Monday, January 4, 2016

Our Last Good Day

Good morning, I love you.
It haunts me each day.

My long hair draped over you and meshed with your perfectly sinuous locks.

Our unclothed bodies were trapped underneath layers of sheets by the stinging cold.
The sun shone through the cracks between the Venetian blinds, lighting your unforgettable visage.

"Good morning, I love you," you said.
"Good morning, I love you," I said.

Countless alarms reminded us of the inevitability of the day.
"Five more minutes," we'd quietly exclaim with joy and laughter... Over, and over again.
Your eyes smiled with as much vigor as your lips.

"Good morning, I love you."
"Good morning, I love you."

I saw everything in you that I had ever dreamed of, tracing the lines of your face with my fingertips.
A thousand kisses covered your cheeks, neck, hips, hoping to keep you there just a little while longer.

Maybe I knew.

Good morning, I love you.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Letter to Baltimore City

Friday, November 20, 2015
To Whom It May Concern:

I am a resident of Baltimore County, and I have been an employee in Fell's Point for nearly a decade. Five days a week, I commute approximately twenty miles from Middle River to work in the city, and then twenty miles back. I have a few concerns regarding the parking situation in Fell's Point. Over the last ten years I, and many residents/coworkers, have noticed a staggering increase in residents leading to a severe lack of street parking during the day. A couple points:

  1. The Uber office on Wolfe Street has created a very chaotic situation for any driver on Fell/Wolfe Street. Uber drivers/applicants take up a very large amount of street parking, legally and illegally. They often park in the middle of the street and block intersections. What can we do to organize this situation?
  2. It is not possible for employees of Fell's Point to purchase parking permits, and we do not understand why. We drive to the city to work. We create business. We bring in tourism. Then, we go home. It is not conducive to any regular employee's situation to stop working every two hours to move their vehicle in order to dodge any number of parking fines, ranging from $32 to $100+. If the city of Baltimore would allow us to park, without penalty, I'm sure the majority would willingly pay for a proper Area 16 parking permit.
  3. The Five-Way intersection at Thames/Ann/Fell Streets is a nightmare. Ever since the two stop signs were mounted on Thames Street a few years ago, the amount of people honking and nearly colliding has been unthinkable. Why do we need the stop signs on Thames Street when it has worked fine as a through street for ages? We had no problems when people only had to come to a complete stop on Ann and Fell.

This may not seem like an issue to you, but it has been getting more and more difficult over the years for all of us. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Best regards,

Emmanuel Z. Karabetis

Thursday, November 27, 2014

There will be noise in this kitchen.

There were days, growing up, when I would wake up to my parents, uncle and grandmother loudly gossiping about old neighbors and friends from the old country. I was most likely 11 or 12 years old. There I would be, trying to sleep, and there they would be, exceeding all government recommended decibel levels for my fragile little ears. My mother would most likely be wearing her apron, preparing coffee and something small to eat for everyone while my grandmother sat on the chair closest to the phone (Valanti is pictured on her chair). My father would be sitting across from her at the head of the table. My uncle George would normally sit near my father, if I remember correctly.
(Clockwise from Top Left: YiaYia and My Mother; Melomakarona; Valanti in Yiayias Chair; Sweet Potatoes)
I would get so frustrated with them, so self-involved, that I would bang on my bedroom wall so they would get the hint and bring it down. There would be a short moment of silence, then they would get right back to their explosive debates.

Tonight, I went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving with my Aunt, Uncle, sister and her boyfriend. It was great to be around friends and family, enjoying good food and laughter. Conversation began about recent current events and something concerning happened. One of our friends' family members got frustrated with another person's opinion and left... in a huff! Just left... on Thanksgiving.

I have never seen this before. I'm used to my family raising their voices and disagreeing about all kinds of things, but I've not known them to ever leave, clearly pissed off about another person's beliefs. They would just get over it and continue talking, eventually moving onto another topic and eating more food. Then, I thought about it even more. I've never felt like my family was apart during the holidays. We were always together, and we were always happy to be together. That's when I thought about my family sitting at that little table, and that's when I realized just how long it's been since I was awakened by those wonderfully loud noises.

Point here is, my friends, I wish I had realized how perfect my family was, growing up. Although my father, mother, and grandmother are no longer with us, I am very proud to be here with my uncle, aunt, sister and brother. And I hope to, one day, bring back the noise to this kitchen.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Don't ask me for relationship advice. I'm single for a reason.

