He is not only the artist, philosopher and writer who can write sensitive prose and fiction, he is an Air Force vet whose pictures portray a no nonsense, military man.
Melanie: I have been dying to ask you this question since I joined Blogcatalog, what does your username actually mean ?
I.M: My user name is a combination of things from many years ago. It is a universal name that I associate with all my online activity. The IYAAYAS stands for “If You Ain’t AMMO You Ain’t Shit” and the Moderator is for all the places of mine I control or moderate. On Blogcatalog people who have got to know me or are just following suite call me I.M. for short. It all stems back to my Air Force days where I was a Munitions Technician a.k.a. an AMMO troop and IYAAYAS is the motto.
Melanie: Now that is straightforward and makes sense but I never would have guessed. No wonder one of your four blogs is called Girls with Guns and the Defense of the 2nd Amendme…http://gwgdefending.blogspot
I.M: My blogs are subjective as you can probably tell. The Girls with Guns and Hot Bikes blogs are strictly for the fun of it all. In the end they are pretty pointless with the exception that they embody some of the things I enjoy in life. I could just as easily done them without the girls but it seems to have an appeal and draw to the readers that visit. My other two are for my “real” life and reflect things that happen around me. The Bartender Stories was, in the beginning, strictly to talk about my job at that club and the happenings and so forth. Now that I don’t work there any longer it has become a blog to just tell some of the many stories and events that happened.
Melanie:How did military life change you? I notice that on the front page of your blog that you have a badge proclaiming that you are proud to be a veteran.
I.fe in the United States Air Force allowed me to see the world which in my opinion, broadened my horizons. It also re-enforced the fact that war is a needed evil.
We may not like war but it usually takes a war to get peace. It also showed me that my particular job had a direct effect in the time of war, bombs and bullets kill and destroy as they are designed to.I saw allot of death caused by American weapons and I can’t say I cared for it. I will leave that all right there. I am retired and also a disabled vet.
I don’t have any regrets about being in the Air Force nor would I ever change one thing. It was all a big part of my life and consumed a great portion of my life. In ways I would say that it has stayed with me through the present day. I still like time to be prompt and making sure I am where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there.
Once a person has been in the military that is something that never gets out of your system. It is not the career choice for everyone, but it was the choice I made years ago. I speak of it to my children as something to be proud of.
My son would like to follow in my footsteps. I am a firm believer in doing the right thing, even when nobody is looking.
Melanie: Yes, doing the right thing when no one is looking is a motto you seem to instill in your kids and scout troop. I Remember reading about the time you noticed an elderly woman whose yard was a mess. You took your scout troupe over to clean it up for her.
I.M: Well, that is a pretty long story, so let me summarize a bit. People treat other people poorly. I don’t like seeing that or being a part of that.I was raised with the mindset that if you see something that needs to be done that you do it. You don’t do it for fame, fortune, or recognition, you do it because it is the right thing to do no matter what anyone else believes.
As far as my philosophy on raising my children that is really simple. While I let my kids be who they are I also try to teach them that they need to be comfortable in their own skin in order to survive life. I am there constantly in my kids life, I don’t want to miss any of it. They spend allot of time with me doing a variety of things. We do things together because we want to, they don’t look at it as punishment. I spend my time outdoors. This includes camping, hunting, and just generally being away from “technology” because I want them to know there is life beyond the television and the Internet.
My kids know the difference between right and wrong and they usually know how to act on it. I would like my children to be prepared for life and to know they are never alone, they always have family, which family is very important to both my wife and I.
At the same time they are kids, wanting to have fun and enjoy being kids, we do that to. I had some rare opportunities in life which I use to make sure that they take every opportunity to be happy, because in the end that is all I want for them, my wife, and myself.
Melanie: In your pictures you look like a vet..short hair, strong, no nonsense type. This is not the image I had while reading your blogs because you write like a sensitive.artist, philosopher, deep thinker.
