Day One. Again.

10.4.21

Day One. Again

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

How many times in your life have you said publicly or out loud that “this is the first day of the rest of your life”? Of those many times (and, if you’re anything like me, there have been many) were you dead wrong? Everything stayed the same and nothing changed no matter how hard you worked. It just ended up being yet another page in the same chapter of the book of your life. I’m on the verge of one of those change/stay the same scenarios and I’ve learned over the years not to get too excited until I have concrete proof that change is indeed on its way.

I am hours away from my wife hopping a plane to Boston where she will become the corporate general manager of a major corporation. Considering that she and I both cut our teeth with a different company in the fine art industry, I know her life is about to become something completely different. There’s no doubt about it. There’s no way she can live the same way and be successful in what she must do. Things WILL change for her. Then…there’s me.

I honestly despise most aspects of the fine art industry. It really doesn’t have much to do with the art (although I think most modern art is trash that’s been given a catchy name and someone with too much money and not enough to spend it on decided to fund the artist) but mostly the art collectors. These people are the worst of the worst, meanest of the mean, and look upon the less fortunate as though we’re some kind of hinderance rather than help. Then again, I do recall being referred to as ‘the help’ on numerous occasions, forced to avert my eyes when entering their home, and removing my shoes. Some say it’s a way to preserve the carpet. I think it’s a way to be made to feel more vulnerable in their presence.

I have encountered some of the worst people on the planet while working in the fine art industry. You’d think the worst ones would be in the major cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Miami, but you’re dead wrong. No, it’s the ones in the suburbs. I’ve been dealing with it for almost a decade now and I’m not quite sure how much longer I can take it. I’m less into the art scene now and more into solitude. Writing in a quiet room in the early morning hours or cycling down a trail through the trees.

I guess the pandemic is what changed me the most. While most of us have been hunkered down and latching onto one another for comfort, the art industry chugged along through the entire plague and even increased their traffic as seven hundred thousand Americans fell victim to the COVID-19 virus. Why? Because they could afford to pretend everything was normal. And what did they do when you tried to remind them that the world was in shambles? They’d come down on you and accuse you of being incompetent. Therefore, I’m leaving the field. It’s not the art and it’s not the artists. It’s the buyers.

I won’t even bother to bring up the fact that certain politicians have billions of dollars in art hidden in caves in Kentucky as equity and a way to dodge taxes. Also, I will fail to bring up that the owners of one of the richest consumer chains in the world purchases millions of dollars in art from art fairs to hide their wealth, but only pays their employees a bare minimum wage. It’s enough to make me sick, and that’s why I hope today is the first new day of the rest of my life.

As of January 1st, 2022, it all goes well, I will be a full-time writer for the first time since I was initially published by a failed Dallas based goth culture magazine in 2007. It’s been my dream all these years and I hope beyond hope that it’s going to happen. I love writing about all of you at Your Stories on Video and I’d like to do it more often. I would also like to have the time to write my own stories, make films, and just create things in general. With my wife taking this new job, I think there’s a possibility that my fourteen-year-old dream will finally come true.

So, with that, I take a deeper than deep breath, hold it in until I can’t stand it, and exhale all the negativity into the universe. Six of those years of me being a published, professional writer was spent working in law enforcement in North Texas. I’m sure I don’t even have to explain the negativity involved in that. The other eight were dealing with fine art and fine art collectors. In all honesty, the clients aren’t all that different from criminals when it comes to mentality. Some people are mean for the sake of being mean.

I promise to myself this time that today is definitely the first day of the rest of my life. I will go forth and do great things, making the world a better place to live by creating art rather than dealing with it for the richest of the rich. Also, I promise myself, no matter how successful I may be at being a full-time artist, that I won’t turn into the type of person I despise.

It’s been too long since I first had this dream. The color in my facial hair is long gone and the hair atop my head won’t be far behind. Now is the time to act because time is running out. This is the last act in my performance to this world and I need to go out with all guns blazing. I owe it to everyone who’s ever believed in me but, most importantly, I owe it to myself.

