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Connecticut

Nothing's changed. The frigidity has been excitedly waiting for me, sinisterly wrapping its chilling tendrils around me icily. This time I knew what to expect however, so all is well. The landscape is gorgeous, dotted with rustic, worn trees, leaves abdicated from their branches like birds flying away to evade the cold. The terrain is rugged yet refined, distinct in its regal, natural beauty. It's a Thomas Kincaid painting granted life, plucked from the canvas by God himself and placed over His Earth with careful, practiced hands. Her family is wonderful, welcoming me into the homestead with classic, warming benevolence, forming the beating heart of the ambiance, adding the soul and spirit to the bucolic setting. Dinner was delicious, homemade spaghetti and garlic bread. As any Sailor who's earned their salt knows, homecooked meals are a precious, priceless commodity, so to be greeted with one on my first night here was a favorful blessing. Right now as I write this, Im enjoying a cold beer and watching Ghost Rider. Havent seen it since 2007, back then I thought it was inspiring and unique. Now, even with its antiquated effects and the presence of the criminally insane yet suspiciously viewable Nicolas Cage, the film evokes many of the same feelings. Taking hold of your brand, your curse, your stigma, and brandishing it like a weapon, clad in the armor of your shame, you face the world with blood in your eyes and fire in your heart. Or maybe Im just reading too much into another mediocre action flick. Fuck it. Pass me another beer.

My hands are incredibly small already. This has been a constant source of humor and humiliation to my friends, both civilian and military, since I was a teenager. As the rest of my body grew in proportion, my hands stubbornly halted, refusing to budge or partake from the biological manna that is HGH. Not that I mind. To me it's never been a big deal. Everyone Ive ever fought or armwrestled who's seriously sought to demean me over them has met with a rather bloody, exasperated conclusion, so I saw no need to stress. Gill has two adorable nieces, 6 and 8, and, being young girls, they decided I was their new plaything. After several armwrestling matches, flipping demonstrations and handstand pushups for my disbelieving, prepubescnet audience, we somehow ended up comparing hand sizes. Imagine my (feigned) surprise when I discovered both of their hands matched mine in scale. Pictures were snapped and posted, as the moment was too good to pass up. Theyve already been uploaded for your viewing pleasure. Assholes.

Ive been plagued by constant headaches since I left California. Some horrible, mutated version of the flu virus infected me around a week ago, and Ive been in deplorable shape since. My throat has been worn raw by a needlegunner working overtime hopped up on Adderall. My body itself has been so pained that a simple pushup, let alone advanced hand balancing, was a Sisyphran exercise in endurance and mental fortitude. Ive perservered through it all, but my patience and stamina are wearing thin. Although it was for a great reason, and I would gladly do it again, cross-country travel is a burdensome yoke to carry. Inbetween the sleep deprivation and the awkward discomfort, the passangers that refuse to bathe and the miscreants that blast their music obnoxiously loudly, you'll find yourself praying for death's sweet release more often than not. But it's the temporary company that often makes the ordeal enjoyable. Everybody's got a story, a personal history begging to be revealed to even the most unassuming, unlikely stranger. On previous flights home I'd met a former Ms. Armenia, 2 SEALS and a JSOC guy, a professional dominatrix and a legit lion tamer. America's airports, like her train stations and bus depots, are a veritable melting pot of interesting and disturbing diversity. In Fight Club, Jack the Narrator calls these whispers of companionship "Single Serving Friends", because you get to know each other for a few hours, picking each other's brains and discovering the other's passions, before parting ways, never again to rekindle the budding flame of kinship. It depresses me to ponder how many romances have been cut short due to time constraints, conflicting airline schedules, and different lives coalescing for a few sweet airborne hours. Have there ever been lovers who, like George Clooney and the delectable Vera Farmiga in "Up In The Air", reinitiate their trysts and ecstatic love affairs during the few intimate moments they have whilst traversing the country or even the world, stealing a kiss, and more, at the crossroads of their respective journeys, only to seperate and continue on disconnectedly? Im sure there have been. Love is fickle, fleeding, fantastic and foreboding. Thank God I have it, even in this polar weather.

The black abyss outside is calm and comforting, wrapped up as we are in these blankets. A few nascent trees appear to have seperated from their families, uprooting themselves and inching slowly towards the condo's window. This entire state seems to crackle and jump with Magick, and yes, the k intentional. Both light and dark, the region has a distinct, otherwordly taste, history reaching through time itself to reassert its presence, to be felt as palpable, tangible and real, not just a memory to be spoken of in passing or a footnote to be glossed over. Having read widely and intently on the supernatural history of not just my native California, but the entire American Southwest, I find the potential for legend here to be completely alien. Gone are the deep canyons, immense chasms, and windswept valleys, baked to a crisp and burnt to a cinder by the unforgiving sun. Rather, the moon seems to rule here, with murky blues dominating the stripped forests, and entire valleys inked heavily with nocturnal hues. But, in a way that Ive never experienced, it is oddly beautiful. To think that one could wander these isolated woods and come upon an abandoned cabin or entire settlement fills me with uncertain awe and woeful dread. She's spoken of Native American burial grounds, centuries old houses possessed by demonic entities, and lonely apparitions haunting serene acres of beautiful land. A wonderland, to be sure.

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