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Chasing The American Dream

December 31, 2004


Apologies upfront for being melodramatic, but 2004? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

I could make this post a novel, but I’m already writing a novel in which the year 2004 plays an integral part of the book. So I’ll try to make this brief; brief is not my strong suit as you know so bear with me. I could never have imagined that I’d have a worse year than 2003. I’ve stated before on this blog that 2004 has been the worst year of my life. It’s hard to believe it has been one year to the day when I moved 2,500 miles away from my family. Separation sucks. Divorce sucks. Missing your child is the worst. Traveling 90% for your job and never being home sucks. Depression sucks. Falling in love is awesome, but getting your heart broken can be devastating. Not once, but twice.

But all that’s very negative. I’m tired of negative. That’s the old me. The new me has gotten through all that difficult shit. The “Garden State” me is a better person. A changed person. Positive, happy and hopeful. I’ve made some great friends and have met some amazing, beautiful people this year. You know who you are. Thank you all. I’m listening to music again and I’m writing again. Love that. Yes, I’m looking at 2005 with excitement and anticipation. I am wary though that it's likely that my old flames are going to get engaged in '05. I think I'll be OK with it, but I know there will be 'pangs' tugging at me. Nonetheless, it’s gonna be a good year for me. I wish the same for all of you.

I leave you with three messages that sum up my feelings for 2004. Naturally, as is typical for me, they’re songs that express my point-of-view better than I ever could. Happy New Year and I’ll see you in 2005. The Chase continues…


I walk a lonely road, the only one I that have ever known.
Don't know were it goes, but it’s home to me and I walk alone.

I walk this empty street on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
Where the city sleeps, and I'm the only one and I walk alone.
I walk alone, I walk alone. I walk alone, I walk a...

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me.
My shallow heart’s the only thing that's beating.
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me.
Till then I walk alone.

I DON’T WANNA BE by Gavin DeGraw

I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately.
All I have to do is think of me and I have peace of mind.
I’m tired of looking ‘round rooms wondering what I gotta do or who I’m supposed to be.
I don’t want to be anything other than me.

OUR LIVES by The Calling

Is it love tonight, when everyone's dreaming, of a better life.
In this world, divided by fear, we've gotta believe that there's a reason we're here.
There's a reason we're here. Yeah.

'Cause these are the days worth livin,' these are the years we're given.
These are the moments, these are the times, let's make the best out of our lives.
Even if hope was shattered, I know it wouldn't matter.
'Cause these are the moments, these ARE the times, let's make the best out of our lives!

December 30, 2004


"If music be the food of love, play on." -- William Shakespeare

There has been much discussion on my blog regarding my passion for music and/or music gift giving and how important that should be as I chase a lasting relationship. It’s hard for me to put this passion into words and make it jump out at you to convince you how it has impacted me and why I deem it so important that I share this passion with my girlfriend-to-be (wow, that sure was a run-on sentence). Most, sans Greek Tragedy, have said I need to forget about this ‘insignificance’ since there is so much more to relationships. But I can’t forget it. There’s always a song playing in my head. There’s always a CD playing in my car (no talk radio for this guy). Embarrassingly, I want to share the joy of being silly and singing these songs in the car.

It all started back when I was just a boy. I remember songs I heard on the radio when I was just 4 years old. Yeah, I’ve been listening to the radio ever since. 38 years and running. So I remember most everything I’ve heard since 1966. Song titles and artists don’t seem to escape my memory. I may forget your name that you mentioned to me a minute ago, but I remember that the group Harper’s Bizarre sang a remake of Simon & Garfunkel’s The 59TH Street Bridge Song (better known as Feelin’ Groovy) in 1966. No my younger readers, Limp Bizkit did not originally sing Behind Blue Eyes. Great song yes, but it was originally sung by The Who off the Who’s Next album circa 1971. Alicia Moore? Yeah, I know she’s better known as Pink.

So I have all these musical facts and figures from 1955 to present rolling around in my head. When I listen to my alternative music these days, I can ‘feel’ the lyrics run through me. The songs move me. The lyrics I relate to. My book-to-be and this blog are flooded with song lyrics. I need music in my life. I need to share it. I love to share it. Some of you know this to be true. I’ve given out over 150 CDs this year. Most of these, I’ve mailed to people I hadn’t known very well. Strangely, friendships developed after we bonded with the music sharing. I do it because I love to share, and I know I’m likely to get smiles on the other end of the UPS delivery truck. Music sharing and smiles make me happy.

Is my passion for music and the desire to seek it in a relationship really just trivial and ‘insignificant’ or does it really have some meaning behind it? I’ve often pondered this question myself; science came to my rescue about a year-and-a-half ago. I was reading the local Phoenix paper and came across this article on music preferences. The article said musical preferences could offer insight into a person’s personality, emotions, compatibilities, etc. I was curious to find out more. I Google searched the article and found the authors of the actual case study.


Turns out, the authors were professors of Psychology at the University of Texas. The case study is 21 pages long and is filled with high-level statistical and pyscho-analysis. It spoke of orthogonal models, chi-squared, standardized root-mean-square residuals, and goodness of fit models. You remember all that from your college Statistics class, right? How bout psychology stuff like adrenal corticoids, blirtatiousness, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological consequences of rapid responding??? Wow, complicated! They do bring it down a few notches though so I was able to understand the results of the study. So what’s the bottom line? Well, you can read through the 21 pages of psycho-babble and statistical theories, but basically it was concluded that yes, music preferences can offer insight into a person’s personality, tastes, and how they feel about themselves.

So I’m glad to have Science on my side. Sure this is only one measure of a person’s personality, but to me, it’s an important one and one I just don’t think I can ignore. I may prove myself wrong; it's doubtful, but who knows? Well now, must get busy compiling my new Alternative CD volume 15. Say, have you heard Alanis’ new song, Knees of My Bees? How bout Howie Day’s Collide or Gavin DeGraw’s…

December 28, 2004


Posted by Hello
I knew this might be coming for some time now, but I didn’t know if I should write about it, and if I did, I didn’t know how to write about it. I wanted to respect her privacy so I just kept it to myself. Plus, there were no guarantees. Maybe she’d be too busy to meet? Maybe she’d have second thoughts. After all, it’s a scary world out there with plenty of weirdos. It would take balls to actually honor her commitment and meet me. I know she’s talked about balls. Balls, balls, balls. They’re all over her blog. Did she have them? Instinctively, I knew she did and I knew she’d meet me.

Meet me, she did! And after meeting her, I got the sense that it would be OK to write. And so, yes, I was privileged and honored to have finally met the one-and-only Greek Tragedy. She calls me “Plantation.” If you remember my very first post, I gave her credit for the nickname. I reciprocated by calling her "NYNY." Anyway, I wouldn’t call it a date per se; we met and chatted over some wine and a bit of sushi. Sorry guys, nothing juicy or sexy or, in her world, Funnel Cake to report. It was totally Celery; two long-distance bloggers getting to know the person they’ve read so much about and having only conversed via email.

After playing email and phone tag for 3 days, we finally arranged to meet at Blue Martini Bar in West Palm on Sunday night, 12/26 at 7:30 pm. By all means, I should have been nervous as hell. I’ve read her posts. She can be intimidating. But I wasn’t nervous. I was confident. Must be the Garden-State-of-mind. I guess I just knew we’d have a good time, and that was the objective plain and simple.

It was about an hour’s drive to get to The Blue Martini. After I parked a ways away from it, I called her around 7:30. She said she was already there and had a nice table for us near the back. I told her not to pick up any bartenders, and that I’d be there in two minutes. As I walked up the stairs, I just felt how cool life really was during moments like this. I smiled to myself as I considered how lucky I was just to have the opportunity to be meet her.