Was there ever something in your life that meant this much to you? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Tell us the story of your life, your successes, your failures, your dreams (both achieved and forgotten) and we’ll make them all come to life in film to be shared by those who love you most and those who are yet to come! Tell us about your passions and remember, it’s still not too late to make them happen.

We believe in you.

I believe in you.

You should believe in you.

http://www.yourstoriesonvideo.com

Smoothie Sailing

9.30.21

Smoothie Sailing

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

As you may recall from my previous blogs, I am on a semi-extreme health kick! I’m currently in the best physical shape I’ve been in since my military days twenty years ago. I mostly owe that to cycling every/every other day and a little better diet. Notice that I said “little”.

In all honesty, I really haven’t changed my diet all that much. For the last couple of years, I’ve stayed true to the same foods since my wife has a Celiac diagnosis. I mostly eat gluten free because of her. Also, I never go back for seconds and usually restrict my meals to a small bowl. She’s a little bitty thing clocking in at around 120lbs whereas I’m a whopping 250lbs. Yes, I’m 250lbs and in pretty good physical shape. Other than my protruding gut, I’m a huge wad of muscle! In case you were wondering, our wedding photo looks like we’re doing a Sesame Street pose for the number 10…or 01. It depends on which way you look at it.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about my health kick is the small treats I get to give me a bit of a boost or for meal replacement. My current addiction is smoothies! My favorite? Easily, it’s strawberry, bananas, dates, and peanut butter! Blend those up in a cup with some ice and I’m in absolute heaven! I normally partake in the morning time so that I can use it as a sort of breakfast meal replacement. On the weekends, I stop by a particular smoothie store at my midway riding point and indulge for some added power/refreshment. Well…that was until yesterday.

I won’t say the name of the smoothie chain because I wouldn’t want them to track me down and slap me with a lawsuit for slander. Actually, I’m not sure that they could do that since the internet was obviously invented for people to talk trash about things. Don’t believe me? Check out your Facebook for a few seconds and let me know how much positive reinforcement you see. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Are you back?

See?

Anyway, if push came to shove, I at least wouldn’t want them to take my pawn (hint hint nudge nudge wink wink say no more).

My wife, being the super genius that she is, tracked down the ingredients of my favorite smoothie from that place and makes it for me in our kitchen every morning. Now, you may be asking yourself, why would she do that when there’s a smoothie place on every corner in Dallas? Too easy. This particular smoothie store adds TONS of unnecessary sugar into their smoothies! How much? More than a soda! I was floored when she told me this and just a little bit sad. Okay, I was really, really sad!

Why in the world would this company do that to its customers knowing most of their client base only comes there for what they believe is a health benefit in the first place? Do you mean to tell me that the seven-dollar cup of the god’s nectar is actually about half of a banana, a couple of strawberries, and soda’s worth of sugar? I have been betrayed a time or two in my life, but I couldn’t help but feel duped like never before! So, even though I don’t like the idea of my wife going downstairs every morning to make me my refreshing breakfast beverage, it’s a lot healthier than the alternative! Plus, it’s nice to be taken care of for a change from time to time. She does it out of love, and it tastes like it.

I’ve also had the same thought over the years with French fries. I know it’s denying my half Irish heritage to avoid them, but I’m not really a fan. They’re super greasy and you must eat them quickly otherwise they taste like lukewarm garbage. Have you ever tried to reheat French fries? Nope!

I stopped eating them for a number of years and noticed that, at ALL hamburger chain restaurants, the price of your hamburger and soda without the fries is almost the same exact price as your combo mean with the fries. So, the question is, why are all the chain restaurants just giving away French fries? That, my friends, is the million-dollar question.