At the ripe age of 32 (quickly approaching 33), I'm finding myself in a very interesting place in life. I wake up, go to work, hang out with my dog, and do a lot of traveling. I'm surrounded by many wonderful friends, some of whom are regularly cast in my life, and some who make guest appearances every now and then. Either way, these people are colorful, extremely unique, and they bring so much joy to my life, mainly because our connections are so deeply rooted. We have all experienced each others lives over many years of ups and downs. People have come and gone, but we stick together...

... That being said (chuckle), we all get romantically involved with other like-minded people throughout our unpredictable little lives. Sometimes, though, said people may not be so "like" us, but we see something in them... Something that begs us to pursue the relationship further. We start to get stumped. That's when friends seem to look to me for advice... and I don't know why.

Why isn't it working out?!

Let's make a list:
  1. I'm 32.
  2. I live in a three-bedroom house... with my dog.
  3. I am single.
  4. I don't date.
  5. I prefer Netflix to late-nights at the bar.
  6. Quite frankly, I'm scared of the women out there.
So, based on this very current list, is it safe to conclude that I am in no position to give another human being sound advice on their love life? Maybe the list doesn't provide enough information to truly paint a picture. You might need more insight into my overwhelmingly askew view on dating and happiness in order to judge whether or not I am worthy of guiding you towards a happier co-mingling between you and theeeeee-uhhhh... let's call them Tossers.

I'm calling them "Tossers" because we never really know how long they'll stick around before you end up throwing them to the side.

Okay, so let's make another small list:
  1. I love holding hands.
  2. I love couch time with my other half.
  3. I love planning trips.
  4. ... staying in.
  5. ... cooking together.
  6. ... drinking wine.
  7. ... making short-term goals together.
  8. ... enjoying life as it comes.
I am not ready for marriage, children, sharing bank accounts, or giving you my house for that matter. The idea of marriage scares the crap out of me... Actually, no. Let's clear that up. The idea of jumping into marriage without creating a proper foundation with another person... that infuriates me. If we don't know each other, I am not committing to you for a lifetime. This is all pre-disclosed information, by the way. I never go in under false pretense with the "I'm looking to settle down." rap. So, if we are six months into a relationship and I'm feeling pressure over an engagement ring, we don't belong together. Better yet, if you're raising your voice at me because you "... don't know where this is going.", something is not right, my friend. Any concerns about the relationship can be quietly discussed at home. I'm an open book. This is a diplomacy. We are not on a reality TV show.

Okay! So, we're good? That's me in a nutshell. Now you know why these particular conversations with my friends will never be productive:

Friend: Hey, I need your advice.
Me: Yeah? What's up?
Friend: Me and Tosser just got into a fight.
Me: Oh no. Again? What about? Are you okay?
Friend: Yeah, I'm fine. Same shit. Tosser doesn't like me hanging out with So-And-So... But I've known them forever!
Me: Did you two talk about it?
Friend: Tosser won't talk about it.
Me: You have to or else it will never get resolved.
Friend: I've triiiied! Tosser will not talk.
Me: You have to break up.

Next conversation:

Friend: Hey. Tosser's been texting So-And-So.
Me: The Ex? What about?
Friend: I don't know. I don't think it's anything serious, but it bothers me.
Me: I can understand that. Did you two talk about it?
Friend: No. Tosser doesn't think it's serious enough to talk about.
Me: But Tosser knows it bothers you.
Friend: Yeah. But Tosser brushes it off.
Me: Well, you guys need to sit down and talk about it if it's important to you.
Friend: I've triiiied, but no dice.
Me: You have to break up.

See where I'm going with this? I'm fine being single! I'm the wrong dude to ask about relationships. If your relationship problems are bringing you down, I don't see a problem dumping whoever you're dating. I don't think you need to be with some loser because you don't want to feel lonely. I see my friends as strong individuals who are deeply rooted in an expansive network of friends and family. My answer will, nine times out of ten, be a question.

"Did you guys talk about it?"

If the answer is "No", then fucking talk about it. If that doesn't work, then why the hell are you wasting time with somebody who can't talk to you? You're not an object. You're a complex being with many, many needs and wants. Your significant other should want, at least, a healthy portion of the same things.

I'm not a fucking expert. I'm just a single guy living with his awesome dog. Have a good day, friends.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Am I preaching?

Everybody goes through high points and low points in their lives. I have, within the last 4 years, been struggling to find a stable wavelength; I've been searching for equilibrium between healthy mind and body, yada yada yada... You get the point. Until recently (the last six months or so), I was struggling heavily with eating healthy and trying not to lay sedentary every night after work. I was in a relationship that had made it exceedingly difficult to focus on myself over the years. Since the breakup in September, I've found enough inspiration between family and friends to get back to who I really am. I've gotten to travel, gotten back to having a social life, and now I'm back to eating healthy and working out six days a week. So, anyway, after posting a photo on Facebook last night, one of my favorite people asked me a simple question.

