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The Fisher of Stories


You got a fast car. I want a ticket to anywhere. Maybe we can make a deal, maybe together we can get somewhere. Any place is better, starting from zero, got nothing to lose. Maybe we’ll make something, but me myself I got nothing to prove. 

“I do.”

A decade.

Let me just tell you what can happen in a decade.
You laugh. You yell. You cry. You fight. You move into a terrible apartment, then get kicked out. You get pets you can’t afford, then give them away. You build friendships, then watch them fade away. You burn your stomach trying to make pancakes. You have to borrow money from your parents. You experience the pain of watching the other one pack their things, then the joy of them not actually leaving. Your wife kicks a dudes butt for you. You join churches, then you leave them. You try to start a family, then one day you do. You quit jobs, then start new ones. You worry about money. You worry about sex. You worry about the kids and how dumb they act. You go to school, then you quit, then try the whole thing again. You get caught up in online gaming and have to be yanked to reality again. You buy cars you can’t afford, then have them taken. You write a hot check hoping it won’t get cashed until payday. You take vacations that are stressful, and then vacations that are incredibly relaxing. You deal with others who try to take your happiness. You deal with each other’s issues. You realize how easy you had it with no responsibilities. You pack up one night and head to Kansas, Houston, or anywhere else you get a whim to go to. You win. You lose. You love.

My first live Duke game.

The Missus is not really great at gift-giving. Traditionally I have to tell her exactly what I want, or most always suffer a tinge of disappointment. Over the last week I’ve been thinking of the gifts we won’t be able to get each other this year because we’re broke, and I had a startling revelation.
The Missus has given me ten years of her.
Ten years of her life have been spent married to me. Ten years of babysitting me, laughing at/with me, and telling me time and time again, “We can’t afford it.” If not for her, I would not be a father, I would not be in school, and I would more than likely have died years ago in what the authorities would probably call an “accident.”
Turns out, The Missus is incredible at giving gifts. 

One of the first meals she made me. You can see why I’m fat.

A few weeks ago my youngest brother sent me a text. He wanted advice on proposing to a girl. I asked him a couple of funny questions, and then this one:

“Can you imagine the rest of your life without her?”

I cannot for one second think about a life that doesn’t involve The Missus. I’ve thought about what it might be like to lose her, and my brain just shuts down, it won’t work. She has completely fabricated herself into every facet of my life, and I would not have it any other way. 

“Travis, put that down, you don’t get cake yet.”

Here’s the thing. I like to say I wouldn’t change any decisions in my life, that I live with no regrets and no looking back. But that’s a lie. Had I known what I know today, I would have done quite a few things differently to make her feel more special, to give her more support, and to show her how much I love her.
And I’m sure I’ll screw things up in the future. Screwing things up is kind of what I do. Forgiving me is kind of what makes her so special. Forgiving me is kind of what she does.

10 years. And a bangin’ bowtie.

She’s not perfect. She never answers her phone. She drives WAY too slow. She won’t tell someone when she’s mad at them. She doesn’t like Mexican food as much as me.
But she can deep fry the mouse or phone you’re scrolling with and make you love it. She can light up a room with a smile and a comment. She laughs at my jokes. She laughs when I fart. She tells me I’m a good writer. She reads my blogs. She raises our children. She doesn’t make fun of me for crying in movies. She kisses me when I come home from work. She lets me touch her boobies. She drives on Sundays even when I know she doesn’t want to. She does my laundry and my dishes. She puts up with my whims, my obsessions, and my incessant need to try new things.
She loves me.
I love her.
And here’s to the next ten years. The next decade of Travis and Alicia Sloat.

Young, stupid, happy.

In a hundred years from now, I know without a doubt, they’ll all look back and wonder how we made it work out. Chances are, we’ll go down in history, when they want to see, how true love should be, they’ll just look at us. 

I may have a few new readers who aren’t familiar with my line of “Why Music Sucks Now” posts. The basic point is me passing judgment on songs I feel are detrimental to the music industry, and society as a whole.

Today’s post, however, while focusing on a single song, will cover an entire album of horribly digitized voices and what can only be described as sound effects from any number of CGI based movies.

I’m speaking of course of Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” featuring the song “I Am A God.”

The album cover reflects the contents: blank.