It was a noisy place. I scanned the darkish room figuring she’d already spotted me. It took me a minute, but I finally saw her. Jeez Louise, be still my heart, I thought. My grandma Sylvia would say she looked “stunning.” NYNY said, “Come sit next to me,” so we sat side-by-side in a booth-like bench at a high-top table. I like the fact that she offered. I thought it was a nice gesture and the seating arrangement seemed comfy-cozy and nice. So for the next four hours (seemed like four minutes), we talked, we drank, we ate, and we laughed. We talked about writing, blogs, family, dating, music, food, Seinfeld, and of course, balls. Naturally, she took some photos. Neither one of us was writing notes. I’m writing this the morning after. She’s not posted yet, but I know she will (edited, she beat me to it AND she stole my title. Darn her quick wit and pen.) The list below represents the top 50 things I learned or confirmed or remembered about NYNY during out chat. I know people will rag on me thinking I’m sucking up, but I’m already used to that on her blog. Besides, I just tell it like it is. Like I said, it’s pretty Celery but nevertheless…

1. Yes, she does look like her pictures only she’s much more beautiful in person.
2. She sported her naturally curly hair which I prefer.
3. She prefers jeans on first dates.
4. Do not listen to her. She’s definitely NOT fat.
5. Have camera will travel. Her camera was by her side. It’s huge. It takes good pix as seen above.
6. Her writing notebook was in her purse, but she left the red pen at home.
7. She let me read some of the notebook entries.
8. Cliché, but she has an infectious smile with pearly whites that can light up a room.
9. She has a sweet, sexy voice.
10. I didn’t notice her write during our ‘date’ but that doesn’t mean anything.
11. She’s thoughtful and generous. She insisted on starting a tab with her card. No dice. I actually had to wrestle it away from the server.
12. She prefers finger food on first dates but manned the chopsticks for sushi and used them quite well.
13. She’s a much happier person than she writes about.
14. She does appreciate and adore her fab life.
15. She does openly talk about sex and associated sexcapades.
16. Regarding #15, she made a Freudian Slip while describing a Barenaked Ladies Holiday concert. She was expressing her disappointment at her favorite band cuz they sang X-Mas songs like “Jingle Balls.” I immediately looked downstairs to see if I left my hatch open. She describes the scene well. It was definitely a highlight and a moment I’ll not ever forget.
17. Those four-letter words on her posts are no accident; she can sling ‘em out there, f-bombs included, with the best of them.
18. Of all places, she ran into one of her best NYC friends. I jokingly accused her of having a back up plan just in case she hated me. She vehemently denied it. It became a running joke for the rest of the night.
19. Her inner circle friends, sans maybe one, do not comment on her blog.
20. By and large, she doesn’t know any of her blogger reading audience.
21. She saw the movie Spanglish and cried.
22. She’s got a memory like Rainman, “yeah, 2 minutes to Wapner.” It’s an attractive quality.
23. Her father just might be her best friend.
24. She does prefer Aussie, New Zealand wines.
25. She confirmed she’s “the world’s worst driver.”
26. Gets easily bored by my home state and misses her beloved NYC.
27. One week of family during the holidays is enough for her (and for most of us I’m sure).
28. She loves her Funnel Cake and Celery men but needs a combination.
29. She’s busy writing a book (aren't we all?). She says it adversely affects her blog writing.
30. She can do a ‘mean’ british accent.
31. She is hilarious.
32. I didn’t catch the name of her perfume, but it’s very nice.
33. She gets inundated on JDate in terms of IMs an emails.
34. She appears taller than 5’ 5”. Maybe it was the boots?
35. She loves and adores Oprah. Thought she might appear on her show, but Oprah staff considered her too famous.
36. She’s hoping to appear in Oprah’s magazine.
37. She loves to cook, more so these days for her girlfriends rather than her dates.
38. She’s planning a big 30th birthday bash (9/29/05) in The Hamptons with her girlfriends.
39. She enjoys listening to my CDs while at work.
40. She writes her posts ‘live.’ Right in the text box with minimal editing (unlike me).
41. A guy’s use of ‘man’ in a sentence is OK, i.e. Sushi rocks, man; however, overuse of ‘man’ or ‘Yo Klein, what up?’ is not acceptable.
42. She was formerly a vegetarian until 9+ years ago. Still not a huge fan of meat.
43. Her posts are point-in-time feelings. Her readers often miss the boat on this and interpret her posts as Golden Rules.
44. She’s always observing, whether you realize it or not. Makes for good writing. I’m normally the same way, but I paid her all my attention.
45. She says a lot of her dates are intimidated by her and exhibit no social skills as a result. An immediate turn-off.
46. Switched from Shiraz to Sauvignon Blanc during the night.
47. She has cold hands.
48. I did not determine whether she had cold feet. Darn.
49. Regarding my propensity to give CDs on first dates and my passion for music, she agrees with me. She likes the idea of receiving a homemade CD and admires my passion for music and does not consider that to be too picky.
50. Yes, she has balls or Chutzpah.


3. I didn’t get to meet her sister Lea.
2. I didn’t get to meet her ‘man’ Linus.
1. I didn’t get a chance to see her a 2nd time. She’s leaving for NY before New Year’s. Damn.

I had a blast. I hope NYNY had fun, too. I like her tremendously. She has a powerful presence, a magnetic personality which commands attention even without effort. As I look at my blog traffic stats, I had around 200 visitors in just about five weeks since I started this blog. Today alone, thanks to her post about me, I had over 100 visitors. Like I said, she's powerful. She’s gonna be a big star some day. She already *is* one in my book (figurative, not literal). Coming attractions for NYNY? Oh, I'd say big book, blockbuster movie, talk shows, the whole nine yards. No doubt in my mind. She’ll also meet THE ONE someday. I hope she maintains her patience and just lets it happen. Will I ever see her again? Hmm, don’t know. There’s always hope.

December 23, 2004


One of these days, I’ll find a job I like. That would include a nice location, good job responsibilities, people I enjoy working with, and a cool company with values and culture. This has been part of the chase story. It originally *was* the chase story until these personal issues got in the way. I’m hoping I catch a break in that someone will discover my writing talents, or lack thereof, such that I can drop my current Finance career once and for all. But in the meantime…

So what am I doing now? I’m working as a Financial Consultant for a consulting firm. I started in January. How I got here and why I took this job will all be part of the unraveling. I’d been unemployed for four months, and cash was rapidly flying out the door. Despite red flags I came across during the interview process, I took the job because I was desperate. My first impressions were, 1) the company was cheap, and 2)‘some’ travel would be involved. I had to pay my way down for an interview, *and*, I didn’t even get reimbursed when I got the job. I was quoted 20-25% travel which was doable.

As it turned out, both red flags proved correct. I got very little relocation money, and I’ve been traveling an incredible 90% this year. During my first six weeks on the job, I learned that certain senior management (I’m not dignifying them with capitals, sorry) had huge egos and were extremely arrogant. This is the anti-me so I’m having trouble fitting in.

So two management players from up North came down to ‘visit’ me these past two days. They described it as a Quality Control initiative. They can politically package it however they’d like, but they were here to check up on me and my boss. Now, I’ll admit that this project of mine is about a month behind. It’s behind for many reasons, but the main one is because my client company is very reactive and not proactive. I need to ask them for things 10 times before I get a response let alone a deliverable. We hurry up and wait around here. It has been a very frustrating 10 months, especially when you consider I’m out of town on this engagement.

I feel like there isn’t much more I can do here. I’ve done the best job possible and I can live with that no matter the outcome or no matter what any PA (pompous ass) says about the work. I guess by now you’re zeroing in on the post title. Well, I gave management 17 large binders which basically contained process narratives and test plans to document the company’s internal control structure (boring stuff, I know. S’why I wanna get out). So my management poured through the binders and proceeded to tell me their take on things.

They beat around the bush, said I was doing a good job, yadayadayada BUT, there wasn’t enough meat in the binders. Meat in my business means paper. I hate paper; it just gets in the way and is clutter. Yet, appearance and perception is everything as I was told. And then I was told the classic line, “Don’t get me wrong, this work isn’t woefully inadequate.” I thought to myself, Really? Not woefully inadequate? Oh, I’m so thrilled. I guess it’s simply inadequate is that right?

I think I tuned out the rest of the message because the previous statement read loud and clear. But it didn’t matter to me because these are the kind of condescending guys who snicker and sneer and make snap judgments at people who are ‘below’ them which, in their minds, is practically everyone. I couldn’t live with myself if that was my foundation. To me, that is ugliness below the core. I have no desire to be a part of that political haven, clique, old-boys network, or what-have-you. Often time, if not most times, one needs this arrogance and political brown-nosing to become a bigshot in the corporate world. That’s why I’ll never become more than middle management, and I’m OK with that. I don’t play the game if that’s what it takes. I refuse to play the game. The game sucks enough as it is, and that’s why I want out.

So I’m going to spend next week, stuffing binders and filling them up with all the papers stacked high on my desk. A simple paper transfer which will make each binder a lethal weapon due to its weight. We’ll pretty them up and confuse the client with all the paper. But the external auditors will like it, because they love paper. And I guess that’s what matters most.

