trying to supplement that with the dream I’ve pursued since I was in middle school in trying to get published through crowdfunding; it’s taking a lot of work – work I can’t necessarily do with an adorable, yet needy, little/big munchkinboy hanging out with me. And then first full week of August I’m back in the office again anyway.

I don’t know about Jenn, but I think what I’m feeling is a sense of failure. Our family unit is unable to stay together throughout the day; Stormy has to be with someone other than his nuclear family because we can’t afford to be a single-income family.

But then I realize that this is actually the norm – the state of the American dream, I reckon. It’s how I was raised, by babysitters and daycare supervisors before I was in school and then afternoons after school, waiting to be picked up; during the summer months, too, until I was old enough to be a latchkey kid.

And for the first time I really understand what the debate about paid family leave is all about and I have a sudden urge to relocate to Iceland or Sweden.

Nevertheless I am grateful for in-laws who love their grandbaby and spending time with him, so for them it’s no chore.

I look forward to a time where it doesn’t have to be this way, but if grandma and grandpa can babysit so mom and dad can have lovey-dove fun time that’d be great.

Some days these next couple of weeks I will be staying home and looking after Stormy all day to get a feeling of what it may be like to work from home should my writing or video production career take off.

Sometimes when he starts getting fussy or needy and clingy I want to teach him independence and how to lay the ju-do smackdown on feelings and such. But then when my picking him up calms him, or when he flashes that precocious, half-smile my damn heart melts to gooey-gooey blood sauce confections.

Three months…where will he be in three years? In three decades?

Making the world a better place, I hope.

Now on YouTube!

I feel like I should say something…

I’ve got a YouTube channel! With a vlog! New episodes every Tuesday and Friday!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbvWcTo6JK_Vyos_naU9VfQ

The Tuesday vlog is called Here We Are.

And the Friday vlog is a weekly update on the progress of my first book, The Frozen Wastes on Inkshares.com!

Please check it out and consider subscribing!

Four Years

Four years ago to the day my life was about to change in ways I never imagined.

I boarded the plane in Baltimore, had a six hour delay in Chicago, and at 11ish PM Friday, July 13, 2012, I set foot in Honolulu for the first time in 23 years.

When I was eight years old my family spent our summer vacation here for just shy of two weeks, I think. We landed in Honolulu, spent the night here, then flew to Maui the next day for a few days, then to the Big Island for a few days, then back to Oahu for the last few days before heading back East.

I have a handful of solid memories but mostly just impressions from that trip:

Marveling at the lava flow on Big Island.
Running around a golf course at midnight on Maui and helping bullfrogs learn to fly.
Sparrows flying into the rooftop restaurant on Oahu.
Being afraid that the roof of any of the inter-island Aloha airline planes we rode would come off like it did a few months before.
Chewing sugarcane for the first time.
Watching my first Indiana Jones movie – The Last Crusade – at a drive-in movie theater.
Marveling at the hula ladies…

Even then I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something magical about this place.

Twenty-seven years later, after four years of living here I still can’t.

The Aloha Spirit.

Ohana.

The verdant landscape.

First scenic shot. Taken on my birthday, July 29, 2012.
First scenic shot. Taken on my birthday, July 29, 2012.

The very earth itself brimming with life and vitality.

There’s just something magical, mystical; old yet fresh about this place.

While I’m not a fan of the population density on Oahu, I always feel like I’m back home whenever I return from a trip somewhere else (with the exception of The Big Island – I always feel like I’m going back home whenever I visit there).

Four years ago today, I had no idea what I was getting myself into; what with my assignment at a joint command, my first duty station usually reserved for no lower than E-5s, maybe an E-4 soon to be promoted, yet there I was, an E-3.

2013 shot - doing background work for an episode of Hawaii Five-0
2013 shot – doing background work for an episode of Hawaii Five-0

And little did I know how much of the world I was about to see.

I thought boot camp and “A” School busted open my worldview…

Cumulatively six months in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

A month and some change in Europe and then a couple months on a couple glaciers.

I feel as though I’ve certainly aged, but I also feel as though I’ve gotten a little younger somehow…

Started making real-life grown-up decisions on my own, being as far away as one can be from friends and family before you start going back around.

In 2014 I met, dated, and married this gem of a lady. Best initiative I ever took.
In 2014 I met, dated, and married this gem of a lady. Best initiative I ever took.

Knowing what I know now there are some things I wouldn’t have done, but I don’t really regret anything. It all goes into that worldview I was talking about before.

I’ve learned not to grasp things too tightly for too long, so I’ve learned to cherish the present moments even more.

Entering the service and giving up many freedoms have helped me appreciate and value freedom even more; I feel more a free man than I ever have.