There are some, I’m sure (probably Kanye), who will hail this the greatest album of all time, and demand that it be lauded from rooftops the world over.
I am not one of those people.
The album, which seems as if it’s about 15 minutes long, is probably the most narcissistic piece of media I’ve ever laid hands on, and I’ve laid hands on me, so that should tell you something. The name itself, “Yeezus,” is some sort of play on “Jesus,” and in the album he refers to himself as Yeezus repeatedly. This is not only excruciatingly blasphemous in my book, but is also just downright idiotic, unless I’ve gotten Kanye all wrong and he’s actually referring to himself as the local country club gardener.
So let’s take a look at the lyrics of “I Am A God,” and break them down.

I am a godHurry up with my d*** massageHurry up with my d*** ménageGet the Porsche out the d*** garageI am a godEven though I’m a man of godMy whole life in the hands of godSo y’all better quit playing with god
Soon as they like you make more money like youBut kissing people a** is so unlike youThe only rapper who could compare to MichaelSo here’s a few hating a** n***** who’ll fight youAnd here’s a few hating a** n***** who’ll bite youI don’t wanna hear why some n***** like youOld n***** mentally still in high schoolSince the tight jeans they never liked youPink a** polos and a f***ing backpackEverybody know you brought real rap backNobody else swag n**** we the rat packVirgil Pyrex that’s the snapback, diamond shotgun shiningUntil the day I get struck by lightning
I am a godSo hurry up with my d*** massageAnd a French a** restaurantHurry up with my d*** croissantsI am a godI am a godI am a god
I just talked to JesusHe said ‘what up YeezusI said “s*** I’m chillingTrying to stack these millions”I know he the most highBut I am a close highMi casa es su casaThat’s that cosa nostraI am a godI am a god
1. He doesn’t waste any time at all getting right into telling you he’s a god. Naturally, as a deity, the first thing on his plate is a massage and a ménage, followed by a ride in his Porsche. Since I’ve thought very little about what I would do as a god, I can’t say that he’s wrong here, I can only speculate on what I think I would do, which would be to make sure Duke never loses again and drive way better cars than a Porsche.
2. Kanye then lets us know he’s a man of god, which makes all of this okay, right? It’s like when you make a racist joke then say it’s okay because you have Alaskan friends.
3. I’m pretty sure he compares himself to Michael Jordan here. As in, “Hey guys, I’m the Michael Jordan of rap.” Let’s clear one thing up here. Tupac is the Michael Jordan of rap. And no, I didn’t say “was” the Michael Jordan of rap, I said “is,” because he’s clearly alive and dropping a new album in 2014. Just ask this guy.

Keeping the investigation hot.

4. Shout out to Mike Tyson with the “biting” lyrics. I guess maybe he could be calling himself the Michael Tyson of rap, but somehow I don’t think anyone would call themselves the Mike Tyson of anything, unless it’s biting. Like, “My two-year old is the Mike Tyson of the daycare we take him to.”
5. I don’t understand what being in high school has to do with tight jeans and pink shirts. He has to be talking about hipsters or something and I’ve been out of the high school game too long to know about it. If he’s saying he hates hipsters, then Kanye and I finally agree on something.
6. I literally had to Google what Virgil Pyrex was. The first thing that came to my mind was a Roman glass baking dish. Turns out it’s a clothing line of some sort, no word really on if it’s Roman, and they also make “snapbacks,” which if you’ve been living under a rock, are those idiotic hats the kids are wearing these days where the bills don’t curve. It ain’t natural, and I don’t like it.
7. I’m calling bs on the diamond shotgun. Ten to one says he doesn’t have one, and if he does, I volunteer to let him shoot me with it, with the caveat that my wife and kids have to pry the embedded diamonds from my riddled flesh to pay for my dream funeral, which will include The Rock and Vin Diesel propping up my embalmed body while Paul Walker reads the eulogy and Ke$ha sings “Amazing Grace” as live eagles fly screaming through the building.
8. You keep talking like you’re a god, and that lightning strike is going to happen quicker than you think.
9. Then Kanye has a conversation with Jesus, wherein he curses and explains to the Lord Almighty that he’s trying to “stack these millions,” which is almost a direct contradiction to what Jesus ever said to do. Is Kanye tithing on that money? Or is he buying more diamond shotguns? Then he tells us Jesus is the “most high,” but he a “close high.” I can’t even began to deconstruct the grammatical ridiculousness of that analogy.
10. Roughly translated, the Spanish here says “I’m a douchebag, really, I’m a douchebag. I’m bitter because Kim got pregnant fat and had an ugly baby and I’m really just taking it out on everyone by calling myself Jesus and using movie sound effects from Transformers 3 to make music in the loosest possible sense of the term.”*

Pew pew pew, lasers pew pew!