Honestly? Was my work woefully inadequate? I don’t think so, but perhaps it depends on your perception. I think one could review our 40-page narratives and test plans and conclude that we know our shite, and we’ve done a fine job condensing the business operations into these neat documents. Will another 50 pages of paper fluff really make a difference? I don’t know. The egos think it *will* make a difference, so I’ll just follow orders and comply. I know one thing’s for sure though. These senior management guys’ attitudes, personalities, and respect for other people? Woefully inadequate.

December 22, 2004


Part two of a three-part series.

Shortly after ’The Bad’ first date, I received a JDate email. Now for some reason, I have had no luck when women have contacted me first rather than vise versa, and this was certainly no exception. Similar to ‘The Bad,’ we had some nice initial email and IM conversations. She even gave me her digits fairly early on, but there was one major gap, at least in my opinion.

She could see me, but I couldn’t see her. This was a violation of my JDate picture rules (see 11/21/04). I kept asking her for a photo, but she conveniently ignored my question time and again. Talk about your red flags! At first she said JDate hadn’t approved it yet. I let it go for a while but kept asking for it. I really wanted to see a picture before I called her, let alone meet her. To me, this was a logical and simple request, right? I mean honestly, if the person doesn’t initially provide a photo and then refuses to give you one, don’t you immediately suspect the person has something to hide?

So this went on for weeks. I’d ask. She’d refuse. She kept asking me, “When are we gonna meet?” and I kept telling her I wanted to see her picture first. I just didn’t want to feel that awkward, uncomfortable feeling of meeting her for the first time and thinking, Oh man, you’re hideous looking. Somebody help me!

She finally gave me an ultimatum (another red flag). I hate ultimatums, doesn’t everybody? She told me either we meet, or she’s outta here. So I pretty much told her, have a nice day, good luck, see ya’ around, etc. And that was that, or so I thought. The very next day, I saw that she ‘viewed’ me once again. Being the smartass I am, I emailed her and asked her why she was still looking at me if she decided to bolt? No answer. The next week, the same thing happened. I sent her another email only this time she responded and said, “When are we gonna meet?”

Her response was on a Friday night, and I had no plans. I finally ignored my instincts and agreed to see her. Having learned my lesson during ‘The Bad’ date, I agreed to meet her at Starbucks at 9 p.m. I waited outside for 15 minutes for someone to come up to me. I went inside, looked around, saw nothing, and returned to my outside chair. Finally, a woman came out, coffee already in hand and asked me, “Are you who I think you are?”

I said, “Yes, I believe I am.” Well, she wasn’t bad looking. I actually had the lowest-of-low expectations so she actually exceeded them. She dressed sluttily with tight jeans and a little blouse that didn’t bother to cover her navel. We went inside, I mentioned to her that I had planned to buy her the coffee, but she beat me too it. I offered to buy her a pastry, but she said she was fine.

After I got my coffee, I sat down with her and we chatted. Her personality matched her dress code. Cheap and slutty. She asked me how she looked, and I told her she looked good (a slight exaggeration). She then proceeded to bitch to me that she hated JDate, and that she could get any guy she wanted at her Jewish singles club. She bitched and moaned some more about JDate, and then looked at her watch and said she had to pick up her daughter from soccer. So, just like that, she just picked up her keys and bolted like a bat outta hell! I don’t even remember what she said as she ran out. I think it was something like, “Nice meeting you.” The ‘date’ lasted a whole 10 minutes. I must have set some sort of Olympic JDate record for quickest date in history. What an ugly experience *that* was!

I just kind of sat there laughing at myself for ignoring my instincts and all the red flags that she so conveniently raised for me. I also thought about the whole ‘The Bad Date’ experience and my advice to go for the coffee date instead of the restaurant date. Well, I was now zero for two in my search for the perfect date. And I was confused. Neither method was successful, now what? At least I got ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’ out of the way. Now I hoped ‘The Good’ would finally come my way. I was thinking I might just need a little creativity to make it so…

December 20, 2004


I saw the movie “Closer” this weekend. Interestingly, I saw it with my Jewish convalescence friends once again. Yup, the same group from my ”Garden State” post. Same theater number, too. I *did* have a date this time though (future post). Yea me. Anyway, for those of you who’ve seen Closer, to say it was light and airy with characters you rooted for couldn’t be further from the truth. Nope, this movie was definitely not a romantic comedy-type movie a la Pretty Women or Sleepless in Seattle or more currently, Spanglish. But I’m pretty sure this is what the old folks expected to see. Instead, they got dark, dreary, depressing, and characters who probably deserved to get what they got. And my oh my, how this infuriated my theater friends.

While the credits rolled to the vocals of Damien Rice, my date and I were hearing two conversations, one to our immediate left and one to our immediate right. Both involved two elderly Jewish women. The conversation on the right was one of those where one person ‘got it,’ the other person didn’t, and the ‘got it’ person had to explain the whole movie to the ‘didn’t get it’ person. Now get this, we stayed until the credits finished and those two were still discussing the movie. We cracked up because the ‘didn’t get it’ lady had this dazed and confused look on her face. I have a hunch they’re still talking about the movie and ‘didn’t get it’ is still living up to her nickname.

Meanwhile, on the left, these two ladies definitely got it. Or did they? First of all, I’m not sure why the lady next to me was complaining? She fell asleep shortly after the previews and didn’t wake up until the movie was nearly half over. Nevertheless…snipets heard from the conversation… “disgusting, terrible movie, porno flick, biggest waste of $6.50, she’s such a beautiful girl (Portman) why did she take this role?, I guess kids understood it, I should have listened to my friend Avi, here’s $7 you owe me 50-cents.”

As I walked out, I happened to notice that “Kinsey” was also showing. Heck, gotta go see that movie, right? Can you imagine all the priceless commentary awaiting me???

December 17, 2004


OK. You’re thinking, “What in the world is he talking about THIS time? Has he finally lost it?” Well here’s the thing. I was all ready to post Part 2, “The Ugly,” when that little blogger person (I picture him to look like Gazoo, from the planet Zatox, of Flintstones fame) in my mind zaps me with a post idea.

I’m taking about concessions here. Obviously not the ballpark variety. More like concessions as in compromise, yield, give in, concede, surrender, etc. Relationships require concession. It’s probably one of the toughest things required of us. We’re all different. Different backgrounds, upbringing, culture, religion, education, interests, tastes, everything mostly. Ultimately, differences require concessions or confrontations ensure whether it involves relationships, work, sports, or whatever. We can’t always have our way and we need to GULP every so often.

GULP, you ask? Yeah, it’s one of these leadership things I picked up in a training class once. Greatest Unifying Leadership Principle. It boils down to taking one for the team, if you will. Or wanting to be right all the time. “It’s better to be effective than right,” our instructor told us. Still, we fight for the right to be right. It’s instinctive.

My life’s now an open book, basically. I like it that way. I get free advice from people who actually take the time to visit this little blog of mine. I’m amazed, really. Anyway, there has been a lot of commentary regarding the concept of concession. The feedback has really been universal in its theme. I need to make concessions. Do I agree? Yes and no. Listen, don’t rush, don’t force, it’s not all about you, don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t make the same mistakes again and again. I agree with all that’s been said. BUT…

Here’s my dilemma. One of my most biggest (most biggest? can you say redundant redundant?)concerns, if not *the* biggest, is learning lessons from my previous marriage so that the next time, if indeed there is a next time, the relationship will be better, stronger, and everlasting. I have reflected on what went wrong, things I could have done better as a husband and a father. So I think I’ve got the ‘once the relationship is established’ roadmap figured out. What I need to get a handle on is simply getting *to* that relationship stage. I’m obviously struggling. I’ve got a roadmap and it doesn’t appear like I’m gonna veer off-course. But I’m getting advise that my Rand-McNally is flawed. How many times have we asked Mapquest for directions only to say, “What kind of crazy route is this? Screw that; I’m taking a different route.”

So if I listen and concede, I risk making the same mistake I made before I got married. I made concessions that, I believe, eventually came back to haunt me. And I vowed not to repeat those ‘love is blind’ mistakes. And so I’m not going to marry a smoker no matter how pretty or great a person she is because I know it will eventually grate on me. I’m not going to marry out of faith for the same reason. And this leads to wanting to share my passions for food, music, or whatever with my future mate. I want, and I think need, this to be a two-way street on this roadmap. My marriage lacked this passion for those and other things. I don’t want to make this mistake again. I want this common bond and feel I need to be selective and not make the same mistake for fear I’ll regret it later.