Now, if you go back to your social media profiles once again and ask this question, I can guarantee you that a large chunk of the people who interact will claim it’s because the government wants to make us all fat so we can’t fight back when they come to take our guns. I wish I was making this up, but that’s the answer I got to the question ten years ago. That’s long before our current political climate settled in so I’m not taking any side. I’m just simply restating a fact. Someone claimed this is why French fries are free.

All conspiracy theories aside…it sounds like the most plausible of them all!

Anyway, back to the smoothie stand I refuse to name (which, if you think about it, could very well be the Dairy Queen’s husband) and why they’re deceiving all of us. I honestly do not know. I’m not quite sure what the goal is of so many American chain restaurants when it comes to deceiving us regarding nutrition. In the end, it’s so much better to take the time at home and cook your own food, make your own smoothies, and leave the French fries on the store shelf.

Wouldn’t a nice apple be so much better? I’m thinking “yes”.

What are some of your favorite foods or drinks that you loved as a child, or even as an adult, but can’t or won’t have now? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Was it because of health issues or was it pure, one hundred percent will power? Did you outgrow them or was it one of those situations where you had one drink too many one night in Tijuana, found a street cart with your (then) favorite food on it, and gave it back to the planet down a back alley, swearing to never let it touch your mouth again? Also, as a bonus question, does it almost make you sick just to smell it?

Did I take it too far? Come on, you all know you have that one thing I’m talking about in your life. Don’t be shy…

See and hear more at http://www.yourstoriesonvideo.com

Frustration Blog

9.26.21

“Frustration Blog”

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

Have you ever been so frustrated that it prevents you from being creative? A frustration that’s so strong it stops you from being able to make complete sentences or speak coherently? It’s happened to me a lot during my time as a professional writer and it’s happening today. I’ll try my best, though.

Like…why in the heck does Microsoft Word default to a Calibri font at an eleven? No one uses that font or that size, do they? Everything I’ve ever sent to a publisher has specifically requested Times New Roman at a twelve! Obviously, that’s one of the most requested, more normal fonts and sizes, right? Is it not? Then why do so many professionals request your manuscripts and news stories that way? Is there a way to set up Microsoft Word to where it will give you what you want rather than what “they” want? Inquiring minds want to know and they want to know now!

You see? My wife just exclaimed aloud from downstairs that she believed we purchased the from shade of hair dye for her to become a flaming red head before she begins her new job. I sooooooooooo can’t wait to see how beautiful she’ll be with a head full of red hair but the powers that be forced our hands down the wrong aisle or the wrong shelf in the hair store. And, of course, what time does the store close? Six PM. What time is it now? 5:16! Of course, it’s 5:16! We’ve been home for over and hour and we just now realized it’s the wrong blasted color. Thus is the way of things, right? Always a day late and a dollar short!

Oh, it gets even better, my friends! For Christmas, one of my friends gifted me a ton of stickers from The Shining and I totally love them! I didn’t want to just shove them into a drawer where they would’ve been forgotten for all time and either thrown away or sold at a garage sale upon their rediscovery, but my guitar case is already covered in stickers. No problem, right? Absolutely not! (Can you hear the frustration building as you read this? I truly hope so because that’s what I’m going for!) I’m an artist, so I did what any artist would do with something they love. I turned them into an art piece by having my wife (who has an art degree) stick them randomly on the face of a ten dollar mirror I snagged from Target. Problem? Of course, there is! The mirror had no hanging device! No D rings, no tooth bar, nothing!

So, after my wife figured out what they were called, we picked up a “mirror hanging kit”. Perfect! I couldn’t wait to see what this impromptu art piece was going to look like on our bedroom wall among all of our other art pieces. Well, it appears as though the grand reveal will have to wait because the mirror hanging kit is too shallow to hang the mirror frame. Next problem at hand? The mirror frame is made of plastic, and we are unable to attach a D ring or any other type of hanging hardware without cracking the plastic! I only discover this after I’ve already put a quarter of an inch hole in my wall for the weak anchor that the kit provided. Want to know the best part about that? They’re not strong enough to go into the wall! You guessed it! They’re flexible and fragile! Now, even though my back is turned the other way, I can feel that hole in the wall looking at me as though it were something that lived and breathed. It’s taunting me, I just know it!

