And the Winner Is...

For the first time, I’d like to publicly present the award for:

“Favorite Song of the Now”

The recipient of this award must be a musical arrangement with an ability to “get stuck in one’s head”, but at the same time, also be of a high enough quality that one does not get sick of said song. It must instill the desire for repeat listening, even immediately after a previous listening occasion.

The craft and structure of the song should demonstrate some form of thought and intelligence on the part of the songwriter. The composition should show originality and innovation. Generic dance beats need not apply.

The specific content of the song should never be spoon-fed to its audience. It needs to be open enough to interpretation that listeners may emotionally identify with it on their own terms, and also never having one’s own theories of “what it’s about” be contradicted. And in such a case where the listener is unable to decide the meaning of the song, it should still be enjoyable for them to experience on an instinctual level.

While a good song stands upon its own, regardless of the performer, the recipient of this award demonstrates a symbiotic harmony with its performance and performing artist. While skill is a factor, it is overshadowed by sincerity and conviction on the part of the musician(s) involved. They must demonstrate an honest connection with the material, whether it be an original song, or a “cover”, as well as be able to convey that connection to the listening audience.

Former winners of this award include:

“I’m Not Over” by Carolina Liar (previous winner)
“Human” by The Killers
“My Delirium” by Ladyhawke
“Pretend We’re Dead” by L7
“Angel’s Wings” by Social Distortion
“Dream On” by Aerosmith (repeat winner)
“I Wish I Was a Nerd” by the Attery Squash
“Mad World” performed by Gary Jules
“Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)” by Pandora’s Box
“Ice Cream” by Sarah McLaughlin
“Who Will Take Your Dreams Away?” by Marianne Faithful & Angelo Badalamenti

Joining this esteemed company, I present the newest, and current winner:

“Little Lion Man”
Mumford & Sons

Released in 2009, this song is finally starting to receive its due airplay on radio stations around the country. The selection committee discovered this song through KROQ out of Los Angeles (via Internet Radio), and was immediately taken aback by this folk quartet out of London, England. At first, it appears so out of place amidst the stations usual genre selection of modern and hard rock, but quickly solidified its rightful position alongside.

With its 2 main verses offering a very personal story, it smoothly and gently builds to a heartstring-pulling crescendo emphasized by its simple, yet emotionally-charged chorus that makes one feel they’ve been punched in the chest, yet at its conclusion, inspires the words, “Thank you, Sir. May I have another?”

Even its central and unavoidable placement of the granddaddy of all curses, the famed “F-Bomb”, it is neither gratuitous nor unnecessary. In a rare feat, it is truly the best word for that moment.

Mumford & Sons have achieved in one acoustic song, more energy, power and emotion then most any other modern artist armed with the loudest amplifiers known to man.

Thank you gentlemen, for demonstrating you don’t need an electric dial to “turn it up to 11”.

I present to you all… my favorite song of right now. (I just hope the embed works)

Mumford & Sons // Little Lion Man by Stayloose


The Great Property Purge of 2010

I’ve got a little personal project going at the moment. I’m trying to get rid of my crap.

This is different then the normal “Spring Cleanings” I try to do every now and then (even when its not Spring), where I just merely re-organize some things, then maybe donate a few shirts, a really old jacket, a few VHS tapes and 2 books. (Yes, I still have some VHS tapes. No VCR though… but some tapes.) No, I’ve come to the point of stepping out of Denial River and realizing that ain’t cutting it no more. Because, frankly… I’ve got a lot of stuff.

Now, I’m not a “Hoarder” (like the ones on that depressing and disgusting TV show. I’ve never watched the show, only the promos, and I know that’s what it would stir up in me. No thanks.)… Nowhere NEAR that bad. That is a huge extreme, that I have to believe is still leagues away from me. I mean, someone who’s a bona-fide “Hoarder” saves freaking newspapers with the full intention of reading them *someday*. Come on, it takes 3 minutes to read the funny pages, and that was when some of them were still worth reading. (I stick to online comics now, anyway.) Who cares about the other crap, especially when it’s outdated? No, that extreme is one I can’t understand.

I will concede… that I’m a bit of a “Pack-Rat”. I can throw stuff out… I just tend to be pretty selective of it. I do like to keep things that have a small emotional or nostalgic value. Neat little knick-knacks that I acquire from cool little stores or as little gifts from friends. And books! Oy vey, I love books. The smell of them, the act of turning the pages, the idea of being absorbed in another world. Especially if they’re old, and hardbound… and the age is showing on the yellow hue of the pages. It’s a romantic notion to me, and I love them. Bookstores are a weakness for me, and I get sucked into them often for browsing… where I’ll at least be leaving with something from the bargain bin. The large majority of these books I’ve collected over the years… are still waiting to be read.

Board games… I’ve mentioned in the past, that I sort of collect them. Many of them I haven’t played… but all of them I’ve wanted to, and had the utmost intentions of doing so. It’s just that… Life gets in the way.

I do confess I tend to keep magazines around longer then I probably should. I had a collection of Maxim magazines going for a few years… and this started in 1998 (the issue with Alyssa Milano on the cover, I saw it in a large poster ad in New York… and the horn-dog side of me said, “Must… have….” It must have been the subliminal-mind-ray-advertising… Or her boobs. One of those.) But after a 3-4 year stack of issues started getting more and more annoying to move, I started ripping out the “articles” I liked and throwing away the rest, in an effort to reduce the stack. It worked… for awhile. But before you start thinking, “Pshaw… just another perverted male doing anything for lame bikini photos”… keep in mind that, although you’d be completely right with that statement, I had a much bigger collection of Men’s Health magazines. Those issues really did have good, useful articles… as compared to “articles”, if you catch my meaning. Even today, I still read Men’s Health, and only read the cover of Maxim as I’m walking past it in the bookstore. (Unless it has Jennifer Love Hewitt on the cover… then yes, I’ll buy it. I may have a decent amount of willpower, but not THAT much.) But after a certain point… I started ripping out the useful stuff in the Men’s Health issues to try and reduce the stack. I’d even divide them into big yellow envelopes for ease of use later. Recipes in one, fashion and grooming in another, health and fitness in another, etc. Eventually, those too have gotten to be a little too full.

And as someone who loves movies… of course I have a hefty collection. Been collecting DVDs for 10 years now, and my tried-and-true technique of waiting for movies to drop down to the bargain bin has given me a lucrative collection to be reckoned with. And even though we all marveled at how “thin” the cases are (especially compared to VHS tapes, and they are)… they still add up. I have always had a problem when it came to storing my movies and shows. (And you’d probably be surprised with how many of them I haven’t sat down and watched yet.)

The same went for my CDs and music. In fact, this was the first thing I started “condensing” back in the late 90s. I was getting ready to move to California, and knew I’d be carting as much as I could in my little SAAB and driving 3,600 miles away. As I was also determined to spend the large majority of my time working on Grad School stuff, the idea of “minimalism” was starting to be very appealing to me. I wasn’t even planning to bring my collection of VHS tapes (this was just before DVD came out) or a TV. I was serious about not wanting to even have the time or opportunity to get sucked in to a show. (Though, as an apartment-warming gift, my dad bought me a TV anyway. Figures.) But I couldn’t leave my tunes behind… that’s my SOUL, dammit! But I sure didn’t want to cart all those discs. So… I acquired 2 of those large disc-folders, the ones that held about 100 CDs at a time, and filled them up, and put the empty plastic cases in storage, along with everything else I didn’t want to take to California. I even condensed several discs (ones that only had 1 or 2 songs on them that I liked) into mix CDs to save more slots. I even had plenty of room left over in them for when I would acquire new music as well. I still have and use those folders for all music CDs. I even eventually tossed out the empty plastic cases (but kept the inserts and booklets), as I’ve found the folder method too convenient.

I even keep some old shirts and clothes, fully aware that I’ll never wear (or even WANT to wear) again. Such as:

-My old Cub Scout uniform from when I was 10. I made it to Webelos rank, and got the little sleeve pin-tassel-things that you use to pin the merit badges/pins onto… but my family moved before I ever got to earn any, so it’s bare to this day. (Something tells me this won’t fit me, but I haven’t tried, so I can’t say for sure.)

-The black long-sleeved shirt from Senior Year in high school… with the large numbers “93” on the back and the names of every member of the graduating class inscribed therein. I freaking HATED high school, have managed to successfully block out many of the memories… but I’ve kept that shirt. I don’t know why… and I only wore it twice, if that. (You can’t really wear that around in college or beyond without looking like a total toolbox. “Dude, you’re not in High School anymore… move on.”)

-The blue vest I was given when I worked at Wal-Mart for a summer (and never gave back). I don’t think they even wear that style anymore, so I couldn’t even infiltrate them anymore. (Well, maybe… I should look into that…)

-An apron, and embroidered polo shirt from the first restaurant I worked at. I haven’t been there in 16 years. That place doesn't even EXIST anymore.

-The paint-splattered shirt from when I did that weird-ass Tennessee Williams play. I was bummed when I didn’t fit into it anymore (or rather, when it ceased to flatter my figure), because I liked wearing that around. Gave me a stylish, “artsy” look. I’m pretty sure the t-shirt itself was from the 70s, but the paint splattering was original, courtesy of the costume department, who were happy to give it to me after the show.

-My loincloth and vest-jacket from when I performed in an 8-man version of Midsummer Night’s Dream (same costume department, same elation to get rid of a costume piece that wouldn’t be used again)

-A jean jacket with “Hard-Rock CafĂ© – Save the Earth” embroidered on the back. (Christmas gift from 1993… all the kids in the clan got one, and I’ve still got the group photo to prove it.)

Hell, somewhere is even my graduation robes from High School, College, AND Grad School. Why why oh WHY??

I’ve always liked the idea of going minimalist… and everything being neat and clean, and easily staying that way. I’m just total crap at actually pulling that off. By contrast, I never liked the idea of “When I was no longer a child, I put away childish things”… screw that. I like my childish things. They’re fun, and make me smile. I don’t want to get rid of something *just* because it was made for an age demographic I’m no longer technically a part of. Nor will I pretend something’s not fun. That… I’m pretty good at.