Nov. 2015 - Barking Sands Beach, Kauai. Living life and learning to live with Jenn. Loving almost every second of it.
Nov. 2015 – Barking Sands Beach, Kauai. Living life and learning to live with Jenn. Loving almost every second of it.

I met my wife and my kid was born here.

Where will I be in four more years? No clue.

Probably still around. Maybe about to head elsewhere; who knows?

Until then I just keep doing what I do everyday: take it one day at a time.

There is A LOT going on this year, but the arrival of this little guy is by the far the most epic.
There is A LOT going on this year, but the arrival of this little guy is by the far the most epic.

Moving Along

So, Father’s Day came and went…

The weekend came and went…

…except it didn’t.

I’m on leave! Woo-hoo!

I’ve taken this week (and a couple more over the course of the summer) to give myself some time to work on stuff for life post-Navy*.

I’ve got a short film to finish up.

I have a 13-part novel series to properly start.

I have a local biz commercial production company to promote and ad to finish for a client.

Not too much; no pressure; easy peasy, yeah?

The short film is a goofy little comedy I wrote, directed, and am still producing. It’s these three guys playing D&D who then accidentally summon an actual golem when using what they think is a crazy rare edition of the Monster Manual.

My original goal for it was to enter it into the MyRodeReel online film contest, but that fell through when I couldn’t get it done in enough time. That’s fine, because the main stipulation for the contest was to enter a film which would be under three minutes in length. The material I’m working with is going to be a bit longer than that…

It was a lot of fun to shoot. I got the cast and crew together for one afternoon/night of shooting. I do wish I’d taken a little more time, but the location was only available for a very limited time…though reshoots aren’t totally out of the question…I dunno; I’m just ready to have it done. We’ll see what the story requires.

13-part novel series – The Baker’s Dozen! If you know me at all outside of this blog you know I’ve been working at working on this thing for a while now. It’s still hot in my brain and I’ve started gathering all my notes and whatnot and trying to organize it. I’m also trying to get all this other stuff done so I can attack it as unfettered as possible.

Father’s Day was nice. Being a father to an almost-two-month-old makes me feel as though I barely qualify (especially considering how grumpy I can be at 2AM changing a diaper) but, still. Jenn okayed the purchase of a 48” TV that was on sale at the BX and got me a bottle of my (and hers) favorite wine (which we thought was discontinued but miraculously reappeared at the Diamondhead Market) as well as some delicious gourmet chocolates.

I spent most of the day at home with Stormy as Jenn ran some errands and watched a couple father-themed movies (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). I cooked myself a steak and potato (preceded with a salad), and enjoyed the day.

In the evening after finally getting Stormy to sleep we went halfsies on a Greek salad, enjoyed that Red Eruption wine and chocolates while watching Silicon Valley and Last Week Tonight.

The whole day and night ended with Stormy sleeping on top of me on the couch for about four hours before gas and diaper moisture got the best of him and Jenn relieved me.

Okay… I give up… #fathersday #myboy #specialmoments #disgustinglysentimental #idontcare

A photo posted by Cliff (@thecliffbailey) on

This morning I slept through my alarm and missed my new workout time with my good buddy Josh (who also stars as the titular character in The Golem’s Curse) but managed to eventually make it out to the gym on my own and now here I am at Starbucks blogging my eyes out.

I had in mind to try and talk about some heavy spiritual or social issue stuff, but I don’t really feel like it right now. However, I am a little overdue for a blog posting, so I guess this is just one of those “day-in-the-life” posts, or a “here’s what’s up with me” thing.

Just trying to carve out time for stuff like this is a challenge, but I’m getting there.

*NOT AN OFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON FOR THE DOD, DON, OR ANYONE EXCEPT THE STAFF OF THECLIFFBAILEY.COM WHICH IS THE CLIFF BAILEY OF HONOLULU

Auditioning for the Band

The news started breaking as I was heading to bed after 0200.

“Mass Shooting in Orlando – 20 Dead, 20 Injured”

All I could think was, “Shit…here we go again.”

By the time I woke up this morning it was 50 confirmed dead.

Fifty souls lost at a night club in Orlando, Florida.

Gun crowd says there should be more guns in the hands of citizens to fend off such attacks.

Gun control crowd says the laws need to be tighter.

Some say it’s (radical) Islam which is to blame.

Some blame the President for making our country more friendly to terror – er…Muslims.

Some say it’s God’s judgement.

Some say it’s just a super fucked up thing to happen.

As mass shootings increase in frequency; as hatred continues to grow in strength and manifest in vile groups such as ISIS, the KKK, human traffickers, and politicians; as acts of terror become the new normal…I gotta confess, I’m not entirely surprised.

Always saddened and disappointed with humanity, but not shocked and certainly not surprised. Before things get better, they’re going to get worse.

