You Just Don’t Know …

This is such a such a cliche but so TRUE…

“You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s GONE!!”

When I think of past relationships I begin to create a mental playlist. The firs song, Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. The next song is The One Who Got Away by Katy Perry. Not really a Katy Perry fan :). I know these are girly songs but there’s no shame in my game to admit my true feelings. Falling in love is such an unexpected thing. When we least expect it we get hit upside the head with a fistful of amor. The trick is being able to appreciate and hold on to that love. To all my readers out there…don’t let that one special person slip away on a technicality. Don’t ever lose sight of the SMALL things!! Life is way to short!!!!

Enjoy the music…

I’m a Metal Monkey in the Chinese Zodiac

This description could not be more correct 🙂 So glad to be a metal monkey…

In case of personal relationships, the Metal Monkey comes across as a fun and ardent lover. In general both male and female Monkeys have a healthy amount of sex appeal, a criteria which makes them highly desirable as partners. They can be delightfully provocative in new relationships as well as be trusted to keep the fire of passion burning in long term ones. However Metal has the effect of bringing about a greater intensity of feelings, which makes this Monkey even more passionate in his/her romantic relationships. And apart from a sizzling sex life, the Metal Monkey also expects, as much as he/she is willing to offer, steadfast loyalty in a relationship. – http://www.futurescopes.com

Life Experience of a Bookmaker in Costa Rica

After a few years of acclimating to Costa Rican culture I applied for a customer service job at an English speaking company. Little did I know, I was about to take on a job that would change my life forever. This wasn’t your ordinary CS job. The position was for a customer service clerk at an offshore gambling facility. The money was good and I would be speaking my native language all day. What more could I ask for?!?!?

Online gambling was at it’s prime and this was not your average “bookie joint”. This particular betting outlet was setup like a true business.    Complete with a customer service department, a sales department, and a betting department. With US 1-800 numbers directed to our phone system they were ready to take on the United States market. I am truly grateful to have found this job. The customer service and sales training that I had received would later prove to be a great asset in my current career.

After working there for about three years I quit and job hopped for a couple more years. While working at a gambling software company I met one of the most influential people in my life, me ex-employer. He offered me a job as a customer service/betting clerk while making urinal small talk. I kindly denied because of my work ethic and wanting to be faithful to the job I had at the moment. They laid me off about a month later because they were going out of business. Go figure! I was now unemployed and had recently turned down a seemingly good opportunity.  As being without a job for about two months started to take it’s tole I heard through the grapevine that the guy I had shared a urinating moment with was trying to track me down. Needless to say i got in contact with him and was given the job.

This job would later lead me to some of the craziest experiences anyone can ever imagine. I became the right hand man of a Los Angeles old school bookie. When I started at the company there were only four of us. After some negotiations and lots of drinks we sealed a deal with several bookies located in the New York area. The deal consisted of us processing their customers’ bets and handling all of the data entry in Costa Rica in exchange for a weekly fee per customer. This caused our business to grow exponentially in the matter of a few months. We went from having four employees to having over one hundred and thirty total employees. I was soon promoted to manager of the company and would be overseeing the day to day activity as well as entertain new and existing customers.

I soon found myself partying with entertaining customers on the streets of Costa Rica on a weekly basis. Although this was SO much fun it can start to take it’s tole. (I will touch on my partying entertaining memoirs on another post so stay tuned. If you have ever seen shows like the Sopranos or movies like Casino and Good Fellas you will have a pretty good idea of the people I would be dealing with. It was never really hard to remember names of the guys from the east coast because they were either Anthony, Stevie, Joey, Tony or any other of the Italian mobster names.

The one drawback of conducting “grey area” business in another country is getting paid. All money transactions were handled here in the United States and it was not as simple as making a deposit or sending a bank-wire since the funds were gambling related. As many of you may already know, gambling is frowned upon here in the United States unless you are in Las Vegas. The solution was simple. Send someone to meet the “fellas” in New York every two months to collect payment. That person would then fly back with the money. Just to clarify. We are not talking grocery money. I am talking about pick ups of $100,000.00 CASH. The person designated to do the pick up would get a kick back of 5% of whatever was brought back safely to Costa Rica. That’s $5000 per delivery!!

I of course volunteered several times to do the pick up since I already had a good standing relationship with the “fellas” in New York. After several successful missions I decided to do a small $40,000 pick up in Denver while on vacation with my wife ex-wife. Everything was great until our direct flight from Denver to Costa Rica was canceled and we had to reschedule a flight with a layover in Houston.