But the stuff that sits in the garage, or in the back of my closet… isn’t giving me any enjoyment by being static. And I have such a small living space, I just don’t have the room. So, I’ve been inspired lately to give it a more earnest try. The actual catalyst was a short article I read over on the website TheFrisky.com, from a few weeks ago entitled “I Got Rid of 90 Percent of My Stuff, And I Feel Fine”. While there are several other things from the past year or so that made the idea of having less stuff very appealing… this was the first thing that just flat out threw it into words, directly. (Sometimes, we need that.)

Now, I don’t know if I could eliminate 90% of my stuff… but I have a modest goal of getting rid of at least 40%. And while I’ve been plugging away at it… I’m thinking I could do even more then that.

First place to start… books. I have a series of shelves in my bedroom tucked in the corner of the room, behind the door. It’s definitely the most cluttered part of that room. So, I started pulling out books that I know I’ll never read, and stacking them. I also pulled out a bunch of old role-playing games, mostly stuff from college. So, I put those in another stack. The normal books will be donated… the RPGs, I’m going to try Ebay. (While I’ve bought plenty of stuff off Ebay, I’ve never sold anything… so I don’t even know how to set that up. Guess I’ll learn.). If I can’t get anything for them after a few weeks, I’ll donate those as well.

Then… some board games. Wasn’t looking forward to it, because I like my board games. But when I look at them, and know full well that when “Board Game Night” does come around, my friends and I usually pick something else… so that starts its own pile. My rule on the board games were… “I’m keeping my CLUEs, that’s non-negotiable.” Because I love the game CLUE, it’s my favorite. And I’ve got several spin-offs and variations. (I’m a sucker for mysteries.) So I went through the others and managed to clear out about 10 of them so far… a good chunk now sitting at Goodwill waiting for new owners. But you know… I’m starting to look at some of those CLUE games… and starting to wonder if I could get rid of those too. Because the variations aren’t like the original game… they just have the CLUE name and “expand the story” with their own game. A bit unnecessary, but they’re neat. I’d have to keep at least 3… the standard version, my Haunted Mansion version I got from DisneyLand, and Clue Master Detective (a version from the late 80s with more rooms, suspects and weapons, but plays the exact same). But the others… just might be going. Including the newest version with the “revamped and updated” rules… which aren’t that great, and I suspect Parker Brothers will eventually get rid of anyway in future incarnations of the game. But maybe my non-negotiable rule is going to be more flexible then I originally declared it was going to be. We’ll see.

Then, the DVDs. A while back, I started doing with my movies what I did with my CDs… putting them in those big folders that holds 100 at a time. I picked up several of them, and divided them up by genre. Sci-Fi in one, Asian Entertainment in another, Horror in one (actually that’s 2 folders filled up now), Musicals and Plays in yet another, Comedies, Adventures, Drama, Cooking Shows, etc, etc. I also grabbed larger ones for my TV-on-DVD shows… also divided up into genres. I even painted on the front of each one for ease of identification. Sure, having numerous folders is a bit bulky, but still leagues better then keeping all those discs in their cases. I was holding onto some of the plastic cases… thinking *maybe* I’ll put them back into them someday, for display purposes… but let’s face it; why would I want to? So, they have to go… especially since “some” become “a lot more then some”. All those… sat in the garage… waiting… and occupying space.

The showdown is inevitable.

So I’ve started in on that stuff in storage. I’ve pulled down about 7 large plastic bins so far, and have condensed them into 2. 5 large bins worth of stuff… gone. This is where I’ve found all those old clothes, all the spare DVD cases, stuffed animals acquired over the years (which, being up in the dusty garage all this time, are probably so spore-filled as to be downright unhealthy. So, I may even have to get rid of my little Muppet dolls I collected from Disney. Not a fun prospect to a major Muppet fan like myself), even more books (oh so many books) and so much else.

I even found my 4-year collection of Boy’s Life magazines from the mid-80s (more relics from my scouting days). I was planning to get some nice plastic bags for them, slide them into a nice storage box from the Comic Store, and keep them. My brother happened to see them and asked, “Why have you kept old scouting magazines from 25 years ago?” Well, it was for nostalgia, yes. Plus, I think they’re collector’s items. My first issue was the premiere of a few features for that magazine that they’re still doing today. I got a lot of enjoyment out of them, and I don’t think it’s all that bad to keep them around in an out-of-the way manner. But… yeah, then I got to thinking. “Damn… maybe I *should* stop holding onto them. Well, maybe I can get something for them on Ebay or something… surely they ARE collector’s items?” So, I looked online. You know what I found? Every single issue of Boy’s Life magazine, from the 1930s to the present, online, complete and for free on Google Books. F-ing A!!! Now I have no excuse to not recycle them. So… into the recycling they went, and then told my brother I hated him. But at least I’ll have more room by my boxes of comic books---

God Dammit! NOW I’m going to be going through my comics and see which of THOSE I can get rid of!!! Arrrgghhh!

In a way, it’s almost getting too easy, the more I do this. I’m currently convinced this is only 85% a good thing. (But only because I want to be stubborn in some regard)

Basically, I’m just putting everything into 2 categories: “Getting Rid of”… and “Not Sure Yet.” Once I’m done, I’ll go through the “Not Sure Yet” group and divide them again into the 2 categories. And then go through them yet again… and then once more, this time creating a “Keep” pile.

I am allowing myself a few nostalgic keepsakes… my Muppet Magazines for one. (Do you have any idea how rare they are? Seriously. I’ve got 9 of them.) And I still have all my old Theatre books, because it was, and I still consider it to be, a big part of my life and who I am… and with my pursuit back into teaching, will hopefully be a larger part in the future. (Yet, I’m starting to wonder… is there anything in that bin that won’t be that useful to me right now?)

But I think I might be close to… if not at the 40% mark already. I’ve donated about 150 books, trashed 3 bins worth of plastic, and a slew of knick-knacks ready for the trash heap. (I found my old key-chain collection from 20 years ago… I didn’t even like the hobby that much, and haven’t added to it in almost that time.) I’m finally eliminating the last of those VHS tapes that just haven’t gone away yet… all those old scout shirts, work uniforms, etc… so much stuff I’ve been holding onto, and I no longer know why.

And I know, that at some point… I’m going to come across a little green box that I have completely taped up. That I haven’t opened in quite a few years. It’s somewhere in the back of my closet (I think), and it contains things I haven’t WANTED to look at in all that time. And I’m not sure what I’ll do. I probably should have thrown it out long ago… most probably would have in a fit of anger. But I was thinking, it was a part of my life, and I may now want nothing to do with it… but I can’t deny it ever happened. I thought it was a “mature” way to treat it… maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But I held onto it, physically. (I definitely held onto it emotionally, much longer then I should have.)

I think, if I threw it all away then… it would have been out of anger. Now, if I throw it away… it’s because it doesn’t mean anything. Which just might be the best reason for it to go.


Unleashing the Id

Love is a word that is constantly heard
Hate is a word that is not
Love, I am told is more precious than gold
Love, I have heard is hot
But hate is the verb that to me is superb
And love, just a drug on the mart
For any kiddie from school can love like a fool
But hating, my boy is an art
-Ogden Nash

I don’t generally consider myself a “hateful” guy… I may be a bit cynical, sure. Are there issues I’m passionately opposed to due to ethical and intellectual grounds? Sure. Are there people in my life that I prefer to avoid and vent about? Absolutely. Are there individuals that have “crossed the line” with me, thereby giving me no moral qualms about taking my frustrations out on them with a rusty crowbar followed by a lemon-juice hose-down and a salt-blast chaser? Who doesn’t?

But I’m not talking about the so-called “Legitimate Hates”… the understandable ones. If you’re related to a close-minded racist whose hobby is insulting you and killing every small animal you try to adopt… it’s perfectly alright to hate them. That is completely justified. Are there people actively infringing the civil rights of the people you love? Guess what? You can hate them. (Side note: Prop 8 Overturned! Suck it, you Bible-thumping “Family Value” Pricks!)

In fact, I find it hard to believe there are people who “don’t hate anyone or anything”. Well… then frankly, you don’t exist. Yes, I’m actively denying the fact that you were ever conceived and resided within this dimensional plane. To your face. If you say there is truly nothing to raise your ire; a) I call “BS”… and b) I’m looking forward to the challenge.

But again, I’m not a hateful person… I do believe that love is stronger then hate… that positive outweighs the negative. I believe that humanity, on the whole… can be good. That’s the way I’m wired. Yet, I do think that hate can actually bring about some good things in this world. One of the biggest reasons the U.S.A. even came into being was because our founding fathers hated King George III. (Take a look at the Declaration of Independence… most of the reasons listed all start with “He”… “He has refused… “, “He has forbidden…”, “He has obstructed…”) Nothing against the British citizens… nothing against the country… they hated HIM. Heck, sometimes just the act of loving something necessitates that you have to hate the thing that opposes it. (To again cite Prop 8; I love my Gay Friends, so for even that alone, I hate anyone that wants to take away their right to love.) Without a certain amount of hate for the big things… nothing would ever get done.

Except I’m not talking about the big stuff. No, I’m going for the relatively petty stuff. The crap that might be expressed in a stand-up comedy routine. The stuff that you don’t bother to address because of the Social Filter we’ve developed over our lives. The really annoying, blood-boiling pet peeves that you don’t act on, but which keep pushing you to the point of wanting to scream… but you don’t, because someone would probably put you in a padded room (even if they feel the same way).

For this blog… we remove the Social Filter.