Here's the photo:
This is me after a workout, showing my heart rate numbers.

Here's the question: 
"Are you going to get all preachy about working out now?"

Short answer:

Long answer:
I feel like I'm coming out of some very harsh "lows" in my life. Right at this moment, I'm back in shape, I'm eating good food. There is less weight on my back, figuratively and literally. At the core, this is me. I love working out. I love being able to climb things. I love being able to run around with my dog and not get winded in seconds. I love looking at the numbers on my heart rate monitor and seeing the math actually make sense.

If it feels like I'm preaching, please know, I'm not. The truth is, I'm excited. I want to share knowledge with my friends. It took me almost two months to go from three minutes of jumping rope to twenty six. That was hard for me, and I would like to share how I did it with friends. If they're not interested, they won't read it. If they are, hopefully my posts can help them in starting a new workout regimen.

Staying active is what I know, and I will always be learning for years to come. I don't have much in the ways of money, but I can always take hold of my own health. That makes me happy. So, please don't ever think that I'm on some high horse telling you to stop being lazy. I understand how hard it is to start that first workout after months of not moving. I know. know. KNOW how hard it is not to eat that slice of fucking apple pie, pizza, mac & cheese. You get it.

I broke down my walls, and I'm happy. That is my answer.

Love you guys,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For What It's Worth...

Though all our timing had been off, our circumstances met.
In both our eyes, we trivialized our pasts and futures, set.

And yet the calmest sleep I slept was in your arms that night.
Through pain and fear, to have you near turned every wrong to right.

If possible to recreate that moment. Know, I would.
But truth be told, the memory's old and lost with all that's good.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nomad Micro Home

My ever-growing urge to move on and out of Maryland has led me to the thought of downsizing. I currently live in a home meant for four+ people. The layout will boast 2,000+ square feet, three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms, yada... yada... yaaadaaaaaaaaa!

To paint a broader picture, I live alone with my lovely dog, Kratos. I don't need this house. It once housed four people and a dog, comfortably. So, I've been looking into tiny houses for quite some time, and what did I come across today?! THIS:

This new Indiegogo campaign has caught my eye, and holy moly am I excited! Most other tiny house companies I've seen require $50,000+ for a pre-assembled tiny house. These come fully assembled for under $30,000! I'm currently looking into it, but here's the Indiegogo Campaign. You can also visit their website here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sometimes in our confusion, we see not the world as it is, but the world though eyes blurred by the mind.

Not too long ago, there were ideas. They would materialize into words... words that would compound into phrases... sentences. Eventually, a relevant body of thought would appear in the form of text. Now, it's all a blur of memories, short-term and long-term. They all float in the foreground and background. Imagine a picture that's out of focus, and all you can see is the bokeh of the lights, then try to picture a series of blurred out words and memories inside each light.


It seems harder now than ever to get the memories and words to come together to form something meaningful. Tonight I could see clearly enough to type out this meaningless bit. Hopefully, more will come soon.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Note to David Lane

Here is an excerpt from one of David Lane's futile rants about "waging war to restore a Christian America":

David Lane, Evangelical
"Where are the champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage, homosexual scouts, 60 million babies done to death by abortion and red ink as far as the eye can see on America? ... Who will wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands and restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture?"

How I feel about this and other quotes from Lane:

America is pure, a spotless crystalline glass comprised of the purest water that comes from every reachable edge of the earth. We are diverse. To be same would be to contaminate the water. You aim to deprive America of its balance and create a dingy cesspool of hate. Your words are empty, childish... worthless. You are a parasite that cannot survive without sucking the life out of decent people who live day-to-day, pay their taxes and have well-versed families. Your mind is closed off by fear, a fear that you've created by bastardizing words taken from a book created thousands of years ago. You preach evil in the name of Jesus who, by Christian belief, spoke only of love and living together in harmony. If two people are in love, let them love, be they straight, gay, etc. etc. Do not take my words lightly. Take it from a straight Atheist who was baptized into the Greek Orthodox church and spent 11 years in Catholic school; it is obvious that you have a lot to learn, my friend.

Emmanuel Z. Karabetis

A link to the original article.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Be Yourself | Buy Yourself

Individuality is no longer distinguished by who you are or how you think. It is now treated as a commodity. The distinct characteristics that separate us from others are comprised of the clothes we wear or the cars we drive. Strip us of our belongings and what will become of us? Just a thought...