We were awaiting the arrival of the plane when I received a call from my boss. “Did you make it through the checkpoint?”. I responded with a cheerful “You bet!”. Everything seemed to be A OK. Our plane arrived and it was boarding time. As we approached the jet way I noticed several homeland security officers doing their rounds with a dog. I turned to my wife ex-wife and said: “Wow I feel so much better knowing that they have dogs looking for bombs before we get on this plane.”. We proceeded down the jet way towards the entrance of the plane. As I am walking by the homeland security officer that had the K-9 I feel the dog bite my right leg and assume the “sit” position. I looked back at the officer and he told me to  keep walking. Mind you I had the lump sum of the funds in my right hand cargo pants pocket. I was even wearing a pair of baggy sweats over my cargos. At the same moment I hear the officer yell out to the other agent who was by the door of the plane “CODE GREEN”. I thought nothing of it and kept on my way to the plane. When I arrived at the door I was confronted by a female homeland security agent. She says to me: “Hi Sir. How much money are your carrying with you today?”. I respond with:”Oh…nine hundred or so…”. She then made me sign a paper stating I was carrying only $900 cash. I gladly signed and asked if I could be on my merry way. The answer was: “No. Please step over here and empty your pockets.”. I emptied my pockets and stupidly thought I still had a chance to get out of this one until they brought the dog back over. The dog went straight for my right leg again. I was asked to empty “THAT” pocket. I emptied my pockets by the wads of $5000. In the matter of seconds I came up with a credible story. I told the agents I had no idea I had to report the funds. When asked where I got the money I told them I was playing poker at a private game in Colorado. (I have never played poker in my life!! But they didn’t need to know that :)) My wife ex-wife and I were escorted to a cold back room for interrogation. After several hours of questioning they decided to confiscate all of the money. I was given $300 of the $40,000 to get a hotel that night and a taxi back to the airport to catch next flight out.

Who would have ever thought that they have money detecting dogs. I mean come on!!!! You can only imagine the phone call of shame that I had to place to my boss informing him of the mishap. He wanted to reach through the phone and strangle me :(. The next day when we arrived in Costa Rica he was not all convinced that money sniffing dogs exist. He figured I had dropped the ball at some point in time which lead the officers to me. Not to mention the unspoken thoughts that he had of me pocketing the money and making up an elaborate story.  I did my due research and showed him videos on youtube of these dogs that were trained to sniff out large amounts of cash. He eventually got over it and told me that if I wanted to challenge the claim and get the money back I could keep it for myself.

I hired a lawyer but ended up NOT claiming the money. I didn’t want my name further involved in any talks of money laundering. In case you are wondering I did go back for a few more pick-ups but I made sure to keep it under $10,000 at any given time.

Fast-forwarding a couple years I now have a “square” nine to five job in the US and I love it!!!

Lookin for love…

I have tried all of the different dating sites and I have come to one simple conclusion. These sites, even though very successful for some, will NEVER work for me.

When embarking on an adventure such as online dating you must have a positive attitude and an open mind. These are two attributes that I dominate but for some reason I cannot sell myself on this online dating thing. And if I’m not fully invested on the notion then it will never ever work.

I know several people that are on these sites and I have read their profile. They are NOT AT ALL like their profile description! Just the thought that I know the real story and the description is soooo different send my mind on a over-thinking rampage.

What ever happened to chemistry and meeting people in person? Why must we be forced to hide behind a keyboard and monitor?

While I was writing this the following song came to mind…

 

Shot in LA Shipped to Costa RIca-The Beginning of My Life Story

This particular part of my life took place when I was 14 years old. The setting is the neighborhood I grew up in, Atwater Village-California. Ironic as it may seem it was Good Friday .

Good Friday (from the senses pious, holy of the word “good”[1]) is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday

I was attending a public school and it was not mandatory to attend on this particular Friday if you were religious. I obviously took them up on the offer and opted out of going to school that day. My best buddy and I hit the swap-meet early that morning to get some “gangsta” apparel to match our gang banging lifestyle. We both walked out of there G’d Up from the shoes up.

Just to give you an idea I had on leather Nike Cortez, freshly pressed Ben Davis pants and a Charlie Brown CholoPolo shirt to complete the outfit.

Image
This is NOT me! Just for illustration. I was dressed very similar that day.

My buddy and I were chilling with some hainas girls from the neighborhood when two cars pull up. It was two fellow gang members that were headed to the high school to pick a fight with the rival gang. With testosterone levels at their max. I hopped in one of the cars and my buddy in the other and off we went to the school to look for some trouble.