Maybe you’ll get insulted. Maybe you’d be a wishful victim of my wishful wrath. Maybe, if you met me walking down the street, you’d look at the ground while giving me a wide berth, hoping I don’t snap on you… or you’d stop me and scream and lecture me for being hateful. (Go ahead, I’d love the irony of that.) But I’m really just joining a bit of a trend here… there’s apparently a lot of home-web videos of young people just rattling off about stuff they supposedly hate. Usually they amount to just hating “school” or “stupid boys” or “dumb girls” or “parents”… but I’m not in the age demographic to mention those things (except maybe the dumb girls… some things *are* universal, after all.) No… as you may know, I tend to get a bit more specific:

  1. Assholes that linger for 20 minutes BUCK NAKED in the gym locker room. Yes, that’s what the locker room is for: changing. But not to this extreme. These guys scamper quickly into the locker room (rarely watching where they’re going), and whip off all their street clothes as fast as humanly possible, getting to “jaybird” status in record time. And then… they…. sloooooooow…. dooooooowwwwwwwnnnnn. And don’t even consider putting on the workout clothes yet… because you know, the mood isn’t right. So they stretch. They groom. They stroll around. They stop and watch the TV on the wall. They see someone they know, and walk on up to talk to them, raising their leg onto a bench so they can lean their elbow on their knee. And after they’ve given their political or social dissertation for that hour, they casually walk back to their locker to MAYBE get ready to actually do some exercise. And when they’re done with said workout… the same process happens again. Even adding in a long, slow walk to the showers, with a towel slung *over the shoulder* instead of around the waist, and then standing at a sink, shaving or brushing their teeth… naked. And when they finally DO get dressed, these men pick the very sensible first item that should be put onto their fully nude-with-an-obvious-reason-to-come-to-the-gym-in-the-first-place bodies… that, very obviously being, their shirt. (Underwear? Why would THAT go first?) Then they button up their shirt. Then they put on… their socks. Then they adjust the socks, because you never can pull them up right on the first try. Then they put on their tie. Then they tie the tie. Then they undo the tie and re-do it, and adjust it. After then combing their hair, applying cologne, and then getting involved in another water-cooler debate with a fellow bottom-half-naked locker-room dweller… on goes the tighty-whiteys. Then point-3 seconds later, the pants and shoes are on, and they shoot out the door. What. The. Fuck. There’s a nice line that separates “comfortable in your skin” with “decorum”. That’s great you’re not ashamed of your own body… but you don’t need to flaunt useless cock even when being “around the guys”. I hope Rush Limbaugh mistakes you for a Coney Island Corn Dog.

  2. People who say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Oh, so you’re not actually apologizing for fucking me over, you’re apologizing because *I’m upset* at you for fucking me over? So, since you’re actually shifting the blame to me… that makes your apology absolutely useless, which doesn’t actually make it an apology. Wow, that’s just as bad as saying “I’m sorry” in a pissed-off “on-the-offensive” tone of voice. You might as well be saying, “I’m not actually sorry, but I’ll say the phonetic words because you stupidly think I should, just to shut you up.” Good work, you’ve managed to make the “apology” sound more insulting then the original insult/infraction. I hope you get the first-ever case of Herpes Simplex Type 5.

  3. Unnecessary Rap. Sometimes, I’d be inclined to say that “all Rap is unnecessary”… but that would be wrong. While the genre is not my favorite, there are rap songs I like to listen to, and it is absolutely a viable genre and art form… on its own. What I really find annoying is when in the middle of a Non-Rap song… some moron starts breaking out his “rhymes”. The example that comes to my mind is the song “Scream” by Chris Cornell. It’s a slow rock song, that is put to a techno-drum-machine-beat. Now, I’ve heard him do an acoustic version that sounds great… I also like the techno background version. It’s different, but I think it works decently for the song. But suddenly… in between the first and second verses, comes the producer “Timbaland” (which is a freaking retarded “artistic” name, BTW. It’d be like calling yourself “El El Beeen”, “Uh-merican Eegel”, “Wall’em Art” or anything else coming close to copyright infringement on a brand name. Where are the lawyers when you need them?). Here, this moron does a little spoken interlude, which only just repeats some of the lyrics… and I guess it can’t even be official “Rap”, because its not even to a beat, nor does it rhyme… just him “contributing his flavor” to a song that DOESN’T NEED HIM. You are no better then the annoying “hype man”, which is a whole other realm of uselessness in the musical industry. (If you’re going to perform for a crowd, and need someone else to “get people excited”… well, how come they’re not excited enough at the anticipation of seeing you? Sounds like you’re not very good, and that you even seem to know it, hence hiring him in the first place.)

    Now I’m all for musical artists collaborating with each other, but don’t pull this crap of coming onto their album and working on ONE song, by inserting some of the aforementioned uselessness and snagging a “featuring” credit. It’s THEIR album, let them play THEIR music. You want to show your “flavor”? Then make your own damn album, and spout it all you want, so I can have the option of not buying it, so I don’t have to listen to it. But if you REALLY want to collaborate? Then do it… on a full 12-song album, and do an actual duet with them on each and every song, and you both get equal billing. If you want to collaborate and “explore” with this other artist… don’t stop after you metaphorically “drive to the corner store”. Freaking go for it and truly see where you can go with it when you combine your efforts. (Robert Plant and Allison Krauss had it right… a whole album of collaboration. One a soft bluegrass singer… and the other from Led-Fucking-Zeppelin) Not this half-ass-flavor-shit. I hope your beloved over-priced Cristal booze gives you cold sores on your eyes.

  4. People who speak with extremely thick accents on singular words of foreign origin… when the rest of their speech is in perfect white-bread English. I don’t think there’s anything that screams “Douchebag” to me faster then this. Just talking along, everything is clear and articulate… and suddenly revert to the fakest-sounding Italian/Spanish/French/Etc accent that’s ever been conceived for that Italian/Spanish/French/Etc word. It actually sounds like they’re trying to make fun of that language with this over-parodying voice… only they’re actually being serious and are claiming, “that’s the *correct* way to pronounce it”, smiling smugly all the while. Guess what? There’s a big difference between Pronunciation and Accent. They are not the same thing. Never have been, never will be. Consider that the rest of the world considers the way Americans talk as “the American Accent”. So, how many people do you know, that only speak American English… that pronounce American English words incorrectly? You may know 1, you may know 40, but you *will* know a number to say. Just because they speak in an American Accent, doesn’t mean the pronunciation is correct. I’ve known Italians from Italy that speak great English, pronouncing everything right… and saying it with their Italian accent.

    And sweet Jeebus help you if I happen to say a foreign word, and you try to “correct” me with that fake accent. Pray a tire iron isn’t nearby. I hope the next time you’re at the Doctor’s office, you hear the words, “Uh oh…”

  5. People in handicap scooters… whose ONLY handicap is that they are extremely, gravity-victoriously, fat. If you’re in one from extreme age, no problem. Veteran with a leg blown off, victim of a horrible accident or debilitating disease? I’ll salute you as you cruise by, give you any help you need and all that. But having an extra whole pie for dessert isn’t a tragedy, it’s a very bad personal decision. But if what’s done is done, fine… but you don’t get special treatment. You don’t get to have a handicap plate or sign for your car. You can’t get a free pass to the front of a ride at Disneyland. You don’t get to claim “disability”, and you don’t get the right to complain about how difficult life is. How can it be so hard? You have a freaking scooter to cart you around! Sounds pretty easy to me! I hope that your home is infested by rats with a craving for cholesterol.

  6. This one is targeted to one gender: Men. Yes, my fellow males, pay attention: Those of you that go onto Facebook, Myspace, or anything else remotely like it… find the profile of a young lady, and start writing the most moronic “pick-up” shit on their walls and comments sections, like: “Damn U fine!”, “I’d love 2 tap that! Hit me up sumtime!”, “Ur so Hott!”… and I’m not even talking about the horrible grammar. Do you honestly think that’s going to make them rip off their clothes and come running after you? Do you, in all seriousness, believe that’s going to help get you laid? I already know that when you’re directly asked, you’ll talk about “respecting a lady” and how you “don’t treat women like objects, of course not!” Which is made into Bullshit by the very fact that you don’t walk the walk. I don’t give a crap if the gal is posting a 90%-naked picture of herself in the mirror to feel sexy and good about herself. It is no time to lose all sense of decorum and respect. In fact, it’s the ideal time to SHOW it. Admire, Appreciate, then Masturbate if you must… and if you absolutely HAVE to leave a comment, it *is* possible to say something that doesn’t sound like what a lame Rapper with too much money and a skewed-world-view would say. If you have any doubt? Then don’t say anything, because when you start typing without abandon, you give the female gender more proof to their claims of “Men are stupid.” Thanks to you, they’re right.

    Same goes for you, you “Deep” ass-holes… I haven’t forgotten you.

    I hope all of you Mother-F-ers can’t ever close your eyes without instantly dreaming of Prison… where you have to pick up the soap.

Okay, so maybe I have a few “Rage Issues”… there may be a few more pet peeves that really get me… but this is looking long enough for now.

So maybe you laughed, maybe you were horrified, maybe you just plain agree. But what I want to know is:

What pisses YOU off?


Metrosexual Tendencies: The W.C. Suite

I was just wondering what the most inane topic I could write about…

I’m an Old-Fashioned shaver.

Okay, maybe not “Old-Fashioned”. I think that actually involves lying back in a barber’s chair and letting some other guy do the work for 25¢, hoping to Jeebus that he doesn’t go all Sweeney Todd on you with a straight edge blade.

Or it means scraping my face with a jagged rock by a river… guess it depends how far back “Old-Fashioned” means…

So, maybe I’m a Neo-Classical Shaver… or something. I don’t know… I was looking for a good opening-line.

But I do it the non-electric way, I can say that much for certain. This is yet another way I differ from the other men in my immediate family: My dad and two older brothers. Not 100% sure about my oldest brother, but I think I recall him using an electric razor years ago. My other brother, the middle one… always uses electric. Don’t recall him ever using anything else. Even today, half the time he’ll walk out of the bathroom with the familiar “buzzzzzzzzzzzz” humming along while he multi-tasks his morning, scraping away the little bit of fuzz that accumulated overnight. My dad… I’m pretty sure he’s strictly electric now… but he used to have the “safety razors”, that he obviously must have used at some point. They were the cheapest little plastic things that could be found… 50 of them for about 2 dollars (today’s prices), with one dull blade on each one. With the lone period of time that I tried to use those, they tore my face up pretty bad… so I’m not sure how “safe” they really were.

