So here’s my kiddo and I just being as goofy as can be with my web cam. Then, we decided to compound the goofyness by a factor of 100 by making it into a GIF and posting it here.
Yes, we played with a special effects app. No, my head is not misshapen.
Wait. I guess that last comment is all a matter of perspective.
My son was shot earlier this evening.
I have no idea how. He won’t tell anyone in the family any details, out of either some misplaced loyalty to a friend who accidentally did it. Or, some warped sense of machismo and a need to “get back” at those responsible.
I really don’t have a lot to go on yet. I haven’t been able to leave work. Yes, I know that sounds horrible, but that’s the price of working in the security industry where you are assigned to posts that hardly anyone else is trained on to come out and relieve you in such events. So, all the news I’ve gotten on the incident is secondhand and usually from my sister, who is forever overreacting. Heck, even my ex went there to check on her stepson.
All I do know is that he was shot from the back. The bullet entered just above his left glute, bounced off his hip bone, and is now floating in his abdomen. Apparently, the doctors felt that nothing was damaged, and there wasn’t any internal bleeding, because they were insisting that he could be sent home tomorrow–if he did well under one night of observation. All this leads me to believe it was a small caliber weapon with which he was shot. That little bit of internal damage couldn’t have been done by anything larger than a 9MM.
Am I freaking out internally? Yes. But I am one of the most notoriously calm, cool, and unbelievably collected people that I know. Others always trip on how calm I remain under moments and periods of intense pressure, wherein everyone around me is losing their minds. It’s just how I am, I always tell them. Don’t get me wrong. I love my son and it’s hurting me inside not knowing just what the damage to him will be, both physically and psychologically, but I compartmentalize and take into consideration the main fact to consider at this point in time–there is nothing I can do from here.
He’s in good hands medically. His situation has begun to be investigated by the police. He has lots of family there to let him know we care. That being said, the flip side to this coin is that, as a father, I also feel the need to protect my son. However, he’s a man. He’s 20 years old. And he’s very independent. I may not like the people he chooses to surround himself with and refer to as friends, but I can’t do anything about it. As far as I know, it may or may not have been a case of mistaken identity and he was shot by people who think he was someone else. It did happen in a halfway decent neighborhood and he was at someone’s grandparents’ home, not a crack house or home known to the local PD as a gang hangout. So, as far as the criminality of the situation, I’m holding judgment until I know more.
Since I began this blog, I have been able to see and appraise his situation, and he will fully recover. He’s in a bit of pain, but that’s to be expected. I’m honestly just happy he’s alive and will get better. I hope he got some sort of a wake up call and that he will reassess his choices a bit, but I’m not holding my breath. On the way to see him and on the way home, I was a bit lost in my thoughts and contemplated the possibility that I just may end up losing my son to bad choices. Obviously, I don’t want this to happen, because as a war-time combat veteran, I always saw myself as the one who might go at anytime and accepted that possibility. It’s just not the same when you think your kid, who’s not even in any kind of military or law enforcement role, might put themselves in a position to be killed.
I’m trying to think other thoughts, but its hard right now. Very, very hard.
My son Alex is the good-looking kid to the left. My mom and his brother, Andreas, are to the right.
As a member of the military, Army National Guard, with a combat deployment to Iraq under by belt, there is no other day–other than the anniversary of my friend SSgt Jerry Lee Bonifacio’s death there–that really resonates more with me than Memorial Day.
Sure, Veterans Day is important and I’m glad and grateful for all the “Thanks for your service” comments I get that day. But it doesn’t come anywhere near the meaning and gravity of what this day means to me.
It’s been going on 7 years since the day in 2005, when I witnessed a good man’s life snuffed out like nothing by a sick individual acting out his warped interpretation of what he felt his religion told him to do. SSgt Bonafacio, or Bonnie, as we called him, was just doing his job at a checkpoint in Baghdad, when a car drove up in the military/VIP lane. He stopped the vehicle and had just started to question the driver, when the bomb went off and Bonnie was consumed by the orange fireball that ensued. I was up in the tower overlooking the checkpoint and was the closest American soldier and witnessed the whole thing. When the fire was contained, but before EOD had a chance to get out there, some of the other American soldiers at the checkpoint had rushed out to look for Bonnie. We found his crumpled and mangled remains about 25 yards from where he had last been seen standing. Half his leg had been blown off, his pants had been burned off his body, and his face was blown off his skull. Thankfully, for his sake, he died instantly.
Yes, the images still haunt my memories to this day.
There is a special reverence for those who’ve given their lives so that others may live, and I guess I will always carry that in my heart for Bonnie. Professionally and forever known by the name etched on his tombstone as SSgt Jerry Lee Bonafacio.
Love you, bro!
God bless all those who’ve given all they had to give, so that we can enjoy what we enjoy.
Finished all my finals this past week and got the results back.
I am now officially qualified to call myself a Junior at San Jose State University for the Class of 2014!
I won’t lie. It’s been a series of starts and sputtering stops in my pursuit of higher education. Whether it was a detour I chose to make, such as choosing to not go on to UC Santa Cruz in 1994, and instead I took a F/T managerial position with the company I was working with at the time. Or, a detour life threw at me, such as my deployment to Iraq in 2004, which pulled me away from barely having signed up for classes at San Jose City again.
A lot of the WHY I decided to come back to school had to do with my experiences during my combat deployment. Seeing the violence and brutality that always goes hand in hand with any war, especially that which was wrought upon the general population by fellow Muslims who had a political ax to grind in the worst of ways possible. Yes, all that, combined with the extended period of time away from my loved ones, just left me a veritable hot mess of the psychological variety. I’m okay now. And, to be honest, I think that my throwing myself into the goal of completing my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems (MIS) has a lot to do with why I feel balanced and better.