In the end, I guess the company who manufactured the mirror wants me to use some kind of double-sided adhesive to attach it too the wall. I mean, the mirror isn’t really all that heavy but, in the great land of North Texas, the weather changes teams from one minute to the next. Next thing you know, they’ll be a buildup of humidity in our home, the adhesive will fail, and I will have a floor covered in broken glass when the sticky part of the strip gives way! Also, I’ll either have some noticeable chunks taken out of the wall from the other side of the adhesive strip or four useless, now one sided, adhesive strips uglying up my bedroom wall! I have half a mind to just take the mirror and throw it in the garbage to be done with it, but my friend provided me with this gift as a gesture of love. I’d never do that…or would I?

What to do…

What to do…

I can promise you fine folks that this is not my typical Sunday, nor did I intend it to be when I started it. I woke up in the arms of a beautiful woman who I love dearly. I crept out of bed, slowly, easily so I wouldn’t wake her and cycled fifteen miles in the cool, morning breeze. When I got home, I was met at the door with a homemade smoothie and even played a couple of rounds on one of my retro arcade cabinets. We even discussed the potential of grilling this evening as a way to spend some time outdoors and wind down before the beginning of the work week.

Man, wouldn’t that have been the way to go?

Now, I’m not so sure. I don’t think I want to be setting things on fire at this moment because I might decide to chunk the hair dye, the mirror, my copy of Microsoft Word, and a small section of my bedroom wall which bears the taunting hole into the flames to be done with all of it!

I know I just need to breathe and give that special woman of mine a big hug to make it all go away. This is nothing but a typical day in the life of a modern adult, and I’ll probably look back on all of it next weekend and laugh. I could use a good laugh right about now. Maybe I’ll just choose to laugh about it now rather than wait until next week. Yes, that’s exactly what I’ll do. I’ll just laugh it off now instead. Problem solved.

What was the most frustrated you’ve ever been at a minor situation? Were you one of those lucky people who could just take a few quick breaths to relieve the tension or are you one of those who’s punched a few holes into walls? How did you choose to deal with it? Yoga? Take a walk? Take a nap? Blame a coworker? Do you look back now and find it hilarious or does that mistake haunt you to this day? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! The problem, the solution, and the aftermath are all a part of who you are as a person and we love to hear the stories that make you, well…you!

You know…

That clerk at the frozen yogurt place brought up how much younger I looked in the photo of my debit card and it all went downhill from there. I wonder what time that place closes.

Is It Here?

9.23.21

Is It Here?

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

Is it here? Is it finally here? For real? For really real?

I’m speaking about Autumn, of course!

Now, to most of you, this is a pretty big deal. The weather shows a significant change, and the leaves begin to alter their color and fall from your trees. This is rarely the case in North Texas. We will get a hint of cooler weather followed by another unbearable heat spell and it will do this back-and-forth roller coaster bit until summer appears again somewhere near the end of February. It’s horrible!

Actually, the weather in the Dallas area is incredibly unpredictable! I’ve had a few instances at Christmas where me, my brothers, and my cousins could play football in the yard while wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts! On the flip side of that coin, I remember having incredible amounts of snow in early April. It’s always been that way here and it has little, if nothing, to do with the current course of climate change. North Texas weather is traditionally drunk except for June, July, and August. It’s hotter than the rumored blazes of Hell and there’s nothing you can do about it.

What about when the sun goes down during the summer months? Well, my friends, that’s even worse! The humidity holds in that heat, and I remember trying to sleep through triple digit temperatures with a broken air conditioner. The heat doesn’t go away with that bright ball in the sky. It hangs out all night like that drunken, single friend of yours you had in your mid thirties who either never got married or had already been through a couple of divorces. He always ended up sleeping on your couch rather than going home. You all know the guy I’m talking about, don’t you? I believe every circle of friends had one and, if you’re unaware of who that person was, it was probably you!