But they’re all electric guys. Probably for the convenience sake. After a few weeks when your skin gets used to it, you can buzz your face every day, and you’ll always have that “clean” look forever after. Plus, the one-time cost of it is probably more economical in comparison. I even got an electric razor for the holidays one year… I think I used it for about 2 months before I stopped. For one… it was a pretty cheap model, and wasn’t going to last much longer anyway. But also… as close a shave as it did, it wasn’t as close as the non-electric way was. I’d feel my face after the electric, and it’d feel pretty smooth. But after the non-electric way? It would feel SUPER smooth! Yes, I could tell the difference. I liked that better. Plus, due to the lotions and balms and everything… the non-electric way was more refreshing, soothing. The electric way? Just kind of… Vibrate-y.

The first time I shaved was getting ready for my Junior Prom when I was in High School. I was given a “sample kit” from the place I rented my Tux from, and thought, “Cool… I’m old enough to shave now!” Sure, all I really had was a little peach fuzz… but it felt symbolic to be doing it that night. That night was also my first actual date… ever. (It didn’t go like, end like, or lead to anything as most “real dates” do… or even like other “Prom Dates” stereotypically do…but that’s another story.) So, symbolism abounded for me that night, and I wanted to do it right. (And I only cut myself twice!)

Thereafter, I didn’t shave that often (again, I had nothing but peach-fuzz really), but I’d do it once every week, week and a half. I had heard that “once you start shaving, you have to do it regularly because the hair will start growing faster!” Well, apparently my actual facial hair didn’t get that memo, because the “needing a shave-look” wasn’t much different from the “freshly shaved-look”. At the time, shaving was more of a formality… a zen-like practice that served no practical purpose; but I felt good doing it, and I also felt less like an overly-awkward teen. (I still was… I just didn’t feel like one.)

The first time I actually realized that I honest-to-goodness NEEDED to shave… was when I was in college. The director of a show I was in had asked all the men in the show to “Not Shave”. It was a period piece, set in Russia, so we were all supposed to have facial hair. (I also got to wear a wig and a padded belly for that show.) So, I stopped shaving… and thinking, “I’ve never actually grown anything but peach fuzz… will I even be able to?” But taking those few extra weeks and not shaving… I did start to get some real, rough stubble, and then became a beard. The design team then designated mine to be a “Van Dyke”, so I could shave the neck and sides. (Good, cause it was itching like hell!) I even kind of liked it… so much I kept it for awhile after that show. It was different for me… together with my glasses, it even made me feel a little more intellectual and “collegiate”.

The beard came and went a few times over the next few years. Sometimes growing it for a show, other times shaving it for a show. I’ve done quite a few things for shows, actually. The most extreme was not only shaving my face… but my arms, legs, chest, and head. The play I was doing it for was a very odd Tennessee Williams play called In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, and at one point, I strip down to this Japanese Shinto-Diaper-Thingy. And every bit of skin that was exposed was shaved. The only part that wasn’t was my eyebrows… that would have looked too weird, we agreed. The character was this weird, intense, crazy artist, who we figured would want to do a ritualistic head-shaving (like a monk)… only he’d take it to the absolute extreme, and shave everything. So we went with it. I ended up looking like some intense, homicidal, overgrown baby… which was interesting on its own, for sure. (Add to that me smearing latex interior housepaint over me… like I said, it was an odd show.) Several times I would talk to people about this and mention how I had to “shave everything”.

They’d look at me with a raised eyebrow and say, “EVERY-thing?” Clearly implying about parts under the Shinto Diaper that weren’t being seen.

“No, I did not shave my crotch for the show.”

They’d seem almost relieved and say “Okay” at that. There *are* limits to Method Acting, thank you. I most certainly did not shave my private parts for that show.

The fact that I shaved those parts ANYWAY, I didn’t mention. So yes, I was completely bare during the show. But I didn’t shave the bathing suit area *purposefully* for that show, so I wasn’t lying… it was simply a personal preference. (You think shaving feels nice on the face? Just imagine that sensation down there… very soothing in the summer, let me tell you.)

Okay, I’m sure that’s way into the realm of TMI (Too Much Information)… Oh well, cope.

I’ve always considered shaving to be one of those “manly man” things to do. I’ve seen it on lists of “sexiest things a woman can see a man do” (supposedly written by a woman, or taken from a survey of women), alongside “tying a tie”, “interacting with a child”, “cooking”, “juggling”, and “zombie-defense-preparation”. (Okay, maybe those last two are from *my* list of what should be sexy) If that’s true… then I’m one hell of a Sexy Manly-Man. Well, unless your list consists of MORE then those… then I only have these points down.

I love the smoothness of the end result… the crisp, clean feeling. It’s awesome, it really is. My face feels refreshed, rejuvenated… and helps me to feel damn Sex-ay. (And I’m sure adult women can think of other, practical advantages for a man having a smooth face. No, I’m not “going there”… because You just did.) I don’t know what it is about the existence of certain body hair that makes me feel not-as-sexy… but the fact it is probably explains why I have no problem getting rid of it.

On rare occasion, I’ll shave my legs. Usually just in the summer, solely for the comfort factor. My chest… sometimes I’ll shave for the summer comfort, but I don’t mind a little hair on that part. But I do try to keep it trimmed…. I don’t like it getting long, twisty and out of control. Keeping it to the level of “pleasant fuzz” is my preference.

Armpits… I shave regularly. Using the Norelco Body Trimmer helps with this. Hey, I don’t think you noticed, but armpits stink. You know why? The sweat is trapped in the hair and it ferments. I may not sweat any less, but my pits are a LOT less stinky, thank you.

And thanks to my genetics… I’m cursed with a hairy back. Not the kind of hairy where the Gay Community would put me in the “Bear” category, but enough that it itches and makes the heat less tolerable. I’ve tried to shave it… but I have to bend my arms in very unnatural ways to do so, and that hurts. I tried using the “Nair” and removal creams, which works decently for a few weeks at a time, but application is difficult. I did get help on a few occasions… one really good friend slathered it on me, and another time, a girlfriend did it. While she said she didn’t mind, when I look back on it, I can’t help but think, “That was unfair to ask her to do that for me.” Why? Well, it may not be horror-movie disgusting… but still an unappealing task. So, come the future, I shall not ask of that in a relationship again. Nope… so, now, and for the past few years… I’ve been getting waxed.

Figured if I’m going to enlist help, it should be a professional, and one who gets duly compensated for it. Plus, the waxing has the benefit of lasting longer then the creams.

On the downside, it hurts like a Motherfucking-Hurt-Machine. (But I am a sensitive lad, dontchaknow?) Granted, after doing it almost 10 times by now… it hurts less then it did at first, but I still don’t look forward to it.

Now, I can get a good 8 weeks of pure hairlessness, and then another month or so as it grows back, and there’s no chance of missing spots. They’re pretty thorough. They get a good way up my neck, the tops of my shoulders and all the way down the back. When I’m asked, “How far down do you want me to go?” (No, I don’t make an innuendo. They have hot wax and are already causing me pain, do you honestly think I want MORE of it?) I say, “If you see crack, you’ve gone too far.”

Now, I may not have female companionship to take advantage of the super-smoothness, or recognize the pain I’ve experienced and wish to “make it up to me”… but I do it anyway. If I relied on sexual rewards as my reasons for shaving and hair removal, I’d look like Grizzly Adams by now.

Nope, shaving is for me. It’s my Zen thing, thank you.

Over the years… I have refined my technique since my first facial shave. It really is more then Lather, Scrape, Rinse. There’s an order. There’s a procedure.

I like procedures.

First… hardware selection. I’m currently using the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo. I don’t know exactly why they call it “Turbo”, but it does work a tad better then the regular Mach 3, I know that much. I just buy the refills in bulk from Costco so I’m not paying as much as from the normal store. As the whole shaving thing can get expensive if you’re not careful… I therefore try to be careful. (The “Fusion” razor is really nice too, and even gives a better shave, but its still way more price-wise.)

Then, you need the heat. Steam heat, to be precise. I used to just splash a bunch of warm-to-hot water on my face for a few minutes, but I prefer to simply shave in the shower. I helps to open up the pores.

Next… shaving cream? NO! Now’s the facial scrub. I use an exfoliating facial cleanser. I really like the one from Nivea.

Now, the shaving cream, right? WRONG! Now is the pre-shave oil. Yes, it’s called a pre-shave oil. It’s a tiny little bottle, and you only use a few drops at a time, like 5-6… about the size of half a penny. (A little goes a long way) It’s got a bit of the menthol-thing going on, which sometimes feels counterproductive to the steam heat… but it works really well. Helps the hairs to stand up a bit. According to the bottle, you could actually shave using JUST this oil if you had to, but I never have. The kind I use… (and the only kind I can find, though it works so well, I don’t care) is from King of Shaves.*

*if the company is named King of Shaves, you can assume they know something about it.

Okay, now has to be the shaving cream, huh? NEVER!! I use a shaving “gel”. The old shaving cream/foam…besides smelling funny, it also makes it hard to actually see the hair you’re shaving off. It’s not that fun to go completely blind when having a sharp object near your face. Just sayin… No, shaving technology has made some leaps and bounds. The gel type of shaving lube is pretty clear, and makes it a lot easier to do things like keep the sideburns even, or even care for that goatee you’re trying for. Plus, it really does work a lot better. I’ll occasionally try different brands, but I do keep coming back to the King of Shaves brand again… the Sensitive Skin formula. (I *do* have sensitive skin, dontchaknow?)

Then… the actual removal. I’ve always read you’re only supposed to scrape “with the grain”... but when I do that, I always feel stubble left behind. So I always go back up the other way, “against the grain” as well, and that removes it all. And I’ve never had a problem with in-grown facial hairs or gashing my face open or whatnot as a result. I just go easy, methodical… and get that super-smoothness I love so much.