I.M: There are just some things that are easy for me to do while I doodle, they don’t have a “meaning” of any sorts. While in the Air Force I put myself through bar tending school so I could have added income. I just became good at it and I did so in the kinds of bars I worked in. It was not by choice, it was for money.Anyway, I am just a simple person from south-east Texas who happens to have a lot of questions about things in the world around me. I am nothing special, I just like writing about what I see and what I think about it. It is not always too popular with the masses, but I write to sooth myself, it is my way of talking to myself out loud.
The bull is my avatar I created a while back. The LCHS Mustangs was created by me and painted on the gym wall of my high school Lamar Consolidated for my 25 year reunion. I was asked to create something as I did allot when I was in school, so that is what I came up with. The snake is one of my baby pythons that was a direct result of the breeding we did last year.
Melanie: You’re a good artist. Are the skulls an attempt to deal with death?
I.M: Both the skulls are nothing more than doodles to me.
Melanie: Any dreams, goals in regard to blogging, writing, your art? And it is not just doodling I think that it is really good.
I.M: I have no real aspirations in blogging, in fact, sadly, I don’t actually care if I get read. Meaning I write on my blog about things I am thinking, while thinking out loud helps me sort it out, and the result is a blog post. Which is probably why my blog doesn’t actually have an “angle” or one single direction. I reflect what I see around me or my past or my future.
I don’t draw often, most times it is in a restaurant on an envelope or napkin. I was, years ago, formally educated as an Architectural Engineer, years later formally educated in Explosive Technologies. In the end, I have 4 degrees which are on the floor in my closet and I don’t have a practical use for them at this stage in my life.
I don’t draw for any purpose, unless someone wants me to create a tattoo or something which is where the skulls were born. My blogging is nothing special, just my way of talking out loud about things that are generally not spoken out loud Funny thing is I always wanted to be a talk radio host on the a.m. dial to discuss news of the day, the human condition, and what I think about it all. But, as it is, I just blog. People read them sure, but out of curiosity not because it is important.
Melanie: Your humility is refreshing but Steve what you write is captivating and well written. It is intriguing because you reveal a unique point of view that combines a military background, intelligence, intuitive insight with creativity. It does matter because you share a wealth of wisdom.
Actually your attitude is what makes your writing so authentic. I think that you under estimate yourself. We all have a vocation, and a witness to the world that we radiate just by living a normal life but you can share that with so many others, not out of ego but in humility.
I.M: Thanks for what I will take as a compliment. I don’t seek fame or fortune through writing or blogging, it is just a past time. The one benefit I have in life is I do call it like I see it, no holds barred. Which to some, makes me feel obnoxious or over-opinionated.
I use my blogs to just say what I want and how I want to say it. Most of what I say is unadulterated and unfiltered. I write as if I were standing next to you talking.
I refuse to edit what I write because if I were to re-read it I might change something and therefore change the meaning.In the absolute beginning I stressed to make sure I spelled the words write, didn’t have sentence fragments, and so forth.
But, it was the real me, I wanted my blog to sound as if the real person (me) was communicating and not some over concerned perfectionist. I learned long ago that I want the real me to be what people see on my blogs, Blogcatalog, and where ever. How I am, where ever I may be, is the same.
I have little tolerance for B.S. and I am not afraid to call a stone a stone. I am not worried if someone thinks I am a racist, a red neck a hill billy, or whatever. I do not live my life to please anyone except myself and my family, people outside that circle can accept for who I am or move on. I butt heads with many people about religion and common sense issues.
I don’t want to change anyone’s opinion on anything, but I do point out every once in a while that there are other opinions, all which are right to each person.
My bartender blog allows me to showcase an industry which is usually shunned by society.
I have had many people come back to me and tell me that they just didn’t realize the people who work in the strip clubs are people with families, mortgages, car payments, and lives outside work. I get so much hate mail on a daily basis that I began to think that was my purpose, to be hated because of what I have to say. Hate me or love me, makes little difference in what I write.
Melanie: Well said. Now I am glad my question was a bit pushy. What about that snake picture you sent me. Do you breed snakes as a hobby?