Am I being too selective? Have I narrowed down the population to a mere handful? Probably, but why settle? I don’t think I should settle. If I don’t find ‘her,’ it won’t be the end of the world. Sure, all of you are thinking, “Dude, you ain’t gonna find her cuz you ain’t making concessions.” You’re probably right, but strangely, I think she’s out there somewhere. And I AM willing to make concessions, but there are some things I don’t think I can waver on. At least here and now. Would someone please pass me the Popcorn?

December 16, 2004


Part one of a three-part series.

I’ve been doing the online dating thing for around five months now. I must say that it has actually exceeded my expectations. Maybe not from a dating perspective, but I’ve ‘met’ many nice people who I now consider my good friends. Friends I’ve grown to know via emails and not via dates. And for that, I’m grateful to have joined.

But I have to admit, I wrestled with the online dating concept. I thought symbolically, if I decided to go that route that I would be crossing the line into what I deemed as “Loserville.” Heck, what did I know? I thought it was a dating source for people who couldn’t get dates any other way. Since I’m forever traveling out of town for my job, I don’t realistically have a chance to meet people. I’m not a pick-up-a-girl-in-a-bar-type guy anyway. What other choice did I have? My friends and family said they’d heard good things about JDate. So I finally caved and crossed the imaginary line. I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time. I’m sure us online daters have endless stories. I’ve got three in succession I’d like to share, and I’m presenting them in the order in which they occurred. I don’t have the answer yet, but I’m gaining clues through experience to answer the question, “What is the perfect first date?”

We all have our own opinions on what is the ideal first date. It even says so in our JDate profiles. I think women are a bit more conservative, and rightly so when it comes to the dreaded first date. Women seem to want the safe meeting at Starbucks. You can’t get into too much trouble over a Venti double-shot non-fat Caramel Macchiato extra-foam, no whip whatever.

But guys are looking to make an immediate impression. True, we probably would make a decent impression just by dictating that Caramel thing correctly. Heck I’d be impressed if someone could rattle that off! But it’s certainly easier to make a positive impression by selecting a nice restaurant with nice ambiance, good food, and a decent wine list from which you can show off you’ve got taste, class, knowledge, or lack thereof.

So whenever I get to what I call stage 3, the first date, (stage 1 being IM or email, stage 2 being the phone call), I always shy my newfound friend away from the coffee meeting and gear more toward the nice dinner. This had been a great strategy. But eventually, as I found out the hard way, it can come up and bite you on the ass. Here’s what happened.

Things certainly started out well. We initially ‘met’ when she actually sent me an email and I responded. We got along well from the beginning. Lots of humor, laughs, good banter. Eventually, I threw her my digits (online vernacular for phone number) and she called me. More laughs, humor, and banter. So we talked about stage 3. She wanted the coffee routine, and I boldly suggested we go to dinner since I just knew we’d get along so well just like we had been.

I called my best friend who gave me an excellent restaurant recommendation. He said it had great seafood, great appetizers, great desserts, and a great wine list. I asked my date if she liked seafood, and she said she loved it. So it was all set. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a reservation after 6 o’clock, so I foolishly took the 6 o’clock reservation. I figured hey, popular place, crowded, we won’t be sitting until well after 7.

We did the typical first date thing and met each other at the restaurant versus me picking her up. I never like to walk in empty handed so I usually bring a small gift. It’s usually music-related like a CD. For me, I like to learn my date’s musical tastes and then make her a CD that sort of fits what I conclude are her tastes. The other thing the gift is good for is an out, or a chance to exhibit some humor which is usually part of the JDate female most wanted requirements list. Standard line? Something like, “Here’s a CD for you. Hey, if you hate my guts at least you walk away with some good music to listen to!”

So I gave her the CDs (an alternative mix and Gavin DeGraw) and the tagline. She seemed pleased and laughed. Great! Off we go, I thought. But then the date started to go the wrong way. My assumption about the seating was dead wrong. They sat us immediately. It was still light out. Bad karma. Nice place though. Kind of loud and happening.

Anyway, I took a looked at the wine list and asked her what type of wine she’d prefer? She replied that it was ‘too early’ to drink and ordered a Diet Coke. She said she might have some ‘later.’ Hmm. Curious, I thought. Well that killed the bottle of wine idea so I just ordered a glass. The menu was awesome, a million terrific choices. I asked my date if she’d like to share an appetizer? And without any hesitation, she flat out said, “No, I’m just gonna order an entree.” Well, the alarms were certainly going off in my head now. Does this girl have any sense of adventure?

Skipping ahead. We ordered dinner. It was awesome. Truly outstanding yet she was sort of blah over the whole thing. Clearly, a pattern had been established. Then, in the middle of dinner she said to me, “Would you be terribly insulted if I give these CDs back to you? I don’t like this kind of music.” I thought long and hard before I answered. I said I wouldn’t be insulted, but I asked her how the heck she knew she didn’t like it already when she didn’t even try listening to it? She reconsidered and agreed to give it a shot, but her pattern continued. No adventure. No passion. Dead fish.

So you get the gist of the date? Now don’t get me wrong, we had a nice time. We talked for over four hours. We hugged goodbye and that was that. But then it really got strange. We spoke afterward on JDate about the date. She was eager to find out my opinion. I didn’t want to lay it all out for her so I just told her I had a nice time and that if we go out again, it was her turn to tell me all about her since I did most of the talking on our first date.

A day later, she was still eager to find out what I thought and whether and/or when we were going out next. So I asked her on an honesty scale of 1-10, how she would like me to answer her question? She wanted the 10, so I gave her the 10. I was honest and polite and basically told her she did not seem happy enough to be there and lacked overall enthusiasm which were two qualities very important to me. I also told her that we were not musically connected either which was a quirk of mine, but one I had to have nevertheless.

Well she took offense to what I said, and retorted that she was not enthusiastic because she didn’t see herself attracted to me romantically. Hmmm, she was eager as hell for the next date, but not attracted to me. Doesn’t add up, right? Then she flew off the handle and said she has got enough friends anyway. I managed to calm her down and told her she was walking away from a potential good friend who she would be missing out on in this good life of ours.

The bottom line was that she was insecure and perhaps immature. So what is the moral of the story? Basically, $10 sunk is a lot better than a c-note. Gee, I never even considered that risk! You waste a lot of money because you didn’t get to know the person beforehand. So is that why you girls like the coffee gig? It makes sense to me now. It was worth the $100 to learn that important lesson. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go practice how to say, Venti double-shot non-fat Caramel Macchiato extra-foam, no whip…

December 14, 2004


I saw her today. She looked amazing as always. We spoke for 30 minutes or so. Mostly medical-related. We didn’t even talk about relationships, hers or mine. But it was good to catch up. I was probably 99% over her before we spoke. I think I backslid a couple of basis points after we were done. Not too bad, all things considered. I tried to leave all those thoughts right there in the parking lot. I parked in ’the spot.’ I noticed she didn’t anymore. Coincidence? I didn’t ask her; I didn’t want to get into it. She’s starting a new job next year. So, realistically? In all likelihood? I realized I might never see her again…

I had to go get a medical opinion on my ‘condition,’ as it were, for the upcoming divorce. Since my doctor was out, she had to see me. Jeez, I hadn’t seen her in over two months. I was a tad nervous, which was unusual for me, while I waited and waited. Yeah, I waited about 30 minutes in the waiting room and then waited another 45 in the exam room after they called my name.

As I waited, I reflected. This is where it all began some seven months ago. Same exam room even. I smiled to myself as the memories came pouring back. Had it really been seven months? Wow. I was a total mess back then. I feel like Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in the Shawshank Redemption. Who could forget Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding’s (Morgan Freeman) voiceover…

…”Andy crawled to freedom through five-hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want too. Five-Hundred yards... that's the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile. Andy Dufresne… who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side…”

Overdramatic? Perhaps. But when I think back to May and think about where I am now, I think it’s pretty relevant.