But it’s not over! After the scraping, I’ll obviously rinse off thoroughly (easy enough as I’m already in the shower), finish up all the other shower-business, and out. Then I pat dry my face… and then break out the… anyone? Anyone?

After-shave lotion? What am I, a masochist? (Don’t answer that.) Alcohol on microscopic wounds? Hell, no. Nope, I go with the “post-shave balm”. It’s a thicker kind of goop, that’s non-alcoholic, non-painful… and gives that nice bit of smooth polish to the face, with an extra moisturizing kick. Again, a little goes a long way. I don’t stray from the Nivea brand on this one.

And that’s my shave. I do this every 4 days or so. I can get away doing it after 3 days, but any less then that, and my face gets torn up a bit. No, with my face, the blade needs a decent bit of stubble to get a grip on to. In fact, the longer I go without, the easier it is to shave it, oddly. Unless it’s more then 6 days (meaning I have no dates or social plans)… in which case, it’s too long. So I’ll take my regular old-clippers and trim down the face to a shaveable length.

It works for me. Maybe it is a “manly-man” thing to do… I just do it because it makes me feel “good”.

So… nyah.


Techno-Love (but only as a friend)

I don’t know if this is a male stereotype or not… but I do love my Tech. Maybe not to the extent that some guys, or even some women… but in my very own way, I do.

I’ve never really had a problem figuring out computers and technology. I tend to figure out the basics pretty fast, really just by playing around. (Manual? Who needs a manual?) But I also have never really gone out of my way to acquire it quickly, so I can always be on the “cutting edge”. Usually, I’m at the tail end of the parade.

For me, when I make a decision about acquiring new Tech (or really any decision in life, come to think of it), I mull it over and think for a long time, and then when I finally make a decision, I stick with it.

The first computer I ever bought was a Commodore 64, and even then it was not that long before they stopped making them, and long after its heyday of popularity. I even knew that at the time, and my reasoning was, “well, if it’s not that popular anymore, all these hundreds of games will probably come down in price.” It was good logic, actually… our house was well-stocked with a large variety of games. The first of which is still one of my favorites: Maniac Mansion. (LucasArts made some great games back then) That computer got the holy hell beaten out of it over the years… with the floppy disk drive (with an actual FLOPPY disk) and when computer monitors were heavier then me. You could easily see how it was a definite upgrade from the Pong and Atari systems the family had… but maybe not so much compared to the original NES my brother had. But I liked it… and when it came to the end of its useful life, I eventually resurrected it… and gutted it to make a sci-fi looking prop for a show.

The next… was a word processor. Yes, an actual word processor. A weird missing link between typewriter and computer. It had a disc drive, and a small internal memory and programming, that wasn’t compatible with anything else in existence… but it wasn’t a computer in the normal sense. It was basically a printer with a small keyboard tacked on. It was a gift from my parents as I headed into college, for the purpose of writing papers. And since it was the ONLY thing it could ever do, it did it pretty well. It got me through the 4 years pretty well. When most everyone else was going to the computer labs, I could do it in the comfort of my dorm room. (and I had to… because as mentioned, the discs couldn’t be used anywhere else. It was not only technological freedom, but prison as well.)

I started Grad School with a hand-me-down desktop computer from my Uncle, which did me pretty well. When I had the chance to upgrade to a decent laptop a few months in, I did so… after careful consideration, that is. (Its compact nature was appealing to a guy in a small apartment) And I then kept that computer for the next 8 years… long after its expected life-span. (That thing died and was resurrected via miracle on a couple of occasions.)

But after Grad School… the next bit of Tech I got was probably long overdue; I finally got a cell phone. This was in 2002, and most other people had gotten cell phones already, and now… EVERYONE has them. Even high school kids, and younger! That kinda blows my mind… yet, it also blows my mind when I realize that I can’t conceive of NOT having my cell phone with me. If I leave the house and realize later that I forgot to grab it… I’m hitting myself and saying, “Oh crap!” Now, I don’t get phone calls that often, (I’m not even that good on the phone!) and I do get a half-decent amount of text messages… but after going 27 years without a constant direct-communication-line to the world, (and surviving, by the looks of it) why did I now HAVE to have it near me every second? It’s sitting 10 inches to my right at this moment while I’m typing!

When I was seeing my first therapist, I remember mentioning one session how I kind of missed going around WITHOUT a cell phone, and sometimes, if you think about it too hard, you can feel kind of trapped by it. (Sometimes, you don’t WANT to be found so easily) She responded with, “Well, you don’t have to have it.” “Listen, lady… don’t go using that new-fangled voodoo brain logic with me!” Okay, I didn’t say that last part, but as much sense as it makes, and how true it is… I still keep my cell phone fairly close by.

And I’m on my third cell phone right now. As the contract is ending soon, I might look into getting another upgrade… or at least a comparable replacement, because I can’t think of what I would get that’s better then this one. It’s got a 2 Megapixel camera, plays music, has an audio recorder, has a calendar, I can check e-mail, has some games, not to mention… now get this: It actually makes *and takes* phone calls. (You knew that gag was coming, admit it.)

I was considering of getting an iPhone, or one of the comparable Android phones… but you know, to make those worth it, you need to buy a data plan for the phone, which would end up tacking on another $2000 or so by the time the contract is up. No thanks… I don’t have that much disposable income.

But as sort of a “compromise”… I did get an iPod Touch instead. It can hold ALL my music, shows video (so I can share neat things I find with friends), has some pretty cool “Apps” (some of which are actually useful), has Wi-Fi connection for places that offer it free. Really, the only things it can’t do is: be a phone, or take pictures on it. That’s okay, my regular phone does that. And I can live without the cellular Internet. So, after a few weeks of considering, I treated myself, and have been pretty happy with it.

One thing I don’t like doing with my gadgets is trying to “one-up” or use it as part of a Penis-Size Competition. You know what I mean, too. If you get/do something, someone has to point out that THEY got/did something cooler, shinier and more impressive. (My oldest brother has been known to do this) Personally, I figure, “I need mine to do A, B, and C. Can it do those? Yes? Great, now I don’t give a crap that yours can do D, E, F or G. No, no… I get it. F and G are *really* peachy keen. I still don’t care.” Penis-Size Competitions: No actual phallus needed.

I was looking into getting an E-Reader, like the Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook. I especially thought the Nook was the neatest between the two… but when I went into a store to play around with one (prior to ordering), I wasn’t able to see how a .pdf looks on it, plus the touch screen was a little slow to respond, and a few other concerns. But between those two, it still looked to be the better product. But then that Apple iPad was announced.

Now, I didn’t start drooling over the iPad like a lot of people did. I did find it humorous though, that within minutes after its announcement, all the males on Twitter were excited for it… and all the females were making Maxi-pad jokes about it. Personally, I didn’t see the big deal. Now, yes, I’ve been wanting an E-Reader, but I liked the size of the Kindle and the Nook. The iPad… way too big for my liking. That’s not exactly “portable” to me. (Portable to me means, it can fit somewhere on my person, out of the way, and I get to have both hands free. The smaller the satchel, bag, backpack it can fit in, the better.) But the iPad is in color, with better touch response, its faster, etc. Frankly, it’s an oversized iPod Touch. (Which was another point that leaned me towards getting that) If they had the exact same thing… only the size of the Kindle/Nook… I’d probably have gotten that. I’d even wait for the 3G version. The only thing that the iPad has done, is convince me to keep waiting, because now none of it looks that appealing to me. (Also, it’s surprisingly easy to read on the iPod Touch… or iPad Nano, I guess.)

Not all technology these days is interesting to me.

I’ve yet to get completely excited by Blu-Ray, or Hi-Def. Personally, I don’t mind that theatrical movies are at 24 frames per second. Yes, it’s ironic that the higher quality resolution and framerates look cheesy and fake to us (The webcomic XKCD just did a bit about this the other day.), but I still like the gritty, muted look to a lot of movies. Call it nostalgia, but I find it easier to get lost in a story when I’m not being distracted by the detail on every blade of grass or hair on someone’s head. And it’s only going to be seen on movies made in the last 5 years, maybe. Everything before that? They weren’t intended to be seen at that resolution. So… it just seems pointless.

The latest gadget I bought, is going a bit old-school. Actually a lot old-school. It’s a camera. Not a digital camera… and actual film-load 35mm camera. I was hanging out with a friend of mine in Boston and saw this assortment of “unique” cameras. All film-ones, construction was plastic and a bit cheap… one model was strictly a “fish-eye”, it distorts all the pictures like you’re looking through a peep-hole on a door. Another looked like a 1920s box camera… and the one that interested me, had 4 lenses on it. It takes 4 mini sequential pictures on one frame of film. Each photo is divided into quarters, and you see 1 full second of an event, broken into four frames. They call it the “Actionsampler”. Now, sure, I could probably take one of my digital cameras, put it on “sequence burst” so it takes 3 or so pictures one after another, and then photoshop them together… but somehow the nostalgia of doing it the old-fashioned way is a bit on the romantic side for me. Yeah, I never had much luck with actual film cameras in the past, but I do know a little bit more, (at least where NOT to take pictures) so hopefully some of these can turn out a little better.

Hey, it was cheap, novel… and interesting to me. And I’m not dating anyone, so why not treat myself? It’s a better reason then some people have when getting new toys.

What are some gadgets YOU love or hate?


The Cut of My Jib

During my unintentional sabbatical… I ended up hitting the gym… a lot. I really just needed to get out of the house, because staring at my computer screen just wasn’t working for me. (and by “not working” I mean, “driving me crazy”) Before, I always went to the gym on my way home from work… because it was on the way, and extremely convenient. Now, of course, it had to be a special trip. So let’s see: Special trip… or sit in the house and be depressed, lazy and crazy. I’ll take “Special Trip”, please. I needed something, anything, to do… and going to the gym seemed like a nice, healthy option. Hey, I was paying for it anyway… might as well get my money’s worth out of it.

