the only thing i want is for my mom to be happy

and yet this Christmas, like every Christmas she sends more packages and more gifts to us than we give to each other.

always good things.

always things i wear forever.

always things i love.

last night i went to bed early and woke up in the middle of the night somewhere around 420am. when i get four hours of sleep my body thinks thats all i want so i know im doomed for the rest of the night so i turned on the maladorian and started wrapping amber’s gifts.

even though im broke i met a guy across the river and did a favor for him. in return he told me i could purchase a laptop computer for amber at a deep discount.

believe it or not the favor was to do some SEO work for their company’s website.

but as soon as i started wrapping her gift, i hear her stumble to the bathroom and then slowly walk to the living room. i hastily hid the computer and took off my pants in front of her.

that image worked to perfection and she retreated back to slumber.

currently im reading the autobiography of ted templeman who loved jazz as a teen in the 1950s and went on to produce a slew of Doobie Brothers albums in the ’70s before producing all of Van Halen’s records and then later Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and Joan Jett.

he starts off talking about his dad and uncles who had such a horrible life that it makes you ashamed for ever complaining about anything. i havent had an arm blown off. i havent been taken prisoner. boo hoo kris rebah didnt wanna go to the seventh grade dance with me, ted templeman’s dad had to eat spiders to stay alive and gave raw meat to a monkey to see if it would die. and if it didnt, mr templeman would eat the horrid meat.

eighth grade would be better.

and eighty-eighth grade would be better than ever.

suck it up, whiner, the next chapter will more than make up for this one.

and then i can get my momma better presents than she gets me.

a Christmas story

This Christmas I showered Amber with all the gifts you’d expect: diamonds, fur, diabetic candies.

But I knew she could get that from any man.

Also I knew what she secretly wanted. Something she’s been hinting at during little bickerings that couples typically have.

I am perfect in nearly every way. But let’s just say I don’t keep the tidiest house. Never have. Never will. Some say it’s a sign of a creative mind. But I’m not so sure. It might just be that I am a filthy animal.

So yesterday I had work to do, things to write, errands to run, but instead I spent most of the day cleaning our happy home while she was at work.

I picked her up, we had a quick dinner, went to a party, attended midnight mass, and when we got home she was exhausted. She opened the door and the house was clean. The lights twinkled. The cats yawned. And she began to cry.

I hugged her but she didn’t move.

“This is all I’ve ever wanted.” She cried more.

She walked around the pad and cried cuz it was all cleaned up. Little did she know I sold most of it for weed and baseball cards but what I couldn’t unload were put away, vacuumed, bed was made, porn was alphabetized, and the presents were neatly stacked beneath the dusty guitar.

In the morning she woke up in tears again because she thought last night had been a dream.

I think we’ve all had a few of those mornings.

im full from Christmas

but im glad it’s over. so much stress. not enough religion.

theres a bunch of stuff i gotta do.

one is get my car detailed. ive had it for years and maybe 1,000 people have been in it, and i need it properly cleaned out.

it’s gross even thinking about it.

next i need to be a better shoulder to cry on for amber. im always fixing problems she tells me and i need to be more of a listener.

it’s almost impossible for me not to try to fix things though. so it will be interesting to see if i can do it.

i also want to read more shakespeare. when dickens was acted out at church the other day, i was in awe of his use of words.

so what i wanna do with shakespeare is watch a play a week and read along on my ipad from one of the plays i can download from the LA Public Library.

i remember loving shakespeare in college, but let’s be real, that was a long time ago. id love to watch his top 30 plays by this time next year.

and i always say this but i want to blog more. this year produced the fewest amount of posts of any year of the busblog. i was super busy. i am super busy. but whatever thats a lame excuse.

kids in africa would love a blog. i will blog. they will be weirder than usual though because i think one reason i have slowed down is im nervous that people will think im weird if the weird stuff comes out

but two things: im not that weird, and people love weird. let em have it.

the first Christmas Eve

i have a long list of people i want to meet if i am fortunate enough to be invited to Heaven

cobain, hendrix, elvis, belushi

but i cant wait to ask Joseph, were you freaking out? you literally had one job and you sorta blew it.

you knew for a long while that your virgin wife was pregnant with the Son of God and in the eighth or ninth month you decide to journey to little ass Bethlehem to sign the census or pay taxes or something

even though the Son of God could probably solve whatever weird paperwork problem it would have caused if you had stayed