Oh don’t worry. I’ll fill in the blanks. To know the blanks is to know the chase. To know the book. Intrigued? Hope so. Stay tuned…

December 13, 2004


I've just returned from the company Holiday Party in Philadelphia. Thus far, I haven't said much about my company. I think you'll know my take after reading this. I'll say this. I don't really fit in because I'm too ethical and too honest for this company and for Corporate America as a whole.

As for the party, I would have to say that there was nothing that stood out about it. Standard office party fare. Nice setting (Four Seasons), fancy finger food, open bar, women wearing dresses they have no business wearing, boring tuxedo's, out-of-style disco music, bad dancing, brown-nosing, etc. Sound familiar? Toward the end of the event, a raffle ensued in which some really cool prizes were given away. $100 gift cards, trips to NY and Las Vegas, Ruth's Chris dinners, and electronics among others.

I didn't win anything, but other "lucky" people did. Were they lucky or did they have help? Like robbing Santa Claus or stealing from the bell-ringing Salvation Army lady, something was rotten in the State of Denmark. I learned from a source that they *had* help. Alas, the drawing was fixed for certain people to win the big prizes.

Say what? OMG, what have we come to? Is there nothing sacred anymore? I'm disappointed and ashamed. My resume will most definitely go out first thing Monday morning.

December 10, 2004


When I get older losing my hair, many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine.
If I'd been out 'till quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?
Lyrics by Lennon & McCartney, 1967

I’ll get to the point of the real reason I’m writing this post, but for 30 minutes this morning, I thought I really was 64. First of all, I got 3 hours sleep, giving me 30 hours in the past 10 days. I’m out of town now going on 11 months this year. My mind feels like the original title of McCartney’s Yesterday. Anyone remember? Yeah, Scrambled Egg(s). Sure, hum it. See? It fits!

Anyway, uh, I’m driving to work and am behind shedule (keeping with Beatles theme using Brit. accent for ‘schedule’) as usual. Despite the fact that I’m late, I still must make my daily Starbucks run for my iced coffee. Iced, you ask? Yeah, it’s mid-December here in FLA and it’s eighty-friggin-three degrees. So I’m about to walk in the door, and I pat my pocket to make sure I’ve got my credit card. Nope. Instant panic. Blood rush. Cold sweat. What the hell did I do with it, I’m thinking?

…Brain immediately flashes back to hotel room and retraces steps…A-ha, got it! I call the hotel and tell them that I believe I left my credit card on the small table by the kitchen. The front desk manager tells me he’ll send housekeeping to check on it and they’ll call me right back. I arrive at work and grab all my work bags from the trunk. So I’m about to walk in the door, and I pat my pocket to make sure I’ve got my key pass. Nope. Instant panic. Blood rush. Cold sweat. What the hell’s goin’ on here, I’m thinking?

Another brain flash. …Hmm, must have left it on the same table as the credit card… So I call the hotel back and tell them there’s more I forgot. The manager says they found no credit card. All they found was a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hat (yes skeptics and critics alike, I’m a NASCAR fan which I’m sure will end up on one of Greek Tragedy's lists somewhere). My brain is still not working clearly. I’m trying to shake the cobwebs and think about the whole exit-the-hotel process…uh-huh, mmhhmm, yeah… BINGO! Got it this time. So I call the hotel back and tell them I’m on my way and tell the manager that I left everything on the bed. Easy. I told him I’d be there in 10 minutes.

I arrive at the hotel and the manager says to me, “Sorry Mr. Moser, just the hat. Nothing else.” Instant panic. Blood rush. Cold sweat. I am perplexed and can’t figure it out. The manager says I can have a look, and I take him up on it. While I’m waiting for the elevator, I hear a gaggle of geese, no, housekeepers clucking about not finding anything in some guy’s room.

“Excuse me ladies would you happen to be talking about room 210? That’s me!”
“Oh, we’re so sorry, we found nothing.”
“Yes, the manage told me, but I’ll have a look just in case.”

So I open the door and headed right to the little table. I lift up a napkin and there it is, the credit card. So is this an indication of those 8 housekeepers’ cleaning prowess? But alas, no key pass. I looked all over the room, but no sale. I went downstairs and flashed the credit card to the ‘housekeepers’ and they smiled surprisingly. They never asked me where I found it. I guess they were to busy buzzing about the guy in 219 who stole 6 towels and a handful of mini-shampoos and conditioners. I flashed the card to the manager and told him to keep an eye out for the key pass.

As I was walking to the car, I got another blood rush out of nowhere. An idea flew in my head and managed to stay in there. The little voice was telling me to look in the pocket of the pants I wore yesterday. I was excited. This could be the mother lode. I got the suitcase out of the trunk, opened up the whole thing, dug into the slacks and VOILA! Key pass. Order was restored. Relief more than anything that I realized I still had a few brain cells left.

On my drive back to work, I kept thinking to myself and wondering if I was losing my normally elephant-like memory? For those 30 minutes, no offense, I truly thought I knew what it was like to be 64. Perhaps 74 or 84? Was I getting O-L-D or was I just too damn tired to focus? Maybe I got what I deserved for ragging on my elders before and now…

First of all, don’t attack me septuagenarians (yes, I know the ‘septs’ age range is 70 to 80, but I couldn’t find the right word for people between 60 and 70). I love old people. In fact, I’m really great with grandparents. Love to hear the old stories. Come to think of it, I’m pretty good with kids and parents too; it’s the girls I have trouble with. But I digress once again.

OK. I’m really getting to the point now. I had lunch yesterday at a busy café in Naples, Florida. December + Naples = Lots and lots of snowbird retirees flocking down on vacation. The café just happened to be filled with them. The place was packed. There was a din of plates and glasses clanging away and the murmur of a million conversations happening simultaneously.

Being the observer that I am, I happened to notice something interesting at a table to my right and one on my left. Two elderly couples having lunch. Both couples had to easily be in the 70s. Easily. I stared at the one on the right, then the one on the left. I stared for a while. Both couples had something in common. Any guesses? Nope, the men weren’t wearing straw hats, tropical patterned shirts, and white sox with sandals. Nice guess though. No, actually the thing they had in common was that NO ONE, and I mean nobody, was saying a friggin’ word.

I was mesmerized. Fascinated. Both couple ate in complete silence. They never even looked at each other; they only looked down at their food. I clued in the other two guys at my table. We started giving odds. Which couple would break the silence first? The more the competition heated up, the more it saddened me. Is this what I have to look forward to in 30-odd years? I just left that scene back in Phoenix when I moved out. Oh no. I don’t want to retire. I don’t want to be 64 and be married and eat early bird specials and not say a friggin’ word all meal. Tell me there’s more to retirement than a chicken Caesar salad! At that moment, I needed a dose of romance. Where were the old couples who held hands, smiled, talked, and laughed? I did a quick 360 with my eyes but couldn’t find it.

I swiveled back to the right. Silence. To the left? Silence. Both couples looked mad as hell. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see this elderly lady strolling down the aisle like Heidi Klum on a Victoria’s Secret runway? What the hell was she doing? She had to be in her 60s easy. She arrived to my ‘left’ table and began modeling her outfit for the lady at said table. Bizarre. I mean, that outfit showed way too much skin, if you get my drift. Did she really expect a sale? It was comical.

Back on the right, silence was broken! To the right go the spoils. Yup, the old man broke the silence when he asked his wife if she was gonna eat all her fries. She simply shook her head no. End of conversation. The check comes and, finally, she starts talking only her hubby’s looking to his left, staring at the ceiling and totally ignoring her. We’re all watching now in somewhat disbelief that no one’s taking, right or left. We looked to the left and both of them are staring at anything but each other. Both couples eventually left without saying 5 words to each other.

I guess when I think about it, my ‘ex’ and I ran out of things to say pretty much before 40. Man, I sooo don’t want that to happen again. I want the golden years to be even more special. More sharing, more talking, more laughing, more fun. Is this possible? Can I take a rain check on my Hanukkah present and defer it for another 22 years? Why? Because that’s what I want; that and a good memory. When I’m 64.

December 09, 2004


It’s interesting how certain places, locations, songs, and movies define points in time in our lives. I am closing the chapter of another relationship that could have been the end of the chase. When I think about never returning to ‘our spot’ ever again, it saddens me. Leaves me feeling empty.

She was ‘THE ONE.’ I had no doubts. How it all began and how it all ended up will be revealed over time, my friends. Of course, it’s already been written about in the book. It was supposed to be the end of the book, but I’ve got some re-writing to do now.