So I went every day, Monday through Friday, and took weekends off to recuperate. Mondays and Thursdays was arms and upper body, Tuesday and Fridays lower body and abs, and Wednesday was nothing but Cardio. I was silently proud to be sticking to my make-over plans, and occasionally getting nice compliments from friends. But due to my own critical view of my self, and judging by the horrible dating luck I was having, I always saw/see the flaws and knew/know I still had/have a long way to go.

Then, when I gotten into August of that year, the Temp agency I was going through gave me the distinct impression that “things were picking up” and I would be having some impending interviews approaching. So I pulled out my suit… the one I’ve previously mentioned as “my first suit”. Now, I bought this during another bought of unemployment, again for the purposes of interviews (and also since I had nothing nice to wear should the occasion arise). When I did that, I had been in a period of “letting myself go” a little too much. This was after my old medical problems, in which my weight fluctuated wildly from too low to too high, and then settled on “too high”. So when I was being fitted for this suit… I was given the “Executive Cut”.

I understood from the get-go that “Executive Cut” was just a friendly euphemism. It meant I was tubby. Any guy that takes offense to that, saying, “Hey… I’M wearing an Executive Cut suit!” Guess what? Nothing wrong with it. It just is what it is. You’re no less a quality person… now shut up and accept it. All that matters is that you have a suit that looks good on you, so chill.

Well, now my suit *didn’t* look as good on me. I know I had lost a little bit from my waist, and the suit (and sportcoat) were a little big on me. So, I had to go on a little errand… one that I was actually looking forward to doing.

I brought the suit and the sportcoat back into Men’s Wearhouse (the one with the tailoring department), went up to the counter and said, “It gives me great pleasure to finally be able to say this: I need to have my suit taken in.”

Yeah, it did feel good to say it… to know that I’ve made enough progress with exercising, and that it was noticeable enough to affect my clothing (in a good way). It was a nice positive reinforcement, and I was smiling. The tailor said, “That’s great. If you would please go put it on, we’ll take the measurements and then take it in.” So, I went into the little dressing room, put on my Executive Cut suit, and stepped back out onto the sales floor, waiting for the tailor.

He came over, started measuring, and soon said, “Well, this isn’t going to work.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

“This was YOUR suit?”

“Yeah, I even bought it from here, it’s on your records.”

Then he excused himself for a second, and brought over a saleswoman, and they both started tugging and pulling on the suit, folding it up against me, etc… basically using me as a mannequin… and both seemed…. Amazed.

I’m just standing there, not sure what the problem is… I just need the suit taken in a little bit, right?


The pants of the suit I had brought in (which were tailored for me when I got it) had a 40-inch waist.

I now needed a 34-inch waist.

Keep in mind that on a suit, the waist isn’t just above the hips where we normally wear our pants, but rather higher up, just under the belly button. So I lost 6 inches around my belly… a hell of a lot more then I thought I lost.

So the pants now look like they were another hand-me-down, and the suitcoat and blazer are similarly swimming on me now. They asked me, “How much weight did you lose?” “Well… according to the scale, only about 5 lbs.” (I guess this is proof I’ve been replacing it with muscle, huh?) They looked at each other and back at me, amazed and smiling… all the while looking over the racks of clothing.

Uh… are they trying to find one that’s my new size to use as a template for cutting these down? I wondered hopefully… and futilely, it would turn out. No, they were looking for a new suit for me.

I asked them, “Can’t you just take this one in?”

The tailor then proceeded to explain how they “could”… but he would have to take so much material out that the suit wouldn’t look right. He couldn’t guarantee that it would look good. To put it bluntly… it would look like a Picasso. (His Cubist period, for you Art-History Majors. Never say I don’t show you any love.)

The old suit, with the Executive Cut, was created with a belly in mind… every cut and stitch of it is molded around that idea. A belly of which I apparently didn’t have anymore (even if I do still see it when I look in the mirror… man, am I self-critical or what?).

If they can’t take it in… and I obviously can’t wear it to interviews without looking like an 8-year-old playing in Dad’s wardrobe… It looks like I don’t really have much of a choice.

Thinking of the personal accomplishment, I cheerfully thought, “I need a new suit!”

Then the logistical aspect came to mind, and I thought, “Oh… I… need a new suit?”

Then the dawning of financial horror… “Holy crap… I need a new suit…”

I’ve always tried to not be “cheap”, but as someone who’s never HAD a lot of money, shelling out a few hundred on the spur of the moment isn’t exactly something I’m used to. Anything that costs over $50, I feel hesitant, and over $100, I feel I have to “think about it” because it feels like an “investment”. (Which, yes, this is an investment.) And being unemployed at the time sure didn’t help, to put it mildly. I felt my heart beat faster, and thought I was starting to panic. It was something I *had* to spend right there. (You probably don’t want to hear my inner monologue when I need to have expensive car repairs done… I want to curl into a fetal position and shut out the world.) And I never got to wear the old suit that often… so that was feeling like I had to throw away $500 worth of clothes I didn’t get to enjoy.

But the tailor and the saleswoman started looking through the racks, and found a nice suit for about $300. That’s a good price for a suit… but still… $300. I did refuse when they asked about replacing the sport-coat… I figured that wouldn’t be a good idea at that time. They were able to do the few needed alterations right there, and I could leave in an hour with it.

So, while I was waiting for that to be done… I had to just walk around the mall and kill some time. And what else am I going to think about other then, “Oh God… I just spent a crapload of money on something that *feels* frivolous (after all, a suit isn’t necessary for actual caveman-like day-to-day survival), and I don’t really have money coming in.” Sure, I had to collect unemployment, but I feel guilty using that for anything that isn’t vital to caveman-like survival. (I hate feeling like a leech on the system, and I was hesitant to even apply in the first place)

Yes, I know normal people don’t think like this, and wouldn’t have a problem with it, or even for the reasons that I do. Whatever made you think I was normal?

But all these things… these possibly unfounded neuroses running through my head… and then I go and end up making the biggest mistake I could at the time.

You see, I was feeling vulnerable. I was feeling stressed, and a more then a bit worried. I needed encouragement. I needed to hear, “Its okay. Needing and getting this suit is a VERY good thing. You’ve made a great accomplishment, losing those inches. You deserve this, it’ll look great. Keep your chin up, it’s gonna work out wonderfully.” I needed some kind words… I needed assurance.

I needed to call and talk to my Emotional Support System.

Instead, I called my parents.

Apparently, I had a lapse of memory, and thought they were in that category. Sure, that sounds cruel and unfair. But my parents are “every silver lining has a dark cloud” kind of people… and as thankful as I am to them for bringing me into this world and doing what they can for me over the years; emotionally speaking… they are NOT the people I can talk to for that kind of support. I think the fact that I tried in this instance may say that I wish they WERE, but every instance of trying to tell them anything, good or bad, has pretty much blown up in my face.

My mom answers, and I tell her what’s going on. Instead of what I wanted and needed to hear, she said, “Well, can they just take the other suit in a *little* in case you gain some weight back?”

“… I’m sorry, what?”

Is it just me, or did that sound… how shall I say it? A bit “un-encouraging”? Is that essentially a vote of no-confidence in my efforts at the gym and eating better? Because it sure as hell sounded like it.

I tried to explain exactly how much I’d lost, and how taking the old suit in “a little” wasn’t exactly an option. When my father got in on the conversation later on, he remarked how if I keep going to the gym, I’m “just going to need ANOTHER suit.” Now, that one may be more of a “delivery” kind of thing… because where he was putting the emphasis did not sound like it was celebrating the accomplishment of slimming down, but of the annoyance of having to do this errand again. (Even though it was for me, and nothing to do with him)

Now, if I lost *another* 6 inches from where I am now… I wouldn’t be worried about a suit that fits… I’d be worried about a hospital gown that fits, because that’s where I’d be treated for malnutrition. No, I wouldn’t be crossing another tailoring-threshold, and any adjustments to a smaller size would be minor ones, fixed with a simple “taking in”. It wouldn’t be changing the “cut” of the suit. His reply echoed my Mom’s initial statement; “Well, you better keep the old suit for when you gain the weight back.” (Notice his has a bit more certainty in it then my Mother’s.)

Wow. Just… wow. I have to wonder if my family ever actually *listens* to themselves.

So, back to when I was waiting at the mall for the suit to be finished… and NOT feeling as good as I had hoped at this point… I went to look outside my immediate family. (I definitely wasn’t going to try my brothers… at best I’d get an “Okay, so?”) I texted a friend of mine, summarizing the situation… and thankfully, she told me what I needed to hear. This *was* a good thing… it’s a great thing! Sure, I didn’t get much use out of the old suit, but why should care about a suit that looks crappy on me? I worked hard, and I deserve this… I deserve to look good, dammit. This was definitely the right thing.

When I picked up my suit… I did, in fact, feel a hell of a lot better. If anyone ever wonders why I’m so fiercely loyal to my friends… it’s for things like this.

And I would come to realize later… the financial hit wasn’t as bad as I thought. My months of being frugal hadn’t sapped my savings like I was afraid it was, and monetarily, my situation was a-okay. I *probably* could have afforded a sport coat as well… but I still figured it wiser to wait on that.

But eventually, when I did start working again… I went and bought myself a SECOND suit. So I could have some variety. And then this winter, I even bought two sport-coats. In both instances, I had considered and decided ahead of time, so the buying was actually a pleasurable experience rather than a spur-of-the-moment-stress event. (And in neither case did I bother to tell the ‘rents.)

Now I’m looking for more opportunities to wear them.


Romance vs. Intimacy: The Eternal Battle

I’m *not* a Romantic.

That’s actually a conclusion I’ve been somewhat hesitant to come to, because… I’d *like* to be. I have tried… and I’ve failed, miserably. That’s okay, I now come to terms with it. I am horrible at Romance.

What I am good at… is Intimacy. (and I’m not talking about the Sexual context… get out of the gutter. Or at least get out of my spot!)