So if you were planning on buying the new Kanye album, don’t. Unless you feel sorry for him for the whole ugly baby thing.
And if you somehow made it to this site expecting an objective and on-topic review, AND you made it this far into the post, I should probably apologize, but I hope you at least chuckled a few times.

*This is a solid Google Translate translation, also I took a semester of Spanish in college. I’m taking a summer class called “Advanced Composition for Teachers,” and I just wrote my first Literacy Essay. I picked a topic near and dear to my heart, blogging, and more specifically how I got started.

I know this won’t mean much to y’all, and I’m completely okay with that. But there might be someone out there who is scared to death to take the first step and create a blog. Or maybe you’ve started a blog, but it hasn’t gone anywhere. Either way, maybe, just maybe, this post will help push you over the edge and get you started (again).

And it might seem weird, but to Rob and Johnny, you guys completely changed my life. You inspired me. I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for that.


I guess you could say it all started with boredom. I can remember sitting at work on a slow day, hot, the middle of June, customers trickling in like molasses, and only for the temporary respite of our air conditioning. I went to the back computer, the one you couldn’t see in the cameras, and I decided to Google a new term I’d overheard from a coworker: “blog.”            I didn’t know blog was short for weblog, and I didn’t know what one looked like. I’d happened to hear a conversation, the details of which are fuzzy, but I remember thinking, “I like to laugh, I’m going to put the word ‘funny’ in front of it and see what comes up.” The top two results were a site called “Mattress Police” by Rob Kroese, and “15 Minute Lunch,” run by a guy named Johnny Virgil.            The crazy thing is, four years and hundreds of blog posts later, I can honestly tell you I feel like I’m friends with both of those guys. Rob lives in California, Johnny in New York, and I’ve never met either. Some may laugh at that fact, but I’ve shared several poignant moments with both over the Internet, and I feel like I would be absolutely comfortable stopping by their houses and having coffee and discussing the finer points of the blog world. In addition, both of those guys have wound up writing books, and both have enjoyed success as authors.            Let’s go back to that computer screen at a cell phone store in mid-June. I laughed. Oh how I laughed. I read Rob’s stories about growing up in Florida and his parents running a cheap hotel. I read Johnny’s stories about growing up in the 70s and his posts about The Snitch, Houdini, and The Slug, and how they almost killed a guy, not once, but several times. I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face and my stomach muscles were sore from the workout they received.            And at the same time, it wasn’t just the laughter. In reading the archives of these two guys, I felt something else, a deeper emotional connection. It was as if they let me into their lives for a brief moment, gave me a glimpse of what it was like for them growing up and how their lives were now. They weren’t just being hilarious; they were providing something more for the reader than just a temporary feel good experience and a hyperlink click away to the next post full of jokes.            Then, somewhere in the midst of it all, either down there in my sore gut or up in my dopamine-filled brain, I got an idea. “I have stories,” I said. “I love to tell people those stories, and I could write them well. I think I should start a blog.” I had no training in writing, and to be honest I was just an average English student in high school who had dropped out of college twice since then. I had written a few long-winded diatribes on Myspace, back when I was a youth minister at my local church, full of vim and vigor about changing the world, but nothing of any real substance.            I had not yet grasped the importance of “your and you’re,” and “there, their and they’re” to the Internet, and I didn’t even really have an idea of what stories I’d want to tell or in what order. I had no clue about posting frequency and how important it was. I didn’t know about search engine optimization (SEO) or “spiders” or how comments should not be your driving motivation for posting. I thought long and hard about my nicknames for my friends and family, dubbing my wife “The Missus,” my best friend “Kid Funk,” and my brothers “The Groom,” “The Liar,” and “The Youngest.”            