So, I’ve done the orientation. I’ve met the professors from the College of Business who will be teaching my major. All the financing I’m guaranteed is guaranteed and my VA benefits are now directed at my new future alma mater, so that my bills are paid on time and in full. I’ve therefore completed all the steps required to meet the requirements. Now, I’m ready to get the rest of this show underway.
Once again, I love saying it over and over again–I AM A SPARTAN!
How in the hell did I get into drawing skulls?
I’ve never doodled a damn skull before in my life and now, because I downloaded a sketching app onto my Droid Bionic, I’m going loco and drawing them like crazy.
If it’s not weird bluish black ones with funked up expressions, it’s weird Hollywood stars ones that seem to be screaming for attention.
All in all, I think this speaks to my need to lay off the coffee a bit more and perhaps boost up the sleeping a little more.
Yeah…a bit more sleep may be the solution.
I’m calling this one “Skeleton Hacker Man”. Reminds me of those nights all I wanna do is code, code, code! LOL
Yesterday, I drove about 200 miles altogether in the space of around 4 hours.
Because I had to collect and deliver all my completed college work transcripts to SJSU as soon as possible to make sure they get entered into the system prior to May 6, 2012.
It wasn’t all that bad a day. I did get a chance to stop off and enjoy the beach for a bit down in the Monterey area, as I had to visit Monterey Peninsula College, where I once attended a police academy for a while.
It was such a lovely day. About 70 and just cloudy enough to allow me to squint about 20% less than I’d normally squint anyway.
Next, I traveled back to San Jose and hit up Evergreen Valley College, where I attended for a lot of my general education classes in the early 90′s. I was able to get in and out of there in less than 20 minutes, which wasn’t bad, since I didn’t pay for parking while there.
I delivered all my transcripts to the Student Services Center at SJSU. This was actually an educational moment, since I had no idea where it was and had to find it. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to look hard, because it was just under the very parking garage I’d parked in.
So, I’m caught up and good to go on everything. Just waiting for my current semester to end and get that transcript to SJSU and then all I’m waiting on is August 22nd.
The first day of my time as a Spartan.
I had my San Jose State University Class of 2014 (Business – MIS) orientation last Friday, April 20, 2012.
IT WAS AWESOME!!
Sure, it started off as a lot of pumping sunshine up our butts about how much more we’ll earn, how much better citizens we’ll make, and what better lives overall we’ll have as college graduates, but I sincerely got that first infusion of college spirit that I, honestly, just have not felt as a junior college student.
This was my first view and taste of what it’s going to be like to be a coed walking around campus and I have to admit that it was a bit awe-inspiring. The weather and timing seemed to coincide in just that perfect way to cause the main, and most beautiful, building on campus to just seem to say: Hello and welcome, Miguel!
As if that wasn’t enough, once I got to the orientation event and waded through the various lines and formalities, I entered the auditorium for the first few speeches from the SJSU alumni and faculty and this was what I saw:
Now, I readily admit that I am going to eventually stick out like a sore thumb. On average, from all that I gathered from the fellow students around me at the event, I will be about 20 years older than the average transfer student. Is this a bad thing? I’m not sure, but I’m obviously going to try to turn it into an advantage for me somehow. Maybe I’ll try to become the de facto “sage” of the MIS program. I don’t have to know more or be better, I just have to play the “I’ve seen it all before, kids” angle and that just may be enough to garner some form of respect.
It could happen!
Either way, I’m super pumped and primed about this August and from what I can tell, my last classes at San Jose City College are going well. I’m picking up my transcripts for all work completed to date today from Monterey Peninsula College and Evergreen Valley College, and turning those in to the admissions office at SJSU. Nothing will be left to chance as I’ve, so far, gotten all my ducks lined up to make this transition as smooth as can possibly be.
I’m not sure if it’s something about the various cultural influences in Asia, but when it comes to their martial arts and action films, there is a serious difference in what they perceive and present as “realistic action” and what we usually see out of Hollywood’s need to intersperse everything with special effects.
I just watched “The Raid: Redemption” the other day, and it was incredible. I believe it was made in Indonesia and tells the tale of a SWAT team that attempts to take down one of the area’s most well-known and ruthless drug lords in his high rise apartment complex compound. They become trapped and slowly learn their mission wasn’t exactly “official”, so they must fight their way out, while still trying to apprehend the criminal they went there for. The main protagonist, Rama (Iko Uwais), is a young cop who’s still filled with the type of vim and vigor that drives him to want to both avenge the officers he sees slaughtered by the hood’s many soldiers, as well as survive to get back to his pregnant wife.
Iko’s many incredibly realistic and fantastically thrilling fight scenes are reminiscent of another of my favorites “Ong Bak” (which I’ll get into in a later blog). The actor/martial artist is a whirlwind of devastating kicks, punches, and those nasty knees to just about wherever his acrobatic abilities wish those strikes to be placed. Trust me, check out the preview and you’ll want to check out the movie.
I guess, when it’s all said and done, I just prefer those movies that take a bit of a more realistic view of what a punch or kick does to the human body and then multiplies it by adding the possibilities that training in martial arts to the extremes can give an individual the ability to do such things. I may not be a black belt in any particular martial discipline, but when I have trained (Hapkido, Tae Kwon Do, Kempo) I’ve seen demonstrations of power and skill that were amazing.
We humans are an amazing lot, and I love these movies that make us seem incredible!