I.M: Ahh, the snakes. Well, I have been raising and breeding Ball Pythons since I was a teenager, so say for 30 plus years. Why? Good question. I have always been drawn to the cold blooded animals for some reason. They have two purposes in life, to eat and to breed. How simple my life would be if that is what my DNA said I was to do. However, my reptiles are my “hobby”, they are not my pets, I am just their caregiver while they are in my captivity.
Over the years I have had many snakes, iguanas, and even a scorpion here and there. Over the years people have given me their reptiles because they don’t want to care for them any longer. I don’t run a rescue service, but if someone somehow gets my name or number, I will either take the creature or help them find some place for it.People who know me in person, family included, either love the snakes or hate the snakes. My wife, after 15 years, still will not be in the room if an enclosure is open for feeding or cleaning. She wants no part of it. We have an understanding, I can keep the snakes but do NOT expect her to ever have anything to do with them.So far, so good.
The particular picture I sent you is of one of the survivors from my last attempt of breeding. She is the only “baby” I have left. I am looking for her a home currently. Oddly enough, I don’t sell my snakes. If you have the space, the time, and the effort, it is yours. But, I have requirements to be shown to me beforehand, like enclosure size and set up.Of course if you are afraid the first time you hold a snake that never goes away and that is a big no no in my book because it usually means the snake will be mishandled or never handled. I rarely name any of my snakes because like I said, they are not pets. I have one that I have had since I was 14, Cleopatra, one of the few to have a name. My kids name all of them, but they try not to get attached to them since they know they are always at risk of being there tomorrow.Melanie: I completely identify with your wife.I am almost revolted by the idea of holding one. Your interview with one of the dancers in the bar you worked in was incredible. You have great insights into why people dance, why people come to watch a strip tease (right word?) Could you give us a few of your views on that world?
I.M: It’s impossible for me to speak for another person. As an observer I saw a few different kind of people. People who just like to watch. People who are looking for interaction. People who don’t know why they are there in the first place. People who are “horny” and “need” to see naked dancers up close and personal. In the end, everyone comes to a strip bar for the exact same thing, to see naked women dance. Their individual reasons are as vast and diverse as the individual.
Melanie: Good answer, what was your childhood like?
Can you think of one defining moment?
I.M: I had a great childhood. It had it good with bad, as all do I would assume. My parents divorced when I was young, so my dad lived in South Dakota and my mom in Texas. My summers were always in South Dakota with my dad until he died. After he died I took a while to re-coop. I spent a lot of time back then evaluating what I wanted from life and what I did not want.
I would have to say my most significant memory is a few memories in one. I was flying at age 14, a passion my dad and I shared, it was a passion that almost killed me and it was my dad’s passion for flying which did kill him. I owe much of what I am from what I learned from my day. Because of him I choose to never give up, and because of him I have a beautiful relationship with my family. He showed me repeatedly that family comes first, it is always #1 no matter what, period. In fact, my son was named after a man whom he has never met, but has seen pictures and heard me speak of him often enough.
The picture of me at the grave-site is probably my favourite picture ever taken of me. My wife snapped the picture, she said I looked as if I was in another world as I stood there looking at my dad’s headstone. The artwork on that headstone was done by me when I was 15 specifically for him.
Now, I mustn’t leave out my step father, he had a big role in my life as well. To this day I am close to him and spend a great deal of time with him and my mother. They are an active part of their grandchildren’s life and U really do enjoy that aspect.
I hope that was specific enough. Sometime I ramble without actually saying anything at all.
Melanie: That was not rambling- it flowed right from your heart. I can see how you have embodied what your dad stood for. His example really is the foundation of your character, you beliefs and your actions.Your own family is a living witness to your dad, the fruit of all he taught you. Any other facet of your character I should ask about. BOOKS you like, movies, job…..
I.M: I am not a reader per say. Movies are in the hack and slash horror genre. Music is is the heavy metal genre. I don’t watch enough television to have a favourite show. Although, I do like Wheel of Fortune for some reason.
Melanie: I am satisfied with what we have. How do you feel about the interview. Is there anything I have missed?
I.M: I feel good about what we have done. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Should be interesting. I told you I was long winded.
Melanie: I appreciate the time you took to write through answers.