AT HOME

in Nazareth, but instead you wander, get to Bethlehem and cannot get a room to rent

even though your people are from there, dating all the way back to David

but theres no one around for a nice pregnant lady and her man?

and you can’t get a hotel motel or holiday inn to squeeze you in?

that pressure must have been incredible.

and what do you do when you say to yourself, ok, cool, mary, heres what we’re gonna do, you chill here next to this donkey and im gonna clean out this little shit shack here

and like animals we’re gonna do this right here under the stars

like was it that spiritual? or was it survival? was it her idea? was it that holy spirit that whispered in your ear at the beginning of all of this when you were gonna bail on her because you thought she had cheated on you?

who made it ok to deliver God

in the poop and piss mud of the stables – and then placed in the manger

manger, being of course the trough where the food is held so the animals can eat it. and what was the food for animals back then? all the left over grain and guts and god knows what

and slobber.

was that cool with you? did you feel like a loser? if i was a hippie would i feel different?

and it was cold. Israel ain’t Maui. It’s cold in the winter.

you must have huddled baby Jesus tight when you two and the donkey delivered Him into the world and slept through the night.

did you sleep? did the wise men wake you? could you sleep? that was Jesus. did you realize what you had there? was it obvious?

so many questions about what happened on this night, 2,018 years ago.

zero that have to do with Santa.

love and mercy

call me a purist but i havent heard one word about Jesus this Christmas

all these so called Christians, especially those on Twitter who have bios that say:

Bible, Family, MAGA

nobody’s talking about Jesus, the reason for the season. once a year there should be a good discussion about him

all the smartest minds: historians, poets, rabbis, preachers, priests, the pope. how come the only time we hear from the pope is when he is saying something punk rock? why isn’t there a limited series starring the pope and what he has to say about jesus like every three four years?

am i the only one in this for more than the presents.

poor amber was stressed because she didnt know what to get me i said socks, pajama pants, and something that you wanna wear about the house because i see you a lot more than i see me.

but what i want for christmas, truly, is to hear some good conversations about the son of God who came down to Earth, performed miracles, escaped into the desert, and then got killed in a terrible way only to return from the dead while his closest followers were running for their lives denying his greatness

to me thats something worthy of the twinkly lights

im learning some things on this path

im talking to people. lots of people. lots of freelancers. and here’s what they tell me one and all

don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

one of them was telling me about a particular Christmas, they had some money coming to them. each month they did the work, they filed their invoice and they got their money. except on this one Christmas

they would go to the mail box every day and every day it was everything except for that check. and they would do this or that to make sure their payments for their car and their apartment wouldn’t bounce, but that included all this stress. stress they never experienced before when they were working 9 to 5 and the direct deposit would arrive every two weeks like clockwork.

freelancers do not have such luxury. they never know when the checks will come. 

one person told me, after that anxiety filled Christmas where they thought they would never be able to buy gifts and pay bills on time due to this late-coming check, they decided

im never going to find myself in a situation where one check made or broke my Christmas. 

im a hard worker, this person said, working hard is not the problem. weird loyalties are the problem. patience is fine, but multiple checks flowing in to the mailbox is better. 

my man jerry invited me to church

so i went to church.

we met in the garage and took the elevator up and the guy in the elevator said are you two friends?

he said, yes we havent seen each other in a while though.

the man asked, oh? how long has it been?

and jerry said 18 years. 

jerry’s a good man, drives a cab that he owns. he has a long graying beard. walks with a cane. drives all the way from orange county to koreatown to go to this church because he says the ones by his house aren’t very progressive, let’s say. 

i had only gotten a few hours sleep because i was up all night working. didn’t get to bed until 5am because i didn’t wanna work at all on Sunday seeing that i knew i was going to church early and da bears were on at 5pm and who can concentrate leading up to a game between two teams leading their respective divisions?

so i worked and worked and so many things in life are so subjective so you try to make it as good as you can but who really knows if anyones going to like it until they say holy shit tony this is so good, so simple, so clear, so informative, and at times funny.  God has blessed you!

jerry expected me at that church at 10:20 and there i was at 10:20 in that elevator and i was all, wow, 18 years? time flies.