Then I hit the biggest roadblock of all. I had gone to Google’s Blogger website, and I had created my account, but it asked a very important question. “What is the title of your blog?” I thought long and hard. The title had to be something that reflected my personality, but also told people what to expect. It had to convey the message of the entire site, yet at the same time be a draw to get traffic. I wanted people to see the title and think, “Yeah, that sounds like Travis, aka “tstyles77.” But I could not for the life of me figure out what it should be called. I cannot recall now the names I tossed around, but I do remember asking myself the question that lead to the name I settled on. “What do I like to do?” The list was simple. I like to play basketball, I like to eat, I like to fish, and I like to spend time with my wife.            One thing on the list caught my eye. I like to fish. The words reverberated through my skull, clanging around like a klaxon. Was this it? It conveyed what I like to do in my spare time. It was completely random, much like I expected the content of the blog to be. It summed up me as a person, because I am a fisherman at heart. I entered the title in the text box, and I remember staring at it for a long time. Finally, I clicked the “OK” button, and there it was. “I Like To Fish.” Those of you who have any experience in the English field will undoubtedly notice the typo immediately in the title. I didn’t.            “Alright. Lets get this awkward blog outta the way. The first one probably won’t make anyone laugh, and it’s more of a history of myself and why I am blogging. Here goes. My name is Travis, and I’m a 26 year old (at this time) guy who’s married to the most wonderful woman in the world. I’m a fat guy, and I want to lose weight, but I refuse diet and excersice. Consequently, if anyone knows a good cocaine dealer, holla. I love to fish and play and watch basketball. I’m a TV fanatic, kind of, and some of my favorite programs are; The Office, King of the Hill, M*A*S*H, and Family Guy. I have a bunch of very funny friends, and they say lots of very funny things, most of the time on a daily basis. I work for a cell phone company (presently) and I won’t say which one, b/c I don’t want people bitching about our service. An unfortunate consequence of my job is that people are always asking me questions about their cell phones. My mothers ex husband for example, would always ask me questions about his IPhone. I mean, EVERY time I saw the man, he would ask me about it. Here’s the deal though. I DON’T work for AT&T. At all. Or an agent for them. I don’t personally like the IPhone, I’m a BlackBerry man. So our conversations would go somethin like this…”            That was part of my first post. Riddled with spelling and grammar errors, and nothing of any substance to read. I essentially built a biography about me, but I didn’t bother explaining that my father died when I was 17, causing a 5-year jag of bitterness in my life. I said I had a lot of friends, which was honestly a bit of a lie. I mentioned I hated the iPhone, and here I am 4 years later with an iPhone. I had no clue about form or function, and how to use paragraphs. It was, in a word, terrible.            Fast-forward to today. As of June 10, 2013, I Like to Fish is 4-years old. My current page views are at roughly 118,000. I’ve had exactly two blog posts that enjoyed enormous success, and for some reason my blog is incredibly popular in Russia. I wrote a eulogy for a 17-year old girl in my community who died in a car accident that was seen over 7000 times in over 100 countries and was shared just over 500 times on Facebook.            One day last summer, I decided to write a fake news article about a mother who was arrested in Florida for using the phrase “You’re so cute I could eat your face,” in reference to her baby. The “article” was based on a real-life experience with the phrase while I was on vacation in Florida just a week before the crazed gentleman actually ate the face off of another man. The post gathered steam, and was briefly featured on Reddit before being yanked because it wasn’t “news.” It caught the attention of a local woman who decided to start a charity for bail money for the mom in question, before she realized the “article” was fake.            And then, in an incredible twist of fate, the post caught the eye of the editor for the Fort Gibson newspaper. She left a comment on it saying how funny and well written it was. So I replied, and said if she liked it so much, she should hire me. To make a long story short, she hired me, and to sum up five pages and 1500 words, the course of my life has been completely changed, all because I Googled two words: “funny blog.”
**UPDATE** It has come to my attention that some people out there actually don’t like the sesame sticks, and/or have a more coveted piece than the rye chip. I’ve included a poll for discussion purposes at the bottom of this post.

I’m not a complainer.

I’ll let you recover from that.

I enjoy the simpler things in life. Things like fishing, basketball, and popping open a bag of my favorite crispy, salted snacks, such as Nacho Cheese Doritos or Gardetto’s Original Recipe Snack Mix.