Upon arriving at the school we decided to both go opposite directions with the idea in mind of one of the two cars will catch someone slipping or off guard. Two minutes later we did just that. The driver of the vehicle I was in spotted some familiar rival faces and pulled up right next to their car. He proceeded to whip on his 9mm and point it at the driver of the other car. There were four passengers in that car and I’m sure all of them peed themselves that day. After waving his gun around for a few seconds and belittling them he yelled out “chale”(mexican for “Nah”) and we drove off.

Little did I know they would later that day come back for revenge.

We got back to the neighborhood and I reunited with my buddy that was in the other car. Turns out he was boxing with a member of the same gang we saw earlier at the school. They were supposedly both hanging out of the window of a car while swinging at one another.

We decided to walk about 4 blocks down to his girlfriends house. As we were making our way to her house we ran across some pot heads from the neighborhood that were sitting on the porch. One of them was a good friend of the family named Eddie. Eddie had recently been paralyzed from the waste down after a bad car accident. Eddie took one look at me and said “I’m gonna kick your ass when I get out of this wheelchair for being a little gang banger. You’re gonna get shot one of these days!”. I replied with “Fuck you Eddie! You don’t know what your talking about!!”.

We finally made it to his girlfriend’s house and they were doing their whole lovey dovey, making out session. I was in a rush to get home because I was anxious to meet my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter. She was visiting from Michigan. So we began to walk back to my house.

As we are walking down the sidewalk I see a Ford Bronco full of bald heads aka gang members headed in our direction. I say to my buddy “Just keep walking with your head down and maybe they wont see us”. I’m 6’2 and at that time 250lbs. So it’s pretty hard NOT to see me. Can’t beat wishful thinking.

I hear them scream “that’s them” as the engine roars. We begin to run and moments later my right leg is pinned between a truck parked in the driveway and the bumper of the Bronco. In a blink of an eye I punch his hood and pull my leg out to start running. As I’m struggling to free my leg I look up to see a Regal full of MORE bald heads!! I turn to my friend and say “RUN!!! I’LL MEET WITH YOU LATER”.

In all the confusion I run towards the backyard of a house. I can’t seem to get the gate open  so I say to myself “FUCK IT!! IT’S ON!!!”. I turned around and, as my granpa would say, I put my dukes up. I punched the first one and knocked him out cold same with the second and third (It’s amazing what adrenaline can do for you). To my unpleasant surprise behind the third assailant was the fourth crouched down with a MagLite. The next thing I see is little stars after he hit me over the head. I don’t know if you have ever seen Kill Bill but I was spraying blood from my head very similar to that movie. I put my arm over my head while I was walking disoriented in circles trying to figure out what was going on. In all the commotion I catch, out of the corner of my eye, someone running up with a gun. I fix my blurred vision on him as he fires three rounds at my friend who escaped by climbing onto the roof. I think to myself “I made it out of here alive”. I hadn’t even finished the thought when he turns the gun to me. Mind you he is only 4 feet away from me. I crouched into the fetal position while screaming “DON’T SHOOT ME!!! PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME!!!”. He proceeded to empty the cylinder of bullets in my direction. I heard three shot and an eery “click” “click” “click” and at the same time felt like some one stuck a piece of hot coal in my left arm that was protecting my head.

They retreated while yelling out the name of their gang and I gathered all my strength to yell: “FUCK YOU PUTOS!!!” Once they were gone I began to search frantically for my buddy. I had not yet realized what had just occurred. I just wanted to find him and know he was alright.

He came down from the roof and was OK. I on the other hand was just about to realize what happened to me. I still had my arm on my head to sooth the pain a bit. I asked my friend if I had been shot in the head because I could feel the blood and it was really hurting. He asked me to move my arm so he could take a look and I did. When I removed my arm from my head it was like my arm had a mind of it’s own. My arm was just dangling around and I had no control of it. Apparently one of the bullets had fractured my arm. The ambulance came and I was taken to the emergency room of Los Angeles General Hospital. After a very painful examination by the nurse I was given 150mg of Demerol and set asail to la la land.

All said and done I was shot twice. One bullet shattered my arm and the other hitched a ride on my shoulder bone and exited my neck. The third bullet whizzed by me and was lodged in the house where I was shot. The even scarier part is if you calculate where the shooter was and where my arm was placed you will find that he was aiming for my head. By the grace of God and God alone I was saved that day. I was shot with a 32 caliber gun. If it would have been a 38 caliber or a 9mm I would not be here today to tell this story.

A few months later I was shipped out to live with my mom in Costa Rica. I hated it for the first year but it later grew on me. Now that I look back, it was the BEST thing my dad could ever have done!!!

Stay tuned for my crazy Costa Rica stories…