Okay, maybe that’d be up for debate when you start getting the opinions and feedback of my Exes… but at the very least I’m *better* at Intimacy then Romance.

Some might be looking at me oddly (actually, that’s not any different from what I’m used to…) and wondering “What is the difference?” Normally, I would have figured them the same, or pretty damn near the same thing. But no more shall I do this… I shall now get nitpicky.

As per what I usually do when I start to differentiate between specific words… I look them up in the “pocket dictionary” I’ve had since Grad School. (Yet, I’ve never had pockets that big in my life.) Sure, maybe it’s a bit clichĂ©, but why the hell not? So, I looked up “Intimacy” and found this definition:

1. To make timid; fill with fear. 2. To coerce, inhibit, or discourage by or as if by threats.

Is it fairly telling, the fact that I said, “You know, that makes sense…” and THEN realized I was looking at the definition of “INTIMIDATE” instead? (Sure, it says the two words have different roots, but I think they just don’t want to admit it.) Hey, I say it’s an honest mistake. Anyhoo…

in∙ti∙mate adj. 1. Marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity. 2. Essential; innermost. 3. Comfortably private…

As for the other…

ro∙mance n 1.a. A love affair. b. Romantic involvement (thanks, redundancy really helps… he sarcastically says in a sarcastic manner); love. 2. A mysterious fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous…

Ah ha! That’s it! I *knew* there was a difference! It’s #2… that’s what I believe people are really talking about when they say they want “romance”. That’s what I’m horrible at.

I don’t know if I can say I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I can say I’m pretty damn honest, even from meeting me right away. I’m not cultivating any kind of “mystique of a secret past” or brooding and looking all deep like some kind of pathetic and sparkly-stalking-vampire (modern teen ideas of Romance are majorly Fucked up, BTW). I’m the kind of person who, if you want to know about me, I’ll tell you. Ask any question, and I’ll answer it. No problemo. (I don’t have a lot of pride in that area, and very little embarrasses me.) While I love reading mysteries and watching them on TV and movies… I myself am no mystery. Hell, if you’ve read even a few of the posts on this blog, you know a pretty good amount about me. Sure, you may not know my actual identity… the whole pen-name thing… but you’ll know me. The name is really just a minor detail. Even then, you send me a private message on here or Twitter… Hell, I’ll probably send you my Facebook page, if you’re really curious. Has pictures and everything.

Yeah, I’m a sap like that. But I like people knowing about me… just as much as I like knowing about other people. I like the familiarity, I like knowing the real person… I like them knowing the real me. I like… the Intimacy. Hell… I love it!

That leads to the big kicker… and what seems to make the two terms (dare-I-say) polar opposites, rather the similar kind that was assumed before:

The more you get to know someone, the less Romance you have with them. But it’s not a bad thing… because the trade-off is… you gain real Intimacy. (Personally, I think that’s better.)

Alright, I’m sure I just opened myself up to some comments saying, “No, I can have both! I want it!” Sure, because everybody wants everything.

Intimacy is a long-term satisfaction… and it takes work to get there. It takes time. You get to know the real person… and hopefully you actually *like* that real person. If you don’t? Well, you should know not to waste anymore time, right?

Granted, in some ways Intimacy might be a bit of an unseen trap. About 7 or 8 years ago, I knew this gal (of whom I had a slight interest in at the time I admit) who was chatting about her Ex and how she “loved him, but wasn’t *in* love with him”, and trying to explain that paradox. She’s more then willing to go out and date other people, but when she hits a personal crisis, or something really bothered and upset her… she went running to him to talk and get comfort. Her reasoning was, “we just know each other so well anyway that it’s just easier to go to him because he would understand without me saying that much.” Sure, that’s sound logic… but at the same time, I wanted to tell her that she should just pack it in and marry the guy. Because she didn’t seem open to the idea of getting to that level of intimacy with anyone else… because the Ex was easier. She was looking for romance elsewhere… but the real intimacy was always with the Ex. I couldn’t see her finding a new relationship that would be okay with that… which is why I allowed my own interest to fade. If you know the real person, and really know that person isn’t for you? Recognize that you need to look elsewhere. (Just don’t say “I do” until you figure that part out.)

This might also help explain why I’m in contact with so few of my Exes… I don’t like the reminder of NOT having that particular Intimacy anymore.

In some ways, I think Romance is a bit about the short-term satisfaction. The quick, immediate excitement. Sure there’s also the parts of candle-lit dinners, thoughtfulness of birthdays, declarations of love that people call “romantic”… but I think those are things more tilted into the Intimacy category, then true Romance. Romance is… exciting. It’s the unknown. Sorry to repeat myself… but it’s Mystery.

Like I said at the beginning… *I* like Romance. Excitement can be fun. Surprises are peachy-keen. I think everybody likes stuff that is new and exciting… maybe even feeling a bit dangerous. It’s a neat thrill.

And maybe I just uncovered an element that might give an insight as to why some people choose to cheat in their relationships. They’re looking for the Romance. Unfortunately, they’re doing so at the complete expense of the Intimacy they had in that relationship. Being an admitted Non-Romantic… I cannot condone that. I might be able to “understand” it… but only as far as to know to recognize it and not submit to it.

(Meanwhile: In the Gutter: The one thing I can NOT understand at all is why certain celebrities would cheat on their spouses… when the spouses are Hotter and more Beautiful then any of the mistresses. That just seems pointless. Don’t you at least want a visual upgrade? If you’re in that powerful a position in life, you should be able to find a mistress that would make your emotionally-suffering-wife say, “This is a horrible ordeal for me and the children… but to be fair, that other gal is *waaaay* Hot. If I was a lesbian… I’m just saying…” And the kids saying, “Dad, how could you do this? By the way, high-five!”)

I’ve never been one to take Intimacy for granted. I’ve been broken up with far more then I’ve been the one doing the breaking up, and the few times I did, it was because I was starting to see the real person, and knowing it wasn’t a good situation for me to be in. (One instance looked downright unhealthy… but that’s another story.) Plus, spending more time in my dating life single rather than in a relationship (healthy or unhealthy), personally I put more importance on the Intimacy then Romance. I can’t do the short-term satisfaction… I’m a long-term kinda guy.

Unfortunately, it appears that I’m also NOT the kind of guy that single women want to actually date.

In High School and in my 20s… being the patient sort of chap that I am, I theorized that all the women at my age were still wanting their kicks with the “Bad Boys” and Deep A-holes, that when I got into my 30s… I was going to have the greatest dating life in history. Because by then, women would know they don’t want the Bad Boys, and being in their sexual peak during the early to mid-30s… I was optimistic the best years were ahead of me.

This was even encouraged by friends of mine who would even tell me, “Dude, trust me… women are going to *want* a guy like you when they’re older.” You know… if I had a time-machine, I wouldn’t go kill Hitler or witness the great historical events of the world. I’d go back to those instances of encouragement… and I’d kick those people in the face. (Come to think of it… some did show up later those days with mysterious injuries. One had a footprint on him with the treads that looked remarkably similar to a pair of shoes I just got…. Hmmm, I wonder….)

It has NOT been the prime years for dating, no-sir-ee. It’s a subject I’ve gone over a few times before… but the last time? The whole eHarmony fiasco? Yep, it is officially a complete dud. I ended off that post with an air of hopefulness, as I was in contact with one gal… and we had gotten to a 3rd date. The only one from online that I had gotten to that point with. We even got to a fourth date. We even made plans for a fifth date. Now #5 was 2 weeks from #4… I didn’t mind waiting. I’m sure you, dear reader, know that I go slower then a snail through a tar pit. My reputation may not precede me… but moves alongside me.

4 dates… no kissing, no hand-holding… not even any hugging. Hell, we barely touched. Now, I didn’t see any opportunities to take such movements… but hopeful they would come in the future. I was enjoying my time with her regardless, and figuring she was either respecting my slow-ass-pace… or went at that pace herself.

Well, the day before the scheduled date #5 (this past Friday), she calls me. I’m happy to hear from her, figuring we would solidify our specific plans for the next day… and then she tells me that she “didn’t see a future for us.”

…Ow. I felt like I just got kicked in the gut (and not by my future self).

She said she really enjoyed spending time with me, and always had a really good time… but didn’t feel anything “Romantic” with me and… (here it comes) only thought of me as a friend.

You have no idea how loud I wanted to scream, “Go Fuck Yourself!” to her… and I think I actually came close to doing so. But I didn’t. I do think it was apparent I was audibly upset… and when she said she thought of me only as a friend, I replied:

“Yeah, I get that a lot.”

She giggled at that… and I know it was an uncomfortable thing for her to do, and it was probably more of an awkward-trying-to-relieve-tension-giggle… but still; I wasn’t joking. Honestly, if she hadn’t said that… maybe I wouldn’t be so upset here.

I have seriously heard that same speech far too many times in my life, and I am sick to death of hearing it. Where are all these women that are supposed to want a guy like me? They all want the Romance. And I offer Intimacy.

She said she had given it time, but didn’t feel Romantic feelings with me. I can only think that if she wanted Romance, why didn’t she try walking a little closer to me when we strolled, to give me a chance to take her hand? Why, at the end of our brief dates, did she quickly get into her car or house door, saying “goodbye/good night” over her shoulder, and not stop, face me and look at me for 2 seconds, to give me a chance to try for a kiss? Why not even try for a date longer then a mere 2 hours at a time? Why not give me a chance to provide that Romance?

No, I don’t think she gave it enough time. Especially not with me. For other guys maybe it’s enough time. But not me.

But here she was, giving me the age-old rejection speech. Additionally frustrating in the fact that it wasn’t even original. So, the fifth date did NOT happen. In fact, it ruined not only the rest of my night, but the whole weekend, as I’ve been pretty much stewing in it since.