Yes, I’m aware they make a four-cheese version, but I’m not a weirdo, so I don’t eat them, the same way I’m not a weirdo by eating Cool Ranch Doritos. Seriously, if you like Cool Ranch Doritos, you probably should just unfriend me on Facebook.

However, Gardetto’s, in the surprise Douche Move of 2013, has committed what I consider to be some sort of felony.

Just lies on top of gross pretzels and amazing rye chips.

They took out the sesame sticks.

I will admit that the way I eat Gardetto’s is a little weird. Like maybe I have a legit disorder or something, so don’t make fun of me about it cause it’s the equivalent of laughing a kid with cancer. It’s untouchable.

I eat them in a specific order.

1. Pretzels – Pretzels are disgusting, so I have to eat them first. Not even the glorious miracle working fairies at the Gardetto’s plant with their blend of special secret spices can get me to enjoy a pretzel. Pretzels are like the Monday-Thursday of Gardetto’s. You’re just getting through them to get to the weekend.

2. Breadsticks – If pretzels are the Monday-Thursday, then the breadsticks are like Friday at 4 p.m. You know you’re only a short time away from unbridled joy and never having to work again.

3. Sesame Sticks – THEY TOOK OUT THE SESAME STICKS THOSE SICK, DISGUSTING, AND HORRIBLE PEOPLE I HOPE THEY ALL GET POISON IVY ON THEIR PRIVATES. Now they have some sort of little Chex Mix knockoff swirly wavy bullcrap breadstick in there now. It’s terrible. Probably the worst thing to happen to me since I tried to run a 5K.

4. Rye Chips – Do I even have to put this here? Surely everyone on the planet saves these for last, unless you’re the type of person who likes to live hard and fast and has probably been in prison for making meth. Those types probably eat them first. Hands down best thing on the planet when you’re craving them. The rye chips are the Memorial Day Weekend of the bag, just hot chicks in bikinis on the lake for three days.

So there’s my lineup.

But imagine my surprise the other day when I cracked open a bag and said to myself, “Boy these look funny.” But I started in on the pretzels anyway, cause you have to start grindin’ if you want the reward right?

I got through the pretzels, and much to my surprise, THERE WERE NO SESAME STICKS.

Probably top ten most disappointed moments in my life.

So I start looking through the bag and I see these little wavy Chex Mix things. So I did what I always do when faced with unheard of controversy at work, I announced it to the room.


As usual, my coworkers were not the least bit concerned with my plight.

So I Googled it.

Turns out, I’m not the first to break this wide open. Their Facebook page has been blown up* with folks up in arms about this situation. It’s pretty tense over there.

A little bit of salty language here. Can’t say that I blame them.

There was thread after thread of people who weren’t taking it lying down. They were on Facebook, dangit, and they were handling business, because everyone knows Facebook gets the best results when you complain on it.

I like Brent. “But they were the best part.” Like that statement and not guerrilla warfare will get them back. So naive.

It’s because of that fact I’ve created a Facebook page for the cause.
Bring Back Gardetto’s Sesame Sticks
Like it. Love it. Further the cause.

*Shout out to my TSA folks here because I said “blown up.” Stay a while. I’m hilarious.

So I ran a 5K for the first time in my life while at Falls Creek this year. I keep saying “ran” because that’s what I hear other people saying and I figure I should probably just say the same thing and not mention that I walked 4.85K of it.
My time? A confident 55.24. I got a pin and shirt, which was a XXL, and didn’t even come close to fitting. I walked into the gift shop with my pin and the kid behind the counter just stared at me. I said, “Y’all got any triple beefies behind that counter?” And she replied, “Seriously?” I think she honestly thought I had stolen the pin.

It’s a shade snug, and one lady told me I looked like an overripe orange, but I’m shakin’ haters off.