To be honest, that person was me on several occasions.

Anyway, that’s what it’s like living through a North Texas summer. You want to go to sleep but you know you can’t because your spouse is giving you the cold shoulder for letting your friend sleep on the couch again. The sun is totally gone, it’s pitch dark, and you’re breaking a sweat by taking a simple walk to the mailbox!

For decades, this type of weather was all I knew. Even when I went into the military, I was stationed in either the deep southern United States or in the Southwest. Heat, heat, heat, apart from my time in Arizona. It can get downright cold in the middle of a summer night there but the heat you’d encounter during the next day would more than make up for it. Then, I traveled extensively…

Now, when I say I traveled, I really mean it! I have visited just about every city in every state in the continental U.S. and driven down every highway. I’ve taken these trips during all four seasons and various types of extreme weather. Back when I had long hair, I lost inches of my bangs from it freezing and breaking off in Boston!

I’ve experienced droughts in Seattle, flooding in New Mexico, Summer snowstorms in Wyoming, and heat waves in New York City! Now that I think about it, I don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘normal’ weather anywhere! It is what it is and that’s all! Sure, these places have been given meteorological stereotypes by television and film, but how much of it is true? From my personal experience, it’s rare.

Still, most people don’t realize this because they’ve never taken the time to go there themselves. Authors and screenwriters always roll with the above-mentioned stereotypes because it’s an easy setting. The roadmap for the story is already laid out and they just have to fill in the blanks. I’m not saying that these stereotypes don’t come into play often, because they do, but it’s not the only game in town. Yes, I’ve been sun baked in the desert and waterlogged in the Pacific Northwest as well.

Regardless of what North Texas has in store for us this year, I’m looking forward to sleeping with the windows open at night, cooler evening bicycle rides, and the signs of my favorite holiday, Halloween, soon approaching. I’m can’t wait to see my wife dig out the cold weather clothing and strut it around the local mall while Christmas shopping. Yes, I’m THAT guy. I prefer a well-dressed woman to a scantily clad woman any day. It’s classy. We all have our little quirks, right?

Well, if the chill I got when walking out the door this morning was any indication that Fall has arrived, then I shall be experiencing all these treats very soon. Of course, the temperature was heating us all into the upper eighties by lunch time, but I know tonight that I’ll get a bit of relief when that yellow god we call the sun sinks below the horizon. Who knows? Maybe this year it will even get cold enough around Dallas to where I might break out the fire pit! Time will tell, of course, but I promise to keep my fingers crossed! Roasting marshmallows in Texas requires nothing more than just laying it near the sidewalk most times. What’s the fun in that?

What are some of your favorite fall weather memories? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Are you one of those people who run to Starbucks at the first sign of chilly weather to get a pumpkin spiced everything? Would you rather slow cook a huge pot of spicy, meaty chili (With or without beans, I’m not judging) to fill the house with its hearty aroma? Maybe you’re one of those Octoberfest folks who can’t wait to empty the kegs and dance the crisp nights away in celebration with friends and family. What does Autumn mean to you? Comment below!

See and hear more at http://www.yourstoriesonvideo.com

Life Tracking

9.20.21

Life Tracking

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

Most people I know seem to have their life under control. Looking back, I recall it always being that way. Now, those people are always where I thought they would be when I looked at them decades ago. I knew who would be successful, who would be struggling, and who would be incarcerated somewhere for something hideous. What kind of author would I be if I didn’t have that figured out about people? I make up characters for a living!

My life, on the other hand, has been a huge enigma from day one. I always wondered where I’d be as an adult and what I’d be doing. My mind would immediately jump to ‘dead’ or at least living in the streets. As you guessed it, I didn’t have much faith in myself as a kid. Honestly, I still don’t today. I’m shocked when good things happen to me or if someone compliments me on one of my accomplishments. I’m not sure how I got that way, but whatever it was stuck with me.