In her case, it was both a song *and* a location. I used to see her little white Mazda Protégé in a parking spot far away from the other cars and under some trees. I think she parked there because of the shade although I never thought to ask her. I’d back my car in the spot next to hers and wait for her. I’d smile broadly and my heart beat faster upon seeing her leaving the building as she headed toward her car. Don’t you just love that moment when all the anticipation that has built up is instantaneously cashed in upon that first moment of eye contact?

I’d hug her and never want to let her go. It all felt so right. I was mesmerized. She was almost there but couldn’t quite let her self go. Why, you ask? We’d quickly catch each other up. Our meetings were brief. Why, you ask? Once, we actually moved our meeting to a bar and had lots of laughs and good conversation over some Pinot. But it was only once. Why, you ask? Well for this tragic hero, if you will, the answer was all too familiar. She had to go home to her boyfriend.

And so every time I pass that parking lot now, it’s a bittersweet moment. Sometimes I have the urge to drive by ‘the spot’ and reflect upon those simple moments. I dedicated a song to her to capture those feelings. It was our song. And that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Every time I see ‘the spot’ or hear ‘the song,’ I remember…

Oh, the song? It’s by a band called Keane. The title? Well…

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when, you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin
And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know?

December 08, 2004


“It’s time to get outta ‘da rat race! Go West young man, like Horace Greenberg once said. Get out to the range. Where the deer and the antelope play. Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, and the skies…somethin’ somethin’ all day…” Archie Bunker, circa 1974

Over at the Greek Tragedy,
World War III is going on. My pal is under siege. Bullets flyin’ evrawheres (southern accent applied). 45 comments* (*note to readers, post has subsequently been removed for reasons pretty much described below. Although the 'rat pack' post has been removed, the pattern remains the same in terms of her readers arguing and fighting over Greek's dating posts; her post JAPS, is a typical example; therefore, I am leaving this post and my opinion open for discussion). I decided to get outta the crosshairs, come back to my peaceful blog, and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, Now’s not the time for me to anguish in negativity. You’ve seen I’ve got enough to deal with here.

But I worry about my friend. If you check out her blog, which most of you I’m sure have already, you can quickly get the gist of it. Divorced, wanting kids, frustrated, too hard on herself, lonely, wanting THE MAN too desperately. Her writing is, of course, subject to interpretation and opinion. Is there a ‘right’ answer? No, but people think there is. And they’ll argue amongst each other until the cows come home. Cursing, name calling, insults, the whole nine yards. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. I just fail to understand why everyone thinks they need to be right. I just stay out of the way for the most part. I don’t like arguing with the readers, and I don’t really like to interpret the diva’s writing.

I’m not a milquetoast. I’ll blow the whistle and yell ‘time out’ but I’m letting this one go. Our heroine is being accused of writing that post to illicit a two-sided argument full of controversy and gain publicity. Some accuse her of being a Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. On the surface, that might appear to be true, but I don’t think I buy it. Maybe I’m naïve. Sure she wants to sell lots of books and truly ‘make it’ as a writer like we all do. But I think deep down, her stories reflect her reality, and she writes them with the utmost passion just like she lives her life. It’s funny. People don’ t rag on her when she writes emotional and passionate stories about her childhood or her love for food. But when it comes to her aggressive dating style and her affinity toward men, people swarm at her like flies on shite. To me, the posts are brilliantly expressive and wrought with emotion. Same brilliant writer, same brilliant style whether it’s about dating, or childhood memories, or food. After all, it says so in her blog title, “Stories of My Life.” You watch. The next non-dating post won’t even generate 20 comments.

I just scratch my head and wonder why people get so bitter toward each other and toward SK over a dating article? And you know what? So what IF, and I say IF, she’s writing with a slant or bias toward publicity. What is so wrong with that? It’s called selling. It’s called marketing. Gee, what strange concepts! I’m sure those same people will accuse me of the same for this post. That’s false, but who cares once again? No wonder we live in a damn rat race. I happen to be rooting for my friend SK. I hope she makes it. I think her quest parallels mine. Seems we’re all out here chasing the dream. And what, my friends, is so wrong with that?

December 07, 2004


…when people run in circles its a very very… Mad World, Mad World…” from the song by GARY JULES, 2004 originally sung by TEARS FOR FEARS, 1982.

Sleep hasn’t come easy for me this year. In August, I slept a total of 112 hours. If you do the math, that’s about 3 ½ hours a day. I’ve steadily increased my sleep since that low point. I got 180 hours in November or 6 hours a day. But I’ve regressed this month. I’ve only gotten 16 hours of sleep in the past 6 days. I’ve been up since 3 am yesterday. 24 hours and going strong. What the hell is wrong with me, you ask? Well my friends, that is a long, long story. I always say it makes for great writing and great reading. I really think my book, if it gets in the right hands, can become a best seller because I really believe people can relate to the zany and unbelievable stories and events I’ve experienced. But more on that later.

The lack of sleep finally caught up with me today. It started off bad and got worse. While I was packing my suitcase this morning, I was trying to fold over the hanging gizmo used for suits and shirts. It’s a bit of a reach and somehow I lost my balance and couldn’t recover. I fell awkwardly and landed in the middle of the suitcase. Anyone witnessing that would have been rolling on the floor laughing. I was cursing because my shin landed hard on the rough zipper part of the suitcase. The pain didn’t go away either so I decided to take a look. Sheesh, I had a 3-inch bloody gash down my shin and it hurt like a MFer.

While packing up the car, I managed to bang my head on the trunk lid and then proceeded to stumble getting into the car banging my sore shin. OOWWW! I had a two-hour drive West and somehow managed to make it without falling completely asleep. I had my moments where I veered slightly off course, but hey, I lived to tell about it.

I stumbled through the workday. I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel and relax. My idea of relaxing is to plug in my iPod and go for a 2-mile run. I was psyched. I unpacked the suitcase and reached for my running shorts only to find I forgot to pack the friggin’ things. Man was I pissed. I decided I HAD to run so I decided to go out and buy some. So in my dress slacks and Old Navy tee-shirt, off I went. There was a Marshall’s close by and although I hated that store, I figured I could find a cheap pair of shorts. Simple right? I looked and looked and there were no running shorts to be had. None. Unbelievable! I was steaming mad now. I vowed never to step into a Marshall’s again.

Resigned to skipping the run, luck was on my side. There on my left was my least favorite store of all-time. The dreaded Wal-Mart. I hate that cluttered, messy, no rhyme-or-reason set up of a store. But it was all I had so again, I figured I’d zip in and buy a $5 pair of shorts that would last one wash. I looked and looked once again getting madder by the minute. No shorts. I was f-bombing the store out loud. I couldn’t believe this crappy store had no running shorts. I demanded assistance and the lady said it was Winter and they had no shorts. Winter? In Florida? It was 83 degrees today. Gimme a break. I let off a few more f-bombs vowing never to return to Wal-Mart.

I was so aggravated. All I wanted to do is run. Stress relief. I sorely needed it. I got back to my room and stared at my open suitcase. A Wile E. Coyote light bulb went off in my head. I was staring at my Calvin Klein boxers. Hmm, surely I couldn’t. No way. Way. I said, Calvin let’s go runnin.” My new Garden State-Of-Mind attitude said who cares who looks at you, go for it. So I put the Calvins on and looked in the mirror. They were a little short for my taste, but beggars can’t b choosy. I plugged in my iPod and off I went.

I immediately noticed a few differences. First of all, there was a lot more flopping going on down there and an occasional peek-a-boo. But I felt freer. Fastball’s The Way never sounded so good. Before I knew it, I was halfway home with only one mile to go. I rounded the turn into the hotel and had 3 laps around the circular parking lot left. As I ran these final circles, the song MAD WORLD came across my shuffling iPod…”when people run in circles its a very very… Mad World, Mad World…” I couldn’t agree more. I zipped around the lot three times and hit the ‘stop’ on my watch and looked at my time. 14 minutes 46 seconds. The run in my Calvins broke my career best time by 8 seconds! I felt great. I did my cool down walk as the Indigo Girls’ Galileo came on. It’s a catchy tune and I started singing it. There I was singing Indigo Girls wearing my Calvins. What an image! What a day! I gotta start getting some sleep…

December 05, 2004


“Sometimes. There’s no exception to the rule (listen baby). It may be factual, may be cruel (I ain’t lyin’). Everybody plays the fool...” from the song by MAIN INGREDIENT, 1972.