I want to make one thing very clear though. I DID NOT FINISH LAST. I would also like to make another thing clear. People skinnier than me finished behind me. Clearly this means I’m the most in-shape fat guy in the entire world.
I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down the “run” into segments that most popped out to me.
The Walk to the Race – I seriously probably walked 3K to get to the 5K and then another 3K back. They have all these little golf carts running around and not a single one would pick me up and give me a ride. When I got to the “race”, I asked the ladies at the starting line if 5Ks worked on a deduction system whereby I could subtract the walk to and from my cabin from my actual Ks ran, and they said no. I’m probably going to write a strongly worded letter.
Self-Image – I think the biggest mistake I made outside of waking up that morning was actually looking at the other runners before the “race” started. Pretty sure all fat people can attest to this, when we go anywhere we immediately check to see if we’re the fattest person there. It’s like the old Lewis Black bit about IHOP. Anyway, I got down to the start line and I was the fattest person there by at least 150 pounds. People stared at me and asked if I was some sort of official. It was real awkward. All these people stretching and getting ready and I was just bent over trying to get my wind back from the walk down, which could explain the poor start I got.
Golf Cart Chasers – At one point during the “race” I saw a golf cart hurtling towards us at a ridiculous rate of speed. In my mind, I thought, “Well that’s just unsafe, we have folks running (walking) here.” Clearly there had been a breakdown in communication and the situation would be resolved shortly. However, as it passed, I noticed two gentlemen behind the cart, keeping pace with it. It was almost as if the cart was slowing them down. I think at this point we were fifteen minutes into the race, and these dudes were on the home stretch. They’d literally lapped us twice. Just making everyone look bad for their own personal glory. Keep it classy, boys.

Hills – SO MANY HILLS I’M GOING TO DIE LORD JESUS TAKE ME HOME. Essentially, and I’ve worked the math on this, if I had just laid down and rolled down the hills, I would have taken 10 minutes off my time. Solid math fact. Just a follow-up question, is there a committee or activist group I can join that propositions all-flat racing courses? Does Westboro have an opinion on this? If so can I get an application? I’ll pay dues.

Maybe should have taken that Romans reference out of there.

Shin Splints – I’m not gonna lie. I’m just shy of what scientists call “peak performance ready.” I got the shin splints about 38 seconds into the “race.” For those of you who don’t know, a shin splint is where your entire shin muscle separates from your entire shin bone,* and drops down onto the ground, where you drag them behind you through mud and rocks and get them filthy. The burning sensation this causes is, in purely clinical terms, the equivalent to child birth, and is directly connected to your motivation to finish the “race.”

The shinabolic muscle connects to the lower dorsimus tissues…

Red Rovers – These are the people who line up side by side, jammed tighter than me in a SMART car, and take up the entire width of the road, just walking leisurely and discussing things such as New Balance tennis shoes, wind resistance, and what they’d like to have for dinner at the 4:30 Early Bird. I’m not trying to imply they’re all old, but I’m also not denying it either. My favorite way to get through them is to scream “RIGHT!” and blast through two of them like I’m Emmitt Smith breaking through a defensive line, only with more hip dysplasia.**
Camera Crews/People I Know – Here’s the thing. I like to look good on camera, and in front of people I know. I could care less about people who don’t know me, they can think what they want. In the words of Tupac, only God can judge me, you know? But when we passed anyone with a video camera, I had to start jogging. I also started jogging any time I saw someone I knew or when we passed our cabin, just dragging my shin muscles pitifully behind me. It got real sad a few times towards the end.
The Finish Line – You can walk the whole “race” but if you don’t run across the finish line you’re a stone cold loser. I’m almost positive John Wooden said that. A direct quote. My legs were numb at that point, so running was more guesswork than painful, but I did it anyway. I went through the finish line like there was a crowd cheering and a ribbon for me to bust through when in reality it was six bored camp staff waiting to hand me a pin so they could go eat breakfast. I also may have left my partner behind at this point but it’s every man for himself here am I right?

I made this on the Internet so you know it’s true.

“Oh I Ran It Last Year” People – I think we’re all familiar with these guys. “Oh, you ran the 5K this year? I ran it last year/I ran one just last week.” Guess what though? You didn’t run this one, so your time of 10.34, which I’m pretty sure is impossible anyway, has no bearing here. It’s like when Martin Luther King Jr. said “The only race people care about is the one you just ran…and white people.”*** I don’t want to hear about your last 5K when I’m clearly trying to get my shinabolic reconnected to my dorsimus tissues.

*Got this fact directly from WebMD. **Can humans get this? I know German Shepherds can, so I figured we could too. ***100% legit MLK quote. Just can’t find a source for it.