There are moments of reflection where I sit back and wonder why on earth I colluded with another human to bring a new human into the world. There are moments where I reconsider and doubt the wisdom of my career choice in pursuing content creation (filmmaking, writing, etc); shouldn’t I be doing something important with my time instead of dreaming up frivolous stories for entertainment? The Titanic is sinking and I’m auditioning for the band?

"And the band played on..." image capture from James Cameron's 1997 masterpiece.
“And the band played on…” image capture from James Cameron’s 1997 masterpiece.

Yup.

Entertaining is all I’ve ever really felt good about being good at.

When you can laugh, think of a joke, sing a song, or just be creative in even the darkest of circumstances fear is castrated, terror is mortified, brokenness is restored.

And when you can get other suckers to laugh, think, sing, create with you, then the doom of doom is even more pronounced.

Besides, the boat is sinking; ain’t nothing changing that fact.

Now, the more we laugh and sing and dance gaily about our merry lives, the more darkness there is that conspires against us, seeking to snuff out the delight of life bringing only ruin and misery to nature’s existence.

But did you know that scientists seem to be discovering that even in dark energy there is light?

Reminds me of ol’ Psalmist man saying to G-d:

12even the darkness is not dark to you
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Even in the darkest, coldest, most remote parts of the universe (apparently), there is still light.

So, light is everywhere; not darkness. Or wherever darkness is, light is right there with it, keeping the scary places not so scary.

The boat is sinking. You want to go down lamenting and wailing without dignity or shall we sing and laugh, reflecting on the time we had, marveling that we lasted as long as we did?

So, uh, yeah: fuck evil; fuck terrorism; fuck fear.

Shalom, y’all.

A KICK IN THE PANTS

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion on web series. The panel consisted of three folks (Bernie Su, Hannah Cheesman, and Julian DeZotti) who have produced series for online distro and consumption and have a significant measure of success.

Check out The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and Whatever, Linda.

There were a few folks there I know from the Collective and a lot of folks I’ve never seen before.

It was my first panel discussion, so I figured I’d go whole hog into the experience and ask a Q during the Q&A portion.

I wasn’t planning on bringing up my ambitious goal of writing a 13-book series, followed up with a 3-5 season web series, culminating in a 1-3 film theatrical event, but when my question on audience-building apparently proved too vague, my hand was forced.

Even now my mind is a little foggy as my head was spinning, but what I took away from the event was: JUST DO IT.

I mean, there I was…I told them the span of the idea and that it’s a bit of a cross-pollination of Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia. And these industry professionals, as well as a lady and gentleman of high import for the industry in Hawaii, all admonished, encouraged, and just told me to DO IT – WRITE THE STORY – DO THE THING!

DO THE THING - by Arvaus on DeviantArt.com
DO THE THING – by Arvaus on DeviantArt.com

Thing is I’ve known I’ve needed to do the thing for quite some time now! I just…haven’t.

I’ve hemmed, I’ve hawed; I’ve put the pro in procrastination but the time of side quests is done. The Dragovian Trials have adjourned and it’s time to go after Dhoulmagus.

So, in terms of stortytelling, of writing, producing, anything, it’s all going toward finishing BOOK I of the KNIGHTS OF THAELION.

Jenn’s been encouraging me ever since our first date (if memory serves (regardless, it’s a good story)). Other friends, along the way, have encouraged me over the years. The inner voice keeps encouraging me.

And yet…RESISTANCE ALWAYS RESISTS. This is why it’s important to be in community with others.

Flyntax and co. have been banging around in my brain since I was 13. Time to let ‘em out.

 

Weekending – June 4 Ed.

It’s Saturyay, I’m sipping some wine (Our Daily Red) after having consumed some cheese & Triscuits following a high-maintenance, slightly stressful afternoon with our dear Nightstorm. He’s resting peacefully, I’ve got the original Mad Max playing on my iPhone thru the Amazon Prime Instant Video app, and I finally really get the visual reference in Hot Fuzz right before the final act when Danny is driving Sgt. Angel down the night road.

And Stormy is crying, again. Wait a mo’…

Okay – it was a diaper need.

Anywho, I’ve got an actual job with my production company and need to be working on that; I’ve gotten a great idea for a novel that will help me ease into the massive 13-book series I want to write; I need to put together a little video presentation for my biz website; and I have a couple ideas in the docket for future blog posts.

I’m still learning this whole blog thing, and I’m ever-so-thankful to those who have read and commented (though mostly on Facebook; that’s cool, but could you comment here, perhaps? Please, oh, please?) and are sticking around.

Sharon Miller, long-time blogger and acquaintance who I met in real life about 10 years ago, gave some good advice on this whole venture as well as some good feedback. I’m going with that and just crankin’ out the posts as I’m able, trying to maintain something of a release schedule.

And that’s what’s happening this weekend.