I can usually come up with my post titles fairly quickly. I struggled with this one for some reason. Maybe it’s because my brain is still scrambled from being knocked to the canvas. I never saw the punch coming. It was cleverly and brilliantly set up. I have no coach or trainer or scout. I’m not sure if my opponent had any of these either; I suspect yes. But I was clearly outmaneuvered, outpointed, and outboxed. Ultimately, this lead to my being knocked to the floor and not being able to beat the referee’s count to 10. All I remember is an image of arms waved signaling it was game over. Let me see if I can retrace for you just exactly what happened…

My record this year has been dismal. I’ve been knocked out three times this year. Still, I’ve managed to be resilient and have managed to bounce back after each upsetting loss. I think it’s very important to learn from each loss and not to make the same mistake again. With each loss, I’m gaining more knowledge and experience and feel I’m better prepared for the next opponent. I feel if I can survive the early rounds, especially coming off a recent loss, I feel confident I will break through with a much needed win.

Although confident, I had one thing going against me. A lack of experience. Yeah, I was in uncharted waters and was going on instinct. The thing is, I was this close to victory. This close (fingers together an inch apart)! Here’s the play-by-play, blow-by-blow. Maybe you can help me figure out why I lost?

Coming off another devastating loss (future post), I found her on on a random search on JDate. Her profile was extremely well-written, sincere, genuine, interesting, and filled with common interests on life, love, and music. Plus, she was beautiful. A darn-near perfect match except for one thing. She lived in far away in the Northeast. I decided I’d simply say hello and pass her my compliments, just for the heck of it. I didn’t even expect a response.

Surprisingly, I got a response, and a beautiful one at that. She thanked me and said my profile was cool, too. She happened to be online at the time I read her email so I quickly shot her an IM. We ended up trading IMs for quite some time and traded email addresses. Wow, I was actually winning the early rounds! Emails led to phone calls. Her voice was beautiful. It went perfectly with her photo. We stayed up until all hours of the night talking, laughing, sharing. A solid friendship was formed; it was a great foundation for a potential relationship. I thought I was scoring a lot of points and was surely going to win this time.

Like I said, the only thing I didn’t know was how these long-distance relationships worked because there was so much that could be going on behind the scenes. But this could be true for even local relationships. This is where trust comes into play, instincts, a good sense for judging character. Usually my strengths. After about 3 months, we finally agreed to meet. I bought a ticket around six weeks ago. I was going to meet her this Friday, December 10th. We were planning to spend the weekend together. I was going to escort her to my company holiday bash at the Four Seasons. I was excited and eager.

Around two or three weeks ago, she pulled the disappearing act. She didn’t answer my emails or phone calls. My radar was up. When she finally contacted me, I immediately asked her if she still wanted me to visit. I held my breath but she said yes. {Exhale} But then the disappearing act again. The tide was turning. I had bad vibes. I hadn’t heard from her in over a week and it was now less than a week until I was to fly out and meet her. I sent her a sort of desperate email saying I simply needed to know, good, bad, or indifferent whether she still wanted to see me. No response all day. I gave her the benefit of the doubt thinking she could have run into some trouble mentally or physically. She was, incidentally, struggling mentally with relationships, past mistakes, life’s curveballs, etc. Aren’t we all? As much and as badly as I wanted to meet her, I made up my mind. My instincts were telling me that regardless of what she might say, I was not going to meet her on Friday. The timing just did not seem right anymore and I didn’t want to force the issue. Something was not right and I was hoping she’d tell me. I finally got her email late last night.

The first thing I did was my usual pre-game analysis prior to opening it. The email file was large which meant she had a lot to say. I questioned why she went the email route rather than calling me. Hmm, large email + couldn’t call me = TROUBLE. I didn’t have to open it. I already knew. Still, I wanted to stay in there and fight and not give up on her. I wanted to win. I opened up her email and WHAM! She delivered the knock out blow. Another crushing loss. I could try to paraphrase it for you, but I think she said things best. So here you go. Her email and my reply.

-------------- Original message from xxx : --------------

Hey Todd...i am profoundly sorry in how i've been treating you...i have been very confused in a relationship thati've been in for the last two months...i just didn't want to talk about it...i don't know why...well the details..here they are...he's canadian; he came to visit me for three weeks in November..he was going to relocate here but it seemed more resonable for me to go to there for the time being as he is going to law school in the states come september and he wouldn't be able to work in there. I would be able to work in xxx through connections of his. So, I spoke to my ex and the rest of my family....got everyones blessing and poof, here i am...in xxx...i felt so bad not telling you, but this relationship has been rocky due to the stress of the situation and i, until the last moment , wasn't so sure if I was going...well, know I'm here...still unsure , but i really was so confused before i left due to so many things, especially my finacial situation that i spoke about. I have love for this man, and want to see if we could actually live together and be happy...i have a month in mind as far as my time-table of this uncertainty...so please accept my appologies and know I want to continue to be your friend with our phone calls and our music...xxx-xxx-xxxx land and will give you my cell once i get one here...for know call my old cell or the land line...hope to talk soon!

Cruella DeVille (name changed to protect the ‘innocent’)

-------------- Original message from Todd : --------------

I want to thank you for at least contacting me. Most people have no nerve and just disappear. I just wrote about this on my website.

I know I should wait to respond and let my emotions settle, but I really don't think there's much to say. I must say that I am absolute shock right now. I told you I wanted you to be happy, and I meant it. However, I cannot believe you had neither the nerve nor the consideration to tell me. It upsets me that we spoke countless times and you made no mention of any of this. I even asked you two weeks ago whether you still wanted me to come and you said YES. Jesus, girl! And perhaps what upsets the most is that I'm pissed at myself for sadly misjudging your character. I thought you were sweet, caring, understanding, and loving. I dunno. I don't know how anyone in this world can do something like that to someone like me. I'm sorry, it's unforgivable and very hurtful.

Despite my disappointment (not anger), I do wish you well and happiness.

Have a great life.


PS I had mailed you some Hanukkah presents to your old address. I wonder if I'll get it back or whether they'll forward it on to you? I hope you end up getting it. It's not much but it was from the heart. Even the card. Shit, I'm such a goddamn fool...



Seinfeld said if a man’s single, thin, and neat he’s probably gay. A classic, must-see Seinfeld episode. Any reference to being gay was followed by the tagline “not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Well look at me; I’m single, thin, and neat. But I’m not gay.

Yesterday, I read a fantastic post by Greek Tragedy 48 character traits or red flags which, if uncovered, direct the woman to avoid the man. “Period.” How’d I do on her quiz? Not so good, I don’t think. I failed on 9 items which scores me about an 83 on a 100 point scale. What’s that, a solid B average? So being the typical accountant, I began to analyze my red flags to see if there was a trend:

When he examines all the flatware and then polishes it with his napkin while you’re out to dinner, he’s a control freak who will obsess over the organization of your entire life, right down to the coat closet.
If the Ken in your life calls you “dude,” or emails “whut up?”
send him Skipper’s way. He’s not ready for Barbie.
The Oral Sex South Beach Dieter: if he won’t eat carbs, he’ll suck at eating you in bed.
If his face turns red and he gets tight-lipped when you kick his ass at Scrabble, he’s a loser in more ways than one.
If he
doesn't put the moves on by the end of the third date, he’s terrible at closing other deals, too. Take heed.
Any guy that c) has truffle oil but is not a chef at a restaurant; he is only marginally talented, and you’ll be forced to enjoy his "talents" in awe for too long.
He already knows the words to Gavin DeGraw songs. He’s too effeminate to spank you in bed.
Anyone who says, “the bomb,” “nizzle,” or “bi-atch.”
Avoid any man who speaks with his mother more than twice a week; he might as well still be milking.

Three involve food, dining, eating resulting in a lack of ‘talent’ in the bedroom. Two involve speaking in slang or ebonics resulting in insulting, perhaps. One involves knowing song lyrics to a cool singer who, I guess, is too feminine for a guy following which results in more poor bedroom performance. One’s about being competitive at a sissy game resulting in, I’m guessing, more sex issues. One involves a lack of sexual aggression so ‘nuff said. The last one involves being a momma’s boy.