As a wondering teenager, I never thought in a million years that I would’ve joined the military, had a law enforcement career, or became a published novelist a dozen times over. These are things my mullet wearing, heavy metal listening psyche would’ve rejected in 1992 if my future self ever showed up to explain how my life would turn out. I never would’ve believed me!

Some of the things going on in my life stem from my upbringing though. I come from a long line of self-made men who were the bread winners in our family. They all worked their fingers to the bone daily and ultimately had little to show for it. Still, no one was starving, no one went without, and no one outside the family knew of our struggles. On the outside, we were all copasetic.

It was forced into my mind from a very young age that the man is the head of the household. He worked the hardest, made all the money, and was responsible for many of the decisions. Everything fell onto his shoulders, and I prepared myself for that responsibility just as soon as I was old enough to comprehend the role of a husband/father. This all rang true during my relationships prior to my current marriage and no one on the other side of things seemed to mind it too much. Heck, why would they? A little help would’ve been nice but…it wasn’t their responsibility, remember?

Now comes the biggest conundrum of my life so far. Well, I say it’s a conundrum, but it’s really not. I just have to quickly learn to get over myself and unlearn everything I’ve been taught as a southern man since birth. Still, to make the dream come true, I think I can. At least, I’m pretty sure I can. Time will tell, but I’m quickly running out of that. I’ll more than likely just accept it and move on.

My wife was unexpectedly offered a job as a corporate general manager in her field of expertise and now she is by far the head of our household! Due to my upbringing, I can’t help but feel a little frightened and like things are out of control, but I know they’re not. They’re good. In fact, they’re the best they’ve ever been! So, why is this a problem? It’s not, I guess. It’s just a battle with my internal programming.

I had a big issue with this when I first joined the Army. Of course, the Army doesn’t care because they tear you down and build you back up in the image they see fit. I’m not so sure this is an option with my current predicament. Both of my grandfathers were raised in a different time when the men of the household could work, and that money would be enough to level out the family finances without the other person in the relationship having to encure a full-time job as well. This stopped being the case when my father’s generation came along and it sure isn’t an option in today’s lifestyle. We’re all lucky if two incomes can cut it these days!

Still, the man of the house worked from sunup to sundown and the woman in the relationship did the housework, raised the children, and kept things tidy. Times, change, I guess, and I have no choice but to accept it. I love my wife with all my heart, and I know she’s doing all of this for the betterment of herself and our family. So…

At some point in the near future, I’m going to become house husband. I will continue to write but without the time-consuming burden of a full-time job. I will basically be vacating my career in the fine art industry and become C. Derick Miller, full time writer. I will also be taking on most of the responsibility with our home and my stepson. For the first time in my life, or in my wildest imagination, I will be stepping into the traditional role of the wife and mother of the family.

I know this is no longer how things should be viewed and, for sure, I’ve removed that rank structure from my mind many years ago, but some little voice inside of me can’t help but wonder how the men of my family would think of me. They’re all gone now, but somehow, someway, I feel as though they’ll know. I daydream about what they’d think of this sudden role reversal, but I can’t seem to come up with any feeling which reveals how they’d take it.

Regardless of that karma, I can’t wait to drive my stepson to school every morning, grab a smoothie, pump out ten miles on my bike before the Texas sun has a chance to scorch the air, and write every single day of my life until my fingers are sore from typing. I swear I will flood the horror shelves with enough books to choke Stephen King!

To my readers of these passages, what are your thoughts on all of this? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! How did your parents and grandparents handle work responsibilities and finances? Was it something along the lines of what my own family did in generations gone by or were your ancestors more understanding? How do you feel about role reversal in the parental structure as opposed to modern society’s pre-determined destinies? Feel free to comment below!

Until next time…

See and hear more at http://www.yourstoriesonvideo.com