i was so sleepy. but who doesnt like a grand, beautiful, old school christian church with high ceilings and an enormous pipe organ with pipes over there, over here, behind you, in front of you, and an expert from UCLA playing the music, making it all work.

preacher said his hellos, the choir led us into two obscure Christmas hymns and then a woman, a beautiful young woman, in a period outfit said, and now i introduce you to Charles Dickens

and a man dressed up like that olden time whenever that was, waltzed out and the two of them, using musical instruments and a few chairs, acted out the entirety of A Christmas Carol. 

at first i was all, thats cute they’re going to do the opening and peace out so we can get back to church. but nope they introduced the three ghosts of Christmas Whatever – and these were thorough introductions, and then they went to the next one and next one.

the church was packed and entranced. applause breaking out after a beautiful song sung by the woman or a particularly well delivered soliloquy delivered by the man. 

did i catch myself dozing off from time to time due to the soothing melody of well written and sung lines by two obvious professionals? only the Lord knows.

and Jerry. 

probably. 

today is Christmas

and all around the world little kids are setting up video games and trains and drones and

saving for college and learning how to play guitar, just like in olden times.

amber asks for things, and i usually say no.

she wanted a tree, she wanted stockings over the fireplace, she wanted the fireplace to have fire

no, no, no.

then she said lets go to midnight mass.

being raised catholic but then reading the bible i was all, hey the Church basically lied to me as a kid, screw that noise.

and for the last 25 years instead of going to church i would read the bible for an hour because the Gospel reading was my favorite part of church.

but amber, like most of us, has taken a rocky road to get to where she is today, and i figured, why not go to midnight mass

why the f not!

so i picked her up at work last night at 10:20pm, she was wearing this super tight very short dress, and i had on my evening wear. i had researched various midnight mass services and saw there was one in hollywood that would have a choir and a 12 piece string quartet. little did i know the pipe organ was going to be on full blast too.

it was really nice. valet. at the foot of runyon. and best of all it started at 11pm.

got there. sat on the side. couldnt understand a word the dude was saying. but they had the whole service typed up in a 16 page miselette and  damn the music was great. a combo of old school, new school, and christmas carols. they did parts in latin

and mama mia were they generous on the incense. almost like they thought if we dont shake it 10 times in this corner of the church, old Satan himself is gonna sneak in.

well the preacher missed a spot because as Amber and I got to the altar to kneel and accept our communion, first the priest gave me a wafer and then the chalice of wine. amber, being sober, waved off the wine, but then this lady priest showed up and gave her a second wafer, dipped it in the wine, pushed her foot in amber’s eye and shoved the dripping wafer right down her pretty mouth.

then the incense dude blew some on us.

we left soon after that, tipped the valet, and opened presents before the clock struck 1.

merry Christmas!!!!

joy to the world, all the boys and girls

today a child was born.

a child who scared leadership so much that the king ordered to have him killed.

his dad couldnt get a hotel room.

a gigantic star was blowing up his spot.

it was cold as balls.

and the artists kept painting him with blue eyes.

the donkeys knew what was up.

as did the mule and the lambs.

and the goats.

and the drummer boys.

the killers were coming, but so were the wise men.

and all around him were angels, chillin,

doing what they could,

which was little.

it’s ok. he had this.

you have this.

today is the day God became human, striking fear into all the things that should be fearful,

and hope into the hearts of the hopeful.

today inspired a long list of beautiful songs, weird customs, and totally unrelated activities.

but at its heart is love.

the best of all.

merry christmas from the world famous busblog

and the super secret xbi

champions of the world.

my hippy friends at UCSB

hippie friends at ucsb

way back when i was in college we didn’t take a lot of pictures. back then you had to use film and get it developed and it all cost money. it was insane.

so of my whole four years at UCSB i think there are only like 9 pictures of me total.

i had two sets of friends at school, both of whom i still am very close with: my Daily Nexus friends and my hippy friends.

one Christmas the ladies of the latter group decided that we should all dress up and have a “formal” dinner before we all flew home for Christmas break. not everyone had the latest in high fashion, in fact looking at this it might appear that some of us robbed the local Goodwill, but we tried, because why not.

we were all “poor” but we always had food to eat, beer to drink, and fun to have and best of all we all shared.

often i say im the luckiest man alive and i seriously cannot even imagine how different my life would be now if i wasn’t placed in the San Nicolas dorm and instantly clicked with all of these super sweet, very fun people.