So what do we conclude here? According to SK of Greek Tragedy, I guess I’ve got bedroom issues, perhaps as a result of possessing some feminine qualities. I’m single, neat, and thin. Uh-oh. Shite, I must be gay. Hmm, the only behavior change I think I could/should make is number 3. The carb thing. I need to chill on that one. Other than that, I don’t see much change happening. I love Gavin DeGraw’s music. Saw him in concert (believe it or not with an extremely beautiful girl), and it was one of the best concerts I’ve seen. Effeminate? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean I can’t spank. But hey, I scored an 83; a B ain’t half bad. Rather good, actually when you consider the toughness of my endearing teacher. My opinion? Single, neat, and thin? Yes. Some ‘feminine’ characteristics per Greek? Yes. I also cry at sad movies, love to cook and bake, eat salads for lunch, like to dress nicely, like Indigo Girls, Dido, Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch, and countless other female singers.

But, nevertheless, that is to say, however…I do eat steaks, ribs, chicken, chocolate, just about anything. I also listen to Blink 182, Staind, Green Day, Fuel and a million other bands. But most importantly, I love women. Although dating is frustrating as hell sometimes, I am enjoying the chase and look forward to finding MY GIRL, wherever she is. I guess that means I’m not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

"not that there's anything wrong with that." Posted by Hello

December 03, 2004


Colonel Mustard is in the conservatory with the lead pipe, but I really have no clue. Lemme tell ya, the online dating scene is a friggin’ mystery and is totally like the Gumpian box of chocolates. Yes, from time to time and probably more often than not, I must bore you with my chase. Hey, afterall, that IS the name of this blog, no?

AWOL, MIA, APB, call it what you will but I’m having serious trouble understanding why some women simply disappear without a trace? I would rather the person flat out tell me, as John McClane said to Hans Gruber in "Die Hard," “Go fuck yourself, Hans.” At least there’s closure in that scenario. I like closure; don’t leave me hanging out in cyberspace. I can multiply this scenario by at least 10, but here’s an example of what I’m confused about.

I met a girl on JDate who lived about 320 miles north of me. She’s 28, divorced, cute, and has a young daughter. She didn’t object to my age which is usually the first big hurdle. On the surface, I felt it was a really good fit. We hit it off immediately. We had some great email and IM banter (I call this Stage 1 in the dating communication pyramid). She asked me for my phone number, and she called me (I call this Stage 2). I felt a strong connection and lots of good vibes. I think she felt the same way. I gained her trust and she gave me her number and we were chatting quite frequently, almost daily. Wow, our conversations were very eye-opening, honest, funny, intimate, and really comfortable. She’d ask me a ton of typical questions asked during the feeling out period of getting to know someone. Invariably, she’d check off my answers in approval. One of the best and most unusual questions she asked me was whether or not I squeegied myself off before I stepped out of the shower. Great question. Relevance? Not sure. I answered yes to her no, but it wasn’t a show stopper. She said she wouldn’t hold it against me. We talked openly about sex or lack thereof. She and her ex were infrequent participants as were my ex and I. We both blamed it, rightfully so, on our ex(s). She got into some graphic detail which was really cool, I thought. She had a bit of an edge to her which was very attractive. Things seemed to be progressing very well; I really wanted to meet her.

I got my opportunity soon after we met. I had bought two tickets to a Dashboard Confessional concert. They happened to be playing, coincidentally, in her city. This was before I knew DC was coming to my area. So I kicked around the idea of coming up and meeting ‘her.’ We’d go to the concert, have Sushi afterward, and hang out. I’d stay over for the weekend and we could get to know each other. I agreed to stay in a hotel. She was worried that desperation might cloud her judgment and mine for that matter, and that jumping into bed may not be the best idea. So it was all set. And then for some inexplicable reason, the tide turned.

And the timing couldn’t have been worse. At the time, I had resolved myself to the fact that my true love and light of my life (future post) was not interested in me enough to dump her boyfriend. I had feared the worst and one day, out of the blue, she totally slammed me and shut the door in a cruel email. I suspected the eventual ‘breakup’ which was why I began searching once again. But I never imagined the harsh manner in which it was delivered. Someday, I’ll post the email. It’s all part of the book.

So I was already down for the count and five minutes later, 'long distance girl' called me and told me she had a slight change of heart. She wanted to scrap the weekend thing and just meet me for the concert. Period. No sushi dinner afterward, no further contact. She mentioned something about not wanting me to meet her daughter just yet and that it would be unavoidable if I stayed the weekend and hung out with her. Hmm. I was still reeling from my previous crash and burn so I just accepted it. I told her that would be fine. I’d drive up 4 hours, go to the concert, and drive home at 11 pm or whenever the concert was over. Pain in the ass, but at least I’d meet her.

Then came the week of the concert and my long distance girl had another change of heart. She told me she went on a JDate, met a nice guy, liked him, didn’t want to see two people at a time, and that I was out. See ya later. But she gave me the standard tag line of she wanted to be friends. And so we were ‘friends.’ Only I was the one who was always doing the emailing and IMing. Then I got a sense that she just wasn’t into it. So much for being friends. I tried an experiment. I decided not to make contact to see if she’d contact her ‘friend.’ No sale. No word. After a couple of weeks, I asked her to explain and to let me know what she was feeling, but rather than doing so, she just disappeared for good. No word. Gone. Vanished. A mystery.

So what gives? For the life of me, I don’t understand these people. Why do they just disappear without a trace? I’d rather they tell me to fuck off than disappear. I honestly have no idea why she totally changed her mind? One minute, I’m going to visit her for a 3-day weekend; the next thing you know, it’s all over. Can someone please explain this annoying pattern to me? I’m in much need of a dating lesson. OK Sarah Mac, sing it…

Yeah you're working
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in
Yeah you're working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully

You're building a mystery

sarah mclachlan Posted by Hello

December 01, 2004


Warren Zevon rocks. Thought it’s only one vague reference, it feels good to pay homage to him. Anyway, I’m sitting here reading this bill that I got from my divorce lawyer. In all fairness, I think he’s a nice guy and is doing his best to keep his fees down. Sure that might be naive thinking on my part, but I really believe it to be true. My ex’s bee-ahtch of a lawyer has piled up almost $5,000 in fees. I hate that lady, and I don’t even know her. What did King Richard the Lionhearted say? “My kingdom for a gun.” My lawyer has billed me for roughly a third of that. I know that total will climb significantly as the January 14th trial date approaches.

So I’m looking at this bill. I never scrutinized these bills because, honestly, I don’t want to see how much money is going down the drain. I scan them quickly and then write the check. I know these bills are only coming monthly, but to me, it seems they arrive daily. I get that heavy envelope in the mail and think, “Geez, didn’t I just pay him?” I don’t know why, but I decided to take a hard look at this bill. My old college Economics professor’s theory came immediately to mind. TINSTAAFL. “Tinstaffle” was how Sanford V. Berg pronounced it. Have you guys ever heard of this theory? Sure you have. There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Right you are, professor Berg.

I’m being nickled and dimed for everything. Every email I send, every copy they make, every stamp they lick. Nothing’s free. Why does it cost me 15 cents to send an email? There’s no cost to him, is there? Sure, he bills me for reading the email, but why charge me an additional 15 cents? Believe me, it may seem small, but it adds up. 15 cents per copy made? I’d say that’s a pretty good mark-up? Do I really need all these copies made and sent to me? Postage, too. I get a monthly bill, AND I get billed for the postage on the bill!

Fees, of course, are billed hourly. It’s interesting how they come up with their calculations. Maybe someone can explain this to me. For example, my ex is running up quite the dental bill. It’s over a grand now. I’m currently paying for dependent and spousal coverage, but not everything is covered in the dental plan. She’s getting root canals, crowns, yada, yada, yada and the bill is coming to me. No way, I’m paying for any of that. So I send the bill and an explanation to my lawyer. My guess is it MIGHT have taken a whole minute to read. You wanna know what I got charged? I got billed for 0.04 hours. What? Being an accountant, I had to crunch the numbers. That’s 2.4 minutes, or 2 minutes and 32 seconds. At the rate of $185/hour, that’s a fee of $7.40. Here’s another one. .13 hours for file maintenance which equates to 7.8 minutes or 7 minutes and 48 seconds. And it goes on and on. So tell me, do they really keep track of hours with a stopwatch? Uchh. Why did I analyze this bill?

Say, did you hear the one about Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, an honest lawyer and an old drunk? Yeah, they’re walking down the street together when they simultaneously spot a hundred dollar bill. Who gets it? The old drunk, of course; the other three are mythological creatures