Sure, I’ve been going through the thoughts of joining a monastery… but I don’t think I could do all the praying and chanting. I *have* come to the conclusion that the Internet dating doesn’t work for me… not one bit. So that’s one more road that is closed off. In fact, it really just seems that I really don’t belong in the world of Dating. I know that’s an extreme, because you can’t get to a relationship without the Dating… but when everyone seems to want the one thing I’m not good at giving, how can I get to giving what I *am* good at? (Or at least better at) Sadly, it’s the one thing that the evidence seems to point to, from this view.

I don’t know if I’ll feel better or different in a few days… hopefully I will. But this conclusion is feeling more definitive then ever before.

Just don’t say, “Wait until your forties! THEN they’ll be breaking down your door!” Because you’ll get boot to the head *right now*.

And the next single woman that says she only thinks of me as a friend WILL get the very loud volume-turned-to-11-FUCK YOU!!!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to the gutter for awhile. At least it’s more entertaining there.



(Hey, look… my first sequel post. Here’s the first part.)

So, I was forced back out into the cold, cold world of job-searching. Confused, shocked, depressed, filled with dread… and I was still in the parking lot of my now ex-place-of-employment.

After a few deep breaths, I said, “Well, no use sitting on my ass.” (Yes, I said this to an otherwise-empty car.)

I started to drive back home… stopping off at the Temp Agency that got me placed at that company in the first place. I went right in, told them what just happened, and asked to re-open my file, which they did. I was now back in the Temp Loop… which is better then being in no loop, for sure.

Now, they told me how jobs were slim, but it would *hopefully* pick up fairly soon. It certainly wasn’t going to be the only method I used, but it was a start, at least.

Over the coming days, I would start to reflect on the reasons I was laid off. And I know it wasn’t “anything personal” (to the company, although definitely personal to me) or any performance-based reason why I was laid off (that I was told of). I did my job, and I think I did it well.

No, this was an accounting issue (for lack of a better term… I don’t mean it was the Accountant’s fault). So, in that context… I still tried to find some reasonable explanation. And since I have a tendency to over-think things… and think in odd ways… the standard answers don’t seem to work for me.

The first standard answer is “profits are down”. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they are LOSING money? Meaning… no profit at all. The operating costs exceed the income. Then yeah… I can understand that. Or does it mean what it actually is saying… “profits are down”… they’re just not making AS MUCH a profit as they’d like to? They’re still making a profit… just not as big as they want. (Aw, poor baby) So, after all operating costs, and subtract that from the income you make, you still have money left over.

This is actually the situation that I think most companies are in. Profits are simply a little less. So… why the need to fire people? If you expect your employees to be loyal, and they continue to bring in a positive profit in an ailing economy, why do the same rules not apply to the company? In my fantasy world, if I own a company and I can afford to pay everyone, including myself, pay for everything I need, and at the end of the year, NOT owe money to anyone… then it’s a good year. If after that, the profit is only 1 dollar… its still a profit. Sure, you won’t be able to give any raises, or be able to “expand” like you wanted… but that’s the fault of the ailing economy! Sure, we got this ailing economy because of some greedy Mother-F-ers grabbing for every penny… but doing the same thing isn’t going to get us OUT of it. If you stay even, and weather out the storm, and you’re not *losing* money… when it does turn around, you’ll be in a better position to cash in. Not to mention what it does for the esteem and loyalty of your employees… you’ll actually be Walking what other companies are Talking with that subject. You’ll really have your “(Insert company name) Family”.

“Oh, but the Shareholders are demanding large profits.”

Shareholders, huh? Granted, I oversimplify a lot of things. Business acumen is not my forte. But it appears to me that things like “dividends” and whatnot, in regards to Stocks don’t mean a whole lot, monetarily. No, the primary flow of cash comes from the buying and selling of said stocks.

So you have someone that buys a large number of shares… partially owning the company… wants heavy profits so the stock value goes up… so he can sell off his shares, and NOT be an owner of the company?

Why should the rest of the company be so concerned with someone who really wants nothing to do with it?

I admit, I don’t normally meet owners of companies that honestly have no long-term interest in how their company does. Nor do I meet ones that are willing to do NOTHING to help it thrive. But that’s what shareholders do… they become part owners, then sit back and do nothing waiting for the value to go up.

If you honestly have a vested interest… and want the company to, oh I don’t know, get more clients… get off your ass and help find more clients for YOUR company. That’s not how being a shareholder works? That’s fine… but you shouldn’t have the right to complain, then. Stocks are like gambling… you can gain money, and you can lose money. But you can’t go to the dealer and say, “Hey, I put down a large bet, so give me a straight flush. I demand it.” You take your cards and you live with them.

And realize that after you buy a stock… you don’t actually gain or lose money until you SELL it. So what if it drops to less then you paid for it? Don’t sell! Give it time, and it will go the other way, and you’ll make a profit. Oh, you want money *now*? Well, McDonalds is hiring. Yes, there’s a chance the company could tank and fold… you were gambling in the first place. See last sentence of previous paragraph.

Alright, anyone that has a personal knowledge of stocks and business is probably thinking I’m a huge idiot right now, and that’s fine. This is just one layman’s take on it. And I’m not talking bad about capitalism… that’s our system, no problem. I get that, and am fine with it. But it does breed some greedy mother-f-ers, and you may think it does nothing BUT breed greedy mother-f-ers. I don’t think so. I think there is room for compassion and loyalty in the system… but it does seem to be hard to find. Hence why I became one of many “victims of the economy”.

Regardless… I had to re-start the job search. Updated the resume, got about 6 weeks of coaching from that career-transition service that talked to me mere seconds after receiving my pink slip (which wasn’t actually pink, by the way… nor was it a slip)… and was on my computer for 6+ hours each day looking for work and leads. I wasn’t having luck. (Also part of why I wasn’t finding time to blog… I was tired of looking at my computer!)

I even tried a few job fairs… the first one even made it on the news, because it was so insane. They expected 40,000 people… and about 200,000 showed up. Including me. I showed up at 9:00am in the parking lot, and the show was to start at 9:30. I didn’t even make it onto the shuttle bus until after noon. (I felt like I was back in a cattle call audition in L.A… on one hand it was a good thing, because I was used to it) Then, when I got to the site, I had to wait *another* hour in *another* line to get into the building where the fair was. Ugh... just thinking about it makes me shake my head. I had a list of about 30 companies I had planned to talk to, and the longer I waited in line, the more names I had to cross off… distilling it down to my absolute essentials, figuring that’s all I’d have time for (figuring about 8 minutes of waiting at each one, and a few more minutes of talking to the representatives, etc). Turns out I got to talk to *every* company… because each one took about 13 seconds. “Oh yeah, you apply online. All that info is online. All the descriptions are online. You can give your resume online.” I wanted to grab each person I saw and just scream, “Then… WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING TO BE HERE???” It was so pointless and frustrating… and only served to show that actual “job fairs” are pointless and outdated. I was making more progress futilely job-searching in my pajama pants.

And boy, does it seem futile. Frustration just seems to pile up more and more every day. It racks its toll on your psyche, your esteem… pretty much any angle you think of it, it impacts it negatively.

(Not to mention it made the whole dating thing (even more) awkward for me… sure everyone seemed so understanding because of the economy, but I can’t imagine it’s a big plus to hear that your dating prospect is “between jobs”. Usually that’s a euphemism for “Deadbeat Loser”.)

I will say, one good thing that came out of being laid-off… it got me to think. I’ve always been able to exist in an office environment, and even make a positive impact. But it’s not *me*. That’s not what I love doing. Hell, I have 2 degrees in Theatre! Though, knowing that industry is suffering just as much, if not more then before… I sat down and started to think about “what would make me happy?” Because I’d rather not go into another job that I only tolerate… I want something I can look forward to, and actually enjoy the work I do. So what “realistic” job would fit that description?

And then I remembered… I enjoyed teaching.

Back when I taught Theatre at a small college just outside of Los Angeles, I really liked it. Sure, the bureaucracy was frustrating… and it wasn’t perfect. But being there in class, teaching 40+ students… was fun.

Looking back, I got out of it for pretty silly reasons, and I shouldn’t have. But the individual I was dating at the time (who would soon be NOT the person I was dating), mentioned how I hadn’t been making as much progress on getting to be a professional actor/writer as she thought I should, and I had been thinking she was right… the teaching took up quite a bit of time, and I was thinking it was getting in the way. (Yes, I was actually thinking that it interfered too much with my “Starving Artist” lifestyle) Considering how the next year went (after I stopped teaching)… I would definitely have done it differently.

But now I’m thinking I’d like to get back into it. It’s a subject I’m passionate and enthusiastic about… I have fun with it. I enjoyed passing it on to willing ears. And dare I say, I even found it a bit fulfilling. So, I’ve decided to make that my new goal: To get back into it.

Thus far, the progress I’ve made in the past year… I’ve been approved to teach online classes through a local university. I’ve gone through the training… (an online class to learn how to teach online classes… appropriate or redundant?) Now I’m just waiting for word of when the class starts. I’m listed as faculty on their website, so it looks like *eventually* something will come along… I just hope it’s somewhat soon. If for nothing else, I’d like to get back into practice. I’m approved to teach “Intro to Drama” and “Shakespeare”… things I’ve taught before, thankfully. But for now… I wait.

Was the lay-off a blessing in disguise? Eh… hard to say. I’m doing my best to treat it as such. But it still feels like hassles and hard times that were just thrust upon me without good enough logic.

But… I am now currently employed. The temp service found me another company that liked me. I’m back doing Administrative Assistant-work. I’m still there as a “Temp”, which means that it could technically end at any moment… but my boss has stated her intent to hire me on permanent. (Which is a plus) No, it’s not teaching… it’s back to corporate America… but as a day job, it’s a good one. And it will do for now.

And it’s something I can do in conjunction with the online teaching (whenever it starts)… hopefully it will give me back some of that security I lost last year… as well as some of the personal fulfillment I’m searching for. And hopefully, the sooner it starts, the sooner I’d be able to parlay it into a regular face-to-face teaching job somewhere. Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t… but it is my goal.

And it is nice to have something to shoot for again.